Monthly Archives: May 2018




First Aid Course in Canberra. Treat Burns. Excellent Training Sessions. Nationally Recognised Certificate Issued. Perfect Central Location.

KIDSAFE Victoria is urging parents and carers to be vigilant and take action to reduce the risks of burns and scalds in the lead up to winter, a time of heightened burns risk.

The call comes on the eve of National Burns Awareness Month – a campaign that raises awareness of the prevention and appropriate first aid measures for minor burns – which begins on June 1.

Statistics from the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand show that in 2016/17, almost 1,000 Australian and New Zealand children were admitted to a burns unit.

The most common causes of paediatric burns and scalds were hot beverages (20 per cent), water from saucepan/kettle/jug/billy/urn (13 per cent), food (8 per cent), coals/ashes (6 per cent), water from tap/bath/shower (4 per cent) and fat/oil (4 per cent).

Kidsafe Victoria general manager Jason Chambers said children’s lack of awareness of danger placed them at increased risk of burn injuries.

“Children are naturally curious and like to explore their surroundings, however they don’t understand the danger posed by many common household burn and scald hazards.

“A child’s skin is thinner and more sensitive than an adult’s and will therefore result in a more severe burn. Burn injuries can have a long-term impact on children, both mentally and physically in terms of requiring painful skin grafts, ongoing treatment and causing permanent scarring.”

Half of all child burn injuries occurred in the home kitchen, with incidents commonly occurring when a child was near an adult who was preparing food or drink.

Kidsafe Victoria is urging all parents and carers to download the burn and scald home safety checklist from and follow some key steps to prevent burns and scalds to children this winter.

They are also urging the public to familiarise themselves with the correct first aid measures to treat minor burns if they do occur.

For more information about the prevention and treatment of minor burns, head to

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Canberra Winter: A handy survival guide for newcomers

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There is no denying it – winter has definitely come to Canberra.

Whether it is your first winter in the city, or you just need a timely reminder as the mercury dips once more to sub-zero temperatures, here are some tips about how to get through the capital’s coldest months.

Rug up and stay healthy

Chances are, if you are not a long-time Canberran you are probably not wearing enough layers – the Michelin Man look is very in right now.

Invest in a decent jacket and do not be afraid to accessorise with gloves, a scarf and a beanie.

Rugging up gives you the chance to show off to your friends further north that you actually have a separate winter wardrobe, but it can also help you avoid getting sick.

And it is just as important to stay warm and keep healthy at work too.

Doctors recommend washing your hands properly, avoid sharing cups with workmates and regularly disinfecting your desk, keyboard and phone.

The annual flu vaccination is also available and is free for pregnant women, people aged over 65 and most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Defrost your car windows

If you have moved from warmer climates and have not had to deal with this pesky task before, it can be difficult to know the right thing to do.

Parking your car under some sort of shelter (even a carport is helpful) is always best, but if your car has to be out in the elements there are a few ways to clear the accumulated ice:

  • Invest in an ice scraper (it will take you forever with your credit card).
  • Place a towel over the front windscreen to stop the ice from accumulating (but remember to make sure all your windows are defrosted before driving).
  • Pour water on your window to defrost the ice (do not use hot water as this may cause the windscreen to crack).
  • Blast that car defroster.

Embrace it – head to the snow

There is no use fighting it – it is definitely going to be cold for a couple of months. But one of the great things about Canberra is that the city and its surrounds are beautiful in winter.

Thredbo and Perisher are just 2.5 hours drive away from the capital and both ski resorts are expecting a dumping of snow in the coming week.

A little closer to home, Corin Forest provides lots of family fun and takes less than an hour in the car with the kids to get there.

Or why not take a road trip? Explore the capital region’s wineries or visit nearby country towns like Bungendore, Yass, Murrumbateman or Gundaroo.

Exercise or take up a hobby

Exercise is the best way to fight off those winter blues – otherwise known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

SAD often strikes during winter with a reduction in daylight hours and can mean reduced energy levels.

