Blood Donation

100 Gold Coast blood donors needed this Australia Day long weekend

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is calling on more local Aussie legends to give up an hour of their time to donate blood on the Gold Coast this Australia Day long weekend.

Robina and Southport Blood Donor Centres need 100 more donors to give blood on Saturday 26th and Monday 28th January when appointments are low.

Blood Service spokesperson Belinda Smetioukh said cancer patients, trauma victims, people with bleeding disorders, new mums and newborn babies would still need blood this Australia Day.

“Australia Day is the perfect time to give back to the local community; there’s nothing more Australian than helping out a mate or three by donating blood,” she said.

“To ensure blood is there when you or a loved one needs it, we need more Gold Coast residents to sign-up as blood donors.

“We’re particularly encouraging people who have never donated blood before to become a local legend in 2019 and trade places with our regular donors who are away for the Australia Day public holiday.

“With one in three Aussies needing a blood product in their lifetime but only one in 30 donating, there’s never been a better time to donate blood.

“Blood donation takes just one hour – it’s such a short time spent saving lives.”

Every month Australia needs 8,000 new donors to sign up to donate blood.

To make an appointment to give blood this Australia Day long weekend, visit donateblood.com.au or call 13 14 95.

sunscreen

7 tips to help you avoid the summer sizzle and protect your skin

Summer is the time for outdoor adventures, but with the UV levels hitting extreme, it’s important to take steps to ensure the only person sporting a red coat this festive season is Santa!

Queensland is the skin cancer capital of the world and sun protection is critical in preventing skin damage so, don’t risk your health from a careless moment in the sun.

Here are seven sun protection tips from Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan to reduce your risk of skin cancer:

1. Look at the UV levels.
It’s important to remember that its exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, not the temperature, that is linked to skin damage; that’s why you can get sunburnt on overcast or cool days. Track the daily UV levels where you live by using the SunSmart app (free via app stores or online via cancer.org.au/SunSmartApp) and ensure you are using multiple methods of sun protection when the level is three or above.

2. Seek shade.
Built, natural and portable shade are all recommended for sun protection. Some of the sun’s UV can still reach a person in the shade via reflection off surrounding surfaces and that’s why Cancer Council Queensland always recommends people use a combination of all five sun protection methods.

3. What you wear matters.
Clothing, hats and sunglasses will all help protect you from the sun. The best sun protection comes from covering up as much skin as possible, but darker clothing with a tighter fabric structure will generally offer better protection than lightly-woven fabrics, stretched-out clothing, or light, pastel shades. If you want to be sure of the level of protection offered by your outfit, look for a tag with a high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating. Fabrics rated above UPF15 provide good protection, but UPF50+ is recommended. It’s also important to choose a wide-brimmed hat, so your face, neck and ears, will be shaded, and to opt for wrap-around sunglasses to protect your eyes.

4. Know your SPF.
SPF stands for sun protection factor – and it’s the measure of how much UV gets through. The higher the number, the less UV passes through. An SPF of 30 allows one-thirtieth of 3.3 per cent of UV to reach your skin. This means it filters 96.7 per cent of UV. With an SPF of 50, 98 per cent is filtered and one-fiftieth or 2 per cent gets through. It’s also important to remember that you can’t add the numbers together. For example, SPF20 moisturiser and SPF10 foundation used together don’t equal SPF30 protection. You will only be protected to the level of the highest SPF product applied.

5. Sunscreen should be used every day, but it doesn’t last all day.
Cancer Council Queensland recommends people use water-resistant TGA approved sunscreen, but any sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or after swimming, sweating or towel drying, regardless of the level of water-resistance advised on the bottle. It’s also important to remember that sunscreen can expire, so check the date on the bottle.

