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Looking after yourself

Looking after yourself and your loved ones is easier with advice and support from your Healthpoint health and wellness experts.

Click on each topic below for more information and health advice or pop into your local Healthpoint Chemist for a chat with one of our Pharmacists.

Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here!

Acne

Acne usually affects the face, neck, centre of chest, upper back and shoulders.

The most common age is 14 – 19, although people in their 20’s and 30’s may also have acne, and it can reappear during menopause.

Acne is an inflammation, which also involves a bacterial infection. Acne does not mean you are dirty or unhygienic. There is no need to wash your face frequently.

If hair is greasy, keep it off your face as this can worsen the blocked pores.

Normal twice daily washing, with soap substitute (not an antiseptic) is sufficient. Food does not usually influence acne.

Do not wear cake make-up, instead look for water-based cosmetics. Use a gentle make-up remover.

Acne already present will not disappear any faster with treatment, but treatment will help prevent further pimples.

Treatment options include: Benzac Ac Gel and Wash, Clearasil Ultra, Acnederm Wash, Clean & Clear and Sapoderm. Natural supplements which may be of assistance are Multivitamins (teen formula), Flaxseed oil, Pine bark extract, Antioxidants and Zinc.

For further advice and support on Acne, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Age Spots

Age Spots, which are also known as “solar” or “senile” lentigines, are spots that develop on the exposed skin such as on the hands.

Changes in the skins appearance with advancing age are largely the result of the cumulative effects of exposure to sunlight and the damaging effects of UV radiation.

Age Spots, which are usually dark brown in colour, appear on the exposed areas of the skin such as the face and hands and occur as a result of chronic sun damage. Age Spots develop more commonly in fair-skinned people.

The spots may be irregular in shape and are incorrectly called liver spots by many people. Age Spots are similar in appearance to freckles and are usually smooth to the touch.

As the damage to the skin takes place over a considerable number of years, it is essential that even young people should cover the skin daily with clothing or a quality sunscreen cream or lotion which has a high SP15+ rating.

Remember, prevention is the best answer. For more information and advice visit the team at your local Healthpoint Chemist. Find them here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Arthritis

People usually complain of pain in the affected joint, with symptoms usually starting in people who are middle age onwards.

The pain is generally described as a deep ache, which is hard to localise. The affected joints are not usually hot or inflamed, unless the osteoarthritis is very advanced.

Exercise makes the pain worse, whilst rest relieves it, however, prolonged inactivity may result in stiffness. Morning stiffness is common, but usually lasts less than 30 minutes. Osteoarthritis may come and go, with periods when there is very little or no pain. Some people identify particular times when the pain is worse, for example, in damp weather.

Medicine therapy for arthritis includes simple analgesics, namely Paracetamol. Regular paracetamol, two tablets (1gm) three or four times daily is the first choice of treatment in mild to moderate osteoarthritis. It must, however, be taken regularly – not just when required – to have the best effect. Aspirin is not usually recommended in osteoarthritis because of the level of doses required for pain relief and the adverse effects on the stomach.

Osteoarthritis is more common in the elderly and it is normally recommended that they avoid products containing medicines which affect the central nervous system (CNS), for example codeine. These medicines can cause constipation and elderly people may be more susceptible to CNS effects such as sedation. Glucosamine has been shown to help relieve pain and preserve cartilage, but may take up to four weeks for effects to be noticed.

Physiotherapy and occupational therapy are important for pain management and keeping limbs functioning.

Weight control will reduce the weight on the joints. Heat may be useful before exercise and ice packs useful after exercise. This is an individual preference and should be trialed for a week or two to determine if either of these treatments provide any pain relief.

The ultimate therapy for osteoarthritis of a joint is to have the joint replaced. This is a relatively common operation in which the total hip joint or knee joint etc is replaced. However replacements have a limited life of about 10 years before another replacement is required. The improved mobility and quality of life after these operations is often dramatic.

Feel free to come in to Healthpoint Chemist and ask our friendly staff for advice on arthritis. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Asthma

Asthma is a long term disease which causes narrowing of the small airways in the lungs leading to shortness of breath.

Asthma affects about 1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults and while there is no cure for the disease, it can be controlled with medication. Most asthma suffers experience shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing during an attack. They may not experience any symptoms between these attacks.

An asthma attack can be triggered by a number of different causes such as colds and flu’s, exercise, changes in weather or pollens plus a whole range of other triggers.

How to manage your Asthma

Most asthma suffers can adequately manage their condition with appropriate medication. Medications can be broadly divided into Relievers or Preventer/Controllers and your doctor will normally decide what strength and how often these medications should be used.

Preventer/controllers, as the name suggests, work to prevent an asthma attack from occurring while the relievers will help stop an attack once it has started. These medications should always be used strictly as directed.

Your doctor may also develop an Asthma Action Plan with you so that you can better manage your condition when you get any symptoms or an attack.

For further advice and support on Asthma, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Baldness

Many conditions, diseases, and inadequate hair care can end in excessive hair loss.

If you are losing noticeable amounts of hair and you are concerned that your hair is becoming thinner, you should consult a dermatologist.

Hair loss may be attributed to a range of reasons. With the correct diagnosis, it is possible that hair loss can be helped.

Excessive hair loss may be due to any of the following reasons:

  • Improper hair
  • Cosmetic use
  • Improper hair care having
  • Hairstyles that pull on the hair, such as tight ponytails and braids
  • Shampooing, combing and brushing the hair too much – causing breakage
  • Hereditary thinning or balding (which is the most common reason for hair loss)
  • Diet medications (including vitamins and health foods)
  • Illness In women, menstrual cycles, pregnancies and menopause may be factors which contribute to hair-loss.
  • There are treatments available for hair loss, and it is advantageous to consult your Doctor or Dermatologist about the possibilities sooner rather than later.

Feel free to come in to Healthpoint Chemist and ask our friendly staff for advice on baldness. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is common in Australia and it is a major contributor to heart attack and stroke.

Lifestyle and dietary changes can assist in lowering your blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy eating plan and keeping within a healthy weight range can result in a decrease in blood pressure.

Exercise plays a role in lowering blood pressure as well as helping to reduce weight. Stress management and the cessation of smoking also play an important role.

Some Doctors ask their patients to purchase a Blood Pressure Monitor that they can use at home as often as they need. In the Doctors surgery, a true reading is not possible due to stress associated with the Doctors visit. What is High Blood Pressure?

What is High Blood Pressure
High Blood pressure is the term used to describe an excessively high level of pressure of blood against artery walls.

High blood pressure can cause the heart muscle to enlarge and the heart to weaken. It also damages the blood vessels, especially if you have raised blood cholesterol, diabetes or smoke cigarettes.

If the blood vessels become narrowed or blocked, a heart attack or stroke may occur. The higher the blood pressure, the higher the risk of both coronary heart disease and stroke.

All adults should have their blood pressure checked regularly by their doctor.

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury. (mmHg). When your heart pumps, pressure is produced in the arteries and moves the blood forward. This is your systolic pressure (top reading). As the heart relaxes it fills again and the pressure reduces. This is your diastolic pressure (bottom reading) Acceptable blood pressure is generally considered as being less than 140 mmHg (systolic) over 90 mmHg (diastolic) – written as 140/90. However, lower levels may be necessary for good health in some adults.

What causes High Blood Pressure:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Not getting adequate physical activity
  • High alcohol intake
  • Diet high in salt

What can you do to reduce High Blood Pressure

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a balanced diet, including fruit, vegies and grains.
  • Consume less salt
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Stop smoking
  • Check your general health
  • Maintain physical activity.

Just get out there in the fresh air and get active. A simple 30 minute walk every day should make a world of difference!

For more information and advice visit the team at your local Healthpoint Chemist. Find them here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Bottle Feeding

Are you bottle feeding your baby?

Then you would know that bottles and teats must be sterilised before use to avoid the risk of infection.

Then you would know that bottles and teats must be sterilised before use to avoid the risk of infection. At Healthpoint Chemist we have a number of systems available, and qualified staff to help you choose one which suit your needs and your budget.

We have the Avent microwave units and Avent electric steam sterilizers, which come with two free bottles and teats.

Infant formula is the only suitable milk substitute to use until a baby is twelve months old. There are many different brands, standards and types of powdered formulas available. The type of formula used is dependent on the age of the baby and of the baby’s history, for example: various allergies and lactose intolerance play a part in your choice of formula.

Talk to our Baby Nurse or Pharmacist. They can recommend a suitable formula for your baby. We stock the leading brands in bottles and teats, including Avent, Pigeon and Cannon.

For more information and advice visit the team at your local Healthpoint Chemist. Find them here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Children’s Colds and Flu

Colds are contagious infections of the upper airways most often caused by a virus.

Colds are very common in young children, with most suffering around 10 colds in their first two years of life.

Colds are spread through the air, or by coming into contact with the nose, mouth or throat secretions of an infected person. In babies most colds occur when the baby is touched by someone who has not washed their hands.

The common cold is annoying to a baby but usually clears up without any serious complications. Breastfeeding offers protection against the cold in the first couple of months.

Signs & Symptoms to look out for:

  • Mild, persistent cough;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Refusing breast or bottle feeds;
  • Runny nose and sneezing;
  • Irritability

Fever is NOT usually associated with the common cold. Presence of a fever is more likely to be related to a bacterial infection, in which case a doctor’s advice might be required.

Ask your Pharmacist for advice to obtain a suitable:

  • Infant cough mixture if there is a cough
  • Saline nose drops may make it easier for your baby to breath, during feedings
  • Paracetamol for infants can help relieve symptoms. (Aspirin is not recommended to children under the age of 16 years)

It is important that you do not give any medications to a baby unless your Doctor or Pharmacist has recommended them.

There is always a pharmacist on hand at any Healthpoint Chemist to assist you on your family’s health concerns.

For more information and advice visit the team at your local Healthpoint Chemist. Find them here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Children’s Nutrition

Even with the best intentions, it’s not easy to get children to eat the nutritious foods they need!

There are natural vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements available, helping you to make sure that your kids get all the nutrition they need.

You can feel safe in the knowledge that your child’s immune system is healthy enough to combat bugs and bounce back if colds or flu do take hold.

Take precautions to help keep your kid’s immune system in good condition, particularly during the winter months when they are exposed to cold and flu bugs almost everywhere they go.

Multivitamins & minerals provide ‘nutritional insurance’- a daily supplement to help bridge a potential gap between the nutrients they get from their diet and the nutrients they need for the full-on lives that many kids lead these days.

For further advice and support on your child’s nutritional needs, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Cold Sores

Cold sores usually occur on or around the lip or nose, and are caused by a virus called the ‘Herpes simplex type 1’

In most cases, they will clear up within 10 days, however this virus remains in the body, meaning that the cold sores may recur, especially if you are stressed, tired, feverish or injured.

Exposure to sun or wind can also trigger cold sores. They are also contagious, especially by direct contact such as kissing.

Cold sores are usually preceded by a feeling of tingling, burning, itching, or numbness in the spot where the cold sore is developing. As the cold sore becomes visible, small red spots and fluid blisters appear. These usually merge together into what looks like one sore.

Catching the cold sore early helps to limit the attack. There are many antiviral and anaesthetic medicines available at Healthpoint Chemists to treat the cold sore. Avoid exposure to the sun by using sunscreen and keep the cold sore moist.

