COVID-19 Service Update: We are currently dispatching treatments as normal

Express Pharmacy

Should You Be Wearing a Face Mask With a Filter?

Posted Wednesday 03 March 2021 10:00 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

We’ve heard on numerous occasions over the past year that we should be wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but what hasn’t been outlined quite so clearly is what type of face mask we should be wearing. In this article, we’ll examine whether you should be wearing a face mask with a filter and what level of protection it can provide you.

How do different masks work?

Medical masks

Medical masks, or surgical face masks, are loose-fitting disposable masks that are meant to protect the wearer from contact with sprays, droplets, moisture or liquids that may contain germs. Medical masks also filter out larger particles, such as dust, which the wearer might breathe in.

Medical masks are made from three layers of synthetic material and are designed to have filtration layers in the middle to offer greater protection. You can purchase medical masks in different thicknesses and there are designs with different levels of fluid-resistance and filtration too.

N95 masks

An N95 mask, such as an FFP2 face mask, is a form of respirator which offers more protection than surgical masks, filtering large and small particles from the air when the wearer breathes in. However, these types of masks have been in shorter supply and are typically reserved for health care providers and those on the front line caring for patients and those with COVID-19. These types of masks are designed to be disposable, just like surgical masks.

Medical masks and respirator masks are similar in terms of the level of protection they provide, but respirators are best suited to specific procedures and instances as they have a tightly fitted component in them. For this reason, they are designed for medical and healthcare workers or areas where aerosol-generating procedures are carried out.

Cloth masks

Cloth masks are intended to trap droplets of moisture that are released when the wearer talks, breathes, sneezes or coughs. They can also protect the wearer from inhaling droplets from other people. To get the most protection from cloth masks, you should choose those which are made from multiple layers of tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton, which will prevent droplets from getting through more effectively.

Face masks are effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, when used in conjunction with other measures such as washing your hands regularly, limiting contact with people outside of your own bubble, and staying indoors as much as possible. Face masks shouldn’t be used as a replacement for social distancing, though.

Getting the most from your face mask

In order to ensure your mask is as effective as possible, you should make sure that it is well fitted to the contours of your face, to prevent as much airflow around the edge of the mask as possible. Your mask needs to be snug over the nose and chin without any gaps, and there should be no air coming out under the edge of the mask.

The best kinds of masks have a bendable nose strip that allows the wearer to mould it to their nose, to prevent gaps and keep a snug fit at all times. Make sure that you store and clean your mask properly each time you use it too, putting it on and taking it off after you’ve thoroughly cleaned your hands. You should try to avoid touching your mask as much as possible when you’re wearing it, in case any germs are spread from your hands to your face, or vice versa. Cloth masks can and should be cleaned regularly in hot water and used masks should be placed in a bag until they can be taken home to be cleaned.

Does my mask have to have a filter?

According to the World Health Organisation, if you’re working in a clinical setting as a healthcare worker; caring for someone who is suspected to have or has been diagnosed with COVID-19; you’re unwell with symptoms of muscle aches, a cough, sore throat or fatigue; or if you’re awaiting test results from COVID-19 testing, you should wear a medical mask.

Medical masks are also advised for the following people, as they are at higher risk of falling ill to the disease:

  • Those aged 60 or over
  • Those with an underlying health condition such as chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, obesity, immunocompromised people, cancer or diabetes mellitus

If you’re a member of the general public, under the age of 60 and don’t have any underlying health concerns, a non-medical fabric face mask can be used to protect you from airborne germs.

Will Wearing Gloves Protect Me From Coronavirus?

Posted Friday 26 February 2021 10:00 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

We now know more about Covid-19 than ever before. We know that coronavirus is mainly spread through tiny droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. We also know that the virus can linger on high touch surfaces for hours. Because of this, many people assume that wearing gloves will protect them. But how true is this?

Doctors and experts: wearing gloves will not protect you from Coronavirus

According to Public Health England:

“PHE is not recommending the use of gloves as a protective measure against COVID-19 for the general public. People concerned about the transmission of infectious diseases should prioritise good personal, respiratory and hand hygiene. The best way to protect yourself and others is: wash your hands with soap and water or use a sanitiser gel, regularly throughout the day. [And] catch your cough or sneeze in a tissue, bin it, and wash your hands.”

Wearing of gloves in public is a very controversial topic. While some people believe that it can help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, health experts like Dr Mary E. Schmidt at the Virginia Commonwealth University believe that gloves can give you a false sense of security.

“People get this idea that they’re protected, and then use gloves to touch themselves or touch their face,” she says.

“As soon as those gloves are contaminated, it’s just like having your [bare] hands.”

If you don’t know how to use gloves properly, you can easily contaminate yourself. For example, when you touch your wallet or phone with your gloved hands, these things are already contaminated. So as fiddling with your mask or touching your face.

