Discreet Next Day Delivery
Free Consultation
Free Prescription
  • Call
  • 0208 123 0703

Allergy Awareness Week: 8 Signs of an Allergic Reaction

Posted Tuesday 21 April 2020 11:26 by in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief by Harman Bhamra

Are you feeling a bit under the weather, as though you have a sudden burst of hay fever or an intense cold? You might be having an allergic reaction. But how can you tell if you’re suffering from an allergic reaction?

We’ve listed the 8 signs of an allergic reaction below. Give it a read to see if your symptoms match.

What Is An Allergic Reaction?

Your body's immune system is responsible for keeping you safe against viruses and bacteria. However, there might be times when your "defence system" overreacts and attacks harmless foreign substances, called allergens, that enter the body.

Examples of these allergens include:

  • Bee stings
  • Certain plants
  • Moulds
  • Pollen
  • Certain foods (i.e. shellfish, nuts)
  • Pet hair/fluff
  • Certain medications (i.e. aspirin)
  • Dust

During an allergic reaction, your immune system releases certain antibodies that tell your cells to stop the allergen. In response, cells targeted by your antibodies release a substance called histamine along with other chemicals. These antibodies only target a specific allergen. That’s why some people are allergic to nuts while others are allergic to moulds.

Allergens usually enter your body through your mouth, nose, skin, and eyes. Depending on the point of entry, these allergens can cause nasal congestion, rashes, or an upset stomach.

What Are The Common Signs Of An Allergic Reaction?

Sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish an allergic reaction from the common cold. So, we've outlined below the most common signs of an allergic reaction to help you understand what you might be dealing with.

1. You experience a dry cough

When it comes to colds and allergies, throat symptoms can be hard to distinguish. But there’s a telltale difference between the two. If you are coughing up mucus, you most likely have a cold. People suffering from an allergic reaction rarely develop a productive cough. They develop a dry cough, instead.

2. Your mucus is watery or clear

Speaking of mucus, both colds and allergies start with clear liquid mucus. However, as symptoms continue, your mucus will start getting thicker and yellowish with a cold. If your mucus stays clear and watery, it’s more likely to be allergies.

3. You have itchy and watery eyes

According to Dr David Rosenstreich of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Centre, allergies are most likely to cause watery and itchy eyes than colds. Although, the latter may also cause some redness or discomfort around the eyes. Your eyes tend to tear up to wash away pollens and other allergens.

In some cases, an allergic reaction may also cause some swelling or puffiness around your eyes. This happens because your eyes have protective cells, known as mast cells, which produce histamine to fight off allergens.

4. You don’t have a fever

A fever is a telltale sign that something bad is happening in your body - almost always an infection. Allergies can elevate your body temperature but they rarely cause any fever, unlike the common cold and the flu.

5. You can still stand up

The muscle aches and joint pains caused by colds and flu can send you to bed for days! Allergies, on the other hand, are not as bad. Yes, it can make you feel tired and run-down but at the end of the day, you still have the energy to do your daily routines.

6. You have hives

Hives, medically known as Urticaria, is characterized by patches of swollen, pale red bumps on your skin. Hives appear suddenly and are often caused by allergies. It causes itching as well as a burning or stinging feeling and can appear anywhere on your body.

Hives can be as small as a coin or as large as a plate. Small patches may join together to form plaques and can last for hours or days. Hives are mostly triggered by allergic reactions from insect bites, food (i.e. nuts, fish, eggs, berries, milk, and tomatoes), and certain medications.

The best way to treat hives is by removing the trigger or cause of allergy.

7. You have diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can be another sign of an allergic reaction to certain foods like shrimp, crab peanuts, egg, peanuts, soy, and milk. It is your body's natural response to get rid of the food that it mistakenly identifies as harmful.

8. Your symptoms don’t disappear

On average, cold symptoms hang around for a week. Allergy symptoms, on the other hand, linger as long as the allergen that triggers it is still present. You will feel almost instantly better once you are no longer exposed to the allergen. It’s easy if it’s just someone else’s pet. The challenge is when it’s caused by pollen, dust mite, or moulds.

Anaphylaxis: What you Need to Know

Allergies can be serious and life-threatening when left unchecked. It could lead to a condition called anaphylaxis - a severe allergic reaction to food or medication. Anaphylaxis can cause symptoms of low pulse, rash, and shock called anaphylactic shock. Contact your doctor immediately if you encounter any of these symptoms.

