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PHARMACY CORNER

Foot care is a step in the right direction for good health

Foot Care-Pharmacy Corner

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

 
As the weather warms up on the island, there are lots of walk and races taking place – which means there will be a lot of sore, tired feet in Bermuda. And yet, after all that work, many of those feet will be ignored, or even scorned. We expect a lot from our feet – from daily activities, sports and exercise – yet we give them little in return. It’s time to be nice to our feet.

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A human foot & ankle is a strong, mechanical structure that contain 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons & ligaments.

A foot contains 26 bones and, combined, our two feet comprise a full quarter of all of the bones in our body. Each foot also contains more than 250,000 sweat glands, which can cause issues such as odour and infection.

According to the Bermuda Podiatry Centre, foot disorders are the most widespread, yet neglected, health problems. Seventy-five percent of Americans and Canadians will experience some sort of foot problem in their lifetime.

Foot problems can result from improper footwear; arthritis; congenital problems that occur at birth; infections from bacteria, a virus or fungus; abnormal growth of tissue; and trauma, such as fractures.

Poor foot health can lead to a number of other health problems, including lower backache, headaches, knee problems, indigestion and a misaligned spine. Our feet can also be early indicators for serious health problems such as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulation disorders.

For general daily care, buy shoes that fit properly and offer sufficient support. The ball of the foot should fit comfortably in the widest part of the shoe, and there should be a few centimetres between the longest toe and the end of the shoe when standing. Foot size can vary up to half a shoe size throughout the day, so buy shoes at the end of the day when your feet are most swollen.

Change your shoes daily and allow them to air out between wearings. Change socks as well and wear cotton socks that will absorb moisture and keep your feet comfortable. Foot powders and antiperspirant sprays, such as Dr. Scholl’s and Gold Bond can also help keep feet dry and fresh. These can also eliminate smelly feet.

Foot Care-Pharmacy Corner-callus

Dry, callused feet.

For dry or cracked heels, creams and moisturizers formulated for the feet are best. Look for a product that contains urea or ask your pharmacist what they recommend. To exfoliate the feet, buy a cream with alpha or beta hydroxy acids to do the job.

Corns and calluses are the most common foot problems, followed by warts, blisters and athlete’s foot. Corns and calluses (as well as blisters, a common complaint from runners) are caused by friction and pressure from skin rubbing against shoes; over time corns and calluses build up to protect these areas. Wear shoes that fit properly and if you experience rubbing, use a loose bandage to protect the area, or cover it with moleskin.

Plantar warts are caused by a virus on the bottom of the foot that can break the skin. Although they will eventually disappear on their own, there are several medications available at the pharmacy that can get rid of them if they are bothersome. Ask your pharmacist what they recommend.

Athlete’s Foot is the result of a fungus that thrives in dark, moist, warm areas. It is highly contagious and often contracted in gyms and pool areas. If you have athlete’s foot, keep the area dry and clean and use an over the counter antifungal such as Daktarin (Miconazole), Pevaryl or Canesten (Clotrimazole). Fungal infections can take a long time clear up so be patient and persistent when using an OTC product. If you do not see any results after a month or more of use then see your physician for a stronger prescription item.

Most other leading foot troubles can be eased or even reversed by wearing a proper fitting shoe, the appropriate shoe for your activity and sometimes using orthotics. Orthotics are available from Dr. Scholl’s, or custom orthotics might be necessary. Visit your doctor to determine the best treatment for your foot problems.

Leonardo da Vinci proclaimed the human foot to be a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art. Let’s show them the same respect! Step up your daily foot care routine and your feet, and you, will be happy and healthy.

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.

