All Posts in Category: Health

Man on bike moving during COVID

Keep moving for COVID-19 recovery

The pandemic has thrown you a number of obstacles.

Moving less during lockdowns or due to ill health is unfortunately a large part of your COVID-19 experience.

Less movement creates a huge problem for your health moving forward. For us and our loved ones, the best way to optimize your COVID-19 recovery is to keep moving!

Benefits of moving regularly are well known, but here are some good reminders:

Regular movement makes you energized

  • Exercise is an important part of being healthy, with or without infection. You can overcome lethargy, pain, stiffness and a loss of strength.

Regular movement helps you to be motivated

  • Exercise helps increase motivation to do all the things you love – catching up with loved ones, completing daily chores, work, study, and caring for yourself
  • The better you feel, the more motivated you become to keep it going, so it becomes part of your life!

You gain confidence

  • To reconnect with all the things that make you special. Your unique talents and personality shine through when you’re fitter, stronger and healthier
  • In your ability to achieve life goals – celebrate your achievements, no matter how big or small.

You feel less pain, doubt and fear

  • You learn to understand pain, listen to your body and deal proactively with pain
  • Becoming healthier and experiencing the joy of movement gives pain less of a role to play in your life.

How do I get moving again?

  • Start slowly. Your body has been through a lot and is still in recovery mode
  • Gentle walking and resistance exercises are a good way to help restore daily function
  • Breathing exercises play a role in recovering from COVID-19
  • Aim to exercise in environments that are well ventilated and where you can practice social distancing.

Will exercise make me more tired?

  • Initially you will feel a bit fatigued but over the next few bouts of exercise you will begin to tolerate movement a little more
  • You should aim to gradually increase the amount you do.

Compared to our friends in other countries, there’s been much less COVID-19 around us prior to 2022.

Our colleagues in the UK have been forced to develop great resources to help thousands of people get moving again after their COVID-19 infections. 

With so much practice, they’ve gotten pretty good at it too! Here’s the best movement advice from the UK.

When you’re ready to move again, your Pascoe Vale exercise experts will help you feel safe and energized through your COVID-19 recovery journey.

Book online or call us on 9304 0500 for your session.

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Last updated 27 January 2021.

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Managing COVID-19 symptoms

Got COVID-19? Here’s how you can manage your condition

If you’ve had a test for COVID-19 and the result is positive, meaning you have COVID-19, there are some things you can do to help manage the virus and keep you and others safe.

If you have mild symptoms

Most people with COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms. This includes things like:

  • Aches and pains
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose.

If you have mild symptoms, you can manage your condition by:

  • Getting rest
  • Staying active (within your house and/or garden)
  • Eating well
  • Maintaining a good fluid intake
  • Taking any medicines as discussed with your GP
  • Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen for symptom relief.

If you have moderate symptoms

Some people experience moderate symptoms of COVID-19, such as:

  • Breathing rapidly
  • Temperature above 38 degrees
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Mild breathlessness or a persistent cough
  • Struggling to get out of bed and feeling abnormally tired and weak.

If this sounds like you, book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

If you have severe symptoms

Although it’s rare, some people experience severe symptoms of COVID-19, such as:

  • Breathing rapidly or your heart is beating very fast
  • Severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Lips or face turning blue
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Skin cold and clammy, or pale and blotched
  • Confusion (e.g. you can’t recall the day, time or names)
  • Fainting
  • Finding it difficult to keep your eyes open
  • Little or no urine output
  • Coughing up blood.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, call 000 immediately and let them know that you have COVID-19.

Review your symptoms daily

It’s a good idea to monitor and document your symptoms on a daily basis. You can do this for up to a month after testing positive to COVID-19, or until you’re feeling 100%.

Enter your symptoms on your phone or write them in a diary.

If your symptoms are tracking worse, rather than stable or better, book an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can.

Follow the government’s guidelines

As well as managing your condition, there’s a bunch of other things you need to do, from reporting your result to telling your contacts and workplace.

You can refer to the government’s checklist or this resource based on your symptoms.

You can also refer to the government’s guide to managing COVID-19 at home.

Reach out if you need help

Remember, we’re only a phone call away. Book an appointment with your doctor if you need help. And, as always, call 000 in the case of an emergency.

Source: RACGP

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 17 January 2021.

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COVID-19 booster

COVID-19 vaccine booster update

Here’s the latest information about COVID-19 boosters at PVH Medical.

Limited vaccine availability

We have limited supply of the Pfizer vaccine for boosters.

In addition, the government has recently changed booster eligibility to three months after your second vaccine dose.

This has meant more people than expected are now due for their booster.

We’re running special vaccine clinics but we can’t accommodate everyone.

So, if you’re due for your booster and can’t get a spot at one of our clinics, please visit a state vaccination centre.

You can also visit a participating pharmacy (which is offering the Moderna vaccine as an alternative).

Knowing when you’re due

To find out when you’re due for your booster, access myGov or look at your vaccination certificate.

Simply add three months to the date showing (your second vaccine dose).

Children aged 5 to 11

Children aged 5 to 11 are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. This is a reduced dose of the Pfizer vaccine, followed by another dose about eight weeks later.

At this stage, we won’t be involved in the vaccine roll-out for this age group.

So, if you have kids and are looking to protect them from COVID-19, we encourage you to visit a state vaccination centre instead.

We’re not a COVID-19 testing site

Please be reminded that we’re not a COVID-19 testing site.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cold, sore throat), visit one of the dedicated testing centres instead.

Once you receive a negative result, you may then book an appointment with us. This keeps everyone as safe as possible, including other patients and staff.

