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A Practical Guide to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Posted Monday 16 March 2020 17:50 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

What is coronavirus?

COVID-19 is the classification given to a new illness that can affect the lungs and respiratory pathways. It belongs to a family of viruses known as Coronaviruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory conditions.

How does Coronavirus spread?

The virus is known to spread from person to person, however, as it is a new illness, the exact way it spreads from person to person is still unknown. This will hopefully change in the coming days and weeks.

Similar viruses are spread through coughing and sneezing droplets.

Why is the Coronavirus called Coronavirus?

Corona is the Spanish word for “Crown.” When inspecting the virus under an electron microscope, the virus displays nodes on the ends of its receptors that branch out to aid in its binding mechanism. These nodes make the image of the virus look somewhat like a crown.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

The symptoms of coronavirus can be like the common cold or flu.

  • Repeated or continuous coughing
  • A fever or high, fluctuating temperature
  • Shortness of breath and respiratory difficulties

What should I do if I have Coronavirus symptoms?

The current advice is to stay at home for 7 days if you have either of the following:

  • A fever, or high temperature
  • A continuous cough that has started in the past few days

If you have any of the above symptoms, DO NOT go to your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Please stay at home and self-isolate until the symptoms clear (usually within 7 days). Please avoid crowded areas, public places and refrain from socialising whilst you have the symptoms.

By staying at home, you will be helping to:

  • protect other people in your community that could be more susceptible to contracting Coronavirus such as elderly men and women, or immunosuppressed individuals (for example, people with serious health conditions that weaken their immune system like Cancer, Chrohns etc)
  • prevent further spread of the illness through others who may come into contact with children, the elderly, or immunosuppressed individuals

If you are unable to cope with the symptoms at home, or if you condition deteriorates over the next 24-48 hours, or if your symptoms have not subsided after at least 7 days, please use the NHS 111 Online Coronavirus service. You can also contact us at help@expresspharmacy.co.uk where we will aim to direct you to the correct healthcare resource.

If you are unable to get the help that you need using the NHS online coronavirus service, call 111.

How can I avoid catching or spreading Coronavirus?

It is important to maintain good personal hygiene throughout the day to mitigate the chance of catching Coronavirus.

This can be done by following the steps below:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – Please follow this guide on how to wash your hands properly
  • Wash your hands when you get to work, and before you make physical contact with anyone
  • Sanitise any shared workspaces, devices or peripherals (such as phone handsets, keyboards etc) before and after use
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home, and before you make contact with friends, family or anyone else living with you
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, handkerchief or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze
  • Safely dispose of used tissues and wash your hands with soap immediately
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth if you hands are unclean

The most important bit of advice that we can give you is to avoid crowded places, events and social gatherings and to stay at home, especially if you are personally at risk or if you have a family member or dependent who is immunosuppressed or over the age of 60. If you are young, fit and healthy, there is a very good chance that you will barely realise if you have contracted Coronavirus. If you display any of the symptoms, however minor, be responsible and self-isolate.

Is there are treatment for Coronavirus?

Currently there is no specific treatment for Coronavirus on the market. Treatments that are currently employed aim to relieve the symptoms whilst your body develops resistance and fights the illness.

To prevent the further spread of the illness, it will be recommended that you stay in isolation, away from other people.

Will antibiotics cure Coronavirus?

Antibiotics will not help against Coronavirus. Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent types of bacterial infection and will not work against infections caused by viruses or fungi. Before you take any medication, please contact a health professional by using the online NHS 111 coronavirus service.

Advice for staying at home (Self-Isolation)

The following advice is for people who have either been diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19) or for those with symptoms.

If you display the symptoms of Coronavirus, or suspect that you may have recently come into contact with someone who either; had the symptoms, or was later confirmed to have contracted the illness, it is imperative that you stay at home for at least 7 days.

This will help to prevent Coronavirus spreading and protect your local community whilst you recover from the infection.

What should I do in self-isolation?

