Seven Super Solutions for Surviving the Seasonal Break!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…unless you’ve got the sniffles and a raging headache! The holiday season is often a time filled with festivities and family reunions, but easily avoidable ailments can definitely put a damper on the mood. So like a certain sleigh riding saint on Christmas Eve, I’m bringing you seven cabinet must-haves that’ll be sure to help keep your spirits high and your bodies ailment-free.

Starting things off, I’d recommend Panadol Advance® for any mild aches, pains, and fevers you may experience during the festive season. It contains Paracetamol, a tried and tested drug sure to stave off all of those unwanted headaches. If it doesn’t quite do the trick, the next step up would be Nurofen Tablets®, which are slightly stronger than your typical Panadol tablet since they contain a pain and fever drug called ibuprofen. As with any medication, be sure to have a chat with your pharmacist first, since they can help towards figuring out what’s best for you.

Next up is Sudafed Blocked Nose Spray®, which as the name suggests, is for blocked noses. It contains a drug called Xylometazoline, which squeezes over-expanded blood vessels to open up your airways. One spray two to three times daily of this sinus saver should alleviate those pesky nose blockages that like to rear their heads every holiday season.

tips3

Another cabinet must-have I would go for are Strepsils Honey and Lemon Lozenges®, which contain a dynamic duo of antiseptics to help tackle those irksome infections in your throat. They should also in turn help alleviate the sore throats that tend to come along with those infections. They taste pretty nice too! If they don’t hit the mark for you though, Difflam Spray® acts as a step up that you can spray directly onto the back of your throat, and also contains an antiseptic to help you fight off that infection.

Moving onto supplements now, Vitamin C is the one I want to highlight in particular. This vitamin is constantly mentioned in health blogs all over the net, and with good reason too! Not only does it it protect you from cardiovascular disease and is an integral part of wound healing and other bodily functions, but it also helps strengthen the immune system, which is essential when trying to avoid those ubiquitous not-so-festive colds. Vitamin C is available in LloydsPharmacy as Kelkin Vitamin C Tablets ®, but we would definitely recommend our Revive Active® line of products which contain a whole host of beneficial vitamins and minerals to get you through the holiday period, including Vitamin C!

So there you have it, our Seven Super Solutions for Surviving the Seasonal Break! As always, if the above cabinet-essentials don’t work for you, or your symptoms become more serious at any stage, we would recommend you speak with your Pharmacist or local GP for further advice on how to proceed.

 

Brought to you by Brian Dela Musoke, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy.

Advertisements

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.

skincare banner

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

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.

calpol_plug_in_800x

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.

Revive-Active-Junior-Vitamin-and-Mineal-Complex-20-Pack

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.

Keeping summer allergies at bay!

maria

Maria: Clinical Governance Pharmacist

Summer Allergies

With Summer time, comes longer evenings and the extra incentive to get out and get active. Many of us are now fully engaged with the Change Your Health Direction programme and have our meal and exercise plans in full swing. Despite the extra effort to improve our health and feel well, some of us may be experiencing symptoms of nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, dry eyes and itchy skin. Welcome to summer allergy season. It keeps going long after April’s showers and May’s flowers are gone. However there is always a solution to help ease and prevent the symptoms of summer allergy season. We in LloydsPharmacy are on hand, with our in store experts available to provide the best advice for you and your family.

What causes summer allergies?

Pollen is the main culprit! The pollen count is naturally higher in the summer months. Pollen travels very easily and therefore exposure is very easy. Also insect bites can trigger allergies and irritations. It is not just the countryside that can prove hazardous for summer allergies. Air pollution for city dwellers is a major player. Therefore it is important to keep this in mind if you are experiencing allergy symptoms and are city based. Our bodies, once they are exposed to any of these triggers produce a chemical called histamine. It is this chemical histamine that causes the symptoms of inflammation, irritation, and itching.

What can I do?

We strongly recommend that you present to any of our 94 stores. There you will be met with any of our highly trained OTC colleagues and pharmacists. Our colleagues will assess your symptoms and take into account your lifestyle, any other medications you are on, potential triggers and bespoke a treatment course that works for you.

