The Common Cold

What we refer to as “The Common Cold” is actually caused by several different viruses. Most are caused by Rhinovirus.. They usually present as an acute self-limiting infection, which means it comes on quickly and resolves by itself. The upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, and larynx) is usually the most affected by Rhinovirus. The incubation period after picking up the virus is usually about two days before our symptoms start. The illness can then last for 5-7 days. You are likely to be contagious while you have symptoms, but you’re most contagious in the early part of illness (the first few days). As your immune system begins to fight the virus, the concentration of virus in your body will drop off and you will recover. Humans develop immunity to virus by sending white blood cells to kill the virus and making antibodies active against it. 

It is a commonly held belief that rhinovirus symptoms are different than those associated with influenza (the flu). However, all the viruses discussed can cause an influenza-like illness. Most people infected with influenza virus have only mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. Many infected with influenza have exactly the same symptoms as those infected with rhinovirus.

For this reason it is usually not possible for you, or a doctor, to tell whether you are suffering from a cold or flu. Hence, the term “ILI” or “influenza-like illness” is also used for colds, especially where there is also fever.

While influenza might sometimes be associated with more severe respiratory infections, rhinovirus gives it a good run for its money. During most winters, rhinoviruses cause more cases of pneumonia requiring hospitalization than do influenza viruses. 

Patients Choice Awards 2015

Congratulations to all the wonderful staff at Currambine Family Practice who been voted in at 34 in the top 100 Medical Practices in Australia as voted by patients. 

Over 180,000 patients Australia-wide completed the post-appointment survey via HealthEngine in 2015. The award is a huge achievement and a testament to the quality of service and clinical care provided by the  Practice.

Why is Chronic Pain so common, yet so difficult to treat?

A recent study by the National Institutes of Health in America revealed that one in three individuals in the U.S. have suffered from some form of pain in the last three months. Of this group, it is estimated an upwards of 50 million people suffer from chronic pain. To put the data into perspective, this is comparable to the number suffering from diabetes, heart disease or cancer. So why does it seem that such a common problem so hard to treat? While healthcare has evolved for these other diseases, it may seem that not much has changed in the pain therapy field. For many years, the common treatment of chronic pain has been non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids. 

As it stands now, due to new guidelines, physicians are cautioned to first weigh the potential harm that may come from opioid use before recommending the use of the medication to patients. Sometimes, the problem is misdiagnosed. It is also essential to put the pain in the context of the person's life. This is why an accurate history is important to determine what the cause of your pain is and how best to treat you and your pain. If you are suffering, booking a double appointment helps us to assist you.

SEE ALSO: What is chronic pain and why is it hard to treat?


I'm Burned, Now What?

Burns occur when skin is exposed to extreme heat, flame, electricity, or radiation from a number of sources. Burns are a very common injury that, in many cases, can be avoided with preventative measures. Children are more vulnerable to being burned because they are more curious about the world around them. If they do get burned, they are more likely to get burned more severely because their skin is thinner. Burns are characterized by size and severity of the particular burn. First degree burns are more superficial. There is normally minor blisters, swelling, and redness. Second-degree appears to be very red, with large or broken blisters. Third-degree look dry, white, and burned in appearance

The first step should be to get the victim away from the source of heat. Remove hot or wet clothing, as long as it is not sticking to the skin. Cool the burn under cool running water (not ice) for about 25 minutes to remove the heat and relieve some of the pain. After the burn has been cooled, cover the wound with a sterile, non-adherent dressing or cling film, except for the face. Apply all dressings loosely. Seek medical advice and do your best to use preventative measures to avoid these type of injuries altogether.

2016 Flu season has arrived!


Flu (Influenza) is a viral infection which is easily spread from person to person and can be avoided with a yearly vaccination.  It is advised to have a vaccine every year to provide long lasting immunity as vaccine strains may change each year.

Symptoms of flu include: High fever, chills and sweating, sore throat, weakness with generalised muscle/joint aches and pains, headaches and feeling generally well, with symptoms lasting as long as 2 weeks.

This year there will be 2 vaccines available in Australia:

Trivalent (3 strain)  –  which contains 2 Influenza strains and 1 Influenza B strain.

Quadrivalent  (4 strain) – which contains 2 Influenza A strains and 2 Influenza B strains – offering broader protection against current flu viruses.

This year the government will only be funding the Quadrivalent (4-strain flu) vaccine according to the World Health Organisations recommendations for the 2016 Southern Hemisphere Influenza season.

