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PHARMACY CORNER

How to Cultivate Healthy Habits

Pharmacy Corner Jan 2018-How to Cultivate Healthy Habits-article

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

 

Every year, many of us make resolutions to better ourselves. These resolutions can be about almost anything: weight, health, family and friends. Although our intentions are good, many of us fail in these promises to ourselves, whether immediately or somewhere down the road.

I want to share some tips and thoughts with you about how we can develop healthy habits, and the science behind maintaining those habits. Armed with this knowledge, we can be more confident about the goals we set for the coming year.

Habit Chain App

Habit Chain – Don’t Break the Chain! By Dru Lang. The Habit Chain App follows the mindset of Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain”.

A habit is defined as an action that is automatic because it has been performed many times over. By making a habit of healthy practises, we can make them an integral part of our everyday lives, performed easily and without complaint. It takes practise to get there, but making healthy habits can greatly improve your quality of living and reduce stress about trying to be “good”.

One method for getting yourself to stick to a commitment you have made is the idea of a habit “chain”, popularised by popular American comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, who explained that for every day he accomplished a writing goal, he put a big red ‘x’ over the day in the calendar. After a number of successful days, you begin to form a ‘chain’ and this is a motivating factor to keep up the good efforts. Failure to keep your commitment will result in a break in the chain and you will have to start again. While extremely simple, it is nevertheless very effective.

Examples of small healthy habits you can start doing this with include taking a multivitamin each day, such as Centrum, One-A-Day or Rainbow Light, or applying sunblock or a moisturiser with SPF, like Neutrogena Healthy Skin. Many women may find it useful to get into the habit of more thoroughly removing their make-up at night, as part of their bedtime routine, and can make it easier by using Neutrogena or Simple make-up remover wipes.

Medication daily storageSome people find it useful to picture the chain of their activities by using a calendar with stickers or a pen, like Seinfeld, but there are also a number of apps, such as Habit Chain, which will let you keep track of your habit keeping wherever you are and can even provide reminders. If you are trying to be better about taking pills, you can invest in a weekly pill organiser, available at Lindo’s.

Another way to motivate yourself into keeping up a healthy habit is to reward yourself. Set up a reward scheme whereby for every week or month you manage to keep your commitment to yourself you will treat yourself. However, ensure that this treat doesn’t contravene your resolution goals, so don’t reward a week of eating sensibly by eating something unhealthy. Instead, try a massage or going to see a movie you’ve been looking forward to.

Visualise what you want to achieve in the new year. If you need to improve your overall wellbeing, a small and attainable goal is to make sure you get all the nutrition that you need. This can be as simple as making sure that you take a multivitamin every morning and eat at least three pieces of fruit or vegetable a day.

The most important thing to remember when setting yourself new year’s resolutions is to ensure that they are realistic. If you currently don’t do any exercise, don’t vow to make it to the gym five times a week in January. It is too much too quickly and can even lead to a burnout. Instead, commit to walking more, going to the gym twice a week or taking a fitness class once a week.

The beginning of the year is a great place to start making lifestyle changes. Think of it as a blank slate and a time to start anew.

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 Survive the Holiday Season

Pharmacy Corner-Dec 2017

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

 

We are now well and truly in the midst of the holiday season and this means all of our favourite foods, drinks and holiday parties! While most of us look forward to spending time with our friends and loved ones at this time of year, it can be a cause of concern to those of us trying to remain focused on being healthy. To that end, here is some guidance to help you survive the holidays.

The key difficulty that most of us face during the holidays is the ever-present temptation to overindulge, whether it be in food, alcohol or even cigarettes. This is because there is an abundance of food and drink on offer at office parties, family gatherings and social get-togethers, much of it delicious – and unhealthy! We also sometimes feel pressure to partake in overindulgence because we do not wish to be seen as being a poor guest.

Try establishing your limits before you attend an event, both for food and drink. Tell yourself, and a partner if you find this helps, how many drinks you will be limiting yourself to and how much you will eat. If you find it hard to make sensible decisions when you’re hungry, then eat a small, healthy meal beforehand.