6. You need broad-spectrum protection.
There are two different types of UV radiation that pose a threat to your skin. UVA radiation penetrates beneath the skin, affecting the living cells beneath the surface. It contributes to skin cancer, but also causes damage like wrinkles, blotchiness, and sagging. UVB radiation affects the top layer of skin and it’s the main cause of skin cancer and skin damage. Sunscreen providing broad-spectrum protection will filter out both types of radiation, providing your skin with more comprehensive protection.

7. You need more sunscreen than you think.
To make the best use of your sunscreen, correct application is key. Liberal application with even coverage applied on clean, dry skin, 20 minutes before heading outside will give you the best protection. For the best coverage, generously spread at least one teaspoon of sunscreen per limb, front and back torso, feet and face (including neck and ears). In total it should come to about 35ml (or seven teaspoons) of sunscreen per application.

For more information about Cancer Council Queensland and staying SunSmart visit: cancerqld.org.au

Explainer: how a dust storm, and hazardous air quality, can harm your health

A MAJOR dust storm swept through Sydney and regional New South Wales this week.

Red skies over Broken Hill on Wednesday night and Sydney on Thursday resembled those seen during intense bushfire activity and the massive 2009 dust storm.

The NSW government updated its air quality index to “hazardous”.

People were advised to stay indoors unless it is essential to go outside, minimise strenuous physical activity and seek emergency medical assistance if they experience breathing difficulties, chest pains, or if other serious health concerns arise.

The hazardous air quality warning arose because fine dust levels were high relative to Australian air quality standards.

Air quality levels of PM10 – particles at or less than 10 microns (µg) – were more than twice the Australian standard, of 50 µg/m³ measured over a 24-hour period, on Friday morning. They remained high throughout the day.

Perhaps of greater concern are the smaller PM2.5 dust particles, which were above the Australian standard of 25 µg/m³ at St Marys in Sydney’s west on Friday morning.

Fine PM2.5 dust particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause respiratory difficulties.

Short-term exposures aggravate asthma, increasing the number of emergency department visits, as well as causing wheezing and breathing difficulties.

Even for those not affected by asthma, exposure can cause coughing, a sore throat and a runny nose. Elevated dust exposure can also aggravate heart conditions.

For example, increased short-term exposure to both PM10 and PM2.5 has been linked to increased death and hospitalisation rates due to heart disease, arrhythmias (palpitations) and stroke.

The city of Newcastle is experiencing much worse conditions. On Friday morning PM10 levels were four times the Australian standard of 50 µg/m³ due to additional smoke particles from local bushfires.

Throughout the day PM2.5 levels in Newcastle have remained just below the maximum acceptable upper value of 25 µg/m³.

Fine dust particles are usually too small to see individually but high concentrations make them visible as a brown haze.

Even as the dust begins to clear, the unseen fine particles outside or even inside your house can still present a health risk.

It’s advisable to use any prescribed relieving medications and seek medical advice if symptoms do not improve.

For those who own an air conditioner, it may be appropriate to use it as long as the fresh air intake is closed and the filter is clean, preventing particles from being drawn into the home.

It is also important to keep an eye on air quality, which can be done in real-time via the NSW government’s air quality monitoring network.

The previous major dust storm in 2009 was made of predominantly natural elements – aluminium, silicon and iron.

These originate from desert soils and did not contain significant concentrations of toxic elements. The current dust storm is likely similar in composition.

While there is some evidence the source and composition of dust has health implications, the most critical factor is the size of the particles. Evidence shows there is no safe level of fine PM2.5 dust.

Dust storms like this and the one in 2009 are unlikely to present a long-term health risk.

However, they are concerning in the short term, especially for the elderly, people with pre-existing respiratory conditions and children, who breathe more air per kilogram of body mass than adults.

A health impact assessment of the 2009 dust storm showed marked increases in emergency admissions for asthma and respiratory conditions but no significant increase in cardiovascular (heart and vessel) hospital admissions.

The age groups most affected were those known to be most vulnerable – people older than 65 and those aged five and younger.

