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July 28th Is World Hepatitis Day

Posted Monday 24 July 2017 09:48 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

This year, World Hepatitis Day falls on July 28th. This is your chance to raise awareness for a disease that still impacts roughly 1 in 50 people in Europe, and we’re here to help you learn more about the five main strands of hepatitis.

So first of all, what is hepatitis?

Simply put, hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver usually caused by viral infection or liver damage. Although some cases can be mild, others can be chronic and cause serious further issues like liver scarring, loss of liver function and liver cancer.

What are the symptoms of hepatitis?

In cases of short term hepatitis, there may be no noticeable symptoms at all. If symptoms do occur, they might include muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, high temperature, lethargy, loss of appetite, stomach pain, itchiness, abnormally dark urine, abnormally pale faeces and a yellowing of the skin and eyes known as jaundice.

There may also be no obvious symptoms in cases of long term hepatitis until the liver itself stops working properly. Because of this, the condition is often only picked up through blood tests.

What are the different kinds of hepatitis?

Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A virus is spread through contaminated food and drink. This food and drink contains particles of excrement from an infected person, meaning your risk of acquiring the hepatitis A virus is much more common in countries with poor sanitation.

In most cases, the virus passes naturally within a few months. Aside from relieving symptoms like nausea, itching and pain, there is no specific treatment. However, travellers are encouraged to get vaccinated if planning a trip to areas where the virus is most common, like the Far East.

Hepatitis B

The hepatitis B virus is spread through blood-to-blood contact, where one set of blood belongs to an infected person. Because of this, it’s usually spread from pregnant women to their babies, from child-to-child contact, from unprotected sex and from sharing needles to inject drugs.

Most people who suffer from hepatitis B manage to fight off the virus and fully recover within two or three months, but those infected as children are much more likely to develop chronic hepatitis B. This is a long-term infection which can lead to liver scarring and even liver cancer. Antiviral medication is often prescribed to treat it. There are also vaccinations available in the UK.

Hepatitis C

The hepatitis C virus is the most common type of viral hepatitis in the UK. Like hepatitis B, it’s most commonly spread through blood-to-blood contact with an infected individual – in most cases through sharing needles to inject drugs.

Many people remain unaware that they are infected with hepatitis C as they are likely to experience no obvious symptoms. However, only one in four cases make a full recovery, with the rest having to deal with the virus for potentially tens of years.

Hepatitis C can be treated with antiviral medication, but there is currently no vaccination available.

Hepatitis D

The hepatitis D virus needs the hepatitis B virus in order to survive in the body, so it only affects current hepatitis B sufferers. When suffered alongside hepatitis B, it can increase your chances of suffering serious symptoms like liver scarring and liver cancer.

Although there is no vaccine for the virus, the hepatitis B vaccine can help protect you from it.

Hepatitis E

Cases of the hepatitis E virus have risen in recent years, making it now the most common cause of short term hepatitis in the UK. Although it’s most often a mild and short-term infection which doesn’t require treatment, it can be more serious in people with already weakened immune systems.

It’s thought that the virus is spread mainly through consuming certain raw or undercooked meats, like pork, offal, wild boar, shellfish and venison. Practising good food hygiene can significantly lower your risk of acquiring the virus, especially in parts of the world with poorer sanitation.

In need of fast, effective and discreet treatment for your health condition? Why not explore our range of prescription medications today.

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How to Deal With Period Pain on Holiday

Posted Friday 21 July 2017 09:36 by Tim Deakin in Period Pain Medication

Dysmenorrhea, more often known as period pain, is one of the most common gynaecological complaints in women. 10% of women who suffer from period pains describe their symptoms as ‘severe’.

This can be a difficult thing for women to deal with at any time, but especially during the summer months when you want to be able to enjoy yourself and relax on holiday. For women going on their summer holiday, period pains can add unnecessary stress to the excitement of unwinding by the pool, sightseeing and hitting the beach.

But there are things you can do to help you deal with period pain whilst abroad. These tips will allow you to manage your discomfort and still thoroughly enjoy your summer holiday.

Prepare before you fly

Planning ahead is key to managing your period pain abroad. This means thinking about a few different factors, including when exactly your period is due, what supplies you’ll need, what supplies you’ll have access to over there and what kind of activities you want to participate in while on holiday.

Be sure to pack painkillers and practical clothing, and try to get an idea of which days you’re most likely to feel up to getting out and about for long periods of time.

You may also wish to purchase specific medication to deal with period pain. At Express Pharmacy we offer Mefenamic Acid, which reduces inflammation and can bring down temperature as well as treating the pain itself.

