All Posts in Category: Health

Coffee drink

What drink should you choose?

Ever wondered about the nutritional value of your favourite drink?

While we’re fortunate enough to have many different beverage products available for purchase, it can also bring a lot of questions with it.

Which drinks are worth the health halo and which ones should we avoid?

Our in-house dietitian, Jessica Fuller, reviews a few drinks to help sift through the confusion for you.

1. Coffee

Are you a caffeine obsessed, ‘don’t talk to me before coffee’ type of person?

Well, good news, coffee can actually have some health benefits!

Drinking coffee can potentially reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease. This is likely due to the antioxidants found in coffee.

However, there can be some downsides of regular or excessive coffee intake, such as insomnia and ‘see-sawing’ energy levels.

If weight management is your focus, most regular sized café coffees will provide approximately 100-150 calories. But be careful with what size you order, how many you have each day, any sugars added and what else you might consume at the same time (i.e. sweets!).

If you’re looking to reduce your calorie intake, ask for skim milk or unsweetened almond milk, or better still, go for black coffee.

2. Soft drink

Australians are among the biggest consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages in the world, with soft drinks accounting for most of these drinks.

Unfortunately, soft drink doesn’t provide any real nutritional value and is full of unnecessary sugar and calories (a 370ml can of soft drink contains around 10 teaspoons of sugar!).

There is a strong association between regular soft drink consumption and excess weight, reduced bone density, tooth decay, asthma, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

We do have diet and no-sugar soft drinks options available which are sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. These add very little calories and no sugar to the diet and so won’t contribute directly to weight gain, and can be enjoyed on occasion.

So, if you have to drink soft drink, choose the diet or no-sugar options.

3. Juice

You may think of juice as a healthier alternative to soft drinks, but even 100% fresh fruit juices contain a large amount of sugar.

It often requires a few pieces of fruit to make just one glass of juice and, while fruit juice will provide some vitamins and minerals that we get from the fruit, it doesn’t provide any of the fibre that fresh fruit would.

Fibre is important to make us feel full and so it is quite easy to consume a large amount of juice (and therefore sugar) in one go.

Consider this; you wouldn’t normally sit down and eat 3-4 oranges in one sitting, but you could very easily consume this in one glass of orange juice.

Instead of drinking juice, it’s best to choose whole fruit or choose 100% vegetable juice. If you do drink fruit juice, stick to small amounts (125ml) and have it less frequently.

4. Kombucha

This is a slightly sweet, slightly acidic, fermented beverage made from water, tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast.

Kombucha is a lower calorie and lower sugar alternative drink to others such as juice or iced tea. Kombucha is a potential source of probiotics and so may provide benefits to gut health.

Most manufacturers don’t comment on the variety or quantity of probiotic strains in their products and studies investigating kombucha are limited.

The health properties of kombucha, however, are likely to be similar to drinking tea or other fermented foods and can be a great low calorie, low sugar, refreshing alternative to soft drink.

5. Sports drinks

Sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade are advertised to replenish glucose, fluids, and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium) lost through strenuous exercise.

These drinks can benefit athletes, or those who engage in intense exercise, to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweat, particularly during long-duration exercise, therefore reducing the risk of dehydration.

So, do YOU need to drink a sports drink? Sports drinks are probably unnecessary for most gym-goers.

Drinking water is sufficient to rehydrate after light-moderate exercise that is less than one hour.

For those trying to lose weight, you may also want to consider the calorie content of these drinks and that you may be consuming back the calories you were trying to burn through exercise.

6. Water

At the end of the day, water is the best fluid for us.

Water makes up the majority of your body weight and is critical for your body’s proper functioning.

We are continually using and losing water that then needs to be replaced. We require approximately 35-45ml of fluid per kg of body weight per day, mostly from water.

To help increase your water intake, try taking a water bottle around with you or adding some fruit or tea infusions for flavour.

You can also utilise sparkling water for some extra fizz.

Keep reading about nutrition

Learn a bit more with these helpful articles:

Need help with your diet?

Call 9304 0500 or book online to make an appointment with our in-house dietitian, Jessica Fuller. We can’t wait to help you!

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 July 2022.

Read More
Stroke Pascoe Vale Melbourne

What is a stroke?

Stroke attacks the brain – the human control centre.

