Australian News

How to lose weight, best diets, healthy eating tips

It’s that time of year again – although for most of us, New Year’s resolutions are probably the furthest things from our minds.

If you’ve managed to get past checking the daily coronavirus updates and constantly changing travel and holiday plans to think about your goals for 2021, weight loss, healthy eating and fitness are usually on the list.

While lockdown saw some people embrace home exercise and ramp up their fitness regimen, others packed on the pounds in isolation.

We’ve been bombarded with celebrity weight loss stories and the diets they underwent to shed the kilos this year.

But one expert is warning it’s time for “no more diet w*nkery”.

Canberra-based nutritionist Kate Freeman believes “diets are dead” and is on a mission to get people to replace food stress with the confidence of healthy eating habits.

“How often have you had success with a diet, only to then crash and burn and end up in the same place, or even worse?” she said.

“You can lose weight, have more energy and feel fitter and stronger without needing to follow an unhealthy and unrealistic diet.

“While diets are focused on rules and limiting choice, healthy eating is all about developing a deeper understanding of food to give you options and flexibility.”

RELATED: Hacking your way to a healthier holiday season

Ms Freeman said she had heard too many horror stories about restrictive diets that delivered short-term results but quickly led to food guilt, confusion, binge eating and body dissatisfaction.

She said even motivated dieters hit the wall eventually – and found it hard to get back up.

“Diets can deliver quick results, but they also come with stress and anxiety,” Ms Freeman said.

“They can’t deliver long-term healthy living. There is so much diet w*nkery out there hurting people who are trying to do the right thing for their bodies and their lives.

“No more diet w*nkery – building healthy eating habits delivers long-term results.”

RELATED: Three steps behind woman’s 32kg weight loss

Ms Freeman hosts a daily nutrition podcast and YouTube series called the The Daily Dollop which covers sustainable approaches to all the diet hot topics including sugar and carbs, snacking, cravings, weight loss and meal planning.

She also runs Australia’s only online healthy food habit-building program, The Healthy Eating Hub.

“Healthy eating is a skill that can be mastered without the emotional manipulation from the diet industry,” she said.

The program breaks healthy eating down into small, achievable chunks such as choosing wholefoods, having a balanced plate or first focusing on making changes to breakfast.

Ms Freeman said other programs were fixated on calories which often didn’t achieve results.

Here’s her tips for what not to do:

Don’t set unrealistic expectations of weight loss – True fat loss takes time. It is slow. If your expectations are too high, than they’re likely not going to be met. However, it’s highly likely what you’re doing is working, you just can’t see it yet. But because our expectations aren’t met you’ll give up, which is definitely not getting you to your goal. Show’s like The Biggest Loser and Instagram testimonials warp our expectations of what is real. About half a kilo a week is good to aim for on average. Also remember that weight loss is NOT linear and peaks and troughs over the weeks and months. Be patient and use other markers of success such as how you’re feeling or tracking your consistency with healthy habits.

Don’t create yourself a set of food rules to follow – No chocolate. No sugar. No gluten. No meat. No junk food. Unless you have a medical or ethical reason for avoiding these, you don’t need to cut them out. Don’t set yourself a rule that you’re only going to rebel against later. Psychology tells us that rules are an inferior way to produce long-term change.

Don’t cut out whole food groups – There is no need to cut out foods to lose weight. Weight loss requires the creation of an energy deficit and health requires consistent diet quality. This means that you need to know how much energy your body needs and eat accordingly AND that what you’re eating offers your body plenty of vitamins, minerals and other health promoting components.

Don’t do a detox or cleanse – There is no scientific evidence this works. It will not result in long-term weight loss. Short-term fluid loss, yes. Long-term fat loss, no.

Don’t buy expensive supplements – These are often costly with no scientific backing and in the context of a consistently poor diet will not result in weight loss.

Don’t get too strict on your food – Yes, weight loss requires an energy deficit. However, if you cut back too drastically on your energy intake you’ll end up hungry, tired and prone to overeating at your next meal. Create a modest energy deficit that you can stick too, so your body has enough energy to function but is also sufficient to get slow, steady weight loss that lasts.

Don’t try to change everything all at once – Psychology tells us that self-initiated change is challenging and requires critical thinking, trial and error and a maintenance phase before it becomes part of your life. It’s simply impossible to do this long-term. You may be able to do it short-term, but once you can’t do it any longer, the weight comes back on.

Don’t fantasise – Fantasising is actually counter-productive to long-term behaviour change. So ditch the #fitspo that makes you feel #crapso and set yourself realistic and sustainable changes that you can actually stick to. That way you not only lose weight in the short-term, but you do it for life.

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ASX posts healthy session as investors welcome stimulus, vaccine news

“Coming into this session today was all about waiting to see if the US House of Reps was going to vote on the bump up in stimulus and the market was initially buoyed by that.”

“The imminent UK approval of the Oxford Zeneca vaccine also gave market sentiment a boost,” she said.

She added that the big share price rises for underperforming stocks like Pinnacle Investment, Ardent Leisure and Galaxy Resources on no fresh news was “purely based on the fact that there is likely to be another vaccine approved this week and fresh stimulus.”

