Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Welcome Alliance Medinet - AXA & Great Eastern Cardholders

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all holders of Alliance Medinet: AXA and Great Eastern (Platinum and Gold) card holders.

We look forward to serve you and your family.

More information about our clinic can be found by clicking this link.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Asthma Guidelines: Take the Online Asthma Test!

One of the big problems in treating asthma is that patients tend to underestimate the severity of their asthma.

For example: One mother came with her 5 year old asthmatic son and said that the child has been coughing at night maybe only twice a week. Obviously, she is under the impression that night coughs twice a week is considered mild and not action need to be taken. The fact is that night coughs are considered serious enough to warrant further evaluation if they occur more than twice per month!

So in this short post, I would like to outline for you the criteria for which you should be seeking medical help to manage your asthma.

With the latest innovations in asthma management, the bar for good asthma control has been raised. It is no longer good enough for you or your child to be able to survive on that blue puffer. The current criteria for good asthma control is defined as:
  • No daytime symptoms (twice or less/week)
  • No limitation of daily activities, including exercise
  • No nocturnal symptoms or awakening because of asthma
  • No need for reliever treatment (twice or less/week)
  • No exacerbations
  • Normal or near normal lung function results
From this you can see that the criteria for good asthma control is quite stringent! The good news is that with modern medications, it is possible to achieve good control of asthma.

Now there is a quick and simple way of determining if you need to see your doctor about your asthma. All you need to do is answer 5 simple questions and add up the score. They even have a special set of questions for your child.

You can take the test by visiting www.asthmacontrol.com

A score >= 20 means your asthma is well controlled and you can maintain or step down on your medication

A score of <20>means you will have to seek medical advise on how to control your asthma better

You can read the other Asthma posts HERE

Clinical Practice Guidelines: Management of Asthma. MOH 1/2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Flu Situation in Hong Kong

Many parents have been asking me about the flu situation in Hong Kong in which 3 school children have died so far. As it is the school holidays, there are many who are heading to Hong Kong for holidays and want to know if they should vaccinate themselves against the flu.

MOH has a recent press release on the influenza situation in Hong Kong and Singapore. You can read it by clicking here.

Here is what I think are the important things to note:

1. The influenza season this year is no different from the previous years and the strains of influenza viruses are the usual ones and not the dreaded Bird Flu strain or SARS virus. We know the usual influenza strains can have severe effects on the young children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses, so although the death of the children is tragic, it does not signal that we are dealing with a situation like SARS all over again.

2. There has not been any increase in the number of flu cases in Singapore and the ones that have been detected are the expected influenza strains. These are the Influenza Type A H3N2, H1N1 and also Type B strains. These are the strains that are covered by the latest Flu vaccinations. (Remember that Bird Flu is the H5N1 strain)

3. Influenza is a self limiting illness in the healthy adults, so there is no need to rush to get yourselves vaccinated. However, the MOH does advise that those who require vaccinations are
  • Elderly persons above 65 years of age
  • Children from 6 mths to 5 years of age
  • Persons with heart, lung, kidney problems or diabetics
  • Pregnant women in their 2nd and 3rd trimesters
4. The question that most parent pose now is "How long does it take for the vaccine to take effect?" Well the short answer is around 2 weeks. Bear in mind that even if the vaccination was given a few months before, the protection level is still only 70-80%. There is no hard and fast rule, but my advise would be that if you can avoid going to a place like Hong Kong where it is the peak flu season now, then don't go. If you have to go, there is no harm giving your child the influenza vaccine even if it is less than 2 weeks before your trip.

Click here to my previous post on Influenza