“Get your Flu Shot “

get your flu shot


It is that time of year again where Influenza vaccinations become available at GP practices and flu clinics open! This is no different for the Panaceum – with weekly nurse-led influenza clinics running.

Influenza or “the flu” is a highly contagious virus that is spread by droplets – sneezing and coughing or direct contact with these bodily fluids on surfaces. Three types of influenza exist – types A, B and C. Each year the flu vaccine is likely to change to provide coverage to the most dominant strains at the time.

The elderly, those with chronic conditions, the young and pregnant women are more likely to develop complications as a result of having the influenza virus and therefore are encouraged to have the influenza vaccination. It is estimated that roughly 3000 people die from the flu every year. Immunisation of people at risk from the flu is the most important and effective method we have to reduce the number of flu infections and deaths.

Causes of the Flu

As mentioned above – it is highly contagious and is spread by coughing and sneezing or by contact with a surface covered in infected fluids. Family members or others who live in close contact to those affected by chronic medical conditions or those conditions where immunity is reduced – should also consider immunisation to minimise the spread to others.

Symptoms of the Flu

  • High fever, chills and sweating
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • General joint and muscular pains
  • Non-productive cough that can become productive (coughing up sputum)

How are the flu and the common cold different?

  • Cold symptoms only last for a few days, but the flu can last up to a week and in some cases longer
  • The flu usually causes a significantly higher temperature
  • Joint and muscle pains don’t occur with a cold.
  • Colds usually have a runny nose, whereas the is dry.

Complications are common in at risk groups, and can increase the risk or serious complications and death. In a small number of cases the flu can lead to pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia, inflammation of the brain or Reye’s syndrome.

Treatment of the Flu

The flu is a virus and therefore CANNOT be treated with Antibiotics. In recent years Antiviral Medications have become available. These medications are only useful and effective if given early after symptom onset. These medications may only reduce symptoms and do not usually prevent them.

Vaccination with the Influenza Vaccine is the primary way to control influenza.

Treating yourself for the Flu

  • Rest until you do not have a fever
  • Keep up your fluids and make sure that you are still going to the toilet regularly
  • If you do get a fever – take paracetamol. For adults this is 1gram of paracetamol up to 4 times a day, 4 hours minimum between doses. For children – dosage is based on weight and it is best to consult the label on the bottle for the most appropriate dose for that weight.
  • Avoid things that cause coughing and sneezing such as dust, fumes, tobacco smoke etc.
  • If you develop difficulty breathing, or your sputum becomes yellow or green – consult your usual GP.

The Influenza Vaccination

Did you know?

  • Influenza causes more deaths per year than road accidents
  • Each year the flu causes more than 18,000 hospitalisations
  • Do you want to be one of these statistics?

Each year a new vaccination against the flu is released based on the most common strains evident in populations across the world. The ideal time for vaccination is NOW – between march and may typically.

The Influenza vaccination does not protect your for life – Annual Re-vaccination is required.

The 2014 vaccination is providing coverage against the following strains:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) – Like virus
  • A/Texas/50/ (H3N2) – Like virus
  • B/Massachusetts/2/2012 – Like virus

It does take approximately 10-14 days to develop immunity after vaccination. The National Immunisation Program funds vaccinations for:

  • Those aged 65 and over
  • Children under 5  years
  • Pregnant women
  • Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander People 15years and over
  • People with chronic conditions including: cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory conditions, chronic neurological conditions, disabilities, children on long term asthma therapy, lowered or impaired immunity, diabetics, chronic renal failure

Vaccination in Children

  • There has been a significant amount of ‘bad’ publicity regarding vaccination in children for the flu after significant side effects in children several years ago. This was in regards to the brand ‘BioCSL’. This brand has now band its use in children under 5 years of age.
  • The Panaceum group prides itself on having a policy that outlines our refusal to administer this brand where resources allow. We use Vaxigrip, Fluarix and Influvac brands.
  • Child influenza vaccination for those over the age of 6 months. In the childs first year of having the influenza vaccination – they are required to have two doses 4 weeks apart.
  • If you are interested in having your child vaccinated – please call us to make a booking.

Vaccination in Pregnancy

Vaccination is now safe during all trimesters of pregnancy, however you should consult your GP or Obstetrician prior to having this vaccination done.

Having the vaccination will provide protection for yourself and also for your baby for the 1st 6 months of life.

People who should consider vaccination include:

  • Hospital staff, nursing home staff, carers of those with a chronic disease or carers for homeless people.
  • Those working with children
  • Travelling overseas
  • People working with poultry or pigs

If you are unsure if you meet the criteria for a funded vaccinations – call us at the Panaceum Group to ask a Nurse – Or consult your GP in your next appointment.

If you would like to pay to have your vaccination – the Panaceum can provide this to you for $23.00. these vaccinations can be given to you at one of our nurse-led clinics or can be arranged on your next visit you’re the GP.

How to prevent the spread of the Flu

  • Get your yearly influenza vaccination at The Panaceum Group
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when your cough or sneeze
  • Throw your tissues in a bin lined with a plastic bag.
  • Wash your hand after sneezing and coughing – or consider an alcohol based hand rub.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth so prevent germs from spreading
  • Do not go to work if you are unwell to avoid spreading it to your colleagues
  • Don’t send sick children to school or day-care
  • Approach your workplace about work based vaccination programs.

Information for Employers

Have you considered providing the influenza vaccination to your staff?