With only one full day of trading on the ASX before NYE a lot of the focus is on whether the markets will finish in positive territory for 2020. Ms Amir said the market should be able to finish the year “slightly higher”.

The Healthcare and Utilities sectors were only laggards in the session, which saw tech darling Afterpay’ shares hit a new record, up 5.3 per cent to close at $122.1. A2 Milk was also big mover in , with the infant formula and milk seller’s shares jumping 5.8 per cent to $11.50, as investors welcomed its acquisition of New Zealand dairy company Mataura.

The deal is expected to help A2 increase its direct sales into China after its key daigou reseller channel collapsed due to COVID-19, prompting a near half-a-billion sales downgrade earlier this month.

The local oil and gas majors also had a mixed session, with crude prices dropping as the prospect of increased OPEC+ output in the face of weak demand dampened stimulus cheer.

Woodside Petroleum closed 1 per cent stronger at $22.98, however, Santos and Beach Energy slipped 0.3 per cent and 4.3 per cent respectively.

Investor sentiment was boosted as the start of the day after US and European markets muscled into into near-record territory overnight.

The S&P 500 Index, Dow Jones industrial average and Nasdaq Composite touched all-time highs after US President Donald Trump signed the COVID rescue package, having previously threatened to block the bill which restores unemployment benefits to millions of Americans.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 235.6 points, or 0.78 per cent, to 30,435.47, the S&P 500 gained 36.57 points, or 0.99 per cent, to 3,739.63 and the Nasdaq Composite added 124.46 points, or 0.97 per cent, to 12,929.20.

Meanwhile, European indexes closed broadly higher, helped by more details about the European Union – United Kingdom trade deal as part of the UK’s exit from the trade bloc. Germany’s DAX rose 1.5 per cent, while the CAC-40 in France gained 1.2 per cent.

With AP and Reuters

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Australian News

As sporting clubs struggle, rural communities look for alternatives to keep body and mind healthy

Some country sporting clubs, in temporary recess due to COVID-19, are weighing up whether to resurrect their teams for 2021 and beyond.

With its season postponed, the Campania football club in Tasmania is one organisation asking itself if the time might be right to exit permanently.

Club stalwart and former president Peter Parker said an over-reliance of ring-in players, coupled with rising council and upkeep costs, meant the COVID-19 pandemic might provide a convenient chance for the club to go quietly.

“It’s just so hard now to raise a few bucks and keep clubs together,” Mr Parker said.

“Unless we have eight or 10 local kids pop up, and we wait until they’re old enough, then we’re fine. But for now, it’s hard work.”

Others believe the footy team is a crucial part of the town’s fabric.

Campania Football Club President, Steve Denny, smiles at the camera
The footy club is essential for fostering community spirit, says Campania Football Club President Steve Denny.(ABC News: Chris Rowbottom)

Campania is located about 40 minutes north of Hobart, and is likely to be gobbled up in the coming years by Hobart’s expanding urban fringe.

Club president Steve Denny said keeping the football team alive was crucial not only for Campania’s identity, but for those locals who remain embedded in the town.

“We need to try and keep it open so they have somewhere to come.

“You’d be surprised how many people come to home games, just to watch Campania play football.”

Campania Football Oval sign
The Campania Football Club could fold because of COVID-19 and dwindling numbers.(ABC News: Chris Rowbottom)

Ultimately, the club might not have a choice.

Campania plays in the Oatlands District Football Association, which earlier this year voted to go into a temporary recess due to COVID-19 uncertainty.

Its future is far from guaranteed with two teams — Oatlands and Swansea — already shutting their doors this year, leaving Campania as one of just five teams left.

It’s been on its knees before, but COVID-19 could be the final nail for the once-mighty bush league.

Deeper issues at play?

According to the Exercise and Sport Science Association of Australia, clubs are a crucial connector in rural communities, and their closure can lead to isolation, anxiety and depression amongst former patrons.

Anita Hobson-Powel from Exercise Sport Science Australia.
Increasing social connectedness through exercise is vital, believes Anita Hobson-Powel from Exercise Sport Science Australia.(ABC News: Amy Sheehan)

“What we see in rural and remote areas, is that social connectiveness is extra important,” says CEO Anita Hobson-Powell.

Statistics gathered by outreach service Rural Alive and Well reveal that in Tasmania’s midlands region, more people are being identified as at risk of suicide or self harm.

Long droughts and tough farming conditions are a large factor behind that data, but the number of people experiencing loneliness or isolation has also risen, and there are fears that could increase further due to COVID-19.

“There’s people I know that haven’t left their farms for six weeks, because that’s their work and that’s their environment,” said local mental health worker and farmer, Andrew Dean.

Deeper into rural Tasmania, Mr Dean witnessed first-hand what the loss of a footy club can do to a community when his beloved Woodsdale shut its doors in 2015.

A farmer wearing a blue cap and checked shirt stands in a shed.
Andrew Dean says sometimes sport is the only way people in rural areas get to mix with others.(ABC News: Chris Rowbottom)

For years, fewer employment opportunities in rural areas has led to player drain and the closure of clubs.

But for those left behind, the loss of a club hits hard.

