Who doesn’t love a BBQ or candle lit room? However, burns are a common presentation to the Emergency department.

First aid for burns is often misunderstood and getting it right can make all the difference to the outcome.

  1. All burns need to be cooled as soon as possible. This is at least 20 minutes of cold, running water which can be effective up to 3 hours after the burn has occurred. The burn can extend after the initial contact so this step is vital. Never use ice or cold packs as it is the continuous flow of water that actually helps prevent the skin damage. Similarly if an irritant chemical contacts the skin, irrigation with water is needed, often for much longer times periods.
  2. Try and remove jewellery or tight clothing as the area will swell
  3. Once cooling has been done try to keep the affected area irrigated to reduce swelling
  4. Covering the burn with clean cling film may help to reduce pain before getting to hospital, it is the damaged nerve endings contact with air that often cause much of the pain. Do not put any creams, ointments, honey or butters on the burns


In general burns should be assessed by a medical practitioner in order to make sure the correct treatment is initiated. There are some situations where doctors may be more concerned than others and the patient may need urgent transfer for specialist care. For example, electrical or chemical burns, burns to the face or burns with high amounts of thermal energy.

Blistering of a burn is a sign that it is not superficial as the deeper layers of skin are separated, these will all need medical attention.  Burns affecting the hands, feet, joints of the arms or legs and genitalia also need urgent expert assessment.  When you are seen in the Emergency department you may also require a tetanus booster as a burn can put you at risk of tetanus infection. Most burn injuries also require follow up with the GP or burns clinic, as they can often look worse after 2-3 days and require specialist dressings.  It is important that a healthcare practitioner keeps a close eye on the healing process so they can refer to a burns expert if necessary.

As well as the burn itself, smoke exposure can be very harmful.  This can happen with both enclosed fires and with prolonged exposure such as in bushfires or industrial fires.

The lining of the airway itself can be burnt which may be suggested by singed facial hair or blackening around the mouth and nose.

There are also several poisonous gases in smoke including cyanide and carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is colourless and odourless so cannot easily be detected. That is why smoke AND carbon monoxide detectors should be in every home.  Poisoning may be subtle with symptoms such as mild confusion, headache, fatigue, vomiting. In more serious cases this can progress to coma and even death.


If you are unsure what to do about a minor burn or concerned about smoke inhalation and you need to speak to a doctor, download the My Emergency Dr app for an urgent consultation with a qualified specialist emergency doctor 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Love Hurts

We at myemergencydr.com recognise that things don’t always go to plan and sometimes unprotected sex does happen.

As well as the risks of unwanted pregnancy, there are sexually transmitted infections (STI) to think about.

These are very common but still seem to cause embarrassment and late presentations to medical services are frequent.

The signs and symptoms of STI’s may be subtle at first and include

  • Pain or discomfort on passing urine
  • Increased discharge or offensive smelling discharge
  • Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Heavier bleeding during your normal period


Left untreated these can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women which can progress to cause severe pain, infection throughout the body or sepsis, and result in infertility.

Diagnosis of STI’s can be as simple as a urine test for disease such as chlamydia. However, sometimes a diagnosis can be made based on other features such as the presence of sores or warts. Others may require vaginal or penile swabs which are not painful but more invasive.  Blood bourne viruses such Hepatitis B or C and HIV require blood tests. Staff who work in sexual health clinics are specially trained to council you about these tests and can offer emotional support, when needed.

The treatment of STI’s is usually antibiotics and prevention of further spread. At sexual health clinics they can assist you with anonymous contact tracing and you will be treated with empathy and dignity.

If you think you have an STI, we at myemergencydr.com can assist you in finding your local sexual health clinic and provide confidential advice about the next steps. You may need to attend an after hours GP, medical centre or on occasion an emergency room and our doctors can advise about this too.

Similarly, if you are concerned about being pregnant, as a result of unprotected sex, one of our doctors can guide you to find the most appropriate health professional.

Some people may find these topics hard to talk about, at myemergencydr.com you can have an online chat with one of our doctors, which you may find easier. You will be afforded the same confidentiality as in any other health consultation.



Constipation & You

Constipation is a common health condition that affects adults, children and the elderly. It is the passage of hard, dry stools that are often infrequent or difficult to pass and is one of the most common health conditions that brings a patient to see their doctor for advice.