But if you can work up the motivation, rug up for a morning stroll around Canberra with your camera. True Canberrans know the best way to tease your friends on Facebook is to show off how well your city does winter.

If you can not brave the cold, head to the gym or enjoy an indoor sport to get those endorphins flowing.

Doctors recommend you still keep up your fluid intake though, saying we should be drinking the same amount of water while exercising in winter as we do in summer.

Stay in

There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying in and hoping the cold days pass quickly. And it pays to keep your home as warm, yet as energy efficient, as possible.

While it may be tempting to pump your heater and pretend its summer, your hip pocket will not thank you come bill time.

The ACT Government’s Actsmart website recommends keeping your thermostat between 18C-20C in winter, claiming for every 1C you lower the temperature you can save 10 per cent on your heating bill.

The website also offers lots of tips about making your home more energy efficient, including how to best insulate your house, the most efficient heating options and they even run free workshops on how to draught-proof your home.

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How to deal with the ongoing EpiPen shortage

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Who uses an EpiPen?

EpiPens are first aid treatment for anaphylaxis, a potentially life threatening allergic reaction that affects a person’s breathing and blood pressure.

EpiPens deliver a single shot of adrenaline to reverse the symptoms of anaphylaxis. Allergy sufferers who experience an anaphylactic allergic reaction need to call an ambulance immediately and go to hospital, both for further treatment and to be under observation for at least four hours.

Why is there a shortage?

Australian supplier Mylan says the US manufacturer Pfizer is responsible for the supply shortage. Pfizer puts the delay down to a problem with the autoinjector’s components – one that’s caused production delays for months.

Pfizer tells CHOICE the shortage has to do with a third-party component, as well as changes made to its manufacturing facility. “At this time, we cannot commit to a specific time for when the supply constraint will be fully resolved,” a spokesperson says.

The company is advising people to fill their prescriptions closer to expiration dates to help them manage EpiPen supply over the next few months.

What happens if I have an attack?

If you don’t have an EpiPen on hand, immediately call 000 – or better yet, have someone with you make the call.

Follow your ASCIA action plan that you’ve developed with your doctor, and either sit or lay down on the ground with your feet outstretched in front of you. Don’t stand up or sit on a chair, as this could cause a sudden drop in blood pressure.

If you’re having a severe allergic reaction, Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia recommends that you follow your ASCIA action plan:

  • sit or lie down on the ground
  • use the EpiPen on your outer mid-thigh
  • call for an ambulance
  • (if the symptoms persist and it’s needed) take a second EpiPen five minutes after the first.

You’ll need to go to hospital for further treatment and remain under observation for at least four hours.

Can I use an expired EpiPen?

Most allergy sufferers will have an EpiPen on hand, even if it’s an expired one.

EpiPens have a one- to two-year shelf life before they expire. It’s not ideal, but consumer allergy groups and pharmacists recommend people use their expired EpiPens if necessary during the shortage.

These adrenaline autoinjectors do become less effective over time, but the consensus is an expired EpiPen is better than not having one to use at the time of an attack.

If all of your EpiPens have expired, use the most recent one. Be sure to check the expiration date on the EpiPen itself and not on the box as they may differ.

You can gauge the quality of an EpiPen by checking the clear window near its tip. The adrenaline should be transparent – free from sediment and discolouration – for it to be most effective.

How long do I have to wait for a replacement EpiPen?

After leaving your prescription with a pharmacist, it takes between a couple of days to two weeks for an EpiPen to arrive.

The pharmacists we spoke to say they haven’t had EpiPens in stock for months. Before the shortage, pharmacies would typically stock two EpiPens at any time, with replacement stock being delivered daily.

The shortage has been going on for how long?

The government’s Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) says EpiPens have been in short supply since January 2018.

Initially orders were not being fulfilled at all, forcing people to visit different pharmacies in the hope they could find untapped stock. Supply has marginally improved, with an ordering system delivering EpiPens to the people who need an EpiPen the most.

Has the shortage been linked to any deaths or serious injuries?

The shortage has not been linked to any deaths or serious injuries in Australia, a Department of Health spokesperson told CHOICE.

