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.

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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.

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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

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.