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Health News

Body temperature identified as a major risk factor for gut issues during exercise in hot weather

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Cricket player drinking water due high body temperature in hot weather.
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

Body temperature identified as a major risk factor for gut issues during exercise in hot weather 

 

Australians playing sport or working in physical jobs for extended periods in hot weather or environments risk gut damage and blood poisoning that may lead to serious illness due to high body temperature.

For the first time, a Monash University-led research project has identified the point at which people face potentially serious Exercise-Induced Gastrointestinal Syndrome (EIGS), and the corresponding degree of seriousness.

EIGS can cause a range of debilitating signs and symptoms, as a result of pathogenic agents (e.g. bacteria or bacterial endotoxins) in the gut leaking into blood circulation.

This situation may lead to more serious clinical implications such as sepsis, if the body’s immune system can’t cope with these pathogens in the blood. EIGS mimics similar health conditions such as ischaemic bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Published in Temperature, the study found that a rise in core body temperature to 39°C, and above, from two hours of exercise in hot conditions can predict the onset of gut damage and the movement of pathogens from the gut into the bloodstream, as part of EIGS.

As core body temperature increased, the extent of gut damage, bacterial endotoxin, systemic inflammatory responses, and gut symptoms also rose.

Lead author Kayla Henningsen, a Dietitian and Exercise Gastroenterology PhD candidate at Monash University’s Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food, said EIGS could occur during sports activities or even work.

“Physically demanding fields, such as the mining industry, military, agriculture and firefighting services, are notorious for not only the exertional activity required to fulfil the role of the occupation, but also for the potential of heat exposure,” Ms Henningsen said.

“Occupations that require high levels of physical labour while being exposed to extreme heat conditions could also experience gut symptoms from exertional-heat stress, leading to an increase in the risk of systemic shock, infections in the bloodstream, or even death if not treated appropriately.”

EIGS can occur when prolonged exertion in the heat diverts blood flow to the body’s periphery (e.g., limbs) to help cool the body.  This causes the wall of gut cells to break and open as less blood is surrounding the gut and providing the cells with the nutrients they need to stay tightly sealed.

Toxins and microbes can then move from the gut into the bloodstream, causing EIGS symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and possibly a full-body inflammatory response, or even death if left untreated.

Depending on the type, duration and environmental conditions, up to 85 per cent of endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, report experiencing these gut symptoms.

Cricket player drinking water due high body temperature in hot weather.

Australians playing sport or working in physical jobs for extended periods in hot weather or environments risk gut damage and blood poisoning that may lead to serious illness.

The study saw endurance-trained athletes run for two hours in 21.2-30.0°C and 35.0-37.2°C heat, with blood samples and temperatures taken at various points. It found that two hours of steady running (60 per cent of VO2max) in hot conditions could predict the magnitude of EIGS.

Ms Henningsen said while all parts of Australia were hot for part of the year, those working and playing sport in temperate climates such as Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia could be at even greater risk.

She and her team are now assessing nutrition strategies to maintain blood flow around the gut during exertional-heat stress, to help prevent gut damage. While strategies have been developed, such as carbohydrate and/or protein during exercise, consuming a high FODMAP diet and/or body cooling strategies, the new information will provide improved guidance.

“Findings from this research will not only help athletes’ performance and keep them safe, but will build upon Occupational Health, Safety and Environment practices within workplace settings to prevent adverse health outcomes to individuals who are exposed to prolonged exertional-heat stress,” Ms Henningsen said.

 

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Flu numbers explode, over 65s most at risk

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Flu North Coast
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

Flu numbers explode, over 65s most at risk

 

By Tim Howard

An explosion in flu cases across the state has prompted North Coast health authorities to urge people over 65 to book in for their free flu jabs as the virus continues to surge across the state.

Director of North Coast Population and Public Health Dr Valerie Delpech said a recent surveillance report revealed there had been a 25% jump in flu diagnoses in a week.

“Flu is rapidly increasing across the state,” Dr Delpech said. “In the past week alone presentations to NSW emergency departments increased by almost 22% for people with influenza-like illness.

“We are expecting the flu season will be around for several weeks to come, so now is the time to book in for your free flu vaccine to get the vital protection you need.”

Dr Delpech said the more elderly, who were in greater need of the protection vaccination offered, were lagging behind in vaccination rates.

“At present, just half of people 65 and over (52.4 per cent) in NSW have received their flu vaccine,” she said.

The doctor said with influenza, COVID-19 and RSV all circulating in the community, health services reminded the community to avoid visiting high-risk settings including hospitals and aged care facilities if they are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness.

“Vaccination is the best protection against infection and severe disease,” Dr Delpech said. “Everyone, but particularly those at increased risk of severe disease, is urged to get vaccinated now. By getting vaccinated you also help protect those around you.”

She said the influenza vaccine was free and readily available for those at higher risk of severe illness from influenza from GPs for any age group, as well as through pharmacies for everyone aged five years and over.

Flu North Coast

South Grafton pharmacist Michael Troy was part of a successful campaign for a law change to allow pharmacists to vaccinate against the flu. He urges people to get regular flu shots ahead of every flu season.

Those considered to be at higher risk of severe illness from influenza who are eligible for free vaccination include:

  • people aged 65 and over
  • children aged six months to under five years
  • Aboriginal people from six months of age
  • pregnant women
  • those with serious health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, severe asthma, kidney, heart, and lung disease.

