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What Causes Altitude Sickness?

Posted Monday 10 February 2020 09:23 by in Altitude Sickness by Harman Bhamra

Have you ever found yourself feeling dizzy when hiking or skiing? If so, then it is likely that you suffer from altitude sickness. Luckily, mild cases of altitude sickness can be cured with help from effective tablets; however, in more severe cases, oxygen therapy might be necessary.

If you are about to embark on another climbing expedition or any other activity where you will find yourself on higher ground, it’s vital to understand the causes of altitude sickness, the symptoms, how to treat it, and how to prevent it in the future. Continue reading to find out more.

What Causes Altitude Sickness?

The most common, and obvious, cause of altitude sickness is high altitude. So, if you are ascending a mountain, or if you climb up too quickly into a zone where the air is thinner, you will be leaving yourself vulnerable to altitude sickness.

To help you further understand the causes of altitude sickness, let’s paint a picture:

The body’s entitlement to oxygen is a crucial component, and when the body doesn’t receive the level of oxygen it’s used to, it’s prone to throw a tantrum, or in this case, make you fall violently ill. So, in really severe cases, altitude sickness can be fatal, which is why you need to be wary about it and learn as much as possible before embarking on a climbing expedition.

On the bright side, if you decide to concentrate your climbing efforts in flatter countries like the UK, you will probably never have to experience altitude sickness - mountains in the UK typically aren’t that high, and the highest peak is about 4400ft. Altitude sickness doesn’t start to kick in until you’re about 8000ft above sea level.

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness

The positive thing about the symptoms of altitude sickness is that they are generally easy to spot once you know what to look for. In most cases, when you are suffering from altitude sickness, you will likely experience”

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath

Those are the most common symptoms, but please note that the symptoms are not limited to this.

For some, the symptoms of altitude sickness could be gastrointestinal, and for such people, a loss of appetite, flatulence and vomiting are likely symptoms.

Altitude sickness can also affect the nervous system leading to weakness, lethargy, dizziness, insomnia, and so on.

Furthermore, the symptoms could also be respiratory, and it is in cases like these when nosebleeds and shortness of breath come into play.

On top of that, sufferers of altitude sickness could also experience swollen body parts, including the hands, feet, and face. In some extreme cases, the illness could lead to swelling of the brain or fluids in the lungs.

How To Treat Altitude Sickness

Treating altitude sickness can be achieved through the use of altitude sickness tablets. The most common drug associated with the alleviation of altitude sickness is Acetazolamide. This drug aids in decreasing headaches, nausea, and dizziness. It can also be used in the treatment of other ailments like glaucoma, epilepsy, and heart failure.

Getting into the nitty-gritty of how altitude sickness tablets work is fascinating. Acetazolamide compels the kidney to excrete bicarbonate when it is then passed out through urine. This, in turn, increases the acidity of the blood and through that tricks the body into assuming that there is a buildup of CO2 in the body. The body then deals with the ‘CO2’ the only way it knows how: through deeper and faster breaths. Moreover, this increases the oxygen in the body and helps to alleviate altitude sickness.

You can purchase Acetazolamide online through Express Pharmacy and in some stores. When using it to treat altitude sickness, it is advised that you start taking the drug a couple of days before you start your climb.

Always check with a medical practitioner before using Acetazolamide to ensure that you are not allergic to it and also have a conversation with a doctor to look over your medical history and ensure that you can use it without any problems.

How To Prevent Altitude Sickness In The Future

As well was taking fast-acting medication, there are also some things that you can do to prevent the symptoms of altitude sickness in the first place.

As mentioned earlier, climbing in the UK is completely safe as there aren’t any punishingly high altitudes that can induce sickness. If you do decide to go somewhere that’s above 8000ft, ensure that you take your time. Climbing slowly allows your body to acclimatize to the environment and, therefore, helps to reduce cases of altitude sickness. Climb about 1000ft a day, and when you do, ensure that you take frequent breaks.

It is also important to have enough fluids around to keep you hydrated and further shielded from the symptoms of altitude sickness. Additionally, avoid alcohol at all costs. It is tempting to want to take a little ‘pick me up’ to celebrate scaling a large mountain or some other achievement, but try to wait until you descend the mountain before indulging in any celebratory drinking.

