Wednesday, July 29, 2020

As a consumer can I use public health services?

  • Yes! Most local and state health departments offer services such as vaccinations at discounted cost.
  • Check their websites or visit your local health department to obtain a listing of all services offered.
What public health consumers can observe/ask:

If you are taking advantage of services offered through your local or state health department:
  • Make sure public healthcare providers are cleaning their hands before and after touching you, even if they will be wearing gloves. It’s okay to ask them to clean their hands if you have not seen them do so.
  • During visits where you or your loved one may get vaccinations remember to ask if the needle and syringe have been newly opened for you; syringes and needles should only be used one time and on one patient.
  • If you are having dental work done at the local health department, ask how the instruments are cleaned between uses.
  • Ask about other services the health department provides that may help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If you are given an antibiotic by a public healthcare provider, be sure to ask the following questions:
  • “Do I really need an antibiotic?”
  • “Can I get better without this antibiotic?”
  • “What side effects or drug interactions can I expect?”
  • “What side effects should I report to you?”
  • “How do you know what kind of infection I have? I understand that antibiotics won’t work for viral infections.”
What family members or other visitors can do in the public health setting:
  • Family members accompanying you and other visitors to the public health department should wear a mask to cover their nose and mouth if they have signs of a respiratory infection.
  • Practice good hand hygiene while in the public health department.
  • Make sure to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and promptly clean hands.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Want Brighter, Whiter Teeth?

Have your pearly whites lost their luster because of dingy gray or yellow stains? Stained teeth can occur as we age, but some common foods, drinks, and even mouthwashes can stain teeth. Do-it-yourself remedies can help whiten teeth, and avoiding substances that stain teeth can stop further discoloration. Use these secrets to whiter teeth to restore your bright smile.

Do-It-Yourself Teeth Whitening

You may be able to get rid of superficial stains by yourself. A number of at-home tooth-whitening products -- kits, strips, toothpastes, and rinses-- may lighten stains. There are even some old-fashioned remedies you can try. Tooth-whitening products available on drugstore shelves use mild bleach to brighten yellow teeth. Toothpastes use abrasives and chemicals to remove surface stains. For deep stains, you may need a dentist's help.

Tooth-Whitening Kits

A home tooth-whitening kit contains carbamide peroxide, a bleach that can remove both deep and surface stains and actually changes your natural tooth color. If you have coffee-stained teeth, a tooth-bleaching kit can help. With some kits, you apply a peroxide-based gel (with a small brush) to the surface of your teeth. In other kits, the gel is in a tray that molds to the teeth. The tray must be worn daily (for 30 to 45 minutes) for a week or more.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Common child health issues

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most common child health issues in Australia.


Allergies happen when your child’s immune system reacts to substances in the environment that are harmless to most people – for example, foods, insect stings, dust mites, animals or pollen. See your GP if you think your child has an allergy.


If your child has asthma she might have a whistling wheeze when breathing, be short of breath either during physical activity or while she’s resting, or have a persistent dry cough or cough during physical activity or at night. If you think your child has asthma, see your GP.


Children can get colds as often as once a month. The best treatment is usually fluids, comfort and rest. Antibiotics won’t help. If you’re worried that it’s something more serious than a cold, see your GP.


Conjunctivitis is an infection of the lining of the eyeball and eyelids. Symptoms include red, puffy, sticky and sore eyes. Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are very contagious, but allergic conjunctivitis isn’t contagious. Take your child to the GP to check which kind of conjunctivitis your child has and how to treat it.

Food intolerances

Food intolerances are a reaction to a food you’ve eaten. Symptoms include bloating, diarrhea and stomach pain, which usually clear up by themselves. Talk to your GP if you think your child has a food intolerance.


Lots of children get gastroenteritis (‘gastro’). Symptoms include diarrhoea, loss of appetite, vomiting and nausea, stomach cramps and fever. Most cases of gastroenteritis in children aren’t serious, but it’s important to make sure that your child gets enough fluid.

Hand, foot and mouth disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease causes small blisters inside the mouth and on the hands and feet. These aren’t itchy. It’s a mild and harmless infection.


Impetigo or school sores usually starts as flat, red spots or small blisters anywhere on your child’s body. The spots might fill up with yellow or green pus, burst or crust over. The blisters are very itchy. If you think your child has impetigo, take her to the GP, because she needs antibiotics. Impetigo is highly contagious.

Lice or nits

These insects attach themselves to children’s hair, lay eggs (often called nits) and cause lots of scratching and itching. You can remove lice by combing wet hair with conditioner or using anti-lice products.


A wart is a small, flesh-coloured, raised growth. You mostly see them on children’s arms, hands and legs. Warts are usually painless. See your GP if the wart is on your child’s face, feet or genitals, or if the wart looks red, hot and painful.


Symptoms of worms include an itchy or red bottom. Worms aren’t usually dangerous. They’re easy to treat with antiparasitic tablets that you can buy over the counter from your local pharmacy. You should treat everyone in the family at the same time. It’s very common for infections to come back, particularly in children at child care, preschool or school.

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