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Health topics

We’ve organised our health, ageing and sport information into health topics. Topics are listed alphabetically or you can use the search box to find what you need.

23 results
  • Find out about our ministers and our people, and the work we do to make Australia's health system one of the best in the world.

  • Aged care is the support provided to older people to help them with everyday living and other needs. It can be provided in a person’s home, in the community or in an aged care (nursing) home. Find out about the aged care services funded by the Australian Government and how they can support you.

  • Alcohol is a drug that affects your body — how you think, feel and behave. Drinking too much can affect your health and disrupt your life. Learn about guidelines to reduce your risk. Find help to reduce your own drinking or support someone close to you.

  • Chickenpox can be a serious disease in adults and babies. It is very contagious. Vaccination is the best protection against chickenpox.

  • Diphtheria is a contagious disease, spread by an infected person’s coughing, sneezing or open wounds. Symptoms include a sore throat and breathing problems. Diphtheria can affect people of all ages but can be prevented with vaccination. Treatment includes antibiotics and diphtheria anti-toxin.

  • Influenza (the flu) is a highly contagious disease, usually prevented by vaccination and treated by managing symptoms. Spread by body fluids from infected people, symptoms include a runny nose and sore throat. Flu can affect anyone but is especially serious for babies and older people.

  • Hepatitis A is a contagious disease, spread by contact with infected people, their fluids and waste. It affects the liver, with symptoms including abdominal pain and dark urine. Hepatitis A can affect people of all ages, but can be prevented with vaccination. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms.

  • Hepatitis B is a contagious disease, spread by body fluids from infected people. Hepatitis B affects the liver, with symptoms including abdominal pain and dark urine. It can affect people of all ages, but can be prevented with vaccination. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms.

  • Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) is a contagious disease, caught by contact with fluids from an infected person. Symptoms include fever and a severe headache. Hib can affect people of all ages, but can be prevented with vaccination. Treatment includes antibiotics, usually in hospital.

  • HPV is a highly contagious virus, spread through sexual contact. Most people do not have any symptoms. HPV can affect anyone who is sexually active. Certain types of HPV can lead to cervical cancer or genital warts. Vaccination safely and effectively protects you against the types of HPV that most

  • Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases before they come into contact with them. Immunisation not only protects individuals, but also others in the community, by reducing the spread of preventable diseases.

  • Measles is a highly contagious disease, spread by the droplets from when an infected person coughs and sneezes. Symptoms include a red rash and fever. Measles is prevented by vaccination. It can affect non-immune people of all ages. Measles has no treatment – most people get better on their own.

  • Meningococcal disease is contagious. It is transmitted through close and prolonged contact with mucus from an infected person. Symptoms include a rash and fever. Meningococcal can affect people of all ages, but can be prevented with vaccination. Meningococcal disease is treated with antibiotics.

  • Mumps is a highly contagious disease, spread through contact with an infected person. Symptoms including fever and swelling of the face. Mumps can affect people of all ages but can be prevented with vaccination. Mumps has no treatment – most people get better on their own.

  • Pneumococcal disease is a contagious disease. Symptoms including fever and headaches. It can affect people of all ages but can be prevented with vaccination. Pneumococcal disease is treated with antibiotics.

  • Polio is a contagious disease, spread by close contact with an infected person. Symptoms include fever and headaches. Polio can affect people of all ages but can be prevented with vaccination. Due to immunisation, polio is very rare in Australia.

  • Private health insurance policies cover some of the costs of treatment in a private hospital. Insurance can also help cover 'extras' — other medical services such as dental, physiotherapy, optical and more. Find out how Health helps to improve the private health insurance industry.

  • Rotavirus is a highly contagious disease, spread by close contact with an infected person. Symptoms include severe diarrhoea and vomiting. Rotavirus can be prevented with immunisation and attention to hand washing. There is no treatment for rotavirus except for rest and drinking plenty of fluids.

  • Rubella, or German measles, is a contagious disease with symptoms that include fever and rash. It can affect people of all ages but can be prevented with vaccination. Treatment includes rest, fluids and medication for fever.

  • Shingles is a viral disease that can cause severe nerve pain. Vaccination is the best protection against shingles.

  • Tobacco is a drug, usually breathed in as smoke from cigarettes. Nicotine, the main chemical in tobacco, is highly addictive. Smoking causes preventable illnesses and death. Find help to quit smoking or support someone close to you.

  • Tetanus is a life-threatening bacterial infection that causes severe muscle spasms and sometimes death. Tetanus is not contagious and people of all ages can be affected. Tetanus can be prevented by vaccination. Treatment includes being given antitoxin, usually in hospital.

  • Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease. Symptoms that include fever and long periods of coughing that sound like a ‘whoop’. Whooping cough can affect people of all ages but it is more serious for babies. Whooping cough can be prevented by immunisation. Treatment includes antibiotics.

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We will add more topics as we rewrite and improve our information over the next few months. Until then, you can find other topics on health.gov.au.