Get in touch with our pharmaceutical experts on 0208 123 0703 for more information regarding altitude sickness. Alternatively, browse our altitude sickness treatments today to alleviate your symptoms.

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7 Tips for a Healthier and Happier Lifestyle

Posted Friday 07 February 2020 09:36 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

We’re all guilty of having a few unhealthy habits; whether it be staying up too late or spending too much time watching TV.

Snapping out of routine can be tough.

We’ve put together this short guide which highlights 7 simple but effective changes you can make for a healthy and happier lifestyle. Work them into your everyday routine and they will soon add up to a healthier and happier you.

7 Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Read on to discover our top seven health lifestyle tips to boost your wellbeing.

1. Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is essential, not only for your mental and emotional wellbeing but also for your physical health. Your body uses this shut-down time to replenish, heal and recharge.

And - it’s not just quantity that counts, it’s also the quality. To support a healthy and happy lifestyle, it is recommended to get around 7 to 8 hours sleep a night.

Poor or insufficient sleep can have a cumulative effect, leaving you vulnerable to slower reflexes, lack of concentration and lower productivity levels. Lack of sleep has also been linked to chronic diseases, anxiety and depression.

A consistent bedtime routine is key to getting a good nights sleep - aim to go to bed at the same time every day. Before bed, do some gentle stretches, read a book or have a warm bath - and keep all electronic devices out of the bedroom. This should help you relax and drift off.

2. Keep hydrated

Water is essential for our wellbeing and so for optimum health, we need to be well-hydrated. Our body is actually made up of two-thirds water and we need this H2O for a host of bodily functions, from regulating temperature to detoxifying and removing waste.

As well as impacting on our body’s efficiency, poor hydration can also affect our energy levels as well as concentration, mental clarity and vitality.

To keep sufficiently hydrated, healthy and happy, the recommended amount of water we need to drink each day is around two litres (or eight glasses) – more if you are very active.

3. Stand up and move more

The sedentary lifestyle is widely recognised as being detrimental to our health and wellbeing and the perfect antidote is to get up and get moving. Adding some aerobic exercise into your day can make a real difference and it doesn’t have to be intense. Walking for just 30 minutes a day can help to reduce your risk of chronic disease, high blood pressure and weight gain as well as helping to boost mood, cognitive function, muscle strength and flexibility.

As well as making time for exercise, there are also other small steps you can add into your day that collectively help to counter the effects of a sedentary life, such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, gardening or taking the dog for a nice, long walk. And, if you do find you need to spend long periods of time in front of the computer, build in regular breaks when you get up and move around.

4. Be more mindful

In our fast-paced world, we can feel overwhelmed or distracted by everything we have to do in a day. But with so much going on, we often miss out on the smaller things that can bring a sense of perspective, calm and joy into our lives. And this is where mindfulness comes in.

From sitting down to enjoy the simple pleasure of a meal to taking yourself into the garden and spending five minutes consciously observing your surroundings, there are plenty of little mindful activities you can work into your day.

Increasing mindfulness and the time you spend ‘living in the moment’ can have a significant impact on your health, happiness and overall wellbeing.

5. Eat well

Variety is the spice of life and, when it comes to what you eat, a variety of whole foods, fruit, vegetables, good fats and lean protein is key to a healthy body and mind.

Cutting back on junk, sugar and processed foods and eating as naturally as possible will help you to get all the daily nutrients your body needs to perform at its optimum. A well-nourished body is also more able to fight illnesses, recover from exercise and positively deal with whatever life throws at you.

Aim to cook from scratch if you can and include a rainbow of colours on your plate to ensure you are getting all those essential vitamins and minerals.

6. Get outside

You should never underestimate the power of the outdoors when it comes to our mental and physical health. Spending quality time outside can be a real boost to our happiness and wellbeing.

Nature can help you to switch off from the pressures and technologies of life and rediscover a simpler way, even if it’s for just a few hours. Recharging your batteries with a walk in the fresh air can also boost mental clarity and help with anxiety and depression as well as increase your physical fitness, resilience and stamina.

