Gardening has many health and therapeutic benefits and can be most enjoyable for people of all ages. With some planning, a little thought and creativity, you can grow an interesting, productive and pleasant space whilst also experiencing a multitude of health benefits that come from doing what you love .
Highly respected medical practice, Absolute Medical Services (AMS) in Lisarow is delighted to be a major sponsor of the Plant Lovers Fair 2017, Kariong being held September 23rd and 24th. The Plant Lovers Fair 2017 will feature over 40 Exhibitors offering rare, unusual and hard to find plants for collectors and garden lovers from ornamental to food gardens, trees, shrubs and ground covers plus quality garden products. The popular event also has the additional draw card of TV presenter on ABCs Gardening Australia, Costa Georgiadis as fair ambassador. Find out more about the fair here www.plantloversfair.com.au
Practice Principal of AMS Dr John Schulze explains below how beneficial gardening can be for your health and wellbeing.
The fantastic health benefits that can be experienced when gardening:
Studies have demonstrated that individuals who engage in gardening report more positive moods than non- gardeners, they also experience measurably lower cortisol levels. Cortisol, “the stress hormone”, may influence more than just mood: chronically elevated cortisol levels have been linked to everything from immune dysfunction, obesity, memory problems and heart disease.
The evidence is clear, too much sitting is dangerous for your health. Gardening may be just one way to achieve your target 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Make sure to expose your limbs (without sunscreen) for no more than 10 minutes during midday gardening: this will give you enough vitamin D to reduce risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, and various cancers.
Those with the lowest Vitamin D levels may be doubling their risk of dying of heart disease and other causes and in most cases, too much time spent indoors is a key culprit.
Improving mental health
Gardening can give you a natural lift and is showing positive results for patients with depression and other mental illnesses. This natural ‘gardening high’ comes from a combination of physical activity, awareness of natural surroundings, cognitive stimulation and satisfaction for the work.
But be aware of your limits and drink plenty of water.
Hand strength and dexterity
As we age, diminishing dexterity and strength in the hands can gradually narrow the range of activities that are possible or enjoyable. Gardening can keep hand muscles moving and agile.
However, don’t push your hands too far: gardening can also set the stage for repetitive stress injuries, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel. Practice hand-healthy gardening by using a few simple warm-ups, positioning your body comfortably and ergonomically, and changing tasks frequently before strain becomes evident. Alternate use of your right and left hands to balance your body — using your non-dominant hand is one of many exercises to keep your brain functioning well as you age.
Lessening risk of Alzheimer’s
Researchers found daily gardening to represent risk reduction for dementia. Why does gardening make such a difference? Alzheimer’s is a mysterious disease, and the factors influencing its incidence and progression remain poorly understood. Gardening involves so many of our critical functions, including strength, endurance, dexterity, learning, problem solving, and sensory awareness, that its benefits are likely to represent a synthesis of various aspects.
Not only does the Vitamin D you’re soaking up in the garden help you fight off colds and flus, but it turns out even the dirt under your fingernails may be working in your favour! The “friendly” soil bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae, common in garden dirt and absorbed by inhalation or ingestion on vegetables, has been found to alleviate symptoms of psoriasis, allergies and asthma: all of which may stem from an inactive immune system. This organism has also been shown to alleviate depression, so go ahead and get your hands dirty.
Quick tips for a safe and healthy gardening experience when gardening outdoors:
· Wear sunscreen and protective clothing including a hat, correct footwear and gloves.
· Warm up, bend and stretch before you start.
· Take regular breaks and don’t forget to stretch and change position often.
· Bend at the knees and don’t strain when lifting heavy objects.
· Drink plenty of water especially in warm weather.
· Store garden tools and equipment safely.
· Observe safety instructions when using potting mix, any sprays or fertilisers.
If you have any health concerns please contact your GP. Enjoy your time in the garden, and we look forward to seeing you at the Plant Lovers Fair on September 23rd & 24th at Kariong. More information here www.plantloversfair.com.au , tickets on sale now.