“To have that close up was a tragic event. You lose engagement with people within the community, and sadly that’s what we’re seeing now. Country sports are closing down, and it’s keeping people isolated,” Mr Dean said.

“No doubt that can lead to anxiety and depression.

It’s hoped the recent appointment of a national rural health commissioner, and government consultation on rural health will lead to better outcomes for those in the bush.

Are bush bootcamps an answer?

The loss of sporting clubs in regional areas has begun to highlight the important role they play in isolated communities.

In the wake of the closure of the local netball, football and cricket teams in nearby Oatlands, Mr Dean combined his skills as a former PCYC leader, mental health worker and personal trainer to establish a weekly boot camp.

A group of people exercise in a regional hall.
Bootcamps are taking off in rural areas as local sporting clubs close(ABC News: Chris Rowbottom)

Farmers like Felicity McShane have relished the sessions in the absence of other organised sport in the community.

Mr Dean believes the impact of the humble fitness sessions has been profound.

“I’ve seen the transformation on individuals. I’ve seen them grow and I’ve seen their confidence grow,” he said.

“They’ve gone on to do things they wouldn’t have been in a position to do.”

A young woman in a grey hoodie top smiles in a gym
Organised exercise helps “build some strength and resilience in the community”, says physiotherapist Margie Heard.(ABC News: Craig Heerey)

Further north, in the farming community of Cressy, the ‘Active Farmers’ fitness group has been established.

Trainer and physiotherapist Margie Heard says much like Oatlands and the Southern Midlands, the region was crying out for a winter outlet.

“It’s a way to bring the community together, to build some strength and resilience in the community, getting people off their farms and getting people out of the house,” she said.

A man in a blue jacket in a bar with a beer in hand.
The ritual of a beer after bootcamp helps Tom Green relax and talk about non-farm-related topics.(ABC News: Craig Heerey)

For some, like farmer Tom Green, the post session beer at the Ringwood Hotel across the road has been just as important as the 45-minute sweat sessions.

“The exercise lets you forget what you’ve got on, so you can relax when you get over here (to the pub) and just talk about some different stuff for a change, rather than the farm or the shop,” he said.

“You can get locked into your own little world, especially being 25 minutes away from the nearest town.”

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Australian News

Exercising too much could affect fertility in young, healthy women, expert warns

Kylie Johnson was the ultimate picture of health when she first started trying for a baby in her late 20s.

The banking-sector worker from Sydney’s south, who spent her spare time tackling gruelling ultramarathons, was young, fit, and healthy — all the key ingredients she was told were needed to become pregnant.

But her two-and-a-half-year road to conception made her question everything she thought she knew.

“Every time you left the doctor’s surgery, you felt kind of deflated [thinking], ‘what’s wrong with me?’ And why isn’t this happening?” she explained.

“I’m doing everything that they’re telling me to do.”

And Kylie’s story is hardly unusual — infertility affects one in six Australian couples of reproductive age.

Struggling with fertility? It could all be in your period

So, why would young, healthy women who keep their body in peak physical shape struggle to conceive?

Well, it’s complicated.

Infertility means you’re unable to get pregnant after 12 months of trying naturally (or six months for a woman over the age of 35), and there are so many reasons why it may not happen — for both men and women.

Unfortunately for some women who love to exercise (a lot), there are unique risks.

Whether someone’s a gym junkie, a weekend warrior, or an elite athlete, a clue to their fertility can be found in their periods.

Former Australian Diamonds netballer Susan Pettitt can relate. She struggled with infertility after retiring in 2018.

“We know regular periods are going to help you with [conceiving]. But when you’re playing, that’s not your top priority,” she said.

After 18 months of trying and a series of inconclusive tests, Susan and her husband Brad underwent IVF treatment.


They were successful after three cycles, with son Cooper born in July this year.

Susan is still unsure why they couldn’t conceive naturally. But her experience has all the hallmarks of a relatively unknown and misunderstood health condition that can put even the most seemingly healthy women at risk of not getting pregnant.

How can being super fit hurt your fertility?

Put simply, if you’re over-exercising and not eating enough, that could lead to a loss of periods for at least three months, or irregular, heavy periods that may only appear a few times a year.

It’s a pretty common but little-known condition known as athletic amenorrhoea.

Susan recalls how focused players and medical staff were about getting the best out of their performance at major events and planning their periods around that.

“We don’t have it monthly. We might have three or four months without it, or we might even skip them.”

Kylie, on the other hand, would sometimes go up to a year without having a menstrual cycle and thought it was completely normal.

A woman gives the thumbs up as she runs in a field during an ultramarathon. Another woman can be seen in the background.
Kylie spent her spare time training and competing in gruelling ultramarathons.(Supplied: Kylie Johnson)

“I was just like, ‘oh, that’s just me, that’s just my body’,” she said.

The idea that a woman’s period can come second to her fitness or performance seriously concerns fertility specialist Dr Natasha Andreadis.

And often, she says, it’s because they’re exercising too much.

“To match the exercise, they’re not eating enough. So it’s usually because they’re not actually getting enough fuel and as a consequence are not sufficient in their fat mass, which is really important,” she added.

