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Winter Illness: 6 Winter Health Conditions and How to Combat Them

Posted Thursday 29 November 2018 12:53 by Tim Deakin in Primary Care Givers

woman blowing her noseTis the season to watch your health closely

There are a large number of health problems that are triggered by cold weather, such as colds, asthma and the flu. We’re here to help you identify and treat these conditions effectively, so you can enjoy this time of year without worry. Let’s take a look.

Colds

We’re all familiar with the common cold. In fact, colds are the most common acute illness in the industrialised world, with young children experiencing an average of 6-8 colds per year and adults experiencing 2-4.

Thankfully, you can reduce your likelihood of catching a cold through simple hygiene measures, such as washing your hands thoroughly and regularly. You should also keep your home and any household items clean – especially mugs, glasses, towels and pillows.

Fluwinter illness

The flu is a lot more than just a bad cold. In fact, the flu virus can even be fatal in people aged over 65, pregnant women, and people with long-term health conditions such as diabetes, COPD and kidney disease. The best line of defence against the flu is the flu jab, which offers protection for one year.

Joint pain

Although there is no evidence to suggest that weather has a direct effect on our joints, many people with arthritis complain that their symptoms worsen during the winter months. It is not clear why exactly this is the case, but the likelihood is that an overall downward turn in mood can have an impact on people’s perception of their arthritis. Many people feel more prone to negative feelings in the winter, which could cause them to feel pain more acutely.

What’s more, we also tend to move less in the winter, which could have an impact on our joints. Daily exercise is recommended as a way to boost both physical and mental wellbeing. Swimming is ideal as it is relatively gentle on the joints.

Cold sores

Harsh winter winds can dry out our lips and make them more susceptible to the virus that causes cold sores. However, we also know that cold sores are a clear indication of feeling run down or stressed. So, as well as keeping your lips moisturised this season, you should also look after yourself by taking steps to reduce your stress levels. This could involve doing a simple relaxing activity every day like having a hot bath, taking a walk or watching one of your favourite films. It could also involve talking to those around you – or even a professional – about your stress.

Asthma

Cold air is one of the leading triggers for asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing. This means that people living with asthma need to be extra careful at this time of year. Put extra effort into remembering to take your regular medications, and be sure to keep a reliever inhaler close by.

Asthma patients should try to avoid going outdoors on particularly cold and windy days. If this is unavoidable, wear a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth for an added layer of defence.

Acid reflux

Although acid reflux is not directly affected by a change in the weather, it often becomes worse in the winter due to the way our diets and habits change. We tend to indulge in more fatty and rich foods in the winter, as well as more alcohol – especially during the festive period. We also tend to move less and spend more time lying down or slouching, which can also worsen symptoms.

Making positive changes to your diet and fitness regime can help to keep symptoms like heartburn at bay. Effective acid reflux relief medication is also available right here at Express Pharmacy.

Don’t risk your wellbeing this winter; take the necessary precautions to enjoy the season with a clean bill of health.


10 Common Risk Factors for Acid Reflux

Posted Thursday 18 October 2018 21:49 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

Many people assume that their acid reflux is unavoidable, but there are plenty of things which could be worsening your symptoms unnecessarily.

Acid reflux is a very common condition, affecting as many as one in five people. It occurs when the ring of muscle between the stomach and the oesophagus (known as the lower oesophageal sphincter) struggles to close completely. As a result, acid can leak up from the stomach into the throat, causing discomfort and even pain. Heartburn is one of the leading symptoms of the condition.

Anyone can suffer from acid reflux, and most of us probably will experience it at some point in our lives. However, there are several lifestyle habits and aspects that can significantly increase your chances of experiencing the condition, or make your existing symptoms even worse.

Understanding these risk factors is the first step to overcoming the condition entirely. With that in mind, here are 10 factors that can cause acid reflux.

Eating large meals

When eating large meals, your stomach stretches. This is what gives you that ‘stuffed’ feeling, but it also puts pressure on your lower oesophageal sphincter to keep everything down. Try to get into the habit of eating smaller meals more frequently.

Lying down after eating

Gravity has a part to play in acid reflux. Staying upright after eating gives your stomach the best chance of keeping all the acid down, so avoid lying down immediately after consuming a meal.

