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Can These Foods Help You Avoid Hay Fever This Summer?

Posted Tuesday 25 June 2019 19:43 by in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief by Tim Deakin

Summer is a time for long days, warm weather, fun and relaxation, but for many of us it’s also a time when hay fever symptoms rear their ugly head.

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a condition that occurs due to an allergic reaction to pollen. It affects up to one in five people at some point in their life, and is often at its most common during the spring and summer, when tree and grass pollen are most populous.[1]

Symptoms of hay fever usually include:

Itchy eyes and throat

Sneezing

Blocked or runny nose

Watering, red eyes

Headaches

Blocked sinuses

Shortness of breath

Tiredness[2]

There are many reports of potential cures for hay fever, including certain foods. But how effective are they?

Berries, ginger, citrus and more

A diet rich in antioxidants can help to alleviate symptoms of pollen allergy. In fact, antioxidants like Quercetin and the polyphenols have been shown to reduce sneezing in those allergic to pollen and dust. These antioxidants can be found in common fruits, herbs and vegetables such as red apples, onions, garlic, grapes and berries.[3]

Quercetin works in synergy with another important antioxidant: vitamin C. Found in citrus fruits, broccoli and dark leafy greens, vitamin C is an important anti-allergy component as it strengthens the immune system, calming allergic reactions due to its anti-inflammatory properties.[4]

Speaking of anti-inflammatory properties, spices like ginger and turmeric are among the most effective ingredients, inhibiting the production of the inflammatory compound histamine.[5]

Tried and tested methods for dealing with hay fever

It’s important to remember that, while increasing your intake of these foods may help reduce your symptoms, they don’t offer guaranteed success if used alone.

The NHS provides several key tips for reducing the impact of hay fever during peak times of year. These include:

Putting Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen

Showering and changing your clothes after going outside

Staying indoors whenever possible

Wearing wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes

Vacuuming regularly and dusting with a damp cloth

Keeping windows and doors shut

Investing in a pollen filter for your home air vents[6]

Combining treatments and precautionary methods can give you a greater chance of success when it comes to keeping your hay fever symptoms in check.

Medication can help you enjoy the summer without worry

For many people, antihistamine medication is necessary in order to ensure regular relief from hay fever. Unlike the foods mentioned above, these medications are specifically designed to tackle the impact of hay fever on your health and wellbeing during peak times of year, meaning they’ll probably be more reliable when it comes to alleviating your symptoms this summer.

Both oral medications and steroid nasal sprays can help encourage an anti-inflammatory response to your hay fever, offering significant daily relief.[7] Studies have found medication options such as Fexofenadine to be a clinically effective option for the treatment of hay fever, and one which offers minimal side effects.[8]

You can find safe and effective allergy relief medication like Fexofenadine, Telfast and Nasonex right here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any questions for our team, call us today on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] NHS Inform. Hay Fever. 2019

[2] Allergy UK. Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis). 2019

[3] Barszcz, N. What to eat to beat hay fever. Healthy Magazine. 2018.

[4] Holford, P. Seven nutrients that work for hay fever. Patrick Holford. 2018

[5] Mashhadi, N.S., Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence. International Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013.

[6] NHS UK. Hay Fever. 2017

[7] Asthma UK. Hay fever treatments.2019

[8] Simpson, K. Jarvis, B. Fexofenadine: a review of its use in the management of seasonal allergic rhinitis and chronic idiopathic urticaria. Drugs. 2000

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Does Changing the Time You Eat Stop Jet Lag?

Posted Friday 21 June 2019 12:47 by in Jet Lag by Tim Deakin

Travelling opens you up to fantastic experiences, but one side-effect of far-flung jet-setting which isn’t so fantastic is jet lag.

Jet lag is the result of a disruption to an individual’s natural sleep pattern – typically caused by crossing several time zones on a long flight. The symptoms of jet lag usually continue until the body has adjusted to a new time zone – more often than not over the course of a few days.[1] These symptoms of jet lag usually include disorientation and finding it hard to function, fatigue and being unable to fall asleep.[2]

This is something many of us have experienced. In fact, one poll of 2,000 adults found that more than eight in 10 participants had struggled with severe fatigue after a long-haul flight.[3]

But there are also other contributing factors that have a part to play in determining the severity of your jet lag, as highlighted by recent research.