We asked manufacturer Pfizer if it has contributed to any deaths or injuries globally, but the company chose not to address the question.

Can I reuse an EpiPen?

EpiPens can only be used once – even if there’s some adrenaline still in the device. After use, they should be placed in a container, marked with the time it was administered and handed over to ambulance staff.

Does the shortage affect EpiPen Junior autoinjectors?

EpiPen Junior autoinjectors are not experiencing a stock shortage.

Are there any alternatives to an EpiPen?

We’re one of the few countries that don’t have an alternative adrenaline autoinjector, along with Canada, which makes us more vulnerable to the ongoing shortage as people don’t have a substitute.



Be smart when it comes to spring allergies and asthma

First Aid Course in Canberra. Asthma and Anaphylaxis Training. Great Trainers. Cheap pricing. Excellent Location. Private Mobile First Aid Course. 

(HealthDay)—Lots of things grow in the spring, including your risk of severe allergic reactions and asthma attacks. So people need to take preventive measures and know when to seek medical care, an emergency physician says.

“Spring tends to bring more people to the ,” Dr. Paul Kivela, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said in a college news release.

“Conditions like  and allergies are manageable for most people but they can easily become life-threatening. Minimize your risk by limiting your exposure to known triggers, carrying your medicines with you if needed, and developing an action plan for asthma and allergic reactions with your care provider.”

Each year, asthma sends more than 1.8 million people to U.S. emergency rooms, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kivela said people with asthma should go to the ER when: symptoms do not improve quickly after the use of rescue inhalers; they’re straining to breathe or can’t complete a sentence without pausing for breath; their lips or fingernails turn blue.

Picnics, barbecues, pool parties and other outdoor get-togethers can put some people at risk for a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which is most often caused by a food allergy. It’s estimated that a  sends somebody to a U.S. emergency room every three minutes.

Insect bites and stings are another common cause of anaphylaxis.

Symptoms such as tingling, numbness or a metallic taste in the mouth may occur within minutes, but it might take up to several hours for life-threatening reactions to develop, according to Kivela.

Seek immediate  care if you or someone else develops any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue, throat, nasal passages or face
  • Welts, hives, itchiness, redness on the skin, lips, eyelids or other areas of the body
  • Bluish skin, especially the lips or nail beds (or grayish in darker complexions)
  • Nausea, stomach cramping, vomiting/diarrhea
  • Heart palpitations; weak and rapid pulse; confusion, slurred speech; dizziness, a drop in blood pressure, fainting or unconsciousness.

If someone develops anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately. And while you wait for first responders to arrive: lay the person flat and elevate the feet; administer self-injectable epinephrine (such as EpiPen) if available; check for a medical tag, bracelet or necklace that may identify anaphylactic triggers, Kivela said.

Gaining skills from a first aid course is also a great management startegy. Book in now at

 Explore further: Even if severe allergic reaction is in doubt, epinephrine should be used

More information: The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on anaphylaxis.


First aid kits

Woman advocates more first aid training

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On May 11, Shannon Willner and her sisters took their mother shopping in Leduc for her Mother’s Day present when their family outing turned into a nightmare.

“My mom became short of breath. When her lips turned blue, my one sister called 911.”

While one sister was on the phone with 911 dispatch, Willner noticed her mother started to convulse.

READ MORE: Alberta mother raises defibrillator awareness in son’s memory

“I moved her out of the Walmart so the ambulance could find us quicker and dispatch at that time had asked us to find a defibrillator.”

Willner said she ran to the customer service desk and asked if they had one.

“They looked at me, confused.”

Willner said staff paged management.

READ MORE: Walmart Canada mulls adding defibrillators to stores

“I waited for three minutes. Management never came. At that time, my third sister came in and said the ambulance was there.

“During the three minutes I was there, my mom went into cardiac arrest and the ambulance wasn’t able to bring her back.”

Willner said the family is not looking for anything from the company; they want to prevent something like this from happening again.

“I just really don’t want another family to go through what we did.”

