5th Ave News Spring 2018

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5 AveNews th


| SPRING 2018

We have a permanent ‘Suggestions and Comments’ box in the waiting room, where you can let us know how we’re doing, all year round. You can also email us at reception@ fifthavenue.co.nz. If we’re doing something right, of course we’d love to know. But it’s equally important that you tell us where you think we could make improvements.

Have your say! If you visited us in August, you may have been asked to take part in the Patient Experience Survey.

We want to make your experience with us as comfortable and convenient as possible. As patients, you know what works for you and what doesn’t, and we take all feedback on board. For instance, one of the messages that has been coming through is the frustration at waiting times and, as a result, we are

Developed by the Health Quality and

Your feedback on how we deliver our

looking at ways to improve this.

Safety Commission, the one-week,

service is extremely valuable to us and if

nationwide survey is carried out every

your visit fell during the survey week, we

feedback and will be discussed at

quarter to find out about patient

hope you took the opportunity to have

our monthly meetings, where we

experiences when visiting their general

your say.

acknowledge what’s working and

practice and other health-related

However, if you didn’t get an

services. The information is then used to

opportunity to take part in the survey,

improve the quality of care and patient

you don’t have to wait for it to roll


around again.

Rest assured, all feedback is good

seek solutions for the areas in which improvement is needed. Together we can make changes for the better.

Stock up for spring sniffles Spring has sprung, but unfortunately so too have spring sniffles. If you are susceptible to hay fever, now is a good time to stock up on antihistamines and nasal sprays. Seasonal hay fever is usually triggered by wind-borne pollen

culprits tend to be grass and weed pollens. Some medications are taken before the pollen season to help prevent symptoms, while others provide quick on-the-

from trees, grass and weeds, with early spring symptoms

spot relief. Your GP can give you advice on which option is best

pointing to tree pollen, while in late spring and summer the

for you.

End of an era, but continuity of care remains After four decades of providing multigenerational care to families, Dr John Gemming has announced that he will be retiring at the end of the year. John has been with Fifth Avenue since 1978, when he took over the patients of GP Bill Webster, who was with the practice since shortly after it began in 1950.

Dr John Gemming

This means that some of John’s patients have only ever had one other family doctor over the past 67 years! In some families he has looked after the great-grandparents, the grandparents, the parents and now the children, providing exceptional continuity of care. John will be leaving his patients in the capable hands of Dr Alison James, who joined Fifth Avenue Family Practice in April. For those of you who haven’t yet met Alison, she trained as

in mental health, mind-body medicine and women’s health. Alison is looking forward to continuing to provide the same high level of care that John’s patients have come to expect. If you would like to say your goodbyes to John, why not book an appointment with him over the next couple of months for that long overdue health check? And, don’t worry, we won’t be letting John go without a

a doctor in London and has worked as a GP in Tauranga for the

decent send-off. Our next newsletter will take a closer look at

past 13 years. She also works as one of the GP Liaisons at the

John’s career over the years and how he intends to spend his

Bay of Plenty District Health Board, and has a special interest

retirement. Stay tuned!

Doctor’s Hint

Dress for the occasion! Having to remove multiple items of clothing for a medical examination can be timeconsuming, not to mention chilly. Dressing appropriately can save both time and discomfort. For instance, if you have a knee injury, shorts or baggy tracksuit pants that you can roll up are preferable to skinny jeans. Or, if you are having your blood pressure checked, easily removable layers will help. A little wardrobe planning can make your visit a more seamless experience for both you and your GP.


What are the complications? Around one in every 20 healthy children with chickenpox will develop a bacterial skin infection, that needs to be treated with antibiotics. If untreated, bacterial skin infections can lead to bacterial infection in other parts of the body, including the blood (septicaemia), which can be serious and lead to death. Although rare, chickenpox infection can also cause inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the central

Be a chickenpox party pooper A reminder that the chickenpox vaccine is now part of the immunisation schedule and is administered free to children at 15 months.

nervous system, joints (arthritis), bones, lungs (pneumonia), liver (hepatitis), blood vessels and brain.

