• Call
  • 0208 123 0703

Health Advice


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.


The Rise of Virtual Diagnoses

Posted Friday 19 May 2017 11:35 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

The number of people choosing to treat their health concerns through online research is on the rise. Even doctors are jumping on board, so does this signal a new age of digitalized GP appointments?

In the 21st century, there is one medical know-it-all who has seen more patients than any other. In fact, it is more than likely that you’ve checked your symptoms with him/her yourself. We are talking, of course, about Dr Google. A quick bit of research online and most of us interpret our maladies with help from one of the world’s largest search engines and choose to self-diagnose ourselves after a quick education session online.

A phenomenon of the 21st century, this kind of medical intervention is on the rise – and depending on who you speak to, it can be both a blessing and a curse that so much information is at our fingertips. But the healthcare system itself is also changing – taking on some of the best aspects of the digital age. Take Express Pharmacy as an example: we now offer prescription medications direct to your door in a safe, swift and discreet fashion.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s now on offer to patients.

How getting a diagnosis has changed

When you think about a consultation with a GP, the traditional image conjured up is of a hot and busy waiting room, a doctor’s office, stethoscopes and dreaded waiting times. There’s a reason for this. On average, over 90% of GP appointments involve a patient, a General Practitioner and a family member, but it seems these figures are changing, according to new reports.

In-person appointments are taking on a digital edge, with GPs nowadays referring to tech tablets to retrieve information and instantly contacting specialists in other areas of healthcare related to patient concerns.

GPs are also being given access to a hub of patient data prior to appointments in order to have the relevant information about the individual on hand. This data can include anything from blood pressure, glucose levels and diet to level of activeness and social engagement. This allows GP appointments to be a true exchange of information, with professionals being able to make informed decisions on treatment which reflects the patient overall, rather than the information they’ve shared during a ten-minute consultation.

In America, there are already FDA-approved smartphone apps being used by GPs to help increase the accuracy of physical patient examinations. It seems appointments are slowly but surely being revolutionised by technology.

But the revolution doesn’t stop at physical appointments. It seems more and more of us are opting for online solutions to our health-related problems, engaging in virtual consultations, using online resources and ordering relevant medication through online sources.

Virtual doctor consultations give the opportunity for a 24/7 appointments service. Like the takeover of online shopping, it could soon be the case that online GP appointments are a common and convenient alternative to making the trip to the doctor’s office.

Of course, in some cases a physical examination is necessary for a condition to be accurately diagnosed, and there are concerns that a rise in online diagnoses could lead to a less personalised healthcare system. In order to understand the rise of virtual GP appointments fully, we need to ask ourselves in what way it could be beneficial to healthcare overall.

So how could digitized appointments be a good thing?

On average, a twenty minute or less GP appointment takes more than two and a half weeks to schedule in, and 35% of patients are left waiting for more than fifteen minutes after their designated appointment time. Virtual appointments could help free up a General Practitioner’s busy schedule, as more than a fifth of appointments are for conditions which are easily self-treated.

The option for patients to input their data for GPs to see gives them more accurate diagnoses and more control over the treatment they receive. By having their illness diagnosed online, a patient can then choose which medication route they want to go down whilst still receiving professional information and advice.

Ultimately, an online diagnosis could be a much easier option for patients. It instantly cuts out both travelling and waiting times and allows patients to treat conditions discreetly. This is particularly important for male patients, as men are twice as likely as women to put off seeing a GP until their symptoms become more severe.

Looking to take advantage of our own online pharmacy for your next prescription. Find out more about how it works.

Related Categories:

Knowing When to Visit the Doctor Could Be Crucial to Easing the Burden on the NHS

Posted Thursday 16 March 2017 09:57 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

The government recently admitted that the NHS will need £1bn in order to cover the cost of personal injury claims. Money it can ill afford.

According to a recent report, the NHS will need an estimated £1bn bailout to cover the cost of personal injury compensation claims. With such a hefty bill adding to the already overstretched healthcare budget, what can we do to prevent the health service from reaching breaking point?

Knowing when you need the help of a doctor and knowing when to simply rest and take over the counter medication may sound simple, but it could actually save billions of pounds a year. As GP surgeries become busier and busier it is advised that people take ownership of their own illness rather than making a routine trip to the doctor. Importantly, this advice should not deter those with serious conditions that require immediate treatment.

Here are some of the health complaints that a GP should not encounter from day to day:

Leave your cold at home

Research at the end of 2016 found that there had been over five million visits to GP offices for blocked noses, forty thousand for dandruff and twenty thousand for travel sickness.

While blocked noses can be uncomfortable and travel sickness can be a nasty affliction, it is important to be aware that a doctor will only prescribe medication that is readily available over the counter in your local pharmacist. A simple trip to your nearest community pharmacy or a check online with us should be the first port of call when you are suffering from a problem that does not warrant a GP appointment.