When we drink too much, this can lead to further lack of restraint, and many people find themselves reaching for second helpings or even cigarettes more than they would normally. This is an important motivator in exercising self-control: by limiting yourself to one or two drinks, you are not only reducing the amount of liquor you intake but also minimising the chance of a slip-up in your eating or smoking habits.

To keep your body working at its best, you may find it useful to also ensure that you have several alcohol-free days a week, which will give you time to recover. If you do have to go out or host a party on one of these days, or if you have reached your drink limit for the day, then there are often non-alcoholic options available, such as Dunkley’s Eggnog, sparkling water or homemade mulled soft cider.

The closer we get to Christmas and New Year’s the more late night events we often have. The combination of this with a less well-balanced diet can have a deteriorating effect on your health. This means that it is more important than ever to ensure that you are getting all the vitamins that you need, either through your diet or by taking supplements, such as a complete multivitamin/mineral (One-A-Day or Centrum for example) and extra B and C vitamins to boost your energy and immune system. Look for a B-Complex and at least 500 to 1000mg of Vitamin C.

Pharmacy Corner-Dec 2017-dancing

Go ahead and hit the dance floor! Dancing is similar to aerobic exercise. It improves energy levels, buoys mood and lowers stress.

It is also important to make sure that you are getting enough sleep, ideally more than seven hours a night. Our bodies need more sleep in these months, as we are often fighting off seasonal illnesses. This may mean having to make excuses to leave an event before it gets too late or being more efficient once you’re home at getting yourself into bed. Many people find it useful to ban electronics, such as phones and laptops, from the bedroom as the light emitted by the screens can make it difficult to sleep and can also distract you from your night-time routine. Alternatively, for those struggling to fall asleep, supplements such as Melatonin or Calcium and Magnesium can help. Sleep aids like Unisom or ZzzQuil should only be used for a few days to help you fall asleep. Melatonin is excellent in helping to reset your body clock so that you get a more restful sleep and it can be taken on a regular basis.

Lastly, while our schedules can go a bit haywire, it is important to keep exercising. Making time for your usual workout may seem like unappealing prospect, particularly if you have had a late night the night before, but you will feel better for it. If all else fails, make sure to hit the dancefloor: energetic dancing can burn more than 400 calories an hour!

With these tips in mind, you should be ready to face the oncoming month! From all of us at Lindo’s, we wish you a very happy holiday season.

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.

Navigating the Holiday Season with Diabetes

Navigating the Holiday Season with Diabetes

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

 

As we head into November, with Halloween candy still littering our homes, our thoughts begin to drift towards the holiday season. However, November is also Diabetes Awareness Month and includes Universal Children’s Day, on November 20. As such, I thought this would be a good time for us to discuss diabetes in children.

Diabetes is a very serious problem in Bermuda, particularly among young people. The island has a diabetes rate of 14 per cent – nearly double global average – and spends more on healthcare per person than any other country in the region, with much of this going towards treating complications of diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is particularly prevalent, and this form of diabetes is largely avoidable, with proper lifestyle and nutrition.

Taking control of your diet is a fundamental part of managing your health. Children who have diabetes do not need to be on strict diets but do need to pay close attention to what they eat and when. This will enable them – and you – to monitor their sugar levels and it is best to start this self-awareness early on.

Children have different diet requirements to adults, regardless of whether or not they have diabetes, and require plenty of fuel to keep them going throughout the day. While snacks for adults are often discouraged, they can allow children to restore their energy, self-manage their blood glucose levels and keep them going until their next meal. When providing snacks, it is best to include a variety of food groups, such as bread, dairy, fruit and vegetables.

When packing school lunches, it is important to ensure that your children are getting enough fresh fruit and vegetables, protein and wholegrain fibres. These will help your child sustain themselves while making sure they are getting the vital nutrients to keep them healthy. The Bermuda Diabetes Association has a helpful guide to packing lunchboxes for diabetic children here.

As mentioned earlier, many of us still have Halloween candy in our homes. For children, or even the young-at-heart, this can be a trying time, but there are ways in which we can reduce temptation. The easiest way to do this is to ensure that an abundance of candy isn’t kept in the home. It is much easier to avoid reaching for unhealthy snacks if they’re not within reach at all. Excess candy could be donated to a local care home or taken to church for refreshments.  Children can even be incentivised in this by being offered an alternate gift in exchange for the sweets. This is not to say that you cannot have any treats at all: in fact, small candies can be used as a source of sugar for diabetics in case of lows.

