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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.


Is Your Hay Fever Really Hay Fever?

Posted Monday 30 April 2018 09:48 by Tim Deakin in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

Allergy misdiagnosis is common in the UK, so it’s time to clear things up

Around one in four people in the UK now suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. This equates to 16 million people, compared to just one in eight during the 1980s. However, despite its common nature, detailed information about the condition remains hard to find.

Professor of the Royal Brompton allergy clinic in London, Stephen Durham, says: “Family members, GPs, even patients themselves can dismiss hay fever as just a bit of sneezing, but for about 10% of sufferers it causes abject misery.”

Misdiagnosis is also common when it comes to hay fever, says Dr Adrian Morris of the Surrey Allergy Clinic: “Many go to the GP complaining of sinus problems and end up on antibiotics, when they really have hay fever and need antihistamines and nasal spray.”

However, Durham points out that the reverse is also true, saying that there are also many people convinced that they have hay fever when in fact they are suffering from a different allergy.

What are you allergic to?

Often, it becomes easier to determine what kind of allergy you are suffering from once you determine the time of year that your allergy peaks. There are many sources of allergic reactions — which one sounds most familiar to you?

Grass: Grass pollens the majority of hay fever sufferers. The typical pollen season lasts from the first week of May to the second week of September, with a peak from the first week in June to the last week in July.

Birch: Around 25% of allergy sufferers have an allergy to birch trees. This birch season is earlier than the pollen season, lasting from mid-March to the first week in June and peaking from late March to mid-May.

Dust: Dust is a common culprit for allergy sufferers whose symptoms flare up in colder months, although symptoms can be present all year. Dust allergies tend to be worse indoors in winter due to central heating.

Mould: These allergies are the result of various common kinds of mould, such as Cladosporium and Alternaria. Mould allergy usually flares up in early autumn and late spring, and are particularly strong after rain.

Oak: Oak allergies are usually mild, though can be more severe in some cases. The allergy season lasts from the first week of April to mid-June and peaks from the end of April to early June.

Nettle: Everyone remembers nettles for their painful stinging potential, but they can also be a source of mild allergic reaction. The season lasts from the beginning of May to the end of September and peaks from the end of June to the beginning of August.

Oilseed rape: Like grass, oilseed rape allergies come about as a result of airborne pollen. This allergy season for oilseed rape is earlier than that of grass pollen allergies, lasting from the end of March to mid-June. It peaks from mid-May to the end of June.

Pets: Unlike the other allergies listed, pet allergies are not dependant on the time of year. Cats and dogs are the biggest causes of pet allergies in the UK, as our pets shed hair and skin cells which make their way into carpets, bedding and furniture.

Which medication is right for you?

If you do determine that hay fever is responsible for your allergies, there are several treatment options for you to consider.

Fexofenadine: This is a popular unbranded hay fever medication which is medically equivalent to branded options but is more cost effective. It acts as an effective non-drowsy antihistamine by preventing the release of chemicals which cause hay fever symptoms.

Mometasone: This is another popular unbranded medication for allergy relief, this time in the form of a nasal spray. It can help tackle symptoms like itchy eyes, sneezing and congestion.

Telfast: Telfast is the branded equivalent of fexofenadine, acting in exactly the same way to tackle hay fever symptoms.

Nasonex: Again, Nasonex is the branded equivalent of mometasone. It works to treat seasonal hay fever and year-round allergic rhinitis.

You can find allergy relief information and medication at Express Pharmacy. Contact our team today for answers to your queries by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet live chat service.


Your Guide to Beating Allergies This Spring

Posted Thursday 05 April 2018 13:08 by Tim Deakin in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

While most of us look forward to the longer days and (slightly warmer) conditions in spring, there are some that approach the season with trepidation. Allergy sufferers.

Hay fever affects up to 30% of all UK adults, and as we enter the prime time of year for pollen allergies, many people will see their symptoms begin to worsen.

