Imagine that you were asked by your personal trainer to wear a weighted vest which was 10-15% of your body weight between 8am and 3pm, Monday to Friday for 12 years.
How do you think that you would cope with carrying that extra 6-10kgs on a daily basis? You would probably get a sore back, neck or shoulder right?
In essence this is what many people are asking their children to do when they pack their bag for school every day. Next time that your child complains that their bag is heavy or their back hurts from carrying their school bag it might be worthwhile thinking about the above analogy.
Obviously, often this hard to avoid but below are 5 some simple tips which may help lighten the load for your child and reduce the risk of them sustaining an injury as a result of carrying a heavy back pack:
- Ensure that your child’s school bag does not exceed 10% of their body weight – pack only what is necessary for that day and encourage your children to only bring home what they need that night
- Choose a bag with a padded back which can mould to the shape of your child
- Encourage your children to wear both shoulder straps in order to distribute the weight of the bag evenly across the body. The use of chest and waist straps (although not always considered cool) also help alleviate the weight placed on the child’s shoulders and back
- Choose a school bag with multiple compartments and pack the heaviest objects (e.g. books, laptop) closest to the child’s body. This allows the weight to be placed closer to the child’s centre of gravity and decreases the lever arm of the weight through the back.
- If you have packed only the bare necessities and still think your child’s bag is too heavy consider a separate carry bag for some items.
Any questions regarding fitting your child’s backpack or on what bag to choose feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Physiotherapist and Co-Owner of Gecko Sports Gold Coast
Meningococcal vaccinations: Exploring the debate in Australia
Meningococcal is a rare disease with devastating effects. The very worst case scenarios can involve brain damage, organ failure, and even death. In Australia, these disastrous outcomes can deeply concern parents who aren’t able to vaccinate their child against meningococcal.
Bexsero, a relatively new vaccine, can protect children against the virulent meningococcal strain B. However, Bexsero is not currently included in the federal government’s National Immunisation Program. This has been a controversial topic amongst parents, especially as pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline announced there would be a global shortage of Bexsero vaccines from the end of 2016.
According to reports, a worldwide shortage resulted from countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland implementing the Bexsero vaccine as part of their national public health schemes. Globally, there is now a much higher demand for the meningococcal-B vaccination and very little supply available.
Why hasn’t Bexsero been added to Australia’s National Immunisation Program before now?
In 2013, a ruling from the federal Department of Heath determined the meningococcal-B vaccine would save less than 10 lives, over a five year period. However, the cost for implementing these vaccinations would be over $400 million. Unfortunately, this has made meningococcal less of a priority for the government, when compared to other infectious diseases like the measles, mumps and rubella.
Within Australia’s current privatised system, the Bexsero vaccine costs around $120 per injection. This is an expense that most Aussie families cannot easily afford, especially if they have a number of children to care for. Even though meningococcal can respond to intense antibiotic therapy, many parents remain fearful of the disease, which has a fatality rate of 10 – 15%.
Without vaccinations, are Australian children at a higher risk of contracting meningococcal?
“Due to the cost of Bexsero, meningococcal vaccinations are typically reserved for children who might be at increased risk of contracting meningococcal,” explains Dr Harvey, the Deputy Medical Director at House Call Doctor. “For example, children who have been exposed to meningococcal at their school or day-care may need the Bexsero vaccine as an important preventative method.”
Dr Ryan Harvey is in fact one of the few doctors within Queensland who has treated meningococcal occurring in toddlers. Incredibly, all of Dr Harvey’s meningococcal patients have survived and gone on to lead full and enriched lives.
“If parents suspect their child has meningococcal, they should seek immediate medical intervention, as patients can go from seeming their normal selves to needing intensive care within a matter of hours,” says Dr Harvey. “The disease is characterised by a distinctive red, purple or black rash, that does not fade when pressure is applied.”
“Fortunately within our community, meningococcal is still far less prevalent than other infectious diseases, and there is a strong level of public awareness about the disease and its symptoms,” says Dr Harvey.
For more information on the National Immunisation Program, visit the federal Department of Health online. If you suspect that your child has meningococcal, immediately phone Triple 0 (000) and request an Ambulance. If your child needs acute medical care, that does not warrant an Emergency response, phone House Call Doctor on 13 55 66.