Health and Safety
Prepare for flu season
By SANDI MILLER
THE STATE Government has launched a new campaign encouraging Victorians to get their flu shot ahead of winter and do their part to stop the spread of flu.
More than two million free vaccinations are expected to be administered before the flu season takes hold.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos says vaccination is safe, effective and it saves lives.
“You never forget the flu, so don’t forget your flu shot.
“Coming down with the flu is not like catching a cold.
“It hits you quickly and hard, and it can last for weeks — and for some people, it can be deadly.”
A horror flu season in 2017 saw more than 48,000 Victorians diagnosed with influenza.
That number fell to 11,612 cases last year, but flu diagnoses in 2019 are currently triple what they were compared with the same time last year.
Vaccinations are free for kids aged six months to less than five.
Pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Victorians with a chronic condition are also eligible for a free flu vaccination as part of the National Immunisation Program.
Victorians over the age of 65 are also covered and the vaccination can be obtained from your local GP.
Flu shots are also available at some pharmacies — without the need to visit a doctor.
Warrandyte Pharmacist, Chris Farmakis says the Terry White Chemmart at the Goldfields Shopping Centre has established a flu clinic to administer vaccinations.
The Terry White Chemmart website provides a booking service where you can schedule an appointment, or you can pop in for a walk-up consultation.
Go to terrywhitechemmart.com.au and click on Health Services to make your booking for a flu shot.
The vaccination costs $19.95 and it is administered on site.
Flu symptoms can include a sudden high fever, headache, body aches and feeling extremely weak or tired.
For children, the elderly or people with a weakened immune system, the flu can have devastating outcomes.
Mr Farmakis says the flu is very easy to catch, and good hygiene is imperative to avoid the disease.
“It is not merely passed on through coughing and sneezing, it hangs around — even on door handles it can survive up to eight hours, and then if you open the door it is on your hands. “It’s very easy to catch, but very easy to prevent by having a flu shot,” he said.
Anyone who thinks they have the flu should visit their doctor, a pharmacist, or call Nurse-On-Call on: 1300 60 60 24.
Electromagnetic Sleep Study, Participants sought
Nicole Bijlsma is a building biologist and CEO of the registered training organisation — Australian College of Environmental Studies based in Warrandyte.
She first became interested in environmental medicine following two events in her life: firstly working as a naturopath and acupuncturist she noticed many of her patients with asthma, allergies and chronic fatigue syndrome were sick following exposure to mould, electromagnetic fields (EMFs), and/or toxicants like pesticides in their home.
However it wasn’t until she moved into her home in Warrandyte, that she experienced insomnia and ten miscarriages which she believed arose from sleeping near the meter panel.
After relocating bedrooms, she subsequently gave birth to her twins (natural conception as she didn’t qualify for IVF) and spent the next two decades investigating the impact of hazards in the built environment.
In 1999 she established the college and the building biology industry in Australia and wrote the best seller — Healthy Home Healthy Family — now in its 3rd edition, which attracted numerous television and radio interviews.
Nicole lectures about environmental sensitivities at medical conferences both in Australia and abroad.
Nicole and her husband Mark, sold their home in Warrandyte to invest in a manufacturing facility in Bayswater to create the cleaning product range — Abode — specifically for people with chemical and skin sensitivities.
The products are sold in health food stores across Australia.
Nicole is also looking for couples who would be interested in taking part in a short study which studies the effects of electromagnetic fields on sleep.
If this is something you and your partner would be interested in, check out the details below:
Electromagnetic field sleep study. We need you!
RMIT researchers seeking healthy adult couples who live in a detached house in the Eastern suburbs to participate in a study to find out if electromagnetic radiation affects sleep and brain function. You may be eligible if you are a healthy non-smoking adult, who sleeps well, aged between 18 and 55 and who is prepared to avoid digital devices at least one hour before bed for a 4 week period. Participants will receive a healthy home pack valued at $100, access to their sleep data and a free electromagnetic field assessment of their bedroom. If you interested in participating, please call Nicole Bijlsma on 0417 310 002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also download a copy of the sleep study participation form in advance from here.