Over-the-counter medications include:

Medications available can target specific symptoms along with preventative treatment options.  If you experience prolonged symptoms over the summer months, we recommend to simply take a daily antihistamine.  Our first line antihistamines are simple and easy to take and more importantly are non-drowsy. We in LloydsPharmacy are all about preventative medicine along with treatment. For patients, that experience recurrent sinus infections and end up on antibacterial treatments, we can offer nasal irrigation kits. Again by simply using this kit on a daily basis, the recurrence of sinus infections can be greatly reduced. For skin based reactions there is a selection of products available, following a proper consultation. From corticosteroid, antiseptic and antihistamine creams, the full range of symptoms will be treated. Many people present with dry and irritated eyes in conjunction with skin and nasal allergies. Treatments available cover dryness, redness, and irritation. Our pharmacists are always available to discuss simple and more complex conditions. We are always able to advise should a referral be required to your GP. Should OTC medication not treat the symptoms, prescription alternatives are available which we can dispense and counsel on, once a valid prescription is presented. There is always a treatment option available and it is important to keep this in mind.

What patient groups can be exposed more to summer allergies?

  • Asthmatics
  • Eczema suffers
  • Patients prone to anaphylaxis
  • Chronic dry eye suffers
  • Polyps and sinus conditions

Therefore it is essential to discuss with your GP and pharmacist the options to prevent exposure and possible symptoms.

It is important that we are fully equipped to enjoy all of what summer has to bring. There is no need to suffer with allergy symptoms.  Speak to your local LloydsPharmacy team today and discuss the best treatment option that works for you. It’s time to put your allergy symptoms at bay so as to enjoy your best summer yet.  Here’s to a healthier, better version of you.

Beef + Mushroom Celeriac Lasagne – Main

The final recipe in the Lloyds Pharmacy Change Your Health Direction program is a vegetable and protein packed twist on a traditional lasagne. For lasagne sheets I use finely sliced rounds of celeriac.  It’s a little ugly….a bit knobbly and odd shaped but it’s what’s inside that counts…lots of fibre and antioxidant vitamins.  I’m using beef mince for the ragu sauce, but this can be replaced with lamb or 2 cans of puy lentils if you’re plant-based. Good quality beef is rich in protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, niacin, Vitamin B6 and selenium. Even so, you won’t lose out if you use lentils as they are one of the best sources of plant-based protein, fiber, folate and iron.

Serves 6

Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Vegetarian Options

Ingredients

For the Ragu

  • 500g lean minced beef (for vegetarian option use 2 cups of cooked puy or beluga lentils)
  • 1 tbsp Optima raw organic coconut oil*
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato passata
  • 250ml beef stock (or mushroom stock)

For the Creamed Mushrooms  

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil*
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 200ml oat or almond cream

Celeriac ‘Lasagne’ Sheets

Celeriac x1 whole, peeled and sliced into very fine round pieces with a good knife of mandolin.

Spinach Layer: 300g spinach leaves (remove the stalks, chop finely and add them to your ragu… no waste!)

To Serve:  2-3 handfuls of rocket, 5-6 small vine tomatoes finely sliced

Instructions:

This is a lot easier than it might look. You can prepare and assemble this dish the night before and store in the fridge. It also freezes quite well and you can cook from frozen if time isn’t on your side.

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C.
  2. Start with the Ragu.
  3. Season the beef mince. Melt the coconut oil in a heavy casserole or skillet. Add the beef and cook until brown all over. Transfer to a place and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add the onion, celery and garlic. Sauté over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft.
  5. Return the beef to the pan. Add the sage and bay leaves and cook for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes and beef stock. Cook gently for 20 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick, add more water.
  6. In a separate pan melt a little coconut oil and tip the sliced mushrooms, crushed garlic and thyme into the pan.
  7. Sauté for 10 minutes and then add the oat cream. Simmer gently for 10 minutes and season with black pepper and a pinch of sea salt.
  8. Whilst the ragu and mushrooms are cooking. Prepare the lasagne sheets. Peel the celeriac and use a sharp knife to slice into very-fine circular ‘sheets’. Set aside.
  9. Wash and dry the spinach. Remove the stalks, chop finely and toss into the ragu.

Assembly:

  1. Melt some coconut oil and use a pastry brush to spread it onto an oven proof dish.
  2. Start by layering the celeriac sheets in one layer onto the base. Top with half the ragu mixture, then a layer of spinach and pour over half of the creamed mushrooms.
  3. Add another layer of celeriac, ragu, spinach and creamed mushrooms (in that order). Finish with sliced tomatoes (optional) and some freshly grated parmesan (or vegan alternative such as cashew cheese).
  4. Transfer to an oven and cook for about 45 minutes until bubbling.
  5. Remove from the oven and top with freshly ground black pepper and rocket leaves. Serve!
NUTRITION INFORMATION (approx. per serving)
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
351 20.5g 21.5g 19.4g 10.4g 6g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

