George Practice

3 Trefoil Square, Gloucester Ln, George Central, 6529

Opening Hours

Mon - Thu: 8am - 5pm
Friday: 8am - 3pm
Sat - Sun: CLOSED
24 Dec - 2 Jan: CLOSED


Fax : 044 874 6299


Feel free to contact us

Why you should be more worried about flu than the corona virus

There has recently been a fair amount of concern surrounding the outbreak of the Corona virus in China and the possible spread to South Africa. 

So far as of today (18/2/2020) 71902 people have been infected and 1775 killed.  Making the mortality rate around 2,5%. 

Although this is quite concerning, there is a virus that infects and kills more people than the corona virus.  This virus is known as the influenza virus, commonly referred to as flu.  Annual influenza epidemics result in an estimated three to five million cases of severe illness, and about 290 000-650 000 deaths globally. In South Africa, influenza (commonly known as flu) kills between 6000-11,000 people every year flu.

The good news is that, contrary to the Corona virus, there is a vaccination that can protect you against flu!

Vaccination programs run from March.  Vaccination is the most effective strategy to prevent influenza. Getting the flu vaccine can reduce flu illnesses, visits to the clinics or to doctors rooms, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Of note is that the vaccination will only protect you against flu and not any other viral upper respiratory tract infections.

Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for protective antibodies to develop, it is recommended that people get vaccinated as soon as possible to ensure that they are protected before influenza season starts. The best time to get the flu vaccine is before the season starts (March-June) but getting it later will protect individuals during the rest of the season. Because influenza viruses are constantly changing and immunity from vaccine lasts for about a year, it is necessary to get vaccinated each year before the influenza season.

Don’t delay – get your flu vaccination in 2020!

Make your health a priority!

At the start of the New Year, many of us pause for reflection over the last year’s events.  This practice can be quite valuable and an excellent opportunity to evaluate goals you want to set for your personal health or to give yourself a clean slate and an opportunity to start fresh.

Many of us have vowed to eat better, start exercising or stop smoking – all excellent goals, but one of the important things that is mostly forgotten when it comes to your personal health is screening tests.
What is a screening test?  Screening means checking your body for cancer or disease before you have symptoms. Getting screening tests regularly may find diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breast, cervical, and colorectal (colon) cancers early, when treatment is likely to work best. Lung cancer screening is recommended for some people who are at high risk. Timing of screening depends on your personal health history and family health history and may start as early as age 35.

Talk to your doctor and make your health a priority in 2020!

Water Safety

Summer is here!  Beautiful warm days and of course swimming. Swimming is a great recreational sport and most of us enjoy cooling off in the ocean or swimming pool. Water safety should be on top of your agenda, especially when it comes to children under the age of 5.

In South Africa, drowning rates are highest among children between 0-4 years followed by 5-14 years. In the Western Cape, 1473 fatal drowning incidents were reported between 2010 and mid-2017 (Statistics South Africa, 2017).

Children under the age of 15 years old account for 30.2% of all fatal drowning in the country with the highest mortality rate occurring in children under the age of 5 years old.

Here are a few tips on keeping your children safe this festive season:

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Maintain constant supervision.
  • Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well.
  • If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
  • Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.

Be water wise this summer!


Diabetic Awareness Day

Did you know that 3/5 South Africans are undiagnosed diabetics? It is the leading cause of death in South African woman and kills more people than TB/HIV and malaria combined!

You are at risk if:

  • You are overweight or obese
  • You have a history of DM in pregnancy or a baby over 4kg
  • You have a family history of DM
  • You are part of a high risk ethnic group
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You are physically inactive

Get tested at your nearest clinic, pharmacy or doctor’s office. With early intervention, complications like stroke, kidney failure, amputation and blindness can be prevented.

Controlling Your Cholesterol

Most of us have grown up with a hearty diet of “rys, vleis en aartappels”. Delicious of course, but not the best option when your cholesterol levels are too high.

Here are a few things you can do to decrease your cholesterol level:

  1. Adopt winning choices: The Mediterranean diet, well known to contain fish, lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and lower fat milk products, is very effective in improving cholesterol levels.
  2. Manage your fat intake: Limit your intake of trans fat, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Trans fat can be found in commercially prepared products containing vegetable oils and butter for ex fried foods and baked goods. Saturated fats are mostly found in animal products – fatty meats and egg yolks for example. Choose unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat helps control the level of cholesterol. Examples are nuts, avocado and margarine. Eat in moderation if you want to control your weight. The polysaturated fats (omega-3) is known to be good for your heart. The best examples are fatty fish, canola oil and walnuts.
  3. Eat more fiber: Fiber is only found in foods of vegetable origin like wholegrain, fruits and vegetables. Soluble fiber helps to reduce cholesterol. This can be found in things like bran, barley, oatmeal and pectin rich fruits like apples, oranges, pears and strawberries.

