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6 Common Mistakes We Make When Trying to Beat Jet Lag

Posted Friday 25 May 2018 12:10 by in Jet Lag by Tim Deakin

If you’re setting off for the summer in the next couple of months, here are the common mistakes you shouldn’t make when trying to avoid the dreaded jet lag.

Sticking to your normal sleeping pattern in the weeks leading up to your flight

Even if your normal sleeping pattern is a healthy 8 hours of ‘early to bed, early to rise’, it’s still a good idea to start modifying it at least a week or two before you travel. Part of the problem with jet lag is that you essentially shock your body into an entirely new routine without warning. Building up a new sleeping pattern gradually – by going to bed a little earlier or later each night in accordance with your destination’s time difference – can help ease you into a new time zone. That way, by the time you reach your destination, your circadian rhythm already has a head start.

Relying on caffeine and alcohol when flying

When we fly, many of us fall into the trap of enjoying a tipple or two to help us sleep, or a strong coffee to keep us alert. But neither of these are good options when it comes to avoiding jet lag. No matter how much better they make you feel in the short term, coffee and alcohol are both dehydrating, and this is a common factor in many cases of jet lag. Symptoms like headaches and fatigue are worsened as a result.

Thinking any seat will do on your flight

If you’re heading off on a long-haul flight, bear in mind that not all seating is created equal. Remaining stagnant throughout a long flight is a significant factor in many cases of jet lag, while stretching and moving regularly have been shown to combat symptoms. With this in mind, the ideal seat should be by the aisle, not the window, and should provide you with plenty of leg room for carrying out simple stretches every 15 minutes.

Forgetting to adjust your watch

The first thing you should do when you sit down on the plane is adjust your watch to fit the time zone of your destination. This simple action forces you to make a conscious note of what time your body should think it is, reminding you to take action to make this the case. From this point on, aim to sleep and eat in accordance with what your watch is saying.

Using comfort foods to keep you going

When we’re tired, we have a tendency to fall back on fatty comfort foods as a source of energy, but this isn’t going to benefit you in the long run. Snacks like chocolate are high in sugar, which will lead to a brief surge in energy and an inevitable crash. Instead, make your first meal upon arrival a protein and nutrient-rich option, allowing you to burn off energy slowly and see you through your first day.

Treating yourself to a nap the minute you arrive at your destination

The very worst thing you can do after a long-haul flight is immediately crawl into bed, unless your new time zone dictates that it’s time to do so. Taking a nap when you arrive means you’ll wake up feeling wide awake in a few hours… just in time to go back to bed.

If you arrive during the day, you must do everything you can to stay awake until night time in order to avoid jet lag. Get out into the sunlight, as this will boost your energy levels, and set your alarm early the next morning so you don’t end up sleeping in.

Another mistake we make? Forgetting that effective medication can help you avoid jet lag. Melatonin – your body’s natural sleep hormone – is available in the medication Circadin, which can regulate your sleep schedule on holiday. Contact Express Pharmacy today on 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

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The NPA’s ‘See You Sooner’ Campaign Aims to Relieve Pressure on the NHS

Posted Tuesday 15 May 2018 09:59 by in Express Pharmacy by Tim Deakin

Are pharmacies the answer to the NHS crisis?

The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours, and this number seems only set to rise. The total number of people visiting Accident & Emergency departments in 2017 was 23.372 million, which marks a rise of almost a quarter (23.5 per cent) over the last decade. NHS spending has also risen hugely in recent years. In 2017, net expenditure was £120.512 billion, which has increased from £78.881 billion in 2007.

It is clear from figures such as these that there is a huge amount of pressure on the NHS. This has led to a chronic access problem, meaning patients are having to wait for extended lengths of time to receive advice, diagnoses and treatment.

So what is the solution? Well, the National Pharmacy Association believes that the answer lies in placing more emphasis on pharmacies as a local healthcare service.

