“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realise they were the big things”  

enjoy the little things in life

I have this quote on a canvas on my wall and I have looked at it at various times over the last few years.  With my eldest child starting high school this year it has really hit home just how quickly our children grow up!


I read an article recently about a man who went on a holiday with each of his children separately for the ultimate in one on one time!  Though this is out of reach for most people we can employ the principle in our own ways.


Today my 13 year old had a pupil free day and I decided I would not do any work or housework and that we would spend the day together.  He wasn’t overly enthused to start with and was not very helpful in getting ready for our morning of paddleboarding.  Once we got out on the water we made some small talk.  Then we saw some big fish.  Then we saw lots of stingrays.   Then we talked about how smooth the water was.


I have read that the best time to have “big” conversations is when travelling in the car and you are not required to look each other in the eye.  This was how it was for us paddleboarding today.  As we talked more and more conversation progressed from small things to bigger things.   I thought about the article about the man and his child going on holidays.  Today was our holiday together.


After we returned to shore we sat on our boards and talked some more.  We laughed.  We reminisced.  We enjoyed being with each other!  We had lunch together and did some Christmas shopping before our time just as the two of us ended.  I will be making a habit out of individual time with my children from now on.




What is tinea?

Tinea is a type of fungal infection that commonly occurs on the feet including the toenails.  Fungal infections like warm moist areas which is why they commonly occur on the feet due to the wearing of shoes and socks especially when sweating occurs.

Different symptoms of tinea occur depending on the type and where it is located on the foot.

  • Tinea that occurs between the toes usually starts with the outside toes and appears as red peeling and skin with cracks.
  • Tinea that occurs around the heel and sole of the foot may be very scaly and flaky.
  • Nail fungal infection leads to thick, yellow/brown and sometimes disfigured nails


How to treat tinea

Applying an antifungal cream or gel is the best treatment for most types of tinea.  Treatments can also come in a spray or liquid which suit some people.

Terbinafine (Lamisil) is the most effective agent.  It also only needs to be applied once a day and usually resolves the infection quicker.  Azoles such as clotrimazole (Canesten), bifonazole and miconazole take longer to eliminate the infection and most need to be used 2-3 times daily.

When a fungal infection involves a nail it is best treated with nail lacquer such as amorolfine (Loceryl).  As nails are slow to grow it can take 6-12 months for toenail infections to totally go.  In some cases oral medication prescribed by your Doctor is needed.

It is time to see your Doctor if there is no sign of skin improvement after 3 weeks of treatment and 3 months if there is no sign of improvement in nail treatment.



How to stop tinea from coming back

It is important to keep feet as dry as possible to prevent tinea from coming back.  This includes washing them well with soap and water each day and making sure they are totally dry especially between the toes

Wear cotton or wool socks rather than socks made from synthetic fibres as feet can breathe better in natural fabrics.  Airing shoes in the sun as often as is possible and washing them also if possible reduces the risk of fungal infection.

Wear thongs in public showers to prevent infection.  Fungal spores that cause infection can stay present in the shower for months after an infected person uses the shower.

Do not share towels or shoes and socks as infection can be passed on in this way.


Oral contraceptives (OC) and Hormone Replacement Therapy can be affected by

Oral contraceptives and HRT can be affected by

Oral contraceptives and Hormone Replacement Therapy

It is the oestrogen and oestrogen like hormone medications that the following refer to.  Progesterone only OC and HRT do not have these same effects.


Caffeine and Oral Contraceptives/Hormone Replacement Therapy

As we know caffeine can make us feel jittery and can sometimes cause nausea.  Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft drink and unfortunately chocolate.  Hormones can increase the effects of caffeine possibly making us feel more jittery, irritated or nauseous.  Limit the intake of caffeine to reduce these side effects.


Energy drinks and appetite suppressants and Oral Contraceptives/Hormone Replacement Therapy

These drinks and supplements usually contain ingredients such as guarana and bitter orange that cause stimulation.  As hormones themselves can be stimulating the same effects can occur as with caffeine mentioned above.  Limit the use of these drinks and supplements.


Grapefruit juice and Oral Contraceptives/Hormone Replacement Therapy

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can increase the levels of certain things in the body and oestradiol is one of them.  Oestradiol is a common form of oestrogen found in contraceptives and HRT.  Higher levels of oestrogen make side effects such as nausea, leg cramps and blood clots more likely.  Grapefruit and grapefruit juice should be avoided when taking oestrogen containing medications.


