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An Introduction to Jet Lag

Posted Tuesday 10 January 2017 15:30 by Tim Deakin in Jet Lag

jet lag medicationFor most of us jet lag is simply an inconvenience that goes hand-in-hand with long haul flights, and for holiday goers the prospect of getting over the symptoms of jet lag on an exotic beach is enough to overlook the difficulties faced. However, for frequent flyers, jet lag is a very real and debilitating issue.

While our bodies and minds are simply not designed to cope with dramatic changes in time zones, there are a number of steps that you can take to alleviate and treat the symptoms of jet lag.

What exactly is jet lag?

Jet lag is experienced by individuals of all ages as they travel from one time zone to another. This journey essentially affects your body’s internal clock – the circadian rhythm – causing a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle of physiological processes that are initiated primarily by sunlight and temperature.

When jet lag is experienced these rhythms need time to adjust, particularly when it comes to your sleep-wake cycle.

What are the symptoms of jet lag?

There are a variety of symptoms associated with jet lag, and these tend to vary from person to person. The most common symptom is a disturbed sleep pattern, a side effect that will adjust as time goes by. Jet lag can also affect your digestive state causing problems like indigestion, constipation and diarrhoea.

Other jet lag symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diminished appetite
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Feeling unwell
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Sweating
  • Irregular menstruation for women

In addition to affecting the body physically, it can also have implications for your state of mind. These symptoms can include increased levels of anxiety, irritation or confusion, diminished concentration and short-term memory issues.

Do jet lag symptoms worsen the further you travel?

Just how severe your jet lag is depends on how many time zones you have travelled across. Those making their way across one or two time zones should experience little or even no jet lag. In fact, the majority of travellers don’t suffer significant jet lag until they cross three time zones or more in a flight. It is possible to experience symptoms of jet lag for up to six days if you have travelled across more than nine time zones.

Jet lag symptoms have been found to be more severe in people travelling in easterly directions, rather than on westerly flights.

How can jet lag be prevented and treated?

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward cure to jet lag. However, there are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce the impact on your mind and body. Adapting your sleep routine three to four days before your flight is an excellent way to make recovering from jet lag even faster, simply adjust your bed time by an hour in accordance with the time zone of your destination.

Numerous strategies can be utilised during your flight to reduce symptoms upon arrival. Stay well hydrated, avoid caffeine and alcohol, sleep in short bursts and try to stay as active as possible with regular walks and stretching. Changing the time on your watch to the time at your destination will also help you adjust more quickly. Once you arrive try not to nap as soon as you get to your accommodation, instead opt for an outdoor excursion – exposure to natural light works wonders – and get started with your new routine sooner rather than later.

Here at Express Pharmacy, we stock effective jet lag treatment Circadin, a medication that contains melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is released in the body at night-time each day. It is an important part of every individual’s chemical make-up and helps to shape the sleep–wake cycle.

The melatonin contained within Circadin, helps to adapt you feeling of sleepiness to help you adapt your sleep pattern to the new time zone in which you find yourself. By helping you to achieve good quality natural sleep, your body and mind will more swiftly adapt to the new environment and allow you to feel refreshed and full of energy once more.

Want to know more? Why not ask us a question using the Live Chat function now?

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Altitude Sickness 101

Posted Tuesday 03 January 2017 14:41 by Tim Deakin in Altitude Sickness

altitude sicknessIf you are the adventurous type and love the outdoors there are few greater thrills than embarking on a trek or a climb. From Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to Khuiten in Mongolia, the Matterhorn in Switzerland to Annapurna in Nepal, there’s no better way to challenge yourself – to be rewarded by stunning views and a life-changing experience.

But while the physical and mental challenges of trekking are to be respected, one of the most important factors that anybody travelling up in the world needs to understand is the effect of altitude on the body. Altitude sickness has little respect for strength or physical fitness and can come in a number of forms. These include:

AMS: Acute Mountain Sickness

Common symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness and exhaustion

HAPE: High Altitude Pulmonary Edema

Fluid on the lungs causing breathlessness. Often this is accompanied by a fever and a cough that produces frothy spit.

HACE: High Altitude Cerebral Edema

Fluid on the brain causing confusion, clumsiness, deterioriating levels of confusion

While cases of HAPE and HACE are extremely dangerous to climbers attempting high altitudes, they usually develop at altitudes of 3,600 metres. Much more common is AMS, which can affect day hikers and climbers at around 2,500 metres, although it is possible amongst those who ascend quickly to a height in excess of 1500 metres above sea level.

What causes altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness is related to the thinning of the air as you ascend higher above sea level. The greater the elevation, the fewer the number of oxygen molecules per break. Above 3000 metres, 75% of people will experience mild altitude sickness due to the depletion of oxygen in the body.

Suffering from altitude sickness is not a sign of physical weakness or age. In fact, age, gender and fitness levels have little to do with a person’s likelihood of getting altitude sickness.