READ MORE: Make defibrillators mandatory in B.C., says Heart and Stroke Foundation

Willner wishes the employees knew whether the store had an automated defibrillator (AED) or not. If she was told immediately there wasn’t one on site, Willner said she would have tried another store nearby.

In Alberta, there are no rules requiring AEDs in businesses or public places.

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety does not have any requirements about the placement of AEDs in businesses. If employers chose to add one, they must “ensure the use of AEDs is integrated into the emergency response plan and first aid program,” a government spokesperson said.

Watch below: A Fairview mother is on a mission to educate young people about using AEDs, in the wake of her 16-year-old son’s death. Su-Ling Goh shares her story.

“I’d like visible AEDs in the stores,” Willner said. “I’d like trained staff to know where they are — all the staff, not just management. I would like more first aid,” she said.

“It’s been hard on our family. It happened too quick. Maybe it could have helped.”

In an email to Global News, Walmart Canada said: “We are very sorry to hear about the experience our customer had at our store. Walmart ensures that we meet the requirements across Canada to have trained CPR / First aid responders in our stores.”

READ MORE: Flight crew hailed as life savers after using AED on man at Edmonton airport

Alberta Health Services would like to see more public spaces offer AEDs. When an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest happens, survival rates are as low as 10 per cent.

“Automated external defibrillator use is one of the critical links in the chain of survival,” said Alex Campbell, an EMS public information officer for AHS.

“To have someone survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the most important parts are… someone recognizing that there’s a cardiac arrest and starting CPR immediately, calling 911, and then using an automated defibrillator if one is available.”

AHS has 3,000 registered AED locations.

“We encourage as many people as possible to get training in both CPR and AED use,” he added.

“If you’re a business or organization that has an automated defibrillator, we encourage you to register it at as well as make sure you have an emergency plan in place that includes retrieving the automated defibrillator when it’s required.”

READ MORE: Edmonton company helps St. John Ambulance launch online First Aid training courses

Campbell explained there’s no law that dictates where AEDs need to be publicly accessible other than in certain types of work sites, depending on the proximity to medical care and the number of workers.

“Using an automated defibrillator is actually quite easy,” he said. “When you open them up, they give you auditory prompts on what steps to go through… You open it up, you remove the pads from the package, place them on the person’s chest and it will actually walk you through it.”

In light of her mother’s death, Willner hopes AEDs become much more common.

“She was a very wonderful lady. She would give you a hard time but yet she would defend you if you needed it.”

READ MORE: ‘That is what saved my life’: Why more businesses in New Brunswick are installing defibrillators

Leanda Joan Frederickson was fighting cancer but didn’t have any heart issues, her daughter told Global News. She did have high blood pressure.

“She loved her family. She supported her family. She’s the one who made the family meals. She had 11 siblings. She made sure we all got together.”

Someday, Willner might go back to the store to see if there is an AED. The company has not said if the Leduc location has one.

“I can’t go back to that store to check,” she said Friday. “I would like to but right now I’m not ready.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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First-aid lessons part of driving exam in Brussels

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Thursday, 24 May 2018 10:53
Debaets in actionDebaets in action©Belga

The Brussels-Capital region will introduce a new requirement in November for every new applicant for a driving licence, making a course in basic first aid obligatory, secretary of state Bianca Debaets said.
The proposal was presented on Wednesday in conjunction with with Red Cross.

The measure is intended to allow drivers to deal with the results of traffic accidents even while waiting for the arrival of first responders. “Whoever follows the training would be able to provide the emergency care necessary to the victim before the arrival of emergency services,” Debaets explained.

The first minutes after an accident involving serious injury are seen as crucial to the survival of the victim, and because of traffic disruption as a result of the accident itself, the arrival of emergency services is often delayed.

The costs of the training will be covered by the Region, she said. “We consider it an investment in road safety by everyone in Brussels and, by extension, the whole country,” she said.