Please speak to our pharmacist or your doctor if the cold sores cover a large area, are very persistent, have pus or are painless, without the early itch or tingle.

Feel free to visit a Healthpoint Chemist and ask our friendly staff for advice on cold sores. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Colic (Infantile)

Definition
Colic is a condition where repeated bouts of excessive crying occur in a baby who is otherwise healthy and thriving.

Description
Colic is very common and is thought to affect approximately 20 percent of newborn babies.
The symptoms usually start a few weeks after birth, and continue for the first three to four months of life. Colic may appear to be distressing for a baby, however it is not harmful. Babies with Colic still grow and develop normally.
Colic is often defined as crying for more than three hours a day, three days a week for more than three weeks in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Colic episodes are most common in the late afternoon or evening. The crying often begins suddenly and for no apparent reason. During an episode, your baby may be difficult, or even impossible, to comfort. Colic can be very upsetting for parents. Although Colic can be distressing at the time, it is a common phase which will pass in a few weeks or months. Colic is not the fault of the parents and it is very important not to blame a ‘stressed’ parent for the crying. Babies cry as a method of communicating their needs to their parents. All babies cry at some time and it is not unusual for a newborn infant to cry for up to 2 hours a day.

Cause
The causes of Colic are unknown. Some researchers have suggested that indigestion or wind may play a role. Others claim that babies who have Colic may have a temporary sensitivity to certain substances found in breast or formula milk, such as lactose (a natural sugar), or proteins found in cows’ milk. There is little evidence to support these theories. It is known that smoking during pregnancy doubles the chances of your baby developing Colic. Some researchers have suggested that some babies may be more sensitive than others, or have a problem ‘turning off’ their crying response. Some babies are easily frightened by and struggle to cope with normal physical sensations such as digestion or normal reflux. Others take longer to adapt to the world and cope with changes. It is important to remember that all babies are different. Some cry for longer periods and are more unsettled than others. This is normal.

Signs and symptoms
Colic can produce the following symptoms;
Flushed red face
Intense, furious crying
Baby is difficult or impossible to comfort
Baby may clench their fists, draw up their knees, or arch their back.
Babies with Colic often have difficulty sleeping, and feeding patterns may be disrupted by the bouts of crying. Feeding is not normally reduced, but it may take longer if the baby is crying persistently. It is also common for babies to pass wind during periods of vigorous crying. Colic can be milder in some babies than in others, and periods of restlessness in the evenings may be the only symptom.

Treatment options
As Colic always improves on its own, medical treatment is not normally recommended. Colic can be very distressing for parents and if you find that you are having problems coping then you should contact your GP. Medication should only be given to an infant on the advice of a Doctor.

COMFORTING YOUR BABY
The suggestions outlined below may be helpful in managing a colicky baby;
Stay calm – this will help you to think clearly and provide reassurance to your baby.
Hold your baby – during a crying episode this can sometimes help, as can wrapping them snugly in a blanket (swaddling).
Prevent air swallowing – by sitting your baby upright during feeding. Holes in bottle teats that are too small or too large may cause babies to swallow air while feeding. Special teats designed to stop your baby swallowing air while feeding may be a useful alternative. Avoid too much caffeine if breastfeeding – some women also find that spicy food and alcohol can aggravate Colic. Burp your baby – do this after every feed. Sit your baby upright or hold them, facing you, against your shoulder, making sure that you support their neck and head. Gently rub their back and tummy until they burp. They may bring up a small amount of milk when you do this, which is normal. Avoid over-stimulation – continually picking up and putting down your baby may aggravate the crying. Try gently comforting your baby in a quiet, darkened room. If you know that your baby is not hungry, tired, too hot or cold, or in need of a nappy change, it may help to leave them in their cot for a short while. Gentle movement – pushing your baby in their pram or pushchair, or going for a drive, can be comforting. Rocking them over your shoulder or carrying them around the house may also be helpful. White noise – the sound of a washing machine or vacuum cleaner can be soothing to some babies. Massage – gentle stomach or back rubs, or a warm bath, may also help to relieve Colic.

SUPPORT FOR YOU
If you feel that you cannot cope with your baby’s crying, it is best to put your baby down somewhere safe and take a few minutes as a ‘time-out’.
Ask your friends and family for support.
Rest when your baby is asleep.
Try to meet with parents of babies of the same age for support and advice.

Pharmacist’s advice
Ask your Pharmacist for advice on treatments for Colic.
1) If bottle feeding, ask your Pharmacist to recommend the most suitable teat.
2) Your Pharmacy stocks a range of massage oils suitable for babies’ sensitive skin.
3) A warm bath may help to soothe your baby.

DISCLAIMER : The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or naturopath before following any medical regimen to see whether it is safe and effective for you

For more information and advice visit the team at your local Healthpoint Chemist. Find them here

For more information on the free Mother and Baby clinics, click here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Constipation

Constipation refers to abnormal infrequent bowel motion and/or pain when passing small, hard stools.

Colds and flu are caused by infection with a virus and commonly affect our nose, throat and chest. Cold and flu viruses are always changing, and this season’s cold or flu virus will probably be different from last year.

A bowel motion every day is not always necessary. People’s bowel habits differ, and some people have a bowel motion only every second or third day or more..

Diet is an important factor in constipation. A diet high in fibre (fruit, vegetables and grain products) is strongly recommended. This should be tried before any laxative is used. Exercise and plenty of water also help in the prevention of constipation.

There are many laxatives available for short-term relief, such as Metamucil, Normafibe and Senna. With all types of laxatives, it is important to drink plenty of water. Laxatives should not be required long-term under normal circumstances, as the overuse may cause electrolyte imbalances which can be dangerous.

Feel free to visit a Healthpoint Chemist and ask our friendly staff for advice on constipation. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Contact Lens Care

Caring for contact lenses requires time and effort.

Cleaning and disinfecting, soaking, wetting and lubrication, are all necessary for responsible contact-lens care and maintenance.

Soft contact lenses are a hydrogel-type product which is prone to contamination. The disinfection step is very important. Protein build up should be removed daily with liquid enzyme cleaner or weekly using enzyme tablet systems.

Always wash and dry hands well when handling contact lenses. If a lens becomes dehydrated it should be rehydrated with saline before it is handled – do not use saliva to wet a lens.For dry, red eyes, a lubricant such as artificial tears or comfort drops are recommended. If applying eye drops, first remove contact lenses.

Check with your optometrist or pharmacist to see if the drops are compatible with the lens.

Insert lenses before applying make-up and take lenses out before removing make-up. Cream and liquid gel eye shadows are preferable for lens wearers.

Normal tears can leave protein and oil deposits on contact lenses. If these deposits are not cleaned off they harden and can cause distorted vision, as well as reducing the wearable life of the lenses.

Artificial tears increase the wearing comfort by lubricating and cushioning the lens in the eye. These solutions also help the wearer insert the lens into the eye.

For further advice and support on caring for your contact lenses, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Dandruff

Dandruff is itchy, annoying and persistent. Most skin specialists agree that it is associated with a tiny fungus called Pityrosporum Ovale.

The fungus lives on our bodies all the time, usually without causing a problem, but unfortunately for some it can increase in numbers and lead to dandruff.

Anti-dandruff shampoo’s are effective against this fungus, and it is recommended that you use shampoos and conditioners that are pH balanced for in between washes to maintain a healthy scalp.

For more information and advice visit the team at your local Healthpoint Chemist. Find them here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Dental Care

The correct practice of oral hygiene goes beyond simply brushing the teeth. It should be a holistic process involving the teeth, gums, diet and lifestyle.

Dental professionals recommend electric and battery-operated toothbrushes as the high speed oscillations have been clinically proven to remove more harmful plaque than an ordinary manual toothbrush.

Floss daily to remove plaque and use an antiseptic or antibacterial mouthwash to reduce plaque. Our staff can help you choose a good, well-priced mouthwash. We consistently have our mouthwashes priced below supermarket prices.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid sugary and sticky foods. Try to reduce snacking between meals.

Good oral hygiene and regular professional care are the only ways to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

For further advice and support on caring for your teeth, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Depression

Depression is often called the ‘common cold’ of our mental and emotional life. We all experience times in our lives when we feel depressed.

Used in this respect the word depression is used to describe the feeling of sadness such as when we are faced with a breakdown of a relationship, a disappointment such as losing a job or the loss of a loved one. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that feeling down for a day or two is not the same as suffering from clinical depression.

The official definition of depression, as stated by the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Disease is:.

  • Two weeks of abnormal depressed mood
  • Loss of interest/pleasure and decreased energy
  • Loss of confidence
  • Excessive guilt or feeling of worthlessness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death
  • Poor concentration
  • Agitation or retardation of thoughts
  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia/hypersomnia)
  • Changes in appetite (resulting in significant weight loss or gain)

Mild depression includes the first two symptoms and at least one other. Severe depression is the first two symptoms and at least five others. Most people with depression never seek help, even though the majority will respond to treatment. Treating depression is especially important because it affects you, your family, and your work. Some people with depression try to harm themselves in the mistaken belief that how they are feeling will never change. Depression is a treatable illness.

There are many types of treatments which are used to treat depression and these are often used in conjunction with each other, but treatment used does depend on a persons’ symptoms.

Firstly there is ‘talking therapy’. This includes talking to a professional or even writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal. This style of treatment helps individuals to understand their thoughts, behaviours and interpersonal relationships.

Secondly, depression is often treated with antidepressant medications and these are prescribed by your medical practitioner. these medications relieve depressed feelings, restore normal sleep and eating patterns.

The third type of treatment is call ‘self-help therapies’. This includes regular exercise and doing things that once gave you pleasure such as a massage, a facial or even going for coffee with friends. This treatment will not cure depression but by neglecting these areas, depression can actually worsen.

The important thing to remember is that help is available for those suffering from depression. Important numbers and organisations that can help.

LIFELINE: 131114
KIDS HELP LINE: 1800 55 1800
SANE Mental Health Information Line: 1800 688 382 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

To find out what mental health services are available in your area call Lifeline’s Just Ask information line on 1300 131 114.

For more information and advice visit the team at your local Healthpoint Chemist. Find them here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Dry Mouth

“Xerostomia” is a dental term which refers to the dryness in the mouth caused by a decrease in the functioning of the saliva glands.

This condition is not a disease but a symptom of a disease. It can impact heavily on a person, having negative effects on speech, taste, diet, fitness and quality of life. Special attention needs to be given in cases of Xerostomia.

A long-lasting feeling of dryness in the mouth or decreased saliva flow may be due to one of the following:

  • Biological ageing
  • Diseases i.e .rheumatoid condition
  • A dysfunctional immune system
  • Hormonal disorders i.e. diabetes
  • Neurological disorders
  • Impaired ability to chew, causing the person to choose soft -foods and liquids over solids (this has a negative impact on the flow of saliva in the mouth)

Are you developing Xerostomia?