Treating altitude sickness

While it is possible to acclimatize to the thinner air at altitude, people should take great care when attempting to spend a prolonged time at a height above 2500 metres. Ascending slowly (less than 500 metres per day) can help and staying hydrated and fuelled at all times is also important. Prescription medications such as Acetazolamide can also be effective in preventing and treating altitude sickness to decrease symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, nausea and shortness of breath.

Buy Acetazolamide now

For those suffering from AMS during an ascent, resting for 24 hours and taking Acetazolamide can help. If the symptoms subside it is safe to continue a climb. However, if the symptoms persevere, it is advisable to descend to a safe level to recover. If you find yourself suffering from HAPE or HACE then you should descend immediately with the help of those travelling with you.

Are there other remedies or medications that can help?

Although there is anecdotal evidence and old wives tales about other treatments and herbal remedies that are claimed to prevent altitude sickness, there are no proven alternatives to Acetazolamide. Indeed, some herbal remedies can have dangerous side effects or simply worsen the problem.

If you wish to discuss the symptoms of altitude sickness or discuss preparations for an upcoming trek further, why not consult one of our pharmacists today. Try our Live Chat facility or call 0208 123 0703.

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Why Go Dry This January?

Posted Friday 30 December 2016 21:53 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

dry januaryWe all know that Christmas can be a time of overindulgence. In fact, there’s almost no getting away from the rich foods, chocolates, sweets and alcohol that flows freely during December. But with the New Year comes resolutions – and for many of us that means giving up beer, wine or spirits.

Of course, the first few days after the festive period can be relatively easy for those choosing to lose alcohol from their diet. After all, the festive season can leave many people feeling hungover, rundown and in need of time to cleanse the body. Unfortunately, 63% of the UK adults who made resolutions fail to keep them, with 43% not even lasting one month.

If you are thinking of making a concerted effort at staying off the booze through the first 31 days of the New Year, knowing that there are many thousands of people sharing the experience with you can be a great comfort. Thanks to the growing popularity of the “Dry January” trend, this year could be a great time to get your body back in shape, ease the burden on your your liver, kidney, heart and brain, and generally get your life in a healthier place.

Let’s look closer at why you should join the masses and go dry this January…

Enjoy healthier drinking patterns

Dry January is by no means the preserve of those hoping to go permanently teetotal. For many, a single month without alcohol in the system is enough to help them re-appraise their relationship with alcohol more broadly. A number of people who participated in previous years reported that they drink less as a result. You don’t have to cut out your favourite tipple completely, but learning to enjoy it less frequently and in moderation will reduce your risk of developing alcohol-related illnesses like cancer, liver disease, heart disease, dementia and depression.

Save money

Whether you go out to drink or stay in the comfort of your own home, Dry January can help you save substantially. Take an average couple who enjoy a few bottles of wine and four bottles of beer at home, enjoy at least one trip to the pub and go for a meal out with drinks each week. That doesn’t add up to much right? Based on the average cost of alcohol in the UK, that same couple could save £276 by going dry for just one month – that’s a weekend away for two!

Lose weight

Alcohol is not only calorific in its own right, it also has the added effect of slowing the metabolism making weight gain even more likely. By cutting out alcohol, even just for 31 days, your fat percentage, body shape, complexion and energy levels can all benefit.

Sleep better

While 45% of people report that alcohol helps them to get to sleep, the quality and quantity of alcohol induced sleep is extremely poor, however by stopping drinking, you will see an improvement almost immediately.

As a result of sleeping better, not forgetting the weight loss and self-confidence boost mentioned previously, you are certain to feel more energetic and positive, another plus point to help you make the decision to go dry this January an easy one.

Reduce acid reflux

It’s not just overeating and the overconsumption of coffee or chocolate that cause acid reflux or heartburn, alcohol is a common cause of this unpleasant and uncomfortable condition. Alcohol causes the relaxation of muscles found at the bottom of the oesophagus, leaving your gullet wide open for stomach acid to creep back up. Here at Express Pharmacy, we stock a wide range of acid reflux treatments so you can tackle the symptoms head on, including Omeprazole and Lansoprazole.

Are you going dry for January or longer this year? Let us know what you hope to achieve and how you plan to resist temptation.

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The Science Behind Period Pain

Posted Thursday 22 December 2016 16:02 by Tim Deakin in Period Pain Medication

period pain medicationAccording to Women’s Health Concern, roughly 8 out of 10 women experience some form of period pain in their lifetime. Whilst painful cramps and intense spasms are a common and normal part of a woman’s menstrual cycle, understanding the science behind the pain can offer reassurance that there isn’t anything more sinister behind the discomfort.

In this article we take a look at the causes of period pain and how associated symptoms differ from woman to woman and from month to month. There’s no need to suffer in silence if you are experiencing painful periods, there are a variety of steps you can take.

Why do I experience period pain?

As the walls of the womb contract during your menstrual cycle, the muscles tighten and relax throughout your womb. However, in most circumstances, this feeling is so mild that the majority of women do not feel it. Whilst the womb continually contracts throughout your cycle, during your period these contractions become more vigorous to help the womb shed its lining. During this process, the blood vessels in the lining temporarily lose blood and oxygen supply causing chemicals that generate pain to be released from its tissues. In addition to this, the body will also release prostaglandins, which result in a painful tightening of the muscular wall of the womb.