The diabetes epidemic in Bermuda is an issue of great importance to Lindo’s and we are proud that our annual Lindo’s to Lindo’s event this year raised $25,860 for the Bermuda Diabetes Association. Lindo’s stores stock a number of healthy and sugar-free foods which are diabetes friendly and delicious. Our pharmacies supply blood glucose metres, testing strips and other testing supplies as well as glucose tablets – which can be used when blood sugars drop too low. If you have any questions about diabetes, please ask a pharmacist.

To find out more useful information about diabetes, the treatment and the prevention of it, please visit the Bermuda Diabetes Association website: http://www.diabetes.bm.

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.

 

Nutrition for our senior citizens

Nutrition for our senior citizens-feature

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

 

We all know that it is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet which delivers all the vitamins and nutrients that we need to function properly. However, many people don’t stop to consider how their nutritional requirements change as they get older. As October 1st was the International Day of Older Persons, I thought this would be a good time to take stock of what you can do to ensure that you or your loved ones who are over the age of 70 are getting the nutrition needed.

As you get older, your metabolism slows down, so you need less calories than before. Our lifestyles also change, which impacts the calories we consume. This is when portion control is critical, as is learning to stop eating once you are no longer hungry. For instance, someone who worked out every day and gradually decreases the frequency of their exercise, must take care to reduce the amount they eat accordingly.

Nutrition for our senior citizens B12

The best sources of Vitamin B12 include: eggs, milk, cheese, milk products, meat, fish, shellfish and poultry.

Nutritionally, we also need to increase our intake of certain nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin B12. It is estimated that between 10 and 15 percent of seniors have a B12 deficiency, which is significant because it is vital to the body’s metabolic process and a key ingredient for the function of the immune and nervous systems, as well as producing red blood cells. A lack of B12 in your diet can increase the chances of heart disease, certain cancers, anaemia and eyesight deterioration. Eggs, dairy, meat and seafood all contain substantial stores of B12.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women over the age of 51 (post-menopause) and men over 70 should aim to consume 1200mg of calcium a day. Calcium is the bedrock of our bones and a deficiency can result in loss of bone mass or osteoporosis. Again, dairy is a reliable source of calcium, but many green vegetables, such as broccoli, kale and bok choi are also an option.

Conversely, it is wise to reduce the amount of sodium that we eat as we get older, as it can contribute to raised blood pressure and heart disease. Adding salt to your meal is okay in moderation; the greater danger is salt in prepared or processed foods that are bought rather than made at home.

There are many factors that can affect our appetites and enjoyment of food as we get older, including:  diminished taste and smell. A good mix of food and variety can help to combat this: ensuring that your plate is a range of colours is a good indicator that it is balanced and will be visually appealing. Spices can be used liberally to maximise flavour, without adding additional sodium.

Nutrition for our senior citizens-vitaminsThose who are concerned that they might not be getting all the nutrients they need from their food should invest in supplements. There are a number of multivitamins which are specially formulated for seniors available to buy at Lindo’s, such as One-A-Day 50+ Vitamins, Centrum Silver and Nature’s Truth ABC Complete 50+ Multivitamin. These multivitamins also come in male or female varieties, to ensure that you’re getting everything you need. If you have specific age-related health concerns, please consult a pharmacist who can advise you.

Bermuda has a large population of older people, with 50 per cent of the population being over the age of 43 – among the highest in the world, beating the United States and the United Kingdom. We are fortunate that so many of our seniors lead such active and rich lives, but we can all help our seniors by ensuring that we give our bodies the tools they need to work at their best all through our lives.

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 quit smoking

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

Smoking is linked to a number of fatal diseases including lung cancer, pneumonia and emphysema. It can cause asthma and reduce your lung capacity, making it harder to exercise and it can even affect the health of those around you. However, smoking is an addiction and many who would like to stop struggle to. As this month is Healthy Lung Month, here are some ways which you can pursue a healthier lifestyle.