  • Try to maintain relative distance from others in your household (The NHS recommends at least 2 metres). In particular, older people or those with chronic, or long-term health conditions
  • Drink plenty of water and try to ensure that your diet contains as much vitamin-enriched food as possible
  • Explain your situation to your employer, friends and family so that they can help you where necessary
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Sleep alone, if possible
  • Try to plan ahead and ask for assistance from members of your family or the local community
  • For many people, self-isolation can place a great toll on mental health. Below is some practical advice on how to manage the psychological impact of staying at home (self-isolating).

Practice breathing techniques

How often? Aim for 10 minutes, at least once or twice every day. Try incorporating it into you daily routine, as this is how you will see the best results. There is no limit to how often you can do it.

When? Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, or if you have spent extended periods of time in front of a Computer screen, TV or mobile device.

How? Make yourself as comfortable as possible. You can do this lying down, sitting in a chair or even standing up.

Why? The breathing exercise outlined below is an easy, non-invasive and natural way to settle your central nervous system, encourage oxygen flow and encourage self-control. The more you practice it, the more useful and powerful it can become.

  1. Empty your lungs. Breathe out through your mouth, attempting to exhale completely and by making a “whooshing” sound.
  2. Breathe in. With your mouth closed gently, inhale quietly through your nose whilst making a mental count of four seconds. Advanced Tip: When breathing in, try to focus on breathing into your diaphragm rather than into chest and lungs. You can practice this by placing one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. As you breathe in, you should feel your stomach “inflate” and your chest stay as still as possible.
  3. Hold your breath. Aim to hold your breath for a mental count of seven seconds.
  4. Breathe out. Exhale completely to a mental count of eight seconds. Make as much of a “whooshing” sound as you can. Advanced Tip: When breathing out, trying to focus on emptying your breath from the base of your stomach. As you breathe out, draw your belly button as far into your stomach as possible.

Repeat. Start the breathing routine again by inhaling and repeating the above steps. Aim for a total of 4 breaths.

This can take some getting used to, especially if you are not used to breathing in a controlled manner. Take your time to improve your technique, and, if necessary speed the exercise up. Even if you can’t keep to the exact time, try to ensure that you keep to the ratio of FOUR COUNTS INHALE / SEVEN COUNTS HOLD BREATH / 8 COUNTS EXHALE.

Whilst it may be difficult, try to limit the amount of time that you spend on social media, or watching the news. Whilst it is important to stay updated on developments relating to Coronavirus, the amount of information available can become overwhelming. In certain cases, the information may be wrong, politically-motivated or intended to cause panic. Take as many breaks as possible from all forms of media. This will help to calm the mind, especially if you are able to incorporate the above breathing techniques.

Community Support

During these difficult times, there are many less privileged or less-abled members of our society and communities who will be at greater risk of falling ill and potentially spreading the virus.

If you have elderly neighbours, please leave them a note under their door to see if they need any assistance.

Extend your support and compassion to members of your community who do not have a roof over their heads. They may not have easy to access to hand sanitisers, soaps, toilet paper, food, vitamins or general hygiene products and with your support, you will be helping them and doing good by your wider community.

If you are able to help those around without putting yourself or your family at risk, please do your part to help your fellow community members.

A little compassion can go a long way but costs nothing.

Respect Healthcare Workers And NHS Staff

The Coronavirus pandemic has put an unprecedented toll on the NHS and its workers. Everyone from GP's, Nurses, Pharmacists, cleaners and support workers will be under immense stress to cope with the increased workloads. They are all human beings who are equally at risk and deserve our support and empathy. Please remember to respect NHS staff and healthcare workers.

Unless your symptoms have not subsided after 7 days, or you are struggling to cope, please do not go to your GP, Pharmacy or Hospital.

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4 Things You Didn’t Know About Viagra

Posted Friday 13 March 2020 10:22 by in Erectile Dysfunction by Harman Bhamra

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition affecting around half of the male population in the UK. It is characterised by a difficulty in achieving an erection that’s firm enough for sexual intercourse.