DIGITAL HEALTH: TIPS FOR DETECTING SCAM EMAILS
By IAN CRAIG
WE OFTEN see news items in the popular media about people being scammed and defrauded out of thousands and sometime hundreds-of-thousands of dollars.
It was not until I witnessed this first hand — when a close member of my family was scammed — that I was able to comprehend not just how easy it is to be tricked but the extent of the emotional impact this can have on someone.
>According to government website Scamwatch , in 2018 there were 177,516 reporting cases of scams, 9.9 per cent of these involved the loss of money totalling $107,001,451.
That is a lot of money and these are just the figures for the ones that are reported, so who knows how many of these scams go unreported.
Top five scams for loss of money are investment scams, dating and romance, false billing, identity theft and hacking.
Billing scam emails seem to be the trend in scamming at the moment with my friends telling me they repeatedly receive emails claiming they have an unpaid invoice or bill.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) frequently post information about scams on their website and has this to say about false billing scams:
“Often a scam is disguised as an outstanding invoice to get the business to sign-up for unwanted advertising or office supplies.
Another common ploy involves sending invoices for the renewal of a non-existent domain name registration.
In some cases, false bills and invoices are followed-up with phone calls demanding payment or legal threats.”
Although I work in IT, I am not a safety online expert and I am not writing this article to scare everyone into going back to writing cheques and switching off their phones or computers — because I cannot work or play without them.
So why write about it?
The answer is simple, if we don’t talk about it and warn our friends and neighbours about the potential of a scam, the ‘scamsters’ will continue to take what doesn’t belong to them.
We are all familiar with the concept (like it or not) of the door to door salesperson who will knock on your door and try to sell you something — immediately we take a defensive approach, ascertain where they are from and do we trust them.
So, the point here is that the internet is like putting your front door in front of every person with something to sell or scam on a global scale.
With the right software, it is easy to send you an email, text message, phone call or some novel electronic message with some kind of hook, opportunity, link, attachment or instruction.
The ACCC’s Scamwatch website is a great place to educate yourself about current scams and I highly recommend you read their section on how to protect yourself against scammers.
But for now, here are some top tips on how to reduce your risk of being scammed while online.
Be alert to the fact that scams exist.
Know who you’re dealing with.
Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails — delete them.
Don’t respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access — hang up.
Be wary of unusual payment requests.
The site also has useful clues for spotting a fake document, email or dating profile.
My safety tip is to have a friend or family member who has your back when it comes to validating any online communication that you think is suspicious.
Or, if you have some experience and skills in this area then maybe you could offer your services to those in your circle.
Scammers often use fear and threat to get money out of us, which is why the billing scams are often used by scammers, so having someone who is able to look at the email objectively and is tech-savvy enough to be able to spot a scam or suspicious email can mean the difference between getting scammed or putting their email in the junk folder.
Priceless Community Crutches
By JOCK MACNEISH
LIKE ALL communities, the Warrandyte community is built on friendship, generosity, care and respect.
We don’t measure out these qualities in units like metres, dollars or litres.
We choose not to speak about how many units of kindness people display, or the exact width and breadth of their unselfishness.
But in Warrandyte there is something that symbolises and represents the care that people have for one another.
Surprisingly, it’s a pair of well-worn arm-crutches that, technically, belong to Adrian.
I say “technically” because the crutches are almost never at his place.
For more than a dozen years the crutches have been in continuous circulation around Warrandyte.
They have been “borrowed” by Adrian’s friends and neighbours to help them get back on their feet after various operations.
The crutches are once again back at my place, as I hobble around on my second knee replacement.
My first knee was replaced eight years ago and I’m pleased to report that the crutches are none the worse for wear.
I’m not sure the same could be said about my legs.
My wife Diana has had both her knees replaced, and yes, she also used the crutches to get back into her stride.
I know Jack and Jonathan were also restored to being upright citizens while hanging onto the crutches.
Warrandyte’s walking tracks bear the imprint of many steady journeys back to health, and those arm-crutches epitomise a spirit of generosity that pervades the place.
You can’t put a price on that.
Thank you Adrian.