By Dr John Schulze
Absolute Medical Services, Lisarow
Top tips for preventing the flu this season
7 top tips to prevent the Flu this season: As featured in Kidz on the Coast magazine
With the arrival of flu season, many parents will be watching their children closely for symptoms of this dreaded virus. The flu, also known as influenza, is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs). The virus spreads easily in settings where many people are contained in close quarters such as schools and childcare, making children especially susceptible to the flu.
Influenza is a potentially fatal disease estimated to cause more deaths than road accidents every year: between 1500 and 3500 influenza deaths annually. We are urging Central Coast residents, especially those in the highest risk categories to get vaccinated and be flu fighters this season.
What are the symptoms?
Often confused with the common cold, flu symptoms are typically more severe. The following symptoms are good indicators that you or your child has the flu:
· Rapid onset of fever
· Excessive tiredness, lack of energy and general weakness
· Muscle aches and chills
· Dry cough
· Stuffy, runny nose
· Other symptoms that accompany the flu may include sore throat, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Remember, if your child comes down with the flu, keep them home from school or childcare for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. The flu is highly contagious and can infect other children and caregivers. Typical recovery time for the flu is one or two weeks. Flu is a serious illness that should be monitored closely.
Who is most at risk and are urged to get vaccinated?
Influenza is especially dangerous for:
· Pregnant women
· Young infants
· Elderly people
· Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
· People with underlying medical conditions
If you fall under one of these categories, you may be eligible to receive a free vaccination.
If you suffer medical conditions such as severe asthma, lung disease or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes this can lead to complications from influenza, so it is advised to take preventative action and vaccinate annually.
Be a flu fighting family and follow our simple tips to avoid getting hit by the dreaded flu this season:
1.Get your shot
The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year. We recommend everyone over 6 months of age get vaccinated annually, especially if you are in the higher risk categories i.e. are pregnant.
2. Avoid close contact
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. Avoid sharing cups, bottles, and other utensils.
3. Stay home when you are sick
That’s right, if you don’t feel well, for the sake of all around, stay home when you are sick or keep your children home if they are unwell. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
4. Cover your mouth and nose
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
5. Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Teach your children proper and consistent hand washing habits.
6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Encourage your children to keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth to prevent germs from spreading.
7. Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, computers, phones especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
So, don’t delay, book your flu shot today for you and your loved ones and be a flu fighting family this season.
Dr John Schulze
Absolute Medical Services
Tongue Tie, also known as ‘Ankyloglossia’ or ‘anchored tongue’ – is a common but often overlooked condition. Tongue-tie is a condition in which the thin piece of skin under the baby’s tongue (the lingual frenulum) is abnormally short and may restrict the movement of the tongue.
Tongue-tie occurs in about three per cent of babies and is a condition that may be genetic and is more commonly found in boys. The most immediate impact of a tongue-tie is on a baby’s ability to breastfeed effectively. It may interfere with a baby’s ability to latch and suckle at the breast leading to significant nipple pain and trauma, poor breast milk supply and a decrease in milk supply over time. Tongue-tie may also have an impact on oral hygiene and speech development.
Dr John Schulze, Practice Principal at Absolute Medical Services in Lisarow has been specialising in treatment of tongue ties for over a quarter of a century and is well recognised for his skill, compassion and expertise in this area. Dr Schulze explains ‘a baby with a tongue tie often cannot make the necessary movements that allow feeding to be satisfying for both mother and baby; instead, the experience becomes one of frustration for the baby, and pain, guilt and failure for the mothers’. Schulze goes on to add ‘for these mums and their bubs a quick and effective tongue tie release treatment can be their saving grace’.
Tongue-tie and feeding problems for babies
Many babies with tongue-tie can breast and bottle feed successfully. However, a tight tongue-tie can interfere with a baby’s ability to breastfeed and, in some cases, bottle feed. Mothers may experience sore or damaged nipples and the baby may have difficulty drinking enough to gain weight.