A stroke happens when the blood supply carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is interrupted. When brain cells do not get enough blood, they die at a rapid rate (up to 1.9 million brain cells every minute).

Stroke can affect people physically and emotionally, as well as the way they think – from muscle weakness and speech difficulties, to memory, hearing or vision issues.

Every stroke is different. It all depends on where in the brain the stroke occurs and how severe it is.

What are the symptoms of stroke?

Think F.A.S.T. It’s an easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke:

  • Face: Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
  • Arms: Can they lift both arms?
  • Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
  • Time: Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.

How can you manage your risk?

There are some risk factors you cannot do anything about, like:

  • Age – the older you get, the greater your risk of stroke.
  • Gender – stroke is more common in men.
  • A family history of stroke – having a parent or sibling who has had a previous stroke.
  • If you’ve had a previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

The good news is more than 80% of strokes can be prevented. Here are some things you can do to help reduce your stroke risk:

Raising awareness of stroke

Each year, National Stroke Week takes place in August.

It’s an opportunity to raise awareness of stroke and the Stroke Foundation in Australia.

Even remembering the F.A.S.T. acronym, and recognising the signs of stroke, is a good start. Calling an ambulance straight away could potentially save a life.

We can help

Our team of doctors and allied health professionals in Pascoe Vale can work with you to help manage your stroke risk.

Make the first step by booking a health check online today.

Source: Stroke Foundation

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 July 2022.

Read More
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 2022

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 2021.

To receive the flu shot, simply make an online booking with your regular doctor.

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?

The state government’s recent free flu vaccine program, whereby the vaccine was free for everyone from 1 June to 10 July, has now ended.

Only the following people are now eligible to receive a free flu vaccine:

  • Children aged from 6 months to under age 5
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • 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 vaccine at PVH Medical is $21.

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?

Yes, the flu vaccine can be co-administered with a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Please call us if you want to receive both vaccines on the same day.

Make an appointment today

To get your flu shot, simply book online or call us on 9304 0500.

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 8 July 2022.

Read More
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 offering the Pfizer vaccine for anyone aged 12 or over.

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

6. What’s the Novavax vaccine?

Novavax is a protein-based vaccine. Even though it’s a little different to the Pfizer vaccine, it ultimately helps protect you against COVID-19.

We’re not currently offering the Novavax vaccine.

7. Can I switch the kind of vaccine I receive?

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 first booster (i.e. third dose) about three months after your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

There’s also a winter booster dose (i.e. fourth dose) for certain people, and you can have this three months after receiving your third dose.

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

COVID-19 vaccines can be given with other vaccines, including at the same time as the flu vaccine, or they can be separated if you prefer.

You can 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 vaccine by calling 9304 0500.

If you book online, we can’t guarantee we’ll have enough supply on the day.

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 8 July 2022.

Read More
COVID-19 booster

COVID-19 vaccine booster update

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

Staying protected with a booster

It’s recommended that everyone aged 16 and over has three doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

The third dose, known as a booster, is due three months after your second vaccine was given.

To find out when you’re due, access myGov or look at your vaccination certificate. Simply add three months to the date showing (your second vaccine dose).

Winter booster dose (fourth dose)

It’s recommended you get another COVID-19 booster, also referred to as the ‘winter booster’, if you had your initial booster at least three months ago and you are either:

  • 50 years or older, or
  • a resident of an aged care or disability care facility, or
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and aged 50 years or older, or
  • 16 years or older, and have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness, including:
    • reduced immune function due to illness or medication
    • recent or current cancer
    • chronic inflammatory conditions requiring disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or immune-suppressive or immunomodulatory therapies
    • chronic lung disease
    • chronic liver disease
    • severe chronic kidney disease (stage 4 or 5)
    • chronic neurological disease
    • diabetes mellitus requiring medication
    • chronic cardiac disease
    • people with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities which increased risk of poor outcome from COVID-19
    • severe obesity with BMI ≥ 40
    • severe underweight with BMI < 16.5.

Your doctor can help determine your eligibility if you’re unsure.

If you’re aged 30-49 you can choose to have a fourth dose. Again, chat with your doctor if you have any questions.

If you’re healthy and aged 16 to 29, and you do not fall into one of the above categories, a fourth dose is not recommended at this stage.

