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How to Prevent Altitude Sickness When Skiing

Posted Thursday 02 April 2020 11:12 by in Altitude Sickness by Harman Bhamra

From late November to early April, the ski slopes are crammed with those looking to ski, snowboard or just take in the scenery. Although the views are breathtaking in themselves, there’s another thing which might be taking your breath away: the altitude.

Within this guide, you can learn how to prevent altitude sickness while on your winter holiday in the mountains..

What is Altitude Sickness?

When at high altitude, like on top of a mountain, oxygen levels are lower and this can cause a problem known as altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness. The severity of the disorder is variant depending on the individual and the circumstance, with affecting factors including…

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Blood pressure
  • Fitness
  • Speed of ascension
  • Time spent at a high altitude

The most common symptom of altitude sickness is a headache. If you are at a height of over 8,000 feet and have been experiencing a headache it is best to watch out for other symptoms, as if you do have altitude sickness, you should also have one or more of these…

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness or exhaustion (hard to determine source when skiing/snowboarding)
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Malaise (discomfort or unwell feeling)
  • Swelling (in the hands, feet or face)

Altitude sickness can be chronic or acute. Acute altitude sickness is generally due to descending to a height too quickly and so not giving your body enough time to adjust.

At What Elevation Do You Get Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness can occur when at an altitude of 8,000 feet or above - this is due to the decreased number of oxygen molecules per breath.

Can Skiing Give You Altitude Sickness?

As stated above, the two main causes of altitude sickness are descending too fast or staying at high altitudes for too long - both in which are probable during.

Most ski resorts will have mountains of 8,000 feet or higher, making altitude sickness more than possible.

How Do You Prevent Altitude Sickness When Skiing?

Your body needs up to three days to acclimatize to high altitudes to limit the risk of developing altitude sickness. But, if you do find yourself with symptoms, you should ensure you do not ignore them. Resting, not smoking and keeping hydrated can all be very beneficial. Other prevention methods can include...

Take Altitude Sickness Tablets (Acetazolamide)

It can be wise to plan for the worst and pack some altitude sickness tablets with you on your trip to effectively prevent altitude sickness symptoms or at least ease them.

Acetazolamide increases the amount of urine your body produces, helping to reduce the amount of fluid in your head and lungs. This will improve your ability to breath at a steady pace and relieve symptoms that can follow.

This particular tablet is available at Express Pharmacy and should be taken twice a day. You should begin to do so two-days before travelling and two days after you reach your final altitude.

Stay Hydrated

Skiing can take it out of you, so staying hydrated is key advice even if you are not experiencing altitude sickness symptoms.

In the case of experiencing altitude sickness, it’s important to drink plenty of water - ideally 4-6 litres a day. This should help to relieve symptoms.

Bringing water bottles with you in a backpack is the best way to ensure you are always keeping yourself properly hydrated. You should also pack some snacks with you as well, to keep your calorie intake steady.

You may not want to hear this, but if you do find yourself experiencing altitude sickness symptoms, avoiding alcohol altogether is the best course of action (to prevent further dehydration). Apres skiing is off the table until you recover - better to be safe than sorry!

Research Into Different Skiing Resorts

Doing your research could be the difference between altitude sickness or avoiding it altogether. Choosing your accommodation wisely is a key method of keeping you on top of your game. Satellite hotels are the best option as they will allow you to acclimatise and provide a lower base altitude so that as you gradually ascend higher, your body will be less affected. It’s important to give your body adequate time to adjust.

Know When It’s Time To Descend

You may be tempted to take a break or sit out on a slope or two in hope that you will begin to feel better, but it's important to know when it's necessary to descend the mountain. Moving to a lower altitude is the best course of action, in most cases, even if you simply do so by 1,000 feet for 24-hours. But those with more severe symptoms should do so by 2,000 feet for a few days to be sure symptoms are relieved. The further down you go, the more symptoms will ease, so it is best to do so until you feel as though you are okay to stop.