Below are some common signs and symptoms:

  • Difficulty eating and speaking
  • Burning sensations in or on the tongue
  • Dehydration
  • Dry and chapped lips
  • Impaired taste

Treatment

Avoid tobacco, alcohol and high sugar foods sip water frequently and keep water next to your bed at night chew chewing gum use a fluoride (toothpaste, rinse, or gel)

Feel free to visit a Healthpoint Chemist and ask our friendly staff for advice on dry mouth. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Dry Skin

Dry skin occurs when the outer layer of skin is lacking moisture or sebum and is a very common problem during the cooler months.

The most common areas to be affected first are the shins, feet and forearms. The skin can be dull looking, scaly and can often feel tight and itchy. While there are many causes of dry skin such as medications, food allergies and different diseases, the most common is the weather and the use of heaters or very hot showers. The lower humidity of winter tends to dry the skin out faster than normal. Excessive bathing tends to wash away the protective oils allowing the skin to dry out faster.

Simple dry skin is relatively easy to treat. Use of moisturisers on a daily basis will generally control the condition and substituting aqueous cream for soap in a warm shower will also help.

There are many different moisturisers on the market. The simplest is sorbolene cream, which can be applied as often as needed. Others such as Alpha Keri lotion, the QV range and Cetaphil will also keep the skin moist. There are also a range of oils which can be applied during bathing to help reduce the loss of the skins protective oils.

Avoiding excessive exposure to the sun, wind, cold or chemicals will help. Other measures such as increasing the levels of essential fatty acids consumed and ensuring adequate water intake will also help with dry skin.

For further advice and support on dry skin, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Ear Ache

Earache may be caused by infection or a tumour or it may be a referred pain from another disease elsewhere in the body e.g., the pain of a toothache may also be felt in the ear.

As the middle ear is so closely connected with the nose and the throat, infections such as colds, influenza or tonsillitis often spread to the ear..

Patients who experience earache or pain, discharge or vertigo or have a raised temperature in association with any one of these problems should see a general practitioner.

Anyone with diabetes who experiences ear problems should seek the advice of a diabetic specialist.

Infections can be treated very effectively with antibiotics, though if left untreated, can spread to the facial bones and in serious cases to the brain. Inflammation of the sinuses can also be a cause of earache. Mild inflammation of the external ear canal can produce severe pain.

If the Eustachian tube is obstructed due to changes in air pressure, infection or mucus, severe pain may be experienced in the ear. Sometimes earache may be due to damage to facial nerves.

The most common cause of earache in children is infection in the ear. This can cause a child great distress. Crying babies may tend to pull or rub their ears when they are experiencing earache. Take the child to a doctor as soon as possible.

Points to keep in mind

  • Patients with earache should see a doctor for a correct diagnosis.
  • It is particularly important that a patient with diabetes see the doctor as soon as Possible if they are suffering from earache.
  • If antibiotics have been prescribed, always take the whole course of medication. Do not discontinue treatment if symptoms stop. Not finishing a course of antibiotics can lead to an overgrowth or drug- resistant strains of bacteria.
  • Do not push anything in the ear canal, not even cotton buds.
  • See your doctor if the ears need cleaning.
  • Your pharmacist might suggest some pain relieving ear drops and pain relieving Medication, but remember to see a doctor if pain persists.
  • Products which can be used to help dry up any excess water in the ear should not be used if there is any inflammation present.
  • Do not use ear drops if intending to see a doctor as they can distort and obscure visual examination.
  • Show caution when using some cotton applicators as sometimes the cotton bulbs can detach and lodge in the ear.
  • Nutritional supplements may be of some benefit if the diet is inadequate.

Garlic is thought to have antibacterial activity in the body. Garlic can be included in the diet and it is also available in supplement form.

For more information and advice visit the team at your local Healthpoint Chemist. Find them here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Food Allergy

A food allergy is an allergic response to particular foods or additives. Studies show that about 6% of children and 1% – 2% of adults have a food allergy.

As the middle ear is so closely connected with the nose and the throat, infections such as colds, influenza or tonsillitis often spread to the ear.

Babies and young children are most often allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, soybean products and peanuts. Older children and adults are most often allergic to peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds and cashews), fish and shellfish. Allergies to food dyes and colours are rare.

Many food intolerance’s are mistaken for allergies. A food intolerance is an adverse food-induced reaction that does not involve the immune system. Sugars and fats do not produce an allergic response. Lactose intolerance is due to difficulty digesting the sugar in milk and is also not an allergy. Food allergies do not cause hyperactivity.

Food Allergy occurs when the body’s immune system over-reacts to normally harmless substances (called allergens) in some foods. Hay Fever, Eczema and many cases of asthma are all caused by allergies. When an allergic person comes into contact with an allergen, their immune system produces a special kind of antibody. Other cells release further chemicals such as histamine that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

While allergies are not directly inherited, you may inherit a tendency to be allergic. This is called being ‘atopic’. A child with no history of allergies in the family has a 10% chance of developing hay fever, food allergies, eczema or asthma. A child with one parent with allergies has a 30% chance, whilst a child with 2 atopic parents has a 60% chance. Allergies start only if you are then exposed to an allergen.

Sign & Symptoms

Symptoms vary widely between individuals. Symptoms typically appear within minutes to two hours after the person has eaten the food to which they are allergic. The most common symptoms include:

  • A tingling sensation in the mouth
  • Swelling of the tongue and the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nasal congestion runny or itchy nose (rhinitis)
  • Hives or skin rash
  • Vomiting abdominal cramps and diarrhoea
  • Wheezing (this often sounds like the wheezing associated with asthma and in severe cases drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness and respiratory shock (anaphylactic shock).
  • Treatment Food

Allergies can only be correctly diagnosed by a Doctor. There is no cure for Food Allergies, Treatment is aimed at identifying and avoiding the trigger foods. Always check food labels carefully and do not eat anything which is unlabelled.

In case of a severe reaction (anaphylactic shock) medical attention must be sought immediately.

Try to identify the source of the problem and make every effort to avoid any known allergens, and consulting your Doctor or a Dietician is also advantageous.

Your Pharmacist may suggest an antihistamine. There are several brands available. Watch for any possible side effects which may include drowsiness, New products are on the market that have few side effects.

Vitamin C is considered by some people to have natural antihistamine properties. Vitamins & Minerals.

Supplements may be of benefit in reducing symptoms but are not a cure for allergies. You may be allergic to some substances used in vitamin and herb preparations. Always check the labels of any supplements to ensure the allergens are not present.

Garlic – and onion may reduce the severity of a skin reaction.

Bromelain (an enzyme found in pineapple) is thought to inhibit inflammation and may assist in reducing the inflammatory response triggered by allergy.

Vitamin C – reduces histamine release and the sensitivity of inflammatory cells in responding to allergens.

Albizzia may be used for it ‘anti allergy’ properties. It is believed to help with lowering allergy producing antibodies and reducing inflammation.

Evening Primrose Oil – has proven anti-inflammatory properties which, if taken over a period of time, may help to reduce the severity of allergies.

For further advice and support on food allergies, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

To find out more about natural solutions to food allergies click here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is defined as ‘any illness or abnormality in the body that is connected to the ingestion of a particular food or dietary substance’.

This usually applies to foods which are a part of the daily diet and have nutritional value. e.g. protein, carbohydrates, fats etc.

There is some debate about the use of the term ‘food intolerance. For the purpose of this article, food intolerance describes the theories and possible triggers for what is sometimes a complex and subtle reaction within the body which occurs as a result of eating a particular type of food.

Food Allergy

A food allergy refers to the more sever immune reaction which can occur when a particular food is eaten (see the food allergy topic). Food allergies may cause acute symptoms in a person which can be easily linked to the intake of a particular food, however there may be a less obvious connection in the case of food intolerance. A person may fail to recognise or be able to identify they type of food which is causing symptoms.

Diet

Many people are aware of the dangers of a diet high in sugar, fat, salt, refined foods, caffeine and alcohol. It is surprising for some people to learn that negative health effects can also occur from eating every day foods considered to be part of a normal, healthy diet. Wheat and dairy foods are examples of nutritious foods which some people are unable to tolerate in the diet.

There are number of theories as to why food intolerance develops. In some cases where a person is food intolerant, large fragments of digested food molecules (peptides) are allowed to pass through the gut wall and into the blood stream.

Enzyme Deficiency

An enzyme deficiency is another theory for food intolerance. If certain digestive enzymes are in short supply or not operating efficiently, food is not digested properly and more peptides may be absorbed into the blood stream. A direct overreaction of the immune system to a particular substance is a cause of food intolerance in some people.

Milk

Lactose is a type of sugar found in cow’s milk which is broken down into smaller fragments for digestion by the lactase enzyme. People who are deficient in lactase are unable to properly digest dairy products. lactose intolerance may occur at birth or develop later on in life.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include, bloating, wind and diarrhoea. Lactose intolerance should not be confused with milk allergy which is related to the protein portion of milk. People with lactose intolerance are sometimes able to tolerate small amounts of dairy products which contrasts sharply with milk allergy which may give us serve symptoms after consuming only a small amount.

Wheat

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, oats and barley. Coeliac disease results from an intolerance to gluten which causes gastric discomfort, wind and diarrhoea. The disease may also contribute to eczema and arthritis.

Strict avoidance of gluten is necessary in the management of coeliac disease.

Signs and symptoms

  • It is thought that a food intolerance may cause a person to crave the particular food which is causing the problem.
  • In most cases, this craving is for wheat or milk and may go unnoticed because these foods tend to appear in every meal. Cravings for beer, wine, bread, etc, may indicate a yeast intolerance.
  • Another indicator of food intolerance may be eating excessive amounts of a particular food and increasing the frequency of intake during times of stress.
  • Feelings of calmness or reduced agitation after eating certain food may be an indication of food intolerance eg. if feelings of sadness or anger are relieved by eating chocolate.
  • The cause of a food allergy and in some cases food intolerance can be pinpointed to a particular food.
  • This food is then eliminated from the diet and symptoms cease to occur. In other cases, however, more subtle symptoms such as headache, mood swings, lethargy and poor concentration which do not respond to medical treatment may also be relieved by eliminating or reducing the intake of a food which is not being well tolerated by the body.
  • Health Management

As with all conditions, your Doctor should be consulted.

If a food intolerance is suspected, your doctor may refer you to a dietitian to help manage the condition and provide you with a diet plan to suit your needs. Pharmacist’s Advice

Follow the Diet Hints If you are suffering from a lactose intolerance and ask your Pharmacist about lactase tablets and drops to help with the digestion of milk. A food intolerance (which is the result of an enzyme deficiency) may respond to digestive enzyme supplementation.

Lactose intolerance or a milk allergy should always be treated medically. Managing the condition without medical advice could be harmful e.g. replacing cow’s milk with goat’s milk is not recommended for young children as it is low is folic acid.

If the diet is inadequate, consider some supplements. A person avoiding dairy foods may require additional calcium. Wheat contains high levels of B group vitamins which can be supplemented in cases of gluten intolerance.

For further advice and support on food intolerances, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

To find out more about natural solutions to food intolerances click here.

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Foot Pronation

Do you experience foot and leg discomfort?

Do you complain about heel pain, knee pain, back pain, or aching legs?

One of the main causes of this is a condition called ‘excess pronation’. ‘Pronation’ simply means ‘turning inward’, and normal pronation is important because our feet must adapt to the ground.

With over pronation, the arch of the foot can flatten, collapse, and stretch the soft tissues, causing our joints working at abnormal angles, resulting in staple joints becoming loose and flexible.

