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Health


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 the Summer Holidays Bad for Your Children’s Health?

Posted Friday 13 July 2018 13:26 by Tim Deakin in Primary Care Givers

Your kids are probably starting to enjoy a well-deserved break from their studies. But is the long summer off having a detrimental effect on their overall health and wellbeing?

A study has revealed that the summer holidays are potentially detrimental to children’s health. This is largely thanks to kids spending chunks of their summer break sitting “in front of screens” and losing much of the fitness they have gained throughout the school year.

The research by UK Active measured the health of 400 school pupils before and after the summer holidays, and found that their overall health and fitness had decreased significantly. They were only able to run far shorter distances at the end of their summer break, having to frequently stop due to exhaustion.

On average, the results showed that British school children lost around 80 per cent of the fitness they have built up during term time. This is due to time off being spent “lazily”, and options like summer camps and sports clubs being too much of a financial strain for many parents. The deterioration in children from the least well-off 25 per cent of families was 18 times greater that that of children from the most well-off 25 per cent.

UK Active Research Director and leader of the study, Dr Stephen Mann, described the results of the study in greater detail, stating that it “suggests deprived children are being plonked in front of screens for hours on end.”

Dr Mann went on to describe the negative effects prolonged inactivity can have on a child’s health, saying:

“Being inactive as a child sets a dangerous precedent on a number of levels. As well as being linked to impaired physical development, shorter attention span and lower grades, an inactive childhood means that person faces much higher risk of deadly diseases such as heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes in later life.”

These findings affirm fears which have been present for many years, Previous research found that 50 per cent of seven year olds in the UK don’t meet the Chief Medical Officer’s minimum physical activity guidelines of one hour of physical activity a day. Furthermore, a national audit in 2016 found that there were more than 500 million children in the UK with Type 2 diabetes.

What can you do about it?

Although summer camps and sports clubs are a great way to keep your child fit, this may not be a realistic solution for parents who struggle to meet the costs. However, there is plenty you can do with your child yourself to encourage fitness. Take a bit of time every day to do something active, whether it’s a game of football in the garden or an evening stroll around the block. And at least once a week, try to push yourself further with something slightly more demanding, like a Sunday hike or a trip to the local swimming pool.

Diet is another key factor here. Although frozen foods are often the easiest solution, taking the time to prepare healthy homecooked meals for your child can make a significant difference when it comes to their health, fitness and energy levels. You should also try to encourage your children to retain a decent sleeping pattern even when they aren’t at school.

Setting a good example is a big part of encouraging your kids to stay fit. Why not use this summer to improve your own fitness too? If you’re struggling with your weight, safe and effective weight loss medication is available from Express Pharmacy.

For more guidance and information on a variety of health concerns, don’t hesitate to contact Express Pharmacy. Give us a call today on 0208 123 07 03 or speak to us directly using our discreet online Live Chat service.


The NPA’s ‘See You Sooner’ Campaign Aims to Relieve Pressure on the NHS

Posted Tuesday 15 May 2018 09:59 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

Are pharmacies the answer to the NHS crisis?

The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours, and this number seems only set to rise. The total number of people visiting Accident & Emergency departments in 2017 was 23.372 million, which marks a rise of almost a quarter (23.5 per cent) over the last decade. NHS spending has also risen hugely in recent years. In 2017, net expenditure was £120.512 billion, which has increased from £78.881 billion in 2007.

It is clear from figures such as these that there is a huge amount of pressure on the NHS. This has led to a chronic access problem, meaning patients are having to wait for extended lengths of time to receive advice, diagnoses and treatment.

So what is the solution? Well, the National Pharmacy Association believes that the answer lies in placing more emphasis on pharmacies as a local healthcare service.

By allowing local pharmacies to flourish as centres of health and wellbeing for the surrounding community, the intense strain can be alleviated from the NHS as less people will rely on GPs and hospitals as a first port of call. This will also allow pharmacists to put their clinical skills to further use.

The See You Sooner campaign from the NPA aims to make this happen. They believe that local pharmacies should be people’s first and main contact for healthcare, dramatically improving access to treatment and advice.

What are the aims of ‘See You Sooner’?

The NPA’s See You Sooner campaign’s key aspirations are:

- There should be no unnecessary or avoidable barriers in place to receiving appropriate care in a timely fashion.

- No one should have to wait to see a doctor for the treatment of minor concerns like colds and coughs.

- People in all parts of the country should have the option to access health checks such as blood pressure at their local pharmacy. At the moment, there are only a few examples of commissioning health checks in local pharmacies.