Being overweight or obese

Research has found that weight gain of 10 to 20 pounds can increase your risk of acid reflux threefold. The more weight you gain, the greater your risk becomes. Try to introduce healthier food options and a regular fitness regime into your routine, starting small and building it up over time. You can also find effective weight loss medication from Express Pharmacy.

Bending over at the waist after eating

Again, this has a lot to do with gravity. Try to avoid bending over when you still feel full, as this can literally squeeze stomach acid up into the throat.

Snacking before bed

Eating just before bed is particularly bad for acid reflux. Not only are you lying down, but you’re also increasing your risk of heartburn. Try to avoid eating three to four hours before bed, and when you do sleep, raise your chest and neck higher with pillows.

Indulging in certain foods

Certain foods are worse for acid reflux than others, particularly fatty foods and spicy foods. These create more stomach acid than others, making it more likely that some will leak upwards. Avoid citrus, chocolate, tomato, onions, cheese and garlic as much as possible.

Drinking certain beverages

Similarly, drinks like alcohol, carbonated drinks and coffee can all aggravate your acid reflux and cause heartburn, so avoid these where possible.

Smoking

There are countless reasons to stop smoking, but one of the them is that nicotine consumption can loosen your lower oesophageal sphincter, making heartburn and acid reflux more likely.

Pregnancy

Progesterone, the main hormone in pregnancy, slows your digestive system. This, along with the weight gain and stomach pressure associated with pregnancy, can all significantly increase your chances of experiencing acid reflux. This means that, if you are pregnant, it’s even more important to take precautions against the condition.

Taking certain painkillers and medications

Though we often rely on them as a quick-fix treatment, common painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen can actually make acid reflux worse. This is also true of certain muscle relaxers and blood pressure tablets.

What can you do?

Thankfully, effective acid reflux relief medication is available. Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Losec and many other options work by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces, therefore reducing the risk of acid leaking into the oesophagus. Each of these options have had their effectiveness and reliability proven. What’s more, they are all available from Express Pharmacy.

For more information, don’t hesitate to contact our team on 0208 123 07 03. Alternatively, you can get in touch via our discreet Live Chat service.


What Causes Acid Reflux and How Can You Beat It?

Posted Friday 28 September 2018 15:59 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

Understanding the condition known as acid reflux is the first step to overcoming it

Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) – more commonly referred to as acid reflux – is a digestive disorder which affects the ring of muscle between the oesophagus and the stomach, known as the lower oesophageal sphincter. Acid reflux refers to the process of acid passing up from the stomach into the oesophagus, causing discomfort, pain and an unpleasant taste.

Acid reflux is often confused with heartburn, which is actually one of many symptoms of acid reflux. Heartburn refers to a painful burning feeling just below the breastbone.

If you are living with acid reflux, we’re here to help. By understanding more about the condition, you will be in a better position to overcome it successfully. Here’s everything you need to know about acid reflux.

What are the symptoms of acid reflux?

As stated, heartburn is one of the leading symptoms of acid reflux. This burning sensation in the middle of the chest is a key sign that you are suffering from GERD. The other key symptom of acid reflux is an unpleasant sour taste in the mouth, caused by the acid which has travelled up from the stomach.

Other potential symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • Hoarseness in your voice
  • Bad breath
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Coughing or hiccups which keep coming back

Many people find that their symptoms are worse when lying down or bending over, or when they’ve just eaten.

What causes acid reflux?

Most people experience at least a small amount of acid reflux at some point in our lives, and there isn’t always an obvious cause behind it. However, for people who experience acid reflux on a chronic level, there are several key factors which can trigger the condition or worsen your symptoms. These include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Certain foods and drinks, including alcohol, coffee, chocolate, fatty foods and spicy foods
  • Certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory painkillers like Ibuprofen
  • A hiatus hernia (a condition in which part of your stomach moves up to your chest)

What can you do to ease acid reflux?

When it comes to acid reflux, simple lifestyle changes can sometimes be enough to ease your symptoms or even get rid of the condition altogether. Below you’ll find some do’s and don’ts for dealing with the condition.

Do:

  • Raise one end of your bed by 10-20cm by putting something under your bed or mattress. By positioning your head and chest above your waist, you’re making it harder for stomach acid to travel upwards.
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day rather than relying on larger meals.
  • Practice relaxation techniques if you suffer from stress, including meditation and yoga.
  • Try to lose weight if you are overweight.

