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Monthly Archives: August 2018

Everything you can possibly do to avoid the dreaded flu

We are already over half way through Winter, however the peak flu season hasn’t hit yet. Data from Flutracking, a survey backed by various Australian and New Zealand government health bodies shows that in Australia on average, between 2012 and 2016, the peak flu season didn’t hit until August. So as more people around you contract the flu how do you protect yourself?

General Practitioner Dr Toby Smith from UQ Health Care’s St Lucia clinic said the first and most important way is to get your flu shot.

“The flu shot not only helps to reduce your risk of getting the flu but it also helps to prevent people around you from getting the flu including those at most risk such as older people, those with weakened immune systems and children,” Dr Smith said.

“Flu viruses are spread by tiny droplets when people with the flu cough or sneeze.

“You can become infected with a flu after touching a contaminated surface then rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth.

“Even though it is so easily spread there are ways we can try and prevent these nasty viruses and help each other if you do come down with a flu.”

Dr Smith recommends six tips to avoid the flu as we approach the peak flu season.

Get the flu shot
The best and most simple way to reduce your risk of contracting the flu is to get immunised each year.

Wash your hands
Clean your hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitiser, as this will help reduce the risk of infection with the virus.

Keep hydrated
Adequate water intake is essential to ensure your immune system is working effectively and also aids in eliminating toxins from your body. Aim for at least eight glasses or two litres of water a day.

Eat healthy
A varied diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables is an important factor in any healthy lifestyle. Foods high in vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc will all help to keep you healthy during the flu season.

Exercise regularly
Regular exercise helps to boost circulation allowing your immune cells to better patrol your body and fight off infections before they can take hold. As an added bonus, exercise also causes the release of endorphins which make you feel happier too.

Quit smoking
Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the nose and throat making it easier for viruses to cause an infection. Smokers also tend to have a more severe reaction to viral infections, including the flu, than non-smokers.






Five questions for Dr Brigid Flanders

This month we spoke to Dr Brigid Flanders, General Practitioner at the UQ Health Care Cornwall Street Medical Centre.

What inspired you to become a GP?
During the course of my secondary school education in science, I was introduced to a range of vocational options and I believed that studying and practising medicine suited my interests and my orientation to caring for people’s wellbeing. After graduating, I spent three years working in hospitals and during this time, I realised that my greatest interest was in providing continuing care not just emergency care. The role of a specialist general practitioner was the best fit for me.

What were some of your highlights whilst working as registrar at the Cornwall Street Medical Centre?
I came to Cornwall Street Medical Centre in my final semester as a GP Registrar. I found the work with young and medically oriented patients interesting and varied. The level of support of the Practice Manager, senior GPs and other staff was a highlight. Another highlight was that I gathered an increasing number of families and child patients.

How did this experience equip you to become a GP?
A GP could spend their working day in their consulting room seeing only patients. I learned that it’s very important to become part of a collegial group of medical practitioners that includes but also extends beyond other GP colleagues. I learned to value professional conversations very highly because GPs are presented with such a wide range of medical problems to solve each and every day, it’s often through continuing professional conversations that your knowledge and skills expand to suit the demands of the role.

What does a typical day look like for you?
The only things that are ‘typical’ in my working days are where I work and when I work. The vast range of medical issues that I deal with and the number of different patients that I see means that my work each day is always varied.

My pattern of work is as follows… I try to arrive usually half an hour before my first appointment so that I can check and act on results that may have come in. I spend all morning consulting, try to keep on time for patients and so that I can share lunch with and catch up with colleagues. Following afternoon consultations, I typically follow up administration arising from the days consultations and incoming results.

What are your interests outside of work?
Maintaining fitness and family related activities are my greatest interests outside work, alongside music, film and the beach.

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