Of course, if you are infected with COVID-19 we are here to help you manage the illness. Just call us if you need to book, so that we can best manage the situation.

Thanks for your understanding. You can read more about the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out at PVH Medical or give us a call on 9304 0500 if you have any questions.

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 24 January 2021.

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Pascoe Vale gym

The Strong Room – our specialised gym in Pascoe Vale

At PVH Medical, we understand that exercising and working towards optimal health can be hard.

Life is busy. Sometimes we get sick. And sometimes we get injured.

Fortunately, we have a fully equipped gym called The Strong Room and some caring professionals to help you with any challenges you face.

The Strong Room is different to big, unfriendly gyms where you’re left to your own devices. Our health professionals work with you, your needs, and your abilities to offer different solutions to achieve your goals.

Here’s what some of our team have to say.

Physiotherapist Naveena Seethapathy

Physio Pascoe Vale

How do you use The Strong Room?

It’s great to have access to a large space for our rehab. Physiotherapy can involve some one-on-one manual (hands-on) work which we do in our dedicated clinical rooms.

When it comes to rehab there’s only so much you can do with rubber bands in a small room. The Strong Room allows me to find safe loads to build strength, flexibility and capacity in my clients as they overcome their injuries.

What can you help people with?

I’m here for you when you’re sore. Any musculoskeletal and sporting injury, really.

I work closely with exercise physiologists Mike and Aidan a lot where initially a client comes to me with an acute injury – pain. We then work on diagnosis and commence therapy to get on top of that early pain.

As a client’s rehab progresses they will often move over to Mike and Aidan for further exercise therapy/rehab. This is where they can focus on bigger-picture movements, activities and exercises, usually doing an individualised program in a group setting.

I can also help people with returning to sports after an injury, injuries sustained at work, road traffic accidents, as well as improving performance.

How do people find you?

Upstairs at PVH Medical! You can book your appointments on the PVH Medical website, on HotDoc or by calling the reception team on 9304 0500.

Read more about physiotherapy in Pascoe Vale

Exercise Physiologist (EP) Mike Fitzsimon

Exercise physiologist Pascoe Vale

How do you use The Strong Room?

The Strong Room is my clinical ‘home’. As the exercise physiologist (EP) at PVH Medical my priority is enabling our community to experience their own personal journey of self-discovery through exercise.

The Strong Room is an innovative, safe and enjoyable place to learn how to condition your body and mind with evidence-based exercise.

I consult one-on-one with people injured, needing assistance managing chronic disease (such as diabetes, arthritis, depression and so many more) and those looking to re-engage with exercise again after falling off the wagon.

I also run group exercise classes in The Strong Room where a small group of people perform their individualised plan. The groups are heaps of fun and a great place to work out, get healthy, get better and connect with other like-minded people.

Some of our classes are targeted for specific people. For example, we run Strong To The Bone for those at risk of falls and fractures relating to decreased muscle and bone strength.

All classes are really inclusive, with each participant completing their personal programs for weight loss, increased strength, managing persistent pain, anything and everything that exercise can have a positive influence on (which is pretty much everything!).

The pilates reformers are also handy tools for us to adjust the load we place on our bodies for rehab. Very useful.

I also use our Wii Fit Balance board and force platform. For those needing variety, we can use technology to enable improvements in lower limb conditioning and improved balance. This is useful for those clients with specific balance deficits or lower limb issues.

What can you help people with?

The list is so long. The right exercises are needed to assist with pretty much any health or lifestyle condition. If we just look at the eight most common chronic conditions – which together affect a staggering 50% of Australians – exercise has proven benefits for all of them.

These include cancer, cardiovascular disease, mental health, arthritis, back pain, lung disease, asthma and diabetes.

Chances are if you’re looking to achieve a goal that is health, fitness or wellness related, I can help you get there.

How do people find you?

You can phone 9304 0500, book on HotDoc or on the PVH Medical website. I have hours available during the day as well as after hours for those trying to fit work, life, kids and grandkids around their schedules.

Read more about exercise physiology in Pascoe Vale

Podiatrist Gus McSweyn

Podiatrist Pascoe Vale

How do you use The Strong Room?

For us podiatrists, we use the space in The Strong Room to complete gait (movement) assessments on the treadmill where we record people walking and running, and work out why they are suffering and implement changes from there.

Often these changes are relating to building strength in lower limb muscles. There’s plenty of steps, weights, balance mats and other equipment where we can get started.

Using video capture we can really slow down and get detailed running gait analysis. We can use this as part of our assessments and to re-train movement patterns as well.

I’m also a keen runner and play footy myself. The Strong Room is a great place for me to personally rehab any niggles that hit me in my old age!

What can you help people with?

A lot! Lower limb, foot and ankle issues. Podiatrists see plenty of people with foot, heel and ankle pain but that’s not all.

We have heaps of experience (as well as evidence) that the interventions we use including strengthening muscles, footwear prescription and orthotics are beneficial for knee pain, shin pain and even hip/lower back issues.

I have a passion to help out runners as well. The treadmill in The Strong Room allows us to do some gait re-training where we can adjust and coach technique to reduce pain from injuries, risk of injuries and even lean towards enhancing performance.

How do people find you?

You can book by calling the lovely reception team on 9304 0500, visiting the PVH Medical website or via the HotDoc app on your smartphone.

Read more about podiatry in Pascoe Vale

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Last updated 17 December 2021.

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Healthy Christmas food swaps

Healthy Christmas food swaps

In the midst of summer and bathers season, a week of feasting may be the last thing you need.

With the lure of Christmas puddings and buffet-style abundance, adults will gain approximately half a kilogram on average over the Christmas period.