It has the following benefits:

  • Protection for clients
  • Protection for your staff
  • Reduced absenteeism

Interested? Contact Melissa@panaceum.com.au

Influenza Services at the Panaceum Group

  • Funded vaccinations for those eligible
  • Private fee-paying vaccinations
  • Nurse led flu clinics
  • External flu clinics for companies and corporate organisations (for more information email Melissa@panaceum.com.au)

Please Contact us at Geraldton Medical Group on (08) 9920 8111 or University Medical Practice on (08) 9923 9999 to book your appointment or make enquiries.

Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness, a Personal Plea!

EpilespyPurple Day for epilepsy is something relatively new for me. After being diagnosed with epilepsy in 2010, it is only now in 2014 that I am aware of Purple Day. Purple day is a grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about Epilepsy. On march 26th of each year people around the world are asked to spread the word about epilepsy. So join me in wearing purple and spreading the word!

Unfortunately in todays society, although advanced in technology…is still not a world advanced enough to remove the stigma associated with epilepsy. Most people are uneducated and unaware of what it means to have a diagnosis of Epilepsy. Epilepsy does not automatically mean that you suffer from a mental illness or that we are any different from the person next to us.

In 2010, I was educating colleagues about febrile seizures in children when I came across information about Temporal Lobe Epilepsy – I begun ticking boxes for symptoms and found that most of the symptoms described the strange sensations and turns I had been having. I approached my GP who refused to do any testing and believed I had an anxiety disorder. He handed be a phamplet and referred me to a psychologist. I went to a second GP who thankfully was more interested and sent me for further testing. Some 18months later, numerous scans including the longest 24hours of my life where I wasn’t allowed to sleep at all prior to a sleep deprived EEG – nothing was pointing to Epilepsy. I then saw an “epileptologist” – I didn’t even know such a profession could exist. I was formally diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy with simple partial seizures in 2012 at the age of 25. My form of epilepsy is just one of roughly 40 types of epilepsy – a type that does not show in tests unless i’m having one at the time.

My case is just one of many, that shows how difficult the diagnosis process is for some people with epilepsy. The trials with medications are sometime grueling. There are restrictions on driving and licences, there are drug interactions, and the risk of simple seizures progressing to complex seizures, as well as the risk of injury if complex seizures are not controlled well.

Epilepsy is more common than MS, Parkinson’s Disease and Cerebral Palsy combined and affects roughly 2% of the population at any one time – equating to 50million people.

Many people are able to outgrow their epilepsy or are in long term remission from seizures. However, for some people Epilepsy can have profound social, physical and psychological consequences.

The cause of epilepsy in most people is unknown, but for most is due to illness, stroke, disease, tumours, injury or birth defects. For me, the exact cause of my epilepsy is unknown and there is no significant history to suggest a reason – making diagnosis that much more difficult.

My reasons for participation in PURPLE DAY are obvious given my diagnosis. However, I am also involved to educate others about epilepsy and also to increase peoples awareness of First Aid for Seizures.

I’m inspired by the work that Epilepsy Association of Western Australia (Inc) do, so I wanted to raise money for them as part of my participation in Purple Day 2014. Please help me help them by giving whatever you can using the ‘GIVE NOW’ button. The more people that know about Epilepsy Association of Western Australia (Inc), the greater their impact, so please also spread the word by sharing my page with your friends and family. Thank you in advance for your generosity, it means a lot!

Donate at:


Thanks for reading!

Nurse Manager, Panaceum Group, Amanda Francis.


How much do you know about Seizures? What would you do if someone had a seizure in front of you?


  • Stay with the person
  • Time seizure
  • Protect from injury especially the head
  • Roll onto side after jerking stops OR immediately if food/fluid/vomit in mouth
  • Observe and monitor breathing
  • Gently reassure until recovered


  • Put anything in the person’s mouth
  • Restrain the person
  • Move person unless in danger


  • You are in any doubt
  • Injury has occurred
  • There is food/fluid/vomit in mouth
  • Seizure occurs in water
  • Person has breathing difficulties after jerking stops
  • Another seizure quickly follows
  • Seizure lasts longer than 5 mins
  • The person is non-responsive for more than 5 mins after the seizure ends

Panaceum Group, Proud Supporters of the Sun City Cinema !

The team from the Panaceum Group have a really hard time trying to work out which organisations we would like to sponsor and support each year, there are so many excellent community events and needs in Geraldton!  The Sun City Cinema is one such organisation, it is a great community event for all the family and we are really proud to be sponsors of this event. After all good health starts with a bit of fun, fresh air and relaxation, and this is just what this outdoor cinema provides !

Exciting News: The Panaceum Group Sun City Cinema will be running a 3 day film and music festival over the ANZAC Day weekend: 24-26th April. With the support of Dome Australia and The Greater City of Geraldton, we will have great local music, a film every night and fireworks on the Saturday. Each night a different theme, all family orientated…..here’s a taster of the filmsSun city cinema:.

Questions to ask your doctor

We invite you to ask questions about eg your medications or condition when you come to see us.

If you’re not sure what questions to ask, there is a great tool available, designed by the independent NPS MedicineWise organisation.

The tool helps you to build your own list of questions. You can then print it and take it to your doctor’s appointment.

Click here to read more.


Family Doctor Week 2013: support your local GP

Your family doctor (or GP) is central to your care. Family doctors want to give you high quality care throughout your life!

Providing quality patient care has become difficult in recent years. The current fee structure puts considerable pressure on patients and GP practices. The government will not increase the Medicare rebate this year.

Support your family doctor by speaking to your local federal member of parliament!


Family Doctor Week 2013 (VIDEO)

Family Doctor Week highlights the role played by general practitioners (GPs), also known as family doctors, in delivering high quality health care in local communities all around Australia. It is also an important reminder to the community of the importance of having a family doctor.

This year, Family Doctor Week runs from Monday 15 July to Sunday 21 July 2013.


For more information: click here