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POPULATION HEALTH NEWSLETTER
Special Issue: COVID-19 community update #2
May 2020
We know that it probably feels like you've been isolating at home for weeks on end! Yes, it has been a little while but just remember that all of us staying home and doing the right thing is definitely helping to "flatten the curve", which is that's exactly what we want!

Although it may be tempting to start going out more or seeing some of your friends, just remember things will start to go back to normal soon. You may have heard about some restrictions being lifted in other states, however the rules remain the same in Victoria - Stay home. Protect the health system. Save lives.  

In the mean time try to let go of some of the pressure you may be putting on yourself and take each day as it comes. Enjoy your morning cuppa outside to take in the fresh air, go for that lunch time walk, watch the sunset with your family or call that friend you've been meaning to. Do something that helps you to relax; you'll find dealing with the current situation a little easier!
If there is anything that we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us at pophealth@hhs.vic.gov.au. 

Stay Home. Stay Safe :) 
HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR PARENTS

How to Reduce the Stress of Homeschooling on Everyone - gives advice to parents on how to support their child (and themselves) whilst everyone is at home. 

Homeschooling (and keeping kids busy) during COVID-19 - provides parents with tips and resources to keep kids happy and learning at home.

ABC Kids Listen App - has a range of music and stories for children aged 0-5 years to listen to. With programs inspired by the Early Years Learning Framework of Australia, this is a great resource children can use, without having to spend time in front of a screen! We love the Sound Walks, which are a great way for children to relax and wind down! 
GOOD NEWS STORY
It can sometimes feel like all the media we are consuming at the moment is negative and might dampen your mood. That's why we're sharing a good news story about some wonderful people within our community to help put a smile on your face! 

                                          

Daylesford Good Grub Club - This local charity has done a fabulous job in responding to an increased need within the community. Having previously provided meals to approximately 30 people a week, they are currently doing 6 times this many. A very big thank you to the volunteers and all those contributing to help out those within our community who need a little extra support during this time!  
If you know of any other good news stories or acts of kindness, please send them to us at pophealth@hhs.vic.gov.au so we can share them with our community!
COVIDSafe APP
COVIDSafe is a new app developed by the Australian Government which helps to identify and notify close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases. 
This is another measure being put in place to ensure that as restrictions are eased within our community, there is confidence that confirmed cases can undergo the necessary tracking. 
When COVIDSafe is downloaded on a person's device, it will note the date, time, distance and duration of contact when it recognises another user. All information is encrypted and stored information will be deleted on a 21-day rolling cycle. 
COVIDSafe does not collect your location.
To find out more about the app and to download click here.   
 
VIMEO VIDEOS 
The Population Health team have been busy creating some short videos comprising of health and wellbeing advice and tips from a range of health professionals within CHRH. Videos cover many topics related to active living, healthy eating and mental wellbeing and we hope to have some more out soon! 

To check out the latest videos please head to the CHRH Vimeo page here or alternatively you can paste and go to https://vimeo.com/manage/showcases/7098577/info in the Vimeo website. Feel free to share these videos within your networks.

ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
      
With many of us finding ourselves spending more and more time at home, we may have also noticed an increase in our alcohol consumption. Retailers have reported that Australians are buying more alcohol than usual. 
Although it may seem fine at the moment, if your new drinking habits from the COVID-19 lockdown continue over time, you may find that you begin to develop an unhealthy reliance on alcohol.   
It's important to remember the effect our drinking habits have on both our physical and mental health but also the impact it can have on our loved ones. 

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) has suggested these 6 things to be mindful of in isolation:
1. Drinking more, or more often - try to keep track of if you're drinking more alcohol, or more often. Staying within the new draft guidelines of no more than 10 standard drinks a week, and no more than 4 standard drinks within any one day, will help to reduce the risk of harm from alcohol. 
2. Interfering with your day-to-day - consider the impact your alcohol consumption is having on your daily life. Does your drinking interfere with work, your pursuit of hobbies or projects, or staying (virtually) connected with family and friends? If you feel alcohol becomes more of a priority than these, you may want to assess if you think it is becoming risky. 
3. Four walls are closing in - Spending so much time at home may lead to feeling bored, lonely, depressed, anxious or restless. Although alcohol might seem like a way to escape these feelings, its important to remember that alcohol can contribute to making these feelings worse. Consider other options to manage these feelings such as meditating, exercising or doing something creative. 
4. Bedtime blues and beyond - Although alcohol can create an initial feeling of relaxation, it can lead to greater anxiety and disrupted sleep; both of which lower your ability to cope with stress. 
5. Relationship troubles - too much alcohol can lead to poor behaviour, with evidence showing that it can be a trigger for incidents of domestic violence and abuse. If those close to you begin to comment on your alcohol use, it may be time to take notice before it takes a toll on your relationships or causes harm. 
6. Alcohol tolerance creeping up - if you're finding you need to drink more and more each time to get the same feeling, it's a sign that you have increased your tolerance. Your body is adjusting to the frequent presence of alcohol in your system - an early sign of dependence.  