So who should wear gloves? And when?

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an outline detailing who should use gloves and when. Here are some key takeaways:

Gloves are needed when:

1. You are cleaning

Reusable or disposable gloves can be used when you are routinely cleaning and disinfecting your home. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after removing your gloves.

2. You are caring for someone who is sick in a non-healthcare setting

When caring for a sick family member or friend at home, you can use gloves when disinfecting the surroundings, especially frequently touched surfaces. You can also use gloves when touching body fluids like urine, saliva, vomit, mucus, and blood.

Dispose of used gloves in the bin. Do not wash or reuse the gloves. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after removing your gloves.

Gloves are NOT needed when:

You do not need to wear gloves when you are outside your home. Gloves will not protect you from Covid-19.

How to properly remove your gloves

There’s a proper technique in removing used gloves to avoid contamination. Here are the steps on how to properly remove your gloves:

  1. Grab either of your gloves and then turn it inside out as you peel it off.
  2. Use the covered hand to hold the dirty glove.
  3. Using your bare hand, reach into the inside of the other glove and slowly peel it inside out. Make sure not to touch the outside of the gloves.
  4. Dispose of the gloves properly in a lined bin.
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. You may use a sanitiser if soap and water are not available.
  6. Don’t wash and reuse used gloves.

What are the best ways to protect myself from Coronavirus?

The best ways to protect yourself from getting infected and spreading Covid-19 are:

  • Staying at home when travelling outside is not essential.
  • Wearing a mask that covers both the nose and mouth. You can use washable masks or surgical face masks.
  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, you can use hand sanitisers.
  • Following social distancing measures.
  • Avoiding large gatherings of people.
  • Avoiding high risks areas like salons, gyms, airports, etc. as much as possible.
  • Avoiding poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces like light switches, railings, doorknobs, phones, handles, countertops, faucets, and keyboards.

5 Types of Thinking, Explained

Posted Monday 22 February 2021 10:00 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

Did you know that thinking can be classified into at least five categories? Knowing how you think and why you think that way can give you an edge at work and in life. In this blog post, we are going to look at the 5 common types of thinking.

1. Creative thinking

Do you love to think outside the box? Do you tend to approach problems differently? Do you try to find new ways to carry out your tasks?

If you answered yes to these questions, you might be a creative thinker!

Creative thinking is not just for artists, musicians, and the like. This type of thinking is common among people who can perceive new patterns, face challenges in a new way, and introduce unorthodox methods on how they do things. Creative thinkers don’t bind themselves with a set of rules.

2. Critical thinking

Do you tend to break a problem or challenge down into its basic parts to solve it? Do you methodically approach a task?

If your answer is yes, then most likely you are a critical thinker.

A critical thinker logically approaches a problem. They have the ability to think rationally and clearly. Critical thinkers can understand the link between ideas, identify errors in an argument, and determine the relevance of ideas. Some jobs that require critical thinking skills include:

  • Judges
  • Engineer
  • Physician
  • Chemist
  • Pilots
  • Financial advisors
  • Human resources specialists, etc.

3. Abstract thinking

Do you love looking at paintings and understanding the message the painter is trying to portray? Do you often speak figuratively?

If yes, then you are an abstract thinker!

Also known as conceptual thinking, abstract thinking is a type of thought process that involves objects, ideas, and principles that are not physically present. Abstract thinking makes it possible for people to be creative. Take comedians for example. These people are great at observing the world around them. They see all the incongruities and absurdities not apparent to most people and then create jokes and connections out of it.

If you want to improve your abstract thinking ability, consider these:

  • Learn to improvise
  • Build 3D models and solve puzzles
  • Have fun with optical illusions
  • Make use of figurative speech

4. Concrete thinking

Do you take instructions literally? Do you base your actions and decisions on factual knowledge?

You are a concrete thinker.

Concrete thinking or perceptual thinking is the polar opposite of abstract thinking. While abstract thinkers focus on the unknown and make connections with the wider world, concrete thinkers are grounded in the physical world. Your reasonings and actions are based on what you can see, hear, and feel now.

Concrete thinking is very dominant among babies and is the first form of thinking that children master. Certain studies suggest that concrete thinking can help you learn from traumatic experiences. It can also prevent you from overgeneralizing, which is very common among people who are suffering from depression.

5. Intuitive thinking

Do you listen to your gut when making decisions? If yes, then you are using a thought process called intuitive thinking.