Vaccine availability

We have the Pfizer vaccine for use as a booster dose. Other vaccines may be available at state vaccination centres and pharmacies.

We’re no longer running special vaccine clinics. Instead, simply call us and let us know you want to book in for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Recently had COVID-19?

You’re advised to wait three months after your COVID-19 illness, before you have your booster. Make a note in your diary so you don’t forget about booking in!

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), do a rapid antigen test (RAT) at home or 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 8 July 2022.

Read More
Diabetes Pascoe Vale Melbourne

Are you at risk of getting diabetes?

When someone has diabetes, their body can’t maintain healthy levels of glucose (a form of sugar) in the blood. 

It’s a serious and complex condition which can affect the entire body.

There are three main types of diabetes:

According to Diabetes Australia, around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes. And it’s increasing.

Why is diabetes increasing?

While all types of diabetes are increasing in prevalence, type 2 is increasing at the fastest rate.

There are two main reasons why we’re seeing this:

  • Big changes to diet and the food supply
  • Big changes to physical activity – more sedentary work and less activity.

Genes also play a part. There is a higher risk of type 2 diabetes in Chinese, South Asian, Indian, Pacific Islander, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

In type 1 diabetes, symptoms are often sudden and can be life-threatening. Therefore, it’s usually diagnosed quite quickly.

In type 2 diabetes, many people have no symptoms at all. Other signs can go unnoticed, being seen as part of ‘getting older’. Therefore, by the time symptoms are noticed, complications may already be present.

Common symptoms include:

  • Being more thirsty than usual
  • Passing more urine
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Having cuts that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss (type 1)
  • Gradually putting on weight (type 2)
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Leg cramps.

What treatments are available?

While there is currently no cure for diabetes, you can live an enjoyable life by learning about the condition and effectively managing it.

Our team of Pascoe Vale doctors and allied health staff are trained in diabetes management. We can recommend an appropriate course of action, which may involve changes to your diet and exercise, or medication in some cases.

We even have a special program aimed at tackling diabetes and burning off excess body fat.

Do the self-assessment now

To find out your risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the next five years, answer the quick questions on the online calculator.

Let us know if you need to discuss the results of the test.

National Diabetes Week

Each July, National Diabetes Week aims to educate Australians about this chronic disease.

In 2022, the conversation is about the impact diabetes stigma can have on your mental and emotional wellbeing. You can find out more about this special week here.

Learn more about diabetes

Take a read some of our helpful articles about diabetes:

Help is at hand

If you live in Pascoe Vale, Strathmore, Glenroy, Coburg or the surrounding area, we’re here to help you manage your diabetes.

The sooner you get on top of it, the sooner you can start to feel better. Give us a call today!

Source: Diabetes Australia

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 June 2022.

Read More
Healthy eating tips

7 easy healthy eating tips

Healthy eating is important, and we know it.

A national Omnipoll survey indicated 52% of Australians want to improve their eating habits and lose weight. However, only 1 in 20 of us meet daily recommended fruit and vegetable servings.

If you’re just a ‘beginner’, changing the way you eat can seem daunting and overwhelming. But it doesn’t need to be.

Here are 7 easy healthy eating tips to get you started on your healthy eating journey.

1. Prepare more meals at home

What you make in your own kitchen is probably lower in fat, sugar and salt than if you ate out. You’re also more likely to serve yourself a smaller portion.

2. Plan ahead

Take 5 minutes at the end of each day, or 20 minutes on a Sunday, to plan out your healthy meals and snacks.

Make sure you have the ingredients you need, and if required, schedule some time to buy them. This will cut down your nights of takeaway and two-minute noodles!

3. Follow the ‘Healthy Plate’ guidelines

Have you seen a ‘healthy plate’ before? It’s half filled with non-starchy vegetables, one quarter is filled with lean protein, and the final quarter is for low GI carbohydrates.

Keep to these proportions and you’ll be well on your way!

4. Try one or two new recipes each week

Learn to love healthy food by researching and preparing new recipes that pack flavour. There’s heaps out there!

Make sure you plan these nights in advance. Inviting family and friends over for dinner is the perfect incentive.

5. Make the most of leftovers

When planning your meals for the week, consider when you might benefit from having leftovers, and prepare extra portions on days or nights when you can cook.

You’ll love coming home to a home-cooked meal after a long day, and the money you’ll save by not buying lunch.

