7 top tips for reducing the risk of contracting the spring ‘triple whammy’

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Ochre Lancefield Country Practice offers 7 tips to help reduce the community’s risk

A Lancefield medical practice is urging local residents to take preventative steps to avoid a potential triple whammy condition this spring, comprising flu, hayfever and asthma.

Ochre Lancefield Country Practice is a general family medical centre that offers a range of services to Lancefield and the surround community, from general GP services to ante-natal checks, immunisations, minor emergencies, and care plans for chronic or complex issues.

Dr Paul Carter and Dr Marina Kefford head the mixed-billing practice’s team of three female doctors, three male doctors and four female nurses. Dr Carter says: “Victoria is experiencing an extended flu season at the start of the hayfever season that could trigger allergy-related asthma conditions for many. This month, we have continued to administer flu shots and have treated asthma and hayfever-related cases as a result of both pollens in the air and allergy-related causes.”

An estimated one in five Australians suffer from hayfever [1]. Victoria’s severe winter flu period has seen more than 13,000 flu cases. In addition, this week, Central Victoria was declared a moderate risk for Epidemic Thunderstorm Asthma by The Department of Health and Human Services [2]. This comes after Victoria experienced a record thunderstorm asthma event last spring, with 201 calls made to ESTA, 2,036 cases handled by Ambulance Victoria, and 9,909 people presented at public emergency departments over two days [3]. Recently, the Victorian Government launched a thunderstorm asthma forecasting system [4].

Dr Kefford says, “We are urging the local community to take preventative steps to help reduce the risk of suffering all three illnesses at once.” Here, Ochre Lancefield Country Practice offers simple precautions and preventative measures for residents to follow.

Ochre Lancefield Country Practice’s 7 top tips for reducing the risk of contracting the spring ‘triple whammy’ illness:

  1. Have a spring flu shot
    If you didn’t have your flu injection in winter, it’s not too late to make an appointment with your GP to have one this month. With winter’s flu season still being experienced in many parts of Victoria, it’s a worthwhile preventative measure to protect yourself and your family.
  1. Stay updated on asthma thunderstorm warnings
    Asthma sufferers are advised to download the Victoria Emergency app, or visit Victoria Emergency to receive regular updates and alerts about asthma thunderstorms in their local area, as well as advice for dealing with asthma attacks in the event of such an occurrence.
  1. Intranasal steroid sprays
    If you’re a hayfever sufferer and spend a lot of time outdoors in spring, intranasal steroid sprays can be an effective means of preventing symptoms such as a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. Make an appointment with your GP or visit your pharmacist to find the best option for you.
  1. Check the pollen count
    If you suffer from asthma and hayfever, where possible, try to avoid going outdoors on days with high pollen counts, and keep windows and doors shut. You can check the pollen forecast through visiting the pollen count forecast website, run by the University of Melbourne.
  1. Make an appointment with your GP
    Your GP can help you develop a hayfever treatment plan, and prescribe medication such as antihistamines and eye drops, to help clear symptoms. In particular, if you experience wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness or continuing coughing, you may have asthma, and should speak with your GP who can discuss ways to protect yourself from the risk of thunderstorm asthma.
  1. Clean living areas
    A simple way to reduce hayfever and asthma symptoms is to regularly clean and vacuum living areas, and change bed linen, to remove dust and debris. It’s also worth investing in allergen reducing bed linen, which have a filling that discourages the growth of dust mites bacteria, and mould.
  1. Keep pets outside as much as possible
    Pets often can carry pollen particles, dirt and debris on their coats, so it’s important to ensure you regularly wash them during spring months. It’s also worth restricting their access to indoor areas, especially your bedroom, if you suffer from hayfever.

Ochre Lancefield Country Practice is located at 17 High St, Lancefield. To book an appointment, call (03) 5429 1362, or visit www.ochrehealth.com.au to book online.

 

 

[1] AIHW 2016: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/asthma-other-chronic-respiratory-conditions/allergic-rhinitis-hay-fever/contents/allergic-rhinitis-by-the-numbers

[2] Twitter incident alert 2017: https://twitter.com/IncidentAlert24/status/916816356724506625?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.illawarramercury.com.au%2Fstory%2F4973182%2Fthunderstorm-asthma-warning-for-victoria%2F%3Fcs%3D2452

[3] Victoria Health 2017: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/environmental-health/climate-weather-and-public-health/thunderstorm-asthma/response

[4] Premier of Victoria 2017: http://www.premier.vic.gov.au/new-thunderstorm-asthma-forecasting-system/

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