Smoking is an addiction. Once you have decided to quit, consider making a plan. The two most common ways are cold turkey and the cut down method. Cold turkey requires the smoker to stop consuming nicotine immediately. The cut down method involves slowly reducing the number of cigarettes consumed until they are removed from your routine altogether. If you decide to use this method, it may be helpful to print off a calendar with the number of cigarettes to be smoked each day outlined.

How to quit smoking-aidsWhichever method you decide to use, many people find stop-smoking aids crucial to the recovery process. These aids include patches, gums and lozenges which can help to alleviate nicotine cravings and can make it easier to resist reaching for a cigarette. Nicotine patches come in varying strengths and the dose is decreased over a period of two to six weeks, depending on the individual. The patches can be applied and left on for either 16 hours (apply in the morning and remove at bedtime) or 24 hours depending on the severity of the nicotine cravings. Nicotinell and Nicorette products can be purchased at Lindo’s and a pharmacist will be happy to discuss the best option for you.

However, it is not only the physical nicotine craving that can cause people to relapse but also the habit itself, which becomes part of a routine for many people. It is therefore important to keep yourself occupied throughout the recovery period.

Combating an addiction largely comes down to willpower. So, it is vital to stay optimistic and to remember why it is that you want to stop. For example, if you are quitting because you want to set an example for your children or because you want to save money for a vacation, make sure to visualise how it will feel when you’ve accomplished your goal, or even carry a photograph to inspire you.

You will find your journey back to healthy living much easier if you don’t do it alone. Let your friends and family know that you are trying to give up smoking and ask for their support. Share your reasons for wanting to quit and let them know if you want them to call out any slip-ups or if there is anything they can do to help distract you. Support can come from other friends who want to quit smoking, too, and there are support groups in Bermuda which you may find advertised at your church and community centres.

Support can also come from professional sources: if you struggle to give up on your own, you should seek the advice of your doctor who may be able to prescribe you medication to make the process easier. There are alternative therapies which you may find helpful such as therapy, acupuncture, hypnotherapy and holistic remedies.

If worst comes to worst and you find yourself falling back into old habits, don’t despair. It is important to take control of the situation as quickly as you can and get back on the path to recovery, despite how tempting it will be to give-up.

Making the decision to quit is half the battle, the rest is holding your nerve and keeping your head up high.

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 feed your new baby is a big decision

August is Breastfeeding Month

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

 
August is Breastfeeding Month. A natural bonding experience between a mother and her baby, breastfeeding can be one of the most significant things you do in the early days of your baby’s life. But it isn’t for everyone. For a variety of reasons, some parents choose to feed their baby formula instead of breast milk, or a combination of the two.

Whatever decision a mother makes for feeding her baby is a personal one and is therefore the right decision for her situation. The important thing is to understand the facts so the choice is well-informed and healthy for baby, mom, and the whole family.

Breastfeeding is nature’s way of feeding your baby. Breast milk is full of lactose, protein and fats that are easily digested by baby’s little tummy. It delivers a healthy dose of antibodies to fight viruses and bacteria with every feeding, and can even lower the risk of some illnesses including asthma, allergies, ear infections, respiratory illness and possibly diabetes, obesity and some cancers.

August is Breastfeeding Month-positionsThere are benefits for mom as well. A breastfeeding mother can burn up to 500 calories a day, which aids in losing unwanted baby weight. Breastfeeding helps shrink the uterus, which also helps mom get back to pre-baby shape. It lowers mom’s risk for breast and ovarian cancers and might help protect against osteoporosis. It’s also free, and doesn’t require equipment that can be bulky and require sterilization. And best of all, it’s a unique opportunity for mom and baby to bond.

But as natural as breastfeeding is, it doesn’t always come naturally. Sometimes baby has trouble latching properly, which makes feeding challenging and can cause sore nipples. This happens especially during the first few weeks of feeding and can be relieved by holding a bag of ice or frozen peas on the area. Clogged ducts, cracked and dry nipples and mastitis are other problems that can usually addressed by a breastfeeding consultant or your doctor.

Creams specifically for sore breasts, breast pads and special breastfeeding aids are available in our pharmacy to help nursing moms. And ask the pharmacist about the best supplements for breastfeeding moms.