Handwashing fun facts


  • 80% of communicable diseases are transferred by touch.
  • The most critical times for handwashing are before preparing food and after going to the bathroom.
  • Only 20% of people wash their hands before preparing food.
  • Less than 75% of women and less than 50% of men wash their hands after going to the bathroom.
  • Every time a toilet is flushed with the lid up, a fine mist containing bacteria such as E. Coli and Staph is spread over an area of 6 square meters. The area around sinks in public bathrooms is 90% covered in such bacteria.
  • The recommended washing time is 15 seconds. The ideal washing time is 30 seconds.
  • For every 15 seconds spent washing hands, 10 times more bacteria is removed.
  • Damp hands are 1,000x more likely to spread bacteria than dry hands.
  • Only 20% of people dry their hands after washing.
  • Re-usable cloth towels harbor millions of bacteria.
  • Disposable paper towels are the most sanitary means of drying hands.


What is the one thing you can do to stay healthy? Wash your hands!

What is gluten and why is it bad for some people?

Gluten is controversial these days. Most sources claim that it is safe for everyone except those who have celiac disease. On the other hand, some health experts believe that gluten is harmful for most people.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye and barley Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together.

Who would benefit from a gluten free diet?

  1. Celiac disease

Celiac disease, is the most severe form of gluten intolerance. It affects about 0.7-1% of the population

It is an autoimmune disorder, and involves the body treating gluten as a foreign invader. The immune system attacks the gluten, as well as the lining of the gut.

Some people with celiac disease have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • Pain in the belly
  • Diarrhea
  • Bowel movements that are oily and float
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling bloated, or too full all the time
  • Low appetite
  • Bad gas
  • Itchy skin rashes
  • Invisible symptoms, such as weak bones or low iron levels
  • Slow growth in children


Celiac disease can be very difficult to diagnose. In fact, up to 80% of people with celiac disease don’t know that they have it

  1. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity

There are many people who do not test positive for celiac disease, but still react negatively to gluten.

This condition is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include diarrhea, stomach pain, tiredness, bloating and depression.

There is no clear definition of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but the diagnosis is made when a patient reacts negatively to gluten, but celiac disease and allergies have been ruled out.

However, some experts believe this isn’t a real condition. They think the adverse effects are imaginary or caused by substances other than gluten.

Many people who think they’re gluten intolerant actually have other causes for their symptoms.

Benefits of Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten-free diets do help people who are sensitive to gluten

Still, there’s no proof that a gluten-free diet helps with other conditions or with weight loss.

There’s a misconception that it’s very, very healthy and you’re automatically going to lose weight on it, this is not true. It’s not necessarily healthy.



If you suspect you might have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity – talk to your family doctor.




Dry Skin

Dry skin? Here are the top tips

Your skin is your largest organ!  We are sharing some tips to relieve and prevent dry skin.

  1. Keep showers cool and short. Avoid bathing.
  2. Wash with a synthetic cleanser (for ex Dove, Cetaphil) and try and avoid tradition soaps and this changes the PH of the skin and increases dryness
  3. Avoid scrubbing skin, wash gently and rinse
  4. Gently dab skin dry in stead of rubbing
  5. Apply a good moisturizer. Creams or ointments instead of lotions work best. Ingredients that help to soothe dry skin include lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum.
  6. Humidifiers can be used during the dry months
  7. Choose non-irritating clothes and laundry detergent. When our skin is dry and raw even clothes and laundry detergent can be irritating.
  8. Stay warm without cozying up to a fireplace or other heat source.Sitting in front of an open flame or other heat source can dry your skin.

Sometimes people with dry skin can develop eczema.  A topical corticosteroid can then be added to the moisturizing regime.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

South Africa has the highest prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in the world which is more than 14 times the global average. South Africa has an incidence of 111.1 per 1‚000 children‚ followed by Croatia at 53.3 per 1‚000 and Ireland at 47.5 per 1‚000. The global average is 7.7 per 1.000. This is according to research published on August 21,2017 in the American Medical Association journal JAMA Pediatrics.

