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Your Travel Packing Essentials Checklist

Posted Tuesday 23 June 2020 13:00 by in Anti Malaria by Harman Bhamra

Whether you’re a certified traveller or somebody who just got bitten by the travel bug, this travel packing essentials checklist is for you. We’ll list down all the things you need in this travelling checklist to keep your adventure fun, safe, and worry-free.

Let’s start with your clothes!

Clothes To Pack When Travelling

Clothes are the most important thing to remember on your travels. You want to be both comfortable and stylish (for those inevitable Instagram pics!). So, here’s a quick list of the stuff you need to pack. Feel free to customise this travelling checklist based on your destination. You don’t want to end up bringing sweaters and coats in the tropics!

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Bras
  • Sleepwear
  • T-shirts
  • Dress Shirts
  • Casual Shirts
  • Jeans
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Sweaters
  • Sweatshirts
  • Suits
  • Swimsuits
  • Cover-ups
  • Coats
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Scarves
  • Umbrella
  • Laundry Kit
  • Laundry Bag
  • Leisure Shoes
  • Hiking Boots
  • Sneakers
  • Snow Boots
  • Dress Shoes
  • Sandals
  • Belts
  • Ties
  • Jewellery
  • Purses
  • Collapsible Totes
  • Money Belt

When it comes to clothing, pack smart. Pick clothing that can be worn on your day to day adventures and then dress up slightly with a different pair of shoes or bottoms.

Toiletries To Pack When Travelling

The next group of items in your travel packing essentials checklist are your toiletries. You can buy some of these at your destination to save on luggage weight. Remember that any liquid, aerosols, pastes, creams, and gels that are over 100 ml (3.4 ounces) should be put in your checked-in luggage. Airport authorities are very strict about this rule.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental Floss
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair Brush
  • Styling Tools
  • Facial Cleanser
  • Face Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturizer
  • Contact Lenses
  • Contact Solution
  • Shaving Supplies
  • Makeup
  • Makeup Remover
  • Feminine-Hygiene Products
  • Birth Control
  • Nail File
  • Nail Clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Bandages
  • First-Aid Ointment
  • Insect Repellent
  • Medications
  • Pain Relievers
  • Vitamins

Other Essential Items

  • Cell Phone
  • Laptop/Tablet
  • Electronics Chargers
  • Travel Adapter
  • Film/Memory Card
  • List of Medications
  • Emergency Contacts
  • Credit Card/Bank Contacts
  • Copy of Passport

What To Put In Your Carry-On Bag When Travelling

Your carry-on bag is the bag that you’ll carry with you on the plane. So, ideally, pack only the things you need while on the flight. It’s also a good precaution to pack at least two pairs of clothes in your carry-on bag just in case your luggage gets lost (yes, this does happen!).

You’ll be carrying this bag with you on the plane, bus, train, or boat so keep it light and handy. Here’s a quick rundown of the things you can put in your carry-on bag.

  • Books or E-Books
  • Video/MP3 Player
  • Headphones
  • Travel Blanket
  • Travel Pillow
  • Eye Mask
  • Earplugs
  • Tissues
  • Lip Balm
  • Change of Clothes
  • Snacks
  • Gum
  • Empty Water Bottle
  • In-Flight Medication
  • Valuables
  • Camera
  • Passport/Visa/ID
  • Paper/Pen
  • Cash
  • Credit/ATM cards
  • Insurance Cards
  • Itinerary
  • Maps/Directions
  • Guidebook
  • Glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • House Keys

Keeping Yourself Safe From Malaria

Most people in the UK visit the tropical countries because of their pristine beaches and the sun. But there are also hidden dangers lurking in paradise - malaria. This mosquito-borne disease can be fatal. Malaria is commonly found in Africa, South Asia, parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. Check out this blog post if you want to learn more about the causes of malaria.