What your pharmacist can do for you

What your pharmacist can do for you-Pharmacy Corner

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

Most people visit the pharmacy after they have been to see their doctor and want to fill their prescriptions. While this is obviously the primary function of a pharmacy, there are so many things that go into the provision of this service that are a part of the extensive training all pharmacists undergo before qualifying and registering. For instance, we check to see if:

  • A generic form of the medication is available at a less expensive price than the name brand
  • There are any interactions with any other medication you might be taking
  • The dose and strength of the prescribed medication are correct

We will also call your physician, if there are any problems or errors on the prescription.

If you have questions or concerns about side effects that your medication might cause, then we are happy to outline these and let you know what you should be watching out for. A pharmacist can put your mind at ease about how and when to take your medication – which will help with possible side effects – and what to do if you miss a dose. Pharmacists can even advise you on how to store your medicine, which can make all the difference in how effective it is.

What your pharmacist can do for you-Pharmacy Corner-insetIn some cases, your pharmacist can even save you a visit to the doctor’s office. It has been reported that about three in ten Americans skip going to a doctor because they are put off by paying medical fees that may not be covered by health insurance. We want to make sure that that doesn’t happen if you have a simple question.

If you are suffering from a minor health issue, it is worth checking with a pharmacist about it and we may be able to advise you. We can suggest over the counter medications or products which might help, if appropriate. Pharmacists are trained in recognising symptoms for a number of conditions, such as allergic reactions and pink eye, and can let you know if you need to see a doctor. However, if you are suffering severe symptoms or pain, you should always visit your doctor in the first instance.

A pharmacist can even help you improve the quality of your life. Pharmacists can make suggestions about daily multivitamins or other supplements that you may find useful and can explain their benefits. If there are issues that you’ve been wondering about, such as difficulty in sleeping, dry skin or hair, a pharmacist can advise on how to remedy them.

If you are looking to break a bad habit, such as smoking or drinking, a pharmacist can counsel you on how to proceed and point you in the direction of over the counter products that may be useful. If you need some input on your diet, weight loss or simply how to boost your nutrient intake, then please just ask us how we can help.

Those who are on regular medication should already be familiar with their regular pharmacist and the support they can offer: pharmacists can help to monitor and improve medical regimens over time. We encourage you to let us know how a medication is making you feel and to tell us if you have any concerns about what you’re taking. If you’re taking a number of different medications, we can help you to work out a schedule for taking them that will maximise their efficiency and minimise unpleasant side effects.

At Lindo’s we are proud to be able to offer our customers pharmacy support at both of our stores and we want to make sure that you know just how much we can help you! Don’t be afraid to ask for help and we look forward to seeing you soon.

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.

Seasonal skincare

Seasonal skincare-Pharmacy Corner

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

 

In Bermuda, we can sometimes feel as though we are under siege from the weather, whether it be in the form of rain, wind, sun or storms. This is particularly noticeable in the cooler months when the weather can be unpredictable. As many of you will have noticed, the weather’s effect is not only limited to our homes, our weather or our travel – it often has an effect on our skin as well.

Winter weather can lead to dryer skin, especially if you spend time outdoors or if you have your heating turned on. This is because the colder air or dry heat of the central heat can strip your skin of its natural moisture and windy conditions can irritate sensitive skin.  This means that your skin may benefit from a slightly heavier moisturiser than it needs in the hot and humid summer months.

Seasonal skincare-Pharmacy Corner-productsInjecting extra moisture your skincare regimen can begin with your face wash: investigate using a richer facial soap to start your skincare off on the right foot. Dove’s White Beauty Bar soap is famed for its simple and richly moisturising formula and there is also a sensitive version available for those whose skin is more temperamental. Neutrogena, Aveeno and Simple also have facial cleansers that are moisturising.

Next up is your daily moisturiser. Most of us benefit from using a light daily moisturiser which not only nourishes the skin but also provides a barrier against the elements. You may find that your skin is dryer or has patches in the winter which are not an issue in the summer. This means you should switch to a heavier moisturiser the weather warms up again. One small tip that works whatever your moisturiser: if you apply your moisturiser right after washing your face (while it’s still damp) you can lock in moisture that would otherwise be lost.