Research by the University of Surrey explored the link between jet lag and eating times

A study from the School of Psychology at the University of Surrey has looked into any possible connection between mealtimes and the likelihood of experiencing jet lag after travelling. In the study, 60 long-haul crew members were divided into two groups.

The first set of participants followed a regular meal plan on their days off following a long flight, while the second group had no plan for regular meals. The results found that sticking to a regular mealtime schedule played a significant role in helping the crew members adapt their circadian rhythms during their days off.[4]

Author of the study, Dr Cristina Ruscitto, discussed these results further, saying:

“Many crew tend to rely on sleep rather than earing strategies to alleviate symptoms of jet lag, but this study has shown the crucial role meal times can indeed play in resetting the body clock.”[5]

How to deal with jet lag effectively

Mealtimes aren’t the only outside factors to play a role in either worsening or lessening the impact of changing time-zones. The direction of travel, natural light levels, caffeine intake and alcohol all have a part to play in determining just how severe your experience of jet lag will be.[6]

Jet lag can be worsened by factors like stress, discomfort and air pressure. All of these factors can occur while flying, meaning that moving time zones via a plane can lead to a significant risk of jet lag.[7]

Medication is one of the main ways to effectively combat jet lag while travelling. A poll by NSF found that 15% of respondents used either a prescription medication and/or over the counter sleep aids. These were found to be an effective way to manage the short-term insomnia brought on by travel.[8]

Treatment such as Circadin can help to regulate your body’s production of melatonin – our natural sleep hormone. This will help you feel more tired when night falls, aiding your body clock in its adjustment.

You can find safe and effective treatment for jet lag here at Express Pharmacy, such as Circadin. And if you have any questions for our pharmacists, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] NHS UK. Jet lag. 2017

[2] British Airways. Jet lag advisor. 2019

[3] Elsworthy, E. How to avoid jet lag before, during and after a flight. The Independent. 2018

[4] La, P. Jet-lag is given the swerve by adjusting meal times on the ground, find researchers. University of Surrey. 2016

[5] Ruscitto, C. PhD. accessed via La, P. 2006

[6] American Sleep Association. Jet lag treatment, recovery and symptoms. 2019

[7] Sleep Education. Jet Lag – Overview. 2019

[8] NSF. Sleep in America Poll. 2002., accessed via: National Sleep Foundation. Jet lag and sleep. 2012

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The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Vaccinations

Posted Thursday 06 June 2019 12:51 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

vaccinations

Heading off to a foreign destination can be both an exciting and daunting experience. While so much adventure lies ahead, it is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed by all of the preparation which needs to take place before you jet off. However, once everything is set and ready to go, you get to reap all of the benefits that come from travelling, without a single worry in the world!

Unfortunately, heading off abroad means that your body may become victim to some nasty diseases. These diseases are likely to leave you feeling very unwell and may even mean you have to cut your travels short. Although a scary thought, these diseases are simple to avoid, thanks to vaccinations.

Vaccines Needed Around The World

You won’t need to get a vaccination for every country you travel to, but it’s worth checking what is recommended in your specific location before it’s too late. To make things easier for you, you can use the map below to establish whether the country you are travelling to is at high risk of disease.

As you can see, places residing in South Asia and Africa are at the highest risk of disease. Shockingly, up to ten jabs are required if you’re travelling to Ethiopia, Nigeria and Pakistan - to name a few. Did you know that so many were needed?

With so many countries being at both medium and high risk, it’s clear to see just how important it is to get the correct vaccinations. Even some of the most popular travel destinations require vaccinations for safe travels, including Mexico, Greece and South Africa. It’s worth noting that the recommendation levels might be lower in some of these popular destinations, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The next time you’re planning an adventure, you can use this interactive map as a guide, in order to make sure that you’re as protected as much as possible. It really is a life or death situation here, and your holiday shouldn’t have to be ruined by something so preventable.

How Do I Get A Vaccination?