“Malaria is an almost completely preventable but potentially fatal disease and it remains an important issue for UK travellers. With the summer holidays fast approaching, it is a timely reminder to all travellers going to countries where malaria is present to seek pre-travel advice about the appropriate measures to take to protect themselves, including preventive medicines. If you have any symptoms (usually flu-like or a fever), either while you are away or for up to a year after you return home, you must seek urgent medical help; malaria may cause severe complications and can be fatal.” - Public Health England

If you intend to travel to places where malaria is present, it’s important to take certain precautions to keep yourself safe. There are several methods available to keep yourself safe from this potentially fatal disease. Here are two:

Use mosquito repellants

Malaria is transmitted through the bites of the female Anopheles mosquito. Mosquito repellants can help keep these insects away for a short time. Make sure you use one that contains at least 50% DEET. Apply mosquito repellants on exposed skin and under thin clothing.

Take anti-malaria tablets

Express Pharmacy stocks malaria tablets that effectively take any worries away from your travels. These tablets are not 100% effective so its best to take them together with mosquito bite prevention measures. Most antimalarial tablets need to be taken for four weeks after you return with the exception of Malarone which needs to only be taken for one week.

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How Does Xenical Help With Weight Loss?

Posted Friday 19 June 2020 12:30 by in Weight loss by Harman Bhamra

How does Xenical help with weight loss? Is it effective? Is it safe? This blog post will answer all the questions you have about Xenical.

What Is Xenical?

Google “weight loss” and you’ll probably see millions of pages dedicated to it. Some resources will teach you fasting techniques, some introduce a new diet, others focus on weight loss exercises, etc. Some may even entice you towards ‘magic weight loss pills’ that do all the work for you.

Xenical (Orlistat) is an over-the-counter tablet that’s designed to help you drop some weight. It is the only drug that’s been proven safe in clinical trials. Along with a balanced diet and proper exercise, Xenical can help you lose weight over time. And no - it’s not a magic pill that you can take and then shed off a few pounds overnight (they don’t exist!). You will still need to watch what you are eating and follow an exercise regime.

How Does Xenical Help You Lose Weight?

Xenical works in your gut. It stops the fat from the food you eat from being absorbed by your body and gets rid of it through your stool. With that said, Xenical is only effective when you take it with the meal plan and exercise program designed by your doctor or nutritionist.

Who Is Xenical For?

Xenical is a weight loss pill that makes it hard for your body to absorb fat. Doctors often use BMI to decide whether you can take weight loss pills or not. Xenical is prescribed to those with a BMI of 27 and above or when you have weight-related illnesses like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Remember that Xenical is not meant to replace a healthy diet and exercise. Rather, it’s a supplement to help you lose weight healthily and effectively.

How Effective Is Xenical?

According to clinical trials, Xenical is more effective in helping you lose weight compared to lifestyle changes alone. Consider this one study from Shire Health International:

The one year study, involving 539 adolescents aged 12 to 16, evaluated the efficacy and safety of Xenical in conjunction with lifestyle changes (a mildly reduced-calorie diet, exercise and behavioural therapy) compared to the efficacy of lifestyle changes alone.

Study results showed that adolescents treated with Xenical had:

  • significantly greater reduction in fat mass (-2.4 kg vs. -0.38kg) (p=0.033).
  • significantly reduced BMI compared with adolescents receiving lifestyle changes alone (-0.67 kg/m2 vs. +0.17 kg/m2) (p=0.001)

In addition:

  • a greater proportion of Xenical treated adolescents achieved a =5% and =10% decrease in BMI (27% vs. 16% and 13.3% vs. 4.5% respectively)
  • Xenical was well tolerated and reported adverse events were similar to those seen in adults.

How Long Does It Take For Xenical To Start Working?

Xenical will start working its wonders after your first dose. But the results will not come overnight. You will start seeing changes within two weeks as long as you follow your meal plan and regular exercise program. Weight loss becomes significant within the first 6 months of using Xenical.

Is Xenical Dangerous?

According to experts, “Xenical has a long-term safety profile unmatched in the field of weight loss”. This weight loss medicine is well-tolerated by the body so your safety is not an issue. However, like all medicines, it does come with some side effects.

Most of the common side effects of Xenical are caused by the retention of oil and fats in your gut. These are normal and temporary. In fact, they are signs that the medicine is working:

  • Oily spotting in your underwear
  • Fatty or oily stools
  • Brown or orange-coloured oil in your stool
  • Rectal pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Loose stools or frequent need to go to the bathroom
  • Gas

These side effects may lessen as your body gets used to Xenical.

Although rare, Xenical may also cause severe side effects. If you experience any of these, stop taking the weight loss pill and call your doctor immediately.

