Let’s make the handshake history

As many Australians are emerging from lockdown and returning to workplaces, sporting activities and social meeting places, there’s a distinct nervousness and unease about how we greet our friends and colleagues after such a long time apart. For most people, the traditional hug and kiss are certainly off-limits until further notice. Many months of public health warnings and 20-plus hand washes a day, together with the rigorous use of hand sanitizer, has put the humble handshake onto the back-burner, at least for the time being.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration must do better.

Almost 2 years after complaints about numerous hangover products were submitted to the TGA they have finally published one outcome. The TGA agreed there was insufficient evidence to support claims related to hangover relief. This important result is buried in an obscure section of the TGA’s website, has not been publicised, and has yet to be applied to the many other products complained about.

Blame and COVID-19?

We remain in the midst of the world’s worst health crisis in a century. Millions of cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed around the world and hundreds of thousands of deaths have ensued. So, who should we blame? Well, I think a more important question is, where does blame get us?

Australia’s leading cause of preventable, non-genetic disability is not required to carry a warning: is that about to change?

Food safety ministers are being urged to prioritise the health of families and the community when they meet on 17 July to vote on an effective pregnancy health warning for alcohol products. Alcohol is the leading cause of preventable non-genetic developmental disability in Australia. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) affects between 2-9% of babies born each year.

It’s time to stop locking up 10 year olds

Many Australians would no doubt be shocked to learn that our current laws in every State and Territory allow children as young as 10 years old to be arrested by Police and sentenced to prison by Courts. That’s a primary school child, removed from their family, school and everything familiar to them, and locked in a cell. As a parent, it’s when your own child reaches the age of 10 that the horror of this possibility becomes real.

Black Lives Matter protests should proceed – safely

Two hugely important public health objectives – Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 have been framed as competing imperatives. They are not. The Black Lives Matter movement in Australia seeks to highlight the deplorable circumstances of disadvantage and discrimination experienced by Australia’s First people.

Do companion animals spread q fever? Image of pet dogs

Do companion animals spread Q fever?

Q fever is an important human disease that is transmitted from animals. Most cases in Australia occur after exposure to farm animals, especially cattle, sheep, and goats. A recent increase in human Q fever cases in northern NSW in people without direct farm animal exposures raised concerns about alternative routes of infection, including from companion animals.

national reconciliation week. Image of Summer Finlay

Where do you fit? Tokenistic, ally – or accomplice?

This National Reconciliation Week is a good time to decide where you fit – how can you support the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Just three per cent of the Australian population, are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We need the other 97 per cent of Australians to do the heavy lifting if we are ever to see true reconciliation.