So, get your walking boots on, slap on the sunscreen, grab a bottle of water and stride out for some mood and health-boosting time outside.

7. Appreciate what you have

With the demands of modern life and the pressures of wanting to have it all, it can be easy to lose track of the little things that give our lives perspective. Taking some time out to focus on what we have, rather than what we don’t, can really help you to see everything in a much healthier, holistic way. And, as it’s been said, it is often the little things in life that make you happy.

Why not start a gratitude diary and each day, write down three things you are grateful for – from that freshly brewed cup of coffee or newly-changed bed linen to an unexpected visit from a friend or the effort made to stop smoking.

Consciously acknowledging what you do have and what you have achieved will bring you a deeper sense of appreciation. And that is another simple yet essential tip for a happy, healthy and fulfilled life.

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How to Get a Prescription From an Online Pharmacy

Posted Wednesday 05 February 2020 09:36 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

Getting a prescription from your GP is not always ideal, especially when your work hours coincide with your doctors opening hours.

Maybe you need a remedy for excruciating period pain, but you can’t see your doctor immediately. Perhaps you’re dealing with a delicate condition, such as erectile dysfunction, and would prefer full discretion. Whatever your reasonings, you can take comfort in knowing that you can get prescriptions from online pharmacies.

How do you get a prescription from an online pharmacy like Express Pharmacy, exactly? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Advantages of Electronic Prescriptions

Until not so long ago, people could only get a paper prescription from their GP; then, they had to present it to their dispenser to get their prescribed treatment.

The NHS first introduced electronic prescriptions in 2009, and since then, online pharmacies have become increasingly popular. Through this method, the prescriptions are signed, sent, and processed electronically.

How Do Online Prescriptions Work?

The electronic prescription service (EPS) allowed many online pharmacies to start an online prescription service. These pharmacies pair with registered GPs, specialists, and other healthcare professionals who can issue prescriptions.

To get an online prescription, all you have to do is choose your desired treatment and then complete a screening test. This screening test tends to include basic information such as your height, weight, and pre-existing medical conditions. This medical assessment helps online pharmacy doctors decide whether or not you’re eligible for treatment.

At the end of the questionnaire, you’ll have to confirm that you’re over 18. Younger people won’t be able to benefit from an online prescription service and will need to visit their doctor directly.

Upon completion, the results of your online consultation will be reviewed by an independent medical prescriber who will either authorise a private prescription or reject it.

If your prescription is authorised, you will then be able to continue with the purchase and – depending on pharmacy – decide whether you want to collect the meds yourself or have them delivered to your home.

Are Online Prescriptions Safe?

As long as you’re buying from a legitimate online pharmacy that operates legally in the UK, getting an online prescription is both legal and safe.

Registered pharmacies collaborate with professional doctors and pharmacists who can screen your medical history and even reach out to you with further questions to determine your suitability for the treatment.

Legitimate online pharmacies will also ask you to verify your age and identity before issuing a prescription.

A simple way to find out if the online pharmacy of your choice is legitimate is by checking the MHRA website to see what pharmacies and domain names are authorised to sell medication online within the UK.

Why Get an Online Prescription?

If you are not accustomed to buying meds online, getting an online prescription might sound quite foreign. However, obtaining online prescriptions comes with many advantages:

Online prescriptions are faster to obtain

The great thing about online prescriptions is that they can be obtained from the comfort of your own home. Most GPs, on the other hand, require their patients to make an appointment and attend a visit before issuing a prescription. And, usually, you will have to wait at least a few days before seeing your doctor.

Getting a prescription online, however, only requires you to answer a questionnaire, making the process far quicker. And, at Express Pharmacy, you can receive your prescription in as little as one working day.

Online prescriptions are discrete

When buying prescription meds online, you will never have to meet the prescriber – or the pharmacist, as a matter of fact. Moreover, anything that you buy is usually dispatched discretely, in unbranded packaging. Many people find this to be of great comfort, especially if they have a condition which they would rather keep private.

Where Can I Get An Online Prescription From?

It is important to only buy prescription meds online from authorised online pharmacies, such as us here at Express Pharmacy.