According to psychologist Gordon Pennycook, all human beings are “gut” thinkers. And there is some truth behind this. You and I know that we often let our emotions guide us as we make choices and solve problems every day. Up to this day, scientists still consider intuitive thinking as a mystery. Here are some quick tips on how you can strengthen your intuition:

  • Learn to meditate
  • Get creative
  • Spend more time in nature
  • Learn to think less and feel more
  • Take a break from your daily routines

You are not limited to one type of thinking

The problems and challenges that we face every day are different. And each can help us grow into a better version of ourselves. One challenge may require a creative approach --- let's take, for example, an art project. Others may need some critical and analytical thinking skills like figuring out how to balance an accounting sheet. And lastly, there are decisions in our lives that we need to make without fully knowing why --- relying only on a hunch or gut feeling. Point is, we are complex individuals and we are not walled to a single type of thinking. It’s all up to you to decide which type of thinking skill to develop so you can gain an advantage at school, work, and life.

5 Essential Items for Travelling During a Pandemic

Posted Wednesday 17 February 2021 10:00 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives in several ways. In this blog post, we are going to talk about 5 essential items for travelling during a pandemic. Read on!

Items to pack when travelling during a pandemic

1. Your face mask

If you intend to travel during a pandemic, your safety should always be your top priority. Don’t forget to pack surgical face masks so that you can keep your nose and mouth covered at all times. Studies show that masks prevent the spread of coronavirus and many countries have made it mandatory to wear one in public places.

2. Hand sanitisers and disinfectant wipes or spray

To help prevent the spread of Covid-19, wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible. However, soap and water are rarely available when travelling. So, we encourage you to bring a bottle of hand sanitiser with you anywhere you go. Choose hand sanitisers that contain at least 60% alcohol for best protection.

Take note that Covid-19 can stay on frequently touched surfaces for several hours. So, aside from a hand sanitiser, we encourage you to bring a bottle of disinfectant spray or a pack of disinfectant wipes as well.

3. Contactless credit/debit card

With contactless credit cards, you can say goodbye to swiping your plastic through the same machine that has been used by countless others before you. Most modern credit cards come with a tap to pay feature which uses a technology called near-field communication. It’s so easy! All you have to do is hold your card close to the card reader and voila, your purchases are paid.

4. A water bottle

You might have noticed that most public drinking fountains have been turned off. Drinking fountains are high-touch areas which may pose some risk of transmission. To stay hydrated and safe, bring your own reusable water bottle on your travels.

5. Ziploc bags

You can use Ziploc bags for almost anything! Ziploc bags have become especially helpful when travelling during a pandemic. For example, you can use Ziploc bags to hold your dirty washable masks so you don't end up contaminating other stuff.

Additional reminders when travelling during a pandemic

Authorities strongly suggest postponing travel and staying at home to protect yourself and your family from Covid-19. However, if you need to travel, keep these in mind:

  • Always check the travel restrictions of your destination before you go.
  • Do not travel if you or your companions are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when travelling
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Always wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. If soap and water are not available, a hand sanitiser will suffice.
  • Make sure you have plenty of masks and hand sanitisers with you.
  • Consider getting tested for Covid-19. Don’t travel if you test positive for Covid-19.

6 Top Tips for a Happy Relationship

Posted Sunday 14 February 2021 09:00 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

What does it mean to have a healthy and happy relationship? Unfortunately, many of us don't know what this really means. It's different for each couple. But one thing is certain --- it's not easy to be in a relationship. Happy couples know that no relationship is perfect.

If you are working to improve your relationship with your spouse or partner, you've come to the right place. Below are our 6 top tips for a happy relationship.

Tip #1. Be honest

Communicating openly with your partner is key to keeping a happy relationship. Healthy couples do not avoid issues. They always tell the truth and face any hiccups squarely in the face, rather than letting it undermine their relationship in the future. Do not avoid conflicts. If something is amiss, sit down with your partner, get rid of all distractions, and talk it out without pride and prejudice.

Tip #2. Ask questions

Spark engaging conversations with your partner that help you connect. Avoid questions like "How was your day?" as this can be easily dismissed by a response like "It's alright. How about yours?". This type of question in no way improves your relationship. Instead, try asking deeper questions like:

  • What made you smile today?
  • Can you share your most challenging experience today?
  • Tell me about something that you are grateful for today?

These open-ended questions allow your partner to think and ultimately share something deeper and more honest. You can tell your partner to ask you the same questions too.

Another important aspect you need to consider is how you handle the answer. If you are asking open-ended questions, don’t rush your partner for a response. And then be ready for anything. Your partner’s answer may not always be pretty or happy and in some cases, it may trigger something in you as well. And that’s ok.

Vulnerability can lead to intimacy. The more you know your partner on a deeper level, the healthier and stronger your relationship will become.