Thankfully, there’s no impact on a woman’s long-term fertility once regular menstruation returns.

But amenorrhoea isn’t just a concern for those who want to start a family.

It can also cause high cholesterol, premature ageing, and loss of bone density, which could lead to osteopenia or osteoporosis.

Why the pill can be a problem

Many women don’t even realise if they have menstrual irregularities or amenorrhea, as it’s masked by their use of the contraceptive pill.

It’s especially common amongst athletes — it’s estimated the pill is used by nearly 50 per cent of all elite Australian sportswomen.

Dr Andreadis believes doctors often prescribe the pill too quickly to treat menstrual issues for women from all walks of life, rather than addressing the root cause.

At the professional level, Susan wants sporting organisations to take more responsibility to help protect their athletes’ fertility.

“We plan everything else in our lives, but we just don’t plan that part of it. We have medical examinations every year and we go through every muscle and every joint and everything about our bodies, but we just don’t talk about fertility,” she explained.

Are you running on empty?

Really, periods are only part of the problem.

After having her own tests done, Kylie discovered she had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) — a hormone issue that can affect fertility.

While exercise is recommended to treat PCOS, Kylie was running to an extreme level — regularly tackling ultramarathons of 50 kilometres or more — and that was actually making matters worse.

Her high running load compared with under-fuelling was making it impossible for her body to conceive.

“I think I was malnourished. I was eating a lot, but not enough for someone that was running so far,” she said.

“And I think that’s the problem where my body was kind of screaming at me and telling me what you’re doing isn’t healthy, but … I just didn’t want to hear.”


Ultimately, an ankle injury forced Kylie to curb her running.

By that point, after two and a half years of trying, she had given up on having a baby, convinced it just wasn’t to be for her and her partner.

But the simple tonic of stopping her high-intensity exercise and eating more was enough for her body to recover and she unexpectedly became pregnant with son Henry, who is now 18 months old.

“It just required me to step back into self-love and self-care for him to come along,” she said.

Should we rethink the career-first, family-later narrative?

Every woman who wants to have a baby knows the pressure that comes with that biological clock ticking.

It kicks up a gear when a woman is in her early 30s as fertility starts to decline. Then it intensifies from the age of 35.

In the elite sphere, many women’s sports, like netball, now have improved maternity policies to encourage athletes to start a family during their career.

Susan was 34 when she retired and says there’s still the prevailing attitude to wait until your playing days are done, so you don’t lose your spot in the team.

A woman wearing the Australian netball uniform smiles as she holds a trophy.
Susan Pettitt retired from competitive netball in 2018.(Supplied: Susan Pettitt)

She also believes coaches are reluctant to discuss fertility and family planning with players, for fear of losing them in their prime years.

After her success with IVF, Susan also had her eggs frozen. It’s something she’s encouraging younger players to do so they can have it as a safety net when they’re ready to start a family.

But Dr Andreadis warns it might not be the silver bullet athletes are hoping for.

“I feel that it’s important that we stress to these women: there’s absolutely no guarantee that if you freeze 30 or 40 mature eggs in your 20s, that you will absolutely get pregnant from that batch of eggs,” she said.

“You won’t know if you will be able to fall pregnant until you start trying.”

Why you shouldn’t go it alone

The path to conceiving can be an incredibly emotional journey for so many women, and the hurdles that invariably pop up along the way look so much steeper when you feel like you’re the only one facing them.

Kylie admits that in her like-minded community of female runners, they were more likely to discuss the latest sneakers on the market rather than their menstrual irregularities.

A man and woman stand in a cafe wearing black shirts.
Former Australian netballer Susan Pettitt and her husband Brad underwent IVF treatment in order to get pregnant.(ABC News: Amanda Shalala)

Even the medical experts she sought out weren’t equipped with the proper knowledge to help her, making it an isolating, frustrating experience.

Susan agrees it’s time for women to start talking more about issues like periods, fertility and miscarriages, so they can support each other rather than suffer in silence.

Despite their challenges along the way, both women know they’re amongst the lucky ones.

After all, they’ve got Henry and Cooper to show for it.

This story is part of a women in sport series called In Her Words. Head over to iview to watch all episodes.

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Local News - Victoria

Rory thought he was healthy, then suddenly he was about to die

But it sparked the beginning of an incredible 20-person, almost 14-hour operation by Ambulance Retrieval Victoria, one of the longest they’ve done, to save Rory and bring him from Bairnsdale Hospital on life support to The Alfred in Melbourne.

“They suspected I had COVID-19 because of my lungs. I don’t know how many times I got COVID-tested but it’s not pleasant.”

Rory was put into isolation, but his condition rapidly deteriorated.

“In Rory’s case we were concerned both about an autoimmune disease like Wegener’s and about the coronavirus infection,” said The Alfred’s intensive care specialist Aidan Burrell.

Dr Aidan Burrell, The Alfred's Intensive Care Specialist, helped save Rory as his lungs filled with blood due to Wegener's disease.

Dr Aidan Burrell, The Alfred’s Intensive Care Specialist, helped save Rory as his lungs filled with blood due to Wegener’s disease.Credit:Justin McManus

Dr Burrell received a distressed phonecall from a Bairnsdale doctor describing Rory’s condition and was then among a crew who flew out to Rory to assess and treat him.