Getting your recommended vaccinations has never been easier. Simply book an appointment with your GP around four to six weeks before your departure date; they’ll be able to do the vaccination for you and discuss any further instructions, too. The lifespan of the vaccination will entirely depend on which one you have been given, but roughly, they can last anything from a few months to several years.


Once again, the cost of the vaccine will completely depend on what it is for. Vaccines for high-risk diseases like Cholera and Typhoid are usually free to receive from the NHS, but for less common diseases such as Japanese Encephalitis, you will be expected to pay a fee. Don’t forget that when you’re purchasing something that's going to protect your life, it’s a small price to pay.

How much does the vaccine cost?

Vaccine Vaccine Cost
Cholera £70
Hepatitis B £195
Hepatitis A & B £255
Hepatitis A & Typhoid £100
Combined Diptheria, Tetanus & Polio £52
Influenza £10
Japanese Encephalitis £224
Meningitis ACWY £82
Meningitis B £300-£600
Rabies £255
Rabies - intradermal £159
Tick-borne Encephalitis £255
Typhoid £47
Yellow Fever £82
Hepatitis A £150
Tuberculosis (BCG) £77
Malaria £3.50

You can use the above table to figure out how much you will be expected to pay for the jab you are receiving. As you can see, the average cost for a vaccination is around £50, but the price will ultimately depend on the vaccine which is needed. More times than not, the prices will vary, so be sure to check with your GP for an updated price list.

Are Vaccines Worth The Money?

Paying for vaccinations is probably the last thing you want to do after paying for a holiday, but when you look at the bigger picture, they’re a worthwhile investment. Vaccinations not only prevent you from falling ill to a nasty disease; they prevent you from having to pay a hefty medical bill, too. Check out the below chart for an insight into just how expensive treatment costs are for various, preventable, diseases.

How Much Does The Treatment Cost?

Illness Treatment Cost
Cholera £70
Hepatitis B £8,977.63 - £15,505.93
Hepatitis A £255
Japanese Encephalitis £2,862.34 - £14,769.76
Meningitis ACWY £82
Meningitis B £300 - £600
Rabies £1,213.14
Tick-borne Encephalitis £2,862.34 - £14,769.76
Typhoid £55.13
Yellow Fever £82
Tuberculosis (BCG) £101,918.39
Malaria £2,120.41
Tetanus £58,871.11
Polio £5,896.52 - £38,310.33
Influenza

As you can see, there isn’t a single illness on the above table, which doesn’t come with a hefty treatment cost. When you next hesitate about paying £77 for a Tuberculosis jab or something similar, remember that you could be ending up with an illness which will cost over £100,000 to treat.

So, in short, yes - vaccines are certainly worth the money when your health is in the works.

How Many People Die From Not Getting Vaccinations?

Although there may be no legal requirements to get jabs done, it’s far too risky to put off getting them. In fact, an increasing number of people have lost their lives due to not getting vaccinations; is the risk really worth it?

To put this into perspective, there are an estimated 128,000 to 161,000 deaths each year from the disease Typhoid. Considering the vaccination to prevent this disease is free from the NHS, the numbers are very alarming.

How Many Death Are There Each Year?

Illness Number of Cases Deaths Per Year
Cholera 1.4 to 4.0 million 21,000 - 143,000
Hepatitis B 257 million 887,000
Hepatitis A 1.4 million 11,000
Japanese Encephalitis 68,000 3,600 - 20,400
Meningitis B 400 - 1,200 379,000
Rabies 15 million 59,000
Tick-borne Encephalitis 2,057 280
Typhoid 11-20 million 128,000 - 161,000
Yellow Fever 200 000 45,000
Malaria 300-600 million 1,000,000
Polio 22 1
Tuberculosis (BCG) 10 million 1.6 million
Influenza 3 to 5 million 290,000 - 650,000
Tetanus 12,476 72,600

Other alarming cases included 1,000,000 deaths a year from Malaria and 887,000 from Hepatitis B. Of course, the risk of dying from these diseases will depend on which country you live in and the standard of healthcare available, but these numbers alone should highlight just how easy it is to catch bugs when you aren’t protected.

