PHARMACY CORNER

Trust your gut

 

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

Let’s face it – we give our tummies a hard time. When we’re not complaining about them, we’re squeezing them into skinny jeans, filling them with fast food, or trying to crunch them into nonexistence. But why is this? On the one hand, our stomachs contain powerful tools that give us energy, build our strength and, ultimately, keep us alive. Yet for some they also cause a variety of problems.

The region of the body between the ribs and the pelvis contains the digestive system, a series of organs, including the stomach, intestines, pancreas, liver and gallbladder, loosely connected by tissue that enables them to expand, shrink and move against each other. The kidneys and spleen are also located in the abdominal area.

Your digestive system processes the food we eat and breaks it down into smaller parts that our bodies can absorb: carbohydrates into sugars, proteins into amino acids, and fats into fatty acids and glycerol. This provides us with energy and enables growth and cell repair – all vital for our bodies to function. So where do the problems start? And how can we tackle them?

IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal disorder, affecting up to 15% of people in the US. Disruption in the small and large intestines causes abdominal pain often surrounding bowel movements, leading to diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and/or flatulence.

There is no direct cure for IBS, but many people manage their symptoms by adapting their diet and lifestyle. Known to slow down or speed up digestion, anxiety and stress are key triggers of IBS. It’s therefore important to find ways to relax, particularly around mealtimes. Exercise and meditation are known to reduce stress levels, or you could try an herbal remedy like peppermint, ginger or fennel teas an hour or so before you eat.

Studies also show that probiotics may improve digestion and thus ease IBS symptoms. Many yogurts have added probiotics or you could try a supplement like Culturelle or PB8 to help get things moving. Alternatively, some find IBS remedies like Colpermin or digestive enzymes can be useful or you can speak to your GP or pharmacist.

Bloating

Around one in ten people experience bloating, whether or not they have other IBS symptoms. We all know an overly large meal can make us bloat – one high in fat can have the same effect, as fats take longer to digest and keep the stomach full for longer. Eating too fast also cause your abdomen to swell. Limit your fats and take your time when eating to help reduce your symptoms. You could also try Beano, Gas-X or digestive enzymes to smooth things along.

Bloating can also be caused by gas in the digestive system – half of which is simply swallowed air building up in the intestines. Again, eating slowly can help as it reduces the amount of air you ingest. Avoid drinking from a straw and aim for still rather than fizzy drinks to further lower the levels of gas blocking things up.

Acid reflux

We all know that feeling – you’ve just finished a great meal, but your chest is starting to burn. This is due to acid reflux, when the acid formed in the stomach through digestion begins to travel upwards towards the chest. This can also leave a sour taste in your mouth.

Many things can cause acid reflux, from certain foods and drinks like coffee, tomatoes, alcohol, and fatty or spicy foods, to smoking, stress and/or pregnancy. Antacids like Tums or Gaviscon are the quickest way to relieve your symptoms – aim to take them with your meal or soon after. Stronger acid reducers like Omeprazole or Famotidine can also be helpful. Longer term, quitting smoking, easing your stress and/or avoiding foods that trigger your symptoms are the best ways to avoid the dreaded heat.

No one’s stomach always feels comfortable – there are too many complex processes at work. The simplest ways to ease your digestion are to eat healthy meals, exercise as much as you can, and speak to your pharmacist if you need some extra assistance.

If you’re experiencing significant pain and discomfort, always speak to your GP.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

 

The most wonderful time of the year

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

The holidays are a time to enjoy yourself, something most of us accomplish very well! But this indulgent period is often followed by hangovers, weight gain and low mood that lasts long past the festivities. However – what if I told you there are ways to keep your health in check whilst also revelling in the party season?

No one wants to trade in their Christmas dinner for a leafy salad, but there are little changes you can make to maintain balance, and start the new year feeling good.

Before

Starting the festive season in prime health is one of the best ways to make sure your body bounces back afterwards. In the weeks leading up, pack in the fruit and vegetables to boost your vitamin levels and get a good night’s sleep as often as possible – this will build your immune system and prep you for the coming party time.