By allowing local pharmacies to flourish as centres of health and wellbeing for the surrounding community, the intense strain can be alleviated from the NHS as less people will rely on GPs and hospitals as a first port of call. This will also allow pharmacists to put their clinical skills to further use.

The See You Sooner campaign from the NPA aims to make this happen. They believe that local pharmacies should be people’s first and main contact for healthcare, dramatically improving access to treatment and advice.

What are the aims of ‘See You Sooner’?

The NPA’s See You Sooner campaign’s key aspirations are:

- There should be no unnecessary or avoidable barriers in place to receiving appropriate care in a timely fashion.

- No one should have to wait to see a doctor for the treatment of minor concerns like colds and coughs.

- People in all parts of the country should have the option to access health checks such as blood pressure at their local pharmacy. At the moment, there are only a few examples of commissioning health checks in local pharmacies.

- No one should have to wait to see a doctor for the routine management of their medicines for stable long term conditions. As an alternative, pharmacy workers should be fully supported in being able to understand, review and, if necessary, modify medicines as part of an integrated primary care team.

The aims of the NPA’s campaign are views shared by many NHS service users. In a survey of 1003 UK adults in March 2018 by RWB, 56 per cent of respondents agreed that NHS medicines review services in pharmacies should be expanded to help people with long term medical conditions to manage their medicines and to take pressure off the NHS. A further 35 per cent of respondents strongly agreed with this statement.

Online pharmacies provide immediate help and support

When we discuss the importance of local pharmacies, we can’t forget about the option of online pharmacies, which provide instant correspondence between healthcare professionals and individuals who may be unable to leave their home. Using an online pharmacy can provide convenient advice, diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of conditions, including those which patients may want to be treated more discreetly like hair loss or erectile dysfunction.

Express Pharmacy has been providing effective medication for a variety of conditions since 2009, and has now helped over 50,000 patients. Express Pharmacy also have a group of six NHS linked high street outlets in London, and each has a qualified pharmacist in-house.

If you’re in need of efficient and effective medical advice, contact the NHS-approved pharmacists at Express Pharmacy today. Call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online live chat service.

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Justyna on Sunday 20 May 2018 15:29

Hello, I would like to use tablets to stop smoking

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Tags: General Health Men's Health Women's Health

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Planning Your Summer Getaway? Here’s How to Avoid Jet Lag

Posted Thursday 10 May 2018 09:37 by in Jet Lag by Tim Deakin

Planning your summer getaway? Here’s how to avoid jet lag

Nearly 93% of travellers experience jet lag at some point, so here’s how to stop it ruining your holiday

For many of us, the arrival of sunshine immediately inspires us to book that all important summer holiday. It’s hard to resist the draw of a couple of weeks stretched out beneath the blazing sun, but for too many of us jet lag can put a serious dampener on our getaway.

Luckily, it is possible to avoid jet lag and enjoy your holiday from the moment you step off the plane. The first step to beating jet lag is understanding it, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to answer all your questions.

What is jet lag?

Jet lag occurs when your normal sleep pattern is disturbed after a long flight. Due to a shift in time zones, your body clock — or circadian rhythm — has to adjust to a new schedule, which can lead to sleep deprivation and exhaustion.

Who gets jet lag?

Jet lag can affect anyone travelling across time zones, and the only fluctuations in severity are a result of personal differences. For example, people who stick to rigid routines at home are often worse affected by jet lag than people with more fluid schedules. Young children are also often less affected by changing time zones.

The main factor which determines the extent of jet lag is the distance of travel. The more time zones you travel across, the more severe your jet lag is likely to be. What’s more, travelling west to east usually results in worse jet lag than travelling east to west, reflecting the greater difficulty of advancing your body clock compared to delaying it.

What causes jet lag?

The dominant cause of jet lag is travelling across time zones, which alters your circadian rhythm and makes it difficult to adjust to a new schedule of sleeping and waking. However, other factors which can impact on the severity of your jet lag include:

Your pre-flight condition, particularly tiredness, anxiety, stress or being hungover

High altitude and increased cabin pressure, which can lead to swelling and tiredness

Alcohol consumption, as the impact alcohol has on the body increases two-fold when you’re flying

Dehydration, which can be caused by alcohol but also through lack of water and a reliance on strong coffee

Lack of exercise, which is why passengers should stretch, get up and move regularly throughout their flight

How do you know if you have jet lag?

