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Everything You Need to Know About the Flu Jab

Posted Friday 20 October 2017 09:36 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

Flu season is fast approaching, so it’s important you have all the information you need about protecting yourself and others

Influenza, more commonly known as “the flu” is a nasty virus that is renowned for striking down thousands of people in the UK each year across. It is particularly potent in the autumn and winter months, which is why you are likely to hear a lot about the most vulnerable members of society going for a “flu jab” over the coming weeks.

However, there is often debate at this time of year about the effectiveness and safety of flu vaccinations. In this post, we will cover some of the most commonly asked questions about the flu jab, including who needs it most and who can get it for free this autumn.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

We’ve all probably experienced flu-like symptoms at some point. This is because problems such as a high temperature, hot and cold sweats, coughs and a runny nose can all be found in similar diseases such as the common cold.

It is important to note, however, that the flu does differ from a cold, and can be much more dangerous to your health. The symptoms usually include a high temperature, tiredness, weakness, achiness, general pains and a dry, chesty cough.

You might also suffer from headaches or even migraines.

Who is most at risk of the flu?

Certain people can find themselves more at risk of catching the flu than others, and these individuals are more likely to suffer longer and more extreme symptoms too.

Those who should be particularly aware of the flu include people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, individuals with respiratory conditions like asthma, people with a weakened immune system such as those with HIV or undergoing chemotherapy, and people with long-term medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease or kidney disease.

Who can get the flu jab for free?

The NHS offers free flu vaccinations to a number of different groups. These include any adult over the age of 65 or an individual who will be turning 65 on or before March 31st 2018. Pregnant women can also receive the vaccine for free, as can children aged between six months and two years old who are considered to be at risk of the flu.

The flu vaccine is also offered to people with certain pre-existing health conditions such as:

  • Asthma or another chronic respiratory disease
  • Chronic heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic liver disease (e.g. Hepatitis) or kidney disease
  • Chronic neurological conditions, including
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Motor Neurone Disease
    • Parkinson’s Disease

Those with a BMI of 40 or above and can be considered seriously overweight may also be offered the flu jab.

When is the best time to get the flu jab?

Although many people don’t start thinking about the flu jab until winter, the optimum time to receive the jab is actually autumn. Specifically, you should aim to get your flu vaccination between the beginning of October and early November.

Where can you get your flu jab?

You can receive your NHS flu jab at your local GP surgery, or at any local pharmacy offering the service. If you’re pregnant, you can also receive the jab from your midwifery service if they include it as part of their treatment.

Individuals who are considered at risk of the flu can also receive the vaccine from certain community pharmacies. If you receive your jab at a pharmacy, you don’t have to inform your GP.

Does the flu jab have to be an injection?

Generally, the flu vaccination is given as an injection. However, children aged between two and three, children in reception class and children in school years on, two, three and four can obtain the vaccine as a routine annual nasal spray. This is also offered to children aged between two and seventeen who are at particular risk of flu.

Does the flu jab have any side effects?

The flu vaccination has an excellent safety record, and yet there are concerns among some people that it’s actually safer and healthier not to bother with the jab.

Despite common misconceptions, the flu jab cannot cause flu. A small percentage of recipients may experience some mild side effects, such as redness and swelling around the injection area, headache, fever, nausea and muscle aches. A very small number of people do actually experience an allergic reaction to the jab, as is the case with any vaccination. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, weakness, hives and swelling.

If you’ve ever experienced an allergic reaction to the flu shot, you should refrain from getting the vaccination again.

What else can you do to avoid the flu?

As a virus, flu is spread through the passing on of germs, so simple hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of the condition. Washing your hands thoroughly, avoiding touching things like handrails in public places and covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing are simple but effective ways to reduce the spread of the condition.

However, the flu vaccination is by far the most effective way to stop yourself catching the virus.

For information, advice and treatment for your health concerns, contact Express Pharmacy

You can call our team on 0208 123 0703 or email us at help@expresspharmacy.co.uk. You can even contact us via our Live Chat tool for quick and discreet advice and assistance.

