Skincare Tips for Eczema Sufferers

Atopic eczema affects 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults, making it the most common form of eczema and one of the most common skin conditions. Its red and dry appearance accompanied by an intense itch makes for a very painful and chronic condition.

Unfortunately, there can be many triggers associated with eczema, which are common and abundant such as: washing detergents, stress, temperature changes, and allergens. When the eczema flares up, it’s important to treat at the first sign of symptoms to prevent any worsening that could potentially end up in bleeding or infection.

Emollients are the mainstay of all treatment for eczema and products include creams, ointments, lotions, bath additives and soap substitutes.  Emollients can help soothe and repair the skin while also reducing the requirement for topical steroids (i.e. medicated creams/ointments) and can also increase the effectiveness of prescribed treatments. Sometimes you may need more than one type, and often people prefer to use a lotion during the day and an ointment at night due their textures. Ideally they should be applied at least twice a day and adults should use approximately 500g while children should use approximately 250g of emollient per week.

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Some tips for eczema suffers that I would always recommend are:

  • Don’t stop moisturising when your skin is eczema free – prevention is better than cure!
  • Keep fingernails short.
  • Avoid soap and harsh chemicals in cleaning products.
  • Shampoo that is fragrance free and pH neutral should be chosen (avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulphate).
  • Emollients are best applied straight after a bath/shower.
  • Cotton clothing is the most preferred to avoid irritation.
  • Do not limit your diet if you believe some foods may be causing it before talking to your GP.
  • Aqueous cream should not be used as a leave-on emollient as it has been proven to cause irritation. Instead, it is better as a soap substitute.
  • For those with severe eczema, “wet wrapping” should be considered. This involved applying a generous layer of emollient, which is then covered with a wet cotton bandage.
  • Take extra care during these cool winter months as often, the cold can cause dry skin to become worse.
  • Aveeno® and La Roche PosayLipikar/Cicaplast range are my top recommended emollient products (available from the LloydsPharmacy website-subject to availability) and Doublebase Emollient Gel (available from LloydsPharmacies nationwide- subject to availability).
  • Always contact your GP or local LloydsPharmacist should you find your eczema difficult to manage or if you have any questions regarding your treatment.

Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy

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Cold & Flu Tips for little ones

Children are often the hardest hit when it comes to cold and flu during winter due to their small bodies still being new to the concept of fighting infection. Being in close proximity to other small children in crèches or schools means bugs and other “nasties” can be spread a lot easier. Their runny noses and watery eyes are a sure sign they’re in need of some TLC, so what can you do to help your little ones should they fall under the weather this winter?

As with adults, provided the symptoms aren’t too severe, self-care tips should always be the first port-of-call. I’m fully aware of how difficult it can be to find a suitable option for children, as often they’re very limited to what they can take and perhaps are quite fussy with what they will take too. Some of the best care tips that I would always recommend to parents are:

  • Put some vapour rub on a towel/tissue and leave near their bedside– don’t apply directly to the skin. (Snuffle Babe ® is suitable for infants 3 months+).
  • Saline based nasal drops can work very well for decongestion, some brands have a product that can be used from birth e.g. Calpol ®.
  • Another Calpol® product that I would recommend for infants (3 months+) is the “Vapour Plug and Nightlight”. This provides a soothing, calming environment, which can aid a child’s breathing and sleep.
  • A warm bath can ease breathing.
  • Ensure the child remains hydrated.
  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Remember to avoid honey in babies <1, and aspirin in children <16 years.
  • All products listed are available through the LloydsPharmacy website, or in store (subject to availability).
  • If the child is wheezing/short of breath or has middle ear pain or has a sore throat with fever or if the symptoms haven’t improved within 3 days, it is advisable that you attend your GP for a diagnosis.

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To reduce the chances of your little ones coming down with something this winter I would always recommend supplements for both toddlers and older children. They are readily available, affordable and often come in appealing jelly forms for kids. At LloydsPharmacy, some of the products we stock are: Junior Revive Active, Centrum for Kids, Nature’s Way- Alive! Children’s Chewable Multivitamins.

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Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy

 

Top Tips to keep you well this Winter

The cool, crisp mornings and dark, bleak evenings are most certainly back and I’m not sure about you but they often make me wish I could hibernate until spring… I think we can all appreciate that the transition from summer to winter isn’t the easiest, so what can or should we do to help ourselves to combat these winter blues?