Black cohosh, licorice, chasteberry and wild yam and Oral Contraceptives/Hormone Replacement Therapy

These herbs can interfere with how prescription hormone medicines work because they too affect hormone levels in the body.  Only take these in addition to prescribed hormone medicines under professional advice.

Should you have a flu vaccination?

should I get the flu vaccination

2020 Flu vaccination

In the year 2020 it is more important than ever to have your annual flu vaccination.  It will not prevent you from contracting COVID-19 but it will protect you from the most common strains of flu and so prevent you getting COVID-19 and the flu at the same time which would make you very sick.


Flu vaccination

In healthy adults having a flu vaccination reduces the risk of contracting the flu (influenza) by 60-70 percent.  This is a good reduction.

The flu kills hundreds to thousands of people each year in Australia and is responsible for many thousands of hospitalisations and sick days. More children are killed by the flu than meningococcal.

It is recommended that every well person over the age of 6 months receive the flu vaccination.  When healthy individuals are vaccinated this not only protects the person themselves but also those who are very young, elderly or not well enough to be vaccinated.

Many people walk in to pharmacies each year and declare they have the flu and want something to ease their symptoms.  Most of these people don’t have the flu but rather the common cold which makes you feel sick but not as sick as the flu and the common cold is not deadly.


Why is the flu vaccination different each year?

Each year, around April, a new flu vaccination is available.  From 2018 onwards the flu vaccination contains 4 strains of flu virus (previously 3-4 strain vaccinations were available).  The strains are chosen based on intelligent guess work to anticipate which strains are most likely to be encountered that year.

The effectiveness of flu vaccinations can start to decrease after 3-4 months and different strains may be more prevalent from year to year.  This is why vaccination is required every year.


When should you have a flu vaccination?

As already mentioned the vaccination effectiveness can decrease after 3-4 months.  Ideally you should have a flu vaccination two weeks before you may be exposed to the flu for maximum effectiveness.  This is impossible to determine!  It is generally recommended to be vaccinated from the end of April onwards as peak flu times can occur any time between May and September.


Can you get the flu from the flu vaccination?

No you can’t.  The vaccination does not contain live virus so it can not give you flu.  The vaccination contains parts of killed virus that makes our immune system think we have been exposed to the flu and so it produces antibodies.  Having these antibodies in our bodies means that if we are exposed to the real live virus we are able to fight against it immediately with our already formed antibodies.




Head lice – a back to school delight!

head lice

Head lice

Now that we’re well and truly back to school head lice is starting to make an appearance again.  It’s a good idea to check your children’s heads regularly particularly if they are scratching their scalp.  The itching can occur due to irritation from lice saliva! This itching can persist for weeks after lice are killed so just because the scalp is still itchy it doesn’t mean lice are still present.

Adult lice (the ones that lay the eggs) are quite small at about 3mm in size and are a grey/white colour.  They can be difficult to spot in fair hair.  They can live for about 1-2 days away from human contact.  Eggs are usually laid close to the scalp and can sometimes be confused for dandruff or dry skin.  If they are difficult to pull off this may be a sign that they are eggs.

Treatment should occur in anyone who has live lice.  Treatment can occur in two ways; medical and non-medical.


Medical treatment of head lice

Treatment lotions and shampoos are chemical based or non-chemical based.  The chemical ones such as KP-24, Quellada and Banlice kill the lice by poisoning them.  The non-chemical treatments kill the lice by physically coating them and suffocating them.  Examples of non-chemical treatments are Moov, Neutralice, Hedrin and Full Marks.

The most important part of using the medical treatment is to repeat the treatment process 7 days after the first treatment.  This is because any lice that may have hatched since the first treatment need to be killed before they lay eggs themselves.


Non-medical treatment of head lice

This treatment option involves either covering the hair with conditioner and then combing and removing eggs with your fingernails or using an electronic comb to electrocute the lice.

These options should be performed every 2 days for about 2 weeks to ensure no eggs are missed and then hatch.


Head lice treatment tips

I find that it’s a good idea to combine these techniques and do the combing and fingernail removal of eggs each night for the week between the medical treatments.

I also found it helpful to straighten my daughter’s hair a couple of nights after treatment as this loosened the glue on any remaining eggs so that they were killed and came off the hair easily.

Wash hair brushes and pillowcases in hot water and leave to dry in the sun or dryer to prevent reinfestation.

It is not necessary for children to be absent from child care or school after their first treatment.

Hair should be tied back or in a plait if hair is long to minimise lice transmission.  Remind children not to share hair brushes and to wear their own hat.