How to Treat an Allergic Reaction

Most allergy symptoms are mild and don’t require urgent medical care. Allergic reactions don’t go away until the trigger is removed and you are no longer exposed to the allergen.

You can control your symptoms by heading to an online pharmacy, taking antihistamines, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting enough rest.

Antihistamines work by blocking the effects of histamine in your body. They work within 30 minutes and provide relief for hours. Depending on your symptoms, you can take an antihistamine every day to keep your symptoms checked. Antihistamines are more effective when taken regularly as a preventive measure rather than taking it when you already have symptoms.

Leave a Comment

Best Practices on How to Stay Safe From Covid-19

Posted Friday 17 April 2020 11:09 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

At the time of writing, Covid-19 has infected more than 1 million people worldwide and has killed over 50,000. The UK government mandates everyone to stay at home and avoid unnecessary trips outside the house to limit the spread of the deadly virus. The most common symptoms of Covid-19 is high temperature and continuous cough. For most people, these symptoms are mild. But it can be dangerous and fatal for the elderly and those with underlying health issues.

Below are some of the best practices on how to keep yourself and those around you safe from Covid-19.

If you are sick and alone.

If you are living alone and have mild symptoms caused by Covid-19, stay at home for 7 days. Start your count from the day your symptoms started. If you develop a fever, keep isolating yourself until your temperature goes back to normal. You don’t need to continue self-isolating after 7 days if you don’t have a high temperature. There’s also no need to continue your self-quarantine if you just have a cough after 7 days. Coughs may linger for weeks after the virus has run its course.

If you are sick and living with other people.

If you are living with other people and you develop coronavirus symptoms, stay at home for 7 days. All other members of your household must self-quarantine for 14 days. The count starts at the day when the first person in the house showed symptoms.

Any member of the family who develops symptoms must stay home for 7 days regardless of what day they are in the two weeks quarantine period. The count will begin on the day when symptoms first appeared.

Protecting the most vulnerable members of your household.

If the situation allows, transfer any vulnerable members of your family (i.e. the elderly and those with underlying illnesses) to a friend’s or another family member’s house until your quarantine is over. If you can’t move them, maintain a safe distance from them as much as you can.

Keep your interactions with the vulnerable members of your household in shared spaces like sitting areas, living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms to the minimum. Maintain a distance of 3 steps (2 metres) away from them. If possible, they should use a different bed and bathroom from the rest of the family.

If you share a bathroom with vulnerable people, consider drawing a rota where they get to use the bathroom first for bathing. Make it a habit to clean the bathroom thoroughly every time you use them. Wipe and disinfect areas you’ve come in contact with.

The same guidelines apply for shared kitchens. Avoid using the kitchen when vulnerable people are around. If possible, encourage them to take their meals inside their room. They should have their own set of utensils to use.

If you are breastfeeding.

Current evidence shows that children develop less severe symptoms of coronavirus. If you are sick and breastfeeding, understand that there’s no evidence yet about Covid-19 transmitted through breast milk. However, your baby may still get infected through close contact.

The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the risks of infecting your child. However, this is more of a personal decision and we encourage you to call your GP or midwife for advice.

When to seek medical help.

Do not go to the pharmacy, hospital, or GP surgery if you have coronavirus symptoms. If you are staying at home, you don’t need a Covid-19 test. Don’t call 111 to inform them that you are self-isolating.

If your symptoms get worse after 7 days and you are finding it hard to manage, call NHS 111. You can also use the NHS’ coronavirus online service here. If you have a medical emergency, dial 999 right away.

What is the proper social distancing?

Social distancing measures help limit your interaction with other people. Thus, reducing the risks of transmitting the virus to others. Practice proper social distancing by:

  • Avoiding using public transportation when it’s not needed.
  • Keeping a safe distance from someone who’s coughing or sneezing.
  • Working from home. Your employer should be able to set this up for you.
  • Avoiding small and large public gatherings.
  • Avoiding family gatherings. Instead, use technology to keep in touch with family.
  • Contacting your doctor or other essential services via phone or online.

Other tips to keep in mind.

  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible for at least 20 seconds. You can use hand sanitiser too.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue or your bent elbow. Never with your hands. Properly dispose of used tissues immediately.
  • The World Health Organisation doesn’t recommend the use of face masks. Leave them for front liners.
  • Do not invite visitors into your home even if they are family. Carers can continue their visit but they must be provided with gloves and face masks to reduce their risks of catching the virus from you.
  • There is no concrete evidence yet of the virus infecting pets.
  • Bleach and detergents are very effective against the virus. Use this when cleaning surfaces around your home --- especially door handles, remote, tabletops, handrails, etc.
  • Dispose of cleaning cloths and used tissues in rubbish bags that should be placed into another bag. Tie securely and separate them from regular waste. Wait at least 72 hours before putting them out for collection.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry to minimise the risks of spreading the virus through the air. If you don’t have a washing machine, wait for at least 72 hours after your quarantine period before taking it to a laundry shop.