Constipation can be caused by many lifestyle factors that are simple to fix. Risk factors for developing constipation include:

  • A change in routine
    Normal bowel motions depended on the regular and rhythmic contraction of the bowels that is regulated by the body’s internal clock. This can be disturbed when travelling, undertaking shift work or changes in your daily routine.
  • Lack of fibre in your diet
    Fibre adds to the bulk and softens your stools. This helps the passage of material through the digestive tract making it easier to eventually pass. Good sources of fibre in your diet include fruits and vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals.
  • Dehydration
    Insufficient water causes the poo to become hard and dehydrated and makes it difficult for the poo to move down the intestine. By drinking at least two litres of water a day you soften the stool and prevent constipation.
  • Lack of regular exercise
    Physical activity helps to relieve constipation because it stimulates the nervous system and helps the muscles and nerves in the gut to work better moving poo through the digestive tract.
  • Withholding going to the toilet
    When you ignore the urge to go it means that more water will be extracted from the stools making them more difficult to pass. If you regularly ignore the urge this makes the body less sensitive to the normal signals to alert you to go to the toilet and your gut becomes lazy causing a build up of poo in the intestine.
  • Pregnancy
    The pressure of a growing baby on the intestine combined with reduced activity and the action of hormones means that constipation is common in pregnancy.
  • Medications
    Some medications particular pain strong pain killers, iron supplements and antacids cause constipation by slowing down bowel movements. Often supplements to soften stool and provide bulk will also be prescribed to avoid constipation.
  • Illness
    Reduction in normal activity, dehydration and bed rest typically cause constipation.


If you are suffering from constipation or have tried home remedies without relief download our My Emergency Dr app for a confidential online consultation with an expert clinician today.

Back Pain

Low back pain is a very common problem with approximately 80% of Australians suffering from back pain during their lifetime. It is a significant and debilitating condition that impacts your quality of life and reduces ability to function. Here at My Emergency Dr we can provide you with an immediate assessment and help you to manage this disabling condition.

Back pain can occur after moving heavy objects but often is provoked without an inciting event.  It is also more common in those who are overweight, who are physically inactive or those undertaking repetitive tasks at work.

The low back supports the weight of the upper body and provides the mobility for movements such as bending and twisting. Most acute low back pain results from injury to the muscles of the back, or the ligaments, joints or discs around the spine. After an injury to the back the body reacts by causing the surrounding muscles to stiffen. Patients often experience severe pain at the site of the injury due to the surrounding inflammation.

‘Red flag’ symptoms make a doctor more concerned that there may be a serious cause for your back pain. Please let your doctor know if you have:


  • A history of cancer
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A history of trauma to the area
  • A history of intravenous drug use
  • A fever
  • Loss of bladder or bowel function
  • Weakness of your limbs


More than 85% of patients who present to emergency with low back pain have no specific cause found and their pain improves within a few weeks of simple treatment. Our tips for a rapid recovery include:


  • Speak to your doctor for an accurate assessment and diagnosis
  • Use the pain medication as prescribed
  • Stay active and avoid too much bed rest as it will slow down your recovery.
  • Once your pain subsides undertake gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent further episodes in the future


Here at My Emergency Dr we are experts in the assessment and diagnosis of back pain. Call us today for an immediate online medical assessment using the My Emergency Dr App. If your back pain causes you to develop weakness in your legs or bowel or bladder dysfunction please seek urgent medical attention.

Winter flu and you

Last year we had a horror flu season, one of the worst on record, which caused unexpected deaths and multiple admissions to hospital for patients young and old across Australia. To protect you and your family here are some simple steps you can take to minimise infection and transmission.

Spreading the illness
– Wash your hands thoroughly
– Don’t share cups or cutlery
– Cough or sneeze into your elbow
– Use tissues and dispose of them into the waste bin
– If your child is sick keep them home from daycare or school to prevent spreading the illness

To prevent influenza there is a vaccine. The flu vaccine is free for
– Children aged 6 months to 5 years
– anyone over the age of 5 years with a chronic health condition
– all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over
– pregnant women (influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
– people aged 65 years and over
– health workers

The evidence demonstrates that those who are vaccinated against the flu are less likely to get sick and less likely to get admitted to hospital. The vaccine also stops the spread of flu in the community and prevents those that are too young or too sick to be immunised from becoming infected. The vaccine is an inactivated (killed) virus. It will not give you the flu. Side effects of the vaccine include pain and redness at the site of injection. Less commonly, children may develop a fever or aches and pains, which last one to two days.

