SHORT days, cold weather and getting sick can make it so much harder to stay healthy over winter.
But it’s no reason to give up. There are many ways to keep healthy and fit over winter and many preventive services to keep Canberrans healthy through to spring.
And after a high number of influenza-like illnesses recently seen within a southside school, ACT public health physician Dr Vanessa Johnston is urging parents to vaccinate their kids before the peak of flu season.
“As we are already seeing a higher than usual number of cases of influenza so far this year, we are reminding the community of the importance of vaccination to protect yourself and your family from getting sick,” she says.
“Everyone remembers the horrendous flu season of 2017.
“The community must not become complacent with vaccination if we want to avoid a horror flu season.”
The ACT Health Protection Service (HPS) and the Education Directorate is working closely with Namadgi School, where a number of students and staff reportedly became unwell with influenza-like illnesses last week.
“ACT Health is gathering more information to determine if the cause of these illnesses is indeed the flu or another respiratory virus,” Dr Johnston says.
“All parents who have children aged six months to under five years are being urged to take advantage of the free flu jab.
“Unfortunately, this year we are seeing early signs of a slower uptake in the number of kids under five receiving the free ACT-government-funded flu shot.
“We are hearing from our Early Childhood Immunisation Clinics that there is less demand for the vaccine compared to the same time last year.
“Young children are at a higher risk of serious complications from influenza, such as pneumonia. They are also more likely to spread the flu to others.”
Duncan walks people to fitness
DUNCAN Craig, the ACT representative of BungyPump, is running extra “come and try” sessions in June, to encourage more people to keep active over winter by using BungyPump walking poles.
The sessions, demonstrating how the poles boost the benefits and reduce the impact of walking, will be held down near the flags between Parkes Place West and Queen Elizabeth Terrace on Mondays at 12.30pm and Fridays at noon.
“The walks are free but bookings are essential,” Duncan says.
Following a “come-and-try” session, people are then welcome to take a longer walk on his 9am Saturday sessions from the National Carillon.
Duncan says BungyPump is a great way to keep fit over winter as it boosts the benefits of walking, activates 90 per cent of muscles and burns 77 per cent more calories than walking without poles.
“You’re getting all the benefits of aerobic activity as well as strength development, flexibility and balance all in the one activity,” he says.
“It’s a case of ‘no pain, more gain’ as the poles’ in-built suspension eliminates hard shocks, which means that elbows and shoulders are not over-exerted and the pressure is relieved on knees and hips giving your body a low-impact exercise.”
“People with lower back pain immediately feel relief, too.”
Not to mention, Duncan says, maintaining a good level of fitness has scientific benefits such as faster recovery from injury.
“[Overall] staying active by using BungyPump maintains health and quality of life through winter,” he says.
Now’s the time for healthy teeth
ORAL health has a big impact on general health, says Kaleen Family Dental Surgery’s principal dentist Dr Henny Purba.
“Taking care of your teeth and gums now can eliminate complications later on and the need for major dental treatment,” she says.
But whether patients need preventative care or an involved procedure, Dr Purba says the family-friendly practice and professional team provide a caring approach to all patients.
The surgery, which has been in Kaleen for nine years, provides services such as restoration and cosmetic dentistry, including crowns, bridges and veneers, general and preventative dentistry, sleep dentistry, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopaedics and laser dentistry.
Dr Purba has undertaken a lot of extra study and apart from general dentistry, she does orthodontics for children and adults as well as sleep dentistry.
Dr Purba says she finds great fulfilment in solving her patients’ complex dental woes and helping the community achieve optimum standards of oral health.
She also believes in the importance of continuing education and professional development so that she can always provide the highest level of dental health care to the patients.