Those eligible for government funded vaccines include:

·        Pregnant women (any trimester)

·        People over the age of 65

·        Aboriginal people aged at lease 6 months, but less than 5 years or 15 years and older

·        All children aged 6 months to less than 5 years

·        Individuals with medical conditions that place them at risk for developing complications of influenza, such as:

·        Cardiac disease

·        Chronic respiratory conditions

·        Chronic neurological conditions

·        Impaired immunity

·        Diabetes and other metabolic disorders

·        Kidney disease

·        Bleeding disorders


Flu vaccines are available now at Currambine and Ocean Keys Family Practice.   We also have a supply of private vaccines for those not eligible for a government funded vaccine for a fee of $15.

Happy Easter

We wish all our patients a safe and happy Easter. If you require medical attention during the holidays please contact WADMS on 9321 9133 or attend the after hours clinic at Joondalup Health Campus

Our Opening hours during Easter are 

Thursday 24th March 7am -5.30pm

Friday 25th March      CLOSED

Saturday 26th March 8am-12pm

Sunday 27th March   CLOSED

Monday 28th March   CLOSED 

Tuesday 29th March  7am -5.30pm

Thank you Heather

Dear Patients, 
It’s with mixed emotions that I announce that I will be leaving Currambine Family Practice in mid April 2016. I feel terribly sad to leave my colleagues and patients, but excited about the next chapter for my husband and I as we move to live in Busselton (250km south of Perth). My last day at Currambine will be Friday 15 April.

I have been at Ocean Keys and Currambine Family Practices for just over 7 years. Thank you to all my patients for allowing me to be part of your lives for this time. 

I have great respect for my colleagues, and know your health is in good hands when I leave the practice. I wish you all the very best for the future. 

With kind regards, 
Dr Heather Brand


How To Create A Diet Plan For Weight Loss

One of the biggest challenges when dieting is knowing what a healthy diet looks like, it is best to avoid the urge to cut something completely out of your diet because our bodies require nutrients from multiple sources.  Instead of cutting all those carbohydrates it would be better to focus on improving your diet quality instead.  A healthy diet should focus on increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, exercising portion control, monitoring what you are drinking, and minimize your exposure to scenarios, which cue the urge to eat when you are not hungry. 

What can you do to avoid eating when you are not hungry?  You can train yourself to avoid food cues by exposing yourself to favorite foods and allowing yourself only a taste of the food without eating them.  You will have to follow several steps to remind yourself why you are not eating the food.  This will mean reminding yourself that you are responding to a food cue, resisting the urge to respond to it by using an alternate behavior such as drinking water or going for a walk, and remembering the larger picture of your goal. You will want to develop a plan to get yourself off of the diet rollercoaster.  This involves assessing you diet quality, planning more balanced and nutritious meals, using smaller dishes, smaller portions, changing your food environment and food cues to eat, minimize where you allow yourself to eat, and avoid exposing yourself to foods you do not want to eat by driving or exercising away from those places and recording television programs to allow you to skip those fast food commercials. 

What is a nurse practitioner?

Nurse Practitioners are Registered Nurses who have undertaken further education to Masters Degree level.  In the General Practice setting, the nurse practitioner works closely with your GP to provide care to patients within the surgery.

NP’s are able to provide a wider range of services including the ability to request a range of blood tests, refer for x-rays and some ultrasound scans.  NP’s are also able to issue prescriptions for antibiotics, simple analgesia etc as well as repeat scripts (medications already prescribed by the GP with some exclusions).

The role of the NP includes:  Assessing patients with chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease, creating care plans to assist in providing the best treatment and education, with regular review to achieve better outcomes.

Providing health assessments for the over 75’s, immunisations for children and adults, wound care, triaging of emergency patients, warfarin care, consultations for patients with minor complaints such as viral illness (coughs, colds, sore throats), ear infections, urinary tract infections etc, as well as providing contraceptive advice including insertion and removal of implanon and routine pap smears

Back to school – is your child’s asthma plan ready?

The return back to school is a busy time for kids and especially parents. Aside from the usual array of tasks to do, most schools ask that children with medical conditions such as asthma to have some documentation ready.  The asthma action plan is an important document because it provides critical information about your child’s medical needs if they become unwell.  The return to school coincides with an extremely busy time for doctors treating patients with asthma, so much so that it is known as the “February epidemic”.  

An asthma review appointment allows your GP to review the asthma action plan as well as check important things such as asthma inhaler technique and when prescriptions will be due.  If your child needs an asthma review, please let our reception staff know.