Tip #3. Learn to compromise

We are living in a time where individuality and entitlement is the norm. Unfortunately, this will not work in a relationship. Once you enter into a commitment with someone, your life and everything you do is not about you anymore ---- it's about the other person too. So, if you want a happy relationship, learn to compromise. Get out of your self-centred shell and put yourself in the shoes of your spouse or significant other. Learn to empathize and view the world through their lens. Big and small compromises are key to keeping a relationship healthy and strong.

Tip #4. When you fight, take a break

Fights in a relationship are inevitable. When they do come up, make sure to treat your partner with the utmost respect and kindness he or she deserves. If you feel that your temper or your partners is beginning to escalate, call for a break to cool down. The secret to making this technique work is by picking a specific time (let’s say at 4 pm on Monday, or an hour from now, etc.) to revisit the issue so both of you can have closure. By taking a break when you are fighting, you are letting the cooler heads prevail --- avoiding any words or actions that can damage your relationship.

Tip #5. Conduct a relationship inventory

Trust me, this tip right here can fix a lot of relationship issues! A relationship inventory is a one to one meeting where you and your spouse or partner can talk about the status of your relationship and what you can improve on. You can schedule your relationship inventory weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly.

Doing a relationship inventory is easy. You can first start talking about the things you appreciate and then gradually opening up to things you need to improve on. Create a goal and a plan. And then follow up on this on the next inventory day. Lastly, end your inventory with words of gratitude and perhaps, a cup of hot chocolate or your favourite food, as a reward.

Tip #6. Keep passion alive

A lot of couples are concerned about performance anxiety to the point that it starts to undermine their relationship. Are you worried about erectile dysfunction? Don’t be. Here are some of the best erectile dysfunction treatments that you can order online and get delivered discreetly at your doorstep.

You and your partner can easily reduce this tension by maintaining a healthy sexual relationship! Aside from strengthening your bond, sex can also help reduce stress, improve sleep, prevent prostate cancer, and lower blood pressure. It’s a win-win!

We hope these top tips for a happy relationship can bring back the spice and butterflies in your relationship!

8 Causes of Toothache and How to Get Rid of It

Posted Tuesday 09 February 2021 11:00 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

A toothache is not just caused by eating too many sweets. Tooth pain can be debilitating --- making it hard to focus, sleep, talk, and chew. Here are 8 causes of toothache and how to get rid of it.

8 causes of toothache

1. You have infected gums

Gum infections come in two forms. A mild infection known as gingivitis causes your gums to become red and inflamed. This swelling can cause some discomfort and tooth pain. Untreated, gingivitis can develop into a more severe infection called periodontitis. This more serious form of gum infection creates holes or pockets in the gums that serves as a breeding ground for bacteria.

How to treat infected gums:

For gingivitis, frequent brushing and flossing are enough to get rid of the infection. However, for more severe cases like periodontitis, anti-inflammatory medicines to deal with the swelling is often the first line of defence. Depending on the severity, your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics.

2. You have a hole in your tooth

Your teeth are covered by a hard surface called enamel. Decay can eat through enamel creating a hole in your tooth --- a cavity. Small cavities don’t cause any problems. You won’t even notice that it’s there unless you take a closer look. It's when cavities get very large that toothache becomes an issue. Cavities near the nerves can also cause tooth pains. A toothache caused by severe cavities usually causes sharp, piercing pains that get worse at night.

How to treat cavities:

Your dentist can clean the surrounding areas of a cavity and then fill it up. However, when cavities are large and irreparable, the last resort is often a root canal.

3. You have a fractured tooth

A crack or break in your tooth can also cause toothaches. These cracks can be caused by biting on something hard. The fracture can create severe pains when it’s not separated completely and if it moves every time you take a bite.

How to treat a fractured tooth:

In minor cases, your dentist may give you a crown or cap that covers the fractured tooth. However, on severe breaks, you may need an implant to replace the damaged tooth.

4. Food is jammed between your teeth

This is very common, especially if you are fond of eating popcorn! Food particles jammed between your teeth can get pushed deeper into your gums every time you chew. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria which eventually causes pain and swelling. Unchecked and untreated, this abscess may lead to a full-blown gum infection.

How to prevent an abscess:

Simple, just floss every day!

5. Your wisdom teeth are growing through

Expect a dull and debilitating pain if your wisdom tooth comes out in an awkward position or if it doesn’t have enough space to grow. Your risks of developing gum infections are also higher when your wisdom teeth are poking out.

How to deal with your wisdom tooth:

You can deal with the pain by taking some paracetamol or other pain killers. If your wisdom teeth have come out awkwardly, you can consider getting it removed.

6. Your filling fell out

A filling is a great way to deal with cavities in your teeth. However, filling materials don’t last forever and when they break down, they leave a void where food can get stuck --- providing a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

How to fix a broken filling:

If you have a broken filling, contact your dentist and get it patched up as soon as possible.