- No one should have to wait to see a doctor for the routine management of their medicines for stable long term conditions. As an alternative, pharmacy workers should be fully supported in being able to understand, review and, if necessary, modify medicines as part of an integrated primary care team.

The aims of the NPA’s campaign are views shared by many NHS service users. In a survey of 1003 UK adults in March 2018 by RWB, 56 per cent of respondents agreed that NHS medicines review services in pharmacies should be expanded to help people with long term medical conditions to manage their medicines and to take pressure off the NHS. A further 35 per cent of respondents strongly agreed with this statement.

Online pharmacies provide immediate help and support

When we discuss the importance of local pharmacies, we can’t forget about the option of online pharmacies, which provide instant correspondence between healthcare professionals and individuals who may be unable to leave their home. Using an online pharmacy can provide convenient advice, diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of conditions, including those which patients may want to be treated more discreetly like hair loss or erectile dysfunction.

Express Pharmacy has been providing effective medication for a variety of conditions since 2009, and has now helped over 50,000 patients. Express Pharmacy also have a group of six NHS linked high street outlets in London, and each has a qualified pharmacist in-house.

If you’re in need of efficient and effective medical advice, contact the NHS-approved pharmacists at Express Pharmacy today. Call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online live chat service.

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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.


Ready to Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution. Read This!

Posted Monday 29 January 2018 16:35 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

Don’t be a six-week dropout: how to stick to the new leaf you turned over in January

It’s the end of January, which means many of us have spent the past couple of weeks struggling to keep the promises we made to ourselves in the tail end of 2017. New Year’s resolutions have become something of a rite of passage in the UK.

Of course, New Year’s resolutions sound like a fantastic idea on the 31st of December. But by the final days of January, many of us find ourselves ready to throw in the towel and cast aside the goals we set with good intentions.

So why is it that so many of us can’t seem to keep our New Year promises for more than six weeks, and how can we make more of a success of our resolutions?

The answer lies in long-term, lifestyle changes.

What are the most popular New Year’s resolutions?

Statistically speaking, the top ten New Year’s resolutions are:

- Exercise more (38%)

- Lose weight (33%)

- Eat more healthily (32%)

- Take a more active approach to health (15%)

- Learn new skill or hobby (15%)

- Spend more time on personal wellbeing (12%)

- Spend more time with family and friends (12%)

- Drink less alcohol (12%)

- Stop smoking (9%)

- Other (1%)

As you can see, the most popular New Year’s resolutions are, by far, those which focus on improving our health and wellbeing, with exercising, losing weight and eating healthier dominating our New Year promises. Other health factors like drinking less and quitting smoking are also shared by around one in ten UK adults.

How many of us make resolutions, and how many of us actually stick to them?

Over a third of us in the UK make a New Year’s resolution at the start of January. Sadly however, not many of us manage to see them through.

NHS figures suggest that only one in ten New Year’s resolutions are completed successfully, whilst Bupa states that 43% of resolutions last less than a month, 66% last one month or less, and 80% don’t make it to the end of March.

This leaves us questioning why it is that two thirds of us can’t seem to follow through with our health goals for more than six weeks.

How do you make sure you persevere with your resolution?

It’s often the case that people who strive to be healthier in the coming year are responding directly to their own overindulgence and potential weight gain over the festive period. Why does this matter? Because it suggests that they are looking for a ‘quick fix’ to reverse the effects of Christmas, rather than a genuine lifestyle change.

It takes an average of 66 days — over two months — to fully learn a new behaviour, meaning many people who strive to hit the gym more frequently or consume healthier meals give up before their body and mind have fully adjusted to the change.

A New Year’s resolution, particularly one relating to your health, should be seen as a long-term change in your behaviour which you can implement into your daily life. Professor Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, suggests only making one resolution and breaking it up into a series of smaller steps you can achieve over time.

There’s nothing wrong with safe medical support

There is no cheating when it comes to long-term health improvements. Whether you want to give up a bad habit or simply lose weight and improve your fitness, NHS-approved medication can help you reach your goal.

Champix is a tried and tested medicine that can help increase your chances of stopping smoking for good. You can also look to weight loss treatments like Xenical and the innovative Mysimba if you’re trying to get healthier in 2018. All of these treatments (and more) are available from Express Pharmacy.

For reliable, NHS approved support contact the team at Express Pharmacy. We can help make 2018 the year you make those long-term changes for the better. Simply call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet live chat service.

Related Categories: Stop Smoking