Excess pronation may leave you feeling very tired, and could lead to permanent problems and even deformities because of the stress on the tendons, muscles and ligaments.

An estimated 75% of the population suffers from Excess Pronation.

You can relieve aches and pains, and prevent and control pronation through the re-alignment of your feet. Insoles and Orthotics are simple and highly effective methods of treatment which work to control Excess Pronation through special built-in angles to restore the natural position of the foot and leg, thereby relieving many aches and pains in the process.

Who can benefit? People on their feet all day, most elderly people, sports people, and children with growing pains.

If you think insoles or orthotics can help you, please come into Healthpoint Chemist and talk to us.

Feel free to visit a Healthpoint Chemist and ask our friendly staff for advice. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Gout

Gout is an arthritic condition of the body connected with an excess of uric acid in the blood.

Gout causes the joints to become red, swollen and painful. Uric acid crystals are deposited in joints, tendons, kidneys and other tissues where they cause inflammation and damage.

The most common area on the body for Gout to occur is the joint of the big toe. Gout is not a single disease but is a syndrome resulting from high levels of uric acid in the blood.

There are several possible causes of Gout. They include:

  • Foods high in purines increase uric acid levels.
  • A high intake of protein, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, coffee and meat, and a low intake of fruits and vegetables may also cause Gout.
  • Drugs such as aspirin, penicillin, diuretics and insulin may reduce the ability to excrete uric acid from the body.
  • Alcohol increases uric acid production and reduces uric acid excretion. Alcohol may also impair kidney function.
  • Obesity may cause Gout.
  • Hereditary factors.
  • Insufficient exercise.
  • Kidney disease or dysfunction leads to decrease clearance of uric acid.
  • Lead toxicity.
  • Health Management

As with all conditions your doctor should be consulted to diagnose and treat this condition.

A simple blood test will diagnose the problem immediately. Usually any prescribed medicine is directed towards reducing the content of the uric acid in the blood and relieving the symptoms.

Some patients have to take medication for long periods of time. A variety of over-the-counter topical analgesics are available.

These are usually creams or gels which may be rubbed into the painful area several times a day. Such creams should not be applied to broken or irritated shin, and hands must be washed well after application.

If it is your hands that are being treated, wear a pair of light cotton gloves to prevent creams from getting into the eyes. Creams may interact with oral medications, so always ask your doctor or pharmacist before commencing a new treatment.

Diet Hints

Drink plenty of water.
Avoid alcohol Minimise fructose (fruit sugar) intake.
Reduce saturated fat intake as this may increase uric acid retention.
Juices such as celery, alfalfa and carrot may help remove excess uric acid from the body.
Avoid foods high in purines such as liver, kidney, heart, brains, pate, sardines, herrings, anchovies, mackerel, yeast, beer, asparagus and yeast products.
For further advice and support on gout, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Hayfever

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hayfever , is an allergic reaction causing inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose when nasal passages are exposed to an allergy- causing substances (allergen).

Hayfever allergy affects 15% of the general population. The highest rate is reported in the 15-year-old to 34-year-old age groups. Hay fever tends to run in the family. It is not contagious, but may occur more often in patients with asthma, eczema, sinusitis and nasal polyps.

Hayfever is further classified to seasonal or perennial. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is usually precipitated by outdoor allergens and symptoms develop very quickly after exposure. These may come from trees, plants, flowers, grasses, mould or weed in a specific seasons. However, perennial allergic rhinitis occurs all year round. It results from exposure to an allergen encountered every day, such as house dust, dust mites, cosmetic spray, household cleaners, animal dander and industrial fumes.

The Symptoms

The symptoms of hayfever are usually the same, regardless of the allergen causing the irritation. Common symptoms include:

  • Itching of the nose and roof of the mouth
  • A thin, watery discharge constantly draining from the nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • A feeling of exhaustion
  • Blocked nose and loss of taste and smell.
  • Control your hayfever…

Over-the-counter oral antihistamine can be very effective in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, especially since new drugs are now available with minimal sedating (drowsiness) effects.

Other management options include, corticosteroids nasal sprays which reduce swelling of nasal passages and antihistamine sprays and eye preparations which reduce itchiness.

Allergen avoidance is the most successful of controlling allergic rhinitis. Allergy testing may be required to identify the allergen. Skin tests or blood tests can be preformed and your doctors will arrange these if necessary. Simple measures such as air conditioning and filtering, staying indoors as much as possible during the season, wearing sunglasses and face masks during exposure to allergens and using dust mite mattress and pillow covers and spray may help.

Ask your Healthpoint Pharmacist for advice on controlling Hayfever or selecting the right product for you. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Head Lice

Lice are human parasites that complete their whole life cycle on the body of the host.

This species of lice that infests the head are called ‘Pediculus humanus var. capitis’. These head lice are wingless, flattened in appearance and measure about 2mm in length.

The lice are white to milk-coffee coloured and so may be difficult to see – especially on light or fair hair.

Head lice can be transferred by direct personal contact and by objects such as brushes and combs, hats, pillows and upholstered furniture. The infestation is thus found among all socio-economic classes, as good personal hygiene does not afford protection.

Head lice are more commonly transferred among children than adults; however, children may pass the lice to adults in their families.

Symptoms & Signs

Common symptom is an itchy scalp, especially towards the back of the head and the nape of the neck.

The diagnosis is confirmed by finding the adult lice or the nits on the hair. Inspection of the scalp can be assisted with a magnifying lens. Nits are seen fixed to the hair shafts, they cannot be dislodged easily.

The adults and their egg shells can also be detected by combing wet hair over a sheet of white paper using a fine-toothed comb. Treatment Various products are available for treatment of head lice. It is important that products be used strictly according to manufacturer’s directions, particularly in relation to application to damp or dry hair, the amount of product needed and the duration of the application.

To ensure complete eradication, the hair should be examined for eggs after seven to ten days and the product reapplied if necessary. Other family members and close contacts should be examined and treated if necessary to prevent re-infestation.

It is important to note that bites may itch for several days after successful treatment so checking for the presence of eggs and/or lice again will avoid unnecessary treatment which could contribute to the development of resistant strains.

Management To Prevent Re-Infestation

To prevent re-infestation, wash and heat dry, dry clean or hot-iron hats, coats, shirts, blankets, sheets and pillow cases.

Those items which cannot be washed should be placed in a sealed plastic bag for seven to ten days, which will destroy both lice and eggs.

Vacuum or otherwise clean beds, pillows and upholstered furniture.

For further advice and support on head lice, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Hearing Problems

It is estimated that one in four people suffer from some hearing loss problem.

It could be a cerumen (wax) build up or swimmers ear or it could be a noise induced hearing problem.

If it is swimmers ear or cerumen build up we can recommend products to suit. We would also refer you to your GP if it were warranted.

Whatever the cause, come in and talk to the pharmacist at your most convenient Healthpoint Chemist. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Hydration

Water is the most essential and often neglected nutrient of the human body. Deficiencies of other nutrients can be sustained for months or even years, however a person can only survive a few days without water.

Hayfever allergy affects 15% of the general population. The highest rate is reported in the 15-year-old to 34-year-old age groups. Hay fever tends to run in the family. It is not contagious, but may occur more often in patients with asthma, eczema, sinusitis and nasal polyps.

Water is necessary for digestion, absorption, and transport of nutrients, as well as many other functions including body temperature regulation, maintain normal blood pressure, and heart rate, maintain blood volume, store energy in muscles, lubricates joints, protects organs, removal of toxin and waste, etc. But perhaps its most important role is helping the body to rehydrate.

We sweat to help regulate our body temperature. If we don’t get enough water, our body can’t sweat properly and our temperature rises, putting us at risk for cramps, heat stroke and exhaustion. Dehydration can cause us to become lethargic and impair our mental abilities. The key is to keep drinking, even if we’re not thirsty. The recommended daily intake of water should be at least 2 litres (8 glasses).

Don’t wait until you are thirsty to hydrate. Most people are already dehydrated by the time they feel thirsty.

For further advice and support on staying hydrated, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Immunity – Deficiency

Water is the most essential and often neglected nutrient of the human body. Deficiencies of other nutrients can be sustained for months or even years, however a person can only survive a few days without water.

Hayfever allergy affects 15% of the general population. The highest rate is reported in the 15-year-old to 34-year-old age groups. Hay fever tends to run in the family. It is not contagious, but may occur more often in patients with asthma, eczema, sinusitis and nasal polyps.

Water is necessary for digestion, absorption, and transport of nutrients, as well as many other functions including body temperature regulation, maintain normal blood pressure, and heart rate, maintain blood volume, store energy in muscles, lubricates joints, protects organs, removal of toxin and waste, etc. But perhaps its most important role is helping the body to rehydrate.

We sweat to help regulate our body temperature. If we don’t get enough water, our body can’t sweat properly and our temperature rises, putting us at risk for cramps, heat stroke and exhaustion. Dehydration can cause us to become lethargic and impair our mental abilities. The key is to keep drinking, even if we’re not thirsty. The recommended daily intake of water should be at least 2 litres (8 glasses).

Don’t wait until you are thirsty to hydrate. Most people are already dehydrated by the time they feel thirsty.

For further advice and support on staying hydrated, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Immunity – Deficiencyp
Definition

The immune system is a system set up by the body to protect itself against infection. It does so by antibodies and cells of the lymphocytic system. A deficiency either by genetic or acquired means will increase the chances of infection.

Description

The human immune system consists in part of a variety of white blood cells that circulate throughout the body in blood and lymphatic fluid. Each of these white cells has a specific role in combatting infection in the body. Immune deficiency occurs when there is an inability in the body to combat these infections as they arise. A healthy person has a healthy immune system.

When you are a baby and breastfed, your mother is building up your immune system with special substances in her milk. We continue to maintain our immune systems with a healthy lifestyle.

Fresh, nutritious foods are necessary to build our bodies. Adequate sleep and relaxation and the avoidance of unnecessary stress are also essential to promote the immune system. When this system breaks down and you seem to be ‘catching everything’ then the following is important. Do not sit in draughty areas particularly when the body is wet, e.g., after swimming or having been out in the rain. Avoid polluted environments and be sure to get lots of fresh air and some sunlight.

Ensure that the water supply is clean and fresh or use a water filter.

If there are recurring infections a Doctor should be consulted for a correct diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment options

As with all conditions your Doctor should be consulted to diagnose and treat this condition. Ask your Doctor about the latest advice on this ailment.

A Doctor must be consulted to diagnose the ailment. Follow the prescribed treatment.

Diet hints

To help boost the immune system it is important to have a sound, healthy diet. Limit highly refined foods and foods high in sugar and saturated fat and eat moderate amounts of meats, fish, eggs and dairy products. The majority of the diet should be made up of fresh fruit and vegetable, whole grains, beans and pulses and 6 to 8 cups of water daily. All food should be as fresh and varied as possible and cooked briefly to retain nutrients by steaming, grilling or stir-frying. Eat salads which are freshly made. Citrus fruits are generally suggested for their vitamin C content.

Include foods rich in zinc, such as oysters and lean red meat, regularly. Include garlic in the diet each day. Garlic contains natural antibiotic substances that help the body combat infection.