7. Your gums are backing away

Receding gum is usually caused by the enamel at the gum line wearing away. Without this protective coating, your gums and teeth become exposed to the elements causing pain and over sensitivity to hot or cold foods.

How to deal with receding gums:

You can deal with sensitive teeth using Sensodyne. This toothpaste can help strengthen the enamel in your teeth and gum line with regular use.

8. Your sinuses are flaring up

If you experience toothache while suffering a cold, then that tooth pain is most likely caused by your sinuses flaring up. Remember that your sinuses are located just above your teeth. If they are full, they could exert pressure to your teeth causing pain in various areas. Sinus-related toothaches are usually not limited to just one tooth.

How to fix:

The best way to deal with this kind of toothache is to deal with the underlying condition that’s causing it. In this case, your sinus infection. Once your sinus infection clears up, you should notice the tooth pain going away as well.

Treat Yourself This Valentine’s Day

Posted Tuesday 09 February 2021 06:00 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

Pssst, Cupid called, he’s got a treat for you! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’re offering huge discounts across a variety of products.

Get 20% off selected products using code LOVE20

Code valid from 9th February to 12th February

What’s Included In This Offer?

3 Warning Signs of Cancer

Posted Thursday 04 February 2021 10:00 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

Did you know that based on data published by the Cancer Research UK, there are at least 367, 167 new cancer cases every year in the UK? That is equal to about 1000 cases every day! More than half of these cancer cases are bowel, lung, prostate, and breast cancers --- affecting various age groups.

Most cancers are treatable, especially in the early stages. That’s why looking out for warning signs is key. Here are 3 warning signs of cancer that you should keep an eye on.

What are the most common types of cancer in the UK?

According to the NHS, there are at least 200 types of identified cancer --- ranging from Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells, to vulval cancer which is a rare type of disease that affects a woman’s external genitalia.

In the UK, the most commonly diagnosed cancers are:

Breast Cancer – mostly affects women over 50 years old. This type of cancer is usually characterised by changes in shape or size of one or both breasts, swelling under the armpits, rashes around the nipples, or bloody discharge from the nipples.

Lung Cancer – 47,000 people are diagnosed with this disease every year. Common symptoms include persistent coughing, breathlessness and coughing up blood.

Prostate Cancer – a slow developing cancer that affects men, usually over 50 years old. This cancer may develop without obvious symptoms aside from an increased urge to urinate.

Bowel Cancer – this type of cancer commonly affects people over 60 years old. It usually begins in the large intestines and is usually characterised by persistent blood in your faeces, bloating, abdominal pain, and abnormal changes in your bowel habit.

How cancer develops in the body

Cancer begins in one cell or a group of cells. There are different cells in the body, in fact at least a hundred million of them. Each of these cells produces a signal controlling how much and how often they divide or multiply. Sometimes, there are "errors" in this signal causing certain types of cells to multiply uncontrollably --- forming a tumour.

This primary tumour will continue to grow using the oxygen and nutrients supplied by nearby blood vessels. However, as it grows bigger, it will need more blood to survive. This need prompts the tumour to create new blood vessels in a process called angiogenesis. This process allows the tumour to grow bigger and enables cancer cells to enter the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body in a process called metastasis. How far and where cancer has spread is usually the basis of cancer staging systems. Cancer can spread anywhere in the body but it’s most likely to attack the liver, lungs, brain, liver, bones, or lymph nodes first.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

Most cancer treatments rely on early diagnosis to be successful. Cancer is harder to stop when it’s at its later stages of infection (i.e., Stage 3 and 4). During its early stages, cancer is still small and has not yet spread to different areas of the body. This allows doctors to remove the tumour through surgery or other methods.

So, what are the warning signs of cancer that you should be wary about? Read below:

1. Lump in various parts of the body

Did you know that you can feel many types of cancer through your skin? Lumps are common in cancers affecting the soft tissues in the body like your testicles, breasts, and lymph nodes. Lumps can be a warning sign of early or late-stage cancer. Consult your doctor immediately if you have just noticed this symptom or if the lump has grown in size.

2. Unexplained weight loss

One of the first signs of cancer is losing a good chunk of weight, around 4.5 kilograms, in a short period without knowing why. Most people with cancer (especially those affecting the stomach, lung, oesophagus, and pancreas) experience massive weight loss.

3. Bleeding or discharge

Bleeding and unusual discharges may be a sign of an early or advanced form of cancer. For example, the presence of blood in the stool can be a tell-tale sign of rectal or colon cancer. Coughing up blood may mean that you have lung cancer. Bladder or kidney cancer is usually characterised by blood in the urine while breast cancer may come with a bloody discharge from the nipples. Cervical cancers usually cause abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharges. If you experience any of these, get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible.

