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Community Advisor Role (Job Opportunity)
Thursday, 04 September 2014 00:37

The Asthma Foundation of Victoria is a not for profit organisation based in West Melbourne that aims to enhance the lifestyle, health and wellbeing of the people living with asthma and linked conditions in Victoria.


We offer comprehensive information, training, advice and education about asthma, allergy and anaphylaxis, and a range of programs to create asthma friendly communities.  The Asthma Foundation of Victoria assists people to manage their asthma and linked conditions all year round.


We are looking to recruit an enthusiastic and experienced Community Advisor to work part time (24 hours a week) with an immediate start.


The successful applicant should have an asthma related qualification and previous experience working in the health sector (preferably in asthma, anaphylaxis and allergies) in a customer service or advisory role, be able to work independently and as part of a team.


The ideal applicant will have the following experience and skills:


  • Extensive experience in the health sector or health related qualifications
  • A detailed knowledge of asthma and preferably asthma related qualification
  • Demonstrated knowledge of asthma, anaphylaxis and allergies
  • Demonstrated skills in customer service and an exceptional telephone manner
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated experience in dealing with consumers

How to apply:  To be considered for this role applicants are required to provide a structured resume and a covering letter addressing the Essential Criteria in the position description.


Please contact Rebecca Colcott, Programs Manager at The Asthma Foundation of Victoria on (03) 9326 7088 for a detailed Position Description.

New Respiratory Products & Devices
Thursday, 04 September 2014 00:29

There are whole new raft of respiratory medications due to be released on the PBS soon.  Below is a list of these to date:


Novartis has released a new COPD product which is a combination of a LAMA glycopyronium bromide called Seebri and a LABA indacaterol maleate called Onbrez.  The combination is called Ultibro and comes in a breezehaler and is used once daily.  It will be listed on thet PBS later in the year.


Meda Pharmaceutical has released a new drug for allergic rhinitis azelastane hydrochloride and fluticasone called Dymista.  It is for adults and children over 12 years with allergic rhinitis.  It has a fast onset and is given BD.


Menarini has released a new COPD medication aclidinium bromide called Bretaris.  It comes in a device called Genuair and is used twice daily.  It will be on the PBS later in the year.


GlaxoSmithKline are due to release a new asthma and COPD combination product ICS fluticasone furoate and LABA vilanterol called Breo Ellipta.  It comes in a device called Ellipta and is used once daily.

Too-Clean Homes May Encourage Child Allergies, Asthma: Study
Thursday, 04 September 2014 00:15

We've been told from the get-go to sterilise milk bottles and keep everything super clean but now a new study has found bubs that roll in dust, dander and droppings before the age of one appear to have a lower risk of developing asthma and allergies.


Roll in dung before you turn one.  A recent American study of 467 inner city newborns by Dr Robert Wood has suggested that infants who are exposed to a diverse range of bacterial species in house dust in their first year of life are less likely to develop asthma in early childhood.


The study found infants brought up in homes which had dust containing mouse and cat dander (shed skin cells) and cockroach droppings had lower rates of wheezing at age three, compared with children not exposed to these allergens in the first year of life.  Furthermore, infants in homes with a greater variety of bacteria were less likely to develop environmental allergies and wheezing at age three.  Children free of wheezing and allergies at age 3 had grown up with the highest levels of household allergens and were the most likely to live in houses with the richest array of bacterial species.


Study author and chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Dr Robert Wood, said the study shows the timing of the initial exposure may be critical.


"What this tells us is that not only are many of our immune responses shaped in the first year of life, but also that certain bacteria and allergens play an important role in stimulating and training the immune system to behave a certain way."  Dr Wood said.


The finding supports previous research that suggested different types of microbes can have an impact on future immune responses and is also consistent with the so-called hygeine hypothesis, that children who grow up in too-clean environments may develop hypersensitive immune systems that make them prone to allergies.


Adapted from an article in the Asthma NSW newsletter, August 2014


SOURCES: Robert Wood, M.D., Chief, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Children's Center; Todd Mahr, M.D., Allergist-Immunologist, La Crosse, Wis., and Chair, American Academy of Pediatrics' Section on Allergy and Immunology; June 6, 2014, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

E-cigarettes & the WHO
Thursday, 04 September 2014 00:07

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently published a report calling for a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes indoors, as well as restrictions on e-cigarette advertising and sales to minors.  The report also calls for regulations on the contents of e-cigarettes and raised concerns over the interests of major tobacco companies, which have begun to command a greater share of a market that saw $3 billion in sales last year.


The report comes following the American Heart Association statement that e-cigarettes could be used to help people quit smoking.  Health experts are divided on the benefits and potential harms of using e-cigarettes.  Some are saying they could save lives by turning people away from traditional cigarettes and others warn that they could 'renormalise' smoking and encourage youths to pick up the habit.  But both the AHA and WHO agree that stronger regulations are needed with each organisation raising concerns over how the products are marketed.  The AHA also said that they should be regulated under existing rules for tobacco products.


In its report, the WHO also calls for a ban on fruity and candy-flavoured e-cigarette products that may appeal to minors.  It also suggested that governments regulate the health claims that some manufacturers are making in the absence of strong empirical evidence and recommended bans on vending machines in most places.  The organisation added that e-cigarettes expose non-smokers and bystanders to nicotine and that evidence suggests that their emissions are not merely water vapour as many believe.


This report was published as part of the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.


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