Those who are over 70 years old are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction due to physical (e.g. age, health, obesity, etc.), mental (e.g. depression, anxiety, etc.), and social (e.g. relationship issues) factors. Erectile dysfunction treatments include sexual therapy, aphrodisiacs, and prescription treatments like Viagra.

What is Viagra?

Viagra is an erectile dysfunction treatment developed in the UK and sold by Pfizer. Viagra contains sildenafil citrate, an ingredient that causes muscles surrounding blood vessels to relax. This increases blood flow to the penis so you can get an erection that’s firm enough for sexual intercourse.

Viagra requires sexual stimulation to work. It can last up to three hours and is considered completely safe by doctors.

Below are four interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about Viagra.

4 Interesting Facts about Viagra

Fact #1: Viagra Makes Flowers Erect

Believe it or not, Viagra can make flowers erect too!

Flowers have a very short shelf life once they're cut. But - selling flowers is big business. So, companies around the world look for ways to make flowers last longer.

As luck would have it, a team of Australian and Israeli researchers discovered that 1 mg of Viagra dissolved in a vase of water could extend the shelf life of flowers by up to two weeks. How? Viagra inhibits the breakdown of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) that causes flowers to wither.

Fact 2: 80% of the Viagra You See Online is NOT Real

Not just Viagra but erectile dysfunction pills, in general, are considered to be one of the most counterfeited drugs in the world. This is a serious issue because it’s impossible to know what’s inside a fake Viagra pill and what side effects it could cause.

If they all look the same, how can I tell which is fake and which is isn’t?

  • Tablet shape – real Viagra has a distinct diamond shape. The edges should be smooth. Counterfeit Viagra usually has jagged or indented edges.
  • Colour consistency – the colour of real Viagra is uniform. Fake erectile dysfunction pills have colour variations in the same tablet or within tablets from the same packet. For example, the colour on one side may not be exactly the same as the other side.
  • The number of tablets in a pack – legitimate Viagra comes in packs of 4 or singles. If the one you bought has more than four tablets in a pack, it's most likely fake.
  • The “f” in Pfizer – the letter “f” in Pfizer is very hard to replicate. Look at the letter “f” in Pfizer when checking out the Viagra tablet. If real, you’ll notice that the “f” doesn’t thin out until the top.

Remember that you don’t need a prescription to buy Viagra in the UK (another interesting fact). You can buy Viagra online through Express Pharmacy and have a discreet package delivered to your door quickly.

Fact #3: Buying Viagra Can Help Save Endangered Species

Countless numbers of wild animals (tigers, seals, reindeers, rhinoceros, etc.) have been killed for their organs, meat, or genitals which are believed to cure erectile dysfunction - despite no scientific evidence. You have traditional Chinese medicine to thank for that!

Since Viagra entered the market, the demand for tiger bones, seal penises, rhino horn, and reindeer antlers have dropped significantly - even among the Chinese. And that’s great news!

Fact #4: Viagra Can Cure Jetlag

Seriously, it can, and it did - at least for a hamster who probably took a trans-Atlantic flight. In 2007, a group of Argentinian researchers discovered that Viagra could reset a hamster's circadian (sleep-wake cycle) faster than any other means. Pretty cool, huh?

Unfortunately, we don't know for sure if Viagra will have the same effect on humans. After all, we are not hamsters, are we?

And just so you know, the hamsters did not board an aeroplane. The jet lag effect was simulated by changing how much light the hamsters were exposed to during the experiment.

Bonus Fact: The CIA Used Viagra Against the Taliban

Like what the great Sun Tzu said, “if you want to win a war, know your enemy.” And it appears that the CIA took the philosopher’s advice to another level.

During the war in Afghanistan, information was valuable. But the usual bribe of money or weapons was too obvious. So, CIA operatives got creative and offered Viagra to local informants.

And it worked!

Most tribal chiefs, who were already too old to have some “fun”, had younger wives. Lots of them! So, a packet of four Viagra pills did wonders - not just on a bed in a distant Afghan village but also to the military who learnt about valuable Taliban movements, bases, and supply routes from this simple gesture.