There are many early warning signs of cancer aside from the three listed in this article. You know your body. If you notice any major changes in how your body works and if these changes persist, let your doctor know. Remember that one of the best ways to survive cancer is to detect it as early as possible.

How to Maintain a Strong Immune System

Posted Wednesday 27 January 2021 10:00 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

Your immune system does a marvellous job at protecting your body from germs and viruses. However, it sometimes fails, causing you to get ill. You and your immune system need to work together to make it stronger, so it can ward off harmful bacteria and viruses more effectively. Below are some tips on how to maintain a strong immune system.

12 ways to maintain a strong immune system

1. Take care of your mental health

It all begins in the mind. According to experts, your mental and physical health go hand in hand. Studies show that people with good mental health are more likely to take good care of their own body by eating right, practising good hygiene, getting enough sleep, etc.

2. Get enough sleep

Your body takes advantage of sleep to "repair" and "reboot" itself. That's why it's important to get enough sleep every night. An average adult needs around 8 hours of sleep. Studies show that sleeping less than 8 hours per night makes someone 4 times more likely to develop a cold.

3. Take vitamins and supplements

Taking lots of Vitamin C can help protect your cells from oxidative stress. It also helps boost cell function. Hence, increasing the ability of your immune system to fight diseases. You can get Vitamin C from grapefruit, oranges, kiwi, and spinach.

Another vitamin that's vital in improving your immune system is Vitamin D. And this vitamin is available to all for free! The best source of Vitamin D is the sun. So, make sure to spend at least 10 minutes outside each day.

Vitamin B6 (commonly found in salmon, tuna, green veggies, chicken, and hummus) and Vitamin E (found in spinach, seeds, and nuts) can also help make your immune system stronger.

Aside from natural sources, you can also get your daily vitamin needs from supplements, right here at Express Pharmacy.

4. Exercise regularly

Did you know that exercise helps to slow down the release of stress hormones in your body? It can also help flush out bacteria and clear your airways! Exercising regularly can help decrease your risks of developing life-threatening illnesses such as fatty liver disease and heart attack. Keep a healthy exercise regimen to boost your immune system.

5. Always take a shower after your workout

Sweat provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. These harmful organisms can enter your body through cuts and abrasions, causing infections which could compromise your immune system.

6. Always wash your hands

A tested and proven method, proper and regular handwashing can keep you from catching various diseases. It also helps prevent the spread of germs. Scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds, making sure that every inch is washed thoroughly. You might find singing Happy Birthday or Mary Had a Little Lamb helpful to keep you on track.

Make it a habit to bring hand sanitiser with you in case soap and water is not readily available.

7. Manage your stress

Did you know that stress can affect your body's immune response? High levels of stress cause your body to produce more cytokines and cortisol (also known as stress hormones) than normal. These hormones can trigger inflammation throughout your body --- spreading your defences thin. As a result, you become more prone to developing colds and sores.

Most people who are stressed are also not eating healthily. Many of them don't get enough sleep too! Not eating right and poor sleep can make your immune system weaker.

8. Meditate

One of the best ways to manage your stress is through meditation and yoga. Deep breathing techniques help improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and lower cortisol levels. Calming your nervous system also helps reduce inflammation.

9. Keep your gut healthy

Did you know that up to 80% of your immune system is found in your gut? That's why eating a healthy diet can do wonders to your immune response. Focus on taking foods that are unprocessed, whole, and rich in antioxidants to reduce inflammation and encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut.

Fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, and legumes are important too in keeping your gut healthy. So are fermented foods like yoghurt, miso, and kimchi. These probiotics contain live microorganisms that help boost immunity when taken regularly. If you are not familiar with probiotic foods, know that the flavour can be strong at first. You can start with just a teaspoon per day to help you develop a taste for these amazing products.

10. Keep yourself hydrated

Water can do marvellous things to your immune system. Drink at least eight glasses of water each day.

11. Limit your alcohol consumption

Alcohol is beneficial in moderate amounts. When abused, however, alcohol can have several adverse effects on your immune system. High amounts of alcohol can weaken your immune system as your body spends all its resources trying to detoxify it.

This study shows that excessive consumption of alcohol can increase your risks of developing liver diseases, certain cancers, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and pneumonia.

12. Stop smoking

The chemicals found in cigarettes, namely nicotine, cadmium, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxides can affect the function and growth of your immune cells. According to experts, smoking can make infections worse - especially lung infections. Smoke responsibly or quit the habit entirely.

You are exposed from harmful and even potentially deadly pathogens every day --- even in your home. Your immune system is your natural protection against these. Maintaining a strong and healthy immune system is paramount if you are to protect yourself and your family from any type of virus.

We’ve Been Awarded Feefo's Platinum Trusted Service Award!