If you plan to cater an event this year, use these healthy substitutions for your favourite Christmas classics, and keep yourself in shape for the beach!

Out: Water crackers with pate and oil-based dips

In: Wholemeal pita crisps and chopped veggies with tzatziki, salsa, or homemade dips

Let’s face it – no one sticks with the recommended 20g serve when it comes to dips and pate!

And with 30-50% fat, these condiments can pack a calorie punch even before the mains and desserts arrive!

Yoghurt-based dips such as tzatziki, and tomato salsas, offer a much lighter alternative and contain less than 10% fat.

If you love dip varieties that are oil based, such as hummus, try making them yourself at home. Chances are you will use a lot less oil than commercial brands!

A good tip for reducing the fat content of a homemade dip is to swap 1/3 to 1/2 of the recommended oil content with water. Trust us, it still works!

The ‘vehicle’ for the dip is also important. Water crackers contain highly refined carbohydrates and very little nutritional value, so swap them for low GI homemade pita crisps and vitamin-packed veggie sticks.

Out: Traditional prawn cocktail

In: Summer prawn, avocado and mango lettuce cups

Avocado

Prawns are a real treat, and are great to offer your guests as a light entrée on special occasions.

However, traditional prawn cocktail recipes for Christmas focus heavily on calorie-rich mayonnaise and sugary sauces like ketchup, which you may want to avoid.

Don’t panic – you can keep the prawns as a highlight, but just try serving them in a healthier way.

For example, a summer-inspired entrée of diced prawns, avocado, tomato, cucumber and mango sitting in fresh cos lettuce leaves, with a dash of salt and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

Out: Roast ham

In: Roast turkey

If you have high blood pressure, or are prone to fluid retention, beware of the Christmas ham! At 1,200mg sodium per 100g, roasted ham has over 100% more salt than turkey, as well as being slightly higher in saturated fat and sugars.

If you’ve never attempted a roast turkey before, it’s just like roasting a large chicken. Ask your supplier for guidance with regard to cooking time, but as a guide, Jamie Oliver recommends to weigh the turkey, and allow 20 minutes of cooking time per 500g.

For a festive flair, search for a stuffing recipe that contains dried fruits and nuts, and fresh herbs.

Out: Snags and steaks on the barbeque

In: Fish and seafood on the barbeque

Fish on bbq

The World Health Organisation published research in 2018 linking higher intakes of sausage meats and red meat with colorectal cancer.

Unfortunately, this research also showed that our great Aussie tradition of barbequing meats increases the health risk, by triggering the production of harmful carcinogens.

The good news is fish and seafood, particularly oily varieties such as salmon, contain beneficial antioxidants and nutrients such as Omega-3’s that protect our bodies against cancer and other diseases.

And, barbequing them does not produce carcinogens, so you can still enjoy the tradition!

Out: Pavlova with cream

In: Eton mess with yoghurt and berries

The great Aussie pav might seem like a ‘light’ dessert when compared to a Christmas fruit pudding. However, it can deliver a whole meal’s worth of calories in a single slice, particularly if it’s topped with a sweet whipped cream.

Keep the spirit of this dessert, but reduce the fat and sugar content by creating a healthy Eton mess, one of England’s best-loved desserts.

In individual glasses or a large glass bowl, layer crushed meringue (homemade or purchased), Greek yoghurt swirled with honey or jam, and fresh seasonal fruits such as nectarines, cherries, and berries.

In the spirit of Christmas, you might like to try soaking your fruit in brandy or Cointreau for 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.

Out: Fruit mince tarts

In: Scones with brandy-soaked dried fruit

Boozy dried fruit and Christmas go hand in hand, but if you are watching your waistline over the summer period, you might need to look beyond the traditional fruit mince pies to get your fix.

A basic scone contains far less butter than pastry shells, and can be an excellent vehicle for your brandy-soaked raisins, currents, dried apricots and mixed peel.

Simply add your soaked fruits to a traditional scone dough, mix it through, and bake as per recipe.

Simple Christmas recipes

Are you struggling to come up with your own nutritious Christmas recipes in time for the big day?

Here’s an easy Christmas side salad and healthy Christmas dessert.

1. Christmas colour salad

cherry tomatoes

If you’re after a quick throw-together festive salad, then this is the one for you!

Combine sliced cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, chopped bocconcini and a simple dressing (olive oil, balsamic glaze, salt and pepper). Serve this as a side to any Christmas protein such as turkey.

2. Mango and passion fruit trifle cups

passionfruit

These desserts are as attractive as they are delicious!

First, combine 2 cups of natural Greek yoghurt with ¾ cup fresh passion fruit pulp. Optional – add 1tbs honey for sweetness.

Place a small dollop of yoghurt mix in your small serving glass, then layer with 1-2tbs toasted granola (homemade, or we suggest Carmen’s Fruit Free Muesli or Jordan’s Crunchy Oat Granola Extra Nutty).

Add another layer of yoghurt, then top with fresh diced mango. Finally, add your third layer of yoghurt, and top with frozen or fresh raspberries, shaved coconut and slivered almonds.

Confused by food?

If you have any questions about diet and nutrition, chat with your GP or our resident dietitian, Jessica Fuller.

Have a happy and healthy Christmas!

Source: The Nutrition Code

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Last updated 17 December 2021.

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Top 10 questions about COVID-19

Top 10 questions our doctors are asked about the COVID-19 vaccines

We’ve vaccinated thousands of patients against COVID-19, and our doctors have been asked a lot of questions about the vaccines.

Some questions are asked more than others, and we’d like to share them with you today.