Vitamins/minerals/herbs
Nutritional supplements are only to be used if the dietary vitamin intake is inadequate.

– In cases of low immune function, an oversupply of harmful molecules (free radicals) may develop in the body. Antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, grape seed extract, coenzyme Q10 and selenium help to reduce the number of free radicals in the body.
– Vitamin C and zinc lozenges dissolved in the mouth may help to improve recovery time from infections of the upper airways such as head colds and sore throats.
– Hydrochloric acid naturally occurs in the gut and helps to destroy parasites and bacteria contained in food. If stomach acidity is low a Hydrochloric acid supplement is recommended.
– Acidophilus helps to re-establish a healthy bacterial colony in the bowel. Taking an acidophilus supplement will help to boost the body’s resistance to infection.
– Echinacea and Golden seal are herbs which help to boost the immune system and prevent infection.
– Astragalus is a herb with a long history of traditional use in Chinese herbal medicine. Clinical trials have shown Astragalus to have immune enhancing properties.
Pharmacist’s advice
Ask your Pharmacist for advice.

1) Follow the Diet Hints.
2) Regular exercise increases blood circulation throughout the body. Consult your Doctor before undertaking an exercise programme.
3) Ask your Pharmacist about the range of products available to help you stop smoking. Many studies have demonstrated that smoking weakens the immune system.
4) Keep weight at a sensible level. If you need to lose weight your Pharmacist will help. Studies have shown that weight loss can help to improve the immune system.
5) Have sufficient rest as inadequate rest is proven to reduce the immune system.
6) Moderate tea and coffee consumption to lower the caffeine intake. Your Pharmacy may stock a coffee substitute.
7) Consider some nutritional supplements if the diet is inadequate. All the antioxidants may be suggested to help the natural immune system of the body. Antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene, and zinc.
DISCLAIMER : The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace medical advice for individual conditions or treatments.

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or naturopath before following any medical regimen to see whether it is safe and effective for you.

For more information and advice visit the team at your local Healthpoint Chemist. Find them here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Indigestion & Heartburn

Indigestion and heartburn are common problems that occur when the acidic contents of the stomach attack the lining of your stomach or oesophagus. Although often used interchangeably, indigestion and heartburn are slightly different complaints.

Indigestion is the discomfort you may feel in your stomach after a meal. This discomfort can be a feeling of nausea or a bloated feeling that is relieved by burping.

Heartburn occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the oesophagus and is often described as a burning sensation rising up through the chest. Symptoms are usually noticed to be worse when bending over or lying down.

It is not unusual to experience indigestion or heartburn after a large meal, eating spicy, rich or fatty foods or simply eating too fast. If you find you are experiencing these symptoms quite often however, be sure to speak to your pharmacist or doctor, as a recurrent burning sensation, burping or sore throats may indicate a more serious underlying problem. Sometimes indigestion and heartburn can be caused by other medicines you are taking – be sure to talk to our friendly pharmacists to check that this isn’t the cause. If you are experiencing pain in the chest that is worse with or after exercise, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Non-Medicine Treatments

There are many, non-drug, options you can use to help relieve or prevent heartburn and indigestion. These conditions are often caused or worsened by certain foods so avoiding situations that you know cause you to have heartburn may be the best treatment you can use – so if you know eating that curry always causes you problems, just don’t eat the curry! Also, alcohol and caffeine are known to worsen symptoms, so reducing your intake of these may be beneficial.

Other things that may help include using an extra pillow to raise your head at night when you have symptoms (so that gravity can help keep your stomach acid where it’s meant to be); avoiding eating or drinking for a couple of hours before lying down; and eating smaller meals.
Medicine Treatments

If symptoms are causing considerable discomfort, an antacid may be of benefit. There are several different types of antacid available and pharmacy staff will be able to help you select the one most suitable for you. Most will contain aluminium, magnesium or calcium salts, which work to lower the acidity of stomach contents.

An antacid containing alginate is often most useful for heartburn as it creates a floating barrier on the top of the stomach contents to prevent them from rising up.

Other medications that help reduce production of acid in the stomach are now available over the counter at the pharmacy – your pharmacist will be happy to discuss whether these medications would be suitable for you.

Don’t forget you can always speak to one of our helpful pharmacists at any of our convenient Healthpoint locations. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Infant Pnemonococcal Disease

Pneumococcol disease is a prevalent bacterial infection that causes significant illness every year among Australian children.

The disease is caused by bacteria known as pneumococcus, which is potentially life threatening. If untreated, or if treatment is unsuccessful, pneumococcal disease can lead to hearing loss, mental retardation, permanent brain damage or even death. Infants from birth to two years have the highest risk of developing pneumococcal disease.

Pneumococcal disease is spread by bacteria found in the nose and throat of children and adults. It is spread by close contact, and through simple actions like coughing and sneezing. The warning signs for pneumococcal disease vary depending on the illness and its severity.

Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, photophobia, sudden shaking, chills, cough, chest congestion, earache and muffled hearing. In infants and young children, frequent tugging at the ear may signal an acute ear infection.

The higher risk groups include children who have close regular contact with others such as those who attend day care, children living in a household with smokers, those who have suffered recent ear infections and children with a weakened immune system.

Because of historically overuse of penicillin, resistance to treatment has resulted, and the persistently high morbidity and mortality associated with pneumococcal infection has shifted antibiotic therapy to the prevention of infection through immunization.

Evidence suggests the benefits of pneumococcal vaccination extend beyond the prevention of disease to reducing the need for antibiotic treatment.

The latest vaccine recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group recommended all children receive the vaccine for infant pneumococcal disease as part of the Australian Standard Vaccination Schedule and it be given at two, four and six months of age.

If you would like to obtain more information about pneumococcal disease or vaccination, please do not hesitate to contact your local general practitioner or Healthpoint pharmacist. For further advice and support on, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs are extremely common, and can be an extremely irritating problem for both women and men.

What are Ingrown Hairs?

Ingrown hairs form when “sharpened” hairs re-enter the same hair follicle. When this happens, the body does not ‘recognise’ the hair and it is read as a ‘foreign body’.

The foreign body is then attacked, causing inflammation, infection and itching, in an attempt to reject the hair from the skin.

Ingrown hairs commonly occur after shaving, as the razor “sharpens” the end of the hair, facilitating its penetration back into the skin. Other hair removal methods such as waxing, plucking, electrolysis and laser hair removal, can also cause ingrown hairs.

There are effective treatments which combat ingrown hairs.

For further advice and support on ingrown hairs, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Insomnia

Everyone has the odd bad night lying awake unable to get to sleep.

Fortunately for most people this doesn’t tend to happen very often, but if this seems to be your nightly routine then you may be diagnosed with insomnia.

In simple terms, insomnia can be classified as having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep on a regular basis. Poor sleeping patterns can leave a person feeling tired, irritable, anxious, depressed and unable to concentrate the next day.

The amount of sleep each person needs varies, but most people need between 6 and 10 hours sleep each night with this amount becoming less as we age. There are a whole range of causes of insomnia. Simple things such as, anxiety, stress and lack of exercise to more complicated reasons such as illness or sleep apnoea will often make sleep more difficult.

Some of the following lifestyles changes may help to fix this problem:

  • Get fit. Exercise during the day but not just before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine or alcohol within 2-3 hours of bedtime
  • Go to bed at the same time each night
  • Stop smoking
  • Learn to manage stress
  • Eat a light evening meal
  • Naps during the day may mean sleep is more elusive at night
  • If none of these measures work, then a visit to your local Pharmacist or GP may be in order. There are a large range of medications which can help with insomnia, some can be bought over the counter while others need a doctors prescription. All of these medications are meant for short term use only and some will cause problems such as dependence or drowsiness the next day.

For further advice and support on insomnia, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Jetlag

Jet lag is a common problem for transcontinental travellers.

It is an alteration of body rhythms caused by the body’s inability to adapt to time zone shifts of 4 hours or more. Not all cases of Jet lag are the same.

Flying eastward often causes more severe symptoms of Jet lag than flying west. Most people adjust to a new pattern of sleeping and eating at the rate of about 1 hour per day. Thus, after 4 hour time zone change, the body will usually require about 4 days to fully adapt to a new circadian rhythm.

After long trips across multiple time zones, it is recommended that travellers plan on 24 to 48 hours of rest upon arrival. It is a good idea to avoid major commitments or making important decisions during this adjustment period as poor concentration and confusion are common symptoms of Jet lag.

If the travelling involves an important meeting or event at the destination, arriving 2 or 3 days in advance may allow the body to adjust and avoid the inconvenience of feeling Jet lag.

Prevention of Jetlag:

  • Getting adequate sleep before departure may help ease the symptoms of Jet lag.
  • Try to organize a stop-over for at least one night to break-up journey.
  • Another strategy is to begin resetting the body’s clock several days in advance to departure by adopting a sleep-wake pattern similar to the day-night cycle at the destination
  • It is a good idea to have watches set to the time in the destination time zone half way through the trip. This may encourage the passenger to start thinking in terms of the new time.
  • Counter dehydration by maintaining a good fluid intake and avoiding alcohol, tea, coffee and cola drinks.
  • Have light meals of food that are easy to digest ( e.g. fruit and salads ).
  • For further advice and support on jetlag, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Keloid Scars

Keloids are lumps of scar tissue which grow at the site of trauma or injury to the skin.

Unlike other scars, however, Keloid Scars are larger than the site of the original injury.

In those people with a tendency to form Keloid Scars, the best treatment is prevention. Once the scar has formed, treatment options include surgery, steroid injections, pressure therapy and more recently laser therapy. Silicone gel sheeting may help reduce the elevation of the Keloid. Keloid may grow flatter over time without treatment, but do not usually disappear completely. When patients with a tendency to form Keloids consider surgery, it is important that precautions are taken to minimize more trauma to the skin and further Keloid formation.

Ask your pharmacist…

  • Ask your pharmacist about silicone gel sheets for the treatment of Keloid Scars.
  • Research indicates that better results are achieved by applying pure vitamin E oil to Keloid Scars with silicone gel sheets than when the sheets are used alone.
  • Zinc tape is often prescribed for patients to help reduce the size of Keloid Scars. Zinc tape also helps to reduce the redness and itching of Keloid Scars. Ask your pharmacist for advice.
  • Covering the forming Keloid with a patch or band aid can prevent permanent discoloration of Keloid Scars from sun exposure.
  • Applying sunscreen every day is also recommended when spending time outside. This should be done for at least 6 months after injury or surgery for an adult and up to 18 months for a child. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable sunscreen for your needs.
  • Keloid Scars may become irritated from rubbing on clothing or other forms of friction. Wear loose fitting clothing and/or cover the Keloid with a band aid if irritation occurs.
  • If the diet is inadequate consider some nutritional supplements.

For further advice and support on keloid scars, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Lactose Intolerance

Definition
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest milk sugar

Description
Lactose Intolerance is caused by a deficiency of lactase. Lactase is an enzyme manufactured in the small intestine. It is responsible for digesting the lactose in dairy products. People who are deficient in lactase do not digest dairy products efficiently and may experience diarrhoea, gas, bloating and severe abdominal cramps when dairy products are consumed.