Posted Friday 22 January 2021 14:05 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

Exciting news! We’ve been recognised for our excellent customer service and awarded with Feefo’s ‘Platinum Trusted Service Award!’.

What Is The Platinum Trusted Service Award?

Feefo’s Platinum Trusted Service Award “recognises those businesses that go above and beyond to provide a consistently excellent service year after year”.

To win this award, there are two bits of criteria:

  • Win the Gold Trusted Service Award for three consecutive years
  • Achieve a Feefo service rating of at least 4.5 out of 5

This Platinum award has been years in the making. We couldn’t have done it without the endless hard work from the Express Pharmacy team and the amazing support from our customers!

What Does This Mean For Our Customers?

We all know that reading reviews helps to gain trust and confidence in a product or service. This is why we use Feefo, as it allows customers to get as honest as they like when leaving a review. Having this Platinum Service Trust Award proves that we deliver exceptional customer service no matter what; that we are a pharmacy you can trust.

Thank You!

From old to new, thank you so much to all of our customers for getting us to where we are today. We strive for excellence here at Express Pharmacy, and this award from Feefo has helped to prove just that. Here’s to many more years of giving you the best service possible.

How to Stop Your Glasses Fogging Up When Wearing a Mask

Posted Friday 22 January 2021 09:00 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

We’re living in very strange times - if you told us back in 2019 that we’d have to wear face masks in public places and keep our distance from loved ones, we would have never believed you! But while the world has changed and regulations remain in place, some people have a harder time adjusting than others. That’s right - we’re talking about the glasses wearers who can’t stop fogging up when wearing a mask!

Wearing a mask without your glasses fogging up has become quite the challenge, but don’t worry. This guide will uncover some helpful tips that’ll put the days of fog behind you.

Why Do Your Glasses Fog Up When Wearing A Mask?

Have you ever noticed that your glasses steam up when in an incredibly hot or cold room? A similar reaction occurs when you wear a mask. As you breathe when wearing a mask, the warm air travels upwards towards your glasses. Your glasses are naturally cooler than your warm breath, causing the lenses to steam up. If this problem persists, the steam creates moisture, resulting in the glasses slipping down your face.

How To Stop Your Glasses Fogging Up When Wearing A Mask

Luckily, there are some things that you can do to prevent your glasses from steaming up. While these tips may feel unnatural at first, they will soon become a part of your everyday routine. And, before you know it, the following tricks will feel just as natural as wearing a mask does now.

1. Tighten Your Mask’s Ear Loops

As mentioned previously, the main reason as to why your glasses steam up is because your warm breath escapes from the top of the mask. To prevent this from happening, you need to create a seal. One of the easiest ways to do this is by tightening your mask.

If you find that your mask doesn’t fit snugly on your face and seems to have a lot of gaps, twist the ear loops into an ‘X’ shape before hooking them around your ears. This will help to pull the mask closer to your face, closing off the gap that causes all of the problems. Just remember to be gentle with this process - having a mask sit too tightly may irritate your ears and lead to red marks.

2. Ensure The Mask Fits Snugly On Your Nose

Similarly to the previous point, you also need to ensure the mask fits snugly on your nose. If the mask is loose around your nose, it’ll be near impossible to close the gap where warm air escapes.

Securing your mask around your nose is very easy if you wear a surgical face mask. Surgical face masks have a wire around the nose area so that you can mould the mask to the shape of your face. Press firmly on the wire until it closes the gap. Some people find that using a small bit of surgical tape helps to keep the mask in place if there is no wire.

3. Clean Your Glasses

This is a nice and easy tip. Sometimes, as simple as it may sound, glasses appear cloudy when they haven’t been cleaned. The accumulation of grime results in a hazy lens, and if it’s been like this for quite some time, you might not even notice how dirty the lens has got!

To prevent extra cloudiness from a dirty lens, clean your glasses regularly with glasses cleaner. A simple wipe on each lens will get rid of any build-up, leaving you with crisp vision. We highly recommend getting into a good lens cleaning routine, especially now that we have to pay extra caution to sanitisation.

4. Get New Frames

As you have probably realised by now, the main way to prevent your glasses from fogging up is by keeping them firm on your face. If you’ve tried the above tips and still find yourself living in a haze, consider heading to the opticians.

Glasses that fall down frequently are usually a result of sizing problems. It might be that you need a better fitting frame or a new pair of glasses altogether. While we can’t determine what the answer will be, your opticians will be able to take measurements and find out in an instant. A well-fitting frame will sit proudly on your face without any slippage.

5. Focus On Your Breathing

So - we now know that glasses fog up as a result of your warm breath escaping out the top of your mask. To lower the chances of this happening, try to focus on your breathing as much as possible. Although easier said than done, breathing steadily and pushing the air downwards will minimise the amount that escapes out the top. Over time, you’ll be able to master a technique that doesn’t require much thought at all!