Seasonal skincare-Pharmacy Corner-moisturize

Using a daily moisturiser nourishes the skin and protects against the elements and harsh environments.

Changing any aspect of your skincare regimen can be a source of worry, but if you have a brand you like, and that works for your skin type, then make sure you investigate all of their offerings. For instance, Neutrogena’s Hydro-Boost range offers products which increase skin hydration – eye cream, gel and daily moisturiser. There is also a lighter Healthy Defense moisturiser.

Seasonal skincare-Pharmacy Corner-makeup removerIf you wear make-up, it’s important – whatever the time of year – to make sure that you are removing it properly and avoid pore blockages or causing irritation – so remember to cleanse your face at night before you go to bed. You should ensure that you are using a cleanser which is gentle as well as effective, such as Simple’s Kind to Skin Micellar Cleansing water. It is also important to moisturize at night with a night cream which is richer and heavier than a daytime moisturiser.

Whatever the time of year, living in a tropical place like Bermuda means that it’s incredibly important to protect your skin from the sun. Although the weather is cooler now, the sun’s rays can still have a damaging effect. While you should ensure that you are keeping your skin protected through the use of sunblock or a hat, you can make your life easier by investing in a facial moisturiser with SPF, such as Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin, Aveeno’s Positively Radiant or Absolutely Ageless. By using a moisturiser with sun protection, you can make sure that you never skip a day. Additionally, you can extend this to your whole body with a product such as Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 15.

If you are one of the many people who finds sunblock can cause blockages or irritation, make sure to invest in one made for sensitive skin – Neutrogena, Coppertone and Alba are some of the brands with sensitive skin formulas. These are good for everyday use on more sensitive skin. This is particularly important for young people.

Your skincare routine should be flexible and change with the season: just because it’s not summer is no reason to not take care of your skin.

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.

Donate life by being an organ donor

Organ Donor 2017

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

One organ donor can save up to eight lives, and improve the quality of life for another 75 patients. With approximately 120,000 people currently on the US national transplant waiting list (of which Bermuda is a part), every donor is valuable. Unfortunately, more people are in need of an organ transplant than are registered to donate, and approximately 22 people on that waiting list die each day, before they receive the organ that they need.

Organ transplants are pursued after all other medical treatment options have failed. Hearts, lungs, livers and small intestines can be transplanted. A kidney transplant can save a life and relieve a recipient from having to undergo dialysis treatments. Diabetics can be free from insulin injections with a pancreas transplant. Bones can be transplanted to save limbs; corneas can restore vision; and skin can relieve burn victims. Heart valves, veins, tendons, and ligaments can also be transplanted.

On January 1 this year, France passed a law of “presumed consent”, an approach that makes all citizens organ donors unless they sign a refusal register. This opt-out approach has been adopted by many countries around the world, including Austria, Spain and Belgium. According to the World Health Organisation, these countries experienced an increase in organ donations of 25 to 30 percent.

Bermuda, however, in partnership with the New England Organ Bank, the oldest independent organ procurement organisation in the US, works on an opt-in approach to organ donors.

Unfortunately, this means that potential donors are not always identified: while 95 percent of adults in the US support the idea of organ donations, less than half have actually registered. This is often simply a matter of not getting around to doing it.

Valentine’s Day is recognised in the US as National Donor Day, to mark the importance of taking a few minutes to register as an organ donor. In Bermuda, registering is easy; donor cards are available at TCD, doctors’ offices and post offices, and intention may also be indicated on a driver’s licence. Carrying a signed donor card is the easiest way to make your intentions known.

It is important to discuss your intentions with family, to avoid potential conflicts. In Bermuda, the next of kin has the ultimate say in whether organs are donated for transplant, so it is essential to have a conversation with loved ones about your intentions, and why the decision is important to you.