Things To Remember

Once you’ve had your vaccination, your doctor might tell you to take some medication throughout the duration of your trip. This is a common practice for anti-malaria in particular, and luckily, you can buy our anti-malaria tablets online if you’re prescribed them.

Your overall health will be taken into consideration before you are given the vaccination, as those with poor health may not be able to receive it.

If you are travelling to central Europe, North America or Australia, then the chances of you needing a jab are very slim. However, please check with your GP.

Vaccinations might be uncomfortable, but catching a disease will be far worse. Look after yourself!

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The Relationship Between Alcohol and Hay Fever

Posted Tuesday 04 June 2019 23:10 by in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief by Tim Deakin

alcohol and hay fever

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is thought to affect between 10 and 30% of all adults and up to 40% of children.[1]

But studies have suggested that the symptoms of hay fever – such as sneezing, coughing and a runny nose – could be made worse when alcohol is consumed. Let’s take a closer look at this theory.

How does alcohol worsen symptoms?

Alcohol can indeed make hay fever symptoms feel worse, but it’s not the alcohol itself which does this, it’s the substances found within your alcoholic beverage.[2]

Beer, wine and many liquors all contain histamine. This is produced by yeast and bacteria during the fermentation process.[3] The problem with this is that histamine is the very substance we are trying to defend ourselves against in the hay fever cycle.[4] Hence why hay fever medication is often referred to as “antihistamines”.

This link between alcohol and hay fever has been shown time and time again through research. For example, one 2005 study based in Sweden saw scientists examine thousands of participants. They found that those diagnosed with hay fever, asthma or bronchitis were far more likely to experience symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing and ”lower airway symptoms” after having a drink.[5]

Are some drinks worse than others?

Alcoholic drinks like red wine, white wine, cider and beer are more likely to trigger your hay fever symptoms as they contain higher levels of histamines. Meanwhile, clear spirits like gin and vodka are less likely to trigger a reaction from hay fever sufferers as they contain lower histamine levels.[6]

So if you’re a hay fever sufferer, you may want to opt for a gin and tonic rather than a pint this summer.

Again, this has been shown through research. One study of thousands of women in 2008 found that having more than two glasses of wine a day almost doubles the risk of hay fever symptoms, even among participants who didn’t suffer from the condition at the start of the study.[7]

What else contains histamines?

Unfortunately, alcohol isn’t the only substance which can aggravate hay fever symptoms thanks to high levels of histamines. In fact, histamines are common in many food items, including:

  • Pickled or canned foods
  • Smoked meat products
  • Matured cheeses
  • Shellfish
  • Walnuts and cashew nuts
  • Vinegar
  • Chickpeas, soy beans and peanuts
  • Ready meals
  • Some salty snacks
  • Chocolate and other cocoa based products[8]

So if you’re suffering from significant hay fever symptoms, examining your diet may be a good place to start when it comes to treating them.

Treating hay fever this summer

The following measures are recommended for dealing with hay fever during periods of high pollen:

  • Putting Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
  • Wearing wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • Staying indoors
  • Showering and changing your clothes after going outside
  • Keeping windows and doors shut
  • Hoovering regularly
  • Buying a pollen filter[9]

Antihistamine medication is also strongly advised, as this can help you enjoy your summer more freely without worrying about your symptoms becoming uncomfortable or debilitating.

You can find safe and effective hay fever relief medication at Express Pharmacy. Get in touch with our team today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] Allergy UK. Statistics. 2019.

[2] Asthma UK. Asthma and alcohol. 2018.

[3] O’Connor, A. The Claim: Alcohol Worsens Allergies. The New York Times. 2010.

[4] McKenna, P. PhD. speaking to Harvey-Jenner, C. Why drinking alcohol will make your hay fever worse. Cosmopolitan UK. 2018.

[5] Nihlen, U. Greiff, LJ., Nyberg, P., Persson, CG., Andersson, M. Alcohol-induced upper airway symptoms: prevalence and co-morbidity. Respiratory Medicine. 2005.

[6] Asthma UK. Asthma and alcohol. 2018.

[7] Bendtsen, P. et al. Alcohol consumption and the risk of self-reported perennial and season allergic rhinitis in young adult women in a population-based cohort study. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 2008.