Wave Goodbye To The Fog

The next time you wear a face mask with glasses, try out these simple tips to prevent any fog. Remember: your mask needs to sit snugly on your face, without a gap at the top. The less air that can escape, the less likely it’ll be that your glasses fog up!

If the fogging problems persist, even if you’ve tried and tested all of these tips, consider wearing contact lenses. Contact lenses will eliminate all of the hassle and frustration, without meaning you have to sacrifice your clear vision.

5 Things You Should Know About Vitamin D

Posted Tuesday 19 January 2021 10:57 by Harman Bhamra in Express Pharmacy

There’s no denying that things are pretty tough at the minute. The skies are grey, you’re stuck inside, and a summer holiday to the Caribbean isn’t looking likely.

While lockdowns and restrictions are essential for controlling the spread of Coronavirus, you may not realise just how much of an impact it all has on your body. This is particularly the case with Vitamin D levels.

Here are five things that you should know about Vitamin D, including how to get the right amount during a global pandemic.

What Is Vitamin D?

Often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. Just like all vitamins, Vitamin D is essential for keeping our bodies healthy and functional.

The great thing about Vitamin D is that we can get it from sunlight exposure. This means that, from late March to the end of September, all we have to do is spend time outdoors to get a sufficient amount. Between October and March, however, cold weather makes this more difficult. This means that we have to seek alternative ways to get our daily dose of Vitamin D.

5 Important Things About Vitamin D

Read on to discover five important things about Vitamin D, including how to get it when you’re stuck indoors.

1. It Is Vital For Strong Bones And Teeth

Vitamin D plays a key role in helping the body absorb calcium from the foods you eat. It is incredibly important for your body to absorb this calcium, as calcium is essential for bone growth and development.

If you do not receive sufficient levels of Vitamin D, the body will not absorb as much calcium, resulting in brittle bones and teeth. This can lead to a whole range of factors, including rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

2. It Can Protect You Against Chronic Diseases

Just like many other vitamins, Vitamin D helps to boost your immune system.

Studies from the University of Copenhagen found that Vitamin D helps to activate the T-cells in your immune system; these T-cells attack organisms that can produce disease. If your body isn’t receiving enough Vitamin D, it will not have the support it needs to fight infection. This is why it is incredibly important to keep Vitamin D levels high to lower the chances of getting Coronavirus.

As well as lowering the risk of developing a virus, research suggests that Vitamin D may also protect you against chronic diseases. This includes:

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Colorectal Cancer

3. It Doesn’t Just Come From Sunlight

Vitamin D might be called the “sunshine vitamin”, but it doesn’t just come from sunlight. This is important to know, especially during the darker months (and during lockdown).

Although a very small list, Vitamin D can be found in the following foods:

  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Oily fish
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods

Of course, the above foods do not suit everyone's diet, and it’s unlikely that you’ll eat them on a daily basis. With this in mind, health experts are advising that we take a Vitamin D supplement every single day. These supplements help ensure that, even when we are stuck inside, we get the right amount of Vitamin D to support our bodies' needs.

You can find Vitamin D supplements right here at Express Pharmacy. We stock leading brand Vitabiotics, who specialise in ensuring your body receives the right vitamins and nutrients.

4. You Need A Certain Amount Every Single Day

As mentioned earlier in this guide, a Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a weak immune system and brittle bones. But, while we know that Vitamin D is important for our body, how much do we actually need each day?

Babies (0-12 months): Babies under the age of 1 need 8.5 micrograms of Vitamin D each day.

Children (1 year+): Children over the age of 1 need 10 micrograms of Vitamin D each day.

Teenagers & Adults: Just like children over the age of 1, all teenagers and adults need 10 micrograms of Vitamin D each day.

When exposed to sunlight during the warmer months, you should be able to meet the above requirements without a second guess. When stuck indoors due to lockdown or during the winter months, however, supplements are essential to ensure you get the right amount. All Vitamin D supplements are tailored with the above requirements in mind.

5. It Might Help With Weight Loss

It’s no secret that if you fuel your body with the right nutrients, it will reward you. Getting the right levels of Vitamin D is no exception.

Studies have found that reduced-calorie diets were far more effective in aiding weight loss when the participants had higher levels of Vitamin D in their bodies. Women who fulfilled their Vitamin D requirements lost an average of 7lbs more than women who didn’t!

Vitamin D Is Needed Now More Than Ever

With so many health benefits associated with Vitamin D, we all need to make an effort to keep it in our bodies. While this may be difficult to get through more natural sources when stuck inside, taking a daily supplement will keep everything under control. For more information regarding the importance of Vitamin D, check out this guide from the NHS.