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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:





Fever Often Often Mild, If any

Difficulty breathing

Common if the infection is severe.

Common if the infection is severe.


Shortness of breath

Common in mild infection

Rare No




Occasional, Mild


Severe dry cough

Dry cough






Water eyes


Common Common

Body aches

Occasional Common Common


Infrequent Occasional No


Occasional Common


Stuffy or runny nose


Occasional Common


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

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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.


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


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.


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.


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.

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Chronic Pain Management: 4 Exercises That Will Reduce Chronic Pain

Posted Tuesday 14 April 2020 10:16 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

Pain can have endless causes and differing severities, but what is chronic pain and how can you manage it? Within this guide, we will be talking about chronic pain and how four certain exercises can help to relieve it.

What Is Chronic Pain?

Pain is classed as chronic when it persists for a period of 12-weeks or longer, despite medical treatment. Chronic pain can be caused by many different factors, including numerous medical conditions, nerve damage, and injuries that have healed incorrectly. Diseases such as fibromyalgia, stomach ulcers, AIDS and so many others can also cause severe chronic pain.

How Can Chronic Pain Be Treated?

Many types of pain relief are available from health stores and any reputable online pharmacy (like us here at Express Pharmacy!). However, for full effect, it is recommended to make small lifestyle changes that can work to relieve your chronic pain.

4 Exercises That Could Reduce Chronic Pain

There are many benefits which come from leading a healthy and active lifestyle - and it just so happens that there are four particular exercises which have been proven to reduce the impact of chronic pain. Read on to find out more!

1. Water Aerobics

It's common for people to rely on a nice warm bath to soothe aches and pains, so why not incorporate this method into your exercise? Water aerobics (in warm water) can relax your muscles and relieve joint pressure.

2. Cycling

Heading out on a bike ride is a low impact form of exercise that can warm up your joints and ease your pain while keeping you fit. Much like other activities, doing so in short durations will prevent you from overworking yourself and doing more harm than good, which we definitely don't want!

It is important to remember that if the exercise is causing you discomfort, then you should stop. Pushing yourself to work will only do more harm and cause further discomfort.

3. Pilates

Pilates is great for sufferers of chronic pain, as it is a low-impact exercise that strengthens your muscles, posture and flexibility.

Pilates enhances muscle support of your body and takes the pressure off of your joints, therefore reducing pain. Not only does this exercise reduce pain, but it can help you increase your control over it. Other benefits include:

  • Better posture
  • Reduced risk of further damage
  • Improve functionality/mobility of your joints and muscles
  • Improves well-being

Due to its low-impact, Pilates is very safe for those suffering from chronic pains.

Another beneficial low-impact exercise option is Yoga. Much like pilates, it encourages better posture - stretching and lessening the pressure on your joints to help reduce pain.

4. Weight Lifting

Although this may seem too high-impact, weight lifting can be a beneficial method of chronic pain management.

Weight lifting will strengthen your muscles, and by doing so, the affected joints can minimize the stress around them. Please note that it is worth speaking to a health professional before opting to weight lift as a form of chronic pain management.

For more information regarding chronic pain management, do not hesitate to get in touch with your GP. Chronic pain can be a challenging symptom of several health problems.

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How Can I Delay My Period?

Posted Wednesday 08 April 2020 12:11 by in Period Delay Treatment by Harman Bhamra

How can I delay my period? This question has been asked countless times by millions of women around the world. While your monthly period is normal, it can be limiting, painful, and a nuisance. So, if you are looking for tips on how to safely delay your period, you’ve come to the right place.

Reasons For Delaying Your Period

Women delay their periods for a variety of reasons. Some women do it because they need to travel, some for romance (i.e. if it’s their honeymoon night), and others for convenience. Whatever your reasons are, know that delaying your period is perfectly normal.

The safest and most effective way to delay your period is by taking period delay tablets like Norethisterone.

How to Delay Your Period Using Norethisterone

What is Norethisterone?

Norethisterone is a period delay pill. It’s primarily made of synthetic hormones like progesterone and works by mimicking the effects of natural progesterone in the body. Remember that throughout your monthly cycle, the levels of progesterone in your body fluctuates. If the levels are high, the linings of your uterus flourish. If it falls, the linings of your uterus break down and shed out of the body as a period.

Like most period delay tablets, Norethisterone works by maintaining high levels of progesterone in your body, delaying the breakdown of the linings of your uterus. Thus, delaying your period. It tricks your body to think that you are pregnant.

How effective is Norethisterone?

Norethisterone can delay your period for up to 20 days, depending on the course you opt for. If you follow instructions correctly (eg: take the tablet 3 days before your period is due), then you should successfully have a delayed period. Of course, it’s important to remember that no tablet is 100% effective, and you should speak to your GP if you have any problems.

"Norethisterone is commonly used because it's familiar, it's something we've used for many years and it works." – Dr Prabha Sivaraman, gynaecologist

How to take Norethisterone to delay your period

Start taking Norethisterone period delay tablets three days BEFORE you expect your period to start. Take one pill three times a day. You can take Norethisterone for a maximum of 17 days. Consult with your GP if you miss a dose.

Don’t use Norethisterone to delay your period more than once every six months.

Don’t take Norethisterone when:

  • You are or you think you could be pregnant
  • You are breastfeeding
  • You have liver or kidney problems
  • You have a blood clot in your legs or lungs

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, gallstones, heart failure, migraines, asthma, or epilepsy, let your doctor know before taking Norethisterone.

When will my period start when I stop taking Norethisterone?

The levels of progesterone in your body will go back to normal once you stop taking period delay tablets. Your period will start two to three days after taking your last dose of Norethisterone.

