Dr Alice Lam, GP & Health Writer

I am an experienced physician who produces high quality medical content

Dr Alice Lam, GP & Health Writer

I am an experienced physician who produces high quality medical content

Dr Alice Lam, GP & Health Writer

I am an experienced physician who produces high quality medical content

Elderly boxer dog reading magazine

24 November 2021

Shocking statistics show that men make up 7 out of 9 suicides every day in Australia.

1 in 8 men will get depression and 1 in 5 men will have anxiety during their lives [1].

If you feel you need help, speak up and get help today.

https://mensline.org.au/
https://headtohealth.gov.au/
https://www.lifeline.org.au/

#menmentalhealth #suicide #suicideprevention
#menslineaustralia #beyondblue @LifelineAust @AgainstSuicide

[1] https://www.beyondblue.org.au/who-does-it-affect/men

 

Colourful mural of two hands

World Hepatitis Day

27 July 2021

Did you know:

  • Hepatitis C has a ~95% cure rate?
  • The “healthy carrier” is just a myth – one in four people living with hepatitis B will die of liver scarring, liver failure or cancer BUT screening and treatment can reduce the risk of liver cancer by 75%

Check in with your doctor today.

#WorldHepatitisDay #hepC #NOhep #WorldHepDay @WHO @HepAus

Young girl in yellow T-shirt having injection in left arm by doctor in white coat

Flu shots

9 July 2020

This year, free flu shots are available to the following groups:

  • All people aged 6 months to under 5 years
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • Pregnant women
  • All people aged 65 years and over
  • People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications – such as asthma/COPD, heart problems, diabetes

Don’t forget to also ask your GP about the pneumonia vaccine. You can read more about it below.

Paddington Bear toy wearing a red hat and blue duffle coat with sticky plaster around right arm

Pneumonia vaccination

21 May 2018

Did you know there are more than 90 subtypes of Streptococcus Pneumoniae? This bug causes around a third of community-acquired pneumonia, and up to half of middle ear infections in kids.

Many people don’t know that there are more than one type of pneumonia vaccine, and that they should be considered for the following eligible patients:

  • Babies (a 13-strain vaccine given as part of the childhood immunisation schedule)
  • Adults aged 65 and over, and from age 4-5 years with certain medical issues (a 23-strain vaccine)
  • Other patients may also be eligible for an extra booster of the 13-strain vaccine

For more info on pneumococcal disease and vaccinations, check out this leaflet from Better Health Channel.

UPDATE 8 June 2020

There will be some changes to the pneumococcal vaccination soon, including deferring immunisation from age 65 to 70 for healthy non-indigenous Australians, and limiting the total number of lifetime 23-strain doses from three to two.

Red and white striped lifebuoy on a stand with blue sky

How to save a life

30 August 2018

Give blood – and get a free snack and drink afterwards! Check out my 20/11/19 blog for more info.

Sign up to become an organ and tissue donor. Don’t assume you are too young, too old, or that your chronic medical conditions would necessarily be an issue. Check out this link for more info. I’ve just watched Dr Chris Barry, a transplant surgeon, give an passionate short talk on TEDx Talk too.

Know how to give CPR. Check out this funny but informative video.

Can you use an Epipen? Refresh your memory and teach family and friends, as well as set reminders to make sure your Epipen doesn’t expire when you really need it. Check out the Epiclub website.

#bLifeNY @DonateLifeToday #organdonation #donation #CPR

 

Strip of white cream on tip of finger with green background

How much steroid cream is safe?

30 August 2018

Have you been prescribed steroid creams or ointments for a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis? Do you have to guess how much to use, and do you worry about steroids ‘thinning the skin’?

Many of my patients have never been told about this wonderful thing called ‘fingertip units’ (or FTUs). It is a really useful way of knowing you are using just the right amount. One FTU is the amount that is squeezed out of a standard tube along an adult’s fingertip, and should be enough to cover an area equivalent to the whole hand (front and back with fingers together).