3 CLASSIFICATIONS
Lactose Intolerance can be classified into three groups;

1) PRIMARY: This is the most common type of Lactose Intolerance. Worldwide, people lose from 90 to 95 percent of naturally occurring lactase levels by early childhood. People of Asian, African American, Native American, Australian Aboriginal, Hispanic and Mediterranean decent have a greater tendency to adult Lactose Intolerance than Caucasians.
2) SECONDARY: Lactase deficiency may also occur as a result of a gastrointestinal disorder which damages the digestive tract. This may include coeliac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, cystic fibrosis, HIV regional enteritis, or ulcerative colitis. Secondary Lactose Intolerance may also develop as a side effect of chemotherapy or radiation therapy or because of an iron deficiency.
3) CONGENITAL: In rare cases a person may be born with a lifelong complete absence of lactase enzyme
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of Lactose Intolerance in adults generally begin thirty minutes after food. These may include bloating, flatulence or wind, cramping, spasms, diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness or lethargy, anaemia, iron or folic acid deficiencies, weight loss, constipation (in some cases this occurs instead of diarrhoea), nausea and vomiting. Children with a Lactose Intolerance may also experience nappy rash and be slow to gain weight and develop. Lactose Intolerance can cause discomfort and digestive disruption, but is not a serious threat to health. It can be managed through dietary modification.

Treatment options
Seek the advice of a Medical Practitioner for the appropriate tests and diagnosis. One Lactose Intolerance test consists of taking an oral dose of lactose followed by a series of blood tests. This test is not always 100 percent accurate. A hydrogen breath test is more accurate and is based on the principle that carbohydrate in the colon is detectable in the breath. Only a very small amount of lactose needs to be consumed to conduct this test A person with secondary Lactose Intolerance may require further tests to identify the cause of the problem. Effective treatment of the underlying condition e.g. a gluten-free diet for the management of coeliac disease, may improve the symptoms of Lactose Intolerance. During an acute attack of Lactose Intolerance, drink plenty of water and do not eat any solid food.

Diet hints

Dairy products can be consumed up to an individual’s threshold for symptoms. One person may be able to consume more lactose than another person before symptoms develop.
Milk intake must usually be limited to less than 250 to 375 mL per day. Full cream milk contains less lactose than low fat calcium enriched milks and may be better tolerated. Lactose-reduced milk is also available in some stores. Heated milk products e.g. evaporated milk, are generally better tolerated as the heating process breaks-down part of the lactose making it easier to digest.
For those who cannot tolerate dairy products soy milk, soy cheese, soy yoghurt and rice milk are good alternatives. Adults should maintain a calcium intake of between 1200 to 1500mg per day and it may be necessary to take a calcium supplement.
Fermented milk products such as some yoghurts, mature cheeses e.g. cheddar, feta and mozzarella and butter are generally well tolerated.
Foods containing lactose are generally better tolerated if spread out over the day and consumed with other foods
A person with mild Lactose Intolerance may benefit from taking a lactase enzyme supplement prior to eating dairy foods.
Be aware of hidden amounts of lactose in baked goods such as cakes, biscuits, sauces, custard and other desserts.
Vitamins/minerals/herbs

Liquorice is thought to have a soothing effect on the bowel.
Echinacea is reputed for its immune stimulating properties. It may also protect against intestinal infection.
Antioxidants may help eliminate free radical damage.
Apple cider vinegar is believed to aid digestion of meals in the stomach. It can be taken half an hour before meals.
Acidophilus and bifidus promote the growth good bowel bacteria. There may be an accumulation of bad bowel bacteria if milk or other dairy products have been consumed. If constipation is present acidophilus is also recommended to aid in the peristaltic action of the bowel.
Calcium supplements may be lacking in the diet (see the Lactose Intolerance Diet).
Notes
Lactose intolerance is not the same as milk allergy. Lactose intolerance refers to a syndrome caused by the failure to digest milk sugar. A person with a milk allergy can digest milk normally but their immune system has an allergic response to one or two of the milk components.

Pharmacist’s advice
Ask your Pharmacist for advice.

1)    Follow the Diet Hints in this topic and the Lactose Intolerance Diet on the Healthpoint.
2)    A lactase enzyme supplement can be taken before consuming dairy products to avoid discomfort in mild cases of Lactose Intolerance.
3)    Certain medications and nutritional supplements may contain lactose. Certain medications may worsen the symptoms of Lactose Intolerance e.g. cholinergic drugs. Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
4)    Check food product labels and avoid any foods containing lactose or milk solids. Lactose is added to many different types of processed foods, including breads, canned and powdered soups, biscuits, pancake mixtures, powdered drink mixes such as flavoured coffees and processed meats.
5)    Pregnant women with a family history of lactose intolerance are advised to consider breastfeeding. If this is not possible, a non-dairy formula formula may be used.
6)    Slippery elm may be given to promote growth of good bowel bacteria and help with regular bowel movements.
7)    Charcoal tablets may be given for an acute attack. Four tablets every second hour until symptoms subside. Charcoal absorbs toxins and relieves diarrhoea.
8)    If dairy foods are restricted or eliminated from the diet it is advisable to take a daily calcium supplement. Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
DISCLAIMER : The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or naturopath before following any medical regimen to see whether it is safe and effective for you.

For further advice on treatment options, come in and talk to one of our Pharmacists at your most convenient Healthpoint Chemist. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection which can cause illnesses such as meningitis and/or septicaemia.

The peak season is from July to October, with children less than 5 years and young adults 15-24 most at risk.

There are 13 Different strains (serotypes) – B & C are the most common in Australia. Serotype C accounts for about 1/3 of all cases, although this can vary widely and quickly ( Victoria 49% and Tasmania 81% in 2001). Serotypes A and W135 are most common in Africa and Middle East.

Meningococcal disease typically occurs in people who have acquired bacterium from a carrier within 7 days, usually by sharing saliva, kissing, sharing drinks, toothbrushes or cigarettes and being exposed to droplets from the nose or throat.

Meningococcal disease CANNOT be contracted from water supplies, air conditioning or swimming pools.

Outbreaks are more likely in schools, nightclubs or other public areas with a large numbers of people in close proximity. Exposure to cigarette smoke, either passive or active increases risk, with those in close contact being 3 times more likely to be infected.

Vaccines.

NeisVac-C is effective for serogroup C. It is able to be used for all people from 6 weeks of age and is expected to provide long lasting immunity. Three doses for infants and one dose for those over 12 months old. There is no Vaccine for Type B. A vaccine is available for types A,C,Y and W135 but this vaccine only provides short term immunity. This vaccine is used for travellers requiring short-term protection.

Symptoms to watch out for…

If you have any suspicions that you or someone you know are developing symptoms which suggest the onset of Meningococcal disease, consult a Doctor IMMEDIATELY.

  • The sudden onset of fever
  • A stiff or painful neck
  • Sore eyes and a sensitivity to light
  • A severe headache
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Joint Pain Fatigue
  • Convulsions
  • Rash
  • Once symptoms appear the illness may progress over one or two days, but it may develop rapidly so contact your doctor as you soon as you suspect something is wrong.

For further advice and support, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Mouth Ulcers

Minor Mouth Ulcers

These small Ulcers are the most common type of ulcers which affect the inside of the mouth.

They begin as a shallow, egg-shaped hollow with a slightly raised yellowish border surrounded by a narrow red raised portion of skin.

After a few days the Ulcers develop a yellowish opaque covering which is made up of coagulated tissue fluids, oral bacteria and white blood cells. The acute painful phase lasts 3 to 4 days with a gradual healing until the ulcer disappears after 7 to 10 days. The minor Mouth Ulcers may appear as groups in the mouth.
Major Mouth Ulcers

These are larger than the minor Ulcers and are 1cm in size.

They are generally slow to heal and may last for months. These larger ulcers leave a scar after they have healed.
Causes of Mouth Ulcers

The cause of mouth ulcers can be diverse a few examples are:

  • A reaction to allergic foods
  • A general ‘run-down’ condition caused by stress
  • A family history of Mouth Ulcers
  • Braces on the teeth
  • Hormonal problems
  • After taking antibiotics
  • Dietary deficiencies such as B Vitamins (B1,B6,B12)
  • Dentures, if they are fitted badly, can be another cause. Food particles, for example, may lodge themselves under the dentures and set up friction with the gum. The resultant pressure may cause a Mouth Ulcer.

Anything that disturbs the natural ecology of the mouth can be suspect, e.g., pineapple juice because of its acidic nature.

Diet Hints

Mouth Ulcers are thought to occur from a low immunity and poor nutrition.

A wholesome diet including plenty of fresh green vegetables is recommended. Foods should be only lightly cooked to keep the vitamin level high. Fresh fruits are also vital but some acid fruits, particularly citrus fruits, are not recommended as they may irritate the ulcers.

Acidic and salty foods, for example vinegar, sugary foods, meats and coffee, should be eaten only in moderation.

Garlic and onions can also be used in cooking.

Foods high in B vitamins (particularly B5 & B12) may help the nervous system. These include beans, eggs, sprouts, currants, brewers yeast and vegetables.

Natural unsweetened yoghurt which contains acidophilus may help healing and infection.

For further advice on treatment options, come in and talk to one of our Pharmacists at your most convenient Healthpoint Chemist. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Nose Bleeds

A nosebleed is abnormal bleeding from the nose. Nosebleeds can be caused by various reasons including an infection or a physical injury.

Nosebleeds can appear at any age for no apparent reason. Bleeding can occur from one or both nostrils.

Colds, sinus problems, injury, sneezing or blood disorders can be the causes. Infections and foreign objects may be reasons as well. Usually the bleeding stops within an hour. In most cases it is a simple break in one of the blood vessels in the nose which occurs naturally or because of an injury.

How to stop Nosebleeds

To help stop the bleeding the first step is to pinch the nostrils together for 5 to 10 minutes. If this is not effective the area of the nose which is causing the bleeding should be identified.

Sometimes the bleeding can be very serious indeed. There is a heavy flow of blood which will not seem to stop.

A doctor must be consulted immediately particularly if all the first- aid treatment has had no effect.

Any nose bleeder who has a recurrent problem must see a doctor for a complete examination. There may be a more serious aliment e.g. high blood pressure (hypertension) or arteriosclerosis, particularly if the patient is middle- aged or elderly.

First Aid Hints

For a simple nosebleed one solution is to pinch the nose with the patient sitting upright in a chair. Squeeze the nose with the thumb and forefinger. The head should be tilted forward to minimize the swallowing of blood. Keep the pressure on for some 15 minutes. Breathe through the mouth.

An ice pack on the bridge of the nose can help. If the bleeding continues, cotton wool may have to be inserted into the nostrils and the pressure reapplied.

Put a cold pack on the back of the neck. This may cause a reflex constriction of the blood vessels of the nose. Your pharmacy stocks cold packs.

If bleeding persists for a long period of time e.g. half an hour, see your doctor who may cauterize the bleeding vein.

It is important to include iron rich foods e.g. lean red meat, chicken, egg yolks and leafy vegetables for folic acid to replenish the blood supply.

Ask your nearest Healthpoint Chemist pharmacist for advice. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Period Pains

This is a painful condition of the female body around menstruation or period time. The pains are cramp-like or a steady dull ache.

These can start from between 24 to 48 hours before menstruation and can persist for differing periods of time.