Almost anyone can be a donor. Registering to become a donor will never affect the quality of medical treatment a potential donor receives – every effort will always be made to save a life, and donation is considered only after death has been declared. There is no cost to the donor or the donor’s next of kin. It is illegal to buy or sell organs and there are strict guidelines surrounding donation policies and organ distribution.

A donor’s health condition will be assessed at the time of donation, however, apart from serious conditions, most people are eligible to donate. Staying healthy will not only ensure your organs are valuable to a transplant recipient, it will also help to keep you off the waiting list yourself. While many people on the transplant waiting list suffer from genetic disorders or disease or illness over which they have no control, some transplants could be avoided through lifestyle choices.

Avoid potential health issues by eating a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables and low in fat and sodium. Exercise regularly. If you smoke, stop; talk to a pharmacist about your options for help. Your pharmacist can also recommend vitamins and nutrient supplements that can help you to lead a healthy life and be an organ donor, not recipient.

This February 14, buy your valentine something special, and then head to TCD, your doctor’s office or the nearest post office and complete an organ donor card. Sharing your heart on Valentine’s Day is nothing new; ensuring that your intentions as an organ donor are clear is the ultimate gift. For more information on becoming an organ donor, visit www.bermudahospitals.bm/bhb/donor/donate-organ.asp.

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.

How to make the most of your New Year’s resolutions

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

Every January many of us sit down and make commitments to ourselves and to each other about how we will better ourselves in the coming year. And year after year, many of these resolutions concern our weight and our overall health. But what do we need to do in order not only to make a real, positive change in our lives but also to stick to these resolutions? Here are some of my tried and tested tips.

One of the first steps in ensuring that you are at your healthiest is to make sure to get the vitamins that you need. If you are not already doing so, make a multi-vitamin part of your daily routine. I recommend Centrum, One-A-Day, Multibionta or one of the Vitabiotics products (Wellwoman and Wellman). Children can benefit, too, with child-friendly brands such as Flintstones, Yummi Bears, Wellkid or Rainbow Light. Making sure you get your vital vitamins will reduce your chances of sickness and can improve your energy levels.

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Make a multi-vitamin part of your daily routine to supplement any nutritional deficiencies in your diet.

Another simple fix for your health and weight is to take stock of how much you are eating. What many people are guilty of, knowingly or not, is overindulging in their portion sizes. It is generally recommended that your plate should contain a mix of proteins, starch and vegetables. You should aim to make sure that your plate has an assortment of colours: get greens in your salad, orange and red in your carrots and beets and white meat on your plate, for instance. Your protein portion should be about the size of a deck of cards.

It is important to not only set goals for yourself, but to set realistic and perceivable ones: for instance, losing one to two pounds a week or reducing your cholesterol a certain number of points each month. This will give you something achievable and satisfying to work toward.

These small goals can also be more effective than bigger, more vague ones. Instead of pledging to drop three dress sizes in a year, promise yourself that you will exercise at least four times per week, or that you will have at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

You can make small but significant changes to your everyday routine that will pay dividends over time. Some suggestions:

  • Take the stairs rather than elevator whenever you can.
  • Walking short distances rather than taking the car.
  • Take healthy snacks to work with you and do not tempt yourself with unhealthy snacks by simply not buying them.
  • Include at least one piece of fruit or vegetable with every meal.
  • Drink water in place of sugary sodas.

Rule out absolutes: telling yourself that you will give up all unhealthy indulgences will only make you miserable in the short term and lead to failure in the long term. Allow yourself a ‘treat’ once a week, whether it be your favourite fish sandwich or a slice of chocolate cake. And remember, it’s much easier to exercise self-restraint if your favourite unhealthy snacks are not within reach: avoid having them in your cupboards or fridge.

One trick that you might find helpful is that if you feel an intense craving for something, make yourself wait for twenty minutes. You will be surprised how often the craving passes. If your sweet tooth absolutely won’t be denied, try a few squares of dark chocolate instead of more processed candy. Herbal and fruit teas can also help for when you need a little sweetness.