Order Viagra Online Through Express Pharmacy

Whether you are a hamster, florist, conservationist, or the CIA, you can buy Viagra online through Express Pharmacy. Take confidence in using the world’s best treatment for erectile dysfunction.

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No Smoking Day: Why Should I Use Champix to Stop Smoking?

Posted Wednesday 11 March 2020 09:25 by in Smoking Cessation by Harman Bhamra

Cigarettes contain nicotine. This highly addictive substance increases the levels of two important chemicals in your brain - dopamine and noradrenaline. These changes happen rapidly.

When you smoke, nicotine rushes to your brain, creating feelings of pleasure as well as reducing anxiety and stress. This is why many smokers enjoy the “high” and eventually, depend on it. There are about 7.4 million smokers in the United Kingdom.

Eventually, your brain gets used to nicotine. To get the same effect, you will need to smoke more. This leads to an addiction that’s hard to quit.

The Effects of Smoking

Smoking addiction can lead to severe consequences. Below are some of the health complications:

  • Emphysema
  • Lung cancer
  • Leukaemia
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Cataracts and other eye issues
  • Heart disease
  • Impotence
  • Infertility
  • Cold and other respiratory infections
  • Miscarriage
  • Gum disease
  • Dental problems
  • Weakened immune system
  • Osteoporosis
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Premature ageing
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste

Second-hand smoke is also as dangerous. Studies show that it can cause cancer, heart disease, asthma, and other respiratory infections to people close to smokers. Children are particularly at risk.

Use Champix Tablets to Stop Your Smoking Addiction

Quitting smoking is not easy. But it’s not impossible. Aside from lifestyle changes, there is now a prescription medicine designed to help you quit smoking for good.

What is Champix?

Champix is a prescription treatment made from varenicline. Unlike nicotine addiction therapies, Champix smoking tablets don’t contain any nicotine. Instead, it works by blocking the effects of nicotine in your brain - reducing your cravings and helping you cope up with the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking.

Champix is a twelve-week course of tablets that you take with food in the mornings and the evenings. During the first three days, you will only require to take one tablet each morning.

How do Champix smoking tablets work?

Champix tablets work by blocking nicotine. When you smoke, nicotine enters your bloodstream and attaches itself to nicotine receptors which then release dopamine - your pleasure hormone. Champix works by attaching itself to most of these receptors thus:

  • Giving you a continual hit of pleasure that’s spread evenly throughout the day.
  • Decreasing your cravings.
  • Decreasing your withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and frustration.
  • Preventing you from getting a strong pleasure hit when you smoke.

How effective is Champix?

The Champix success rate is very high. According to the NHS, more than 6 in 10 smokers who use Champix tablets, along with proper support, stop smoking for a month or more.

Who should take Champix?

Champix tablets are for those who are motivated to give up their smoking addiction but can’t find success using other means.

Who should NOT take Champix?

Although Champix is considered safe for most people, doctors don't recommend taking Champix smoking tablets if you are:

  • Under 18 years old
  • Suffering from severe kidney failure
  • Suffering from mental health problems
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding

What if I miss a dose of Champix?

You should take Champix smoking tablets regularly, at the same time each day. If you miss a dose, don’t double dose to make up for it. Take a dose as soon as you remember it. If it’s almost time for your next dose, do not take the Champix tablet that you missed.

Can I still smoke while taking Champix?

Yes. Part of the course is deciding on a specific date when you will stop smoking. This is usually done during the second week of treatment. This date is known as your “quit date”. If you choose to continue smoking after your quit date, your chances of successfully quitting your smoking addiction will drop.

Can I use Champix with other medications?

Champix should not interfere with other medications. But to be sure, consult with your doctor before starting the course.

What are the Champix side effects that I need to be aware of?

Some of the common Champix side effects include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Headache

Champix tablets may also cause sleepiness. If you drive regularly, operate complex machines, or work in a hazardous environment, don’t take Champix smoking tablets until you are sure that it doesn’t interfere with your ability to perform these tasks.