What Are the Benefits of Virtual Doctors for Elderly Patients?

Posted Tuesday 17 October 2017 11:27 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

New research suggests that virtual treatment could make all the difference when it comes to healthcare for elderly patients

The use of online pharmacies and virtual doctors has risen dramatically over recent years, with more and more people choosing to solve their medical concerns online rather than by visiting the GP’s office. But new research from the US has shown that the benefits of virtual doctors could be even greater than previously thought, particularly for providing virtual treatment for elderly patients.

What are the benefits of virtual doctors?

The University of Rochester in New York conducted a study, which discovered that virtual treatment for elderly patients can provide healthcare just as effectively as a real-life doctor.

The study analysed various versions of virtual healthcare, including an American program that uses video appointments to connect professionals with patients. This particular study focuses primarily on those living with Parkinson’s disease and connected neurologists to 195 Parkinson’s patients across the US.

The results of the study found that the care provided by virtual doctors proved to be just as effective as in-person visits to the doctor’s office, whilst saving patients on average 169 minutes and nearly 100 miles of travel distance per visit.

When considering virtual treatment for elderly patients, Parkinson’s is a good example of a condition that can be treatment remotely. However, virtual treatment has also been shown to be beneficial in treating other conditions like diabetes, pregnancy and sickness.

Lead author and professor of the study Ray Dorsey explained the benefits the experiment highlighted, saying: “Virtual house calls for chronic diseases like Parkinson’s are not only as effective as in-person care but broader adoption of this technology has the potential to expand access to patient centred care.

“We now have the ability to reach anyone, anywhere.”

Virtual treatment for elderly patients can make all the difference to those living with conditions like Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s can be a hugely debilitating disease for those living with it, and can lead to severe physical limitations. Sufferers often experience tremors in the limbs, difficulty moving, muscle tightness and a loss of balance. You’re unlikely to be able to drive with Parkinson’s and even walking for long distances can become difficult. All of these factors made the condition a good source for the university’s study into the benefits of virtual doctors.

Currently, Parkinson’s affects over 10 million people worldwide, and that number is expected to double in parts of the world where the population is ageing – such as the UK and US – by 2030. As the condition almost exclusively affects older adults, most patients live in more suburban areas, often with limited access to healthcare professionals. This, combined with the nature of the illness can make actually getting to an appointment difficult for older adults.

This leaves huge potential for virtual treatment for elderly patients to improve the care that those living with Parkinson’s and other conditions are receiving, as online healthcare allows those with limited mobility to access the care they need.

“We can shop, bank, make travel reservations, take classes, and buy groceries via the internet from the comfort of our own homes,” says Dorsey, “but too many patients still cannot access healthcare.”

It’s not just elderly patients who can reap the benefits of virtual doctors

The benefits of virtual doctors and other digital healthcare solutions, such as online pharmacies, stretch far beyond Parkinson’s patients and the elderly. Web-based treatments can benefit anybody who lives in a remote location or who is suffering with a health concern that they are too embarrassed to visit a GP about.

In need of fast, safe and discreet prescription medication direct to your door? Discover how Express Pharmacy can help you today.

Go Sober for October: Why It’s Good to Become a Soberhero

Posted Wednesday 04 October 2017 09:36 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

Raising money for charity is always a worthwhile endeavour. But facing a challenge that also happens to boost your own health is what real soberheroes are made of.

The clever folk at Macmillan aren’t half bad at coming up with fundraising campaigns and new ways to raise awareness about cancer. And this year they’ve sparked interest by challenging the good people of the UK to become a Soberhero for the entire 31 days of Stoptober.

As the official Go Sober for October web page states:

“By signing up to the challenge you’re doing something amazing for people with cancer . . . so thank you for taking part in Go Sober, raising a glass (of water) and standing proudly beside people facing cancer.”

With 450 deaths each day from cancer, the important work done by Macmillan and other cancer charities has a crucial role to play supporting the thousands of people fighting the disease in all its forms across the country.