It was 3.50am on May 8 when Rory’s case was referred to Ambulance Retrieval Victoria, Dr John Daley was the third coordinator in a long chain who began working to organise that crew. ARV is a branch of Ambulance Victoria and conducts complex movements of critically ill patients, which has included sending specialists to New Zealand to treat and transport two Melbourne patients injured in the White Island volcano tragedy in December last year.

ARV receives about 4000 referrals each year, providing specialist advice for patients, about half of whom are moved. An ARV coordinator assembles a crew that could include critical care nursing staff, paramedics, MICA paramedics, flight paramedics and sometimes medical registrars.

Dr Daley first considered sending a helicopter from The Alfred, but the weight of the life-saving equipment and the crew meant that wouldn’t work. So they diverted to a 50-minute flight at Essendon Airport to Bairnsdale Airport, where two ambulances were waiting for them. If they’d got to Rory much later he would have gone into cardiac arrest.

“Our job is often like running an emergency department with a blindfold on, with doctors you don’t know and patients that you can’t examine,” he said.

“Our job is often like running an emergency department with a blindfold on with doctors you don’t know and patients that you can’t examine,” he said.

It keeps him on his toes, Dr Daley says. After nine years with ARV he’s been to most – if not all – of the hospitals, landing strips and ambulance bays in Victoria.

“You just have to get yourself into the space of that hospital,” he said.

COVID-19 has brought its own complexity to ARV jobs.

Communicating with doctors in Bairnsdale was difficult, Dr Daley said, because Rory was in isolation, so Dr Daley couldn’t communicate directly with the people who were in the room performing procedures on him.

“It’s a real challenge, it’s doable, it just slows us down and makes us think a bit more.”

ARV has been central to planning for COVID-19. Director John McClure said the group received funding to expand their state-based platform REACH, a live dashboard that monitors the activity of every single intensive care unit in Victoria, to operate nationally.

“Our coordinators use this platform to decide where the best location is to move a patient in need,” he said.

The Critical Health Resource Information System (CHRIS) was developed in about three weeks and had every intensive care unit in Australia reporting their up-to-date information on bed capacity, ventilation capacity and how many COVID patients they had in their unit.

Rory thanking Director of the ARV director Jason McClure (centre) and Dr John Daley for helping to save his life.

Rory thanking Director of the ARV director Jason McClure (centre) and Dr John Daley for helping to save his life.Credit:Justin McManus

When Dr Burrell got to Rory, he already had a breathing tube in his mouth, was in a coma in deep sedation, and despite that, his respiratory function was still severely impaired.

His lungs had progressively filled with blood, and he was breathing at five to 10 per cent of his lung function.

“We converted him from being on a mechanical ventilator to adding in an additional pump, an oxygenator called ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) without that, he probably would have died,” Dr Burrell said.

A special ambulance (Complex Patient Ambulance Vehicle), one of only four or five in the state, transported Rory by road on full life-support from Bairnsdale to Melbourne.

He was later diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Wegener’s.

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (also known as Wegener’s) is a branch of vasculitis, in which the body’s own immune system attacks the blood vessels and it can present with bleeding and inflammation from the lungs, nose, throat, sinuses or cause kidney failure. In Rory’s case, it caused severe haemorrhaging in his lungs.

Rory’s life-saving journey

  • May 8, 3.50am: Case referred to Ambulance Retrieval Victoria.
  • 9am: ARV and doctors from The Alfred leave Air Ambulance Base at Essendon Fields.
  • 10.15am: Crew flies for about an hour and arrives at Bairnsdale Hospital.
  • Complex Patient Ambulance (CPAV) drives to Bairnsdale Hospital from Heyfield.
  • 2.40pm: Rory loaded into CPAV vehicle.
  • 5.30pm: He is driven about 280 kilometres to The Alfred, a journey that took nearly three hours.

Dr Burrell said it was a very rare condition.

Rory Smith went from a healthy 22-year-old to his lungs filling with blood. A marathon mission by Ambulance Retrieval Victoria and doctors from The Alfred saved his life.

Rory Smith went from a healthy 22-year-old to his lungs filling with blood. A marathon mission by Ambulance Retrieval Victoria and doctors from The Alfred saved his life. Credit:Pictures: Supplied.

“The hard problem is diagnosing it. People can follow the wrong pathway and get confused about the wrong diagnosis,” he said.

“Over a 10-year time span, we’ve had one other patient with Wegener’s who has needed full ECMO support.”

Rory remained in a coma for two-and-a-half weeks, during that time his 23rd birthday passed without fuss. “I was sedated so I wasn’t aware it was my 23rd birthday and no one could be there, not that I would have known anyway. I think I was in isolation.”

It took about five days for Rory to understand why he was in hospital once he was woken from his coma.

“I actually thought I was in a car accident. I was a bit confused as to why I was at The Alfred, all I remember was going to Bairnsdale hospital,” he said.

He also had to relearn how to eat, to walk and to get his strength back.

“Day by day as I got better, I could understand more and learnt I was going to have this condition for the rest of my life,” he said.