The day of an evening gathering or celebration, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and eat regular balanced meals. Don’t be tempted to skip food to make up for the upcoming alcohol calories – you’ll miss out on key nutrients, and be likely to eat more unhealthy food at the event itself. An empty stomach also makes you more vulnerable to alcohol’s effects, taking you from merrily tipsy to cringeworthy drunkenness.

This is also a good time to check in with your mental health. Do you really want to go to that party? It’s normal to feel a sense of obligation around the holidays, but try to prioritise the activities which make you feel good and don’t be afraid to turn down those unwanted invitations. In a week or two, no one will even remember who attended what.

During

At the party, the key thing is to keep things in proportion. Help yourself to food and drink, but move away from the buffet when you’re done to prevent mindless grazing. Try to limit the booze to one drink per hour and alternate with soft drinks to keep your body hydrated. By keeping track of your drinks, you’re far less likely to have one too many – and feel the consequences the next day.

While large feasts are a staple of the season, heartburn and lethargy certainly shouldn’t be. Try to eat slowly and mindfully, savouring each bite and stopping when you’re no longer hungry – rather than when you’re full. Balance your plate with Christmas vegetables and try a short walk after dinner to keep your digestion running smoothly.

After

Ah, the dreaded morning after.

If you can stomach a cooked breakfast, reach for mushrooms – full of energy-giving B vitamins – tomatoes for their immune-boosting Vitamin C, spinach for its DNA-repairing folate, chilli or cayenne pepper to get your blood flowing, and onions, which soothe your liver with their sulphur compounds. Smoothies are also a great way to kickstart your body after a big night – pack yours with potassium-rich fruits like banana or orange to replenish the electrolytes lost through your alcohol intake.

We all love leftovers, but if they’re not safe – don’t do it! December sees a peak in food poisoning as people pick at food that’s been left out. Make sure you’re only reaching for food that’s freshly cooked or straight from the fridge.

Still feeling rough?

Even with the best intentions, we can all fall foul to festive temptation. Luckily, your friendly pharmacy is here to help. Eaten too much? Try Tums, Omeprazole or Famotidine to beat indigestion and heartburn. Hangover from hell? Reach for a rehydration sachet like Nuun, Emergen-C or Berocca to boost your electrolytes, and a stomach-friendly painkiller like Tylenol or Alka-Seltzer Gold if that head just won’t stop banging.

Vitamins B and C are particularly important during holiday festivity – try Berocca and B-Complex+C to keep your levels nicely topped up – and why not treat yourself to a quick face mask like Aveeno Oat Mask Detox or St. Ives Fresh Skin or Energizing Scrub to boost morale after one party too many.

The holidays are a great time to reconnect with loved ones and enjoy our favourite traditions. But with these few little tweaks, you can also avoid the January slump. If you are feeling unwell or in need of medical attention, always seek advice from your GP or pharmacist.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

Your first line of defence

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

It’s that time of year again, when everyone’s blowing their nose or got a tickle in their throat. Just as the dreaded pandemic is starting to ease, bugs like the common cold are back with a vengeance. Luckily, we have our immune systems to help us weather the storm. But what is the immune system? And how can we best support it?   

What is the immune system?

The immune system is our body’s complex network of organs, cells and chemicals that work together to try to keep out germs and fight the ones that do get in.

It is made of two types of system that work together to keep you healthy: the innate immune system which we are born with, and the adaptive immune system develops as and when you are exposed to germs. The main parts of the immune system include white blood cells, antibodies, the lymphatic system and the bone marrow.

How does it work?

As we go about our lives, our bodies come into contact with all sorts of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. These can enter the body through our skin, by breathing in liquid droplets from others’ sneezes or coughs, sexual intercourse, blood from a needle or insect, or ingesting contaminated food and water.

The immune system senses the invading microbes and immediately responds by releasing special cells which travel towards the danger and attack it. Once the microbe is defeated, your system will memorise it using special types of white blood cells (B- and T-lymphocytes) so that it can recognise and destroy the microbes quickly should they ever return. This is why you often bounce back easily from viruses you’ve already had, like chicken pox.

Other parts of the immune system act preventatively. Mucus in your nasal passages and digestive system contains enzymes ready to fight and kill unwanted bacteria should it occur.  Similarly, the lymphatic system is made up of fine tubes which collect fluid called lymph from tissues that picks up and filters out waste and germs.