So, here are the top 10 questions our doctors are asked about the COVID-19 vaccines.

1. The vaccines arrived so fast. How do I know they’re safe?

COVID-19 vaccines went through the same safety checks as other vaccines. Rather than the science being sped up, the administrative and funding processes have been fast-tracked.

2. What are the side effects, and should I worry?

It’s normal to experience mild side effects. The most common ones include pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. These side effects are temporary and go away without treatment in 1-2 days.

Severe reactions to vaccines are very rare. Health experts are closely monitoring this.

3. Can you get COVID-19 from a COVID-19 vaccine?

No, you can’t. To get COVID-19, a live virus that can multiply in your body has to infect you. No vaccine supplied currently in the world contains live coronavirus.

4. Is it free?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia, as per Australian government policy.

5. Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I get?

We’re currently offering the Pfizer vaccine for anyone aged 12 or over.

We’re also offering the AstraZeneca vaccine for anyone aged 18 or over.

If you have any questions, please make an appointment with your usual doctor beforehand.

6. I’ve heard that AstraZeneca can cause blood clots. Is that true?

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is associated with a very rare risk of a condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS.

TTS involves blood clots (thrombosis) along with low platelet levels (thrombocytopenia), and occurs around 4-28 days after vaccination.

It’s currently estimated to affect around 6 people per million doses. To date, almost all reported cases were after the first dose of the vaccine.

Not all clots that occur after having the AstraZeneca vaccine will be due to TTS. Blood clotting problems occur commonly in the population.

Annually, common clots such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (a clot in the lungs) will affect about 1 in a 1,000 people in Australia, unrelated to any vaccine.

7. I’ve had my first dose of AstraZeneca, can I switch to Pfizer for my second dose?

It’s preferable to have two doses of the same vaccine to be fully vaccinated, but it’s possible to switch vaccines if necessary. Please talk to your doctor.

8. Is a COVID-19 booster necessary, and if so, when should I have it?

Research shows that boosters don’t simply top up immunity – they elevate protection well above the peak level from two doses. So, it’s very important you get your booster shot.

You should have your booster about six months after your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

9. Can I get the vaccine if I’ve recently had other vaccinations, such as the flu jab?

The preferred minimum interval between a dose of seasonal flu vaccine and a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is 7 days.

Chat with your GP for more information when getting your routine vaccinations.

10. Will the COVID-19 vaccines be effective on new variants of the virus?

Current evidence from clinical trials indicates that the antibodies induced from COVID-19 vaccines are likely to provide protection to a variety of mutations and minor changes.

However, in some cases there may be an impact on how antibody developed from vaccines based on the original strain can ‘neutralise’ the virus.

This may mean that the effectiveness of the current vaccines against this particular strain could be affected. This information is still emerging and is being closely monitored.

In the same way that the influenza vaccine changes each season, the technology used to create the COVID-19 vaccines may be able to be adapted to changes in variants.

How to book

You can book in for a special vaccine clinic by calling 9304 0500.

If you can, bring the consent form to your appointment (we’ll email you a link to the form once you’ve booked).

More information

If you’d like to find out more, take a read of these frequently asked questions. Or, make a booking with your GP and they’d be glad to answer your questions!

Source: Australian Government, SA Health, NCIRS, ABC

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 30 November 2021.

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Skin cancer

Checking for skin cancer

Skin cancer is a disease of the body’s skin cells. Skin cancer develops when the cells which make up our skin are damaged and grow abnormally.

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main cause of skin cancer. Each time your skin is damaged by UV, changes take place in the structure and function of the skin cells.

If UV damage keeps adding up, skin cells become less able to repair, increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Early treatment is key

Most skin cancer can be successfully treated if it’s found early. But without treatment, skin cancer can be deadly.

Get to know your skin and what looks normal for you to help you find changes earlier. Get into the habit of checking your skin regularly.

This is also important if you have naturally dark skin. Although your risk of melanoma is lower, it is more likely to be found at a later, more dangerous stage than people with lighter skin.

Checking your skin

Most skin cancers are found by people checking their own skin, or are noticed by a loved one.

So how do you check your skin? First, find a room with good light and a full-length mirror.

If you’re on your own, use a hand-held mirror as well to check skin you can’t see (e.g. your scalp, back, etc.).

Undress and check all of your skin, not just sun-exposed areas. This includes your underarms, scalp, groin, and the soles of your feet.

Examine your skin, body part by body part, until you have checked your whole body.

Watch the video below for a step-by-step approach to a self-examination.

You can read about the signs of skin cancer here.

What if you find something?

If you notice anything unusual, including any new spots, or change in shape, colour or size of a spot, visit your Pascoe Vale doctor as soon as possible.

If you’re unable to do a self-examination, you can book in a regular skin check with one of our doctors.

Remember to be sun smart!

It’s never too late to protect yourself from the sun. Remember to follow these five steps:

  1. Slip on clothing
  2. Slop on sunscreen
  3. Slap on a hat
  4. Seek shade
  5. Slide on sunglasses.

Using sun protection will cut your risk of skin cancer at any age. Ask us if you have any questions!

Source: SunSmart

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 25 November 2021.

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Hay fever sufferer

The best ways to manage hay fever

Countless people across Melbourne suffer from hay fever. Are you one of them?

Medically known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever causes cold-like signs and symptoms. This can include things like runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing and sinus pressure.

However, unlike a cold, hay fever isn’t caused by a virus.

Hay fever is caused by the nose and/or eyes coming into contact with environmental allergens, like pollen, dust mites, mould and even animal hair.

How do you manage hay fever?