6. Always have a fridge stocked with vegetables

Like point number 3, your lunch and dinner plate should always be half-full with vegetables, so make sure your fridge is ready!

Get the most out of your veggies by storing them in the crisper, and become familiar with shelf lives, so you know which ones to use first.

7. Have a contingency plan

Some days, all planning and good intentions go out the window. So, always keep some frozen veggies and steamed fish pouches in the freezer.

Soup is also a great option – just make sure there aren’t too many preservatives or salt (you can read the label if in doubt).

Help is at hand

If you need help with your diet, don’t hesitate to contact Jessica Fuller. She’s your friendly and knowledgeable Pascoe Vale dietitian who can help answer nutrition-related questions, prepare personalised meal plans for you and much more.

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. Page last updated 27 May 2022.

Read More

How exercise physiology helped Joan in the garden

To celebrate Exercise Right Week – Exercise for the Right Reasons, instead of us talking about exercise, we interviewed one of our clients, Joan from Pascoe Vale.

Joan’s garden was her happy place, until the aches crept in. She started seeing exercise physiologist Aidan Rogers in 2021.

My vegies were thriving

I was digging up the carrots and pushing my rusty old wheelbarrow through the rows of vegies. I could bend down to pull out the weeds. I could reach up to pick the lemons from the top of the tree.

Life was good. Pain just wasn’t in my vocabulary.

But then it became difficult

It hurt to pick the carrots. I couldn’t push the barrow. What happened?

I thought I could garden forever. Retirement meant I had more time to spend with my vegetables, my roses and my fruit trees. I had plans to grow enough vegetables to feed my family, with plenty left over for the grandkids, the neighbours and to drop off to my doctor too.

Fast forward two years. I was right in thinking I can garden forever – but I had to do something else as well.

I learned how to exercise properly

I met an EP, and I’m back in the garden.

My garden is lush, the vegies are thriving and the wheelbarrow is no longer stuck in the mud.

I’m gardening again. My knees aren’t hurting when I bend down. My back doesn’t ache after a day in the backyard. And it’s thanks to my new found strength and exercise habits.

My exercise physiologist helped me pick some exercises that made my legs strong again. My back is flexible, and the stiffness is gone.

It took some time, I had to be consistent working at my exercises but the benefits are clear. My garden speaks for itself.

If you love something, you’ll work for it

If you love spending time in your garden, chasing your grandkids, being social walking with friends then you too can benefit from the right exercises.

I learned that my age or my aches and pains don’t have to slow me down. With my exercise physiologist, the right exercises and a little bit of effort, I’m back and my garden looks great. 

What’s holding you back?

Exercise Right Week in 2022 runs from Monday 23 May to Sunday 29 May. If you need help to get back into the things you love doing, contact us today.

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 May 2022.

Read More

Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) – the big ones

If you’re sexually active, you can get an STI even if you practice safe sex most of the time.

There are many different STIs and not all of them have obvious symptoms, so there’s a chance that you or your partner could have an STI without knowing it.

Most STIs are curable and all are treatable. But if left untreated, STIs can have long-term effects on your body.

Here are the big ones you should know about.


Chlamydia is often called the ‘silent infection’ because most people don’t realise they have it.

If left untreated, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women, which can lead to chronic pain and infertility.

In men, untreated chlamydia can cause pain and swelling in the testicles.

Chlamydia may be treated with a single dose of antibiotics if detected early.


Syphilis is curable but, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications. A simple blood test can detect syphilis.

If you’re infected with syphilis and don’t seek treatment, you can remain infectious for up to two years.

Women can pass syphilis infection to their babies during pregnancy. This can cause miscarriage, serious birth defects in the baby or even stillbirth.


Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of infection of gonorrhoea. It may occur without symptoms, especially in women.

Gonorrhoea is treatable but can lead to infertility in women if left untreated.

With all STIs, it’s important to let your sexual partner or partners know that you have an infection so that they can be tested and treated too.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes can be spread by vaginal, oral or anal sex and through skin-to-skin contact. Recurrences of genital herpes usually become less frequent and less painful over time.

There is no cure for herpes, but treatment helps ease symptoms and prevent recurrences.

Women diagnosed with genital herpes before or during pregnancy should discuss this with their GP.