The warmer weather of spring leads to an increased pollen count. Here are just some of the symptoms which can occur:

  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Frequent coughing and sneezing
  • Headaches and earaches
  • Tiredness
  • Itchiness in the throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • Reduced sense of smell

But for those of you suffering with hay fever, fear not. We’re here to show you what you can do to reduce your symptoms and make the most of the new season.

What you should (and shouldn’t) do to beat hay fever this spring

If you worry that your hay fever symptoms are going to flare up this spring and summer, here are a few simple lifestyle changes you can make to give yourself the best chance of fighting off your allergies. We’ve also listed some of the things you should not do, as these can end up making your hay fever symptoms worse.

What you should do to avoid hay fever:

  • Reduce the amount of time you spend outdoors
  • Keep the windows and doors closed as much as possible to prevent pollen from entering your house
  • Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth, as this will remove any pollen from the home
  • Consider buying a HEPA filter vacuum which is specifically designed for allergy sufferers, and a pollen filter for your car
  • When you do go outside, wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes
  • Also, put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
  • When you re-enter the home, shower and change your clothes

What you should not do:

  • Keep fresh flowers in the home as they will bring pollen
  • Spend too much time outdoors. The longer you are outdoors, the greater your risk of symptoms occurring
  • Cut the grass or walk on grass
  • Dry your clothes outside, as they could catch pollen
  • Let pets into the home when they have been outside
  • Smoke, or be around others who smoke. Cigarette smoke can make your symptoms worse

Consider allergy relief medication

Hay fever can be a debilitating and frustrating condition when all you want to do is enjoy the warmer spring weather. Many people who suffer with allergies take medication to reduce their symptoms, particularly those who don’t want the pollen in the air to stop them from getting out and about. Telfast is a branded antihistamine while Fexofenadine is its unbranded equivalent. Both are effective and fast-acting medications for allergy relief, and are available from Express Pharmacy, but don’t just take our word for it! Here’s what some of our customers had to say…

On Telfast:

“I used these many years ago and the product still does what I want it to do. I’m very happy with that.”

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“This product is excellent.”

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On Fexofenadine:

“Better than any over the counter products.”

*****

“The product I ordered is very good, I have been using it for quite some time. I don’t know of any other pharmacy where I can buy it.”

*****

If you’re worried about your hay fever this spring, let Express Pharmacy help. Click here to find out more about the effective medications we offer. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to call our friendly team on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.


10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hay Fever

Posted Monday 22 June 2015 22:15 by Tim Deakin in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

As we delve deeper into the summer months for many this can mean watery, itchy eyes, sneezing fits and constant wheezing. Yes, for millions of people alongside the summer days comes the irritant that is hay fever. And with scientists predicting that this year will see more people suffering from the condition than ever, it’s surprising to find out there are still many things you just didn’t know about hay fever.

Here are 10 facts that may have passed you by, even if you feel the effects of hay fever on an annual basis.

1.) An estimated 25% of people suffer from hay fever in the UK

You certainly aren't alone if you are struck down by hay fever this summer. Around 16 million people are hit with the condition every year, and with predictions suggesting that this summer is going to be a bumper year for pollen, this figure could rise significantly.

2.) Hay fever, eczema and asthma are closely linked

Each of the three conditions are part of the umbrella term "atopy", which is used to describe the genetic tendency to develop classic allergic diseases.

3.) Hay fever is twice as common in towns and cities as it is in the countryside

It may come as a surprise to many, given the high pollen counts found in more rural areas, but more people actually suffer from hay fever in urban areas. This phenomenon is due to the fact that pollen particles bond themselves to the pollutants in the air - typically caused by exhaust fumes - and these combined particles are significantly more likely to set off the body's allergic reaction.

4.) There are different types of hay fever

Different types of pollen can affect different people at different times. The three main types are: tree pollen, grass pollen and weed pollen.

5.) Hay fever can be treated in a number of ways

Hay fever sufferers are often unaware of the range of preventative and remedial measures that can used to combat hay fever. Indeed, medications come in a number of different forms, including eye drops, tablets and nasal sprays - all of which have been shown to be highly effective.