The first thing you need to do is identify the allergens causing the symptoms.

In some cases the cause may be obvious. But in other cases, your doctor will need to consider your medical history and possibly order tests or a referral to a specialist in difficult cases.

Some medications may help relieve the symptoms of hay fever, such as:

  • Nasal sprays
  • Antihistamines (like Telfast and Claratyne)
  • Eye drops.

Some medications need a prescription while others don’t. It’s always best to ask your GP for advice.

How can you reduce symptoms?

There are ways to prevent or limit your hay fever symptoms, including:

  • In your garden, choose plants that are pollinated by birds or insects, rather than plants that release their seeds into the air
  • Splash your eyes often with cold water to flush out any allergen
  • Reduce your exposure to dust and dust mites, animals and animal hair or fur.

If you’re allergic to grass pollen, it can be difficult to avoid. However, when pollen levels are high the following advice may help:

  • Avoid being outdoors on very windy days and when there are thunderstorms
  • Avoid activities known to cause exposure to pollen, such as mowing grass
  • Shower after outdoor activities
  • Use re-circulated air in the car
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Dry your bedding and clothing inside.

Stay informed about pollen

It’s now easier than ever to know when the high pollen days are.

Just check this website or download the Melbourne Pollen Count app on your phone.

Does hay fever only affect people in spring?

Most people associate hay fever with spring, when airborne grass pollens are at their peak. This is known as seasonal allergic rhinitis or spring hay fever.

However, hay fever can occur at any time of the year. When symptoms occur all year round, this is known as perennial allergic rhinitis. This is usually caused by a reaction to allergens around the home, like dust mites and animal hair.

Hay fever or COVID-19?

Both hay fever and COVID-19 include respiratory symptoms. So, it’s easy to get them confused.

If you have respiratory symptoms and aren’t sure if it’s hay fever or COVID-19, just give us a call.

If you’ve never had hay fever before, you should you get a COVID-19 test straight away and then self-isolate until you get the results.

Get help for hay fever

If you suffer from persistent hay fever, have a chat with us about the best ways to manage it.

Spring is a beautiful season and we’d like to help you enjoy it!

Source: BetterHealth and ABC

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 26 September 2021.

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Get help from PVH Medical in Pascoe Vale, Vic.

Are you struggling with the day to day?

Youre not in top form but you can’t put your finger on it.

You feel tired more often, you’re emotional and the things you used to enjoy doing now don’t hold the same appeal.

It’s hard to generalise how struggling to cope can make you feel or act, but if any of the following symptoms sound familiar, please consider having a chat with us.

  • Lacking energy or feeling tired
  • Feeling restless or agitated
  • Feeling tearful
  • Not wanting to talk to or be with people
  • Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • Finding it hard to cope with everyday things.

Talking can help

Talking to a doctor or psychologist about your mental health issues or emotional difficulties is a positive step towards improving your mental health.

Being honest and open will help you get the most appropriate treatment for your needs.

You may feel embarrassed talking about things like anxiety, abuse, voices in your head, drug or alcohol use, grief or depression, but our team deals with these mental health concerns every day.

We can help you with the current facts about your particular mental health issue and give you options, while always having your best interests at heart.

Doctor or psychologist?

Our medical team is trained to deal with sensitive issues and to be aware of the different needs and cultural backgrounds of the people they work with.

While our doctors have loads of experience helping patients with all sorts of issues, you may be referred to our in-house psychologist for specialised care.

You could be entitled to Medicare-subsidised counselling under the GP Mental Health Care Plan Scheme. Simply ask your doctor for details and a referral.

Or, you can go directly to a psychologist for a private consultation without a referral.

Mindfulness self-help

You can always start small with a little self-help.

Smiling Mind is a popular meditation app developed by psychologists and educators to help bring mindfulness into your life. It’s free, great for all ages, and you can even connect it to your Google Home device.

You can find out more about the Smiling Mind app here.

Looking out for others

Every September, we get behind R U OK? Day.

This special day is about staying connected and having meaningful conversations with friends and loved ones, to help prevent suicide.

You don’t need to be an expert, just a great mate and a good listener! So if you notice someone who might be struggling – please start a conversation.

Reach out to us or Lifeline

Some conversations are too big for friends and family to take on alone. That’s why you can always reach out to a doctor or psychologist at PVH Medical Pascoe Vale.

If you need urgent support outside of hours, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Don’t struggle in silence!

Source: BetterHealth

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 31 August 2021.

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Exercise in spring

6 exercise tips for spring

I have some exercise tips to help get you moving this spring.

If you’ve been hibernating, you’re not alone. Let’s face it, sometimes it just seems too hard to keep our motivation and enthusiasm for exercise during winter. The days are shorter, colder and the sofa seems more appealing!

So if you’ve had a break from exercise, lost some strength, gained some weight, felt depressed or been a bit unwell, exercise is the perfect way to change this. Spring is here and it’s time to take control.

Getting back in shape is an exciting but difficult journey so here are some essential exercise tips for doing it right:

1. Get help from a pro

Avoid the common pitfall of too much too soon.

After a break you’re not the athlete that you were a few months ago. Chances are you’ve lost some fitness and therefore you need to plan your journey back to full health.

Exercise physiologists (EP) like me (Mike Fitzsimon from PridePlus Health) are the perfect professional to help tailor an evidence-based exercise routine to your needs. An EP will assess your capacity and recommend an appropriate training routine to get you back in shape whilst avoiding injury and/or burn out.

If you’re in pain and need physio to help get you started, a physiotherapist will diagnose and treat the cause and help you get moving again.