Consider your options

There are lots of options available when it comes to sanitary products. You might be used to using sanitary towels, but think about switching to tampons or a mooncup as these can give you much more freedom for activities like swimming, and won’t need to be changed as often. This means you can spend less time worrying about being close to a bathroom and more time simply enjoying your holiday.

Know your symptoms

You know the habits of your body better than anyone, so be realistic and plan around how you know you’re likely to feel. If your period pain isn’t normally that bad, then by all means schedule in some fun activities. If, however, you struggle with more severe period pains, allow yourself a few days around your period to relax by the pool and not do a lot.

Tailor your self-care to your specific symptoms. If you often suffer from cramps, consider packing heat pads or doing some gentle exercise. If you find that your mood fluctuates, allow yourself a bit of guilt-free relaxation.

Stay hydrated

When you’re somewhere hot and on your period, you’re likely to be sweating a lot more, so it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated. Common period symptoms like nausea, dizziness and headaches are only made worse by dehydration, so aim for 1.5 litres of water a day as a minimum. But be sensible; the hotter it gets the more you may need to consume in each 24 hour period – especially if you are also drinking alcohol.

You should also make the most of the delicious, freshly prepared food you’ll find abroad. Seafood, grilled meat and veg will provide your body with vital nutrients to combat pain and discomfort.

Be kind to yourself and stay comfortable

All in all, dealing with period pain on holiday is about making sure you’re as comfortable as possible – from the flight out to the flight home. Take a blanket, pillow and something to unwind with on your flight, and be sure to get up and move around occasionally to avoid aches, pains and cramps.

Once you’ve reached your destination, relax and catch up on sleep. Make sure you get a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun during the day as well, as it’s naturally mood boosting.

Choose to delay mother nature

If you would simply rather not deal with the challenges of your period until you return from holiday, Express Pharmacy offers effective period delay medication in the form of Norethisterone. This prescription medication enables you to delay your period by up to 17 days.

Contact Express Pharmacy today for all the information you need on symptoms and treatment. You can use our discreet Live Chat service from the comfort of your own home.

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How to Stay Safe and Healthy When Flying to Your Summer Holiday Destination

Posted Monday 17 July 2017 16:12 by Tim Deakin in Jet Lag

Get the most out of your summer holiday by making sure you arrive as happy and healthy as possible

Everybody looks forward to their summer holiday, but few of us are as excited for the plane journey beforehand. Whether you are afraid of flying or just hate cramped, hot conditions, many in-flight experiences leave much to be desired.

Here are a few of our top tips on making international travel as comfortable as possible.

What can you do aboard your flight?

Even the most confident flyer wants to know they’re doing everything they can to stay as safe as possible whilst en route to their holiday destination. Thankfully, there are some simple precautions you can take.

Dress comfortably

Comfort is key when you’re on a plane, especially if you’re on a long haul flight and have restricted movement for hours at a time. Opt for loose, light layers that let your body breathe, and be sure to bring a jumper or cardigan to put on if you feel cold at any point.

Blood clots are one of many people’s biggest fears regarding a long haul flight, so it’s important to prevent restriction on your body where you can, including through your clothing. You may also have seen special compression socks available in airports or travel stores – these are designed to safeguard against deep vein thrombosis and can be a welcome addition to hand luggage.

Listen to the pre-flight briefing

Some people see the safety demonstration at the start of a flight as a chance to switch off, but the information included in this briefing could be life saving if an emergency does occur on your flight.

Be sure to listen carefully to the information being given, paying particular attention to where your nearest exit is and how to put your oxygen mask on correctly.

Get to know your seatbelt

Aeroplane seatbelts are notoriously fiddly, so make sure you’re familiar with the logistics of fastening and unfastening your belt with ease. You should also be paying attention to the seatbelt light above your head, as this will inform you when you need to be in your seat with your seatbelt fastened.

Relax

One of the worst things you can do on a flight is get stressed. Stress increases your levels of cortisol, which boosts your adrenaline and makes you feel restless. This isn’t what you want when you’re spending the next few hours stuck in the same environment. Take your mind off your flight, bring a book or try to sleep, and let your body and your mind relax.

Looking after your health: what is altitude sickness?

One of the biggest risks to your health when flying is altitude sickness, which is exactly as it sounds: feelings of nausea and discomfort when high in the air.

Why do you feel sick when flying?

Altitude sickness is a response to a higher altitude and lower air pressure, which can have a negative effect on the body. This combination means that the air you breathe has less oxygen per breath. It also causes the air to be dryer and water to evaporate faster.

