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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.


Are We Entering a Post-Antibiotic Era? And What Does That Even Mean?

Posted Friday 27 November 2015 12:45 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

In November, much of the discussion during World Antibiotic Awareness Week revolved around the growing fear that antibiotics will soon no longer be an effective treatment for diseases.

The initiative, run by the World Health Organisation (WHO), established with the aim of increasing awareness of global antibiotic resistance. The WHO declared this issue to be a global threat as early as 2014, but with the recent discovery of bacteria capable of resisting all forms of antibiotic, the question is now less about “How do we avoid resistance to antibiotics?” and more a case of “What do we do when antibiotics become ineffective?”

What is antibiotic resistance and how does it come about?

For those not familiar with the concept of antibiotic resistance, it is important to state that this is a natural phenomenon that occurs as bacteria evolve over time. As bacteria grow and multiply, they adapt and change their ability to combat the antibiotics that humans have come to rely on.

What the WHO and other health organisations have been at pains to point out, however, is the fact that misuse and over-prescription of antibiotics has only served to hasten the process.

Antibiotics are used to cure illnesses and kill harmful bacteria. But different strains of bacteria have varying abilities to fight back against a specific antibiotic. Over time, the interaction of different bacterium shares around resistant properties. The transfer and exchanging of genetic material between bacterium means that resistance genes can spread quickly.

Another way of the bacteria becoming resistant is through genetic mutation. Genetic mutation is a rare, spontaneous change in the genetic material, which can in some cases lead to an improvement in a bacterium’s strength of resistance.

As subsequent generations inherit the resistance gene, the effectiveness of antibiotics decreases at a drastic rate. The result of this is what we term a post-antibiotic era.

Post-Antibiotic Era

The World Health Organisation have confirmed that the world is now on the brink of a Post Antibiotic Era. As the number of ‘superbugs’ increases exponentially, the ability of doctors to prescribe effective treatment will reduce drastically.

In China, bacteria have already been found to overcome the strongest antibiotics, and the worry now is that this problem could manifest itself into a global crisis very quickly. By their very nature, superbugs spread between individuals and even species at great speed.

So, should we be frightened?

While there is certainly cause for concern at the prospect of a return to a world where our most effective antibiotic treatments are no longer of use, medical experts have advised that it is possible to slow down the advance of this post-antibiotic era.

First and foremost it is important that people are informed and educated around issues such as the misuse of antibiotics, the continuing purification of water, development of new drugs and, most importantly, encouraging people to finish a course of antibiotics when prescribed.

If these objectives can be enforced then it may be possible for the world to delay the worst effects of a post-antibiotic era until such time as scientists can find an alternative solution.

Comments

Candy Swift on Tuesday 26 January 2016 07:44

We haven't even solve the problem of antibiotic resistance, and now we are facing post-antibiotic resistance! Scientists and biotech companies should speed up related researches.

Candy Swift

Creative Biolabs

http://www.creative-biolabs.com

Reply
Miranda on Wednesday 21 June 2017 21:08
Reply to Candy Swift

These sort of things could have been avoided right from the beginning of antibiotic production if only thorough research was done... It is always wise to look at long-term effects of our developments before we can put them to use... so we can calculate the risk... I believe with the information we have so far ,we can come up with new strategies that will be effective even in the long run.

Reply

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