For conditions such as altitude sickness, acid reflux, erectile dysfunction, period pains or hair loss, pharmacists are well equipped to treat you and put your mind at ease.

Minor symptoms and illnesses are responsible for 57 million GP visits in the UK, as well as nearly four million A&E admissions every year. Sprains made up 38% of these A&E admissions last year, while 17% of them were for flu like symptoms, and 13% were for insect bites. All this put together costs the NHS around £2 billion – twice as much as their personal injury claim debt!

Learn the art of self-care

One in five GP appointments are reported to be for minor, self-treatable symptoms. Therefore, encouraging patients to practice self-care could save doctors more than an hour every day. That’s a lot of free time that could be used to work through a waiting room full of serious conditions.

Self-care is exactly what it says on the tin – an individual taking the time to look after both their physical and mental health. Lifestyle diseases, i.e. conditions that are attributable to the way we live, make up 75% of diseases in the UK. This shows that making a few small changes to our daily routines could help us avoid GP visits altogether.

When it comes to physical health, drinking more water, eating three healthy meals a day and doing even a small amount of exercise can make a huge difference. Cutting out bad habits like smoking or excess alcohol consumption also helps. Similarly, therapeutic activities and breathing exercises can help your mental health by lowering stress and anxiety.

Turn to Express Pharmacy for help

Our three-step online treatment programme allows you to select a treatment, undergo a free consultation and purchase your required medicine without any hassle and with complete discretion – all from the comfort of your own home.

Express Pharmacy provides NHS approved medical help, treatment and advice without the need to use up doctor time.

If you are experiencing an illness or a problem that is a significant issue to you but not one that warrants visiting your GP, don’t hesitate to try our discreet live chat today and find out what we can do for you.


Self-Care Made Simple

Posted Friday 24 February 2017 11:26 by Tim Deakin in Uncategorized

Self-care is reported to be on the rise in the UK. But what does self-care actually mean and why is it so important that people take self-care seriously?

What is self-care?

As the name suggests, self-care focuses on taking ownership of one’s own health and wellbeing. Self-care can mean many different things to different people and can relate to both mental and physical health.

Paying closer attention to your health and wellbeing can be as simple as putting aside more time for exercise, placing more emphasis on quality sleep or making improvements to your diet.

Why is self-care important?

It is estimated that 75% of diseases suffered in the UK today are lifestyle diseases – those that develop as a result of the way we live. Problems such as type II diabetes, coronary heart disease, many types of cancer and mental health conditions such as depression can all be, in part, attributed to the way we choose to look after our bodies and minds.

In a fast-paced, constantly shifting society, it can be hard to pay attention to the demands of your body and mind. But it is clear that self-care has an important role to play in supporting the healthcare system and alleviating the pressure on hospitals and busy doctor’s surgeries.

How to look after your mental health

1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from mental health problems each year. Yet, despite 25% of people being afflicted by mental issues, there is still often reluctance among people to discuss their problems.

Mental health issues can be related to a broad range of factors, many of which stem from stresses and strains in everyday life or a physiological problem such as weight gain or hair loss, which impacts on self esteem.

Here are a few simple yet effective ways you can treat your mental health:

Incorporate therapeutic activities into your daily routine: These can mean something different to everyone, but simple acts like breathing exercises, having a bath, or walking outdoors can help unwind the mind and keep you calm.

Avoid drugs and alcohol: They may seem like a form of relief, but indulging in drugs or alcohol only makes your symptoms worse in the long run.

Treat your physical symptoms: If your mental health has suffered due to concerns over issues such as weight gain or even impotence, getting these treated can help you feel better overall.

How to look after your physical health

Your physical health is what we most often think we need a doctor for, but sometimes we can treat the problem ourselves. £2 billion a year is spent by the NHS on conditions which could be treated at home, showing that there is actually a lot you can do yourself to keep your body healthy:

Drink water: It sounds obvious, but keeping hydrated works wonders for our physical health. Try to always have a bottle of water beside you at work, and aim for the equivalent of around eight large glasses a day.

Exercise: Moving around increases your circulation, aids weight loss, and even helps prevent diseases like type II diabetes. Just a short walk a day can greatly increase your physical health.

Watch what you eat: A healthy diet of vegetables, fruit, fibre, protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats helps make you healthier and more energized. Try to eat three full meals a day instead of grazing, and pay attention to when you are hungry and full.

If you smoke, stop: The body of evidence against smoking is overwhelming today. Smoking harms you and those around you, and makes serious conditions like heart disease and lung cancer much more likely.

Ask for help when you need it: Self-care doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the doctors at all. Instead it means taking charge of your own health and making lifestyle changes that not only tackle an individual symptom but also improves the underlying condition.

If you are looking for support to help you take the first steps towards change, why not speak to the experienced team here at Express Pharmacy. You can contact us by phone or via our handy Live Chat tool for fast, discreet advice.

Related Products: Champix