Express Pharmacy is a regulated UK pharmacy licensed to dispense prescription medication supplied by Dillons Pharmacy - an established NHS pharmacy based in London - across the country.

Authorised prescribers issue our private prescriptions in less than 24 hours, and you can opt for various collection or delivery options, including same-day collection, next-day delivery, or standard delivery via UPS or Royal Mail.

We value your privacy and dispatch all orders in plain, unbranded packaging, so you can buy from us in all confidence.

Call our team on 0208 123 0703 if you require more information regarding our online pharmacy. Alternatively, browse our treatments and get started today.

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The Relationship Between Erectile Dysfunction and Smoking

Posted Thursday 30 January 2020 14:30 by in Erectile Dysfunction by Tim Deakin

At some point in their lives, most men will experience some form of erectile dysfunction (ED). Chronic ED impacts around one in 20 men under 40 years old, and 15% of men at 70. Meanwhile, mild to moderate ED can impact as many as 10% of men per decade of life (i.e. 40% of men aged 40, 50% of men aged 50 etc, 60% of men aged 60.)[1]

Smoking is another key health concern in the UK. As many as 14.4% of UK adults are currently classified as smokers.[2] This is significant, as smoking plays a part in many of the most serious medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease, lung disease, osteoporosis, stroke and infertility.[3]

But is there a link between ED and smoking? Could smoking actually be at the root of your ED concerns?

What is erectile dysfunction?

Most men occasionally fail to achieve or maintain an erection during sexual activity, and this usually caused by stress, anxiety, tiredness or drinking too much. In these instances, this is generally nothing to worry about. However, if it happens frequently, it can be a sign of a wider case of ED.[4] Chronic ED can occur as a result of numerous factors, both physical and emotional, such as depression.[5]

The relationship between smoking and erectile dysfunction

Until around 20 years ago, ED was thought to be primarily caused by psychological factors. However, we now know that there are many physical factors at play too, including injury, hormonal conditions, anatomical conditions and surgery, to name a few.[6] One of the most prevalent physical causes of erectile dysfunction is a narrowing of the blood vessels going to the penis.[7]

This is where smoking comes in. Smoking can damage the lining of the blood vessels over time, preventing them from working at their maximum capacity.[8] This means that smoking can potentially have a direct impact on your likelihood of experiencing ED.

Research shows there likely is a connection

There has been a great deal of research into the connection between ED and smoking, and the results revealing that there is a link between the two factors.

One 2008 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found strong parallels between smoking and ED — concluding that long-term smoking can detrimentally impact blood flow and blood vessels to the point where ED becomes more likely to occur.[9]

Furthermore, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that ED was more likely to occur in men who smoked compared to those who never did.[10] Meanwhile another study, carried out in 2004, found the severity of ED corresponded significantly with the level of exposure to smoking.[11]

So what does this research tell us? It suggests that, if you’re a smoker suffering from ED, quitting smoking could reduce your symptoms. Thankfully, there is tried and tested medication which can help you achieve this.

Whether you’re looking for smoking cessation medication like Champix or erectile dysfunction treatment, Express Pharmacy has a range of safe and effective options available. Get in touch with our pharmacists today and get the support you need. Simply call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] UW Health. Erectile Dysfunction (ED). School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 2019

[2] NHS UK. Statistics on Smoking, England. 2019

[3] Smokefree by NHS. How smoking affects your body. 2018

[4] NHS UK. Erectile dysfunction (importence). 2017

[5] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms & Causes of Erectile Dysfunction. 2017

[6] Sexual Advice Association. Erectile Dysfunction. 2016

[7] NHS Inform. Erectile dysfunction (impotence). 2020

[8] National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Smoking and Your Heart.2018

[9] Tostes, RC, PhD. et al. Cigarette Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction: Focus on NO Bioavailability and ROS Generation. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2008

[10] Gades, NM. et al. Association between Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction: A Population-based Study, American Journal of Epidemiology. 2005

[11] Pourmand, G. et al. Do cigarette smokers with erectile dysfunction benefit from stopping?: a prospective study. BJU International. 2004

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What Are the Best Forms of Birth Control?

Posted Thursday 30 January 2020 08:00 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

Women have more birth control options than ever before, but with more choice comes more information; not to mention more side effects to be aware of.