Firstly, I personally believe supplements are an easily accessible and affordable way to promote a healthy immune system this winter. Those containing C, B and D vitamins, Omega-3, zinc and iron are your best bet help maintain energy levels and fight infection this winter. Some of the beneficial products that LloydsPharmacy stock are: Revive Active, Cellnutrition Quinton Isotonic, Active Iron, MorEPA Smart Fats and Kelkin Effervescent Zinc & Vitamin C.

As always, a balanced diet should be promoted to provide a range of nutrients to help battle the winter period. Eating plenty of orange and dark green fruit & vegetables can provide powerful anti-oxidants as well as iron. Adding onions, garlic and ginger can improve immune function, which can be particularly beneficial during winter months. There’s nothing quite like some hearty soup on a cold day, so why not blitz some of the above together to create your own winter busting broth?

I’m a firm believer that the power of exercise should never be neglected during winter; even if the weather is declining and evenings are getting shorter. Did you know that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that is said to affect 1 in 15 people between September to April? Staying active is beneficial for your mood and wellbeing during this bleak period, even if it’s just a quick 15 minute walk, so pop your earphones in and get moving!

There are many other steps that we can take to stay fit and well this winter that may seem small but can have a huge impact, such as: availing of the flu vaccine (speak to your local LloydsPharmacist to see if you’re eligible for a free vaccination), washing your hands regularly, keeping warm and getting sufficient amount of sleep. Moral of the story- be kind to yourself!

So what happens if a dreaded cold or flu does strike you or a family member this winter? Provided your symptoms aren’t too severe, self-care should always be your first port-of-call to get back on the mend. Some of the best tips I’d always recommend are:

  • Take painkillers for fever/aches (speak with a member of your local LloydsPharmacy team to choose the right product for you)
  • Stay hydrated
  • Warm drinks can often be more soothing
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Ensure you have a comfortable room temp. but it’s best to allow fresh air to circulate
  • Wash hands often
  • Avoid smoking
  • If you prefer a natural approach, Echinacea can be a good option to help fight symptoms. At LloydsPharmacy we stock the A.Vogel range such as the EchinaForce ® tablets and hot drink.

Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy.

New from Dermalogica – Sound Sleep Cocoon

Did you sleep well last night?
If the answer is no, you are not alone! Sleep problems are experienced by up to 45% of the global population, affecting our health and quality of life. In today’s fast-paced world, we sometimes view sleep simply as a period of low productivity. Often we push ourselves to do as much as we can in the day, and see how far we can go on a small amount of sleep. Not only does this slow our thought process down the next day, it also affects our overall health and how our skin looks and feels.


Sleep and your skin
Just a few nights of missed sleep can lead to dull skin and fine lines; continued sleep insufficiency can lead to dark circles, puffy eyes, sallow skin and early ageing. Insufficient sleep can cause excess cortisol to be released by the body resulting in collagen breakdown. More importantly, the natural skin renewal process is also impaired. So when it comes to your skin care routine, sleep is a crucial component for the skin’s recovery from the assaults of the day.
Your skin is nocturnal
At around 9:00pm, sleep inducing melatonin is produced and as levels of this hormone rise, stress hormones begin to fall and skin regeneration and repair begin. So, the optimal time to apply your night-time skin care products is between 9:00pm and 11:00pm when skin repair reaches its peak.


Transform by night, glow by day
Introducing Dermalogica’s new Sound Sleep Cocoon, a night gel-cream that harnesses the power of nature with science to promote sound sleep and healthy, radiant skin!
How it works: This revitalising treatment gel-cream optimises night-time skin recovery with active ingredients that take advantage of the body’s overnight recovery and repair process to transform skin by morning, along with motion-activated essential oils to promote deep, restful sleep for healthier looking skin.
Persian Silk Tree Bark, Fruits of the Wu-Zu-Yu Extract, Kakadu Plum and Tamarind Seed Extract have been selected for their abilities to rejuvenate skin and reduce signs of fatigue. And to promote a deep, restful sleep, Lavendin Oil is encapsulated in motion-activated microcapsules that allow it to be released by massage of the product and throughout the night as you toss and turn. Additional essential oils of Sandalwood and Patchouli calm the skin and soothe the senses, encouraging sound sleep for healthier looking skin.
Get a better night’s sleep
Visit us to learn more about this amazing new product and experience our Sound Sleep Cocoon Skin Bar Lesson where our expert therapists will show you the best way to layer Sound Sleep Cocoon in your night-time skin care routine.