- The main symptoms of jet lag include:

- Difficulty waking up in the morning and sleeping at night

- Tiredness and exhaustion

- Poor sleep quality

- Finding it hard to stay awake throughout the day

- Lack of concentration

- Memory problems

- Indigestion, constipation and diarrhoea

How do you prevent jet lag?

Symptoms of jet lag usually improve on their own after a few days as your body clock adjusts to its new time zone. However, there are steps you can take to avoid severe jet lag.

Before you travel: make sure you get plenty of rest, following good sleep practices before going to bed. Try changing your routine gradually, going to bed and waking up an hour or two earlier or later than you normally would (in accordance with your new destination). You should also avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks and large meals before bed.

During your flight: drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and stay active by stretching and walking regularly. If your flight takes place during normal sleeping hours (in line with your destination) then try to sleep.

After you arrive: change your sleep schedule to fit your new location as quickly as possible, and set an alarm to avoid oversleeping. Go outside during the day, as natural light will help your body clock adjust. Try to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime for your new location without relying on naps to perk you up.

You can also use effective medication to avoid jet lag. Circadin is a prescription medication which acts as a short-term treatment for insomnia. When taken whole one to two hours before bed, Circadin provides melatonin: the body’s natural sleep hormone, making sleep easier. This can help treat symptoms of jet lag.

Contact Express Pharmacy for guidance and treatment for a wide range of health concerns, including jet lag. You can get in touch today using our fast and discreet live chat service, or by calling 0208 123 07 03.

Tags: Circadin Jet Lag Travel Health

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Is Your Hay Fever Really Hay Fever?

Posted Monday 30 April 2018 09:48 by in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief by Tim Deakin

Article updated December 2018

Allergy misdiagnosis is common in the UK, so it’s time to clear things up

Around one in four people in the UK now suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. This equates to 16 million people, compared to just one in eight during the 1980s. Indeed, according to experts from Allergy UK[i], this number may reach 30 million by the year 2030. In particular, it seems that there has been an explosion in the number of children and middle-aged people suffering from the condition. However, despite its common nature, detailed information about the condition remains hard to find.

Professor of the Royal Brompton allergy clinic in London[ii], Stephen Durham, says: “Family members, GPs, even patients themselves can dismiss hay fever as just a bit of sneezing, but for about 10% of sufferers it causes abject misery.”

Misdiagnosis is also common when it comes to hay fever, says Dr Adrian Morris of the Surrey Allergy Clinic: “Many go to the GP complaining of sinus problems and end up on antibiotics, when they really have hay fever and need antihistamines and nasal spray.”

However, Durham points out that the reverse is also true, saying that there are also many people convinced that they have hay fever when in fact they are suffering from a different allergy.

Allergy diagnosis

Often, it becomes easier to determine what kind of allergy you are suffering from once you determine the time of year that your allergy peaks. Of course, the question might not be “Do I have hay fever” at all, if there are other potential triggers for your allergy. But here are some of the most common sources of allergic reactions that can be defined as hay fever or display similar symptoms to hay fever:

Grass: Grass pollen is undoubtedly the most common and well-known of hay fever triggers. The typical pollen season lasts from the first week of May to the second week of September, with a peak from the first week in June to the last week in July.

Birch: Around 25% of allergy sufferers have an allergy to birch trees. This birch season is earlier than the pollen season, lasting from mid-March to the first week in June and peaking from late March to mid-May.

Mould: These allergies are the result of various common kinds of mould, such as Cladosporium and Alternaria. Mould allergies usually flare up in early autumn and late spring, particularly after a rain shower when the mould spores attach to water molecules in the air.