  • Liver problems (dark urine, clay-coloured stool, yellowing of the skin, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea)
  • Kidney problems (shortness of breath, tiredness, little to no urge of urinating, swelling in your ankles or feet)
  • Severe lower back pain
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Blood in urine or painful urination

To avoid these side effects, make sure that you follow instructions carefully. In case you missed a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is already more than 1 hour since your last meal, skip the missed dose and take your weight loss medicine at your next schedule. Never take an extra dose to make up for the missed one.

Can I Buy Xenical Over The Counter?

Xenical is a prescription medication. You buy Xenical tablets from Express Pharmacy after you complete a free consultation service. Your weight loss tablets will then be delivered right to your doorstep.

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Common Side Effects of Trimethoprim Tablets

Posted Monday 15 June 2020 11:20 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

Trimethoprim is an antibiotic commonly used to treat certain infections like Cystitis. Some doctors also recommend trimethoprim for chest infections and acne. In this blog post, you will learn about the proper way to take trimethoprim as well as the common side effects of trimethoprim tablets.

How And When To Take Trimethoprim Tablets

Trimethoprim is usually taken two times a day - once in the morning and once in the evening. This treatment doesn’t upset your stomach so you can take it without food.

The usual dose of trimethoprim tablets depends on the type of infection being treated, your age and any other underlying conditions. Elderly people and those with damaged kidneys are usually given lower doses.

Purpose Common Dose
To treat UTIs 200 mg tablets twice a day. You GP may advise you to double the first dosage (400 mg).
Treating cystitis that comes after sex A one-off dose of 100mg. Taken within 2 hours of having sex.
Treat acne 300 mg twice a day. Your doctor may reduce this dose over time.
Preventing infections 100 mg once a day. Take at bedtime.

You take trimethoprim by swallowing the tablets whole. If you find it hard to swallow tablets, trimethoprim is also available in made to order liquid form.

Always follow the dosage given by your doctor to avoid trimethoprim side effects.

How Long Is A Trimethoprim Course?

Again, the length of your antibiotic course will depend on your age, sex, underlying health problems, and infection being treated.

Women with UTIs usually take trimethoprim in a 3-day course. Men and pregnant women, on the other hand, need to take the antibiotic for 14 days. If you have a catheter or a complicated form of UTI, the common length of treatment is also 14 days.

If the UTI developed a complication called prostatitis or swelling of the prostate gland (men only), you may need to take a trimethoprim course of 4 to 6 weeks.

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s close to your next dose, skip the missed tablet and continue as normal. Never double dose unless directed by your doctor.

Common Side Effects of Trimethoprim Tablets

Most people taking trimethoprim experience mild itching or skin rash. This side effect usually goes away on its own after you stop taking the medication. The other common side effects of trimethoprim include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • Feeling sick
  • Loss of appetite
  • Taste problems
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Although rare, serious trimethoprim side effects can also happen. Stop taking the antibiotic and call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Abnormal heartbeat, muscle weakness, and chest pains (you may have high potassium in your blood)
  • Serious skin rashes, swelling of the skin that looks like burns, skin ulcers, blisters
  • Headaches accompanied by fever, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright light, or tiredness (these can be symptoms of meningitis)
  • Severe diarrhoea that lasts for more than 4 days or diarrhoea with blood
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding
  • Sore throat, mouth ulcers or fever

Serious allergic reactions to trimethoprim are also possible. Get immediate medical care if you experience:

  • Wheezing
  • Skin rash with peeling or blistered skin
  • Trouble breathing or talking
  • Swelling face, mouth, lips, throat, or tongue
  • Feeling of tightness in the chest

The best way to avoid these trimethoprim side effects is to always follow the dosage as directed by your doctor.

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Which Is the Best Contraceptive Pill?

Posted Friday 12 June 2020 12:30 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

There are many different female contraceptive methods available; the choice leaves many people feeling overwhelmed! This guide will take you through the most popular contraceptive pills, helping you to find the best one for your body.

Is There A ‘Best’ Contraceptive Pill?

Let’s get this out of the way first. Is there really a “best” pill? The short answer is, no. All bodies react differently to treatments, meaning you need to make a decision on what is best for you rather than anyone else. This guide will help you to do exactly that.