Aside from the obvious sickness, symptoms of altitude sickness can include tiredness, backache, headache, muscle cramp and light-headedness. Certain individuals may be more susceptible to the condition than others, such as people with existing health conditions like heart disease.

What can you do to avoid altitude sickness?

Hydration is key to tackling altitude sickness, as a lack of hydration is a key component of the sickness itself. Drink plenty of water and be sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol.

You should also try to move around aboard your flight when you can. Doing gentle stretches whilst sitting and taking short walks along the aisle can help reduce your risk of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Finally, you should consider medication to help treat your altitude sickness. Acetazolamide is an effective treatment which reduces the amount of excess fluid in your head and lungs, making it easier to breathe. This medication is available from Express Pharmacy.

Before you set off this summer, make sure you know how to keep you and your family safe when you’re up in the air. For more health queries and concerns, you can contact Express Pharmacy today via our discreet Live Chat tool.

Related Products: Circadin Acetazolamide

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11 Summer Drinks That May Do You More Harm Than Good

Posted Monday 10 July 2017 11:24 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

Keeping hydrated is particularly important in warm weather. It is also important to pay attention to the types of beverage you choose to consume.

For many of us, summer is filled with refreshing smoothies, cocktails and cans of fizzy drinks. But what are these drinks actually doing for our bodies.

Soft drinks

It is worth bearing in mind that soft drinks have been directly associated with obesity, and once you look at them closely it’s no surprise. Not only are they packed with empty calories which won’t satiate your hunger, but they’re also overloaded with sugar.

Flavoured water

You might think flavoured water would boast more vitamins than normal water, but the only thing you’ll be getting extra of is sugar. If you are in need of hydration and need a little bit of something to satisfy the taste buds then it is worth taking a bit of time to consult the label to find an option that won’t expand your waistline. Ideally, you are looking for a bottle with just water and natural flavours on the label.

Juice drinks

Don’t let the word ‘juice’ fool you. Juice drinks or juice cocktails are usually little more than flavoured sugar water with a hefty dose of colouring thrown in. In order to find juice that is truly healthy, you need to be looking for beverages that are 100% juice and not made from concentrate.

Diet soda

Many of us think of diet soda as the healthier alternative to regular fizzy drinks. Whilst it’s true that it does often have zero calories, it also has no nutritional benefits. For hydration purposes you should be opting for water as your drink of choice, but if you’re craving a fizzy hit then go for carbonated water instead.

Smoothies

You might be surprised to find smoothies on this list seeing as they’re blended with fruit and veg, but it’s important to remember that any food in excess is bad for you. While smoothies can be a terrific meal or snack solution, they are not the way to hydrate your body. All too often, people make fruit-based smoothies that are hugely calorific and do not contain enough vegetable elements to make them diverse in nutrients. Smoothies can often add up to 700 calories worth of fruit in a single sitting, while shop-bought smoothies are even worse due to their astronomical sugar content.

Sports drinks

Sports drinks might be marketed as a post-workout health boost, but most of them are packed with artificial sweeteners and additives. The main benefit of sports drinks is their ability to replace electrolytes which are lost during exercise. But when consumed to excess, they can also increase calorie intake and undermine the hard work carried out during the exercise period.

Energy drinks

Many of us indulge in energy drinks for a caffeine hit when we’re tired, but the issue is that these drinks contain far too much caffeine and sugar to be considered healthy. To avoid the rush-and-crash of energy drinks, make green tea your caffeine source instead.

Lemonade

There’s a reason why homemade lemonade and shop-bought lemonade taste so different, and that reason is sugar. Whilst traditional lemonade is quite tart and refreshing, canned lemonade is essentially just another soft drink, packed with sugar and preservatives and boasting an average of 100 calories per cup.

Elaborate coffees

Here in the UK, there will inevitably be some rainy days this summer which will leave you craving coffee more than cocktails, but be mindful of what kinds of coffee you’re enjoying. A coffee from a high street chain, topped with milk, sugar and (in some cases) even whipped cream can contain up to a whopping 170 grams of sugar and a third of your daily saturated fat.

Alcohol

We all know that too much alcohol is bad for you, but what are the worst boozy drinks for staying healthy this summer?

Frozen cocktails

Frozen cocktails are just as bad for their mixer content as they are for their alcohol levels. A 16 ounce pina colada can contain up to 880 calories due to the sugary nature of all the creamy juices inside!

Hard spirits

One or two drinks a day has actually been found to be good for your health in certain ways, such as raising good cholesterol levels and increasing blood flow. But spirits in excess can be hugely detrimental to your health. Studies have found that the risk of cancer is 36% greater in those who drink three or more drinks a day.