Approximately 50% of women suffer from period pain. The pains tend to start during adolescent years, but usually decrease with age. The pain also decreases after pregnancy.

Effects of period pain can be varied. Some women feel ill and faint at these times. Others may vomit and complain of a bloated feeling on the pelvis.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Headache

The pain may radiate as far as the lower back and upper thighs. The symptoms usually pass after 1 or 2 days.

Treatment options

Physical methods such as rest, relaxation techniques ( e.g., yoga ), heat packs, acupuncture and self – hypnosis Pain medication including paracetamol, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac and mefenamic acid. Your doctor has to prescribe certain drugs * The oral contraceptive pill may be beneficial in some cases.

For further advice and support on managing period pain, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Prostate

Prostate health is not an issue often discussed, however it should be as thousands of Australian men suffer from some form of prostate related illness..

Having regular checks with your GP or Health practitioner is recommended for men of all ages, particularly those over 50.

If you already suffer from prostate problems an exciting new product GINGER PROSTATE FORMULA may help. Rochway – Ginger Prostate Formula This product, a prostate health and Immune formula, is fermented in green tea and black tea extract and Papaya Leaf extract that is naturally rich in enzymes and Amino Acids.

May assist in the relief of

  • Frequent urination, dysuria, painful urination, residual urine volume, pain & burning upon urination.
  • May assist in easing urinary discomfort and improving urinary flow.
  • Provides support to the male reproductive system.
  • May assist in the management of male hair thinning.
  • Support Immune system and normalize blood sugar levels.

This product is exclusive to Healthpoint Chemist in Mackay. If you would like more information about this new product click on the link below or call in to talk to the Pharmacist at your nearest Healthpoint Chemist store.

Ask your nearest Healthpoint Chemist pharmacist for advice. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Q Fever

Q Fever is a bacterial disease caused by the Coxiella burnetii bacterium that causes sudden fever-adults, headache and inflammation in the lungs.

Humans can become infected with Q Fever after exposure to farm animals that are carriers of the bacteria. Sheep, cattle and goats are the main animal carriers that can infect humans, although rodents, other mammals and birds can also be carriers.

Who can get Q Fever?

People who have a high risk of contracting Q Fever are those with frequent, high-level exposure to animals, such as workers in the meat and livestock industries and veterinarians.

Animals that are carriers of the bacteria do not usually display any health problems. The Q Fever bacterium is transmitted by various body fluids from infected animals, including faeces, urine, milk and body tissues including the placenta.

The Q Fever bacteria are spread to other animals, and to people, by the inhalation of these infected animal materials or through the ingestion of unpasteurised milk. The bacteria can also be spread by contaminated straw, wool, hair and hides. The Q Fever bacteria can multiply in a female animal during the last stages of pregnancy so that the placental tissues contain very high levels of these bacteria.

Humans cannot spread the disease to other humans. The incubation period in humans following exposure to an infected animal material is 2 to 3 weeks.

The onset of signs and symptoms of Q Fever is usually sudden, with a person experiencing fever, severe headaches, chills, sweating, muscle pains and often chest pains.

The bacteria infect the lungs and can cause considerable damage and pneumonia if the disease is left untreated. Hepatitis (liver disease) and endocarditis (infection and inflammation of the heart) can also occur.

Health Management

The diagnosis of Q Fever involves a physical examination and a blood test that looks for antibodies against the Q Fever bacterium. Antibiotic medications such as doxycycline and tetracycline are used to treat Q Fever.

Vaccines – are effective in the prevention of Q Fever and people that work in high-risk industries (e.g. farm workers, abattoir workers, dairy workers, farmers, herders, wool sorters, veterinarians etc.) are generally advised to get vaccinated against Q Fever.

Hygiene – Strict hygiene procedures should be taken when handling pregnant animals, hides, wool, straw or any other contaminated material. Steps should be taken to minimise the risks of inhalation of dust or fluid droplets and adequate disinfection and disposal measures should be taken for all potentially contaminated material.

Pasteurisation of milk. Milk should be boiled or pasteurized before consumption to minimize the risks of transmission.

Feel free to visit a Healthpoint Chemist and ask our friendly staff for advice on Q Fever. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Sleep Apnea

Do you suffer from sleep apnea?

Need help sleeping peacefully at night?

If you suffer from sleep apnea, we are here to help. We stock an extensive range of equipment and products and offer various services. The fully trained staff at Healthpoint Day &Night Home Healthcare will help you find the system most beneficial to you and help you to sleep peacefully at night.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is characterised by frequent and brief periods when breathing stops during sleep. The most common form of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

Normally during sleep the muscles which control the tongue and soft palate hold the airway open.

If these muscles relax the airway becomes narrower which causes snoring and breathing difficulties. If the muscles relax too much, the airway can become completely blocked, preventing breathing. This is Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Once the airway has closed, the brain realises there is a lack of oxygen and alerts the body to wake up. Though the sufferer is often not aware of it, this cycle can occur several hundred times a night, severely disrupting sleep.
What can be done to help?

Our fully trained and professional staff can help you.

Call in and discuss your individual requirements in the relaxed environment of our private consulting room. We will help you find the system most beneficial to you and help you to sleep peacefully at night.

What can Healthpoint Day & Night Home Healthcare offer you?

  • Fully Trained Staff
  • Private Fitting & Consultation Rooms
  • Machine Hire
  • Download data for Doctors information
    We carry a full range of machines including RESMED for all your CPAP needs.

Drop into Healthpoint Day & Night Chemist Sydney Street Mackay to speak with Chris Lindner our Sleep Technician. Find the details for Healthpoint Day & Night Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Smoking

*One in four people are smokers, despite cigarette smoking being implicated in the same number of cancer deaths and vast numbers disabled by heart disease due to smoking.

The smoke from a cigarette contains a drug which stimulates the brain – Nicotine.

When the level of nicotine in the blood decreases in a regular smoker experiences withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, restlessness, anxiety, headaches, irritability, hunger-pangs and find it hard to concentrate.

To get rid of these withdrawal symptoms, the smoker will have another cigarette. This habit is an addictive cycle ain which the smoker must consistently smoke in order to feel normal i.e. to avoid experiencing the above withdrawal symptoms.

What does smoking do to the body?

Smoking leaves tar deposits on the lungs, which may lead to lung diseases. The bloodstream is polluted with Carbon Monoxide and many other poisonous chemicals. Body parts such as the blood vessels can be damaged by these chemicals. Smoking related disease and illness.

Smoking has serious consequences on a person’s health. Below are some diseases and illnesses caused, or related to smoking

  • Lung cancer
  • Chronic bronchitis/emphysema
  • Heart disease
  • Cancers of the mouth, bladder, pancreas, cervix, throat, larynx, nose, oesophagus, kidney and more
  • Circulation
  • Chest and throat infections
  • Sexual problems
  • Asthma and osteoporosis can be worsened by smoking

How does secondary smoke affect other people?

Young people living in a smoking environment are more at risk to developing ear, chest and nose infections, whilst babies are at risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Those living with smokers may be more prone to become smokers later in life, and the risk of lung cancer and heart disease is increased if exposed to passive smoking long term. Because tobacco smoke is an irritant, asthma and similar conditions can be made worse.

Smoking when pregnant severely reduces oxygen levels to the un-born baby, and pregnant women who smoke are more prone to miscarriage or giving birth to a premature baby.

If you require any further information about smoking or quitting smoking, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly staff at Healthpoint Chemist. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here.

Source: MBF Living Well Magazine (April 2004 Edition)

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Sun Protection

The sensible way to save your skin from sun damage.

There’s no doubt about it, sun is very hard on your skin. In fact, excessive sun exposure is the primary cause of skin cancer.

The more sun you’re exposed to, the greater the risk you have of developing skin cancer. And while it’s both preventable and curable, it can also be extremely serious.

When the sun’s ultra violet rays penetrate the skin they injure living cells, making them swell and the skin burn. In an effort to prevent further injury, your skin develops a tan – but this, in fact, is its attempt to defend itself against the harshness of the sun.

What is a sun tan?

A tan is literally skin damage – damage that builds up, year after year, tan after tan. A tan does not protect or prevent you from getting skin cancer. Apart from the risk of skin cancer, over-exposure to sun makes skin dry, wrinkled and less elastic. Once this has happened, no lotion can reverse the process.

In Queensland, we have a sort of ‘sun culture’ – a lifestyle and climate that encourages staying out in the sun for long periods of time while wearing as little as possible – a lifestyle which is at odds with our fair complexions. As a result, Queensland has the highest incidence of skin cancer anywhere in the world.

Major skin risk times are between the hours of 10am and 3pm.

You are particularly at risk if you:

  • Work outdoors;
  • Get large and sudden doses of sun on the weekend after working indoors all week;
  • Have a bald head;
  • Or are a fair skinned newcomer to the hot Australian climate.
  • Skin Cancer

Babies, small children and elderly people are also highly sensitive to UV radiation. The average skin begins to suffer damage in the sun after about 10 minutes. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Australia – 2 out of every 3 Queenslanders will be affected by it. Most serious is any change in the colour, size or shape of a mole or freckle.

This could be the sign of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer. If untreated, it tends to rapidly invade other tissues and spread throughout the body. Over 1000 Australians died from malignant melanomas last year – Australians as young as thirteen.

The best protection against skin cancer is to minimize exposure to the cause – exposure to the sun. Precautions… Wherever you are, try to take these simple precautions:

Avoid being in the sun, particularly midday sun, as much as possible
When outdoors, SLIP SLOP SLAP is the key. Wear a shady hat and protective clothing such as shirt with sleeves, a beach jacket etc. Use SPF 30 or 30+ Broad spectrum sunscreen on any exposed parts of the body
Whatever your skin type, maximum protection SPF 30+ sunscreen is advisable – use it when working, gardening, walking to the shops, playing sport, as well as on the beach. But don’t rely on one application if you are outside for a long period time, particularly if you are perspiring or you’ve been swimming. It’s important that your skin is dry before you apply sunscreen
Because skin damage is cumulative, teaching sensible sun habits from a young age will reduce the risk of skin cancer later on
Encourage children to wear hats and protective clothing – make it more fun by allowing them to choose hats, shirts and bright coloured zinc themselves.

If you require any further information please contact our friendly staff at your nearest Healthpoint Chemist. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Swimmer’s Ear

Summer is a time for fun and outdoor activities.

Swimmer’s Ear is a common problem seen during these warmer months when water activities increase. Swimmer’s Ear (External Otitis) is the inflammation of the ear canal, which may be localized or spread throughout the whole ear canal.

Swimmer’s ear will often cause a throbbing pain in the ear either on one side or both sides of the head. The infection can cause a fever and the affected ear may feel itchy and painful to touch. In babies or young children who are unable to describe their symptoms, look for fever, nasal discharge, pulling or tugging at the affected ear, loss of appetite, crying or fussiness and irritability.

The use of silicon earplugs or a tight fitting bathing cap will reduce the amount of moisture that enters and is retained in the ears.

Keep the affected ear as dry as possible and no swimming should be undertaken to allow the ear to recover completely. If an infection is suspected, see the doctor immediately.

If you require any further information about Swimmer’s ear, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly staff at Healthpoint Chemist. Find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Teething

Infant teething time is a common loss of sleep period for new Mums and Dads although with a little knowledge the experience can be made less painful for both child and parent.