Contact La Leche League at 236-1120 for help as soon as you experience a problem, so breastfeeding doesn’t become frustrating or a source of stress for you and your baby.

August is Breastfeeding Month-fatherNot all moms experience problems and the majority have an overall positive experience.  If you follow a healthy diet, get as much rest as possible and drink plenty of fluids, you and your baby will enjoy this time together.

For some moms, however, breastfeeding isn’t the best option. A decision to not breastfeed can stem from a mother’s comfort level, stress, lifestyle, convenience, some medical conditions and sometimes frustration from early problems with breastfeeding. For these moms, infant formula is a healthy alternative.

Formulas are designed to be similar to breastmilk, with a combination of proteins, sugars, fats and vitamins. Formulas even contain some nutrients – such as Vitamin D – that are not found in large quantities in breastmilk. They come in a variety of types to fit parents’ and baby’s needs.

Feeding by formula allows for the father and others to participate in feeding. Formula is not digested as easily as breast milk, so feedings are not required as frequently. And feedings with a bottle can still be a special bonding moment between mom and baby.

Whatever your choice for feeding your baby, cherish the time. Those quiet moments while feeding – even in the middle of the night – will pass before you know it. Take the time to quietly snuggle your little one and know you are giving them a great start.

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 You Need to Know About Mosquito Season

PHARMACY CORNER-Mosquito Season

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

July is mosquito awareness month, which is fitting as they are starting to come out in Bermuda now. While we have had a very dry spring, the recent rains will be encouraging an explosion in the mosquito population.

Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water, and most take 10-15 days to develop, which is why it is recommended that you empty out all standing water once a week: empty plant pots should be overturned, water drums should be tightly sealed or emptied and water in bird baths and other features should be emptied out and replenished with fresh water.

PHARMACY CORNER-Mosquito Season-productsBut for those mosquitos that we can’t nip in the bud, it is important to keep them at bay! The best way to do that is with mosquito repellent. At Lindo’s we stock a range of mosquito sprays including Off!, Cutter and Go! which contain from 8% to 25% DEET. DEET is one of the most common active ingredients used in bug sprays, developed by the US Army to ward off bites in jungle warfare. Some people find that DEET can be an irritant and can find the smell headache-inducing, so it’s important to try it out to see if it works for you.

For those opposed to DEET, Lindo’s also offers Natrapel repellent which uses picaridin as its active ingredient, which is odourless, less greasy and does not dissolve plastics and other synthetics, which DEET can do. Picaridin was only cleared for use in the USA in 2005, though, so no long-term studies on health have yet been conducted.

For around the clock mosquito protection, you can ward off bites with a citronella wristband. While the smell of these may take a little getting used to, they can be helpful for keeping the insects away until you manage to properly protect yourself with a bug spray. You should use them in conjunction with a repellent to ensure fully effective repellence.

Of course, it is not only yourself that you can protect, but some of your space, too. If you’re making the most of the cooler evenings to eat outside or to host BBQs, make sure to use citronella candles. There are also garden sprays from popular repellent producers, such as Off!, which may be worth investing in if you or your family spend a lot of time outdoors.

PHARMACY CORNER-Mosquito Season-protectionIf you get bitten, though, it’s helpful to have supplies on hand that will help ease the pain and itchiness of the bites. It is always worth keeping a bug bite ointment, such as Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream, Anthisan or After-Bite in your medicine cabinet. These will give some relief as will some steroid creams, which you can consult a pharmacist or your doctor about.

If you suffer from extremely bad reactions, such as severe swelling of the bite, the area surrounding it feeling hard and hot, oozing or even a low-grade fever, it might be that you suffer from Skeeter Syndrome. For those who have these more serious reactions from mosquito bites, antihistamines can help reduce the symptoms and your pharmacist may be able to recommend other over-the-counter medication to help make you feel better.

If you continue to feel unwell from your bites, particularly if you have recently been travelling, please consult a medical professional.

Remember, though, that while it pays to be vigilant about mosquito bites, make sure that you don’t let it keep you from having fun 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.