For fast and discreet advice on staying healthy this summer, contact the team at Express Pharmacy. You can reach an experienced pharmacy member via our Live Chat tool or by calling 0208 123 0703.

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Understanding the Impact of Stress on Your Health

Posted Tuesday 27 June 2017 11:33 by Tim Deakin in Uncategorized

Stress

When it comes to managing the impact of stress on your health, it’s all about balance

We all know that feeling of having a lot on our plate. Whether it’s a hectic week at work, organising construction work at home or even just getting the kids from A to B on time, it is human nature that at one point or another our pulses begin to race and our mind runs at 100 miles per hour as we tackle the task at hand.

A burst of energy caused by a release of adrenaline is completely normal and actually helps us to function properly. However, too much or too little of this kind of stimulation can be bad for our health. Just as constant stress can have a long-term impact on our wellbeing, so too little motivation can cause our health to deteriorate.

Let’s take a closer look at that odd balance of productive stress.

What are the effects of stress?

It’s all too easy to label mental health issues as things that are “all in our head” and easily remedied. But this is far from the truth. The feeling of stress has a direct impact on the release of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline – powerful drugs that force the body into a higher state of agitation and alertness.

Too much stress

For a short period of time, stress hormones can help us to be more productive but too much of these hormones and we risk fatigue, insomnia and adrenal burnout. Over time, it is even thought that chronic stress can damage the brain, particularly in the hippocampus – the area of the brain responsible for memory.

Research has also shown that stress can cause problems within the central nervous system, digestive system and also on a cellular level, damaging the mitochondria that act as the energy factories of the body. The result of these problems can be chronic fatigue, a lowered immune system, an inability to detoxify or metabolise food properly, increased blood pressure, muscular pain and even impotence.

No stress

While too much stress can be harmful to your health, it’s also possible to suffer from not having enough motivation in your life. Living without any stress – or shall we call it drive – can leave you feeling listless and lethargic. Adrenaline and cortisol are important hormones that can be beneficial in short bursts. Without direction and a sense of energy you may not feel stress, but the hormone imbalance can quickly lead to depression.

This depression through inactivity will not only leave you in a poor mental state (one that is difficult to escape from) but will also have a knock on effect on your physical health. Low energy results in a lack of exercise and movement. Sitting for long periods of time has been closely related to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Ironically, the lack of exercise means that the body does not release endorphins – the feel good drug which can improve mood and energy. It is for this reason that depression is often referred to as a vicious cycle.

What factors affect your stress?

The first step to dealing with stress is to identify the causes, whether they be external factors like work, children, relationships, family, your financial situation, or internal factors such as mental health conditions like anxiety.

Stress can be caused by many different aspects of your life, like your experience dealing with past stressful situations or the support network you have around you. Your physical environment can also play a part, as studies show that those who spend more time in clinical indoor spaces are more likely to find relaxation difficult.

What is the perfect stress level?

Your perfect stress level is the level of responsibility, desire and fear which motivates you without creating anxiety and worry. The right kind of stress is the kind that makes you feel inspired to work harder. It leaves you energised, focused, engaged and alert. The right stress can benefit your health by pushing your comfort zones, encouraging you to think and move more, and helping you learn new things. This kind of stress is the ideal balance between rest, recovery, and activity — so how do you find it?

Manage energy and rest to find your perfect stress level

Everybody deals with stress differently. For some, the smallest amount of stress can feel like too much whereas others are able to deal with high levels without feeling overwhelmed. There are a few tips we can all follow however to help us reach the perfect stress level.

For energy and motivation, it’s all about getting inspired for the future. Set goals that suit you and keep track of your progress. To-do lists are a useful tool for motivating yourself to complete at least one task a day. You should also never be afraid to seek motivation in other places, whether it’s from a loved one, a professional coach or a healthcare expert.

For those times when your stress levels feel too high, meditation can help your body relax, as well as massage and getting outdoors. However, there is no replacement for nutrition and exercise. How often you move your body and the stuff you choose to put into it play a huge part in your physical and mental responses to situations.

Think of your body like a car — in order to run at its best, it needs the right fuel and should be serviced regularly to keep everything in good working order. Focusing on your exercise regime and nutrition to maintain a healthy weight and balanced lifestyle is a great way to help keep dark thoughts at bay.

Need valuable health advice that’s fast and discreet? Why not contact the team here at Express Pharmacy? You can call us on 0208 123 0703 or use our handy Live Chat tool to speak to our fully qualified pharmacy team.

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