According to the Red Cross, the measure would involve the training of some 20,000 people a year, and involve a theoretical training, which can be followed online, as well as a practical section lasting three hours. The test of the training will come into force on 1 November this year.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

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Slip And Fall

Huge great white shark shocks scuba divers

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CODY was scuba diving when he was tapped on the shoulder by his mate who pointed out large shadow. Soon they were being circled by a massive great white shark.

Jennifer Earl
Fox NewsMAY 22, 20183:00PM

15-foot great white shark shocks scuba divers above Florida Keys shipwreck

THREE months ago, Cody Wabiszewski traded in his desk job in Butler, Pennsylvania, for a boat in Marathon, Florida.

The former aerospace engineer now works at a dive shop and spends his days off scuba diving off the coast of the Florida Keys.

“I guess the cubicle life wasn’t for me, I’d rather be out on a boat every day,” Mr Wabiszewski told Fox News, noting that he recently got his captain’s license.

The Florida resident was working on getting his advanced scuba certification with a group of divers — Chad Sawyer, Rima Dmitriew, Karen South, Valerie Sparks — under the watch of Captains Skeeter and Michael with Captain Hook’s Marina and Dive Center near the Florida Keys’ shipwreck Thunderbolt.

It’s a ship intentionally placed at the bottom of the ocean as part of the Florida Keys Artificial Reef Association project, when he had an unexpected encounter in the water.

While he was 21 metres below the ocean’s surface, his friend tapped him on the shoulder and pointed out a large shadow that he soon discovered was a great white shark. The 4.5m shark circled the group as a school of fish surrounded it.

He ended up swimming with a shark. Picture: Cody Wabiszewski

He ended up swimming with a shark. Picture: Cody WabiszewskiSource:Facebook

“It was really surreal how beautiful it was. There were so many fish,” Mr Wabiszewski described. “It’s something you’d dream of — not something you’d expect with a deep dive.”

It was the first time Mr Wabiszewski had ever swam with a great white, and at one point, he said it was only about 4m away from the group.

“I wanted to go cage diving but doing it without a cage is more fun,” he said. “You wouldn’t expect it diving in 78-degree (25.5C) water in Florida. It was completely shocking … so unexpected.”

The instructor motioned for the group to stay put and not make any sudden movements.

“Bubbles scare the shark,” Mr Wabiszewski explained. “I was trying to stay down to try and make it so the shark would stay in the area.”

When he felt it was safe to do so, Mr Wabiszewski pulled out his underwater camera and started filming. He shared the three-minute video on Facebook last week, collecting more than 53,000 views as of Tuesday afternoon.

“In the Florida Keys, people only get footage of a great white under water once every three years or so … people were super jealous,” Mr Wabiszewski said of his rare capture.

The video shows the divers eventually resurfacing — with the captain instructing, “Get on the boat! Get on the boat!”

“We almost got eaten,” Mr Wabiszewski joked with a smile. “We got the shark whisperer. He said he dives with sharks out in San Diego and they followed him here.”

There it is. Picture: Cody Wabiszewski

There it is. Picture: Cody WabiszewskiSource:Facebook

Mr Wabiszewski marked the location of the great white shark on his website, a database he created to accurately track “where, when and how fish are being caught”.

Now that he has more diving experience, Mr Wabiszewski said he plans to explore the depths of the ocean even more. And he’s hoping for another great white sighting.

“The shark showed no sign of aggression,” he added. “It was just moderately curious.”

However, Mr Wabiszewski warned, out of all the sharks, the great white was the most unpredictable.

“Be careful and don’t be stupid,” he advised. “Make sure you’re keeping distance, not approaching it.”

This story originally appeared on Fox News and has been republished with permission.

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First aider helps saves man’s life after completing training

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Hours after finishing a first aid training course, Nancy Ofanoa was giving CPR on the side of the road — saving a man’s life.

Two weeks ago, Auckland resident Ofanoa, 28, was sober driving friends home after a night out when they came across the a car that had crashed into a power pole.

After scouring the scene in the dark, Ofanoa said she found the driver out of the vehicle and on a patch of grass alongside the road.

He “could hardly even take one or two breaths a minute”, and emergency services were nowhere to be seen.