You may find these guidelines boring and limiting. And we understand. These measures are placed to help control the spread of the virus so our healthcare system can catch up and eradicate it once a vaccine becomes available. These guidelines are for your own good and are only temporary. The day will come that we will start living our normal lives again.

Tags: COVID-19

Leave a Comment

How to Stay Healthy During a Covid-19 Lockdown

Posted Friday 17 April 2020 10:58 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it. As the government place communities and cities in lockdown, you may feel bored, unproductive, lonely, anxious, and afraid. You may be concerned about your health and that of your family and friends. During this uncertain time, it is important that you take care of your mental, social, and physical wellbeing. Here are some tips:

How to Stay Mentally Healthy

1. Find ways to connect with others.

Keeping in contact with people you love is important for your mental health. Although social gatherings are strongly discouraged, you can still continue to nurture your relationships via social media, video calls, and phone calls.

2. Learn to serve others.

Everybody is suffering. And most of the time, the best way to make yourself feel better and forget about your worries is to help those around you. Is there are a neighbour that you can message? Are there community groups around you that can volunteer on? Do you have any surplus that you can donate to charities or offer to a friend? There are many ways to support each other during a time of crisis. Just make sure these are done according to the social distancing measures imposed by the government to keep everyone safe.

3. Don’t be afraid to express your worries.

Let it out. Covid-19 is no joke. So far, it has infected over one million people and killed over 50,000. It is normal to feel helpless, worried, and scared. Share your feelings with family and friends. Be open. Tell them how you are coping up too. As you open up about your worries, you’ll realise that you are not alone in this predicament and that support is just right around the corner.

If you are not comfortable sharing your worries to your friends or family, there are various support groups that you can join online. Alternatively, you can also speak somebody who cares via these NHS recommended helplines.

4. Manage your information intake.

There’s a lot of negativity floating around the social media and 24-hour news. While it is important to keep yourself informed, exposing yourself to a constant barrage of bad news can make you feel worried or scared.

If you think too much information about the pandemic is affecting you, try to limit the time you spend watching, listening or reading news about Covid-19. Only check the news at specific times of the day.

5. Beware of fake news.

Absorbing inaccurate information can damage your mental health. Sharing it online can affect others too. So, make sure you gather your information from high-quality and credible sources only. If you find posts about the virus online, always fact check the information against the NHS website or GOV.UK. Getting the right information will help you stay vigilant during a lockdown.

6. Do the things you enjoy or learn new skills.

Instead of focusing on your anxiety, learn something new and do the things you enjoy instead. Or just take some time to relax to boost your mood. There are many free tutorials, online classes, games, and even streamed live music concerts that you can enjoy while staying at home.

7. Practice mindfulness.

Instead of worrying about the future, focus on the present. There are many relaxation techniques online that can help reduce anxiety and brighten your day. Looking for something to do right away? Try mindful listening! Here’s how to do it:

  • Select a song you’ve never heard before.
  • Close your eyes and put on your headphones.
  • Ignore the artist or the genre (the key here is to be neutral). Allow yourself to get lost in the journey of sound throughout the song.
  • Be aware of the track. “Dance” with the soundwaves.
  • Explore each sound. Separate each instrument in your mind.
  • Hone in on the vocals. Pay attention to the range and the tone.
  • The idea in mindful listening is to learn how to listen intently without judgment or preconception.

How to Stay Physically Healthy

1. Take care of yourself.

Your physical health will have a big impact on your mental and social state. During a lockdown, anxiety can easily pull you towards bad habits and unhealthy choices which do more harm than good. Your health should be your top priority. You can take care of yourself by:

  • Eating healthy and balanced meals
  • Hydrating
  • Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and drugs

Exercising (there are lots of exercises that you can do at home without the need for gym equipment. If you can go outside, consider walking or jogging while practising safe social distancing measures.)

2. Get enough sleep.

The lack of sleep can weaken your immune system --- making you more susceptible to the virus and other illnesses. Getting a good night’s sleep can make a big difference in your physical and mental health. Do this by:

  • Maintaining regular sleep schedules
  • Staying away from screens at least an hour before bed
  • Limiting your caffeine intake
  • Creating a relaxing environment (i.e. removing clutter, listening to peaceful music, etc.)