The result varies from one person to another. So, give your body some time to adjust. However, if your period is not back after a week, consult with your GP.

What are the side effects of Norethisterone?

Side effects of Norethisterone are rare but you may experience:

  • Changes in weight
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skin reaction
  • Low sex drive
  • Feeling depressed
  • Nausea
  • Bloating

Other more serious side effects of Norethisterone include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Pain or tightness in your chest
  • Blurred vision
  • Hearing difficulty
  • Severe headaches

If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Norethisterone immediately and contact your doctor.

Will Norethisterone prevent me from getting pregnant?

No. Norethisterone is not a contraceptive. What it does is artificially keep the levels of progesterone in your body high to delay your period. Contraceptive pills, on the other hand, contain hormones that stop you from ovulating. Be sure to do your research on the best contraceptive pills before going down this route.

To protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy while taking period delay tablets, use contraceptive methods like condoms, spermicides, or contraceptive pills.

The Benefits of Period Delay Tablets

Apart from delaying your period, period delay pills can also help with anaemia, menstrual disorders, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and endometriosis.

Buy Norethisterone to Delay Your Period

Did you know that you can order Norethisterone online and get it delivered on your doorsteps? No more waiting for a doctor’s appointment! You can buy Norethisterone from Express Pharmacy today.

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Why Is the Flu Shot So Important?

Posted Monday 06 April 2020 12:24 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

The flu is a common illness which thousands of us suffer from every year. But what is the difference between a common cold and the flu? When is the flu shot needed? Within this guide, we will be taking you through everything you need to know about the flu shot and its importance.

What Is The Flu?

Influenza, or more commonly known as the flu, is a contagious illness affecting the respiratory system. It is caused by a virus infecting your nose, lungs and/or throat. Symptoms of flu can include:

  • Fever/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Aching body (head and muscles)

The flu is easily caught as it spreads incredibly easily. When those who are infected sneeze or cough, droplets (saliva, mucus) can end up landing on you.

Once you’ve caught the flu, you’ll find yourself feeling under the weather for around one to two weeks, but the healthy few can recover within five days after experiencing symptoms. Children with this illness can face a longer recovery time, due to their less established or immune systems.

What Is The Flu Shot?

The flu shot works to prevent you from falling seriously ill when infected with the flu. It works by injecting you with an existing form of the virus, encouraging your immune system to produce antibodies. It takes around two weeks for these antibodies to fully establish in your body and start to fight off infection.

Why Do I Need The Flu Shot? Why Is It So Important?

Health professionals encourage that everyone over the age of 6-months should be receiving the shot. Despite not being 100% effective at fighting off the virus, it is the best available protection for influenza and the complications that it could cause.

But, if it only causes a sniffle, why is the flu shot so important?

Although the common symptoms are minor and clear up pretty quickly, the illness can cause complications and lead to more serious conditions depending on your medical history. This includes:

Congestive heart failure - this affects the pumping abilities of the heart due to a buildup of fluid around the heart causing it to inefficiently pump blood around the body. If people suffering from this condition were to contract the flu, it can worsen their health and ultimately be fatal.

Asthma - those suffering from asthma face more severe medical complications if they were to fall ill with the flu. Due to their pre-existing difficulting breathing, the respiratory virus (influenza) only worsens their medical condition.

Bacterial pneumonia - some individuals that contract the flu may also be at risk of this medical condition. Bacterial pneumonia is an infection in your lungs causing them to become inflamed and fill up with liquid.

The shot can also also be invaluable to other groups:

Women looking to conceive - women should ensure they are up to date with their flu shot, especially if they are planning on conceiving. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of contracting the flu, which could lead to complications such as premature birth.

Young children - between the ages of 6-months to 5-years, children's immune systems are not yet fully formed or capable of fighting infections as an adult can. This can cause the illness to be more severe. It is advised that parents get their children vaccinated as young as possible (6-months old) to keep them protected.

Older people - when you reach an age of 65 or above, your immune system will begin to become less reliable when it comes to fighting off infections. It is advised for those in this age group to get an up to date flu shot to help strengthen immune systems..

Side-Effects Of The Flu Shot

The shot has been known to give temporary side-effects, often flu-like, for up to 24-hours after being administered due to the antibodies being built up in preparation to fight infection. This typically includes:

  • Mild fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Red/sore/swollen around the injection area

The vaccine is very safe for the majority of people, but certain people are not medically advised to receive it, such as those who have previously reacted poorly to the shot. People with severe egg allergies are also advised to stay clear of the vaccine.

Mercury allergies also affect your ability to receive the shot as the vaccine can carry traces of the element to avoid contamination.

Treatments Options For The Flu

If you do find yourself feeling under the weather, there are many places to turn to for advice. It’s wise to head to an online pharmacy to avoid spreading your illness to other people.

In terms of the flu, however, the flu vaccination is the most effective preventative method. Types of flu shots can include:

High-dose shot - this shot is advised to those 65-years of age and older. Due to their weakened immune systems, this shot is designed to work harder at fighting infection and contains four times the number of antigens to stimulate antibodies.

Intradermal shot - ideal for 18-64-year-olds, this shot is administered into the arm muscle using a smaller needle (more desirable for those afraid of needles). This shot works just as well as the regular shot, but does increase the likelihood of side-effects occurring, varying from itchiness, head/muscle aching and fatigue.

Nasal Spray - this form of vaccination is ideal for those not wanting to receive an injection, such as young children or those with a fear of needles. To receive this type of shot, you must be aged between 2 - 49 years old, you cannot be pregnant and you must not have any serious pre-existing medical conditions. This nasal spray is said to be just as effective as the injections, but not everyone can receive it so it is wise to do your research and consult your doctor.

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