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OR

Get a better night’s sleep
Visit us to learn more about this amazing new product and experience our Sound Sleep SkinSolver treatment. This 10 minute service boosts radiance by replenishing lost hydration and delivering active ingredients into the skin. This revitalising service also preps your skin for overnight recovery and encourages restful sleep.

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Transform by night, glow by day!

Sexual Health for St. Patrick’s weekend

With St. Patrick’s weekend around the corner, we think it is important for all of us to remember that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can present no visible symptoms, meaning that you may have an STI without even knowing it. Untreated STIs can lead to serious health issues that many of us are not aware of. For example, untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, tubal or ectopic pregnancy and cervical cancer.

Ireland’s STI detection rate has drastically increased by 14% over the years, with chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, syphilis and HIV all on the increase. Therefore, it is incredibly important we are all proactive in managing our sexual health, so with the upcoming celebrations, we’ve detailed the long-term affects of the four most common STIs in Ireland.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

These are the two most common STIs in Ireland and often appear together in infected individuals. Both men and women are affected with similar symptoms of discharge from the vagina or penis, burning and itching when urinating and in women, pelvic pain. However, this is common infection that can be effectively treated. If the infection remains undetected and untreated, long term consequences such as ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility can occur.

Herpes Simplex I and II

Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), there are two distinct subtypes of HSV, HSV-1 and HSV-2. In the past, HSV-1 was associated with oral herpes (cold sores) and HSV-2 was associated with genital herpes; we now know that you can be infected by either in both locations. After the initial infection, HSV can remain dormant in certain nerve cells of the affected area of the body for life, which can reactivate and cause common outbreaks on along your mouth and genital area.

How to Get Tested?

If you are worried and want to get tested, visit your local LloydsPharmacy or LloydsPharmacy.ie, and select the appropriate LetsGetChecked at-home STI test. LetsGetChecked will provide you with the means to test yourself from the comfort of home and our medical team will provide you with guidance and support. There are three different tests to choose from:

  • Simple 2: Tests for chlamydia and gonorrhoea
  • Standard 6: Tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
  • Complete 12: Tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, herpes simplex 1, herpes simplex 2, gardnerella, mycoplasma, trichomonas & ureaplasma

How Does LetsGetChecked Work?

After you have purchased your test from LloydsPharmacy, you will take your samples from the comfort of home and return them directly to our accredited laboratory partner by prepaid envelope. The customer receives their results online within 2-3 working days of the sample reaching the laboratory.

In the event your results are positive or outside the normal range, our expert nursing support team will guide you through your personalised treatment program.

 

‘Change Your Health Direction’ Aftercare

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Lorraine (CYHD Health Coach) & Rebecca (Supervising Pharmacist)

Congratulations to you all on completing our 8 week Change Your Health Direction Programme. It’s the end of the 8 weeks, but really it’s just the beginning of a new health direction for you all to follow right through the years ahead.

YOU are the ones who can make the most impact on being a healthier you, one meal at a time, one snack at a time, one workout at a time, one day at a time. It’s the start that stops most people and all of you have already leaped over that hurdle! Even losing a small amount of weight has health benefits.

The key to your success going forward will be that good old scout’s motto, “Be Prepared”. Take time to plan your meals in advance. This will help you to introduce variety, eat more nutritious, home-cooked food and rely less on convenience and processed foods, the bonus is that it will probably also save you money!! Win win!!

Prepare meals using mostly fresh ingredients and choose foods like fruits, veg (eg carrot sticks, celery, cucumber sticks) or a portion of unsalted nuts as snacks. Don’t forget the old recommendation to eat 5 portions of fruit or veg a day has now been changed to 8-10 portions per day so try to include fruit, veg or salad in every meal. Remember size matters, use the food pyramid as a guide for serving sizes. Learn to recognise hunger. If you’re not really hungry at meal times, just eat small portions.

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Use healthier cooking methods. Boil, steam, dry-roast, grill, poach, stir-fry or bake food instead of frying it. Our Optima raw virgin coconut oil is a fantastic alternative to butter or cooking oil. Cut visible fat off meat and drain fat off meat and sauces when they’re cooked. Choose tomato-based sauces instead of creamy sauces. Home made soups are a great comfort food, freeze portions of it to have at short notice when needed. Base your meals on having plenty of vegetables and salad – covering half your plate every time.

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You should aim to have a variety of colours on your plate at mealtimes and limit chips and takeaway foods as much as possible. Don’t forget the recipes we’ve suggested to you over the last two months are always available online on our blog.