Man saves child from choking on marble on the side of a Wellington road
Dad credits St John first aid training for saving daughter’s life

St John partners with ACC to teach kids lifesaving skills

Having completed a first aid course through St John just the day before, her training kicked in.

“Something switched,” she said.

Ofanoa rolled the man onto his side, slightly opening his airway, and he began to splutter.

While on the phone to 111, Ofanoa administered CPR until paramedics arrived and took him to hospital.

The driver has since been discharged from hospital.

Ofanoa said it “shocked” her how calm she was.

“I couldn’t believe I had only just learned to do first aid and here I was actually performing CPR. It was such a coincidence. So lucky.”

But St John’s head of first aid training Julian Price said Ofanoa’s reaction was the “ultimate result” of quality first aid training and exactly what St John aims to achieve.

“It just goes to show that you never know when you’re going to need it.

“If she hadn’t have reacted when and how she did the patient probably wouldn’t have survived. Massive kudos to her,” Price said.

Early first aid intervention can be life-saving – so where bystanders often stand back unequipped, it’s better to do something than nothing, he said.

Confident bystanders who have the right skills can literally save lives, Price said.

“In Nancy’s case, she’s done the training then only a day later has the confidence and competence to put it into practise and save a life – what more could you ask for?”

St John provides first aid training to tens of thousands of New Zealanders each year.

In Canberra we have Canberra First Aid providing quality first aid courses. Please see our website at for details.



Asthma Boy

Reduce asthma attacks in pregnant women

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A long-term study managing asthma during pregnancy has found a way to halve the rates of asthma attacks for expectant mothers, while paving the way for asthma prevention in their children.

Catherine Rosser, who participated in the study, has wheezed through life since she was a child, but was not diagnosed with asthma until she was in her twenties.

“At first I didn’t know what was happening. I thought, am I having panic attack?” she said.

“I felt like perhaps at some point when I’d get it quite badly, I thought I might die.”

Children whose mothers have asthma are more likely to develop the condition themselves, but Ms Rosser’s son is asthma-free.

“They [the researchers] said that his breathing capabilities and his lung capacity and function and functionality was extremely good,” she explained.

“And that he definitely had no signs of being asthmatic at all.”

Breath test helps monitor condition

When Ms Rosser was pregnant with her son 10 years ago, she was part of a trial run by the Hunter Medical Research Institute and the University of Newcastle, looking at asthma management during pregnancy.

“Asthma in pregnancy affects around 10–12 per cent of pregnant women in Australia,” Vanessa Murphy, one of the study’s key researchers from the University of Newcastle, said.

“And I don’t think we take that seriously enough because it can have major impacts on the health of both the mother and the baby.

“Women who have asthma are known to be at risk of adverse outcomes of pregnancy such as pre-term birth and low birth weight.”

The researchers gave one group a traditional asthma management plan, so expectant mums were medicated based on their symptoms, such as coughing or wheezing.

Ms Rosser was put in the second group.

“What we tested was a strategy where we measured lung inflammation, using a simple breath test, and we used the results of the breath test to determine how much medication the woman should be using and we adjusted her medication each month,” Dr Murphy said.

“What we found was this approach significantly reduced the rate of asthma attacks in pregnancy by half.

“And what we’ve done in this study is followed up the children when they were four to six years old, and looked at how many of them had asthma and we find again, almost a 50 per cent reduction in doctor-diagnosed asthma in pre-school aged children.”

The study also found that for those children who did develop asthma, they presented less often to emergency departments for asthma attacks and needed less medication to relieve their symptoms.

Findings could have huge implications

Asthma kills 400 people and causes 37,000 hospitalisations a year in Australia alone, with children aged up to 14 being hospitalised at a significantly higher rate.

With such stark figures facing the medical world, researchers believe the findings could have profound implications.

“To see such a clear and robust and impressive effect, I have to say was obviously a nice surprise,” said study researcher Joerg Mattes, from the John Hunter Children’s Hospital.