Genital warts

Genital warts are one of the most common STIs. They’re caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

There are more than 100 strains of HPV, but only certain types affect the genitals and not all cause visible warts.

Genital warts can appear around the genitals and anus or, sometimes, inside the vagina, rectum or urethra.

Hepatitis B

This is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation. It’s transmitted through contaminated blood and other body fluids.

Hepatitis B can be prevented by immunisation. This provides very good protection (about 95 per cent effective) and is recommended for all infants, young children and adolescents, and people in high-risk groups.

Untreated hepatitis B can stay in the body for a long time and lead to liver scarring (cirrhosis), liver cancer and death.

Most people with hepatitis B in Australia became infected at birth or during their early childhood in countries overseas.

Hepatitis B may be spread through unsafe sex or sharing injecting equipment.


HIV is a virus that can weaken the immune system to the point that it’s unable to control some infections.

Most people living with HIV in Australia can expect to live long, healthy lives without ever developing AIDS (the most advanced stage of HIV infection), if they’re on effective treatment.

For those at higher risk of HIV, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a medication that, when taken as prescribed, is up to 99% effective at preventing the virus.

How do I protect myself from STIs?

Condoms are the easiest, and most effective way, to protect yourself from most STIs.

It’s important to note though that condoms, even when used correctly, don’t guarantee 100 per cent protection against STIs or unplanned pregnancy.

Sex using a condom may still spread an infection if the condom doesn’t fully cover the infected area. Also, a condom may break, particularly if it hasn’t been stored properly or the right lubricant hasn’t been used.

You can check out this page for tips on safe sex.

Book in for an STI test in Pascoe Vale

If you’re sexually active, it’s important to get an STI test at least once a year.

Make an appointment straight away if you notice symptoms after having sex without a condom or dental dam, if the condom broke or slipped off during sex, or when you start a new relationship.

In most cases, a simple blood or urine sample is all that’s needed.

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 30 March 2022.

Read More
Woman wearing a face mask

Wearing a mask during the coronavirus pandemic

We’re all used to wearing face masks now.

It’s one of the most important ways we can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

There are some commonly asked questions about face masks, and we’d like to answer them for you.

The most important thing to remember is you still need to wear your mask when you come into the clinic.

What masks are available?

There are two types of masks commonly available – disposable and cloth.

Cloth masks are good because they’re recyclable and better for the environment than disposable masks.

Cloth masks must fit snugly around your face. They should have three layers of closely woven fabric – cotton on the inside, cotton blend in the middle and a polyester outer layer.

Disposable masks, i.e. surgical and N95 / P2 masks, may be better at filtering out small viral particles in the air, but wearing any mask is better than wearing none.

Where should I buy one from?

Pharmacies, supermarkets and post offices are good places to buy disposable masks, as many sold on the internet may be inappropriate.

How should I care for my mask?

Cloth masks should be washed in hot water and detergent. It’s well known that hot water above 56°C can kill the virus.

Care is required when removing your mask to avoid touching the outer and inner surface of it.

Disposable masks must be put in the bin after each use.

Wearing a mask
Wash your masks in hot water.

What are the most important things to consider about masks?

You’re required to wear a face mask in certain settings, such as on public transport and at hospitals. You can find a list of all the places here.

When you come in to our clinic, you must wear a mask, even if you’re feeling great. Make sure the mask covers both your nose and mouth.

Some patients in our waiting room have serious medical conditions or have compromised immune systems, so it’s important we all play our part in keeping everyone safe.

If you do touch the mask, wash your hands with soap and water or sanitise your hands immediately. Do this after removing your mask too.

And remember, masks are not a replacement for social distancing, strict hand hygiene, and sneeze and cough etiquette.

Feeling unwell?

If you have any respiratory symptoms, no matter how mild, you should get tested at a COVID-19 testing site or use a rapid antigen test (RAT).

If you test positive, please stay at home and follow the government health advice.

As always, we’re here for you. If you have any questions, please give us a call on 9304 0500.

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 23 February 2022.

Read More
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 2022.

Read More
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 2022.

Read More
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.

Read More
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


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


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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
Had your COVID-19 winter booster?

If you're aged 50 and over, it is recommended you receive the winter booster.

If you're aged 30-49, you can choose to receive the winter booster.

Call us on 9304 0500 to book in!