How can we take care of it?

A highly complex system, your immune response requires balance and harmony to function at its best. As with all elements of your body, it works most effectively when supported by a healthy lifestyle.

A varied diet rich in fruit and vegetables is key. Citrus fruits and bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C, which builds your immune system by increasing your production of white blood cells. Crammed with vitamins A, C, and E alongside a wealth of minerals and antioxidants, broccoli is also a great addition to your plate, while garlic and ginger have been used since ancient times to help fight infection.

On the other hand, bad habits like smoking can significantly harm your immune system, making you far more susceptible to infections like pneumonia and flu. Stress can also weaken your immune response, as the stress hormone corticosteroid lowers the number of white blood cells ready to fight foreign bodies.

How can your pharmacy help?

As temperatures drop and we spend more time indoors, you might find yourself battling the bugs – but that is where we can help.

For colds and flu symptoms, try Otrivine, Vicks First Defence, XClear or Afrin to ease congestion and Chloraseptic Spray or lozenges and Strepsils are great for a sore throat. If your little ones are suffering, Hyland’s or Zarbee’s syrups will help them return to their lively selves,

If you’re worried your diet might not providing the nutrients your immune system needs, try a multi-vitamin like Centrum, Smarty Pants or Olly products and speak to your pharmacist about quick and easy ways to boost your diet. We can also advise on smoking cessation products like Nicorette or Nicotinell available as gum, lozenges, patches, or spray – you won’t believe how quickly your bodily functions improve once rid of the harmful effects of cigarettes.

Your GP and pharmacist are here to help all year round, so if you’re concerned about your health, do come to see us.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

 

Feeling a bit SAD?

Light therapy is widely believed to help lessen SAD symptoms.

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

There’s much to enjoy this time of year; the kids are back at school, evenings are cool and crisp, and the holidays are on their way. However, the change in season can also cause feelings of sadness and, for some, serious symptoms of depression. But why does this happen? And what can we do to tackle it?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is when depression and related symptoms occur in a seasonal pattern – in most cases during fall and winter. While research is ongoing, it’s believed that the reduction in sunlight at this time of year can stop the hypothalamus in the brain from working effectively. This can increase the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy; reduce levels of serotonin, which regulates your mood, and disrupt the body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm), upsetting your appetite and sleeping patterns.

Symptoms are similar to those of non-seasonal depression. Sadness, low mood, and feelings of guilt or hopelessness are common, and some people lose the desire to spend time with others or engage in physical contact. Many experience a lack of energy and sleep far more or less than usual, while others report an increase in appetite, particularly with regard to snacks and carbohydrates. Those with severe SAD may have suicidal thoughts.

As with other mental health difficulties, the first port of call is your GP, who will assess your mental health and suggest possible treatment. For milder SAD symptoms, they may suggest simple lifestyle changes, such as spending more time outside to increase your exposure to sunlight. Exercise is also a very effective way of improving your mood, energy levels and sleep while, if outdoors, boosting your time in the daylight.

Though more research is needed, light therapy is widely believed to help lessen SAD symptoms. A special lamp called a lightbox or SAD lamp is used to simulate exposure to sunlight, supporting your brain to produce more normal levels of serotonin, and reducing the production of melatonin. Some people use their lamp in the morning to simulate an early rising sun, while others turn them on in the evening to elongate their experience of ‘daylight’.

Light therapy can be used alongside other therapies to ease SAD. Talking therapies like counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are sometimes recommended to alleviate negative thought patterns. Your GP may also recommend antidepressants such as SSRIs to regulate your mood during the darker months.

The pharmacy can also help with milder cases of SAD. In times of less sunlight, a Vitamin D supplement like those made by Nature’s Bounty, Solgar or Now is often recommended to support your mood and maintain healthy brain and nerve health. St John’s Wort products like Nature’s Bounty St. John’s Wort and Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish, flaxseed, flax oil, walnuts, and supplements like Solgar Omega-3 (from Salmon Oil), Nature’s Truth Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil are also considered effective remedies for low mood.