It is important whenever you make a lifestyle change to do so gradually: don’t starve yourself, don’t exhaust yourself. Remember that being your best self-means allowing yourself some happiness and enjoyment in life’s small pleasures.

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.

Overcoming the fear of needles

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

When we think of December we think of Christmas, twinkling lights and Dunkley’s eggnog – all the wonderful things that come with the season. However, as a pharmacist, “tis the season” also means the flu season! December marks the beginning of the peak flu season which runs through to the spring. That’s why we encourage flu vaccine awareness at this time of year.

I’ve previously covered the importance of keeping a flu survival kit and how to take care of yourself and loved ones during a bout of the flu, but I wanted to take some time to talk about the importance of the vaccine itself, how it works and what to do if you suffer from a fear of needles.

The flu vaccine works in the same was as many other vaccines, by introducing deactivated strains of flu viruses into your body. These deactivated samples cannot cause the flu because they have been neutralised. It is recommended that you get a vaccine for the flu every year, particularly if you are pregnant, have a chronic illness which suppresses your immune system, are over the age of 65 or under the age of five. The reason that you have to keep ‘renewing’ your vaccination is because the strains change all the time. Every year, the World Health Organisation holds a meeting in which they decide what the likeliest strains of flu will be in the coming year and these are the ones that you will be protected against in the vaccine.overcoming-fear-of-needles-calendar

We all know that the flu jab is helpful and should be done every year, however, a huge number of people don’t take the opportunity to protect themselves. For some people, it’s because they simply don’t remember or think to do it. Therefore, it’s so important to make it part of your to-do list – even your list of things to get done before Christmas! This will ensure that you and your family have a merry Christmas and not a sick one.

A large percentage of people, though, avoid getting the flu vaccine for an entirely different reason: because they are afraid of needles. British and American experts have overcoming-fear-of-needles-injectionsuggested that as much as 10-20 percent of the population suffer from a phobia of needles, also known as trypanophobia. So, if you’re a needle phobic, you’re not alone!

Needle phobia can range from feeling panicked to fainting. There is no shame in being afraid of needles and the first thing to do when it comes to managing your fear is to be open about it. Tell your doctor or nurse that you’re not comfortable with needles and ask them to have patience, they will understand and can help you through the process.

Remember that the actual injection will be over very quickly. However, it is important to keep breathing throughout, deep and level breaths. It will help to position yourself so that you can look away from the needle and many find it useful to have someone with them to talk to, or even listen to music on their phone. Children may benefit from having a tablet with a game or video on. These will provide something to focus on and distract from the jab.

Take a snack, ideally, a healthy one such as a banana or other piece of fruit, to eat after the injection to help with any light-headedness that you may experience. You should remain seated for as long as you need and if you feel unwell, make sure you have someone drive you home. Some people may experience muscle aches or a slight temperature in the aftermath of their injection, but this shouldn’t be confused with getting a cold or flu. Take it easy and treat yourself to a hot bath or shower afterward to relax. The greatest incentive, though, should be to get yourself through the holiday season flu-free to spend time with family and friends.

From everyone at Lindo’s, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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.

Stress management for beginners

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

 

November is Stress Awareness Month so I thought I would take some time to address stress and how we can best manage it.

“Stress” has become a word that we all throw around but we sometimes forget the true meaning of it. I’m sure we’ve all told our friends that we’re a bit stressed and laughed it off. But despite the flippant way that we might refer to it, stress is a real problem for a lot of people and it can have serious repercussions.

Those who live with prolonged stress put themselves at risk for a number of health problems, including:

  • Fatigue/exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Stomach and digestive problems

Stress can be caused by any number of things, whether it is work pressure, financial concerns, relationship issues or a high-pressure event looming. There is even evidence to suggest that not getting enough magnesium or vitamin B can cause stress. read more…

School Sniffles

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

 

After a summer outdoors in the sun and surf, children have gone back to school. While the weather might still be warm, many parents may be worrying about the cold – the common cold, that is.