Teething is the term used to describe the emergence of the baby teeth or milk teeth. In order for the teeth to emerge they must push through the gums causing inflammation and sometimes pain.

The first teeth will usually erupt between 6 and 9 months with subsequent teeth following closely after. By the age of 3 most children will have twenty milk teeth.

Signs that your baby may have teething pain will include fussiness, crying, poor sleep, pulling or rubbing at the ear and dribbling. They may have a tendency to chew on something hard during the process as this can provide some comfort. This is where the use of teething rings or rubbing of ice cubes on the gums may help.

In particular the use of cold teething rings is a great idea. Other products for pain relief include both teething gels and syrups. The gels can be applied locally to the gums whilst syrups like paracetamol and ibuprofen can also assist in relieving the pain so ask your pharmacist about the most suitable.

Some children seem to make more saliva and so tend to dribble when these teeth erupt. This drooling may also develop a rash on their chin from constant dribbling. Regular application of zinc cream may help clear this up.

For more information and advice on teething visit the team at your local Healthpoint Chemist. Find them here

For more information on the free Mother and Baby clinics, click here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Tinea – Athlete’s Foot

Tinea is a group of fungal infections caused by fungus of different varieties.

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the foot caused by parasites on the skin called dermatophytes. Dermatophytes can be divided into three groups according to their favourite hosts:

  • Fungi preferring soil (geophile)
  • Fungi preferring animals (zoophile) and
  • Fungi preferring humans (anthropophile).

Athlete’s foot is usually caused by anthropophile fungi. The most common species are Microsporum, Epidermophyton and Trichophyton. These account for 90 per cent of all skin fungal infections, commonly referred to as ringworm.

The medical terms for athlete’s foot are tinea pedis or dermatophytosis palmaris, plantaris and interdigitalis – the latter indicates that, in addition to the soles and toes of the feet, the palms of the hands can also become infected.
What causes it?

We all have one or more of the fungi that can cause athlete’s foot on our bodies. They feed on dead skin cells and are usually harmless.

Athlete’s foot is a common condition in young people and adults. The fungi love warm, moist places with the result they are primarily a problem for people who wear tight-fitting trainers or don’t dry their feet properly.

The condition is contagious and is caused by one of the most common fungi.. It can be spread by direct skin-to-skin contact and indirectly through towels, shoes, floors, etc.

What are the symptoms?

  • A red itchy rash in the spaces between the toes (often between the 4th and 5th toes initially)
  • Possibly small pustules
  • Often a small degree of scaling
  • The infection can spread to the rest of the foot and other parts of the body

Who is at increased risk?

Young people (especially if they wear trainers), athletes and people who are forced to wear tight-fitting rubber footwear because of their job.

What can be done at home?

Wash the feet every day and allow them to dry properly before putting on shoes and socks. You should use a separate towel to dry your feet. To avoid passing the infection on you should not share these towels with anyone else.

Wear socks made of cotton or wool, and change them at least twice a day or when they have become damp.

Avoid wearing shoes which are made of synthetic materials. Wear sandals or leather shoes instead.

Powder the feet and the inside of the shoes with an antifungal powder.
How is athlete’s foot treated?

Athlete’s foot can be treated locally with antifungal creams, sprays, liquids and powders that are available from pharmacists without a prescription. Treatment should be continued for two weeks after the symptoms have disappeared to ensure the infection has been treated effectively.

For further advice and support on tinea, find your local Healthpoint Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Travel (Aeroplane)

Going on a long aeroplane trip? Here some helpful tips to make your flight more comfortable…

  • Drink plenty of fluids – the humidity inside an airplane will cause dehydration, fatigue and headaches. Drinking half a litre of water every hour will re-hydrate your system.
  • Keep moving – exercising and moving around regularly during the flight will maintain a steady flow of blood throughout your body and prevent blood clots forming. Avoid alcohol – alcohol has a proven dehydrating effect on the human system.
  • Avoid alcohol the night before your flight as its presence the next day means you start your journey partially dehydrated.
  • Don’t cross your legs – as with restrictive clothing this can limit blood flow to your lower legs where clots more commonly occur.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

We now know that compression stockings minimize the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) forming in your legs during travel. These clots can migrate to the lungs with fatal results. Improving circulation by wearing compression stockings and following the above advice could save your life.

Compression stockings are available in variable pressures and it is essential you are fitted correctly.

The expert team at Healthpoint Day & Night is trained to correctly fit compression bandages. . Find the details for Healthpoint Day & Night Chemist here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.

Urinary Incontinence

Definition
Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine.

Description
Urinary incontinence causes a person to pass urine unintentionally. This can range from a small dribble now and then, to large floods of urine. Urinary incontinence is common. It is more common in women and older people. There are different causes, most of which are treatable. The bladder is a muscular bag that collects and stores urine and is located in the pelvis. Filtered urine from the kidneys is held in the bladder by the pelvic floor muscles, which keep the urinary opening (urethra) closed. A signal is sent to the brain that triggers the need to pass urine once the bladder is full. When we are ready to pass urine, the brain tells the pelvic floor muscles to relax and the bladder contracts to push the urine out. However, this process can be interrupted in several different ways, resulting in urinary incontinence.

There are various types of Urinary incontinence. The two main types are; Stress incontinence which occurs when the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to prevent urination. Stress incontinence is not related to feelings of stress, but occurs when your bladder is put under an extra amount of sudden pressure. This type of incontinence is common in women who have given birth or been through the menopause. Having had a hysterectomy or being obese are also risk factors. Urge incontinence which is thought to occur as a result of incorrect signals being sent between the brain and the bladder. It can be described as an unstable or overactive bladder. Conditions that affect the nervous system are also risk factors for urge incontinence. These include Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke. These two types of urinary incontinence are thought to be responsible for up to 90 percent of all cases of the condition. It is also possible to have a mixture of both stress and urge urinary incontinence.

Signs and symptoms
Stress incontinence – can cause leaks of small amounts of urine during physical activities such as: coughing, sneezing, laughing, heavy lifting and exercise. If the bladder is very full, stress incontinence can trigger a larger amount of urine loss. Urge incontinence – can cause a sudden and very intense need to pass a large volume of urine. There is often only a few seconds between the need to urinate and the release of urine. Triggers can include a sudden change of position, the sound of running water etc. Urine may be passed during sex. A person with Urge incontinence may need to pass urine very frequently including several times during the night. Overflow incontinence – can occur when there is an obstruction to the outflow of urine preventing the normal emptying of the bladder. An enlarged prostate gland in men is the common cause of this. Overflow incontinence can cause small trickles of urine to be passed very often. It may also feel as though the bladder is never fully empty. The normal bladder emptying mechanism becomes faulty and urine may leak past the blockage from time to time.

Treatment options
As with all medical conditions it is advisable to consult your Doctor for a correct diagnosis and treatment. The type of treatment you receive will depend on the type of incontinence you have and the severity of the symptoms. If an underlying medical problem is causing your incontinence e.g an enlarged prostate gland, you will receive treatment for this first. Stress incontinence is initially treated with simple lifestyle changes, such as reducing your caffeine intake, insuring you are drinking the correct amount of fluids and losing weight if you are overweight or obese. Doing Pelvic floor exercises may also be recommended. If lifestyle changes and pelvic floor exercises prove to be unsuccessful in treating your stress incontinence, surgery may be recommended. Your Doctor can discuss the benefits and risks of this surgery. Urge incontinence is also treated initially with the lifestyle changes described above. Your GP may refer you to a specialist for ‘bladder training’. This involves learning techniques that will help you to increase the length of time between feeling the need to urinate and actually passing urine. The course should usually last for a minimum of six weeks. If bladder training is not effective your Doctor may prescribe medication to help you pass urine less frequently. Your Doctor can discuss the risks and benefits with you. In some situations mild symptoms may resolve without treatment. If your incontinence persists and is not helped by treatment, your local continence advisor can give practical advice on how to manage. Incontinence pants, pads, etc are available and there are a range of aids and appliances that can greatly help when living with Incontinence.

Diet hints

– Foods high in magnesium may help Incontinence. These include almonds, cashews, green vegetables, figs, whole grains and fish.
– Foods high in silica are thought to support the bladder. Sources include almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, linseeds, lean red meat, strawberries and alfalfa.
– Herbal teas such as horsetail, valerian, lemon balm and uva ursi may be of assistance. Drink a cup morning and afternoon.
– Try to reduce caffeine beverages such as coffee, tea and cola.
– Try to include foods high in B Group vitamins to help the nervous system. These include brewers’ yeast, nuts, seeds and fresh vegetables.
– Increase fibre intake to avoid constipation. Psyllium, guar gum, apple pectin, fresh fruit and vegetables and slippery elm are good sources.

Vitamins/minerals/herbs

  • Vitamins may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate.
  • Silica is a mineral which is believed to strengthen and maintain elasticity of tissues.
  • Horsetail herb is very high in silica and may help strengthen connective tissues and reduce urinary tract irritation.
  • Calcium Fluoride is thought to increase integrity and strength of tissues. It is also thought to help prolapsed tissue.
  • Magnesium and calcium may support weak muscles and nerves.

Pharmacist’s advice
Ask your Pharmacist for advice.

1)    Follow the correct Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises listed on the Healthpoint.
2)    Your Pharmacist stocks a range of Incontinence pads. These have to be fitted correctly.
DISCLAIMER : The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace medical advice for individual conditions or treatments.

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or naturopath before following any medical regimen to see whether it is safe and effective for you.

Weight-Loss
Why is weight loss important?

Overweight people are more likely to have heart disease, diabetes, heartburn or gastric reflux, and gallstones. In very obese people, breathing may be very difficult, particularly at night when sleeping.

Reducing weight to the healthy range reduces most of these risks and life expectancy is generally reduced in obese people.

Maintaining a healthy weight also makes exercise and movement easier. Exercise is also important in maintaining a healthy body and reducing the risk of some diseases.

There is no easy way to lose weight! A gradual weight loss of 0.5 – 1kg per week is optimal weight loss. It takes a long time for weight to be put on, and the most lasting way to lose weight is to do it gradually, and let the new lifestyle become the healthy habit.

Beware of products, which advertise no effort or exercise required, miracle ingredients in special supplements that speed up metabolism or burn fat, rapid or major weight loss products which are very restrictive or promote a very limited variety of foods and other fad diets.

A change in lifestyle is usually necessary to sustain weight loss – this involves increased activity and different eating habits.

Fat should not provide more than 30% of the total energy calorie intake, and generally should be less than 30g a day. It is important to reduce calories and fat intake as well as eating less food generally. Fat has 9 calories per gram while sugar or carbohydrates have only around 3 calories per gram.

The Heart Foundation of Australia has excellent leaflets showing the ideal food pyramid, indicating the importance of a variety of foods. Our main energy (calorie) intake should be from vegetables, fruit and complex carbohydrates such as cereals, breads, pasta and rice.

Exercise helps maintain body weight, reduces risk of heart disease, improves mental well-being and can provide relaxation and enjoyment.

For more information and advice visit the team at your local Healthpoint Chemist. Find them here

Please Note: The advice on this website is to be used as an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace advice from your qualified GP or medical practitioner. Please ensure that you speak to them in relation to all of your health issues.