You can assess your alcohol consumption and the potential risks using the Alcohol and Drug Foundation's Drinking Calculator.
If you are concerned with you alcohol or drug consumption and would like to talk to someone please contact the Central Highlands Rural Health (CHRH) Access team on 03 5321 6539
LOOKING AFTER OURSELVES
Our wonderful Social Workers suggest that this period of isolation could be an opportunity to explore our relationships, self-reflect and attend to the parts of ourselves and our lives that may have been a bit neglected. 
They have provided us with the following to motivate some ideas: 

Social Health:  
Try to maintain strong social/family networks through regular contact with others (by phone, video, email, social media… even letter writing). 
Virtual dinners and catch ups have become very popular and while not as good as the real thing, they are not a bad substitute.  A catch up over a virtual cuppa, is a great idea, if a meal is too difficult to coordinate.

Physical Health:
  • Gardening (start a veggie garden or just some veggies in a pot!).
  • Jogging/Walking
  • Yoga/Mindfulness/Meditation 
  • Good food cooking:  Making pasta, bread, preserves
Mental Health:
  • Read; a book, an article, a short story (many libraries are offering free downloads (eg State Library of Victoria)
  • Get out your board games and puzzles
  • Craft and creative activities.  There are currently a number of free online drawing classes (eg on the National Gallery of Victoria website)
  • Write a short story or a poem.  Write your life story, or a story about a special time in your life
  • Start a family history or a history of the area in which you live; your own personal memories represent a unique perspective
  • Connect with audio news (radio) or text (newspapers/websites) as they often provoke less anxiety than visual news sources (TV). ABC Radio National offers many interesting and reflective programs.
LOOKING AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
With everything that is currently going on and all the unknowns, it’s likely that you may be feeling a little different. Maybe you’re enjoying more time at home and being productive or maybe you’re feeling a little lost and worried about what it all means. This is a challenging time and it’s important to remember that we are all going through this together and dealing with it in our own way! 

However you’ve been feeling lately, Beyond Blue have developed a suite of resources that you may find beneficial, including: 
•    An online community forum where you can connect with others, sharing your experiences and exchanging support with one another 
•    Information and advice on topics such as talking about coronavirus with your children, how to stay connected, looking after your mental health and the importance of self-care for health care workers.
•    Phone services where you can call and speak to one of their counsellors on 1800 512 348 or access suicide and crisis support through Lifeline on 13 11 14.
You can find all of these resources online at Beyond Blue 
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
We keep hearing about the importance of physical activity during this pandemic - and that's because it's true! 
Not only does staying active help our physical body, it also does wonders for our mental health! Try to aim for 30 minutes of physical activity every day 
Check out our Vimeo videos here, for tips on staying motivated and some easy exercises for at home!
                        