How does pain differ from woman to woman?

In most women, period pains only starts once bleeding has begun and generally last between two and three days. However, it is normal for painful symptoms to last several days depending on the length and heaviness of the period. Improvements in pain tend to come with age for many, as pain management gets better or symptoms become less and less noticeable. Many women also note an improvement in pain after having children.

For some women, particularly those aged between 30 and 45 years old, period pain can be the symptom of an underlying problem. Those suffering from endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease and adenomyosis reported period pain symptoms, known in this context as secondary dysmenorrhoea to medical professionals. Women using the IUD coil as a regular form of contraception are also at increased risk of suffering from period pain.

However, in most cases this symptom only tends to occur in the first one to three months after fitting. If you are experiencing period pain, irregular periods, bleeding in-between periods, unusual vaginal discharge or pain during intercourse, then seeking medical advice is recommended.

What can I do to alleviate period pain?

Painkillers are the simplest way to manage period pain. Ibuprofen, aspirin and paracetamol are all over the counter medications that can be accessed to alleviate mild symptoms. In more serious cases, we also supply period pain treatment Mefenamic Acid at Express Pharmacy. This is an anti-inflammatory medication that can help you through painful periods and offer an effective form of pain relief.

It is worth noting that women who smoke are also at a greater risk of period pain. Smoking is thought to further restrict the supply oxygen to the pelvic area during cramping, resulting in a more intense period pain. Quitting smoking or at least cutting down can significantly reduce the discomfort experienced on a monthly basis.

While many women may feel reluctant to exercise while experiencing period pains, doctors do recommend walking, cycling and swimming as gentle ways to ease discomfort. Yoga and Pilates are also thought to be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of period pain.

Alternatively, heat relief in the form of a hot water bottle or heat pad pressed against the tummy can provide some respite. A warm shower, bath or stomach massage have also been found to be helpful.

Looking for fast, effective relief from persistent period pains? Order period pain medication now

Related Products: Mefenamic Acid
Related Categories: Period Pain

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A Guide to Decembeard

Posted Thursday 01 December 2016 14:03 by Tim Deakin in Smoking Cessation

decembeardFirst there was Movember, now Decembeard. Yes, it appears that all manner of facial hair is taking on one of the biggest killers – cancer. Raising awareness about the different types of cancer is a vital part of moving society towards both early diagnosis and, we hope, a cure.

As Decembeard is now upon us, we thought we’d explain this next facial hair frenzy, this time raising awareness for bowel cancer, and provide an essential guide to how you can get involved and why it is a cause worth fighting for.

About Decembeard

An initiative launched by Beating Bowel Cancer, a charity that provides practical and emotional help to everyone affected by bowel cancer, Decembeard encourages all who get involved to grow a beard during December to show their support and in turn raise awareness and funds. Bowel cancer is this country’s second largest cancer killer and someone loses their life to the disease every 30 minutes. The lack of awareness around the disease’s signs and symptoms means that unfortunately this statistic isn’t set to get any less shocking, but thanks to Beating Bowel Cancer and Decembeard everyone can do their part in turning this around.

Bowel cancer is diagnosed every 15 minutes in the UK, and if diagnosed at an early stage 9 out of 10 cases can be treated successfully. Growing a beard during Decembeard, or supporting someone who is, ensures that the message about bowel cancer symptoms can be spread further and the funds that are so essential to Beating Bowel Cancer as the UK’s only nurse-led specialist helpline for the disease can be raised.

Spotting bowel cancer

Seeking help or advice from a medical professional as early as possible is the key to treating most forms of cancer successfully, and the same is true with bowel cancer. Many of the symptoms associated with bowel cancer however are often written off as the signs of other, less serious ailments but if the following symptoms do persist for up to three weeks then seeing your GP is important.

Symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the anus
  • Blood present in stools
  • Changing bowel habits
  • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • A lump in the tummy

Lowering your risk

According to the NHS, approximately 1 in 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer. High risk individuals include those over 60 years of age and individuals with a family history of the disease, however diets that are high in red or processed meat, obesity and high alcohol consumption have been linked to the development of bowel cancer. Choosing a diet that is high in fibre and low in red and processed meats, limiting alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy weight and increasing physical activity are just some of the ways to lower your risk of bowel cancer.

Smoking is also linked to many cancers, including bowel cancer, so taking steps towards a smoke-free, healthier lifestyle is highly recommended. At Express Pharmacy, we stock stop smoking treatment, Champix, a medication proven to increase the chances of quitting, relieve cravings and reduce the body’s dependency on nicotine.

Get involved

Getting involved in Decembeard couldn’t be easier, and a number of famous faces, including rugby legend Ben Cohen MBE, football legend George Cohen MBE, actor Stephen Mangan, SAS: Who Dares Wins stars Foxy and Ollie, and director Kay Mellor, are leading the way. Sign up to fundraise via the Decembeard website and access countless fundraising ideas, downloadable resources and inspirational real stories.

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