“There’s a lot of unknowns about it. It’s not curable but it is manageable.”

The volunteer paramedic, who had previously met Dr Daley when supporting other critically ill patients, has already had a hard year.

Living in Gippsland, this year his friends and family had dealt with droughts, landslides, the impact of COVID-19 on tourism as well as the Gippsland bushfires – which Rory fought as a CFA firefighter.

“Yeah, it’s been a hectic year for everybody. It affects everybody, especially in small communities.”

Despite being discharged for a day, in which he coughed up blood and had to return, he’s been in hospital for more than seven weeks.

“I keep asking myself, why did I get this disease, but they have no explanation of how people get it. It just happens,” he said.

Rory looks at Dr Burrell and shakes his head telling him just how grateful he is to them, Bairnsdale Hospital and the ARV crew for saving his life.

“I’ve never had anything like that before. I’ve never really been sick ever,” he said.

“I got told my chances of survival were very dim, and I made it and I’m just forever thankful. If it wasn’t for their quick thinking and getting down to Bairnsdale so fast, I wouldn’t be alive today.”

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Woman shares warning after pneumonia left her healthy husband in a coma for weeks

A Victorian woman is pleading for people to stay at home during the coronavirus crisis after a severe case of the flu left her husband in a coma for more than a month.

Gemma Loomans, from Melbourne, says it breaks her heart to see so many people still out and about and brushing off the virus as “just a bad flu” that will only sicken the elderly.

“Please, from someone who sat by the person they love more than anything in the world for over a month not knowing if he would wake up, please stay home,” she said in a warning to friends on Facebook.

Ms Loomans’ 33-year-old partner Damian developed bilateral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) after coming down with the flu earlier this year. Severe cases of the coronavirus can also cause pneumonia and ARDS.

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The ordeal left Damian, who had no underlying health conditions, in a coma and hooked up to a breathing machine for four weeks, Ms Loomans said.

He also had “tubes the size of garden hoses” inserted into each of his thighs to help keep oxygen pumping into his blood after his lungs failed.

“Ten-millimetre incision straight through the throat into the windpipe to allow breathing tube; 3 calls made by the hospital to me at night time during that period, to let me know treatments weren’t working and they were running out of options, or he had developed new infections,” Ms Loomans recalled.

“Six weeks spent in ICU, 2 weeks in a recovery ward and an estimated four months at home including learning to walk, eat and talk again … 29kg of muscle wastage from being stationary in bed; nightmares and hallucinations still to this day, from the medication used to keep him sedated.”


More than 3600 cases of coronavirus have now been confirmed across Australia and 14 people have died.

The government has imposed strict social distancing measures in an effort to slow the spread of the disease, but Ms Loomans said some people still didn’t “get it”.

“The only reason Damian survived is because the resources were available … if there were no hospital beds, he would be dead,” she said.

“Please, stay away from other people … don’t be selfish. We thought it wouldn’t happen to us either, but it did and it does.

“We had each other. People with COVID-19 are in hospital, isolated and separated from their loved ones. Imagine how alone and scared they must feel.”

Ms Loomans said her husband’s illness came as the couple should have been celebrating their “miraculous pregnancy”.

“The nurses knew the gender of the baby before Damian, because he was unconscious fighting for his life. He missed all of the early baby scans. Because of ‘just’ the flu”.

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Australian News

Social distancing, ordering food, cleaning house, staying healthy

The 30-minute rule for hairdressers and limitations around the number of attendees permitted at funerals have been relaxed, as the Federal Government eases strict new rules to cope with coronavirus.

The half-an-hour restriction on hair appointments has been lifted, after hairdressers said it was “unworkable” as Canberra tinkers with measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

But Mr Morrison said the four square metre rule per person must be strictly followed by hairdressers and barbers, and personal contact during appointments must be “minimised”.

States and territories will be able to provide exemptions to the 10-person limit for funerals in cases of hardship, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

It came as the government ruled that weddings will have just five people present, as Australia faces a new normal after Mr Morrison announced the next phase of business and social shutdowns under a new nationwide clampdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

From midnight (Wednesday), services such as libraries, museums, galleries, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, shopping centre food courts, auctions, open houses, amusement parks, arcades, indoor and outdoor play centres, swimming pools, and indoor exercise activities were shut down.

Restaurants and cafes also closed but are allowed to serve takeaway, while essential services – including retail shops, offices, workplaces and schools – remain open.

It follows Mr Morrison’s Monday directive that all clubs, pubs, sporting venues, churches, cinemas, gyms and casinos would shut their doors across the country under strict new coronavirus lockdown laws.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy said the new measures had been brought in partly due to the rise in coronavirus cases in Australia and also because the public had not been practising social distancing effectively.

So, how should you and your family observe these tough new lockdown rules? We’ve answered key questions below:


As of Wednesday night, all libraries, museums, galleries, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, shopping centre food courts, auctions, open houses, amusement parks, arcades, indoor and outdoor play centres, swimming pools, and indoor exercise activities were shut down.

Guests will be unable to attend weddings. Funerals were to be initially limited to 10 mourners, all who must stand apart from one another, but the Government has since relaxed that directing, saying states and territories can provide exemptions to the funerals limit for “in cases of hardship”.