Causes of tongue-tie
There are two main causes of tongue-tie. Either the frenulum is too short and tight, or it has failed to move back down the tongue during development and is still attached to the tongue tip. In the second case, a heart-shaped tongue tip is one of the obvious symptoms.
Signs that a baby could be tongue-tied
· sore nipples during and after breastfeeding
· squashed nipples after breastfeeding
· white compression mark on the nipple post breastfeeding
· Difficulty latching onto the nipple
· Loss in suction while feeding and sucks air
· Mouth making a clicking sound while feeding
· Failure to gain weight.
What to look out for-on baby’s tongue:
· can’t poke out past the lips
· can’t touch the roof of the mouth
· can’t be moved sideways to the corners of the mouth
· may look flat or square, instead of pointy when extended
· tip may look notched or heart-shaped
Seek help from a professional
Tongue-tie may be hard to diagnose in newborns – it is important to consult with your doctor, or health professional if you are having trouble breastfeeding.
Treatment for tongue-tie
The surgical procedure performed to cut the lingual or labial (tissue in the centre of the upper and lower lip) frenulum is called frenectomy.
The baby’s head is held firmly and the frenulum is simply snipped (divided) with surgical scissors. Babies can be breastfed immediately after the procedure.
Studies of this procedure have found few risks and associated issues with this type of treatment. Problems are likely to be very rare, but can include bleeding, infection, ulcers, pain, and damage to the tongue and surrounding area.
Many Central Coast mums have visited Absolute Medical Services seeking the advice of Dr Schulze and his team of GPs, if you have any queries or concerns in this area please speak to your doctor or trusted health professional.
By Dr John Schulze
Absolute Medical Services, Lisarowhttp://www.abmedicalnsw.com.au/specialised-procedures
Did you know?
· Sickness and absenteeism costs organisations an estimated $2,700 per employee each year
· Workplace absenteeism costs the Australian economy between $7 billion and $18 billion per year.
· A workplace’s healthiest staff are almost three times more productive than its unhealthiest staff
Eight plus hours in a chair in front of a computer, five days a week can take an enormous toll on your body.
See below some top tips from our medical team that can help you and employees stay healthy, well and more productive at work:
1. Keep hydrated- drinking 6-8 glasses of H20 daily is recommended. A common cause of dehydration in the modern workplace is air conditioning and can cause symptoms such as tiredness, loss of concentration and headaches. Keep hydrated for better productivity.
2. Keep moving -every hour or so, get up from your desk and move around. Exercise is key to health and wellbeing. Walking during lunchtime is a great idea, not only are you burning calories, but you're de-stressing and refreshing at the same time.
3. Heathy lunch - eat a healthy lunch at work and practice portion control so you aren't consuming too many calories and then sitting in a chair all afternoon. It may not be a case that you are eating unhealthy food, it's just that you are eating too much.
4. Snack wisely- reach for fruit instead of a biscuit when you feel the 3pm slump coming on.
5. Stretch often- ‘deskercise’ is now more critical than ever, stretch your neck, back, arms, legs consistently throughout the day, set your alarm clock if you need to remind you
6. Avoid eye strain- eyestrain is another problem that can be encountered in front of a computer. It can cause headaches, difficulty focusing, and increased sensitivity to light.
To prevent eyestrain, make sure your computer is positioned correctly, you should be able to comfortably read what's on your screen at that distance, without having to squint.
7. Vaccinate -against flu and if you are travelling, seek advice and appropriate vaccination for a more enjoyable and well- deserved break.
8. Stress less- stress can impair your immune system, increasing the risk of illness, minimising it is essential. If you are feeling overly stressed, anxious or overwhelmed please seek advice from your GP on how to effectively manage stress levels.
If you have any concerns or would like advice on how to improve your health, wellbeing and productivity levels at work, the AMS team are happy to assist.
AMS have been servicing local businesses providing suitable corporate health services for over a decade and are proud to be able to offer the AMS Corporate Healthcare Program.
Find out more about the corporate services AMS provide here
Call us 02 4328 5200