But going sober for October can be good for you, too

If you like a social drink from time to time, giving up alcohol for 31 days may also help you achieve some surprising results. Not only will you save money, you could also enjoy some genuine improvements to your health and wellbeing.

Changes you should see within 31 days

In the short term, you may notice improvements to your energy levels and quality of sleep. Although alcohol may make it seem easier to fall asleep at night, the impact of alcohol on the brain can actually prevent you from experiencing the important REM-sleep phase, which will leave you feeling lethargic in the morning.

Alcohol can also impact on your breathing during sleep, which is why giving up alcohol can often reduce an individual’s likelihood of snoring.

Giving up alcohol can also very quickly lead to an improvement in your skin because without the diuretic qualities of alcohol you will not urinate as regularly and risk the problem of dehydration. For those who suffer from acid reflux, giving up alcohol can also see significant improvements.

One of the most popular reasons for giving up alcohol is weight management. As has been well documented, alcoholic drinks are very calorific and can lead to significant weight gain over time. Not only does alcohol contribute to subcutaneous fat (which lies just under the skin), it also contributes towards visceral fat – the dangerous fat which develops around the body’s vital organs and impacts on their effectiveness.

Giving up alcohol for the full 31 days of October may see you lose several pounds and inches off the waistline when combined with a healthy, balanced diet.

Long term soberheroes

The odd social drink is not deemed to be a serious threat to our health and for millions of people in the UK who adhere to public guidelines, consuming just a few units a week will not prevent you from enjoying a long and healthy life. However, if you regularly consume large quantities of alcohol and find yourself slipping back into old ways after the month of October, here are just a few reasons to reassess your relationship with alcohol.

Alcohol consumption has been linked to at least 7 types of cancer. Reducing alcohol consumption has been proven to lower an individual’s risk of getting cancer.

Alcohol is not a friend to your liver. Heavy drinking (more than 14 units a week) is one of the key contributing factors to liver disease. Reining in alcohol consumption can significantly improve liver function over time.

So there you have it: put a halt to your alcohol consumption throughout October and you could be helping both cancer sufferers and yourself at the very same time.

Looking for advice and guidance on alcohol consumption, weight loss, treating acid reflux or any of the other issues raised in this article, why not try our handy Live Chat tool now.

Why Are Online Pharmacies Growing in Popularity?

Posted Tuesday 29 August 2017 16:30 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

In 2014, the overall number of online pharmacy orders rose nearly 25%, and this number has only continued to grow since.

Of course, there is no substitute for visiting a healthcare professional such as a GP or pharmacist in person for serious conditions. But for many common treatments the online pharmacy has become a popular alternative – particularly for those with limited free time and difficulty getting to a bricks and mortar pharmacy in person.

Fast treatment

Waiting times in doctors’ surgeries around the country have risen dramatically in recent times. It is well documented that GPs are overstretched and that people are being recommended to think carefully before booking appointments for mild conditions.

With this in mind online pharmacies have become a valuable alternative – saving doctors valuable time in prescribing lifestyle medications and more commonplace drugs. A series of simple questions can lead to an evaluation of your symptoms with just a few clicks.

Those reputable online pharmacists, Express Pharmacy included, also offer additional support to customers in the form of a dedicated phone number and Live Chat facility to provide advice and guidance for those with queries and concerns.


The thing about online pharmacies that tends to really appeal to people is the convenience factor. Being able to order prescription medication and consult health professionals from the comfort of your home makes dealing with any health concerns feel like less of a chore. By taking the difficulty out of accessing important medications, online pharmacies are helping people to tackle problems that they may have otherwise tried to ignore.

By ordering through an online pharmacy, you save yourself time and effort on things like travelling to the GP, whilst still getting the information, products and services you need. This has proven particularly useful for individuals living in more remote areas, or who find getting up and out to the doctor’s office difficult.

