- Supplies of the antiviral drug Tamiflu are running low in Queensland in the midst of one of the worst influenza seasons on record. A number of pharmacy chains are without the prescription drug and it could be mid-September before fresh supplies become available from wholesalers.
- Australia emits mercury at double the global average. In New South Wales the mercury emissions limit is 666 times the US limits, and in Victoria there is no specific mercury limit at all.
- The winter chill is often associated with an increase in joints and muscle pains for many older people with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Studies have examined temperature, barometric pressure, precipitation, humidity and sunshine for their links to pain
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 21st of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
Supplies of the antiviral drug Tamiflu are running low in Queensland in the midst of one of the worst influenza seasons on record. Tamiflu may lessen the severity and duration of the flu and is particularly useful to help treat the young, elderly and patients with other chronic diseases like asthma. A number of pharmacy chains are without the prescription drug and it could be mid-September before fresh supplies become available from wholesalers. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia Queensland’s Chris Owen said there were still hospital emergency supplies available, but other flu sufferers would have to shop around. Mister Owen said more supplies might need to be imported from interstate or overseas.
Almost twenty thousand Queenslanders have been diagnosed with the flu since the beginning of the year and more than four thousand in the past week. Of those, seventy six percent of notifications were influenza A and the rest were influenza B. One of Brisbane’s public hospitals, the Prince Charles Hospital, said it had been admitting three to four patients with influenza symptoms a day for the past three weeks. Queensland Health has been advising people with flu-like symptoms to go to their local general practitioner, rather than visiting hospital emergency departments. A Government spokeswoman said public hospitals had sufficient supplies of the drug.
A report released this week by advocacy group Environmental Justice Australia presents a confronting analysis of toxic emissions from Australia’s coal-fired power plants. The report, which investigated pollutants including fine particles, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, also highlights Australia’s deeply inadequate mercury emissions regulations. In New South Wales the mercury emissions limit is six hundred sixty six times the US limits, and in Victoria there is no specific mercury limit at all.This is particularly timely, given that yesterday the Minamata Convention, a United Nations treaty limiting the production and use of mercury, entered into force. Coal-fired power stations and some metal manufacturing are major sources of mercury in our atmosphere, and Australia’s per capita mercury emissions are roughly double the global average.In fact, Australia is the world’s sixteenth-largest emitter of mercury, and while our government has signed the Minamata convention it has yet to ratify it.
Mercury is a global pollutant: no matter where it’s emitted, it spreads easily around the world through the atmosphere. In its vaporised form, mercury is largely inert, although inhaling large quantities carries serious health risks. But the health problems really start when mercury enters the food web.
Mercury can cause a range of adverse health impacts which include; cognitive impairment (mild mental retardation), permanent damage to the central nervous system, kidney and heart disease, infertility, and respiratory, digestive and immune problems. It is strongly advised that pregnant women, infants, and children in particular avoid exposure. A major two thousand nine study estimated that reducing global mercury emissions would carry an economic benefit of between one point eight billion US dollars and two point twenty two billion US dollars. Since then, the US, the European Union and China have begun using the best available technology to reduce their mercury emissions, but Australia remains far behind.
The winter chill is often associated with an increase in aches and pains for many older people, particularly in the joints, but also in the muscles. Some recent studies have shown an increase in general aches and pain in older men and women, and in particular a correlation between joint pain and weather conditions in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. In investigating a link between weather and joint pain, studies have examined temperature, barometric pressure, precipitation, humidity and sunshine for their links to pain. The results are somewhat inconclusive because they vary greatly. This is largely because pain is subjective and it’s difficult to isolate a particular cause. Other factors like exercise, mood and diet also have an influence on pain perception. Some research focused on the idea that atmospheric pressure may have the greatest effect.
There are some things that can help reduce pain during the colder months; Exercise: joint pain is often associated with excess weight, so a weight-loss exercise program will help to take the pressure off the joints. Exercise also helps to improve metabolism and blood flow through muscles and joints, which can reduce inflammation, stiffness and pain; Get your dose of Vitamin D. Being outdoors for longer periods more often provides vitamin D for healthier bones and joints. When daylight hours are limited, vitamin D supplements are a good way to continue to get the benefits of this vitamin, which has an important role in bone mineralisation, muscle function and nerve growth. It’s recommended adults get at least two hundred to six hundred international units (IU) of Vitamin D daily if they’re getting some exposure to sunlight most days. It’s not easy to get vitamin D through diet, but in a country like Australia, where sunlight is available even in winter, this presents less of a problem than for people living in regions that have limited sunlight in winter.