Main Takeaways…

If you’ve suffered from altitude sickness in the past, it’s wise to equip yourself with altitude sickness tablets to prevent it ruining your skiing holiday. Acetazolamide is available to be delivered to your door from Express pharmacy, making it an effortless precaution to take to get the most out of your trip and avoid any unwanted sickness.

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What Is Malaria Caused By?

Posted Monday 30 March 2020 12:12 by in Anti Malaria by Harman Bhamra

Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease that infects your red blood cells. Most commonly, the disease is contracted from an infected mosquito bite, which leads to a parasite entering your bloodstream. Once the bloodstream has been infected, the parasite travels to the liver and begins to mature across several days; infecting the red blood cells and causing them to burst.

As well as an infected mosquito bite, there are other explanations as to what causes malaria to be spread and contracted. An organ transplant can lead to the development of malaria - this is due to the procedure often requiring a blood transfusion at the same time.

The disease is primarily involved with blood and so contaminated needles or syringes can also lead to the spread of the parasites.

5 Types of Malaria Parasites (Plasmodium)

P.Falciparum is the most common type of parasite and has led to the most fatalities around the world. It causes large blood loss and clogging of vessels and spreads rapidly. This parasite can also lead to the development of liver and kidney failure, along with the other symptoms mentioned above.

P.Vivax parasites can be dormant for years after the bite has occurred, delaying the expression of symptoms and increasing the risk of those infected passing it to others. This is most commonly found in Latin America and Asia and, along with falciparum, is considered the most dangerous of the five species, more so due to the high risk of passing it on.

P.Ovale and P.Malariae cause a mild form of malaria and very rarely results in fatalities. They are responsible for a fairly small percentage of human infections and it is rare for individuals to contract these particular parasites compared to the others.

The final parasite is called P.Knowlesi and although it has led to human malaria, it more commonly infects primates (monkeys, apes, lemurs etc).

Symptoms of Malaria

Malaria can cause a multitude of different symptoms that will appear within the first 7-18 days of becoming infected, but it has been known for them to stay dormant for up to a year or more. The symptoms of malaria can include:

  • High temperature/fever: in your body’s attempt to fight the infection, if you contract malaria you will run a fever (temperature over 38°C)
  • Convulsions: also known as seizures. This is due to a change in your brain's electrical activity, causing severe shaking and loss of control; this is due to malaria disturbing your body’s general functioning.
  • Chills: those infected could experience feeling cold for no apparent reason
  • Headaches
  • Nausea/Vomiting: overall stomach discomfort and sensation of feeling sick for some time, or physically being sick
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscle pains
  • Anaemia: this is when your level of healthy red blood cells become too low and therefore the amount of oxygen carried around your blood is limited. Malaria causes this as the parasite causes healthy red blood cells to burst

Due to these symptoms being fairly generic, it is hard to determine them as malaria. However, a clear identifier is if these symptoms appear over 48-hour cycles, with shivering, fever, sweating or fatigue lasting from 6-12 hours.

Malaria Classifications

Asymptomatic malaria can be caused by any of the five parasite species in the blood but does not result in the expression of any symptoms. This certain type of malaria can be dangerous, primarily to others as it generally goes undiagnosed for long periods and can lead to the disease becoming widespread by those originally infected.

Uncomplicated malaria will see people experiencing symptoms after 7-10 days of becoming bitten by a mosquito. This classification will lead to generic symptoms, such as fever, sweating, nausea and headaches. These nonspecific symptoms can lead to the disease going undiagnosed for some time and can lead to spreading.

Severe malaria is primarily associated with the P.Falciparum parasite, but not exclusively. This can lead to more serious symptoms, varying from anaemia to end-organ damage, as well as pulmonary complications and a coma.

Who is Most at Risk of Malaria?

Around half the world's population is at some risk of becoming infected with malaria, but some geographical locations are at a higher risk of contracting malaria.

