Pro­tect your­self this pollen sea­son

Myrtleford Times - - News -

A RE-ELECTED An­drews Labor Gov­ern­ment will en­shrine pub­lic hol­i­days – Easter Sun­day, Christ­mas Day and Grand Fi­nal Fri­day – in law, help­ing to pro­tect the penalty rates of thou­sands of Vic­to­rian work­ers.

HAY fever and asthma suf­fer­ers have been put on no­tice as Vic­to­ria’s grass pollen sea­son has started.

The state’s world-lead­ing pollen count fore­cast­ing sys­tem de­liv­ered its first epi­demic thun­der­storm asthma fore­cast for 2018 this week.

The sys­tem was es­tab­lished two years ago in re­sponse to the un­usual epi­demic thun­der­storm asthma event that hit Mel­bourne in Novem­ber 2016, re­sult­ing in 10 deaths.

Vic­to­ria’s deputy chief health of­fi­cer Dr Angie Bone said with the fore­cast­ing sys­tem live this week, Vic­to­ri­ans can mon­i­tor the fore­cast and those at in­creased risk can take ac­tions to pro­tect them­selves on high-risk days.

The mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem reads pollen coun­ters, and is lo­cated in eight lo­ca­tions around Vic­to­ria, with Dookie the clos­est to the alpine re­gion.

“The sys­tem also en­ables health pro­fes­sion­als and emer­gency ser­vices to be pre­pared on days of in­creased risk,” Dr Bone said.

The fore­casts are avail­able dur­ing Vic­to­ria’s grass pollen

While these days are cur­rently gazetted by the An­drews Labor Gov­ern­ment as pub­lic hol­i­days year af­ter year, writ­ing them into law will make sure they are per­ma­nently pro­tected.

When penalty rates were first in­tro­duced, Sun­days were treated the same as pub­lic hol­i­days, at­tract­ing the same rates and ben­e­fits for work­ers.

But now – thanks to the slow wind back of penalty rates un­der suc­ces­sive Lib­eral gov­ern­ments – Vic­to­ri­ans work­ing on Easter Sun­day miss out on in­creased rates of pay.

The same oc­curs when Christ­mas Day falls on a week­end, with the cur­rent leg­is­la­tion only pro­vid­ing for pub­lic hol­i­day rates on a sub­sti­tute day dur­ing the week. sea­son, typ­i­cally from Oc­to­ber through De­cem­ber, and can be ac­cessed via the VicEmer­gency app or on­line at emer­gency.vic. gov.au.

“The best way to pro­tect your­self from thun­der­storm asthma is through good man­age­ment of asthma and hay fever,” Dr Bone said.

It means that when Christ­mas Day falls on a Satur­day, Vic­to­ri­ans – like nurses and emer­gency work­ers – don’t get pub­lic hol­i­day rates – but their col­leagues work­ing on the sub­sti­tute Mon­day do. It’s just un­fair.

And it’s why we will per­ma­nently pro­tect the pub­lic hol­i­day penalty rates of Vic­to­rian work­ers, in­tro­duc­ing leg­is­la­tion in its very first year.

Un­like the Lib­er­als, Labor backs Grand Fi­nal Fri­day. Not just for footy fans, it’s a chance for Vic­to­ri­ans to spend time with fam­ily and friends, and a big boost for busi­nesses and tourism op­er­a­tors across our state. Daniel An­drews Vic­to­rian Premier

Myrtle­ford phar­ma­cist Cameron An of Chemist King, no­tices an an­nual in­crease in hay fever com­plaints at this time of year.

He rec­om­mended those who are prone to asthma to check their ven­ti­la­tors are in date, and oth­ers who have suf­fered from hay fever symp­toms keep an­ti­his­tamines or ap­pro­pri­ate nasal sprays on hand.

Mr An also sug­gested keep­ing clothes worn for long pe­ri­ods of time out­doors iso­lated from clean clothes, in or­der to con­tain pollen.

Epi­demic thun­der­storm asthma is an un­com­mon phe­nom­e­non where a large num­ber of peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence asthma over a short pe­riod of time, thought to be trig­gered by high grass pollen lev­els and a cer­tain type of thun­der­storm.

“We want every­one – es­pe­cially peo­ple with asthma and hay fever – to be as pre­pared as they can all year round,” Dr Bone said.

It is rec­om­mended where pos­si­ble, peo­ple with asthma and hay fever should avoid ex­po­sure to spring­time thun­der­storms, and es­pe­cially the wind gusts that pre­cede them.

BE PRE­PARED: Myrtle­ford phar­ma­cist Cameron An ex­pects an in­crease in hay fever com­plaints this spring.

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