The fall is also a good time to boost your eight B vitamins which work together to manage key bodily functions – including regulating stress levels. Try a combined supplement like     Z-Bec, Berocca or B-Complex +C or a Vitamin B12 supplement like Sundown B-12 which is available as a liquid and sublingual tablet, or Nature’s Bounty Vitamin B Energy Gummies for depression or anxiety symptoms – especially if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Many also find Magnesium supplements like Calm powder or capsules, Bioglan magnesium powder, and Sundown Magnesium tablets reduce feelings of anxiety.

If you think you may be affected by SAD, do speak to your GP or pharmacist. There are many ways to help improve your mood and see you through to next summer. If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts please contact your GP, emergency services or dial 911 immediately.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

Manage your prescription refills

These days, no one wants to wait in line to refill a prescription at the pharmacy counter. At Lindo’s, we make it easier than ever to manage your prescriptions.

ACCESS YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS, CHECK THE STATUS, AND REQUEST REFILLS ONLINE:

Simply visit our online website portal to register (or sign in if you already have an account), or download our App from either the AppStore or Google Play to manage from your smartphone.

Download our Apps

CALL AHEAD:

Alternatively, you can always call ahead to make sure your prescriptions are up-to-date and available before you make a trip to the pharmacy. Our friendly pharmacists will be able to tell you quickly whether your prescription has expired, your refill status, etc.

Devonshire Pharmacy call: 441.236.7732 / Warwick Pharmacy call: 441.236.0010

Can CBD oil help calm your mind?

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

Of all the pharmaceutical developments over the past years, few have been more controversial – or misunderstood – than CBD. Though originating in the same marijuana plant as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive drug more commonly known as ‘weed’ – CBD is a different chemical compound, without the intoxicating, potentially dangerous effects of THC.

Used in a wide range of products like drinks, gummies and even skincare, Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is found in both hemp plants and the cannabis plant Cannabis sativa. While it doesn’t give the ‘high’ associated with THC, it can provoke a relaxing response that soothes anxiety, stress and even pain.

The research is still in early stages, but many scientists believe that CBD oil can impact receptors in the brain. Receptors are proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical messages to help you respond to stimuli. CBD is thought to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for your mood, easing symptoms of stress, worry and social anxiety. Some people find it helps with related conditions like depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), while many find its relaxing effects improve their sleep.

CBD is also thought to improve the skin. When ingested, CBD impacts receptors in the body’s immune system, potentially reducing inflammation in the body which, in turn, can help prevent acne on both the body and face. CBD is found in a variety of topical skincare products too. Some studies say it can reduce sebum, the skin’s natural oil which, in high quantities, can cause acne. CBD is also packed with antioxidants which counteract free-radical damage and reduce both inflammation and signs of ageing – making it a fast-rising ingredient in the skin care industry.

So – where to start? CBD is available in a wide range of products so you’re sure to find one that’s right for you. If you’re keen to ease your stress or get a better night’s sleep (aren’t we all?), try a drop or two of CBD oil like Reliva Tincture – Mint or Upstate Elevator Company’s CBD extracts in lemon or peppermint under your tongue for about 30 seconds to a minute. Start with a low dose of 250mg and build your way up as required.

If you prefer something sweet, Upstate Elevator Company’s 10mg Mixed Fruit CBD Gummies are a delicious way to incorporate CBD into your day. Or many enjoy one of their fizzy drinks, available in a wide range of flavours from Raspberry Hibiscus Lime Seltzer to African Ginger and Mexican Lime Soda, as a healthier alternative to that evening glass of wine. 

For those with sore muscles, try applying Reliva Cream, a CBD-infused body cream that soothes and cools muscle ache. Those keen to boost their antioxidant defence can try USA Hemp’s Antioxidant Crème; jam-packed with CBD, organic avocado, jojoba, rosehip, carrot, and organic neem oil to keep those free radicals at bay and preserve your skin’s radiance.

You may see reports that CBD can be used to treat more complex physical issues including epilepsy, arthritis, and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. However, it’s important to note that if you’re managing a serious condition or symptoms, always consult your GP or pharmacist before trying CBD.

If you do take CBD and experience unpleasant side effects like diarrhoea, fatigue or a change in appetite, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

 

Eat your greens!

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

As children, we were all told to finish up our greens if we wanted dessert. Though annoying at the time – our mothers were right! Decades of scientific research has shown that eating leafy green vegetables is one of the simplest ways to maintain a healthy body and mind. Not only can it help you feel better in the short term, but these powerhouse foods can reduce your risk of numerous health problems down the road too.

