Is it still worth getting a flu vaccination?

2019 has proven to be one of the most severe years for influenza on record across most states in Australia. The influenza “season” came earlier and there have been higher number of reported flu cases and illness related to flu than typical years. For those who haven’t had the influenza vaccine already, is it still worth having a flu vaccination? 

For many people the answer to the question is yes. The vaccine provides protection against 3 or 4 common strains of influenza. This can lead to a reduction in risk of flu-related complications like hospitalisation from respiratory illness. This is particularly relevant for pregnant women, infants, older people and people with chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma. Aside from these groups, influenza is an infection that can affect all age groups. If you have questions, it is worth having a chat with your doctor.

One significant issue that we have experienced in WA in 2019 has been shortage in the of vaccinations due to very strong uptake by the public. Currently we have a good supply of influenza vaccination for all age groups. If you would like to book in for an influenza vaccination, please let our reception staff know when you make your appointment.

To Spend or Not to Spend: Are Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements Worth the Money?

Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage lining one’s joints begins to thin out due to continual use.  This results in severe joint pain and stiffness, and affects an estimated 27 million people worldwide. The body’s natural defense against this condition is to produce glucosamine and chondroitin - which are required for the production of new cartilage. Physicians have suggested that taking glucosamine and chondroitin as supplemental medications could increase the amount of cartilage and fluid in the joints and decrease daily pain. The question is - do these medications actually work?

Andrew Lavender, a lecturer at the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science at Curtin University, believes that these supplements may be effective as a preventative measure but are not recommended for long-term use, according to this article. Studies have shown that glucosamine has a small to moderate effect in younger athletes (19-22 years old) and also in older patients (50 and above) in slowing the degeneration of cartilage and improving joint health in the knees. This only works, however, if you take a very high dose, and if you do so for at least three years. Three studies were done to evaluate whether chondroitin sulfate supplements actually work.  Two studies showed moderate results if at least 800mg - 1,200mg were taken each day, while a third study showed no improvement at all. Finally, supplements which combine glucosamine and chondroitin have not yet been researched by medical experts and may or may not improve one’s condition. So are these supplements worth it? According to these studies, these supplements are completely safe, but they may or may not offer you the results you want.  The choice is yours!

Safe Exercise During and After Pregnancy

Celebrity fitness trainer Michelle Bridges has come under fire for sending an irresponsible message to new moms on exercise during and after pregnancy.  She tells the public via and Instagram post that she get 56 minutes of exercise daily, and encourages new moms to get 15-20 minutes of exercise every day.  According to accredited Exercise Physiologist Nigel Stepto and National Heart Foundation Research Fellow Cheryce Harrison, while it is commendable to encourage women to exercise during and after pregnancy, women should seek a health-care professional to tailor workouts based on their individual fitness, health and pregnancy.

                In the absence of specific recommendations for activity during pregnancy, women should accumulate 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise each week.  Normal workouts should be altered to a lighter intensity to adapt to pregnancy. Workouts should include modified yoga, aerobics pilates,etc. Women should always pay attention to warning signs their body gives them, and should not continue use these recommendations of complications occur during pregnancy.  After pregnancy, women should allow time for recovery and then begin easing back into exercise. This may begin with short walks of 3-5 minutes and build up gradually to 20-30 minute walks. They should also practice pelvic floor exercises regularly. Women wishing to maintain exercise routines are encouraged to seek advice from their health-care team.