There are also some groups of people who could face more severe consequences if they were to become infected:

Pregnant women face a higher risk if they are to become diagnosed with malaria. Complications can vary from stillbirth, anaemia (both mother and baby), neonatal death and low birth weight.

Infants and children (under the age of five or six) are the most vulnerable group to contract and encounter rapid progression of the disease. Under 5’s account for 67% of all malaria deaths around the world.

Malaria has been most commonly found in Africa, Asia and America, but due to its ability to lie dormant, the spread of infection can lead to malaria being contracted anywhere in the world. However, Central Africa was responsible for 93% of all cases in 2018.

How To Prevent Yourself From Malaria

When travelling to countries in which malaria is a high risk, it is important to take precautions to protect your health. There are different methods available to both treat and prevent the contraction of malaria, from tablets to sprays and injections.

Express Pharmacy has a reliable selection of anti-malaria tablets, however, these anti-malaria medications are not 100% effective at protecting you against the disease and so should be used hand in hand with anti bite prevention.

Doxycycline is an anti-malaria tablet that should be taken once a day, 2-days before visiting a high-risk area, and should be taken at this rate for up to 4 weeks after leaving.

Malarone should be taken the same as Doxycycline, once a day and for 2-days before. However, it is only required to be administered 1 week after returning from the location.

Lariam should be taken once, weekly, with the first tablet being taken preferably 2-3 weeks before travelling and 4 weeks after.

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We're Still Working and Here to Help

Posted Wednesday 25 March 2020 18:14 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

In light of the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19, we want to keep you updated with operational developments at Express Pharmacy.

Due to Covid-19, there has been increased demand for pharmaceutical supplies and medication. This has meant that our operational pharmacy staff are under immense pressure daily. With that in mind, we are continuing to operate as normal.

The Patient Support Team is currently experiencing an unprecedented level of emails, calls and online helpdesk queries. This has meant that you might experience a slight delay in and would appreciate your support and understanding.

Medication Supply
There has been a massive surge in demand for medications, both online and in our community pharmacy. This has meant that many pharmacies have run out of certain medications, with others limiting supply to make sure that there is enough for everyone. We will be operating as normal until further notice.

As much of the nation is currently following NHS and GOV.UK guidelines on staying at home, there is a huge reliance on national delivery and courier services. As a result, we are monitoring the situation to ensure that your medications and treatments arrive to you safely and on time. Some delivery services may be experiencing delays and, in particular, next-day services.

If your treatment has not arrived, please contact our helpdesk and we will do our best to help you. Please bear in mind that this is a totally unprecedented situation that has affected the entire country, not least the world.

Please show the Patient Support Team some understanding and compassion. They are here to help and continue to show great frontline bravery. Your understanding is greatly appreciated.

We have made Royal Mail First Class delivery FREE until further notice. Please make use of this service unless you need your medication guaranteed by the next day.

We will be introducing some new delivery options soon. Please keep an eye out for an email update.

Stay home. Stay Safe. Be Kind.
Harman Bhamra (Head of Ecommerce)

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What Are the Benefits of Using CBD?

Posted Wednesday 25 March 2020 08:50 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

The health and wellness industry is endless, with countless different brands offering revolutionary new medications and treatments for just about anything. But, there has been a substance that has proven effective for a multitude of different health issues - cannabidiol (CBD).

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or more commonly known as CBD, is most famously known for being a key ingredient in cannabis and medical marijuana. The component is synthesised from the hemp plant, a close relative of the marijuana plant, and has been closely linked to having many health benefits for those who take it.

This may be a cause for confusion as cannabis is an illegal drug, so how is it beneficial?

CBD has no evidence to suggest that it causes a ‘high’ nor any abuse/addictive qualities to those who may consume it, but it has been linked to aiding multiple health problems. The substance is most commonly used or consumed in oil form, which is made by adding it to coconut oil or hemp seed oil.

Is CBD Legal?

As you may know, cannabis is classed as an illegal drug in the UK and many other places around the world and in many of these places, CBD is very much thought of with the same stigma, despite being legal. But could these health benefits turn this opinion on its head?