Depression, anxiousness, irritability, and inability to focus are common symptoms of smoking withdrawal. You’ll experience this with or without taking Champix tablets. Rarely though does depression lead to suicidal thoughts. If you experience suicidal behaviour while taking the course, stop taking Champix immediately and consult with your doctor.

Other Champix side effects include weight gain or increased appetite and decreased heart rate.

Is Champix Enough to Quit Smoking?

No. Champix helps you give up smoking, but without willpower, you are unlikely to succeed. Quitting smoking is hard. Below are some tips on how to keep yourself motivated.

  • Remember the reasons why you want to quit smoking. This could be personal, health, financial, or family reasons. It's best if you write these on paper and place them on a place that you can see every day to continually remind yourself.
  • Most cravings last for 5 minutes. You can develop a strategy to help you cope up with these episodes (e.g. taking a walk, chewing gum, listening to a song, stretching, etc.)
  • Avoid going to places where smoking is common (pubs, bars, etc.). Instead, try to enjoy other social activities where there is no opportunity to smoke (playing sports, cinema, etc.)
  • Talk to your family or friends and ask for their support. There are also helplines available if you want.

Where can I buy Champix?

You can buy Champix tablets online from Express Pharmacy. Browse our stop smoking treatments to get started.

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What Is the Best Antibiotic for a UTI?

Posted Thursday 05 March 2020 10:00 by in Women's Medication by Harman Bhamra

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can be anywhere in your urinary system. It could occur in your bladder, urethra, kidneys, and ureters. Most infections happen in the lower urinary tract - targeting your bladder and urethra.

Common Types of UTI

Cystitis

One of the most common cases of UTI is cystitis or the inflammation of the bladder. Although not dangerous, cystitis can be a nuisance, which is why many seek cystitis treatment right away to ease their symptoms. E. coli usually causes cystitis.

Some of the common symptoms of cystitis include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Stomach and abdominal pain
  • Burning or stinging pain when urinating
  • Pinkish urine which indicates that blood is present
  • Nausea, lethargy, and other cold-like symptoms

Urethritis

This type of UTI occurs when bacteria from the anus spread to the urethra. Urethritis is usually characterized by a burning feeling when urinating. A discharge may also be present.

What Causes a UTI?

Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enters through the urethra. The bacteria may take hold in the urethra or go into the bladder. If left unchecked, this bacteria could multiply and grow into a full-blown infection. Women are more likely to develop urinary tract infections than men because they have shorter urethras.

Treatment for Urinary Tract Infection

The best cystitis treatment is an antibiotic. Your dose and the type of antibiotic will depend on the severity of your infection as well as other factors, including:

  • Age
  • Allergies to antibiotics
  • Pregnancy
  • Side effects from past antibiotic treatments

Before your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic for UTI, he needs to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection first. He will take a urine sample to confirm your infection. Samples of the bacteria will be grown in the lab for a couple of days. This “culture” will help your doctor determine the type of bacteria that’s causing the infection.

Antibiotics for UTI

Below are the conventional antibiotic treatments for urinary tract infection.

Nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin is a commonly used antibiotic for cystitis treatment. Available in a brand called MacroBID, this antibiotic for UTI is enclosed in a prolonged-release capsule.

How to use Nitrofurantoin

Nitrofurantoin should be taken at mealtimes, with food or milk. Take one tablet twice a day (every twelve hours). Capsules should be swallowed whole.

The course for Nitrofurantoin is three days long. Like other antibiotics, you should complete your course to prevent the bacteria from developing resistance towards this UTI medicine. Don't stop your medication, even when there are no more symptoms. Not taking the full course may allow the bacteria to grow again, causing your urinary tract infection to reoccur.

If you missed a dose, don’t worry. Take the tablet you missed as soon as you remember. If it’s too close to your second dose, skip it. Never take two tablets to make up for the missed dose.

Side effects of Nitrofurantoin

Like most medicines, Nitrofurantoin also has some side effects. The most common side effects reported by patients taking this treatment for urinary tract infection include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Mild diarrhoea
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal itching
  • Gas
  • Upset stomach

Nitrofurantoin is not recommended for people with diabetes. Don't take Nitrofurantoin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It’s normal to observe a dark yellow or brown urine when taking this UTI medicine. Don’t stop taking Nitrofurantoin unless you experience other symptoms like persistent vomiting, nausea, yellowing eyes, and pounding heartbeat. These could be signs of an underlying condition like anaemia and liver problems. Contact your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms while taking this medication.