Oak: Oak allergies are usually mild, though can be more severe in some cases. The allergy season lasts from the first week of April to mid-June and peaks from the end of April to early June.

Nettle: Everyone remembers nettles for their painful stinging potential, but they can also be a source of mild allergic reaction. The season lasts from the beginning of May to the end of September and peaks from the end of June to the beginning of August.

Oilseed rape: Like grass, oilseed rape allergies come about as a result of airborne pollen. This allergy season for oilseed rape is earlier than that of grass pollen allergies, lasting from the end of March to mid-June. It peaks from mid-May to the end of June.

Pets: Unlike the other allergies listed, pet allergies are not dependant on the time of year. Cat allergies and dog allergies are the most prevalent causes of allergies in the UK, simply due to the proximity of these animals to us in our daily lives. As our pets shed hair and skin cells, these materials make their way into the air, carpets, bedding and furniture – providing a significant risk to those whose immune system is particularly responsive to these particles. Horse allergies are also not uncommon for those who come into contact with these animals.

Given the wide range of pollens and particles in the air throughout the year, it is not surprising that many people find that they suffer from year round hay fever – with allergies that can become particularly debilitating if left untreated.

In addition to the tree pollens referenced above, it is also possible to experience hay fever symptoms relating to:

  • Alder pollen
  • Ash pollen
  • Hazel pollen
  • Sycamore pollen
  • Willow pollen
  • Plantain pollen
  • Sorrel/dock pollen
  • Mugworth pollen

Which medication is right for you?

If you do determine that hay fever is responsible for your allergies, there are several treatment options for you to consider.

Fexofenadine: This is a popular unbranded hay fever medication which is medically equivalent to branded options but is more cost effective. It acts as an effective non-drowsy antihistamine by preventing the release of chemicals which cause hay fever symptoms.nasonex

Mometasone: This is another popular unbranded medication for allergy relief, this time in the form of a nasal spray. It can help tackle symptoms like itchy eyes, sneezing and congestion.

Telfast: Telfast is the branded equivalent of fexofenadine, acting in exactly the same way to tackle hay fever symptoms.

Nasonex: Again, Nasonex is the branded equivalent of mometasone. It works to treat seasonal hay fever and year-round allergic rhinitis.

Each of these treatments can be prescribed by Express Pharmacy, depending on symptoms and your individual requirements. However, in cases where medication is not proving to be effective, it can be beneficial to request an allergy test. Allergy tests can take two forms and can be requested with an immunologist through your GP. They include:

Allergy skin prick test – small amounts of allergen extracts are applied to the skin surface in order to ascertain, whether the body has an allergic reaction. This test can be applied to not only pollen but also dust mites and animal hairs. Skin tests are also commonly used to diagnose nut allergies.

Allergy blood test – by taking a small sample of blood from a vein in the arm, it is possible to test for the Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody – the defence mechanism produced when pollen is detected.[iii]

Dust and dust mite allergy

dust mitesDust is a common culprit for allergy sufferers whose symptoms flare up in colder months, although symptoms can be present all year. Dust allergies tend to be worse indoors in winter due to central heating. While dust mites are a very different source of irritation to pollens, the symptoms of the human body’s allergic reaction can be very similar.

Dust mites are close relatives to ticks and spiders but are too small to see without the aid of a microscope. When dust mites are released into the atmosphere they may trigger inflammation of the nasal passageways, leading to the same type of sneezing and runny nose found in hay fever sufferers. Indeed, those who are susceptible to hay fever may also be inclined towards a similar reaction to dust and dust mites in the air.

Why are more people suffering from hay fever?

It is not known precisely why more people are suffering from hay fever today than were 30 or 40 years ago. However, it is thought that there could be a few contributing factors. One view is that the increasingly hygienic and sanitised world that we now live in tends to expose us to fewer threats to our immune system than would have been the case in previous generations. Anecdotally it appears that more people are suffering from hay fever onset in mid-life than ever before. And this has been attributed by some experts to people enjoying a cleaner environment in later life resulting in a sensitised response to pollen in later life.

