Immune Hero is a cool new website aimed at Australian teenagers. It’s the brainchild of the Victorian Government and, like Dumb Ways to Die, features games, YouTube videos and animated infographics that tell the story of why teenagers need to be vaccinated against DTP, HPV and Chickenpox.
We asked a Year 7 boy to test out the website and games - here’s his review:
“Yeah, I reckon the website is pretty cool. I liked the videos they’re really good and well animated. Easy to understand as well. I learned quite a lot about HPV from the video.
The games are in need of updating. Graphics-wise they’re a bit young for high school kids and not really age-appropriate. But I did find a level of difficulty in Apoxalypse that was challenging even to me - and I’m a bit of a pro-gamer!
I reckon I’d give the videos a thumbs up. Maybe a few pop-ups and a login so you get a “Hi….(your name). And if you want a website to get with kids my age, you need it to be stimulating and engaging.”
Another idea is that maybe teachers could login in and set tasks for kids to keep it fresh.
I give this website a 7.5 out of 10.”
Follow Victorian Health Department
March 2014: Over 100 people have been admitted to hospital with swine flu in Queensland already this year - double the number for the same period last year.
85% of influenza notifications in Queensland are H1N1 virus (swine flu). Courier Mail, 12 March, 2014
Similarly , a swine flu pandemic has been reported in New Zealand, prompting both NZ and Australian health authorities to encourage people to have their flu shots early. International Business Times, 27 March, 2014
What is Swine Flu?
H1N1 Influenza virus is a relatively new strain of Influenza A virus - first detected in Mexico in April 2009. The H1N1 virus spread rapidly around the world and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation in June 2009. H1N1 is referred to as swine flu because it contains some of the same DNA from influenza strains that infect pigs.
What are the symptoms of swine flu?
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu:
- sore throat
- runny nose
- body aches
Some people also have diarrhoea and vomiting.
Like the flu which occurs every year, swine flu can spread from person to person via droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can also settle on objects like telephones and door knobs and can then be transferred to the nose, mouth or eyes. As swine flu is a relatively new strain of influenza A, most people haven’t come into contact with it before and are therefore not immune.
What is a Healthy Kids Check?
A Healthy Kids Check is a once only health assessment carried out by a GP, practice nurse or Aboriginal Health Worker to assess the health and well being of children aged 3.5 to 5 years. This assessment is useful to assess a child’s readiness to start school.
In years gone by it was the role of the school nurse who generally checked the child’s height, weight, hearing, vision, motor skills and teeth. Sometimes a note would come home for a follow-up appointment with a relevant health service and along we’d trot to the school dentist, community speech therapist or audiologist. Unfortunately those days are long gone. Pre-school health assessments are now the responsibility of general practice.
Healthy Kids Checks are often the domain of practice nurses. More often than not, practice nurses drive uptake of Healthy Kids Check for GPs. A rule of thumb is that if your GP hasn’t offered a health assessment they probably won’t actively undertake a Healthy Kids Checks unless you ask. So, when your child is 3.5 or 4 years and due for their final childhood vaccination, it’s a good idea to discuss the Healthy Kids Check with your GP or practice nurse and be proactive in booking an appointment.
The Healthy Kids Check is a valuable assessment as they identify both physical and behavioural health problems before school commences. Naturally, identifying and addressing issues early supports a child’s learning in the formative school years.
As of January 2014 the Healthy Kids Check will be offered from aged 3.5 with a greater emphasis on the emotional and social wellbeing of small children. This is important because evidence suggests that detection, intervention and management of problematic behaviours at a young age can lead to vastly better outcomes for a child as they grow and develop. These assessments are designed to identify problems such as sleep, anti-social behaviour such as biting, anxiety, depression, fussy eating, separation anxiety and ADHD. These are problems that many parents or carers assume will just go away - ‘They’ll grow out of it.’ The reality is children often don’t ‘grow out of it.’ Unsupported, many of these issues can manifest into depression, anxiety and under-preforming patterns of behaviour in children and young adults.
Don’t forget that childhood vaccinations and health assessments are now linked to the Family Tax Benefit Supplement Part A. This means that without documentation to Medicare/Social Security that your child’s vaccinations are up to date, Family Payments can be withheld. Children may not be eligible to be enrolled into pre-school or school without up-to-date vaccinations.
So take advantage of your once only Healthy Kids Check with your GP or practice nurse. Read up about it on these websites, make notes, follow up and ask questions if you are concerned about anything your child is doing. One little health check has the power to help your child for a long time to come.
Is your child starting big school this year? Make sure they have a Healthy Kids Check
Get Set 4 LIfe
Read more about The Healthy Kids Check
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (Victoria)
Download the Get Set 4 Life Habits For Healthy Kids Guide
Australian Government Department of Education @Eduspokesperson
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Victoria @deecd
For some people immunisation is a highly controversial topic and emotive topic. For others immunisation is a social and public health responsibility.
Whichever end of the spectrum you and your family are placed is entirely your choice. At e-GPS, we believe the only way you can make an informed decision about immunisation is to ensure that the sources from which you gather your information, are the most reputable sources available.