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PHARMACY CORNER

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.

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

new-year-resolutions-2017-pharmacy-corner-link2

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.

new-year-resolutions-2017-multi-vitamins-group

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

stress-pharmacy-corner-link

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…