Back in the playground, playing with friends they haven’t seen all summer, our children seem to have a knack for picking up bugs at the start of the new school year. Pharmacists are often asked about the best ways to prevent a cold and how to treat it, once the inevitable occurs, so here are some of my thoughts.school-sniffles-2016-prevention

Prevention

During the summer holidays, many children enjoy staying up later than they would normally. It is important to ensure that children get enough sleep. The Sleep Foundation recommends that pre-schoolers should have between 10-13 hours of sleep and 6-13 year olds should get 9-11 hours. Uninterrupted, restorative sleep will ensure that your child’s immune system is working at its best.

We always recommend a healthy and well balanced meal, with plenty of vitamin C and zinc to prevent illness. However, for anyone concerned that their children might not be getting all the nutrients they need, vitamin supplements are an option. Many children dislike taking tablets, which is why chewable and gummy vitamins, such as Flintstones, Yummi Bears Rainbow Light Kids One are so popular. Some brands – Yummi Bears, Rainbow Light and Lil Critters for example – are also free of artificial sweeteners and colours and are gluten-free if those are concerns.

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When children are unwell they often feel frightened or worried. Lots of attention and cuddles go a long way to reassure and soothe them.

 

The beginning of the school year is a good time to revisit the topic of hygiene with your young ones. Going over the following steps is an easy way to help your child to reduce their chance of catching something – and to make sure they don’t pass anything on!

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap, particularly before you eat or after you’ve blown your nose. Little bottles of hand sanitizer can help with this.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue – or even your elbow! – when sneezing or coughing.
  • Don’t share food, utensils, glasses or straws with anyone else.
  • Throw used tissues away immediately.

Dealing with a cold

Symptoms of a cold usually come on quickly over a day or two. Colds, as you will undoubtedly know, are extremely contagious. They are spread in water droplets that are expelled through breathing, coughing, sneezing or even laughing! That’s why it’s important to have a healthy supply of tissues and hand sanitizer available especially when hand washing is not possible.

The first thing to do, if your child has contracted a cold, is to keep them at home until they feel better. While we all want to keep sick days to a minimum, doing this will accelerate their recovery and will help to minimise the spread of the bug across the playground. The other parents will thank you, as will the teachers!

Rest, as with prevention, is extremely important when recovering from a cold. Additionally, your child should drink plenty of fluids: dehydration will exacerbate symptoms and slow down recovery.

In terms of medication: there is no cure for the cold, but there are medicines which will mask some of the symptoms. For sore throats, you may find throat lozenges such as Chloraseptic, Sucrets o

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Always read the package label and follow directions carefully. Many of these medicines contain several drugs. If you’re giving a cold medicine to your child that has a painkiller or decongestant in it, make sure you don’t give him more of those separately. Too much medicine could be risky.

r Strepsils will provide some comfort for older children. Gargling with salt and warm water is also helpful. Headaches and sore muscles can be alleviated with ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen/paracetamol (Tylenol or Calpol).

 

There are specific cold medicines, such as PediaCare for colds, cough or flu, Children’s Robitussin and Dimetapp which will help with congestion and all round cold symptoms. However, caution should be exercised when using multiple products as many often contain acetaminophen (paracetamol) which makes it easy to accidentally double up. The majority of these over-the-counter cold medicines should not be taken by children under six years old. Please speak to your pharmacist or doctor if you’re unsure about what you should be taking.

When your children have the sniffles, it’s easy for them to feel down, but most people are back to good health within ten days. Just remember to take it easy, have lots of cuddles and they’ll soon be back on their feet.

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.