Another factor which is thought to have contributed to the rise in hay fever sufferers is the documented increase on pollen count around the UK. While it may appear that cities are less likely to feature high pollen counts, traffic fumes have been found to help spread pollen and ensure that it is hard for city workers to escape the effects of hay fever.

Article updated December 2018


[i] https://www.allergyuk.org

[ii] https://www.rbht.nhs.uk/our-services/allergy

[iii] https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/immune-system/hay-fever#diagnosing-hay-fever

Comments

Jane Legg on Friday 18 May 2018 14:33

I have all year round an itchy running nose, I can only put this down to house dust/mould I take Chlorphenamine Maleate at night so i don't wake up in the night, can I get this on prescription from my doctor or can u suggest anything else

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Ann Slater on Friday 13 July 2018 09:46

I am allergic to animals, dust and mould ( especially animals). Are you able to comment on which are the most effective medications for this ?

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A New Study on Period Shame Reveals Some Startling Figures

Posted Friday 27 April 2018 14:53 by in Period Pain Medication by Tim Deakin

According to Plan International UK, young women are not seeking guidance for their period concerns

Plan International UK is an organisation aiming to remove the taboos surrounding periods and menstruation, and with good reason. Their latest research has revealed that an alarming number of young women in the UK are not seeking medical help for their period concerns because they are too embarrassed.

In the report, Plan International UK calls for improved teaching materials and education which highlights the fact that periods are different for everyone and can include emotional, social and physical aspects which should be addressed. Other issues they touch upon are the problems some women have affording sanitary products.

Chief executive of Plan International UK, Tanya Barron, said:

“The stigma and taboo around periods is creating a wall of silence, with girls struggling to understand their own bodies, and feeling too ashamed to speak out when they think there is a problem.”

Barron says that better education for both girls and boys is needed to eradicate taboos and “make sure girls know when the symptoms they have are healthy and normal or when they need to seek medical advice.”

Period shame, in numbers

Over 1,000 girls and women aged between 14 and 21 were contacted by Plan International UK to take part in their survey. The results were eye-opening. Regarding the way girls and young women feel about seeking medical advice and treatment for their period concerns, the results found that:

- 79% of girls and young women have experienced period symptoms which have worried them, but haven’t sought medical advice or treatment

- Over a quarter (27%) of girls and young women said they haven’t seen a doctor because they felt too embarrassed

- 8% of girls and young women said they didn’t seek advice because there was only a male doctor available and they didn’t feel comfortable talking to them

Regarding the girls’ and young women’s experience of having periods, the results revealed that:

- 29% of girls and young women said they have experienced heavy bleeding

- 38% of girls and young women have experienced severe period pain

- A quarter (25%) of girls and young women have experienced periods that are heavier than usual

- Almost one third (32%) of girls and young women have had irregular periods

- 23% of girls and young women have been concerned about missing periods

- Almost one fifth (19%) of girls and young women said they have felt depressed

The NHS recommends that, should any of the above symptoms arise, medical attention should be sought as soon as possible. However, Plan International UK’s survey revealed that more than half (54%) of the girls and young women did not seek medical advice because they believed their symptoms were normal at the time. 13% of girls and young women also said people had told them they were exaggerating about their symptoms.

Never let embarrassment stand in the way of effective treatment

It’s clear from these findings that more needs to be done to normalise the perfectly normal processes of the female body. At Express Pharmacy, we believe that no one should ever feel embarrassed about their health concerns. However, you should also never let embarrassment stand in between you and effective treatment.

Online pharmacies allow girls and women to seek advice and treatment for their period concerns whilst maintaining discretion. For conditions like period pain and period delay, effective medication is available from Express Pharmacy. You can also use our live chat service to speak to one of our NHS-approved pharmacists about your concerns.

Both Mefenamic Acid (for period pain) and Norethisterone (for period delay) are available from Express Pharmacy. Contact the team today by using our discreet live chat or calling 0208 123 07 03.

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