Good Social Relationships Have A Positive Impact Your Physical Health

While we know that diet and exercise play an important role in our physical wellbeing, new research is showing that our social life has a tangible effect as well. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Renmin University in China conducted a study examining the association between a participant’s physical measurements and the quality of their social relationships.  The possible link they found? Stress. 

One of the professors who led the study noted that good social relationships reduce the daily stresses of life. So, cultivating good relationships are one more preventive measure we can take. If you’re a teen or senior it’s good to have a large social group and if you fall in the middle, you’ll opt for smaller close relationships. In the end, however, everyone can do themselves good by cutting down on relationships that cause strain and choosing ones that bring fulfillment. 

Merry Christmas

We would like to wish all of our patients a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy 2016. 

Christmas opening hours

Thursday 24th December 7am-3pm

Friday 25th December CLOSED

Saturday 26th December CLOSED

Monday 28th December CLOSED

Tuesday 29th December 7am-5.30pm

Wednesday 30th December 8am-5.30pm

Thursday 31st December 7am-3pm

Friday 1st December CLOSED

Saturday 2nd December 8am-12pm

Why is my doctor running late

Why is my doctor running late?

Running on time is really important to us. We understand that people have busy lives and coming to the doctor can be a stressful experience.  As a practice we recognise the importance of providing timely highly quality service for our patients and we have designed our bookings system to support this.  Unfortunately in general practice things don't always go to plan!  Part of being a caring and comprehensive family practice means we endeavour to look after emergencies and unwell patients.  If your doctor is running late, please bear with us - your time is important and we will do our best to provide the highest quality care for you and your family.


Going to Bali?

Most people who go to Bali let their guard down because it's so familiar and close by. Bali is one of the most beautiful places on Earth and as a result, a very popular destination, full of upscale hotels and resorts., but just because you are staying at a 4 or 5 star location doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider your health prior to departing for your trip. Even in Bali, there can be some serious medical issues that all travellers should be aware of and, when appropriate, take the necessary steps to ensure you have a happy and healthy holiday.

The most common medical issues facing travellers to Bali are related to poor local hygiene, safe water and food, and diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. It is reported that up to 40% of tourists may deal with diarrhoea, so be sure to pack appropriate medication in case your are affected. It is also strongly recommended that travellers are vaccinated against hepatitis A, a viral disease that is transmitted via contaminated food or drinking water. Other highly recommended immunizations include tetanus and diphtheria, as well as typhoid, which is suggested for adventurous travellers who plan to venture “off the beaten path.”

Travellers are also warned to avoid close contact with animals as there have been reports of animal and human rabies in Bali. While immunizations are not necessary, if you are bitten by an animal, you must report to a medical professional immediately for post-exposure treatment. While travellers are recommended to use protection against mosquitoes, the risk of being infected with malaria is very low in Bali, especially in the tourist areas. 

Navigating the treatment of depression

After a diagnosis of depression, you may receive lots of ideas and advice on how to treat it. However, some generally recommended methods may not be effective for you. Here are three commonly suggested treatment methods. Probably the most effective method in the treatment of depression is talk therapy such as cognitive behavior therapy. This type of therapy works well as it stops the cycle of isolation that can occur by encouraging people to confront the beliefs and behaviors that lead to social isolation and depression. The best way to find an effective therapist is to have a doctor refer to a therapist as a credentialed therapist will most likely give you the best support.

A mental health care plan may help make talk therapy more affordable. And ongoing review with your doctor maximises the likelihood of overcoming depression.

Antidepressants can be another effective type of treatment especially when talk therapy has not been effective. However, medication really only works when it is well managed by a physician. This means that you have the correct dosage for your needs as too high or too low a dosage can have problematic side effects. If a medication is not working for you, always consult a doctor before making changes to the dosage of that medication.

Finally, you may have people recommending diet and exercise to help with your depression. While some research suggests that a good diet and fitness routine can help with your depression, there has been very little research about how to use diet and exercise as an intervention to treat your depression. Instead, consider changing your diet and exercise, but use it in addition to talk therapy and/or antidepressants. For further information about these types of treatments consult this link.


What is the low FODMAP diet?

The low FODMAP diet is an eating plan that is often recommended for people with irritable bowel syndrome which may cause symptoms such as excessive wind and bloating and variable bowel habit.

These symptoms are always worth checking with your doctor.

FODMAPs are types of sugars found in common foods such as certain fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy.  They are poorly absorbed in the gut and ferment which may result in stretching of the bowel and gas production.  

More information about the low FODMAP diet may be found at