Dr Delpech said there were some simple steps people could take to protect themselves and loved ones from respiratory viruses like COVID-19, influenza and RSV, including:

  • Stay up to date with your recommended influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Stay home if you are sick and wear a mask if you need to leave home
  • Get together outdoors or in large, well-ventilated spaces with open doors and windows
  • Avoid crowded spaces
  • Consider doing a rapid antigen test (RAT) before visiting people at higher risk of severe illness
  • Talk with your doctor now if you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or influenza to make a plan about what to do if you get sick, including what test to take, and discussing if you are eligible for antiviral medicines
  • Don’t visit people who are at higher risk of severe illness if you are sick or have tested positive to COVID-19 or influenza
  • Practice good hand hygiene, including hand washing.

 

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Health Insurance Premiums Skyrocket, Some by 15% or More: CHOICE

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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

Health Insurance Premiums Skyrocket, Some by 15% or More: CHOICE

 

Should You Consider Self-Insurance? Plus Other Tips to Save!

Consumer group CHOICE has found that many Australians faced significant increases in their health insurance premiums in April, with some premiums rising as much as 17%—far higher than the annual average industry-wide price increase of 3.03%.

“CHOICE reviewed the prices of over 24,000 policies with hospital cover and found Gold policies had the highest premium increases, with average increases above 10% for HBF, HCF, HIF, and Australian Unity policies. One Gold policy in Western Australia even saw a 17% hike,” said CHOICE health insurance expert Jodi Bird.

“With these sky-high increases, it’s worth taking the time to review your health insurance to ensure you’re only paying for what you need, and that you’re getting it at the best possible price,” Bird added.

CHOICE’s Top Tips for Saving on Your Health Insurance

  1. Drop Gold Hospital Insurance

“Gold hospital cover has become too expensive. If you have a specific condition usually covered by Gold policies and want to use the private hospital system, look for a Silver Plus policy or consider self-insurance.”

Self-insurance is an alternative to private health insurance. Instead of paying an insurer, you save money yourself to cover private health costs as they arise. If you don’t need any health treatment, your savings will grow.

“We have found that in some cases, opting to self-fund your health care can be the better-value option,” Bird explained.

For example, cataract surgery, one of the most common surgical procedures in Australia, is often only covered by the most expensive Gold policies. CHOICE’s analysis showed that the annual cost of top-cover health insurance could exceed the out-of-pocket cost for a private cataract procedure.

“This option may only be suitable for people who have few health issues and do not anticipate any unexpected health events. And of course, you need to ensure you have the money set aside in case you require a surgical procedure or treatment in the private system,” Bird advised.

  1. Compare Policies to Find a Good Deal

“We always recommend comparing policies to find the best value policy to suit your needs. The same cover with a different insurer may save you hundreds of dollars a year. Look beyond the well-known big funds and consider smaller funds; switching to a smaller fund often provides a cheaper deal,” said Bird.

“If you’re unsure where to start, CHOICE has an independent health insurance comparison tool that allows you to compare thousands of policies from over 40 insurers,” Bird suggested.

  1. Do You Need Extras Insurance?

“The value of extras insurance really depends on the individual. It can be worth purchasing, but only if you use it enough that it pays out more than the premiums that are coming out of your pocket,” Bird noted.

“If you need extras insurance, shop around and buy your extras from a different provider than your standard hospital cover if you find a better deal,” Bird recommended.

Compare health insurance policies here: CHOICE Health Insurance Comparison Tool

 

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NSW Seniors Urged to Book Free Flu Vaccine Amid Rising Respiratory Illnesses

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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

NSW Seniors Urged to Book Free Flu Vaccine Amid Rising Respiratory Illnesses

 

People aged 65 and over are being strongly urged to book their free influenza vaccine as respiratory illnesses continue to rise across NSW.

The latest NSW Health Respiratory Surveillance Report, released today, indicates a rapid increase in influenza activity in NSW, with COVID-19 transmission also reaching high levels.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant reported a 27% increase in influenza notifications and a 23% increase in COVID-19 notifications for the week ending 25 May compared to the previous week.

“While everyone aged six months and over is urged to get their influenza vaccine as soon as possible, it is particularly important for those at higher risk of severe illness from the virus,” Dr. Chant said.

“Influenza immunisation rates aren’t where they need to be. Less than half of people aged 65 and over in NSW have received their influenza vaccine this year. We really need to see that number go up, especially as people in this age group are among those most at risk of severe illness.

“We expect the number of influenza cases to quickly increase in the weeks ahead, so now is the time to get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so.”

The influenza vaccine is free and readily available for those at higher risk of severe illness from influenza. It is available through GPs for any age group and through pharmacies for everyone aged five years and over.

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) Infectious Diseases Paediatrician Dr. Phil Britton noted that influenza notifications are increasing across all age groups, particularly among young children aged three to four years.

“In recent weeks, we have seen influenza cases rising among young children. The best thing parents can do to keep their kids well this winter, and reduce the risk of them being hospitalised due to influenza, is to ensure their children receive a flu vaccine,” Dr. Britton said.

Free Flu Vaccination Eligibility:

  • People aged 65 and over
  • Children aged six months to under five years
  • Aboriginal people from six months of age
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with serious health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, severe asthma, kidney, heart, and lung disease

Steps to Protect Yourself and Others from Respiratory Viruses:

  • Stay up to date with recommended influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Stay home if you are sick and wear a mask if you need to leave home
  • Gather outdoors or in large, well-ventilated spaces with open doors and windows
  • Avoid crowded spaces
  • Consider doing a rapid antigen test (RAT) before visiting people at higher risk of severe illness
  • Talk with your doctor now if you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or influenza to make a plan about what to do if you get sick, including what test to take, and discussing if you are eligible for antiviral medicines
  • Don’t visit people who are at higher risk of severe illness if you are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19 or influenza
  • Practice good hand hygiene, including regular hand washing

For more information and to book your vaccination, visit your local GP or pharmacy.

 

For more seniors news, click here.

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