Treatment do’s & don’ts DO

It is also free to children who turned 11

also be transferred by direct contact

• Drink plenty of fluid

years on or after July 1, 2017, who have

with the fluid that is in the rash blisters.

• Take paracetamol to help with • Cut children’s nails to avoid

a year, we are currently experiencing an

When is a person most contagious?

outbreak of chickenpox in Tauranga.

A person with chickenpox can pass the

• Use cooling creams or gels

virus on for 1-2 days before they get the

• Bathe in cool water and pat the

not already had chickenpox. Despite this having been the case for

Once seen as a childhood rite of

pain and discomfort

passage, chickenpox is now preventable,

rash, until after the rash blisters have

and we recommend getting your child

dried up, which usually takes 5-7 days.


skin dry • Dress in loose clothes

vaccinated, to avoid discomfort and possible complications.

What are the symptoms? Mild fever, loss of appetite, headache


What is chickenpox?

and feeling tired are all early symptoms,

Chickenpox is a viral illness, also called

followed by the appearance of a red

varicella virus or varicella zoster virus. It

rash that becomes blistered and itchy,

by your doctor, as it may cause

is the same virus that can cause shingles,

mostly on the trunk, head and face.

serious skin infections

which usually occurs later in life.

Blisters can also occur in the eyes,

• Give aspirin to children under 16

mouth, throat, vagina and urinary tract.

• Be around pregnant women,

• Use ibuprofen, unless advised

How do you catch it?

Appearing for up to seven days, the

newborn babies and people with

The virus can spread from person to

liquid-filled blisters containing the virus

a weakened immune system

person through droplets in the air, from

then form crusts that fall off after 1-2

coughing, sneezing or laughing. It can

weeks. 5TH AVE NE WS | SPRING 2018


A standard drink is less than what you might think, for instance a 100ml glass of wine or 330ml can of beer. To reduce long-term health risks, women should have no more than two standard drinks a day, and no more than 10 a week. Men should have no more than three drinks a day, and 15 a week. A least two days a week should be alcohol free. If you are worried about your drinking, regret your behaviour when you’re drunk or want to make changes to the way you drink, you might want to take the online ‘Is your drinking ok?’ test at alcohol.org.nz. Because society normalises drinking, saying you have a problem can sometimes be difficult. If you think you might have a problem, talking to your GP is a good first step – we’re here to listen, offer support and make referrals if needed.

Tips for cutting down on your drinking

• Work out a personal limit per day, per week or per occasion – and stick to it

Think before you drink With winter officially over, we can look forward to coming out of hibernation and enjoying plenty of fun social occasions

• Have at least two alcohol-free nights a week • Do more activities that don’t involve drinking • Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks • Eat before you drink and while you’re drinking • Have some non-alcoholic drinks • Don’t allow others to top up your drink • Count your drinks • Tell your friends that you are cutting down • Ring the Alcohol Drug Helpline for free, confidential advice (0800 787 797)

with family and friends. Socialising often goes hand-in-hand with having a few drinks and, when you’re having fun, a ‘few’ can easily turn into a ‘few too many’. Before we launch into the social season, it’s a good time to reflect on healthy drinking and the negative effects of over indulging.

Please call reception on 07 578 7087 to make an appointment for a phone consultation with a GP. A time will be made for the GP to ring you back.

Alcohol is a drug and can affect the body in many ways. It is related to more than 60 different health conditions, including heart disease, strokes, obesity, depression, anxiety, insomnia and many cancers. Even moderate alcohol use carries some risks. Rapidly absorbed into the blood, the liver breaks down alcohol at an average rate of one standard drink an hour. 5TH AVE NE WS | SPRING 2018

Find us online www.fifthavenue.co.nz

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