If you’re struggling with foot pain, not sure about what shoes you should be exercising in or wanting advice on changing your running gait, then a podiatrist would be your first port of call.

And finally, your GP in Pascoe Vale should also be part of your ‘Exercise Pro Team’. If you’re battling a chronic medical condition and need clearance prior to returning to exercise, your doctor can give you some guidance too.

2. Join an online group

Exercising with others keeps you motivated and helps you stay on track. Plus, it’s fun to share a common goal and exchange stories. 

Even though COVID-19 has affected people’s ability to join exercise groups in person, there are lots of online groups to keep those motivation levels high. 

Our physios and I can take you through live workouts via telehealth.

For families or those living under the one roof this means everyone can get involved.

Then there are non-specific exercise groups like those on Facebook.

3. Mix it up

Exercise should be varied to stimulate the right outcomes.

Cardio, weights, exercise bands, mobility exercises, balance exercises, indoors, outdoors – it’s like eating a well-balanced diet – get a bit of everything to help you improve.

If you’re running then you need resistance exercises. If you’re losing weight, you need cardio and weights.

I can help you work it out.

4. Move smarter

The quality of your movement will help you stay fit and healthy for longer.

Work on technique and posture before load so that you develop good habits and don’t get injured.

A simple walking or postural assessment or core strength assessment before you get started will help you stay on target to reach your goals and help you exercise whilst minimising injury.

5. Make use of your backyard

Many of us have a backyard, or even a courtyard, to exercise in. Habits can take a while to stick, so map out a little plan for some exercises you can do in your yard. 

For example, if you’ve got a solid bench or seat of some sort, you could use this to do push-ups on if you don’t want to get your hands dirty. Start small (to prevent injury) and then as you gradually build strength you can try doing more. 

You could also do burpees or star jumps, and try to beat your personal best each day. Even little things like this are great to get the heart pumping! 

The kids can join in too – or at least have a giggle at their parents. 

6. Wear the right gear

Starting with the right footwear, and wearing workout clothes that breathe, will make you feel better and more comfortable.

As the days get warmer you should consider wearing breathable clothing and stay hydrated before, during and after exercise. When exercising outdoors make sure you slip, slop, slap to protect your skin from harmful UV rays as well.

This spring we’re looking forward to helping you hit your exercise goals. Book in with your Exercise Pro Team member to get you going.

I hope you liked these exercise tips!

Further reading

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 31 August 2021.

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Heart health check

Top 10 health checks

There are lots of health checks and tests you can get to prevent disease and injury, and to stop things before they get worse.

But what kind of health checks and tests can you get at PVH Medical?

Here are the top 10.

1. A complete physical examination

Our Pascoe Vale doctors will assess you from head to toe, covering all the essentials like your vital signs, blood pressure, and body mass index (BMI). We’ll also look for things specific to your age, background and diet.

The older you get, the more often you should have a complete physical exam. We recommend one check every five years from the ages of around 20 to 45, every two years from 45 to 65, and every year thereafter.

2. Skin check

While it’s important to check your own skin, having a doctor regularly check over your skin could be lifesaving.

Melanoma and non-melanoma are big killers in Australia, and that’s why we recommended a skin check every couple of years, and every year once you turn 40 or you work outside.

3. Prostate check

This one is for the blokes.

Around 17,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year in Australia. If you’re over age 50, come and talk to your doctor about possible screening options.

4. Colon exam

Colon or bowel cancer is the second most common form of cancer in Australia. That’s why it’s recommended that your colon health is tested from around the age of 40 upwards.

For many people, screening for bowel cancer involves a simple, at-home screening test. In fact, the government sends free test kits to those aged 50 to 74. But we can also help you in the clinic.

5. Blood pressure check

Blood pressure is the force that keeps blood moving through your arteries once it has been pumped from your heart. Finding out how hard your heart is working is super-important.

Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure every two years, or more regularly if you have high blood pressure.

6. Cholesterol

Your cholesterol level is one indicator of your risk of getting heart disease. While there are self-tests you can do for cholesterol, it’s best getting the help of a doctor who can look at your health holistically.

For example, we’ll consider a range of factors including your age, blood pressure, family history and diet, and suggest the best approach moving forwards.

7. Blood glucose levels

You may have seen the news reports about the growing diabetes problem in Australia, particularly type 2 diabetes. It’s a largely preventable disease if we do things like improve our diet and keep the extra kilos off.

You can check your risk of developing type 2 diabetes with this helpful calculator.

Early diagnosis, optimal treatment and continued management is key to reducing diabetes-related complications. And it can start with a simple blood glucose level check.

8. Cervical screening test (CST)

Cervical cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix.

Previously known as the Pap test, the CST is now only required once every five years for women aged 25 to 74.

9. Blood test

Having a blood test can help your doctor evaluate how well your organs (like your kidneys, liver, thyroid, and heart) are working. Blood tests can diagnose diseases and conditions such as cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and STIs including HIV/AIDS. That’s why it’s such a crucial health check.

We can test your blood on-site so you don’t even need to leave the clinic!

10. Bone density test

Osteoporosis is a disease that reduces the density and quality of your bones. This causes a weakness of the skeleton and an increased risk of fracture. Talk to your doctor about your risk and if any tests are required.

We also run a program called Strong to the Bone which can help fight osteoporosis. You can share your test results with the exercise physiologists who lead the program.

Get checked out today!

So there you have it, the top 10 health checks at PVH Medical in Pascoe Vale.

Make an appointment today for the checks you need. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

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AstraZenica COVID-19 vaccine

Information about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca is one of the COVID-19 vaccines. Here’s what you need to know.

What is the side effect that people are talking about?