[8] Histamine Intolerance Awareness. The Food List. 2017.

[9] NHS UK. Hay fever. 2017.

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Can These Home Remedies Relieve Your Fungal Infection?

Posted Thursday 23 May 2019 16:07 by in Antifungal by Tim Deakin

Fungal skin infections are a common occurrence, and many people will experience some variation of a fungal infection during their lifetime. They are caused by many different kinds of fungi, including yeasts.[1]

A fungal infection can refer to a variety of different conditions, from athlete’s foot to ringworm. Nail infections are also common issues that can be found on both hands and feet, as a result of the presence of one fungus or another. They most commonly start at the edge of the nail.[2]

A quick search online will show you plenty of common household ingredients claiming to be the miracle cure for fungal infection. But what are these so-called cures, and do they actually work?

Garlic

Garlic is one of the best-known home remedies for fungal infection, considered to have antibiotic qualities. In particular, the major biologically active component of garlic, Allicin, exhibits antibacterial and antifungal properties.

However, there is no definitive medical answer as to whether garlic is an effective cure for fungal infections, and results from studies have been mixed. One piece of research conducted in 2006 found garlic to be a promising component in reversing the effects of fungus growth.[3] However, another study found the effects of short-term doses of garlic to be inconclusive.[4]

Cranberry Juice

It’s commonly stated that cranberry juice can help to alleviate a urinary tract infection, or UTI, thanks to the presence of nutrients believed to stop fungal bacteria from sticking to the mucus membranes.

However, recent research has found that the main benefit of drinking lots of cranberry juice when suffering with an infection is simply staying hydrated. In this sense, cranberry juice specifically isn’t really any more effective than drinking plenty of water. A Yale University study looked at 185 women over the course of the year and found that cranberries had no significant effect on bacteria in urine.[5] Staying hydrated dilutes the urine, making it seem as though the infection is passing.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is another ingredient frequently hailed as a cure for fungal infections. There is some truth to this, as one study found that coconut oil can help to tackle certain strains of yeast, particularly those present in vaginal infections, due to the medium chain fatty acids in the oil itself.[6]

As such, coconut oil is an established anti-fungal. However, research into the area is limited and further studies are needed in order to determine the possible long- and short-term effectiveness of using coconut oil to treat yeast infections.

Your best bet? Anti-fungal medication

While some home remedies may go some way to relieving symptoms of a fungal infection, none have been shown to have the consistent, proven effectiveness of clinically-tested anti-fungal medication.

Anti-fungal medication is the first and most important aspect of treatment advised to anyone suffering with an infection of this kind.[7] Fungal issues of the nail, in particular, do not clear up by themselves, and can require a long-term course of specifically tailored condition in order to clear up the infected area fully.[8]

The NHS advises simple lifestyle changes such as keeping your feet clean and dry, wearing clean socks every day, wearing flipflops in public showers and getting rid of old shoes.[9]

These are habits that are advised to be carried out alongside the necessary medication, not instead of it.

You can find effective and safe anti-fungal treatment at Express Pharmacy. Curanail is designed to treat mild fungal infections in the fingernails and toenails. If you have any further queries, contact the Express Pharmacy team today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] Bupa UK. Fungal Skin Infections. 2018.

[2] NHS UK. Fungal Nail Infections. 2017.

[3] Shams-Ghahfaroki, M. et al. In vitro antifungal activities of Allium cepa, Allium sativum and ketoconazole against some pathogenic yeasts and dermatophytes. Fitoterapia. 2006.

[4] Watson, C. J. Allium sativum (garlic) and candidiasis. Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care Academic Centre, The University of Melbourne. 2013.

[5] Juthani-Mehta, M, PhD. et al. Effect of Cranberry Capsules on Bacteriuria Plus Pyuria Among Older Women in Nursing Homes. Jama. 2016.

[6] Ogbolu, DO. et al. In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. US National Library of Medicine. 2007.

[7] NICE. Fungal skin infection – body and groin. 2018.

[8] British Association of Dermatologists. Fungal infections of the nails. 2017.

[9] NHS UK. Fungal Nail Infections. 2017.

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