What is fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is a group of disorders that develop when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy.  It is called a spectrum as the clinical features may differ from very severely affected (Fetal alcohol syndrome) to less severely affected.

In the womb, a baby doesn’t have a fully developed liverthat can process or break down alcohol, so it can easily get to and damage the baby’s organs.

Some of the most severe problems happen when a pregnant woman drinks in the first trimester, when the baby’s brainstarts to develop. But the second and third trimesters aren’t safe either. The brainis still developing then, and this process can be interrupted by even moderate amounts of alcohol.

There is no “safe” amount of alcohol that pregnant women can drink. And there is no time during pregnancy when it’s considered safe to drink alcohol, either.

Signs and symptoms:

There can be a mixture of physical, cognitive and behavioural signs and symptoms.  For example a child can have no physical signs but still have intellectual disabilities.

The most common signs include:

Small birth weight with difficulty gaining weight
Fussy baby
Thin upper lip
A smooth ridge between the upper lip and nose – This area is called the “philtrum.”
Eye openings that are shorter than normal

In children with FAS, symptoms can include:

“Developmental delays” – This means they take longer to do things other children the same age can do, such as walking and talking.
Being more active than normal
Having weak, floppy muscles
Having problems with learning, hearing, and seeing

In teenagers and adults with FAS, symptoms might include problems with:

Thinking and memory
Paying attention and concentrating
Getting along with other people

Diagnosing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

There is no lab test that can prove a child has FAS. Many of its symptoms can seem like ADHD.

How is FAS treated?

Unfortunately, the damage cannot be undone, but with early diagnosis children can be supported with therapy

Can FAS be prevented?

Yes!  No amount of alcohol is known to be safe during pregnancy. Women can prevent FAS by not drinking any alcohol when trying to get pregnant or during pregnancy

Seasonal Allergies

Spring is almost here!  The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and…..those with allergies are sneezing.  Welcome to allergy season.

As plants release pollen, millions of people with hay feverstart to sniffle and sneeze.

But what is hay fever?

Allergies, more commonly known as hay fever occur when a substance is seen as foreign to the body.   The immune system then acts as if the substance is dangerous and releases antibodies that attack the allergens. That leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger the runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptomsthat are all too familiar if you have allergies.

Hay fever comes by its name from hay-cutting season. Historically, this activity occurred in the summer months, around the same time many people experienced symptoms.

What are the major causes of spring allergies?

  • Pollens from trees, grasses, or weeds
  • Mold spores, which grow when the weather is humid, wet, or damp

What are the symptoms?

You may have:

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and nose

What you can use to treat your seasonal allergies:

People with seasonal allergies might use one or more of the following treatments to help reduce their symptoms:

  • Nose rinses– Rinsing out the nose with salt water cleans the inside of the nose and gets rid of pollen in the nose. Different devices can be used to rinse the nose.
  • Steroid nose sprays– Doctors often recommend these sprays first, because they are the best treatment for stuffy nose. (Steroid nose sprays do not contain the same steroids that some athletes take illegally). Steroid nose sprays work best if you use them every day, and it can take a few days for them to work fully. Steroid nose sprays are more effective than other allergy medicines for stuffy nose and post-nasal drip (which is when mucus runs down the back of your throat).
  • Antihistamines– These medicines help stop itching, sneezing, and runny nose symptoms. They don’t treat stuffy nose as well as steroid nose sprays. Some antihistamines can make people feel tired.
  • Antihistamine eye drops– These medicines are available without a prescription. They can help with eyes that feel itchy or gritty.

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  • Mon - Thu8:00 - 17:00
  • Fri8:00 - 15:00
  • Sat - SunClosed
  • HolidaysClosed
  • 24 Dec - 2 JanClosed

Welcome! We are two dedicated doctors offering a full-service family practice situated in the centre of George on the beautiful Garden Route. We are eager to optimize the health of patients in and around George, as well as the surrounding area. Our doctors collaborate in order to meet the health needs of the whole family, from baby-care to care of the elderly, in a friendly relaxed atmosphere. We regard our role as being family doctors, concerned with care and support to each member of the family. Being familiar with the personal and family history of each patient, ensures that we will be able to give high quality care and service.

Drs. van der Spuy © 2019 All Rights Reserved