Keeping Your Skin Safe from the Summer Sun

Keep skin safe from the sun-pharmacy corner-June 2017

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

As the weather brightens up and that summer feeling takes a hold of Bermuda, many of us are spending more and more time outdoors. And with the water warming up, the America’s Cup and upcoming public holidays, who can blame us for wanting to make the most of the sunshine!

But whilst we should make the most of the season, it is important to ensure that we keep ourselves and loved ones safe from the more damaging effects of the summer sun. Prolonged exposure to the sun can result in a sunburn, which not only hurts and looks unsightly but can also increase your risk of skin cancer. Here are some of my tips on how to keep yourself protected.

The first thing that you should do when preparing for summer is take stock of what sunscreen you currently own. Many brands will feature expiration dates, so check these and stick to them – old bottles should be thrown out as they may no longer be effective. If you’re not sure about the dates, try them out on the back of your hand: if they have separated or smell ‘off’, then get rid of them. It is better to be safe than sorry!

Skin Cancer Prevention-sunscreen

Use at least SPF 30 that is water resistant for 40minutes total protection. SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays.

Now it’s time to stock up!  Before you invest in new sun lotion, though, it’s important to consider what it is that you need from your sun protection. Those with sensitive skin will want to use simple sunscreen without added fragrance. Some brands, such as Neutrogena and Blue Lizard are recommended by dermatologists for being effective and gentle on the skin. Those who are active, particularly children, will be better suited to ‘sports’ sunblock, which will be water resistant. Water resistant sunblock can provide protection in the water or during sweaty activities for 40-80 minutes. However, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a truly waterproof sunblock: you must always reapply after being in the water.

When putting on your sunblock, the most effective way is to slather yourself before you put on your outfit or swimsuit. This is because you are less likely to miss spots and you will be able to cover spots which may become exposed as your clothing moves around. Most dermatologists recommend using approximately a shot glass full of sunscreen each time you apply. This may sound like a lot, but you will be surprised by how quickly your skin absorbs the lotion and it will encourage you to cover yourself entirely, including the often-missed areas, such as the undersides of your arms, backs of your legs and tops of your feet. Those who are concerned with ageing should take special care with their hands, chest, neck and face. For those who don’t like the taste of sunblock: invest in a lip balm with SPF.

Skin Cancer Prevention-5SIf you are on any medication, you should check with your pharmacist to find out whether this may affect your photosensitivity.  Many commonly prescribed and over the counter medications can cause either a photo-toxic or a photo-allergic reaction. Photo-toxic reactions are far more common and will look like sunburn: there is redness, itching, burning and stinging in the areas of the skin that were exposed to the sun. The reaction occurs quickly (within 24 hours of sun exposure) and usually clears once the drug has been stopped and most often does not occur again with further exposure to the sun. Photo-allergic reactions can take a little longer to develop; sometimes one or two days after sun exposure. There may be a rash that resembles eczema that extends to areas beyond what was exposed to the sun. Symptoms include itching, redness, swelling, blisters (in severe cases) and hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin). This is considered to be an allergic reaction and symptoms will recur with increasing severity on subsequent exposures to the drug and sun.

Drugs that can cause photo-toxic reactions include antibiotics (tetracycline, ciprofloxacin), antihistamines (Benadryl), heart medications (nifedipine, amiodarone), diuretics (hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide), diabetic medicines (glyburide), anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, naproxen), acne medications (isotretinoin) and antidepressants (imipramine). Photo-allergic drugs include sunscreens (PABA and oxybenzone), salicylates (aspirin), anti-inflammatories (celecoxib) oral contraceptives and topical cancer chemotherapy drugs (Efudix). If you have any questions about your medication, please ask a pharmacist.

Of course, sunblock is not the only way to protect yourself from UV rays. You can wear light layers, such as a wrap or a long skirt. Where possible, you should avoid the strongest rays of sun, usually between 10am and 4pm. When you can’t avoid being outside in direct sunshine, make sure to wear a hat, which will shade the sensitive skin on your face and protect your scalp, which can be otherwise difficult to protect.

Lastly, remember that while it’s important to keep yourself safe from the sun’s rays, you should also remember to have fun!

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.

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.

Foot Care-Pharmacy Corner-bones

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.