Hay fever, misinformation, pharmacists, and more…

FSM Friends’ News and Articles

HPV vaccine effectiveness – 14 year follow-up of women, all good news: Yet more evidence that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective. Yes, that’s right. They DO check these things.


Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia: Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or COVID-19? With COVID-19 circulating it is even more important to have your allergic rhinitis symptoms under control. It is best to avoid the dilemma of having to consider whether your runny nose is COVID-19 related. Wearing a face mask with allergic rhinitis is near impossible. See your GP to discuss which antihistamines, nasal sprays or eye drops (if your eyes are affected) would be best suited to you. Visit our website for more information about allergic rhinitis.

Doctors say they’re dealing with significantly more patients who resist their advice because of misinformation they read online: “Last week, a study from the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene found that at least 800 people died in the first three months of 2020 because of false information that claimed drinking bleach could cure coronavirus. Almost 6,000 people were also hospitalized because of that claim.”

Lesser-known Health Professions

Social workers see the person, not the illness: In addition to those in community roles, social workers are present at every major hospital, where they not only provide in-hospital support and advice to patients and their families, but also help to organise support services and access to government income support where needed upon discharge from hospital.

Today’s Abused Health Concept  

Pharmacy staff fail to detect Complementary Medicine harm: A Pharmacist is a medical professional, able to dispense drugs and medicines, and to provide expert advice on their use. As such it has been sad to watch the uncritical acceptance of complementary ‘natural’ medicines in pharmacies alongside genuine medical treatments. Of particular concern are remedies like St John’s Wort (SJW) which can have dangerous interactions with a wide range of common medications. In this study and pseudo-patient attended pharmacies looking for St John’s Wort “for my mother”, who happened to be consuming digoxin, verapamil and candesartan.  This is precisely the role of the pharmacist. To ask, “What are you taking this for? What else are you taking?” To ensure that the medications being dispensed CAN be used in a safe way. In this case, they should have informed the patient “SJW could make your heart medication ineffective.” Instead, the study found less than a third of the pharmacies intervened, most failed to ask about patient history, and potentially harmful advice was offered 10-20% of the time.

It is clear that there are ethical problems in the sale of complementary and alternative medicines in pharmacies. Those who choose to buy in to so called ‘natural’ products should ask questions and be very open to avoid putting themselves at greater risk. And the pharmacists should be prepared to provide appropriate advice on the things that they are selling.

Thanks to Science

The world is rid of wild polio – Africa declared free of wild polio in ‘milestone’: Africa has been declared free of the last circulating strain of polio – a feat attributed to a massive vaccine effort in the region. Now, wild polio is thought only to be circulating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are still some cases of vaccine-derived polio in parts of Africa – where the attenuated viral strain becomes transmitted in populations with low vaccine coverage. These events are rare (there have been under 30 vaccine-derived polio outbreaks recorded, while over 10 billion people have received oral polio vaccination and an estimated 13 million polio cases protected), and can be managed with vaccination campaigns which control spread of transmissible polio (either wild or vaccine-derived).