“To identify a prevention for asthma is considered to be the holy grail within our research and this finding, which is unexpectedly very clear and very significant, we believe has large implications because it is the most effective asthma prevention that has been demonstrated so far.”

Asthma Australia has welcomed the report, and said it would study the findings further.

“This is really important for prevention, for primary prevention,” said the organisation’s senior manager for research policy and advocacy Anthony Flynn.

“It’s probably the next degree of significant impact that we can have as a community after finding a definitive cure for asthma.”

The method used by researchers is currently not available to the broader community, but Mr Flynn said it could be something looked into in the future.

“A lot needs to be done in regards to understanding potentially the implication or translation of these results to other populations,” Mr Flynn said.

“It seems to have great potential in other populations but we’d have to understand that a lot better and work with the experts to work out what would be the best place for us to campaign and advocate for a duplication in practice now.”

The research is published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.


Slip And Fall

Learning Mental Health First Aid

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Mental health is just as important as physical health – so one organisation is educating society on how to recognise the symptoms and signs of common mental health issues and help in a moment of need.

Based on the first aid model – the first responders to physical injury – Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) is the mental health equivalent.

Through Mental Health First Aid training classes, a MHFA certification teaches people how to “effectively guide a person towards the right support, be that self-help or professional services.”

Poppy Jaman, CEO and co-founder of MHFA, told The Independent: “We teach people how to talk about mental health issues. What we call mental health literacy.”

The organisation, founded in 2000 in Australia, has grown exponentially since it first reached England in 2007.

To date, MHFA has trained just under 300,000 people in mental health first aid and three million globally. But they have a long way to go before they reach their goal of one in 10 people of the English population or five million people.

According to Jaman, the goal number is based on the tipping point theory – when you educate enough people on a subject to the point that it tips society over to normalising whatever the issue is.

In this case, Jaman wants “society to be, when I say ‘health,’ everyone understands mental and physical and not just physical.

“Mental health being a normal part of every day, every family, every community.”

MHFA offers training for armed forces, youth, corporate, and adult (Stock)

To normalise and educate people about how to deal with their own stress and mental health, and how to have a conversation about the topic with others, MHFA offers two-day, one-day, or half-day courses.

In these courses, participants learn five main components that can then help them change and influence the conversation about mental health, and ultimately change the world.

First, Jaman told us: “The number one thing you learn is that a mental health first aid course will not teach you to be a therapist.”

Second: “Anybody is capable of having a compassionate positive conversation about mental health.”

Third, and importantly, the courses teach participants “how to have the conversation.” This includes the structure of an open conversation about mental health.

Participants then learn “how to take that conversation and explore whether somebody is having thoughts of suicide.”

“We teach people how to have a confident conversation about suicide,” Jaman told us. “How to have a really empathetic conversation when people are experiencing great distress.”

And finally: “Self-care and all we can do to prevent ourselves getting unwell in the first place,” which can include the same things we do for physical health – “eating healthy, exercising regularly, but also giving time to things that are meaningful in our life, volunteering, spending time with friends and projects that are close to our heart, medication, walking, sitting and reading.

“It is recognising that all of those things are important parts of a balanced life,” Jaman said.

This dedication to education around mental health, as well as a changing conversation about mental health issues, has made a big impact on the prevalence of the topic in society and everyday life.

The changing conversation is partly due to the fact that “high profile people, celebrities, and average people are all coming out and talking about their stories.”

This means people are seeing others openly discuss mental health, which opens the conversation up for a more accepting discourse.

Of this shift in society, Jaman said: “Society has woken up to the fact that discrimination can no longer be.”

For Mental Health Awareness Week, May 14 to 20, MHFA has launched a campaign, #addressyourstress,” which teaches people about stress and the most common sources, as well as self-care techniques they can use to deal with stress.

Because “one in six adults in Britain will experience depression, anxiety or problems related to stress at any one time,” MHFA is taking action to help people manage their stress levels.

As for the ultimate goal, Jaman told us: “We want to not have to hide any health-related issues we might be having.

“We are looking to create a more compassionate world and a more compassionate society.”