For more info on FTUs for children, and about eczema in general, check out these links here and here.

For more info on psoriasis, check out Psoriasis Australia’s website.

12 October 2021

It’s National Mental Health Month 2021. So how are you?
Let’s focus on the effects on our social lives in the midst of COVID.

#mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealth #mentalhealthmatters

https://theconversation.com/lonely-after-lockdown-how-covid-may-leave-us-with-fewer-friends-if-we-are-not-careful-168844

Person taking blue inhaler

Free asthma toolkit & Thunderstorm asthma

6 October 2020

Did you know that around 1 in 10 Australians have asthma?

The symptoms of asthma vary between individuals, including cough, tight chest, wheeze and breathlessness. Some people have mild and infrequent symptoms, whereas others experience daily symptoms and/or severe attacks.

It is useful to work out your potential triggers, such as cold weather, exercise or hay fever, as taking daily preventer treatment in consultation with your GP can help you to manage your symptoms well. The risk of poorly controlled asthma includes not having a great quality of life, being more prone to serious chest infections and attacks, or being unprepared for thunderstorm asthma.

Thunderstorm asthma can occur with little warning when the weather is hot, dry and windy with a consequent high pollen count, with broken up pollen grains causing even more allergic asthma attacks. It tends to occur in spring or summer. It is a serious matter – in 2016, over 3,000 people had to attend Emergency departments and 10 people sadly died.

Asthma Australia has some useful info about thunderstorm asthma, and they recommend seeing your GP six weeks before the pollen season to start preventers.

Finally, Asthma Australia also offer a free toolkit full of information including asthma basics (including the best way to use an inhaler and spacer), asthma emergencies, smoking, and pregnancy. Plus they also have apps to help you manage your asthma well. And if you need to speak to someone, they have asthma educators available Mon-Fri 9am-5pm on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462).

Info on thunderstorm language is also available in other languages here

References

1. Asthma, Asthma – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [Internet]. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 6]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-respiratory-conditions/asthma/contents/asthma

2. Thunderstorm Asthma [Internet]. Asthma Australia. [cited 2020 Oct 6]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-respiratory-conditions/asthma/contents/asthma

3. Asthma Toolkit – Asthma Australia | Tools to better manage your asthma [Internet]. Asthma Australia. [cited 2020 Oct 6]. Available from: https://asthma.org.au/toolkit/

Mural of hearts, one very large and red, on blue background painted on wooden wall or gate, with Community Spirit painted adjacent

Australian Red Cross rebrand

20 November 2019

On 15th November 2019, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service changed their name to Australian Red Cross Lifeblood. As well as continuing to work together with generous donors for blood, plasma and platelet donation, they also now facilitate donation of tissue, organ, and breast milk. 

@lifebloodau

Different coloured M&Ms in heart-shaped biscuit mould

Give a little

14 June 2019

Happy World Blood Donor Day!

The World Health Organisation states that transfusion of blood and blood products save millions of lives every year.

It takes just an hour to donate blood (one and a half for plasma and platelets), and if you donate through the Australian Red Cross you’ll get a complimentary drink and snack afterwards too.

What happens to my donation?

Here are some figures from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service:

  • 53% helps people with cancer, blood diseases and other types of anaemia
  • 18% helps people having surgery such as open heart, treatment for burns
  • 13% helps people with medical conditions such as heart, stomach and kidney
  • 10% helps patients having orthopaedic surgery such as fracture treatment or joint replacement
  • 4% helps women and infants including during pregnancy
  • 2% helps people needing trauma treatment
 

Can I donate?

You need to be 18-70 years old, weigh 50kg or more and be fit and healthy. Head on over to the easy eligibility quiz and booking system through the Australian Red Cross website. The WHO also has a helpful page on basic eligibility guidelines here.

Don’t forget to ask friends and family to come along too!

@WHO @redcrossbloodau #blooddonation #blooddonorday #GiveBlood

Photo by Alice Lam

Useful websites

Here is a list of Australian websites which many people have found useful over the years.