Improving Skin Health

Orange Sky Laundry officially started operations in Gapuwiyak in May. This service will see Orange Sky staff collaborating with the Miwatj Public Health team to provide direct referrals for the community over the next 3 years. More than just a clothes washing service, Orange Sky Laundry will provide a way for Gapuwiyak residents to ensure good skin health and prevent the development of chronic disease. 

But how, and what kind of disease can a laundry service prevent? Rheumatic Fever, for one example. 

Rheumatic Fever in Australia

Australia has some of the world’s highest recorded rates of rheumatic fever. This inflammatory disease predominantly affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (5 – 14 years) living in remote communities.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever and malaise (feeling unwell)
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat/heart murmurs
  • Rash on the trunk/limbs
  • Jerky movements and difficulty walking

Rheumatic fever is serious, and complications can lead to Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) and heart failure. It is caused by inadequetly treated strep throat or scarlet fever but can be treated and prevented.

Skin Health and Acute Rheumatic Fever

Skin health and the onset of acute rheumatic fever are strongly linked. One of the easiest ways to prevent the development of symptoms is to ensure good skin health. The Miwatj Public Health team aim to promote environmental health and Healthy Skin Stories, across all clinic locations. They partner with a range of community laundries in each remote setting, however, often, the need for a laundry far outweighs the number of services available in town. 

The installation of Orange Sky Laundry in Gapuwiyak is great news for the team’s Rheumatic Fever Strategy and already record loads are being washed. To find out more about Orange Sky’s Remote Communities initiatives, click here. We’re looking forward to witnessing the long-term benefits of this initiative!