5 HEALTHY + PORTABLE SNACK IDEAS

Because this is my last week of recipes I’m a little spoilt for choice as regards what to share next. I couldn’t, and didn’t want to choose, so I’m sharing a medley of my favourite snacks, from simplest to some more interesting options.  There are five in total which I hope will provide something for everyone’s tastes. All are dairy, grain and gluten-free, some are entirely ‘plant-based’. The common denominator is that they are all made from very simple whole-foods.  If you’re having guests you could make a ‘snack platter’…..otherwise just prepare them all as you wish and squirrel them away in your car / handbag / desk drawer / goodie-drawer for those afternoons when you just need a little nibble!

CRUNCHY APPLE WITH CREAMY PB + CINNAMON  (serves 1)

  • 1 apple
  • 1-2 tbsp Meridian peanut or almond butter*
  • A good pinch of ground cinnamon

Instructions: I hardly need to provide instruction but here goes! Slice the apple, dip or spread with peanut butter and sprinkle over the cinnamon. Simple.

Good For: Peanut butter provides protein. Apple provides pectin (fibre) for gut health and cinnamon can help to balance blood sugar.

HARD BOILED EGGS, SUMAC + AVOCADO (serves 1)

  • 2 eggs, hard boiled
  • 1/3 tsp sumac (a citrus spice made from red berries of the sumac shrub)
  • 1 small (or 1/2 medium) avocado
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions: Boil eggs in a pan of water for 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool before peeling off the shell. Store in a small lunch box or lunch bag. To serve slice open, sprinkle with sumac. Half the avocado, sprinkle with sea salt and pile scoops onto your egg.

Good For: Low carbohydrate (sugar) option. High protein + fat keeps you full. Egg provides essential minerals and amino acids. Avocado is rich in fibre, folate, potassium and vitamin E.

TAMARI ROAST NUTS + SEEDS (makes 10-12 1oz servings)

  • 5 cups of mixed raw nuts (brazil, pecan, almond, walnut, macadamia)
  • 1/4 cup of seeds (sunflower / pumpkin)
  • 1 tbsp Optima raw virgin coconut oil*
  • 1 tbsp tamari (gluten free, GMO-free soy sauce)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 180C. Melt the coconut oil with the tamari in a saucepan over a medium heat. Dump in the nuts and seeds and combine well. Spread onto a roasting tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Leave to cool and crisp before decanting into a glass airtight jar.

Good For: Nuts and seeds are some of the most nutrient dense foods in existence. Low carbohydrate but high in essential fats, protein and antioxidant nutrients Vitamin E, selenium and zinc. Consuming a handful of nuts daily is associated with lower body fat and BMI.

DARK CHOCOLATE + CHILLI MANGO (makes 4-6 servings)

  • 50g 85% cacao dark chocolate, melted
  • 100g organic dried mango (no added sugars, sulphites, preservatives)
  • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • A pinch of sea salt flakes

Instructions: Dip the mango into the melted dark chocolate (half-way) and set each piece onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle the chocolate end with chilli flakes and sea salt and allow to set. Transfer to a jar.

Good For:  A quick energy boost. Mango (especially dried variety) is higher in simple sugars that your body can absorb and utilise quickly. Good for athletes pre- and post-training (if post training, add a hard boiled egg or a protein shake to optimise tissue repair and muscle growth).

CHOCOLATE NUT + GOJI BERRY BRITTLE (makes about 10-12 cupped handfuls)

  • 100g mixed nuts
  • 1 heaping handful of Nua naturals goji berries*
  • 1 handful Nua naturals cacao nibs* (optional)
  • 80g dark chocolate (85% cacao content or above)
  • Pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Nua naturals raw cacao powder*

Instructions: Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, reduce the heat and place a pyrex bowl on top. Break the dark chocolate into chunks and melt. When the chocolate is melted tip the nuts, gogi berries, cacao nibs and sea salt into the bowl with the chocolate and mix well to combine. Spread onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes until almost set. Remove from the fridge and dust with cacao powder. Place back in the fridge for 10 minutes. Break up the chunks of brittle and transfer to a large glass container. Store in the fridge.

Good For: Premenstrual symptoms such as low mood, anxiety and sugar or chocolate cravings. Cacao is a natural mood elevator and is an excellent source of iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins which are all particularly important for menstrual health. Nuts provide satiating essential fats, antioxidant vitamin E and selenium and zinc which are essential for male and female reproductive health.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores