The Health News – 11 November 2015

Overview:
• The study from UK healthcare provider Benenden involving 2,500 employers and employees found vomiting was the most acceptable reason to take a day off (73 per cent), closely followed by diarrhoea (71 per cent) a “sick bug” had a 53.2 per cent success rate, while stress was only accepted by 19 per cent.

• Associate professor Stuart Khan from the University of New South Wales said there’s no chance the parasite could live in water treated for drinking in the way Broken Hill’s supply is, whether it’s drawn from surface or bore water. Public health officials have raised the alarm about Naegleria Fowleri, which has claimed three lives in north-west Queensland since 2001.

• Boiling peanuts for up to 12 hours could desensitise children to allergic reactions, according to findings made by Flinders University researcher Dr Billy Tao.

News on Health Professional Radio.  Today is the 11th November 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.  Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-10/research-reveals-best-excuses-for-a-sickie/6926236

Bogus stories of throwing up and other toilet horrors are the most likely to convince the boss you need a sickie, with colds and mental health issues the least persuasive, new research shows.

The study from UK healthcare provider Benenden involving 2,500 employers and employees found vomiting was the most acceptable reason to take a day off (73 per cent), closely followed by diarrhoea (71 per cent).

Fewer than two-thirds of people thought the flu was a valid reason, but forget run-of-the-mill sniffles — only about one in 10 bosses would accept a head cold as a good reason to stay away from the office.

A “sick bug” had a 53.2 per cent success rate, while stress was only accepted by 19 per cent.

Only 17 per cent believed mental health issues were a valid reason for sick leave, and a headache scored the lowest.

But even some people (6 per cent) believed feeling “under the weather” was a good enough excuse when suffering no specific symptoms, the researchers said.

The results of the Benenden research also revealed women were more likely than men to call in sick — with 54 per cent of women calling in sick compared to 43 per cent of men.

Absenteeism was also more frequent among younger people (aged 18 to 35).

University of Sydney work and organisational expert Associate Professor Angela Knox said aside from legitimate sick days, Australians often “chucked a sickie” because their work conditions were unsatisfactory.

She said Mondays, Fridays and public holidays were peak times employees would go sick.

Research released last week showed Australians are not chucking as many sickies as they once did.

The survey from absence-management firm Direct Health Solutions of 97 companies covering 220,000 employees found absenteeism had dropped to its lowest level since the global financial crisis (GFC).

It showed the average worker now took 8.6 days of sick leave per year, a 7 per cent decrease since the GFC.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-10/broken-hill-water-supply-at-no-risk-of-parasite-infection3a-ex/6926530

A water expert says there’s no chance a brain-eating parasite that’s killed three children in Queensland could survive in Broken Hill’s water supply, regardless of where it’s drawn from.

Public health officials have raised the alarm about Naegleria Fowleri, which has claimed three lives in north-west Queensland since 2001.

The amoeba thrives in warm, fresh water and can grow in bore water if it’s pumped to the surface and left untreated.

Associate professor Stuart Khan from the University of New South Wales said there’s no chance the parasite could live in water treated for drinking in the way Broken Hill’s supply is, whether it’s drawn from surface or bore water.

Dr Khan said there shouldn’t be concern about the safety of bores as a source of drinking water.

“You wouldn’t select water from a bore for a drinking water supply if you knew that [contaminants] were a significant problem, and if you did, you would apply the appropriate treatment processes in order to control them,” he said.

Authorities expect to begin drawing the city’s water supply from bores towards the end of next year if there are no major inflows into the Menindee Lakes before then.

Meanwhile, a desalination plant is due to be switched on next month as the dwindling surface water supply becomes saltier.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-09/boiling-peanuts-may-stop-allergic-reaction-researcher-finds/6923580

Boiling peanuts for up to 12 hours could desensitise children to allergic reactions, according to findings made by Flinders University researcher Dr Billy Tao.

Dr Tao told 891 ABC Adelaide‘s Drive program that he was inspired by similar research conducted in the 1990s by researcher Kirsten Bayer.

“She noticed that children in China do not have many peanut allergy problems,” he said.

Dr Bayer believed low peanut allergies in Chinese children may have been caused by them eating boiled rather than roasted peanuts.

Dr Tao said the original tests by Dr Bayer saw peanuts boiled for 20 minutes before being given to infants and lower allergic reactions were recorded.

Dr Bayer’s research stalled after the initial finding and Dr Tao relaunched the trials four years ago.

“I suddenly realised I can actually desensitise peanut-allergic children using peanuts that have been boiled a lot longer than 20 minutes,” Dr Tao said.

“After partial protection from boiled peanuts, for say after eight months, you can then give them roasted peanuts and they are protected.”

Clinical trials are underway for treating mild to moderate allergy cases, with a method being developed for those with severe allergic reactions also.