Where to buy Nitrofurantoin

Express Pharmacy stocks Nitrofurantoin (MacroBID).

Trimethoprim

Another popular and effective antibiotic for a UTI is Trimethoprim. This UTI medicine is available in 100mg and 200mg doses. Like Nitrofurantoin, Trimethoprim works by stopping the growth of bacteria so your immune system can fight off the infection.

Trimethoprim is an effective cystitis treatment. Clinical trials show that Trimethoprim can work within just a few hours. It can ease your UTI symptoms within 24 hours.

How to use Trimethoprim

Trimethoprim tablets should be taken whole, with or without food. It can be used for both long-term and acute urinary tract infections.

A course of Trimethoprim lasts for three days. Take one tablet twice a day, preferably at the same time each day to help you remember easily. Don’t stop taking Trimethoprim even when your symptoms are gone. Completing the full course makes sure that your urinary tract infection will not return.

Don’t worry if you missed a dose. Just take a tablet as soon as you remember it. Don’t take the missed dose if it’s almost time for your next dose. Never take two tablets together to make up for the missed dose.

Side effects of Trimethoprim

Like all UTI medicine, there’s always the risk of side effect when taking Trimethoprim. The common side effects of Trimethoprim include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Diarrhoea
  • Anaemia
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite

Women who take Trimethoprim may also experience confusion, vertigo, jaundice, and mouth ulcers. Most of these side effects are mild and will go away after your cystitis treatment. Contact your GP immediately if you experience these symptoms after completing your Trimethoprim course.

Consult with your doctor if you are taking other medicines. Your doctor may not recommend Trimethoprim if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or allergic to this UTI medicine’s ingredients.

Where to buy Trimethoprim

Express Pharmacy sells Trimethoprim tablets online.

Summary

Urinary tract infections are common in the UK. Most of these infections are acute and will go away in a couple of days, provided there is proper treatment.

Antibiotics for UTI are effective and readily available. However, prevention is always better than cure. So, to reduce your risks of developing urinary tract infections, do the following:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Wash carefully. Always wipe from front to back to prevent the bacteria from your anus from reaching your genital area.
  • Empty your bladder often, especially after intercourse.
  • If you are using a catheter, make sure you use it correctly to avoid damaging the delicate tissues inside your urinary tract.

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The Signs and Symptoms of Hay Fever

Posted Monday 02 March 2020 09:30 by in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief by Harman Bhamra

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is one of the most common allergic conditions in the world. Hay fever symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, and tiredness. More than 10 million people suffer from hay fever in the UK.

It has two types:

  1. Seasonal Hay Fever – occurs on months when individual plants pollinate. For example, if you suffer from hay fever during autumn, you are probably allergic to some weeds and fungus spores. During spring, tree pollens.
  2. Perennial Hay Fever – occurs all year round. Perennial hay fever is most likely due to indoor allergens like dust mites, animal dander (tiny flakes of skin), fur, or feathers. You may find these triggers in beddings, carpets, pillows, and draperies. Moulds can also cause hay fever symptoms. They usually thrive in damp areas like your basement or bathroom.

Common hay fever allergens:

  • Pollen
  • Fungi
  • Mould
  • Pet fur or dander
  • Dust mites
  • Perfume
  • Cigarette smoke

What Causes Hay Fever?

An overreacting immune system causes hay fever. When an allergen (e.g. pollens) enter your body, your immune system treats this as a harmful substance - setting in motion a series of defensive mechanisms to protect you. Levels of histamine and leukotrienes in your blood rise, causing the lining of your sinuses, eyelids, and nasal passages to become inflamed. You also sneeze more than usual.

These hay fever symptoms protect your body by either trapping (like in the case of swelling nasal passages so the allergens can't enter) or expelling (like in the case of sneezing) the allergens.