To be healthy it’s not only about our food intake, you need regular physical activity also. It can be hard to motivate yourself so join a walking group, a neighbour, an exercise class, where you can encourage each other. Choose an activity, sport or exercise routine that you enjoy, this way you’ll be much more likely to stick to it. Remember to drink plenty of water, at least eight cups of water a day. Build your exercise level up gradually, ideally to 60 to 75 minutes of physical activity on 5 days a week but remember always ANY  exercise is better than no exercise. You should try to aim for moderate intensity exercise which causes your heart to beat faster and brings a little sweat to your brow. You should be a little out of breath but still able to talk.

For those of you who have quit smoking don’t forget the benefits:

  • Within 20 minutes of quitting your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
  • One day later your risk of heart attack starts to fall.
  • By day two your taste and smell improves.
  • On day three breathing is easier and energy levels increase.
  • Over the next three months your lung function increases, your circulation improves and risk of heart attack and stroke reduces.
  • After one year your risk of heart attack is cut to half that of a smoker.
  • Within 15 years, you will have about the same risk of heart attack and stroke as that of a non-smoker.
  • And not forgetting you’ll have saved yourself a huge amount of money too!

We run the 8-week programme twice every year for anyone who wishes to participate, whether you’ve done it before or are a new face to us. Don’t be afraid to pop in to us in between each programme if you feel you need some motivation or have fallen off the bandwagon or even if you just want us to measure your BMI or have your blood pressure taken.

Wake up with determination because every day is a fresh start. It’s never too early or too late to work towards being the healthiest and best version of you.

Want to finally quit smoking? Get some helpful tips from the experts…

Laura Dowling

Laura, Supervising Pharmacist Manager, Stillorgan

Deciding to quit smoking is the single best thing that you can do for your health. Congratulations! You are on the road to a healthier, happier you. Like any bad habit quitting smoking is not easy. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and your brain and body crave it. You also associate smoking with daily rituals known as trigger factors, which is why it can be so hard to break the cycle of smoking. The good news is that there are many products, both over the counter (OTC) and on prescription available in your pharmacy that can help you on the road to a smoke free life. Your Pharmacist or Doctor can help to advise you on what products are best suited to you, depending on how you smoke and how many cigarettes that you smoke.  They can also provide you with general advice on how to keep that willpower going!

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Deciding to quit is the first step below are a few helpful hints and tips on how to keep going:

  1. List your trigger factors and try to avoid or change those situations for at least the first month of quitting. This will increase your chances of success.

Common trigger factors would be:

  • First thing in the morning
  • With tea/coffee
  • In the car
  • Breaks at work
  • With a social drink
  • After a meal
  1. Be kind to yourself
  • Accept that it is extremely hard to quit and take each day at a time. I often tell my patients to not tell themselves that they will never smoke again but rather to tell themselves that they will not smoke today. This will help you not to panic at the thought of never having another cigarette. It is after all a habit that you enjoy, so the thought of never smoking again can be enough to make you fall off the wagon!
  • Reward yourself when you take a positive step forward, such as being cigarette free for a day, a week, two weeks. But do not punish yourself for slipping up. Just get back on the wagon.
  1. Declare your intentions to family and friends so that they can help to support you. Also clearing ashtrays from your home, washing clothes that smell of cigarettes and cleaning the car can help to remove reminders of smoking from your immediate environment.
  2. Prepare healthy snacks. Oranges are particularly good in this instance as peeling them keeps your hands busy and the strong flavour will help to distract from the cravings.
  3. Distract yourself when you are overcome with a craving by fully immersing yourself in an activity. Even brushing your teeth can be a distraction and leaves your mouth feeling fresh and not smoky!                        smoking 3It can also be helpful to remember that the health benefits to quitting smoking are immediate. They are a reminder to you about how far you have come.Health benefits timeline:

    After 20 mins: Your heart rate returns to normal.

    After 8 hours: Oxygen levels return to normal.

    After 48 hours: Your body is cleared of carbon monoxide. Lungs begin to rid themselves of mucus and other debris. Smell and taste improves.

    2-12 weeks: Circulation and breathing improves. Walking is easier and skin is more radiant.

    >12 weeks: Lung function increases by up to 10%. Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems reduce.

    After 1 year: Risk of heart disease is halved compared to someone who is still smoking.

    After 10 years: Your chance of getting lung cancer is half of that of a current smoker.

    After 15 years: Your risk of a heart attack or stroke is the same as that of someone who has never smoked.

     

    Good luck and remember that your Pharmacist is always here to help in any way that they can!