Vaccination remains the best protection against influenza to help keep you well this winter. To prevent becoming struck down with the flu get a flu vaccine.

App to access doctors

24-hour medical care without having to clog emergency departments

BANYULE residents can get free and urgent after hours medical care through a video consultation using a new smartphone medical app.

They can use the My Emergency Dr app to access specialist emergency doctors when their regular GP isn’t available.

The Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network is funding access until the end of May to the app for residents in its catchment area, including Banyule.

Network chief executive Robin Whyte said the service aimed to prevent people going to hospital emergency departments after hours if it was unnecessary.

“The app allows the user to not only speak with a specialist emergency doctor but also to share video and pictures to assist in care giving,” she said.

Dr Justin Bowra, the chief executive of My Emergency Dr, said the service would help residents who couldn’t contact their normal doctor or were unsure if they needed to go to an emergency department. All doctors working for the 24-hour app are Australian registered specialist emergency doctors able to order diagnostic tests, write prescriptions, refer patients to other specialists or recommend patients attend an emergency department if necessary.

Every assessment is completed with a follow-up letter to their regular doctor.

Residents can download the app and quote their postcode for help after hours.

My chest is on fire

Indigestion is a term that describes recurrent pain in the upper abdomen and a feeling of discomfort, burning, bloating, belching or nausea during or after eating. It is a common problem and is frequently caused by reflux of food contents (and acidic digestive fluid) from the stomach into the esophagus. If this continually occurs the lining of the stomach and esophagus becomes irritated, inflamed and painful.


Heartburn occurs commonly in patients who are pregnant or overweight individuals or those who have a diet high in spicy foods, coffee and alcohol. It is also common in patients who have a hernia of the diaphragm muscle, which causes part of the stomach to move up into the chest cavity. Smokers are at an increased risk of experiencing heartburn and anti-inflammatory tablets can also cause stomach irritation and pain.


The symptoms of heartburn or reflux include:

  • upper abdominal pain
  • a burning sensation in the middle of your chest
  • an acidic taste in the mouth
  • feeling full or bloated
  • burping, belching or flatulence
  • feeling sick or nauseated


You can ease heartburn and acid reflux by undertaking simple lifestyle changes. By quitting smoking and losing weight your symptoms will reduce. Importantly if you eat smaller more frequent meals and avoid foods that trigger your symptoms the irritation and inflammation will subside. We also recommend avoiding eating meals 3 hours before bed to avoid heartburn symptoms.


Should these lifestyle changes fail to reduce your symptoms you can call upon the experienced clinicians at My Emergency Dr for an immediate online consultation and expert care. If you have experienced any of the following symptoms please advise the team at My Emergency Dr – vomiting blood, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite or unintentional weight loss; so, we can expedite your care.

5 steps to strong bones

It is never too early to start thinking about your bone health. Bones are living, growing tissues and are continually broken down and rebuilt, however there is a silent disease affecting the lives of Australians and causing injuries due to weak bones. This disease is called osteoporosis and it makes strong bones brittle causing them to break after a minor bump or fall. In Australia osteoporosis affects one in two women over the age of 50 with women affected two times more often than men due to the hormonal changes from menopause.


Bones are living growing tissues that are constantly remodeling in response to the stresses and strains placed on them during our daily activities. They become weak when they lose minerals, particularly calcium and are less able to regenerate their strength. Osteoporosis increases the risk of breaking a bone. In a woman’s lifetime half will go on to have a broken bone of the hip, wrist or spine.


The good news is that there are 3 vital steps you can take to prevent bone loss, improve bone strength or delay the onset of osteoporosis:

      • Eat a diet rich in calcium
        Almost 99% of the body’s calcium is found in bones and it combines with other minerals to form hard crystals to give bones structure and strength. To increase calcium in your diet eat foods such as dairy, green leafy vegetables and canned fish containing bones which have high amounts of calcium.