There is evidence of a likely link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and an extremely rare blood clotting syndrome (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia). 

The recommendation from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is that use of the Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer) is preferred over the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in adults under 60 years old who have not already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine safe?

Yes. The individual benefit-to-risk balance of vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine varies with age.

This balance is based on factors including the increased risk of complications from COVID-19 with increasing age and the potential lower risk of this very rare, but serious, adverse event with increasing age.

I’ve had my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, what do I do now?

If you have had your first vaccine dose without this side effect or other serious adverse effects, you should receive your second dose as planned. 

What if I’m worried about side effects?

If you have recently had your first vaccine dose and are experiencing any side effects that you are worried about, please chat with your doctor. 

I’m under age 60 and want the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, can you help?

Per recent government advice, if you’re aged 18-60, you can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine where the benefit of receiving it clearly outweighs the risk in your individual circumstance.

Staying up to date

It’s important to stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 advice from the state government and federal government.

Chat with your doctor

You can discuss your individual benefit-to-risk balance with your doctor. Simply make a booking with your regular GP.

Source: Australian Government Department of Health

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 27 August 2021.

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Flu shot Pascoe Vale

It’s time for your flu shot

Influenza, known as the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause severe illness and even death.

Each year, the flu affects thousands of people in Australia and puts an enormous amount of pressure on our hospitals and health system.

The flu vaccine is your best shot at stopping the flu.

Getting the flu shot in 2021

This year, vaccination against the flu is more important than ever.

While increased hand-washing and social distancing helped to stop the spread of flu last year, more relaxed social distancing restrictions this year may allow flu viruses to recirculate, even if they were hardly seen in 2020.

You can get the flu shot with the doctor of your choice, in a one-on-one consultation, at PVH Medical.

You can easily book on our website or download the HotDoc app on your phone. 

What are the symptoms of flu?

Flu symptoms can start suddenly like fever, headache, tiredness and muscle aches. Elderly people might also experience confusion while children might get an upset stomach and muscle aches.

Symptoms can last for a week or more. When severe, complications such as pneumonia and worsening of existing medical conditions can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes death.

Why should I get the flu shot?

The flu can hit quickly and last for a few weeks, meaning time off work or school and staying away from family and friends. You never forget the flu!

The flu doesn’t discriminate, and anyone can be affected – that’s why it’s so important that everyone (aged over 6 months) is protected against the flu this season by getting their flu shot.

When should I get the flu shot?

Everyone should get an annual flu vaccine anytime from April onwards to be protected for the peak flu season, which is generally June to September.

Am I eligible for the free flu vaccine?

In Victoria, the following people are eligible to receive a free seasonal influenza vaccine:

  • Children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and older
  • Adults aged 65 and over
  • People aged 6 months and over with medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza (e.g. severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes)
  • Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy).

For everyone else, the cost of the flu vaccine is $16.

Different vaccines for different age groups

Our team of doctors in Pascoe Vale will advise which flu injection is appropriate for you.

All children under 9 receiving their flu vaccination for the first time require two doses of vaccine, spaced by a minimum of one month.

Is the flu vaccine safe?

Common side effects may happen within one to two days after the vaccination. These include soreness, redness, discomfort and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, muscle aches and low fever.

These side effects are usually mild and go away within a few days, normally without any treatment.

Can the flu vaccine actually give you the flu?

The flu vaccine does not contain any live virus, so you cannot get the flu from the vaccine.

Can I get the flu vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccination experts recommend waiting 7 days between getting a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine. Given this, it will be important to plan both vaccinations.

Make an appointment today

To get your flu shot with a doctor, make a booking on our website or use the HotDoc app on your phone. You can also call us on 9304 0500.

Remember to tell us if you’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine and when you received it.

 

Source: BetterHealth Channel, Australian Government Department of Health and Victoria State Government

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 16 June 2021.

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Dr Ana Hernandez

Q&A with retiring doctor, Ana Hernandez

Dr Ana has been with PVH Medical for an impressive 26 years. The time has come for her to take a break and reflect on what she will do in the future.

So Ana, what’s the grand plan? How will you spend your days?

Looking after my grandchildren aged 3, 2 and 8 months and resting, sitting with a cup of coffee looking out the window. I may also do gardening, hiking, sewing, craft, cycling, cooking or visit friends.

What do you look forward to most in retirement?

Answer D, all of the above!

What did your family say on hearing the news?

“Hooray, good on ya ma”.

What’s been your career highlight?

Meeting wonderful people, both patients and staff.

Saving lives, alleviating suffering and stamping out disease all by lunchtime has had its rewards as well.

What will happen to your patients when you retire?

Some have sought Spanish speaking doctors in other clinics, while many have decided to stay at PVH and see the excellent doctors here.

What memorable work story can you share?

Singing 12 days of Christmas with modified words for our Christmas lunch with our choir (of four voices): “On the first hour of Wednesday, Reception said to me… can you see another patient or three…”.

If you could change one thing about your working life, what would it be?

Misdiagnosing a couple of patients will always stay in the back of my mind but it has humbled me and made me realise I am human and will make mistakes.

How will you maintain social connections?

I will work one day a week at the antenatal clinic at Sunshine Hospital.

What do you think about the saying “life begins at retirement”?

As I feel quite tired I don’t want to start to live another life again, just finish this one, thanks.

Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share?

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

Dr Ana finishes at the end of April 2021. PVH Medical wishes her a well-deserved break.

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Active ingredient prescribing

What you see on prescriptions is changing

From February 2021 onwards, your doctor’s prescription may appear a little different due to ‘active ingredient prescribing’. Read on to find out more.