Don’t:

  • Eat 3 to 4 hours before going to bed.
  • Smoke.
  • Drink large quantities of alcohol or drink regularly.
  • Wear clothes which fit tightly around the waist.
  • Consume food and drink that may be considered a GERD trigger.

If your symptoms persist or worsen, you should explore options such as effective anti-acid reflux medication. These treatments can help to ease your symptoms by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach produces. For the best results, swallow the medication whole and consume before eating.

Effective acid reflux medication such as Omeprazole and Lansoprazole are available from Express Pharmacy. If you require any further information about the condition, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Simply call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.


Why Is Your Acid Reflux Worse in Winter?

Posted Wednesday 20 December 2017 10:03 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

Acid reflux symptoms often worsen in winter, but why? And what is the best treatment for acid reflux?

Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common health concern in the UK. In fact, 60 per cent of the adult population will experience acid reflux at some point within a 12-month period, and around a quarter will experience weekly symptoms.

Acid reflux can be diagnosed as when acid from the stomach leaks up into the oesophagus, resulting in heartburn, an unpleasant sour taste and possibly nausea. A lot of people who do suffer from acid reflux often find that their symptoms worsen during the winter months.

So why is your acid reflux worse in the winter? And what can be done to lessen your symptoms?

Why is your acid reflux worse in winter?

Understanding more about acid reflux as a condition is the best way to understand why it tends to worsen over the winter months. By gaining a clearer understanding of the causes of winter acid reflex, you are one step closer to finding the best treatment for acid reflex and heartburn.

Early to bed, late to rise

Gravity has a part to play in the symptoms of acid reflux, as the stomach acid is more likely to leak into the oesophagus when you are not standing or sitting upright. So in winter, when we tend to be less physically active and spend more time in bed or slouching on the sofa, symptoms can worsen. Sleeping with a pillow propping up your upper back can help reduce acid reflux.

Comfort food

As well as being less active in winter, UK adults also tend to follow a less healthy diet too. Taking comfort from the cold with hot, fatty-rich foods is common in winter, but for acid reflux sufferers they can find their symptoms worsen as a result. This is because certain food groups such as fatty foods, spicy foods, chocolate and coffee, can aggravate acid reflux symptoms — and these are often the foods we see as comforting.

Christmas cheer

In the run up to Christmas, we are more likely to gorge on unhealthy food and alcoholic drinks than at any other time of year. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with a few festive tipples, excessive alcohol intake can result in a significant increase in acid reflux symptoms during December. Alcohol is one of the main contributing factors in acid reflux, as it is itself acidic.

What is the best treatment for acid reflux?

There are several different options when it comes to finding the best treatment for acid reflux. Sometimes, it is a case of implementing certain lifestyle changes into your routine which helps to reduce symptoms of the conditions. These work particularly well in terms of preventing acid reflux, but in terms of finding the best treatment for acid reflux, it may be that effective medication is required.

How to prevent acid reflux

Lifestyle changes to prevent or improve acid reflux can include simply enjoying certain things in moderation, like alcohol and fatty foods. Don’t consume substances which trigger your acid reflux in excess.

Increasing your level of physical activity can also reduce your chances of suffering acid reflux symptoms, especially if you are currently overweight and are using exercise to reduce your excess weight. You can also raise one end of your bed by 10 to 20cm to prevent stomach acid from travelling towards your throat.

How to treat acid reflux

Acid reflux medication is an effective and efficient form of GERD treatment. There are several treatments available from Express Pharmacy, including Omeprazole and Lansoprazole — both of which are established and tested medications for treating acid reflux symptoms. So don’t suffer this winter, find the right treatment for your condition today.

For help, information and treatment for any healthcare concerns you have this winter, contact Express Pharmacy. Call us on 0208 123 0703 or use our discreet Live Chat service today.

Comments

Betty Mottley on Wednesday 28 February 2018 17:11

I found taking omeprazole or lansoprazole made all joints hurt. When i bent down to pick up something a sharp pain in the bottom of my spine. Also I got pin pricks in elbow and knee joints. I therefore told the hospital specialist this and he told me he did not believe me, I therefore do not take anything but gavison but it does not stop coughing.

Reply

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.