It can be difficult to know which birth control option is right for you. Before seeking out a new method of birth control, it’s a good idea to discuss the options with your GP or do plenty of research into your options. This will help to outline the types of birth control available to you based on your requirements and other factors such as lifestyle, your current health or other medications you are on.

There are many types of female contraception to be aware of, from birth control pills to condoms and hormonal implants. While no single method can completely guarantee pregnancy prevention, if used correctly, these methods can help minimise the chances of having an unwanted pregnancy. We’ve compiled a list of the best forms of birth control and the pros and cons of each method.

What Is Birth Control?

Birth control is any method used to prevent pregnancy. There are pros and cons to every method of contraception, and some are more effective than others. It’s important to understand this in order to make an informed decision on what is best for you.

The Best Types of Birth Control For Women

From IUDs and implants to hormone shots and the rhythm method, the choice can be overwhelming. But effectiveness is key when deciding what birth control to use and the following contraceptive devices are some of the most successful at preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are one of the most popular methods of contraception for women, as they are convenient and offer a range of other benefits besides preventing pregnancy.

Express Pharmacy’s female contraception range includes several oral contraceptive brands to suit different needs and budgets, including Yasmin birth control and the Microgynon pill.

Yasmin birth control is a combined pill and is typically prescribed to women under the age of 35. If used correctly, it’s up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and works by preventing ovulation and altering the lining of the uterine wall.

The Microgynon pill is well-suited to women who have not used birth control pills before – it contains two hormones, similar to oestrogen and progesterone.

Benefits of birth control pills: The benefits of birth control pills are that if you use them properly, there is just a 1% failure rate. Not only this, but they help to relieve painful menstrual cramps and prevent heavy periods.

Cons of birth control pills: The potential downsides of the pill are that if you forget to take it regularly, the failure rate is much higher. This is especially key if you’re taking a progestin-only pill as this needs to be taken at the same time every day. Birth control pills can also cause nausea, breast tenderness and a low sex drive for some women.


Condoms are a birth control mainstay; with good reason. They not only prevent pregnancy but are the only contraceptive device that also prevents sexually transmitted infections, too.

There are both male and female condoms on the market, but male condoms are much more commonly used. Condoms can also be used with spermicides to increase the effectiveness of the contraceptive.

Benefits of condoms: The benefits of condoms are that they are the best method of protection against STDs and HIV, and they are also convenient and easy to use.

Cons of condoms: However, male condoms are only around 82% effective in preventing pregnancy and female condoms are just 79% effective. Because of the high failure rate, it’s advised that condoms are used with another form of birth control.

Hormone Implants

Hormone implants are an increasingly popular option for women as they require less maintenance. A small matchstick-sized piece of plastic is inserted by a GP just under the skin of the upper arm and prevents pregnancy for up to three years without needing to be removed in the meantime.

Benefits of hormone implants: One benefit of hormone implants is that the method is invisible and is as effective as an IUD, with less than 1 in 100 women getting pregnant with this method in place. What’s more, if you choose to get pregnant in the future, you can still become pregnant after having the implant removed.

Cons of hormone implants: The downside of the hormone implant is that many women experience irregular bleeding for the first year, although most women stop having periods altogether eventually on this method. If you are bothered by the irregular bleeding, your GP can prescribe oestrogen to counteract this.


In addition to learning about the pros and cons of each method, it’s important to consider other factors that might inhibit the effectiveness of your chosen form of birth control. For example, you need to speak to your GP about or consider the following:

  • What to do if you get sick when you’re on the pill
  • The right contraception to use after having a baby
  • Managing your menstrual cycle on different methods
  • Which is the right choice based on lifestyle factors (family medical history, weight, age)

All of these, and more, can influence the right contraceptive device for your needs. The types of birth control listed in this guide are just a few of the options available to women today – there are also hormone injections, caps or diaphragms, vaginal rings and fertility awareness methods. Each one provides different benefits and considerations to carefully take into account before you adopt a particular method.

For more information regarding the right birth control method for you, get in touch with our specialists on 0208 123 0703. Or, browse our female contraception methods by browsing the ‘treatments’ on our menu.

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