Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist February 2011 Contents Vol. 30 -- February #02
flood appeal. The donation was made
through a fund established by Terry
White Chemists to provide financial
assistance to those affected by the
floods, with 100% of the money
raised to be given to the Queensland
Premier's Flood Relief Appeal. Mr
Davies said the company 'swiftly
responded' to the news that Terry
White Chemists, a partner of Symbion
Pharmacy Services, had organised
After the floods
Major flooding in Queensland, NSW
and Victoria poses ongoing health
risks and challenges for people moving
back into areas affected by the crisis.
Experts have warned of outbreaks of
gastro and mosquito-borne diseases,
as well as ongoing mental health
issues arising from the crisis.
AMA Queensland President Dr Gino
Pecoraro said while there were many
health issues at the height of the
floods, the peak in health pressures
was still weeks away.
'We do however anticipate patients
with infections to swell as food,
water and sanitation continue to be
compromised. Infections will vary
from ingestion varieties, including
gastroenteritis and parasitic
infestations causing vomiting,
diarrhoea, and abdominal pains, to
' Dr Pecoraro said.
Wounds that become infected from
contaminated flood waters were also
a concern, along with respiratory
infections from inhalation of
Dr Pecoraro said doctors were also
concerned for patients who had lost or
were unable to access medications or
continue treatment regimes.
'We are concerned some will lose
control of illnesses because they
can't get, [have] lost or just run out of
' he said.
Pharmacists can assist in many such
cases with special Medicare Australia
emergency provisions in effect, which
• Medicines can be dispensed
under the three-day rule without a
• Medicines can be dispensed using
the owing prescription provision.
• Pharmacists can endorse a
prescription and supply medication
within 4/20 day rule.
A major worry is that people isolated
by the floods are also cut off from
medical care which could see a rise in
illness caused by contaminated water,
poor hygiene and nutrition.
The mental health of victims is also a
concern, with the Royal Australian and
New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
warning that the effects of the floods
can last a long time.
College President Maria Tomasic said
flood victims would suffer significant
grief, shock and loss as a result of
'Following the initial shock, and once
the floods subside, people may
experience long-term psychological
problems such as depression and
' she said.
It was important for people to monitor
their mental health during the flood
crisis, but also in the following months
Dr Tomasic said governments need to
provide increased and targeted mental
health services to help those affected.
'It is important that skilled assistance
is available to people over the complex
period in the aftermath and recovery,
Professor Tony McMichael, from the
Australian National University's Centre
for Epidemiology and Population
Health, said Queensland could expect
to see high rates of mental health
problems in the affected communities.
Recent studies of flood-affected towns
in Britain found up to three-quarters of
the population suffered mental health
disorders after the crises.
'There will be a need for a lot of
counselling ... which will persist for
many months, if not years,
' he said.
Acting Minister for Health and
Ageing Mark Butler said although
the Queensland Government was
working on immediate crisis-support
counselling, the Commonwealth
would work with it to boost low-cost
and free access to psychologists in
The AMA's Dr Pecoraro predicted a
steady stream of people suffering
from adjustment disorders, severe
anxiety disorders and depression over
the coming weeks and months.
'This catastrophic event will impact
our health system for many months
and potentially years to come.
He urged people to protect their
health and seek medical care as soon
Beyondblue produces a natural
disaster fact card which says that
normal reactions after such a
catastrophic event include:
• feeling overwhelmed
• feeling numb and detached
• inability to focus
• inability to plan ahead
• constant tearfulness
• intrusive memories or bad dreams
related to the event
• sleep disturbances
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