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Health News

North Coast Parents encouraged to vaccinate children against the flu

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North coast children being vaccinate against the flu
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North Coast Parents encouraged to vaccinate children against the flu

Parents are being reminded of the effectiveness of flu vaccination, following a recent rise in influenza rates and hospitalisations among children and teenagers.

NSW Health data indicates that child emergency department presentations due to influenza increased by 37% in the first week of July, with a 30% increase in hospital admissions.

In NSW, 25.3% of children aged 6 months to 5 years, and 14.5 % of 5–15-year-olds have been vaccinated against the flu. These figures are lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with 16.7% of children aged 6 months to 5 years, and 12.3% of 5–15-year-olds vaccinated.

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Healthy North Coast CEO, Monika Wheeler said that even though we are well into Winter, it’s never too late to ensure our children’s immunity is boosted.

“A yearly flu shot is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and over, and this vaccine can often be given with other vaccines, including COVID-19.” Ms Wheeler explained.

“With our children active at school and day-care, the chance of them contracting the flu is heightened, and no parent wants to face the very real risk of a seriously ill child.

“We are encouraging all parents to speak with their doctor, pharmacist or Aboriginal Medical Service about booking a flu shot today,” said Ms Wheeler.

North coast children being vaccinate against the flu

Parents are being reminded of the effectiveness of flu vaccination, following a recent rise in influenza rates and hospitalisations among children and teenagers.

FREE flu vaccines are available for those considered to be at higher risk of severe illness from influenza including:

·       children six months to under five years

·       people 65 and over

·       Aboriginal people from six months of age

·       pregnant women

·       those with serious health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, obesity, severe asthma, kidney, heart, lung or liver disease

If your child has flu symptoms such as a fever, cough, noisy breathing, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, fatigue or nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea, keep them at home and avoid close contact with other people to prevent others from also becoming sick. 

Keep your child at home until they are well, and their fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine, like paracetamol. If your child has a confirmed diagnosis of influenza from a doctor, your child may remain infectious for at least 10 days.  

This is especially important if you visit people who are at higher risk of severe illness from influenza – including pregnant women, young infants, older people or people in hospital or residential care facilities.

The community can also access a handy Vaccine Clinic Finder tool.

 

For more health news, click here.

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A Heartfelt Journey: One Father’s Solo Trek to Transform Lives with Lifestart Disability Services

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A Heartfelt Journey: One Father’s Solo Trek to Transform Lives with Lifestart Disability Services

 

Scott Berry, a devoted Australian father, is embarking on a transformative journey from Brisbane to Sydney, cycling solo to raise vital support for Lifestart Disability Services, an organisation that has been a lifeline for his family for over two decades.

Commencing his heartfelt mission on Thursday, May 16th, Scott, a dedicated father of three from Kellyville, will pedal his way from Komatsu’s office in Brisbane to a jubilant reception awaiting him in Sydney, spanning a challenging 9-day trek – all in honour of Lifestart.

Lifestart extended a helping hand to Scott, his wife Julia, and their three sons over twenty years ago when their son Nathan was diagnosed with Autism as a toddler. Now 24 years old, Nathan stands as a shining example of the transformative power of Lifestart’s support and early intervention, leading a happy, independent life and contributing positively to his Hills community.

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Motivated by gratitude and a deep love for his family, Scott seized an opportunity provided by his employer, Komatsu Construction, to undertake a personal challenge for a charitable cause. For Scott, it was a chance to pursue his passion for cycling while giving back to the organization that profoundly impacted his family’s journey.

A poignant reunion awaits at the finish line on Friday, May 24th, where Nathan’s longtime therapist, Louise Ulliana, a speech pathologist, will surprise the Berry family. The reunion holds special significance as the Berrys credit Louise with positively shaping Nathan’s life during his formative years.

The critical importance of early intervention in childhood development cannot be overstated, and Lifestart’s support was pivotal in guiding Nathan’s educational journey, including the crucial transition to primary school.

Beyond providing support within the NDIS framework, Lifestart recognises the holistic needs of families and communities, offering initiatives like Start Strong Pathways and Speak UP to empower children and their support networks.

Through generous donations, Lifestart ensures that families receive comprehensive support beyond NDIS, fostering educational opportunities and building essential life skills. With dedicated professionals like speech pathologists and occupational therapists, Lifestart profoundly impacts the trajectory of children’s lives.

