Health Information

How to protect yourself and your family from TICKS:

What are ticks and where are they found?

Ticks are parasites, they feed on blood from the host to which they are attached to without giving back any benefit. In fact, they can cause severe health problems.
Ticks attach to and feed on animals and humans. The most common tick in Australia is the paralysis tick or Ixodes Holocyclus. This species can normally be found along the state’s eastern coastal strip and inland of New South Wales for approximately 30 kilometres. Since most people reside near the coast, the chances of encountering these parasites are quite high.
Just like any other insect, ticks commonly reside in humid and moist bushy areas. They attach to and feed on animals that pass by, and use this as their mode of transport from host to host. Most of the time, animals and humans get ticks from brushing past bushes or trees where these parasites are located.

Mammalian tick allergy

Tick bites can cause mild to life-threatening allergic reactions to mammalian meats such as beef, pork, lamb, kangaroo, goat and venison.
The tick bites occur before any allergic reactions to mammalian meats develop.
The allergic reactions to meat are typically delayed for 2-10 hours after eating the meat.
The allergen in the meat to which people react is called “alpha-gal”.
Some people are so sensitive to alpha-gal, they react to mammal products, particularly, their milk and gelatine. Any product derived from mammals may cause allergic reactions, making avoidance very difficult as the allergen may be found in a wide range of agents used in medical treatments, as well as in food products.

How to safely remove ticks:

If you have an adult tick:

It is very important not to disturb it during the process of removing it, so the best way is to FREEZE it with ether-containing spray, e.g. MEDI FREEZE TICK OFFFreeze it, don’t squeeze it!

Place the spray approx. 0.5 cm above the tick and spray 5 times. The tick will die instantaneously.

Wait for the tick to drop off (up to one day) or, if it doesn’t drop off on its own, remove it with tweezers – it is ok now as the tick is dead – still taking the utmost care to not compress it.

If you have a small tick (larvae & nymphs):

Use permethrin cream, e.g. LYCLEARDab it, don’t grab it!

Just touch a bit of cream to the small tick, don’t rub it in and leave for 1-3 hours for the tick to die. Then wipe it off with a tissue.

Tick irritation treatment:

  1. Mild steroid cream to treat the inflammation:
  • Eumovate
  • Hydrocortisone
  1. Antihistamines to take down the itch:
  • Zyrtec
  • Claratyne
  • Telfast
  1. Cold compress to relieve the heat.

Prevention from ticks*:

  • DEET – containing repellents
  • Wearing long-sleeved clothes
  • Tucking your trousers into your socks
  • Mitey Tick-Off device – ultrasonic pulse repellent

*While no product is 100% effective, these methods may reduce the risk of tick bites.

 

Weblinks – References:

Tick Safe and the Mozzie Team – www. ticksafe.com.au

Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy – www.allergy.org.au

Department of Medical Entomology – www.medent.usyd.edu.au

The Department of Health – Tick bite prevention – www.health.gov.au


Stay healthy this winter!

Our Pharmacists’ advice on how to boost your immunity and protect yourself from cold and flu.

Most secrets to good health aren’t secrets at all, but practicing of good habits. You’ve probably heard before that you should avoid contact with bacteria and viruses, wash your hands regularly, eat a healthy diet, exercise…

But apart from trying to avoid the exposure to germs to stay generally in good health, what other steps could you take to boost your immunity and shield yourself from cold and flu?

There are a lot of products positioned as ‘immunity boosters’ or ‘cold and flu preventative’ medications. Some are new and some (like Vitamin C or echinacea) have been prescribed for years. But do they work? Has their impact ever been tested and compared to people who haven’t taken those supplements?

We have analysed recent scientific studies based on professionally conducted comparative tests to find out which of these products can make a difference to your immunity or the duration of the cold/flu.

Here is what our Pharmacists recommend:

FLU VACCINATION

 

It is the best way to protect yourself against flu and it is between 70-90% effective, depending on the intensity and length of the flu season. In Australia, the flu season begins around May and continues until September (Autumn and Winter). The flu vaccine is best administered from April to provide full protection.

By getting vaccinated against the flu, you can also help protect those around you, especially people who are too ill or too young to be vaccinated. The more people who are vaccinated in your community, the less likely the disease will spread.

If you are over 16 years old, you can just drop in to our pharmacy and get vaccinated against the flu – no need to book in advance and no prescription required. It will only take about 15 minutes!

ANDROGRAPHIS

Andrographis, also commonly known as ‘King of Bitters’ is frequently used in the prevention and treatment of common cold. This herb is found to stimulate the immune system and has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties to reduce the severity of cold symptoms such as sore throat,
fever, and bronchial cough. When taken at first sign of cold/flu symptoms, andrographis may prevent a cold from developing into full force. It can also be used as a preventative supplement especially during winter where cold/flu is more prevalent.

ZINC*

According to recent studies, taking zinc supplements by healthy adults daily (at least 75milligrams within 24 hours) from the onset of a cold shortened its duration by up to 2 days or by about one-third. It is important to start taking this supplement only when the cold symptoms have developed and take it only for the duration of the illness.

*Zinc should not be taken during prolonged periods, as its long-term use, especially in high doses, can cause problems such as copper deficiency. Zinc may interact with drugs, including antibiotics so please check with our pharmacists or your GP when using it.

VITAMIN D

It’s long been known that vitamin D helps protect our bones. But recent studies have shown that the “sunshine vitamin” can help reduce the risk of respiratory infections, including colds and flu-especially among people who don’t get enough of the vitamin from diet or exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D supplements taken by people with regular Vitamin D levels seemed to reduce the risk of infection by about 10%. People who had been vitamin D deficient can see more benefit from taking the supplement. Their risk of infection was reduced by 50%.

Your winter shopping list:

Stock up your medicine cabinet to be prepared in case you or your family members catch a cold or flu. Here is what you should have:
1. Paracetamol/Pain-relieving medications: Once a cold takes hold, products containing paracetamol have been found to decrease the severity of headaches, fever, sinus pain and muscle aches. Paracetamol is the safest option for both children and adults, as long as you do not exceed the recommended daily dose.

2. Hand sanitisers/Antibacterial wipes

3. Vitamin D

4. Zinc

5. Andrographis

6. Thermometer

7. Electrolytes

Drop in to O’Loughlin’s Medical Pharmacy and chat with our friendly pharmacists to find out more about cold and flu prevention.

Please visit our website www.olmp.com.au to find out more on how you can ward off cold and flu and/or if you would like to access the source documents for this article.

Weblinks – References:

https://beta.health.gov.au/services/flu-influenza-immunisation-service

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/02/16/515428944/a-bit-more-vitamin-d-might-reduce-winter-colds-and-flu

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/flucold.htm

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