Restaurants and cafes were only allowed to serve takeaway (not eat-in), while essential services – including retail shops, offices, workplaces and schools – will remain open.


Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas and massage parlours will all close.

Initially, hairdressers and barber shops were told they could only hold appointments spanning up to 30 minute appointments. However, that has since been overturned. All salons will have t comply with the one person per four square metre rule applies in the premises.

Shopping centres and other shops not specifically told to close, including bottle shops, will remain open.

Major department stores such as David Jones and Myer will remain open.

Auction houses will close, while real estate auctions and open house inspections can still go ahead via private appointment.

Food markets will continue to operate in all states and territories.

Medical centres and pharmacies will also remain open.


You can order takeaway or home delivery. You cannot sit down to eat. Cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens; services providing food or drink to the homeless, workplace canteens can provide takeaway.


Malls and food courts will shut, except for takeaway food and delivery service.


Only five people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies – the couple, the celebrant and witnesses.

Just 10 people will be able to attend funerals, all who must adhere to rules around the four-square metre rule and the social distancing practices. The same 10-person limit will apply to any gatherings inside people’s homes.


Cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, gaming or gambling venues, strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues will close.

Concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums, and stadiums are also shuttered.

Live streaming of a performance by a small group could be permissible with social distancing observed.

Amusement parks and arcades, play centres (indoor and outdoor), will close.


For outside events, limited to groups of no more than 10 people and social distancing must be exercised.

Health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses, swimming pools and wellness centres will close.


The National Security Committee of cabinet also put a ban on any Australians flying overseas, lifting the government’s advise from a “do not travel” warning to a flat travel ban.

Limited exceptions will apply for compassionate travel, aid work and trips for essential employment.



All indoor venues including pubs, clubs, casinos, restaurants, gyms, sporting and religious venues will be closed.

Restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to offer takeaway services.

Schools will remain open.

Indoor services for funerals will be allowed provided the strict rule of one person per four square metres and no more than 10 people in total are followed.

Workplaces and offices must follow the same arrangements, but can remain open.

Hotels can continue to operate the accommodation part of their business, but not any licensed pub or club areas.


The first phase of new rules came into effect at 12pm on Monday, while Mr Morrison’s second phase takes effect as of midnight (Wednesday), but they will be reviewed monthly and subject to national health regulations and advice.

They are expected to last up to six months.


You can still go outside but future closures will result if people ignore social distancing requirements and begin congregating in groups.


Retail stores, shopping malls, supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations, convenience stores, freight and logistics, and home delivery services will remain open.

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said the consensus view of the nation’s health officials was that schools should remain open.


Mr Morrison said students should go to school on Monday.

Victoria has brought forward its Easter school holidays. They will now begin on Tuesday.

ACT schools are moving towards “distance education” or more online classes.

If you decide to keep your kids at home and not send them to school you are responsible for keeping up with their education and their lockdown conduct.

“Parents who make the decision for the children to remain at home must take responsibility for those children,” Mr Morrison said.

“Those children are staying at home, it is not an excuse for them to go down to the shopping centre or to go and congregate somewhere else, or potentially put themselves in contact with the vulnerable and elderly population.

“If you choose to keep your child at home, you are responsible for the conduct and behaviour of your children.”

Schools will be required to stay open until the end of term, and continue after the holidays provided health advice does not change, however parents will be allowed to keep their children at home if they want to.


Mr Morrison said schools could make work available for children who were held back from school.

“Schools will seek to provide learning at home in a distance learning framework but you cannot be assured that that will come in place immediately,” he said.

“That will take some arrangements from those schools, particularly the public schools, in many independent and Catholic schools they may choose to move to those models, already have, but what is important here is if you are a parent and you want your child to go to school up until the end of this term, and the schools should remain open and must remain open is the instruction, until the end of that term.”


According to Mr Morrison the stricter measures are being enforced because of people ignoring social distancing after an increase in coronavirus cases.

The Prime Minister has warned the closures could continue for six months and will increase in severity if they are not observed properly.

Here are some of our other tips and tricks for surviving COVID-19 in self-isolation:


COVID-19 can live on plastic for up to 72 hours, steel for up to 48 hours, cardboard for up to 24 hours and copper for up to four hours, according to a recent study.

Frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards and bedside tables, should be cleaned at least weekly.

If anyone in your home is sick, these surfaces should be cleaned daily.

Start cleaning in the cleanest area and finish in the dirtiest area to avoid cross-contamination.

Linen should be regularly washed in hot water.

Do not touch used linen against your clothing while carrying. Use a laundry basket or similar.

Mechanical cleaning with detergent and water, followed by rinsing and drying, is the most effective method for removing germs from surfaces.

Disinfectants are only necessary if a surface has been contaminated.

If cleaning a room where someone with COVID-19 has been, use a 1000 ppm bleach solution to clean surfaces and ensure you are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment such as a disposable apron, gloves, a mask and goggles.

Source: Queensland Health, study from NIH/Princeton/UCLA


If you can, visit supermarkets only when necessary and consider buying food online or takeaway instead.