Scott, accompanied by family members, Nathan’s therapist, and a Lifestart representative, will be available for interviews and visual opportunities upon the completion of his inspirational ride.

For further details, including a VNR of the Berry family and b-roll of Lifestart, please visit the provided link.

 

For more health news, click here.

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Health News

Study shows 20 per cent of Australians are harmed by others’ drinking

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Study shows 20 per cent of Australians are harmed by others’ drinking

 

A recent study conducted by La Trobe University, published in the Addiction journal, sheds light on the profound impact of excessive alcohol consumption on Australians, revealing that approximately 20% of adult Australians have experienced harm due to the drinking behaviours of acquaintances. The study delves into the repercussions on family members, friends, and colleagues.

Dr. Anne-Marie Laslett, the lead researcher, emphasises the pressing need for policy reforms and enhanced services, particularly to support regional women and children who bear the brunt of family members’ drinking habits.

The research, spanning both urban and rural areas, unveils a disparity in the harm experienced, with women disproportionately affected, especially when residing with or being related to heavy drinkers.

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Key findings indicate that nearly two-thirds of participants reported the presence of heavy drinkers in their social circles, with over 22% acknowledging adverse effects from the drinking habits of acquaintances. Specific instances of harm included emotional distress, neglect, and disruptions to familial roles.

Notably, 15% of women reported emotional distress compared to 8% of men, highlighting gender discrepancies in the impact of alcohol-related harm. Furthermore, serious consequences such as verbal abuse, financial strain, and even physical or sexual harm were reported by some participants.

Dr. Laslett underscores the urgent need for comprehensive interventions, including targeted support services for women and youth affected by others’ drinking. While advocacy organisations like the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) have been championing harm prevention initiatives, immediate government action is imperative to address this multifaceted issue effectively.

Drawing from international research, Dr. Laslett suggests psychosocial interventions, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and anger management, as effective strategies to alleviate the strain experienced by family members affected by others’ drinking habits. Tailored programs addressing intimate partner violence and alcohol abuse have shown promise overseas and warrant further exploration in the Australian context.

In conclusion, the study underscores the urgency of adopting a multifaceted approach encompassing policy reforms, targeted interventions, and enhanced support services to mitigate the far-reaching consequences of excessive alcohol consumption on individuals and their communities.

 

For more health news, click here.

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Regional NSW’s Biggest Hospital Move Successfully Completed

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The new Tweed Valley Hospital in Cudgen is now open
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Regional NSW’s Biggest Hospital Move Successfully Completed

 

By Sarah Waters

The new Tweed Valley Hospital in Cudgen is in full swing following the biggest hospital move in regional NSW history.

More than 120 patients were safely transferred by NSW Ambulance, and private patient transfer companies, last Tuesday, from the now closed Tweed Hospital on Powell Street in Tweed Heads.

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Northern NSW Local Health District’s Director Clinical Operations Lynne Weir said the transition to the new facility was the culmination of more than 12 months of logistical planning, while the project itself had been more than six years in the making.

“This is a momentous milestone for everyone involved in the project, and of course for our patients, staff and the wider community,” Ms Weir said.

“The level of collaboration, expertise and engagement which has brought us to this point is simply outstanding.

“We are looking forward to a bright future delivering the excellent healthcare we’re known for, in our brand-new health facility,” she said.

Tweed Valley Hospital is now the major referral and teaching hospital in the Tweed-Byron region.

It will provide a wide range of inpatient, day only and outpatient services in the brand new, state of the art facility.

These services include emergency, trauma and critical care, surgical services, cancer services, women’s care and newborn services, paediatric services, renal unit, intensive care, cardiac catheter laboratory and mental health.

Meanwhile, A range of community-based and outreach health services will continue to be delivered on the old Tweed Hospital site in Tweed Heads.

The Tweed Heads Community Health Centre (THCHC) will be established, and will initially provide services such as wound clinics, women’s health services, stomal therapy, Child and Family services, Needle and Syringe Program counselling, Alcohol and Other Drug counselling and some antenatal services.

Additional community-based services may also be offered from the site in the future.

In the short term, services will continue to be provided from the exiting Community Health building – level 2 administration block, accessed from Florence Street.

BreastScreen NSW services will continue to be delivered from the current location at Powell Street.

For more information please visit here. The Tweed Valley Hospital’s new telephone number is: 02 6677 2000.

 

For more Tweed Shire news, click here.

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