There Are Different Types Of Contraceptive Pills

The most popular contraceptive pills are usually classed as either ‘combined’ or ‘mini’.

1. Combined Pill

The combined pill is the most common. It contains a combination of synthetic progesterone and oestrogen - two hormones that are produced by your ovaries. Combined pills work in different ways. Some prevent the sperm from reaching the egg while others keep the lining of your uterus thick so that the egg can’t implant itself and grow.

In the UK, the most commonly prescribed combination pills are Cilest, Yasmin, and Microgynon. You can buy Microgynon online from Express Pharmacy, as well as the Cilest and Yasmin pill.

2. Mini Pill

The mini pill doesn’t contain any oestrogen. It is only made up of progesterone. Women who are breastfeeding, smoking, or suffering from high blood pressure are usually given mini pills. These contraceptive pills are just as effective as combined pills.

How To Choose The Best Contraceptive Pill

You need to consider several factors when choosing the best contraceptive pill for your needs. Because it is mostly a matter of preference, choosing the right pill may involve some trial and error until you find the one that works best for you. Here are some questions to consider:

Do I want extra benefits from my pill?

Aside from stopping pregnancy, some pills can also help lessen heavy periods and acne outbreaks.

Do I have the discipline to stick to a regular schedule?

Contraceptive packs follow a routine which must be followed every day.

Am I ok with the side effects?

Because contraceptive pills are formulated differently, some brands may cause some severe side effects.

Comparing The Best Contraceptive Pills

Looking to compare contraceptive pills? The below table will help. It takes a look at the three most common pills (Yasmin, Microgynon and Cilest).

Brand Active Ingredients How To Take How It Works Benefits
Yasmin (combined pill) Ethinylestradiol & Drospirenone

The Yasmin pill comes in a 21-day pack. You have a 7-day break for a period.

If you want to further delay your period, you can continue taking Yasmin for up to 9 weeks. A 7-day break follows afterwards.

t thickens your cervical mucus to stop the sperm from reaching the egg.

This pill also thins down the lining of your uterus to prevent the egg from implanting itself.

  • Stop pregnancy
  • Regularise your period
  • Reduce abdominal cramps
  • Prevent hormonal acne
  • Little side effects
Microgynon (combined pill) Levonorgestrel & Ethinylestradiol This contraceptive pill comes in a 21-day pack. You have a 7-day break for a period.

If you want to further delay your period, you can continue taking Yasmin for up to 9 weeks. A 7-day break follows afterwards

It thickens your cervical mucus to stop the sperm from reaching the egg.

This pill also thins down the lining of your uterus to prevent the egg from implanting itself.

  • Stop pregnancy
  • Regularise your period
  • Reduce abdominal cramps
Cilest (combined pill) Ethinylestradiol & Norgestimate

This contraceptive pill comes in a 21-day pack. You have a 7-day break for a period.

If you want to further delay your period, you can continue taking Yasmin for up to 9 weeks. A 7-day break follows afterwards.

It thickens your cervical mucus to stop the sperm from reaching the egg.

This pill also thins down the lining of your uterus to prevent the egg from implanting itself.

  • Stop pregnancy
  • Regularise your period
  • Reduce abdominal cramps

Remember that while contraceptive pills can protect you from unwanted pregnancy, they can’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. If you have multiple sex partners, it’s best to use the pills alongside other contraceptive methods (i.e. condoms, etc.).

Alternative Contraceptive Methods

Aside from condoms, there are several contraceptive methods that you can use to reduce your chances of getting pregnant and contracting sexually transmitted illnesses. If a pill isn’t right for you, Express Pharmacy stocks EVRA patches which are applied directly on the skin instead.

EVRA patches contain two hormones, norelgestromin and ethinylestradiol, wrapped in a foil-lined sachet. Sometimes referred to as a combined hormonal contraceptive, these patches are immediately effective once you use them, provided they are stuck onto the body on the first day your period begins and you follow the right routine.

How To Use EVRA Patches

The EVRA patch should be applied directly on a clean, dry, and hairless area of the skin. This allows your body to efficiently absorb the medication. Apply the patch on areas where it will not be rubbed by clothing (buttocks, abdomen, upper torso, outer arm, etc.)