CBD is however only legal in the UK as long as the level of THC is no more than 0.2%.

CBD is available, legally, in different forms…

  • Tablets
  • Oils
  • Creams

The substance is easily accessible, with many health stores and online pharmacies offering it in its multitude of forms.

Other forms of CBD are on the market to maintain overall health, as opposed to treating a specific issue, with tablets available to support heart/mental health and maintain good cholesterol levels.

Health Benefits of CBD

CBD has received praise in recent years due to it being confirmed that the component has health and wellness benefits, varying from anxiety to severe pain. It is common knowledge that people are pushing the legalization of the substance, with many places in the US and all over the world rethinking their stance on cannabis due to CBD benefits and the opportunity to tax the drug.


Acne affects a substantial percentage of the population and can become fairly serious. Much like other common conditions, there are endless products and medication that are sold or prescribed to supposedly aid people with this condition but rarely provide desired results.

CBD has been found to reduce the secretion of sebum in gland cells and lead to anti-inflammatory agents to activate in the skin, all reducing the appearance of acne. However this is yet to be tested on humans and so there is no proof of its effects on people, but it shows promise and hopefully, in years to come, it can be an accessible method of aiding people in their fight against acne.

Pain Relief

CBD has been used to aid pain in conditions like arthritis, cancer and sclerosis.

Your body's endocannabinoid system has cannabinoid receptors in the brain and immune system, therefore these receptors are related to:

  • Coordination
  • Memory
  • Appetite
  • Mood
  • Thinking
  • Pain
  • Inflammation

THC attaches itself to receptors in the brain and therefore can explain why cannabis users feel their cognitive function affected; CBD encourages the body to create more of these cannabinoids to have a positive effect on the body's responses and helping to fight pain and inflammation more so than before.


Mental health is a growing concern, with depression being the leading mental health issue in the world and anxiety not far behind. It has also been evidenced that there are uses of CBD for anxiety and similar mental health issues.

CBD has previously been effective in treating child PTSD and animal studies have shown promise as effects are proving to mimic those of antidepressants.


CBD can aid nausea caused by chemotherapy, which is the most common side effect of cancer treatment.

Subsiding these distressing symptoms of cancer can seriously improve patients quality of life and allows terminal cases to experience relief in their final stages. With cancer estimated to affect 1 in 2 of us at some point during our lives, it is time to provide patients with effective medication.

Side Effects of CBD

Despite the revolutionary work done in medicine, treatments inevitably come with their own set of side effects. CBD, when taken orally, has been known to leave people with a dry mouth, drowsiness and possibly leave a slight feeling of dizziness (light-headed).

When applied to the skin, it has not yet been evidenced that any side effects take place. In products that include direct contact with skin, creams and oils are typically much weaker than those that you consume, by being mixed more heavily with natural ingredients to give them a nice smell and a smooth feel.

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Common Lifestyle Mistakes That Cause High Cholesterol

Posted Friday 20 March 2020 09:20 by in Express Pharmacy by Harman Bhamra

You can find cholesterol in all the cells of your body. This waxy, fat-like substance is used by your body to make vitamin D, hormones, and other chemicals that help you digest food.

Cholesterol is found in foods like meat, cheese, and egg yolks. Your body can also make the cholesterol it needs.

Excess cholesterol can combine with other substances in your blood, forming HDL and LDL. These are lipoproteins, a combination of lipids (commonly known as fats) and proteins.

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is considered "good cholesterol". It carries cholesterol from your body to the liver where it is destroyed.

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is sometimes called “bad cholesterol”. This cholesterol is responsible for atherosclerosis or the build-up of plaque in your arteries. This build-up can lead to coronary artery disease where your arteries become narrow or blocked.

What is High Cholesterol?

You have high cholesterol when the level of cholesterol in your body is above normal ranges. For an average adult, the total cholesterol level should be less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). If your cholesterol levels are more than 240 mg/dL, you have high cholesterol. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered borderline.