3. Develop new routines.

The lockdown has surely disrupted your normal routine. So, try to develop a new one based on your current situation. Find time to engage in meaning activities like reading or video chatting with a friend. Set aside some time for useful things like cooking and exercising. Avoid idleness and get moving. Treat this lockdown as an opportunity to catch up with family time or revisit some old hobbies.

4. Get outside at least once a day.

If you can, spend some time with nature at least once a day. Green spaces have superb effects on your physical and mental health. If you can’t go out, you can still “commune” with nature by letting as much sunlight and fresh air as you can into your home. If you have a garden, the better!

The Covid-19 lockdown may have disrupted the normal lives of many, if not all, of us. While the future is still uncertain, rest assured that this is only temporary. We hope these tips on how to keep your mind and body healthy during a coronavirus lockdown can help you get through this crisis.

Tags: COVID-19

Leave a Comment

Everything You Need to Know About Covid-19

Posted Friday 17 April 2020 10:47 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

Coronavirus Disease 2019 or Covid-19 is a new virus that started from an exotic food market in Wuhan, China. Chinese authorities reported the first cases of the virus in December 2019. Due to the unprecedented speed of transmission of the virus, Covid-19 is now present in almost all countries. Last March 12, 2020, the World Health Organization characterized Covid-19 as a pandemic.

What’s the cause of Covid-19?

Covid-19 is caused by a virus, specifically the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This new strain of coronavirus is new and has not been identified previously in humans.

What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are zoonotic in nature --- meaning, they first develop in animals and then transferred to humans through close contact. There are hundreds of coronaviruses that can cause fever and respiratory problems but most of them are mild. The first coronavirus from humans was isolated in the 1960s.

Coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2 are made up of one strip of RNA. This genetic material is surrounded by a membrane full of spiked proteins. If viewed in the microscope, these rings look like a crown at the top of the virus, hence the name “corona” --- the Latin word for crown.

When coronaviruses enter the body, the spiked proteins attach to your cells. The virus then injects its RNA into your cell’s nucleus, “hijacking” it to create multiple copies of itself. An infection then ensues.

What are the symptoms of Covid-19?

Because Covid-19 is new, experts are still learning. Here’s what we know so far about the symptoms of Covid-19.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Low-grade fever that increases over time
  • Dry, hacking cough that gets worse with time

Some people can carry the virus for 2 to 14 days before symptoms appear. There are who are asymptomatic too --- meaning, they don’t experience any symptoms.

If you experience the following, seek medical help immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Confusion
  • Bluish tint on lips or face
  • Pressure or pain in the chest
  • Excessive drowsiness

We are learning something new about Covid-19 every day. We’ll post more information about its symptoms when they become available.

What are the similarities and differences between Covid-19, flu, and the common cold?

Check out the table below:

Symptoms

Covid-19

Flu

Cold

Fever Often Often Mild, If any

Difficulty breathing

Common if the infection is severe.

Common if the infection is severe.

No

Shortness of breath

Common in mild infection

Rare No

Fatigue

Occasional

Infrequent

Occasional, Mild

Cough

Severe dry cough

Dry cough

No

Sneezing

Infrequent

Infrequent

Common

Water eyes

Infrequent

Common Common

Body aches

Occasional Common Common

Diarrhoea

Infrequent Occasional No

Headache

Occasional Common

Infrequent

Stuffy or runny nose

Infrequent

Occasional Common

Headache

Occasional Common Rare

How Covid-19 is transmitted?

Covid-19 can be transmitted through respiratory droplets when someone sneezes or coughs. Aside from direct contact, you can also get the virus indirectly from infected surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Studies show that the virus can stay alive on surfaces for up to 72 hours.

Who is more at risk with Covid-19?

Your risk of getting infected is higher if you’ve come in contact with someone who’s positive or has travelled to places where there are increasing cases of local transmission.

Without proper protective measures, you are at high risk if you live or provide home care for someone who’s infected with the virus.

Older people are more vulnerable to Covid-19. Those who have the following are more likely to develop severe complications if they become infected:

  • Certain heart conditions
  • Severe obesity
  • Cancer
  • Compromised immune systems (i.e. HIV)
  • Certain lung conditions like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes

What are the complications of Covid-19

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus-Infected Pneumonia (NCIP) is the most serious complication of Covid-19. People admitted to the ICU usually died from this type of pneumonia. These deaths usually involved people who were old and had underlying health issues.