Green veg get their vibrant colour from a pigment called chlorophyll. A potent antioxidant, ingesting chlorophyll helps your cells fight the damage caused by harmful free radicals found in your environment (e.g. sunlight or polluted air). It has also been shown to reduce inflammation and slow bacteria production, thus helping wounds to heal more quickly – and improving problematic skin.

You can increase your chlorophyll intake through supplements like Now Chlorophyll capsules or liquid or powders like wheatgrass (Pine’s Wheatgrass) or spirulina (Now Spirulina Powder). While these provide a great boost, it’s still worth adding more green veg to your diet, to get both your chlorophyll and a wide range of other benefits.

Many green veg like kale, spinach, and broccoli contain high levels of Vitamin K, which plays a key role in blood clotting, enabling the body to heal itself. New research also suggests that by helping the body to absorb calcium, Vitamin K is also important for bone health and can reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Supplements like Now Vitamin K are available if you’re concerned about your intake. Check with your GP or pharmacist first if you are taking any blood-thinning medication.

Green veg also contain folate (folic acid). Present in a variety of dark green veg, folate is a type of B vitamin which supports the production of red blood cells, helping you to stay energised, alert, and emotionally balanced. Folate is particularly critical for pregnant women as it reduces risk of neural tube defects like anencephaly and spina bifida. Pregnant women are often recommended adding a supplement like B-Complex + Folic Acid and Materna to their daily diet – do check with you’re GP if you’re not sure.  

While oranges are known for their Vitamin C, green veg like peppers and broccoli can be even better! Another powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C supports your immune system, helps to keep your teeth, gums and skin healthy – and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and eye conditions like cataracts and glaucoma. Most people can benefit from both food and supplementary sources – Redoxon and Haliborange are great if your kids are picky eaters – to get the most out of this mighty nutrient.

However, it’s not all about vitamins. Many green vegetables like bok choi, peas and Brussel sprouts are also a great source of protein. Fundamental for the structure of our cells and tissues, protein plays a critical role in fuelling your body and carrying oxygen around your body in your blood. Many contemporary diets are deficient in protein, especially those that avoid meat or dairy – but green veg is an easy way to increase the protein on your plate.

But what if you don’t like it? It’s no secret that we’d all prefer a pizza over a bowl of greens, but there are ways to include vegetables in tasty ways. Spinach and kale are easy to pop into your morning smoothie – when blended with sweet fruits like bananas or berries, you won’t taste them at all! Add broccoli and zucchini to your curry or stir-fry or bake some kale chips for a quick snack. You don’t have to overhaul your eating habits – a small tweak here and there can make all the difference. Our busy lives can make it difficult to stay healthy but eating a bit more green veg is a simple way to boost your health every single day. If you’re concerned about your health or would like further advice, please contact your GP or local pharmacist.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

Time to get moving

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

Feeling a little heavier lately? With the disruption to exercise and eating routines brought on by the pandemic, even the leanest among us have seen the pounds pile on. This is nothing to be ashamed of – after all, your body has survived a world health crisis! But while a little weight gain is nothing to worry about, obesity can put you at risk of serious health complications.

More than a third of adults and a sixth of children in the US are classified as obese, increasing their risk of at least 60 chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer, as well as poor mental health. It is also thought that the overweight or obese are at much greater risk of death when infected with Covid-19.

The pandemic changed everything, including our daily habits to manage our health. However, research suggests just a 5-10% reduction in your body weight can improve blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugars, thus reducing your risk of numerous serious conditions. There are several simple lifestyle changes that can make a big difference.

Nutrition

During lockdown, many of us were eating more food and using less energy, causing our weight to increase. Adjusting your diet, however, can reap significant rewards. Instead of turning to unsustainable fasts or celebrity diets, look to incorporate nutritious, home-cooked meals into your everyday menu.

Proteins like chickpeas or fish, wholegrains like oats or brown rice, and a wide range of fruit and vegetables, will improve your health right from day one. You can even add a multivitamin like Centrum, Alive or Nature’s Truth ABC formulas or a protein powder like Pure Protein, Sun Warrior, Lean Body or Vital Protein to make your meals work harder for you.

