Be wary of what you see on social media

Welcome back to Mind Your Own Retirement. Kaye Fallick the publisher of Your Life Choices website and e-newsletter, and also me, John Deeks. I don’t know, what am I? I’m just hanging around.

KF: You’re our beloved co-host!

J: You’re very, very kind. And we have somebody who is

KF: Beloved also.

J: Very much so. And he’s not bored at the moment from the Australian College of General Practitioners. We have the president of such a Harry Nespolon on the phone right now. Harry, a very good day to you. And thank you so much for giving up some time.

H: Well, thank you for wanting to talk to me.

J: Well, do we want to talk to you!

KF: So, Doctor Harry, we have 230,000 members we’re now doing an afternoon PM update on COVID 19. And we wanted someone to be calm and rational.

J: Especially as so many of our members are retired.

KF: 55+ so what we’ve seen is every man and their dog jumping on social media and I believe, you’ve got an opinion on this.

H: Well, one of the problems that we have at the moment, especially if you look at the particular circumstances around the Corona virus, where we are sort of learning about it almost every day, getting the truth, the correct information can be difficult or difficult to discern. And so, we would suggest that social media is probably not the best place to get your health information from, in the current situation. We’d be suggesting that you do go to the commonwealth government website.

I know it’s not as easy to navigate as a lot of the social media sites, but it really does hold “the truth” in inverted commas as we know it at the moment. And so, as we’ve seen over the weekend, things really did change a lot, the advice changed a lot from Friday to Sunday. And so, the best place I would suggest to get that information is from the commonwealth’s website.

J: Do you have any just basic sage advice you would give to our members of your life choices to take care of their health and look after themselves at this time?

H: Look, it’s really important for your members to be careful because they’re the ones who are most likely to run into serious problems if they do acquire the corona virus. If you are under 65, your chances of being really sick from the corona virus is less than 2 percent. If you’re over 75, you’ve got about a 15 percent chance of dying, which I hate to say. And so, if you know that you’re going out on a particular day and you might be even visiting your sons and daughters or grandchildren if they’re sick, I’d probably suggest that you delay that visit.

And if you really don’t need to go out for the next little while, I’d really suggest that you stay at home and read that book that you always wanted to read and listen to the podcast.

KF: So, Doctor Harry, what about physical fitness centers, like gyms and so on? You know, by the time we release this podcast, who knows they may have been shut.

But do you believe for people aged over 65 it’s still okay to head down to the gym?

J: Please say yes, that’s me.

H: Yes. Look, I think you still can go to the gym. I think I’d be focusing on social distancing. So, make sure you do stay about a meter and a half away from your fellow exercisers. And the other thing that I’d bring would be hand sanitizer with me. So, if you are touching surfaces that you do clean your hands immediately afterwards, be really particular about not touching your face while you’re in the gym.

Perhaps wash your hands thoroughly before you leave. And they’re the sorts of things that I think you should be doing. And then if there is someone who is really coughing their brains out in the gym, probably avoid them I’d even seriously think about leaving until they left. We do know that you need about 60 to 70 percent alcohol content in your hand sanitizer to kill the virus. And I’d probably suggest that if you don’t have some hand sanitizer, you might seriously think about waiting until you do get some before you go to the gym.

KF: So super careful at this stage.

H: Absolutely. Yes. The less young that you are, the more likely you are to run into significant serious problems with the corona virus. And so, if it means that you have to do a couple of laps of the block rather than necessarily going to the gym, that’s going to be much safer. And you’ll certainly be able to go to the gym once the Corona virus crisis is over.

J: Oh, Harry, thank you so much for that very important advice. And once again, if folks want to get the latest information, go to the government website and they will be able to access whatever is the latest update, because as we know, it’s not day by day, it’s pretty much hour by hour.

KF: And we are doing a special PM COVID 19 update every day. We’re sending out a special e-newsletter specific to older adults. So, we’ll be linking to Dr. Harry from that as well.

J: I guess this is a very, very important time, obviously, for your members to be getting the latest information as well. Dr. Harry is president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. How often are you sending out your e-mails or updates to your members?

H: Well, our website is being constantly updated. We’re trying to send out an e-mail every day to our members. We’re also getting emails from, depending on which state you’re in, from the local state government and the Commonwealth are sending out two newsletters a week at the moment. So, our members are getting lots of information. Our great hope is that it’s all consistent.

J: I wish I could ask you or get an answer from you, when you think this is going to start to pull back and we’re going to come back from the precipice that we are now with this terrible situation. But, you know, who knows, right?

H: That’s correct. Look, we’ve still got the winter to go through. And I would be saying to all your listeners, as soon as the government releases the flu vaccinations, make sure you get down to your GP and get your free flu vac, because it’s really going to make a huge difference, especially this winter. We really would like to minimize the number of people with flu infections because they really will load the system up if we have a bad year. So, put it in your diary for the end of April is when the government says they’re going to release their flu vaccination and get out and get it done.

J: Harry, thank you so much for giving up your time on Mind your own retirement. Dr. Harry Nespolon the president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. You sir, stay well and thank you for your sage advice. The bottom line commonsense.

H: Absolutely.