Timely COVID warning for millions of hay fever sufferers

With the arrival of spring, millions of Australians will experience the familiar sneezing, runny eyes and itchy throat associated with hay fever. As was experienced when COVID-19 took hold earlier this year in the Northern Hemisphere, with warming weather and higher pollen counts there’s a growing concern that the symptoms of coronavirus may be confused with hay fever.

Alcohol and young Australian women: a not so healthy mix

Increasingly, young women have become a higher risk group due to a combination of factors. A new study just released in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health aims to fill the gap from previous research, and in particular the alcohol related harm that may increase from ‘pre-loading’ and heavy episodic drinking (HED) amongst young Australian women.

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.

children playing in autumn leaves

Chronic disease, health equity and COVID-19

One in two Australians has a chronic disease or condition such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease or cancer. Chronic disease is driven – and made worse – by social and economic inequities; disadvantaged communities and groups experience higher rates of chronic disease and poorer health outcomes