The above parameters refer to your total cholesterol level - the combination of HDL and LDL.

Ideally, LDL cholesterol levels should be below 100 mg/dL while a reading between 100 to 129 mg/dL is considered acceptable but can be concerning for people with heart conditions. If your LDL cholesterol level is between 130 to 159 mg/dL, that’s borderline high. While 160 to 189 mg/dL is high.

You should aim to keep your HDL levels higher, preferably 60 mg/dL or higher.

What Are The Causes of High Cholesterol?

Your genes play a significant factor in your cholesterol levels. If your parents have high cholesterol, there’s a big chance that you will have it too. Aside from heredity, several lifestyle choices cause high cholesterol. Below are some of them:

1. You don’t eat right

Eating food rich in saturated fat is one of the causes of high cholesterol. Saturated fat is usually found in beef, pork, butter, and dairy. Eating processed food rich in trans fats (partially hydrogenated fats or oils) can also increase your risk. Trans fat is commonly found in cookies, pastries, muffins, pizza dough and fried foods.

Eating plenty of fruits, whole grains, fish, nuts, poultry, and vegetables can help to increase the levels of good cholesterol in your body.

2. You are obese

If your body mass index (BMI) is more than 30, chances are, you have more bad cholesterol than good cholesterol in your body. Avoid sitting too long. If you have a desk job, try to move around every 30 minutes to get your blood flowing. Losing just 10 per cent of your body weight can do wonders to your body.

3. You don’t exercise

Exercise burns fat. It also helps boost the levels of HDL in your body. Walking, cycling, or swimming for 40 minutes every other day can effectively lower bad cholesterol.

4. You smoke

Studies found that smoking lowers the level of good cholesterol in your body. It also damages the walls of your blood vessels, causing your blood to circulate poorly. Not to mention smoking is one of the leading cause of lung cancer worldwide.

If you are not a smoker, stay away from second smoke. It’s just as dangerous!

5. You don’t eat good fats

Yep, you’ve read it right. You can still eat fats - just the good ones. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in olives, walnuts, salmon, avocadoes, and trout are good for your body. Just limit your fat intake to 30% of your daily calories.

6. You don't eat fibre

There are two types of fibres - insoluble and soluble. The latter dissolves in water while the former doesn't. Although both types are good for your health, soluble fibres found in oatmeal, fruits, lentils, vegetables, and beans can help lower bad cholesterol.

7. You drink too much alcohol

Alcohol messes up with your cholesterol levels. It can also increase the levels of fat in your blood. Drink in moderation and try not to exceed the recommended daily intake.

8. You don’t check your cholesterol levels

It’s hard to determine your cholesterol numbers on your own. Getting your cholesterol levels checked regularly can help you manage your HDL and LDL levels more effectively. Get a simple blood test every four years to make sure that your cholesterol levels are normal.

9. You don’t pay attention to other health conditions

Diabetes, high blood pressure, liver diseases, and kidney problems are all linked to high cholesterol. If you have one of these health conditions, chances are you have high levels of LDL in your blood. Manage these illnesses well, and your cholesterol levels will follow suit.

List of Foods High in Cholesterol

Below is a list of foods high in cholesterol. It's not an exhaustive list, but it should give you an idea on what to avoid or eat in moderation.

  • Fried foods – deep-fried foods are loaded with calories and trans fats.
  • Fast foods – studies show that those who eat fast food regularly have higher levels of cholesterol. They also have more belly fat and suffer more from impaired blood sugar levels.
  • Processed meats – products like hotdogs, sausages, and bacon are high in cholesterol and should be taken in moderation.
  • Desserts – ice cream, cookies, pastries, and cakes are not just high in added sugars. They tend to be high in bad cholesterols too.

High levels of cholesterol are linked with various diseases like stroke and heart disease. Getting your cholesterol checked regularly and avoiding the foods and bad habits listed in this article can significantly lower your risks of developing such diseases. Eating healthy and exercising regularly can greatly improve your quality of life.

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