A similar situation is being experienced in California, where wildfires are causing high concentrations of dust and smoke in the air and significant concerns about human health.

Australia generally enjoys good air quality, which is not the case for many lower- to middle-income countries.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 600,000 children died in 2016 due to air pollution.

Air quality is a global public health issue. Around 91% of the world’s population live in areas where the WHO’s fine particle (PM2.5) guidelines are not met.


For those concerned about dust, Macquarie University’s DustSafe program will provide information on the dust in your home free of charge.The Conversation

Mark Patrick Taylor, Professor of Environmental Science, Macquarie University and Cynthia Isley, Researcher, Macquarie University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation

Smokers at greater risk of developing schizophrenia

PEOPLE who smoke are more likely to be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia than those who don’t, researchers at the University of Queensland have found.

Their review of eight long-running studies found strong evidence of an association between smoking and mental illness, which they suggest is most likely caused by nicotine.

Associate Professor James Scott said the findings raised serious concerns about the increasing use of nicotine through e-cigarettes by young adults.

Dr Scott said the review found the risk of developing schizophrenia increased twofold for smokers.

“People who smoke tobacco have an approximately twofold increased risk of developing schizophrenia or psychosis,” Dr Scott said.

“While e-cigarettes reduce some of the harms associated with smoking, governments need to consider their potential to harm the mental health of young people.”

Dr Scott said e-cigarettes were often reported to be safe, and marketing was directed towards young people.

“More research is urgently needed to examine the association between e-cigarette use and psychosis, particularly in adolescents and young adults,” Dr Scott said.

“Until there is a better understanding of the harm of e-cigarettes, it would be safest that liquid nicotine remains illegal to buy in Australia without a prescription.”

Renovation

Tradies and renovators reminded of fatal asbestos danger

Cancer Council Queensland has called for renewed awareness of the risks of asbestos after at least 166 Queenslanders were diagnosed with mesothelioma (a rare and fatal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos) last year.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said Asbestos Awareness Week (November 19-25) provided an opportunity for tradespeople and home renovators to find out how to work safely with asbestos materials before starting a job.

“When breathed in, asbestos fibres raise a person’s risk of developing asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma,” Ms McMillan said.

“Sadly, there is no cure yet for mesothelioma and due to its aggressive nature, those diagnosed often have a very poor prognosis.”

The average time between diagnosis and death in Australia is around 11 months, according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare analysis of all mesothelioma diagnoses and deaths recorded in the Australian Mesothelioma Registry (AMR) as at September 2018.

“We know that asbestos miners, transport workers, builders, plumbers, electricians and mechanics may be among the most likely to be exposed to asbestos in their workplace,” Ms McMillan said.

“Queenslanders who haven’t worked directly with asbestos but have been exposed to it can also develop mesothelioma, including people washing or cleaning work clothes with asbestos fibres on them or people renovating homes.”

Asbestos was once used in Australia in more than 3000 different products including fibro, flue pipes, drains, roofs, gutters, brakes, clutches and gaskets.

“It’s vital that Queenslanders take the warning seriously and protect themselves and their families from asbestos fibres,” Ms McMillan said.

“If you’re not sure whether something is an asbestos containing material, and it was built ore renovated before 1990, assume it is until you have it confirmed by an expert and if it needs to be removed, engage a licensed asbestos removalist.”

Ms McMillan said mesothelioma has one of the longest latency periods of all diseases, typically 20-40 years after exposure, and the signs and symptoms of the disease are often vague and similar to other conditions.

“Shortness of breath, sharp pains in the chest or a dull pain in the shoulder and upper arm, a persistent cough or a change in a coughing pattern can be symptoms of the cancer,” Ms McMillan said.

“If Queenslanders are concerned about their risk, especially if they think they have been exposed to asbestos, they should see their general practitioner for advice.”

Queenslanders should visit worksafe.qld.gov.au for information on asbestos removal and carrying out asbestos-related work.