Apply one patch, once a week for three weeks. The first patch is applied on the first day of your cycle. Further applications should be on the 8th and 15th day of your cycle. Remove the third patch on day 22. Like pills, you also undergo a 7-day break when removing the patch on day 22.

These hormone patches are perfect for women who tend to forget to take their pill on a regular schedule or who have difficulty swallowing pills.

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What Causes a Migraine?

Posted Monday 08 June 2020 11:20 by in Migraines by Harman Bhamra

Migraines are a common health condition usually characterised as a severe headache. They are more prevalent among women (1 in 5 women experience migraines) than men (1 in 15 men suffer from migraines).

So, what causes migraines? In this blog post, we will outline some of the most common causes of migraines as well as provide you with a way to treat them.

The Different Types Of Migraine

Migraines can be classified into at least three major types:

  • Migraine with aura - a type of migraine where you usually see flashing lights before it begins.
  • Migraine without aura - this type of migraine comes without any warnings. This is the most common type.
  • Silent migraine - this kind of migraine has the typical symptoms of a migraine minus the headache.

Migraines come and go. Some people experience them several times a week while others pass months or years before another episode.

How Do I Know It’s A Migraine?

Most migraine symptoms appear one to two days before it develops fully. This phase is known as the prodrome stage. Some symptoms of a migraine during this period include:

  • Low mood
  • Neck stiffness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Food cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • If you have a migraine with aura, the flashing lights occur after the prodrome stage. During the aura, you may experience other symptoms such as:
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty speaking clearly
  • A tingling or prickling feeling in your legs, arms, or face

After these “warning” stages, the migraine may come in full force. It is during this period where you experience the actual migraine pain (headache) that you are so familiar with. You will know it’s a migraine if you experience a headache that is:

  • Throbbing
  • Debilitating
  • Pounding
  • Pulsating
  • Perforating

Migraines can also feel like a dull, steady headache. For others, it starts out mild and becomes more severe over time especially if no migraine relief treatment is taken.

What Causes Migraines?

The real cause of migraines is still a mystery for doctors. Some studies show that it’s caused by a chemical called serotonin. This chemical is responsible for shrinking (high level of serotonin) or swelling (low levels of serotonin) the blood vessels. The swelling of blood vessels in the brain can cause pain and other problems.

With that said, age, environment, sex, family history, diet, stress, and lifestyle may all contribute in one way or another to a migraine.

What Food Can Cause Migraines?

Certain foods and beverages may cause migraines. Below is an exhaustive list:

  • aged, canned, cured, or processed meat (including bologna, game, ham, herring, hot dogs, pepperoni, and sausage)
  • aged cheese
  • alcoholic beverages (especially red wine)
  • aspartame
  • avocados
  • beans (including pole, broad, lima, Italian, navy, pinto, and garbanzo)
  • brewer’s yeast (including fresh yeast coffee cake, doughnuts, and sourdough bread)
  • caffeine (in excess)
  • canned soup or bouillon cubes
  • chocolate, cocoa, and carob
  • cultured dairy products (such as buttermilk and sour cream)
  • figs
  • lentils
  • meat tenderizer
  • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • nuts and peanut butter
  • onions (except small amounts for flavouring)
  • papaya
  • passion fruit
  • pea pods
  • pickled, preserved or marinated foods (such as olives and pickles, and some snack foods)
  • raisins
  • red plums
  • sauerkraut
  • seasoned salt
  • snow peas
  • soy sauce

Migraine Relief

While there’s no current cure for migraines, there are treatments which help to relieve the symptoms. Some of the common migraine relief treatments available include:


This type of medication contains an active ingredient called Sumatriptan succinate. It actively works by relieving the temporary swelling of blood vessels in the brain, relieving the pressure and thus, the migraine pain you feel. You can buy Sumatriptan from Express Pharmacy and get it delivered to your doorstep in plenty of time before your next symptoms occur.

Imigran Nasal Spray

Imigran is one of the most common branded migraine treatments. Imigran Nasal Spray also contains Sumatriptan succinate as its active ingredient. This treatment provides fast-acting relief against migraines.

Compared to its tablet-counterpart, Imigran Nasal Spray offers a more pleasant form of application. It also reduces the risk of rebound headaches which is common among patients who rely on migraine relief tablets for a long time.

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