The Good, bad and cuddly of the week

30 Jun

The Good – After Hours GP Helpline Begins
Babies never fall ill at 10am on a week day. It always happens at 2am when you are at your least rational, all medical centres are closed and the only option of getting medical help means a dash to the hospital, wherupon you will probably have to wait a couple of hours before being reassured that all is fine and sent on your way with a dose of panadol. Apparently, about 23% of babies under 4 months of age end up in emergency at least once because they are ‘unsettled’ – at least that’s the eventual diagnosis. I completely understand why parents take their kids to hospital when they (the babies) are hysterical and cannot be comforted; it can be frightening when they are crying in a way that suggests extreme pain – and you know the mantra – it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to babies who cannot tell you what hurts, or why. However, it’s a problem for a couple of reasons. Not only is the dash to hospital completely stressful for the parents, it’s also a big burden on the health system. Now – write down this phone number – 1800 022 222 – it could save you a trip to hospital. As of today (July 1) that number will connect you to a free helpline (in all Australian states and territories except QLD) where you can speak with a nurse who can assess the issue, before putting you through (if needed) to an actual GP for an over-the-phone consultation. It’s available to anyone, not just parents of babies. If it can prevent those unnecessary trips to hospital, it will be a godsend. Sometimes, a little reassurance at the end of a phone line is really all we need.

The Bad – the man cold is real
Why is it that when men get a sniffle, it’s ‘the flu’ but when women get sick, it’s just a cold? I know it’s a major generalisation but I believe it to be true – men just don’t seem to cope as well as women when it comes to colds. It’s like they haven’t seen the Codral ads which urge us all to ‘soldier on’. That’s what women do – we soldier on. Men tend to hoick violently and blow loudly so that no one is under any illusion as to the seriousness of the illness. Well, there’s bad news. It seems ‘the man cold’ is a real thing. The Sydney Morning Herald reports researchers from the University of QLD have found women have a much stronger immune response to the virus than men. The leader of the study is quoted as saying ”The way nature has put us together has been done to keep the female of the species alive as a survival thing,” Professor (John) Upham said. ”Women bear the children, where as men are dispensable.” He said it was the first time gender had been identified as a factor in the immune response to rhinoviruses but that sex hormones were known to influence the response to other viruses. Damn it! Now, I will feel obliged to give my husband a little extra TLC when he’s ill, in the knowledge that he probably is feeling the pain a little worse than I am. I used to just dismiss it as men being a little bit pathetic (sorry darling!).

The Cuddly – Dad Returns home from Iraq
I think it’s hard for any non-military person to understand just how difficult it is to let a loved one go off to war – but I think you get a sense of it from this video. It shows a little girl, being surprised by her soldier Dad returning from combat. Her reaction is priceless. But it’s also a powerful reminder of the sacrifice made by the families of all soldiers.

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One Response to “The Good, bad and cuddly of the week”

  1. Anonymous June 30, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    can i just say….man flu is realbird flu is realswine flu is realbut man flu is the most serious and debilitating.it requires extra sympathy, more sport on TV (less masterchef) and a couple of beers to settle it down.problem solved. Good work Sydney morning herald.

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