Too busy to cook? Plan your meals ahead and cook big batches once or twice a week to have handy when you need. There’s no need to give up snacks either – try nuts, dates or crudités.

Exercise

Whether you prefer Pilates, the gym, or a quick dip in the pool, lockdown knocked our established routines out of whack. Many of us have struggled since then to regain our motivation. The key is not to strain yourself to resurrect your old habits, but instead create new ones that fit with your current lifestyle.

Online videos and classes are a great way to get back in the swing. Diverse, flexible and lower priced (or, indeed, free) this is exercise you can tailor to your preferences and your schedule. For those keen to get back to the gym, mark out small sessions of time, increasing only when you feel ready. Start with once or twice a week and build from there – you’re much more likely to keep it up – Vitamin B supplements like Nature’s Bounty or Nature’s Truth B-Complex will help you feel energised.

And enjoy the sunshine! A family hike or a trip to the beach is enough to get the juices flowing and help you feel more active again. Just don’t forget the sunscreen (try Blue Lizard or Neutrogena sunscreens!)

Support

Diet, exercise and mental health are intrinsically linked. Many of us are still recovering from the mental strain of the past year and this can make it difficult to address physical health concerns.

It can therefore be helpful to talk to others dealing with similar experiences who can support you to improve your mood and wellbeing. This might be your partner, your family and friends, or even a local group. A cooking class could inspire you to more adventurous cooking, or a sports team could give you the boost you need to get moving. You can always talk to your GP or pharmacist too if you need to discuss any health concern.

As your mood improves, you’ll find yourself much more motivated to prepare that nutritious meal or head out to your first post-lockdown yoga class – which, in turn, will help your mental health too. The important thing is not to face things alone – you’d be surprised how many people are feeling the exact same way.

Times have changed and our bodies have changed with them. As we move through this transition, it’s important to take things slowly. If you’re concerned about your mental or physical health, do speak to your pharmacist or GP.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

A helping hand

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

I don’t know about you, but I am very much enjoying being out and about again. However, the world looks very different these days, and the past year has taught us some important lessons about safety. So what exactly do we need on hand as we venture out in the world again?

First of all – hand sanitiser. Once a rare purchase, it’s now an essential for everyday life to kill viruses and bacteria that live on surfaces and skin. Your sanitiser needs to be at least 70% alcohol to be effective – try Germ-X or Nesti Dante Hand Sanitizer.  Make sure to apply it before and after time in public spaces like shops, bars or schools.

Of course, repeated sanitiser use can also cause problems for your hands, as the high alcohol content breaks down the skin barrier and leads to irritation. This is especially difficult for those with skin conditions like eczema. Opt for sanitisers that contain ingredients like aloe to soothe problematic skin – such as Eco Sanitizer – and be sure to carry a hand cream too. A moisturising cream or lotion will soothe the dryness caused by your sanitiser, particularly with frequent use. E45 Cream is a great general option or try Cerave, Eucerin or Simple if your skin is very sensitive, dry or damaged.    

As those with kids – or a fondness for high heels – will know, bandages should be with you wherever you go. Carry a selection of sizes to cover everything from blisters to nasty cuts, including ones large enough to cover a knee. Most packs include a variety of sizes such as Curad, Bandaid, Nexcare or try a more petite option like Bandaid Travel pack if you’re short of room! Antiseptic wipes also help to clean the injury until you get home. A small First Aid Kit or a Ziploc bag with a few supplies is brilliant for on the go or to keep in the car.

The outdoors also poses a risk of allergic reactions. Up to 30% of adults and 40% of children suffer from hay fever, so it’s always helpful to have a remedy on hand. Adults can try tablets like Clarityn, Benadryl or Piriton or sprays like Benadryl or Bactine while remedies for kids include Benadryl, Piriton or Clarityn syrup. Skin irritation is equally rife in the summer months, whether it’s from plants or those pesky mosquitoes. Apply an insect repellent like Off or Cutter throughout the day and use creams like Benadryl or hydrocortisone to help soothe itchy or irritated areas.