Beat the Back to School Blues

Stephanie Simons

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

 

For many parents, students and teachers, the night before school begins feels more like New Year’s Eve than December 31st does.  Schedules are made, goals are set and a routine begins to develop.  While many students look forward to reconnecting with friends and joining clubs or teams, for others, returning to school can elicit feelings of fear, nervousness and anger.  Whether you are a parent of a child starting school for the first time, or have a Beat Back to School Blues-PC-positivechild in middle or senior school, there are ways to make the return to school a positive experience.

Communication

Talk to you child and ask if he or she has any concerns about starting or going back to school. Try to have a conversation when you have plenty of time to listen and can give your child your full attention. Teenagers may feel more comfortable confiding in you if direct eye contact isn’t forced, so a chat during an activity or while in the car may be appropriate.

Common fears about school are often performance related or centre on feelings of inadequacy.  Students may worry about fitting in, being late, making mistakes, being chosen last or earning good grades.  Rather than saying “don’t worry” or another platitude, try to encourage your child to figure out what scares them the most and have them brainstorm solutions.  Help them set realistic expectations. This type of preparation may lessen the fear or help them to deal with it better.

Prepare younger students by reading stories that feature schools as the setting or subject – just make sure the book has a positive, happy ending!  Younger students may also benefit from role playing. You can role play the drop off and pick up from school, or act out how to approach other children on the playground. You can also practice being apart from your child (via play dates, lessons, or going out with your spouse).  Your child will see that he or she is OK when you’re not around and will have a positive frame of reference.

De-Stress the morning

Whatever can be done the night before, do it!  This includes laying out clothes for the next day and preparing snacks and lunches.  The less stress a parent has in the morning, the more likely he or she will be able to stay calm and patient when encountering a child who is resisting going to school that day.

Designate a particular space in your home for storing backpacks and school supplies so that your child can quickly locate what he or she needs to grab before heading out the door.

LINDOS-Yogurt Breakfast BowlsCreate a morning routine that works for your family. This could be as simple as writing instructions on a piece of paper listing steps that need to be completed before going to school or picture reminders on index cards for small children who are not yet avid readers.

If mornings are typically a rush in your home, skip a hot breakfast and try out some healthy recipes posted on the Lindo’s website, including Yogurt Breakfast Bowls, Savoury Breakfast Muffins (made in advance) and Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothies.  For a quick cereal option, you may want to try Nature’s Path organic breakfast cereals or another protein rich boxed cereal. A healthy breakfast will give students the energy that they need in order to focus and learn.

Bedtime

Summer often invites later bedtimes, but upon the return to school, you may want to establish a calm routine at night.  Something as simple as a bath followed by story time may help set up a calm environment for children to fall asleep. It can also provide a great time to have a chat about good things that happened during the day.  A well rested child will be able to cope better with change or fears than a tired, cranky child.  Sleep also helps us retain information and benefits our overall health.

Avoidance

Most of us feel a little nervous during periods of change or transition. It’s normal! Children will naturally want to avoid situations that make them uncomfortable, but it is important to encourage your child to name and face their fears. If children are permitted to stay home from school, it may reinforce their fears. Instead, try to prepare them for what to expect, reinforce positive behaviours and reward their effort.  Rewards can be anything from a positive comment and a hug, to a special activity after a certain number of successes.

Beat Back to School Blues-PC-stressWhen it’s more than just the jitters

The World Health Organization reported that 10-20% of children and adolescents experience mental health disorders, with 50% of these beginning by the time they reach age 14.   If your child demonstrates upset feelings about school with ongoing intensity and frequency, he or she may have more that back to school jitters.  Children with anxiety will often complain of physical symptoms too, including headaches and sore stomachs. Anxiety about school can interfere with daily activities and make seemingly simple tasks frustrating. A medical professional may recommend cognitive behaviour therapy in order to cope with anxiety.  This could include practising belly breathing, muscle relaxation and positive self-talk. Anxious children will benefit from a strong support system, so be sure to relay your concerns to your child’s teacher and principal.

