Novel coronavirus

Novel coronavirus

Coronavirus is a word that we have all heard mentioned lately.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can make us sick (animals too).  Some coronaviruses cause mild illness, like the common cold, and others can make people very sick like SARS did several years ago.

A novel coronavirus is a new virus which means that it has not been seen before this outbreak occurred.

Why is a new virus bad?

New viruses can affect more people as no one has immunity to them.

Viruses are present in our communities all the time and because we have some exposure to them our immune system can build up some immunity to them so that we don’t get as sick and we recover faster. There is no vaccination for a virus that is new and there is no immunity to it present in our immune systems.

Is it likely that I will catch novel coronavirus?

Unless you have been to China this year or have come in to close contact with someone who has it is very unlikely that you will catch it.

How is novel coronavirus spread?

As with other viral illnesses it is spread by an infected person coughing or sneezing on someone else or on a surface that is touched by someone else.

How can I avoid catching coronavirus?

It is always important to have good hygiene to prevent the spread of this and other illnesses.  This includes washing hands well with soap and water and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow if you don’t have a tissue.

Can novel coronavirus be treated?

There is no treatment for this.  Antibiotics do not work on viruses.

For more information visit the Australian Government Department of Health website

Ask me a Question!

Ask me a question

Exciting News!

It’s been a long time coming but I have to tell you all I’m very, very excited.

The next time you’re checking out my blog you can use the first of my upcoming changes.

If you have a look in the bottom right hand corner you’ll see a question mark in a blue circle.

One click on that and you can ask me a question.

You can also easily add a photo or other attachment.

Again, you may not see it as a big deal so think about this:

It’s early in the evening, the pharmacy is closed, the doctor’s surgery is closed and you’re preparing a meal you’ve never cooked before and all of a sudden you you notice a rash that has started spreading.

The baby is crying. Your oldest child is in the bath and you can hear the water being poured onto the tiles. Your middle child has gone quiet (we all know how disastrous that is). Your partner has just started her gym class, then she’s doing the grocery shopping and she left her phone at home.

What are your options?

  1. Ride out the pain and hope it goes away
  2. Turn dinner off, throw all the kids in the car and sit in Emergency at the local hospital
  3. Wait until your partner gets home
  4. Take a photo of the rash, write me a quick message to see if I can help

What can I do for you when I see your message?

  1. Have a look at what you sent, ask you a question or two about it and give you some advice
  2. Have a look at what you sent and tell you to get to the hospital

How does that help you?

The big bonus is that if I can help you I will. Most people have a good stock of medicines and pain relief in their cupboard at home. I can guide you through what is best to take for your condition. If I can’t help, I’ll send you in the right direction for care.

Unfortunately I won’t be coming to cook your dinner or look after your children, but I could save you a lot of time, energy and worry. That’s what I studied hard for and now enjoy doing for a living.

Even if you don’t have an issue at the moment I’d love for you to send me a message to say hi and see how easy it is to use.

I’m really looking forward to connecting with you all even more.

Have a great weekend!

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

In two days’ time it will be two years since I published my first Healthful Wisdom article.  At that time, I knew I wanted to do something more with my knowledge as a Pharmacist.

I have enjoyed writing articles that hopefully help people have a better understanding of their medicines.  I like receiving questions and comments and requests for topics.

I have had some big changes in my life in the last two years also.

I have built a house that will be our forever home.

I met my love!

I embarked on a health and fitness journey that saw me start with personal training and progress to functional fitness group training.  I have had some impressive results here.  In the last five months I have dropped  4 kg and 4% of body fat.

Some days are a challenge and sometimes every day seems like a challenge.  Raising children, raising teenagers, working, housework, going to the gym and staying sane are difficult to fit in to the same day.  I think I’m going ok.

I’m trying to find time to fit in expansion of my blog and other developments and I’m looking forward to this happening soon!

Thank you to each of you for reading my posts.  A very big thank you for sharing, liking and commenting on my posts so that they are seen by more people.



Vitamin D – important for many reasons

Vitamin D

Winter is here! A lot of us will be spending more time indoors and wearing more clothing that covers our skin.  This means we will have less exposure to sunlight.  Less sunlight means we may have lower levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is important for the strength of our bones and muscles.  People with very low levels of vitamin D are at risk of breaking a bone.  Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to UV radiation from sunlight and vitamin D helps us absorb calcium.

If you have fair skin you only need about 10 minutes of exposure to the sun each day in summer to get sufficient vitamin D.  This can occur when driving in the car to work or hanging the washing on the line.  Half an hour or more may be needed in winter.  If you have darker skin you may need up to five times more sun exposure.  This is because darker skin does not absorb as much UV radiation.

Those people who are most at risk of having low vitamin D levels are; people who do not go outside very often and so do not have much sun exposure, those with darker skin and people who wear covering clothing.

Due to the risk of skin cancer some people avoid sun exposure.  The Cancer Council of Australia recommends covering up/wearing sunscreen when the UV Index is above 3 or when you will be in the sun for longer than the time needed to make vitamin D.

If your Doctor thinks you may be at risk of having low vitamin D they will order a blood test to check this.  A supplement can be taken to increase vitamin D levels.  Some vitamin D can be obtained from our diet through eating fish and eggs though this is not enough if there is a deficiency.

In addition to the benefits of vitamin D for our bones it has been shown that adequate levels of vitamin D are important in treating and preventing type 2 diabetes, depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, schizophrenia, asthma, migraines, obesity, metabolic syndrome and cancers.

Taking medicines away from food

taking medicines away from food

I’ve written about medicines that should be taken with food so this week it’s time for medicines that should be taken away from food.


Why some medicines should be taken away from food

To make sure the medicine is processed and absorbed properly. Calcium in dairy products stops the absorption of iron and some antibiotics.  Thyroxine, to treat hypothyroidism, should be taken away from food so that it is absorbed properly.

To make sure the medicine breaks down properly in the intestines and liver. Grapefruit juice has such an unpredictable effect with a lot of medicines that it should not be consumed unless you are sure it is safe with your medicines.

Because the “food” acts in a similar way to the medicine. This is like having an overdose.  This is why alcohol should not be consumed with medications that cause sedation and caffeine should not be used with stimulating medicines.



When it is stated to take a medicine on an empty stomach this generally means to take it one hour before food or two hours after



Take these medicines away from food

  • Beta blockers (heart medicine) eg atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol
  • H2 antagonists (for indigestion/reflux) eg ranitidine, famotidine, nizatidine. Take 30- 60 minutes before food.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (for indigestion/reflux) eg omeprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole. Take 30-60 minutes before food.
  • Thyroxine (thyroid medicine) Take 30-60 minutes before breakfast.
  • Some antibiotics eg ciprofloxacin, roxithromycin
  • Claratyne