If going to the shops is unavoidable, try to go in quieter periods.

Woolworths and Coles have hygiene stations in stores around the country which contain disinfectant wipes for customers to clean their trolleys and baskets.

You do not need to wear a face mask when in public if you are healthy. The Australian Government advises, while masks can help prevent transmission from infected patients to others, they are not recommended for healthy members of the public.

Practice social distancing measures when in public, including at the supermarket.

These include staying home if you are unwell and keeping a distance of 1.5m between you and other people where possible.

Source: NSW Health, Australian Government Department of Health


Use public transport in off-peak periods if possible to stagger demand on the service.

If using public transport is unavoidable, ensure you practice social distancing and hygiene measures to reduce the risk of infection.

Use debit, credit and transport cards to pay your fare, as opposed to cash.

Wash your hands frequently before and after travel, do not travel if you are feeling unwell, try to avoid touching your face, cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze, avoid using a mask if you are well and use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with more than 60 per cent alcohol.

Source: Public Transport Victoria, NSW Health


Australia’s largest food delivery services – including Menulog, Uber Eats, Dominos, Crust and Pizza Capers – have already taken steps to stem the transmission of COVID-19 with contact-free delivery.

Uber Eats and Deliveroo are also offering financial assistance to drivers who test positive to COVID-19 or are forced to isolate for 14 days.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has advised it is “unlikely” COVID-19 can be transmitted through food.

As for food containers, a recent study found COVID-19 could survive on plastic for up to 72 hours and cardboard for up to 24 hours.

Professor Ramon Shaban, clinical chair of Infection Prevention and Disease Control at Westmead Hospital and the University of Sydney said while COVID-19 was not transmitted through food in an “ordinary sense”, the risk of contracting the virus from symptomatic food handlers or delivery drivers could be reduced by limiting surface contact.

“It’s not like we can expect that everything that gets delivered to our house is going to be contaminated,” he said.

“Adopting good hand hygiene is really very important when we interact with our environment and others.”


Talk to other members of the family about COVID-19 to reduce anxiety.

Keep up a normal daily routine as much as possible.

Exercise regularly at home. Exercise is a proven treatment for stress and depression.

Ask your family, friends or other members of the household to pick up your groceries and medicines for you. If this is not possible, you may be able to order groceries and medicines online or by telephone.

Arrange to work from home.

Ask your child’s school to supply assignments or homework by post or email.

If you are sharing a home with others, as much as possible, you should remain separated, wear a surgical mask if you’re in the same room as another person, use a separate bathroom and avoid shared or communal areas.

Do not share a room with people who are at risk of severe disease, such as the elderly, or those with heart, lung or kidney conditions, or diabetes.

For more information and support while in home isolation, call the National coronavirus Health Information line on 1800 020 080.

Source: Australian Government Department of Health, NSW Health


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Can I get COVID-19 a second time?

To date, there is no evidence of COVID-19 recurring in a patient who has recovered from the condition.

Professor Ramon Shaban, clinical chair of Infection Prevention and Disease Control at Westmead Hospital and the University of Sydney explains: “We do have evidence that shows people who have COVID-19 develop antibodies, which is the human body’s response to an infection, and these antibodies are what the body uses to fight future infections”.

“We can feel quite confident that it behaves in many other ways that is characteristic of a respiratory virus and there’s been no evidence of recrudescence.”

What happens at the end of my 14-day isolation period?

If you have not developed symptoms by the end of the isolation period, you are able to re-enter the community. If you do develop symptoms within 14 days of returning to Australia, or within 14 days of last contact of a confirmed case, you should see a doctor immediately. You must remain in isolation until public health authorities inform you it is safe to return to your usual activities.

Source: Australian Government Department of Health


It can be tempting to turn your bed into an office, dodge video calls, and work at whatever hour suits you but experts are warning Australia’s growing work-from-home army to avoid these pitfalls to stay productive and healthy.

While working from home will be easier for some more than others, they recommend establishing a home office, a routine, negotiating with housemates, and turning on the webcam during conference calls to maintain social contact.

Onya managing director Hayley Clarke, who manages a team of employees remotely, said life outside the workplace didn’t need to feel isolating, and many workers actually talk to clients and colleagues more during the day.

“I don’t have less communication working from home because I’m still talking to people on Skype or over the phone all day every day,” she said. “It might not be the same kind of chitchat that you get when someone drops into the office though, and you have to learn to read auditory cues more than visual cues.”

And Australian Institute of Management WA chief executive Professor Gary Martin recommended workers make sure they keep their computer’s video camera turned on when participating in video conferences and calls over platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx, and Slack.

Face-to-face contact was an important part of staying socially connected, he said, though he warned workers to negotiate with others in the household who had also been sent home to work.

“Having a shared calendar about your commitments can help because you don’t want to have people invited over when you’re in the middle of a teleconference,” he said.

Ms Clarke said it was also important establish a dedicated work location at home, prepare daily task lists, and to set regular work times to keep your day on track.

“The biggest recommendation about working from home is just to start the day normally. If you just roll out of bed and stay in your PJs, it’s hard to stay motivated,” she said.

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