Self Care for Parents

It is easier to be calm and patient when you have taken time to care for yourself, too.  Carving out time for a walk with a friend, eating well and getting enough sleep will go a long way in being able to care for a child with anxious feelings. Consider naturally scented bath products (Dr, Bronner’s has an extensive line) and take a soak in your tub. Remember that popular quote, “you can’t pour from an empty cup!”

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 Child’s Eyes

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

 

With the increasing number of displays of notebooks, pencils, back packs and lunch bags popping up across stores in Bermuda, a not so subtle hint reminds parents and students alike that a new school year is approaching.  While preparing a list for back to school shopping, you may want to consider one additional task — scheduling a routine eye exam for your child.

Most educational environments are structured to support visual learning, engaging students to learn through watching demonstrations, reading books, using the computer, interpreting pictures they see and engaging with visual materials.  Eye health is certainly a consideration in this environment!  Healthy eyes also help children to actively participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities.

The UK National Screening Committee recommends screening children between the ages of four and five for visual impairments. Likewise, the American Optometric Association encourages parents to schedule a comprehensive eye exam for their children at age three, then again before starting school.

Common Symptoms of Eye Problems

Parents and caregivers can be on the lookout for several common symptoms affecting vision in young children, including:

  • chronic redness or tearing
  • routinely sitting too close to a television or holding a book very close to his or her face
  • favouring one eye over the other
  • a wandering eye
  • tilting or turning his or her head to look at objects
  • holding objects at a great distance
  • frequently squinting or rubbing his or her eyes

A number of factors contribute to overall eye health, from a healthy environment and balanced food choices, to wearing protective eye gear during sports and outdoor activities.

Common Irritations

Eye discomfort is a common complaint following children swimming in the ocean or in a pool treated with chlorine. Red or itchy eyes may also be the result of allergies, or sand or dust getting into their eyes. Parents can ease their child’s discomfort by rinsing their eyes with lukewarm water from a tap or jug or eyewash like Optrex, or using an artificial tear solution made from pure saline.  To prevent irritation during swimming, wearing goggles will often suffice, and provide the fun benefit of seeing what is on the ocean or pool floor!

If an object gets lodged in a child’s eye, such as a glass shard or splinter, parents should seek immediate help from a trained health professional.  Attempting to remove this type of debris could result in damage to the eye, especially the cornea.

Your Child’s Eyes-protectionProtecting Vision

Protective eye gear made from polycarbonate, a highly impact-resistant plastic, makes many sports and activities safer for our children’s eyes.  If your child participates in a sport involving a ball, stick, racket, puck or other projectile object, you may want to consider investing in this eye gear.

Sunglasses afford eye protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays that can damage the eyelid, lens and cornea, sometimes leading to the development of cataracts.  When purchasing new shades, look for a label that indicates they block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays and ensure they properly fit your child.

Eye injuries can also be prevented by keeping chemicals out of reach of children, especially fertilizers, pool chemicals, cleaning agents and pesticides.

Healthy Eating

When it comes time for snacks and meals, providing your child with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and legumes will have a positive impact on their eye health.

When packing their lunch boxes, consider adding dark, leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard greens), which are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, and may lower the risk of age related macular degeneration and cataracts.  Foods such as salmon, tuna, halibut and sardines contain Omega-3 fatty acids, and can reduce the risk of eye diseases later in life.  If your child isn’t a fan of fish, many Omega-3 vitamin supplements are on the market.  Foods high in zinc can protect from the damaging effects of light, and is easily sourced in black eyed peas, kidney beans, lima beans and peanuts.  Citrus fruits, often a crowd pleaser with children, contain antioxidants, and also benefit our eyes.

When shopping for back to school supplies, consider a reusable water canteen.  Just like the rest of our body, our eyes depend on hydration. Drinking an adequate amount of water will help produce tears, preventing dry eyes and allowing for debris to be washed away as we blink.

Preventing tears caused by the return to school, however, is a whole other article!

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.