      • Ensure your Vitamin D level is in the healthy range
        Vitamin D supports bone growth and helps to absorb calcium into the bones. The main source of vitamin D is through sunlight exposure when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet B light. Just a few minutes of skin exposure to sunlight will increase your Vitamin D levels. You can also get vitamin D by taking supplements. This is a good way to get vitamin D if you can’t get enough sunlight, or if you’re worried about exposing your skin.


    • Undertake regular weight bearing exercises to strengthen bones
      Regular exercise that is weight bearing such as walking or weight training helps our bones to become stronger. The extra strain of weight bearing exercises causes the bones to remodel and increases the bone mineral density and bone quality to prevent bony injuries.


    Osteoporosis can easily cause a broken bone due to a minor bump or fall. If this has happened to you and you have ongoing pain, swelling deformity, bruising or if you are unable to use the limb call My Emergency Dr today for an immediate assessment and expert medical advice. We will arrange the treatment you need and help you avoid a long Emergency department queue. Download our App for immediate consultation now!

That niggling stomach ache

Abdominal pain can be caused by a range of health conditions and can cause you to have mild discomfort to severe in. Here at My Emergency Dr we can help you to assess the cause of your pain, provide further investigations to isolate the condition and provide you with the necessary medications to manage your pain and other symptoms.


Abdominal pain can range from mild self-limiting conditions such as trapped gas in the large intestine causing bloating and ache, to pains during your period or cramps due to food poisoning. More severe pains are concerning and can be suggestive of conditions that requiring more urgent medical attention. Some conditions that can cause you to have severe pain include appendicitis, bowel obstruction or kidney stones.


When you see a doctor they will ask you many questions about the pain. The answers you provide give important clues to to help them further assess the cause and appreciate where the pain may be coming from. If you are experiencing additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fevers or bloating please advise the doctor as this may help them to diagnose your illness.


There are some basic things you can do which often will help to ease your discomfort. We recommend drinking clear fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated plus using simple pain medications such as paracetamol to reduce your pain.


You should arrange an urgent review by a doctor or present to hospital if:

  • your pain is severe and getting worse
  • you have fevers
  • you have difficulty keeping food down and are persistently vomiting
  • it hurts to touch your abdomen or it is swollen
  • you are losing weight
  • you are bleeding from the bowel or have vomited blood
  • your skin is yellow


Here at My Emergency Dr we are experts in emergency care. When you call you will be assessed by our specialist doctors who will evaluate your medical condition and help you arrange further tests and care. To speak to a doctor today download the My Emergency Dr app from the App Store or Google Play and follow the simple instructions.

High blood pressure – is it dangerous?

The facts:

– Most of the time there are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure

– Certain physical and lifestyle choices can place you at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure

– When high blood pressure is left untreated it increases your risk of having a heart attack, stroke and other health problems.


Hypertension or high blood pressure is an extremely common condition which affects over 60% of adults over the age of 75. As we get older the pressure in the arteries increases gradually over many years.  Your blood pressure is normal if it is below 120/80. When the reading becomes higher than this it is a sign that there is excessive pressure building up on the artery walls and potentially affecting organs.


To diagnose hypertension you need to have serial measurements taken during the course of the day as blood pressure varies upon waking and during the night. It also is important to note that blood pressure is affected by stress so some may go to the doctor and find their blood pressure is higher than when they measure it at home. This is all taken into account when diagnosing hypertension.


Hypertension is broken down into two main categories. Essential hypertension is the term given to those who have raised blood pressure but without a cause found. For those who do have a cause they are described as having secondary hypertension. Often those with secondary hypertension have a much quicker onset of raised blood pressure and a much higher reading than those without a cause found.


High blood pressure is concerning because the excessive pressure placed on the artery walls causes damage to blood vessels and organs in the body – particularly the heart, kidneys, brain and eyes.  Uncontrolled blood pressure increases your risk serious health problems including heart attack and stroke.


The changes you can make in your life to lower your blood pressure include:

– losing weight

– exercising regularly

– eating a healthy diet

– reducing the amount of salt in your diet

– limiting the amount of alcohol you drink

– quitting smoking


If your blood pressure is high and you need a specialist medical opinion download the My Emergency Dr App. This is an app that allows you to have a video consultation with a specialist emergency doctor within minutes, 24/7, from wherever you are in Australia.