                               
LOOKING AFTER YOUR ORAL HEALTH

Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) has provided these great tips to look after your family's oral health during this time:
  • Wash your hands well for 20 seconds before brushing your/ a family members teeth twice a day - morning and night! 
    • Children 0-18 months it is recommended not to use toothpaste, only water with a cloth or soft small headed toothbrush.
    • Children 18 months-6 years – if your child is able to spit out, use a pea sized amount of low fluoride children’s toothpaste on a brush with a small head.
    • Children 6 years and over – if your child is able to spit out use a pea sized amount of regular toothpaste on brush with a small head.
    • It is recommended to spit out any access toothpaste, not to swallow the toothpaste.  It is recommended not to rinse your mouth out after cleaning as this allows the fluoridated toothpaste to remain on the teeth for longer. 
  • Hygiene practices are especially important during this time so ensure that each person has their own toothbrush and that these are not shared. It is recommended to commence with a new toothbrush every 12 weeks, or as a reminder every new season or if you have been unwell.
  • Drink plenty of tap water. 
  • Limit alcohol consumption to prevent gum disease and oral cancers.
  • Limit frequent snacking - try to stick to eating only at meal times and limit any foods with added sugars. 
  • Try to include a range of nutritious foods every day from the five food groups. 
  • If you smoke, now is the time to try quit or reduce your intake as smoking increases your risk of decay, gum disease and oral cancers. Head to Quit to find out more or discuss with your GP. 
  • If you are feeling stressed or anxious, be aware of grinding or clenching your teeth especially at night. Try to practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
  • When dental restrictions have lifted book in for an oral health check up.
FOOD RESOURCES UPDATE
The Central Highlands Primary Care Partnership (PCP) has developed a list of emergency food relief services that are available across the region. Included in this list are many businesses within our Shire and the products and services they are providing, often with free or subsidised pricing. 
You can check out the list here and we'd love if you could pass it on to anyone who you think may benefit from it. 
If you have anything that can be added to the list, please feel free to email it through to us at pophealth@hhs.vic.gov.au and we'll make contact with the PCP.  
MEALS ON WHEELS
With the support of Hepburn Shire Council, CHRH are continuing to provide Meals on Wheels to the most vulnerable within our community. 
Meals on Wheels is available to local residents experiencing complex health and wellbeing situations. Subsidised options are available for those registered through My Aged Care.
If you know of someone who could benefit from this service please get them to call CHRH on 03 5345 9750, on Monday-Friday between 8.30am-5pm.
Here they can find out more and check their availability. 
WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION - #HealthyAtHome
As many of us are staying home more than usual, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched the #HealthyAtHome campaign. Its aim is to promote all the ways we can look after our physical and mental health during this challenging time. 
Online, WHO has provided plenty of advice on healthy parenting, healthy eating, quitting tobacco, staying physically active and looking after our mental health. 
If you’re someone who’d rather watch videos than read, check out #HealthyAtHome on all social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok or Snapchat) for great ideas or to share what you are doing!
HEALTHY EATING 
We know if you're anything like us, that spending more time at home makes it easier to continually reach for snacks from the cupboard. If that's the case you can reach for a treat every now and then, but try to make sure most of your snacks are healthy. 

These delicious muffins are simple to make and you can even get the kids to help out! 
CARROT MUFFINS
Serves: 12 regular or 24 mini muffins
Ingredients
White self-raising flour, sifted             1 cup (150g)    
Wholemeal self-raising flour, sifted    1 cup (150g)
Brown sugar                                       ¼ cup (60g)
Cinnamon, ground                             1 teaspoon    
Carrots, medium, grated                    3 (180g)
Apple, medium, grated                       1 (150g)    
Milk                                                     1 cup (250mL)    
Eggs, lightly beaten                            2    
Canola or vegetable oil                      ¼ cup (60mL)
Vanilla essence                                  1 teaspoon
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Lightly grease muffin trays (regular or mini) or line trays with paper cases.
  3. Combine flours with the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  4. Stir in grated carrot and apple.
  5. Combine milk, egg, oil and vanilla essence in another bowl.
  6. Add to flour and sugar mixture and mix until just combined. Do not over mix or they will be tough.
  7. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin trays or cases.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until cooked and brown on top.
Allergy modifications
For an egg free option replace each egg with 1 teaspoon of egg replacer and 2 tablespoons of water.
For a gluten/wheat free option, replace all flour with gluten free self raising flour.
 
Tip
This mixture can be baked in a loaf tin and then sliced when cooled. The cooking time will be approx 45 minutes.
Remember to drink water regularly (approximately 6-8 glasses a day) to stay healthy and hydrated and try to eat a variety of 5 portions of vegetables and 2 of fruit each day.
TESTING FOR COVID-19
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, no matter how mild, you should seek testing for COVID-19.
  • Fever
  • Chills or sweats 
  • Cough 
  • Sore throat 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose 
  • Loss of sense of smell
For further advice you can call the hotline at 1800 675 398. 

CHRH has a Respiratory Assessment Clinic at our Kyneton location which is open for testing. Please call 5422 9900 to speak to a nurse and book an appointment. 
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Central Highlands Rural Health 
Integrated Primary Care 
13 Hospital St
Daylesford 3460

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Central Highlands Rural Health · 13 Hospital Street · Daylesford, Vic 3460 · Australia

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