Aside from pneumonia, other complications of the virus include:

  • Heart attack or heart damage
  • Cardiovascular shock
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Is there a cure for Covid-19?

Currently, there is no vaccine available for Covid-19 but governments around the globe are funding and pushing the development of vaccines. The only treatment available today is focused on managing your symptoms until the infection is over. Example of these treatments include:

  • Steroids to reduce swelling of the lungs
  • Blood plasma transfusions
  • Retroviral or antiviral medications
  • Breathing support like ventilators, etc.

How to prevent Covid-19

The best way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is to stay at home and practice social distancing when you are outside. This way, you can help limit the spread of the virus and help “flatten the curve” so our health system can catch up. If the infections continue to rise unchecked, our hospitals will be flooded with patients which could lead to the collapse of the country’s health system.

Aside from staying at home and practising social distancing, the tips below can also help reduce your risks of catching the virus:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • When your hands are dirty, don’t touch your face, nose, eyes, or mouth.
  • If you are feeling sick with flu or cold symptoms, stay at home.
  • Stay away from someone who is sneezing or coughing. How far? At least 1 metre.
  • When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth with your elbow. If you use tissues, immediately dispose of it properly.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that you use a lot (computers, tablets, phones, doorknobs, kitchenware, etc.)
  • Don’t panic.

At the time of writing, total coronavirus cases around the globe have passed the 1 million mark with over 50,000 deaths, and over 200,000 recoveries.

Tags: COVID-19

Leave a Comment

5 Important Items to Pack When Travelling Abroad

Posted Thursday 16 April 2020 12:00 by in Jet Lag by Harman Bhamra

Packing tends to be a stressful experience - no matter how often you do it. And, when it comes to travelling abroad, there’s always so much more to think about!

Whether it's something as important as a passport or as trivial as a toothbrush, it's a traveller's worst nightmare to board a plane without having what they need. This guide will help you to have a stress-free packing experience, leaving you to focus on the excitement which comes from travelling.

5 Essential Items To Pack For Your Travels

Important Documents

Passport, booking information, boarding passes and all travel documents need to be packed somewhere accessible and safe - you’ll have trouble making it on holiday if you leave them at home.

Nowadays, many of these documents have been digitised and are accessible on your mobile with apps, but don't rely solely on your phone (it could die on you at any second!).

Having a paper copy of all important documents can ensure a smoother and stress-free travel experience, reassuring you that you have everything you need, should anything happen to your phone.

Medication

Bringing a little toiletry bag to have medication in can save you and your travelling companions from disaster. Aside from prescriptions, simple headache tablets or pain killers are useful to have, preparing you for unexpected discomfort in a location they may not be available to buy.

As well as paracetamol, other tablets such as diarrhoea tablets and anti-malaria tablets can be vital depending on the destination of your travels. Both are available at Express Pharmacy.

Another useful medication to keep on hand, especially for those long-haul flights, is jet lag cure. The most common jet lag cure is Circadin 2mg - a medication that contains melatonin to help relieve symptoms of jet lag and help your body resume its normal sleep-wake pattern.

This medication is widely available and will prevent you from losing the first few days of your holiday due to jet lag symptoms, which can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Stomach problems
  • Affected mood
  • An overall feeling of being unwell

Electricals

In an age where most of us can't live without our phones, forgetting your charger would be catastrophic. The majority of people charge their phones in the same port every night and so chargers rarely move, making it very easy to forget to unplug and pack them.

Adaptors are another electrical you want to make sure you have packed in your suitcase. A universal travel adaptor is your best bet when purchasing - these can be used in all countries, saving you a lot of money in the long run.

Glasses

Reading glasses or contact lenses may seem too important for people to forget, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to pack items they use in their everyday routine. Nothing will ruin your trip more than not being able to see properly.

Also - if you’re heading to a sunny destination, don’t forget to pack sunglasses! Sunglasses can be costly to replace but they’re also one of the most common things that people forget to pack.

Money

Another crucial item to pack, that may slip your mind, is holiday money. Forgetting to get the right currency can be costly if you’re faced with harsh exchange rates while abroad.

To prevent this from being an issue, it’s worth signing up for a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. This card will enable you to pay without the worry of having to sort out currencies.

Enjoy Your Travels!

With these 5 important items in mind, you’re well on your way to having a stress-free trip.

Get in touch with our experts to discuss any health concerns you may have while travelling. We offer a range of treatments, from jet lag right through to traveller’s diarrhoea.

Leave a Comment