An oldie-but-goodie when it comes to first aid is aspirin. Not only great for headaches and pain, it can also help emergency heart issues until you can reach help. Bayer Adult 325mg or any equivalent generic is a simple, effective option.  Other basics include bottled water – for anything from dehydration to cleaning a cut – and high protein snacks like granola bars keep blood sugar up and treat dizziness and/or nausea.

After the past year, it can take time to adjust to the world again. However, with a few useful remedies on hand, you’ll be ready to take on anything that comes your way. We’ve all learned how important it is to take care of ourselves – let’s put this into practice. If you have any questions or concerns, speak to your pharmacist or GP.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

 

Itchy and scratchy

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

As Bermuda heats up, many of us will be digging out our favourite summer clothes! But for those with difficult skin conditions, the idea of sundresses and shorts fills them with more dread than excitement. Many conditions tend to flare up in the sunshine and heat, causing painful texture and rashes across the body.

Eczema

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) affects more than 18million people in the US, over half of which are children. Eczema causes the skin to become itchy, dry and cracked, and is usually a lifelong condition, although many cases lessen in severity come adulthood. As with other allergic reactions, the symptoms of atopic eczema often have certain triggers like soaps, detergents, stress and the weather.

Summer can be particularly difficult when managing eczema. The best solution is to keep your body temperature low to reduce sweating. Stay in the shade, crank up the air conditioning and drink plenty of water. When you do sweat, remove damp clothes and shower off the sweat, bacteria and dust as soon as possible. A gentle shower gel like Oilatum or Dermol will get you nice and clean without further aggravation.

Mineral sunscreens like Cerave SPF 50, Blue Lizard and some of the Alba and Neutrogena products are also less likely cause problems than their chemical counterparts – make sure you opt for SPF 30 or above. A good ceramide-rich body moisturiser like Cerave Moisturizer and Diprobase will help to soothe dryness and rebuild your skin barrier, while topical corticosteroids like Hydrocortisone can help reduce swelling and irritation during a flare up. Talk to your GP if you’re struggling, as medical support and prescription treatments are also available.

There’s a wide variety of products that are dermatologist-approved for eczema, psoriasis, body acne, and other problem skin conditions.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis, the build-up of excess red, itchy skin cells, affects at least 8million Americans. A highly visible condition due to its red, scaly texture, psoriasis also proves tricky in the summer months, as hot weather, the sea, chlorinated water and sun exposure can all irritate affected areas.

As with eczema, keeping your body temperature down will always help. Make sure you wear high factor sunscreen and limit skin’s exposure to the sun where you can. Rich moisturisers and after-sun lotions like E45, Cerave and Epaderm will calm skin after time outside, while gentle exfoliators like St. Ives Oatmeal Scrub can help improve skin’s rough texture. Topical Vitamin D products by Nature’s Bounty or Nature’s Truth and steroids creams like Hydrocortisone are also effective at treating the feel and appearance of psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes red, itchy scaly patches, most commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp

Body acne

Even those blessed with the most blemish free skin can fall victim to body acne during the summer. The body naturally produces more oil in the heat which, combined with sweat and sunscreen, can clog hair follicles and cause everything from blackheads to painful acne.

The good news is, there are plenty of ways to keep those body blemishes at bay. Sunscreen is essential, so choose light, non-comedogenic gels and sprays like Neutrogena and Banana Boat branded products which best suit acne-prone skin. When out and about, tie up long hair up to avoid trapping and spreading oils across your neck and shoulders (making sure to use sunscreen on exposed areas), and opt for looser clothing which helps prevent sweat getting trapped between fabric and skin.   

Try to shower every day – ideally as soon as you get home – to remove the debris before it wriggles into your pores. An exfoliating body wash with ingredients like salicylic or glycolic acid, such as Cerave Eczema Wash and Neutrogena Acne Body Wash will slough away dead skin cells, while facial spot treatments like Neutrogena Spot Treatment or Bye Bye Blemish products can be used on the body too – don’t be tempted to pick or squeeze! We all experience skin issues at one point or another – no one’s perfect! Do what you can to soothe irritation, but don’t let your skin stop you enjoying the lovely weather. If you’re struggling with symptoms or unsure how to treat them, have a chat with your pharmacist or book an appointment with your GP. With a little help, and perhaps a cream or two, you’ll be shining bright this summer.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.