Active ingredient prescribing

Under new medicine regulations, doctors must include the active ingredient names when preparing prescriptions for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation PBS (RPBS) medicines.

This means most medicines will be prescribed by their active ingredient, not the brand name.

For example, if you were prescribed antibiotics, you may see Amoxicillin (the active ingredient) written on the script instead of the brand name (e.g. Amoxil).

Sometimes the brand name will still be on the script, but the active ingredient should appear first.

What’s an active ingredient?

They’re the ingredients in medicines that have an effect in the body.

Why are scripts changing?

It will help patients understand what medicines they are taking.

The change also aims to:

  • Reduce the risk of patients taking multiple doses of medicines
  • Encourage pharmacists and patients to discuss and use generic medicines
  • Decrease out-of-pocket expenses
  • Make the PBS more sustainable
  • Align Australia with international prescribing practices.

Can my doctor and I still choose specific brands?

Yes, doctors can still include a brand name on the prescription if they believe it’s clinically necessary. And you can still choose your medicine of choice at the pharmacy.

Will this change the cost of my medicine?

There is no change to the cost of PBS or RPBS medicines. However, you may pay less if you choose a generic medicine.

Are generic medicines safe?

Yes. The Therapeutic Goods Administration carefully assesses each generic medicine before it can be sold in Australia. Tests ensure it’s safe and has the same effect as the original brand.

Let us know if you have any questions

Our team of Pascoe Vale doctors are always here to help. Please let us know if you have any questions about your prescriptions.

 

Source: PBS

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.

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COVID-19 vaccine

Information on COVID-19 vaccines

If youve watched the news lately, you would have seen all the reports about the COVID-19 vaccine.

It’s important that you get accurate information about the vaccine, so please take a read of the information below.

How will the vaccination protect me?

A COVID-19 vaccination will help reduce the severity of COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated can also protect people around you, particularly those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, like the elderly.

When can I get vaccinated?

Priority groups can expect to receive a vaccination from early 2021. For everyone else, it’s expected that the vaccine roll-out will continue throughout the year.

Who are the priority groups?

The government has identified these groups as:

  • People who have an increased risk of developing severe disease or dying from COVID-19:
    • Older people
    • People with certain pre-existing medical conditions
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • People at an increased risk of exposure, infection and transmission of COVID-19, or are in a setting with high transmission potential:
    • Health and aged care workers
    • Other care workers such as group residential care and disability care workers
    • People in places like correctional and detention facilities, and meat processing plants.
  • People working in critical services:
    • Essential services staff such as emergency services providers, defence forces, public health staff and staff managing quarantine facilities
    • People working in supply and distribution of essential goods and services such as food, water, electricity, telecommunications and other critical infrastructure.

Here’s a chart of the government’s immunisation strategy (or visit here if you having trouble viewing it).

What can I do while I wait?

Whether you’re in a priority group or not, the best thing you can do is stay informed and continue to be COVIDSafe. Along with the government, we’ll provide more information about how vaccines will be rolled out over the coming months.

In the meantime, everyone still needs to:

  • Practise good hygiene
  • Maintain physical distance and wear a face mask where required
  • Stay home if you’re sick and get tested
  • Download the COVIDSafe app.

Is getting the vaccine compulsory?

No, you can choose not to vaccinate. But we’re calling on everyone to get vaccinated to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and get on with our daily lives.

Is the vaccine safe?

All vaccines are thoroughly tested for safety before they’re approved for use in Australia. This includes careful analysis of clinical trial data, ingredients, chemistry, manufacturing and other factors.

As with any vaccination, you may experience minor side effects afterwards like pain, redness or swelling where you received the needle, or a mild fever. You will be monitored after the vaccination.

Serious reactions like allergic reactions are extremely rare. Chat with your Pascoe Vale doctor if you have any concerns.

How are vaccines being tested?

Testing first begins with laboratory research, then animal studies and finally human clinical trials. Clinical trials involve testing the vaccine in thousands of volunteers, and are conducted in phases.

Before a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for use in Australia, it must pass the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) rigorous assessment and approval processes. This includes assessment of its safety, quality and effectiveness.

What vaccine will I receive?

Australia has entered into four separate agreements for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, if they’re proved to be safe and effective. You can read more about this here.

Read the special information about the AstraZeneca vaccine.

How many doses of the vaccine will I need?

There are two doses. After the first shot, you’ll need to return three weeks later (for the Pfizer vaccine) or three months later (for the AstraZeneca vaccine), or as advised by the Health Department.

I’m pregnant. Can I get vaccinated?

The government has released some information specifically for pregnant women. Chat with us if you have any questions.

Where can I get vaccinated?

The government is setting up special vaccination sites across the country.

We’re also running special vaccination clinics. This will ensure we can vaccinate as many people as possible in an efficient and COVIDSafe way.

We’ll keep you up-to-date by email, on our website, and on our Facebook page.

How much will it cost?

The vaccine will be free at government sites and our special vaccination clinics.

How will I know when it’s my turn to be vaccinated?

The government will be running a big advertising blitz – you won’t miss it!

We’ll also be in regular contact by email, on our website and on our Facebook page.

More information

Always get your information about vaccines from trusted sources, like your doctor at PVH Medical, the Department of Health or your local hospital.

Let’s fight this virus together!

Source: Department of Health

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs. Page last updated 16 June 2021.

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Important information

Online bookings (HotDoc) are working again!

Got COVID-19 or you're a close contact? Refer to coronavirus.vic.gov.au/checklist for info.

Please note we're not currently giving COVID-19 vaccinations to kids aged 5 to 11.