Simple ordering and delivery process

One of the most convenient aspects of an online pharmacy is the ability to get vital medication sent right to your door. Once your items have been ordered, delivery is extremely fast, and getting through the ordering process is quick and hassle-free.

Payment options are flexible through most online pharmacies, and because prices are compared with elsewhere on the web you might actually end up paying less than you would by going through a GP to get a prescription. You can also read all about your suggested medication before fully deciding that it’s the right one for you.

Fully qualified

When online pharmacies first started to appear online, one of the main concerns people had about them was that they weren’t sure whether the advice they were getting was actually coming from experts. Now, however, more and more people are realising that fully regulated and registered online pharmacies are a valuable addition to the healthcare system.

Pharmacists are qualified to diagnose a condition, prescribe necessary medication and dispense this medication to you.


Sometimes going to the doctor can be difficult because the condition you want to get treatment for is very personal or even embarrassing. Of course, it’s vital to remember that you should never feel ashamed to go to the doctor’s, but it’s difficult to avoid feeling nervous about sharing personal details with someone else.

Online pharmacies let you address more personal concerns like erectile dysfunction, hair loss and unwanted facial hair with discretion and privacy, which can make people more likely to address these concerns in the first place.

If you’re struggling to visit a GP or your local pharmacy in person, why not explore the option of an online pharmacy instead? Can’t find the right treatment on our website? Why not call 0208 123 0703 or use our discreet Live Chat service today?

4 Safety Reminders for Returning to Work After a Holiday

Posted Monday 07 August 2017 13:14 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

We all want our holiday to last forever, but when the time does come for you to return to work here’s how to do it safely.

Nobody likes going back to work after a holiday, but it’s important that when we do return to work, we do so with 100% focus. Not only will this improve our productivity, it can also help keep us safe and healthy once we’re back in the workplace. So what do you need to do to keep yourself safe once you get back to work?

Tackle your distraction

One of the hardest things about returning from a holiday is focussing your mind on work again. It’s all too easy to daydream about the fantastic holiday you’ve just had, but this can put you more at risk of safety hazards and dangers to your health.

This is particularly true of manual professions, where keeping yourself safe requires you to pay constant attention to your surroundings. Even simple tasks like lifting boxes can be dangerous if you don’t pay attention to the way you’re arranging your body — for example, you should always bend you knees when lifting heavy items to take pressure off your back.

Re-establish your routine

When you’re on holiday, all routine tends to go out the window. You can sleep as much as you like, eat delicious food every day and probably drink a little more than you should. But once you’re back at work, it’s important to re-establish your old routine so that your body and your mind can return to ‘work mode’.

Health and wellbeing demands a consistent and conscientious routine. This means that returning to work and domestic life requires you to re-establish your usual sequence of events. This is true of your eating habits, your sleeping pattern and your behaviours at work itself. Being on holiday might have left you used to going to bed late, but making sure you get enough sleep and eating regular, balanced meals is a key health factor once you get back.

Consider the specific hazards of your workplace

Having a break from the workplace can make you forgetful when it comes to the specific hazards your work environment poses. Even simple things like a leaky kettle or sharp desk corner are factors that you’ll have to remind yourself to consider in your daily habits.

For office workers, think about the health concerns associated with too much sitting, which can have a negative impact on your spine and posture and has even been shown to increase your likelihood of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Remember to take regular breaks from your desk, even just a stroll to the bathroom or to get a drink.

For manual workers, there can be a host of potential hazards present depending on your specific environment. In fields such as building or engineering it’s particularly important to remind yourself of the threats to your safety and health which surround you every day.

Address any health concerns

Even though it’s not an excuse, an upcoming holiday can sometimes prevent people from addressing any minor health concerns for fear it’ll result in having to delay or even cancel their trip abroad. Now that you’re back in the swing of things, it’s time to consider any nagging health queries you might have and get the answers you need.

Take a few minutes to get in touch with a GP or contact our own online pharmacy team using the Live Chat tool. Not only will this help you to get on the road to recovery, but it’ll also give you back your peace of mind and allow you to give 100% when you return to work.

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