Hay fever is often inherited. If one or more of your family members suffer from hay fever, there’s a big chance that you’ll get one too.

What are the Symptoms of Hay Fever?

Below are the most common hay fever symptoms that you’ll encounter:

  • Prolonged and violent sneezing
  • Runny nose or blocked nose
  • Itchiness particularly in your nose, throat, and roof of your mouth
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Ear fullness
  • Postnasal drip that may lead to coughing
  • Anosmia or the loss of your sense of smell
  • Facial pain

Hay fever symptoms vary in severity and duration. It may also depend on weather conditions. In the UK, hay fever is often worse during late March to September. The warm, windy, and humid weather is ideal for pollen propagation.

The presence of irritants in the air often aggravates severe hay fever symptoms. The inflammation in the lining of your nose makes your nose more sensitive to irritants. Below are some of the common irritants that may make your hay fever symptoms worse:

  • Air pollution
  • Humidity changes
  • Wind
  • Strong odours
  • Wood smoke
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Irritating fumes
  • Temperature changes
  • Cigarette smoke

If left unchecked, severe hay fever symptoms can lead to various complications like:

  • Asthma
  • Ear infections (this is more common in children)
  • Sinusitis (persistent inflammation of your sinuses)
  • Allergic conjunctivitis (a complication that results when an allergen irritates the membranes on your eye)

What is the Difference Between a Cold and Hay Fever?

Many people confuse colds and hay fever. Why? Because cold and hay fever symptoms can feel similar. Hay fever treatment is very different from colds; that's why it's essential to know the differences between the two.

Cold Hay Fever
Symptoms Colds cause a runny nose, and the discharge is often thicker and yellowish. Hay fever causes a runny nose, but the discharge is watery and thin.
Duration 3-7 days. Hay fever lasts as long as the allergens that caused it are still there. Hay fever often goes on for several weeks.
Fever Colds often come with a low-grade fever. Hay fever doesn’t cause a fever.
Timing Colds begin one to three days after your exposure to the cold virus. Hay fever symptoms begin immediately after your exposure to an allergen.

Remember, the most significant difference between a cold and hay fever is that a cold will always come with body aches and a fever.

Hay Fever Treatments

You can reduce your hay fever symptoms by decreasing your exposure to allergens. For example, you can clean and air out your room regularly to prevent dust and mould from collecting. Other lifestyle changes that you can do include:

  • Washing your hands after interacting with your pets.
  • Use a dehumidifier in your room to control mould growth.
  • Keeping windows closed, especially when the weather is dry, windy, and humid to keep pollens out.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes when you go outside.

Hay Fever Medications

Nasal Sprays

Nasal sprays like Mometasone and Nasonex from Express Pharmacy can help relieve nasal congestion and reduce postnasal drip. These medications contain corticosteroids which help reduce the inflammation and swelling of the lining of your nose.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines help control your itches and sneezing. Express Pharmacy sells Fexofenadine (generic) and Telfast (branded) which you can get without a prescription. These antihistamines don't make you feel drowsy, so they're safe to use even while at work.

You can buy your hayfever treatments through Express Pharmacy.

When to See a Doctor

Most hay fever cases can be treated at home using over the counter treatments. See your GP if:

  • You have severe hay fever symptoms that don’t go away with regular hay fever treatments.
  • You are suffering side effects from your medication
  • You experience repeated sinusitis or worsening asthma
  • You experience the symptoms in an unusual time (for example during winter) or place. You might need to undergo some tests to confirm other allergens that might be causing your hay fever.

How to Prevent Hay Fever

The best way to prevent hay fever is to steer clear from the allergens that trigger it. Lifestyle changes like cleaning your home, keeping your yard clean, and daily exercise can help reduce your chances of catching hay fever again. Eating healthy can also give your immune system a boost.

When you go outside, wear a hat with a brim to protect your face. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. And always wash your face and hands when you get home or after interacting with your pets. During hay fever season, it’s better to keep your pets outside the house. Bathe them regularly if they come inside often.

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