6.) You needn’t wait for you GP to treat hay fever

Many people put up with debilitating symptoms of hay fever whilst waiting for a GP appointment. This can lead to periods of prolonged suffering, particularly in parts of the country where waiting times are high. However, there are a number of medications available over-the-counter without a prescription. Indeed, online pharmacies such as our own now offer hay fever medications that can be ordered from the comfort of your own home and delivered direct to your door.

7.) It runs in the family

Allergies like hay fever can be added to the list of things you blame your parents for giving you. Research has shown that if your parents suffer from allergies such as hay fever, there is an increased likelihood that you will suffer from the condition too.

8.) You cant blame the flowers for it

Contrary to popular opinion, pollen allergies can not be blamed on flowers. Pollen allergies are caused by airborne pollen - those that have been blown away from the plant itself. Pollen from flowers tends to be coated and sticky - in order for it to become attached to bees and other insects that aid in fertilisation - which means flowers usually produce little to no airborne pollen.

9.) Sunglasses could help

It may seem simple, but many people don’t think to pop on their sunglasses as a way of stopping pollen from getting into their eyes. Wraparound sunglasses can be particularly effective at keeping those airborne nasties away from your eyes.

10.) No one knew hay fever existed 200 years ago

in 1819 John Bostock, a Liverpool-born London doctor, first produced a paper on the condition called ‘Case of a Periodical Affection of the Eyes and Chest’ which was based on his own experience of the allergy. This marked the beginning of the recognition that hay fever was in fact a real condition.

Is hay fever effecting your summer? Explore our new range of allergy treatments

Comments

Neena Shingari on Friday 24 July 2015 07:29

A useful informative article.

Reply

Express Pharmacy Introduces New Hay Fever Medications

Posted Friday 19 June 2015 14:51 by Tim Deakin in Hay Fever and Allergy Relief

hay fever medicationHay fever is thought to affect one in four people in the UK. But this shouldn’t mean that a quarter of the population hide indoors during the summer months. In fact, there are a number of preventative measures and treatments available to ensure that pollen allergies don’t’ impact on your enjoyment of the sunny seasons.

At Express Pharmacy we recognise how frustrating it can be for a person to be landed with this allergy year after year. We’ve therefore introduced two new allergy treatments to alleviate symptoms and help you to experience the summer months in a whole new light:

Fexofenadine – this is a type of antihistamine treatment. The treatment works to block the effects of the chemical which causes symptoms of hay fever such as itching.

Mometasone – this treatment is a nasal spray, which helps to reduce the inflammation in the lining of the sinuses.

Don’t ignore your hay fever – treat it early!

Despite the debilitating effects of the condition many people simply choose to ‘put up’ with hay fever. But this shouldn’t be the case. The earlier you treat hay fever the easier it is to alleviate and bring symptoms under control.

Maureen Jenkins, Clinical Director of Allergy UK, says ‘Most people wait until symptoms start before they begin treatment, but the nasal spray needs to be started at least two weeks before symptoms appear, so that the medication is already in your system when pollen triggers your hay fever.’

However, because the condition can strike at any time, many people are unaware of its presence until symptoms arise. Thus, the first step is often simply being aware of what those symptoms are. They will often include:

  • frequent sneezing
  • a blocked nose
  • a runny and itchy nose
  • watery and itchy eyes
  • itchy throat
  • headache
  • wheezing and breathlessness

How does hay fever affect people?

Given this list of symptoms it is no wonder that hay fever can have such a negative effect on everyday life. Hay fever can affect sleep and thus overall concentration as sufferers often complain that symptoms tend to worsen at night.

Lack of sleep combined with the overall drowsiness and fatigue caused by the symptoms can serve to have harmful effects on work performance, too. This was confirmed in a study showing that hay fever came at a cost of more than £324 million to the British economy through lost working hours during the summer period.

Furthermore, scientists have warned that there could be a 33% rise in the number of people suffering with the condition this summer due to worsening conditions. With that in mind it is more important than ever to get the right treatment to avoid being caught out by pollen this year.

Hay fever needn’t ruin your summer, so why not give our new hey fever and allergy relief treatments a go?


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