October 9th, 2014
October 6th, 2014
Like most parents, I smiled inwardly when I said last winter, “I hate to say ‘I told you so’ but, well, you know.” So, I have to admit that I was smiling, albeit rather ruefully, because I went on and on last flu season advising everyone – despite their risk level – to get a flu shot as early as they could.
If you ask me, there really was no reason for the mad, last-second rush in late December and January where so many people desperately tried to get a flu shot. This was especially the case, I think, among people between the ages of 20 and 60 – a group that was hit especially hard during the annual flu season.
And that’s because the prevalent flu virus last year year was H1N1, that virus first found widely in 2009, and which was commonly called swine flu. The reason that a younger demographic was hit so hard compared to older people is that this group has had very little exposure to cousins of this virus, something that seems to provide a bit of protection against H1N1.
Hence, the scramble to get inoculated once the news spread widely in the younger age group that had them saying “Hey, dudes, we’re at risk. Not just Gramma this year. Us, too. Time to get a flu shot.”
So here’s the teaching moment: the entire community is at risk from flu, sometimes one group more than another. However, if every year a much larger number of us were to get that year’s annual flu shot, then way more of us – in all age groups – would be protected from the herd immunity effect.
In other words, when you get a flu shot, you’re not only trying to help yourself, you’re also doing something to help someone else who that year may be more vulnerable to flu complications than you are – this usually means the very young and the very old.
So, even if this flu season, we go back to the same old, same old and once again, the main flu strain is one that affects mainly the very young and the very old, it would still be a huge benefit to our community if everyone in the middle aged groups also decided to get a flu shot.
So hey, if you don’t want me to go on and on again, and I’m sure you don’t, then make sure you schedule your flu vaccination appointment at London Drugs.
September 23rd, 2014
Pharmacy Operations Manager Chris Chiew, on Shaw TV’s Go! Calgary, talks about Anaphylaxis preparedness for back-to-school.
September 12th, 2014
Back to school can be a stressful time of year for the parents of nearly 300,000 Canadian children under the age of 18, who suffer from food allergies. For those students with severe allergies, school can be a dangerous place without the right preventative measures.
Awareness about food allergies has grown substantially as of late, thanks to the help of spokespeople like NASCAR driver Alex Tagliani, who recently added a ‘peanut free zone’ sign to his race car. The logo was designed by two Alberta students as part of an Anaphylaxis Canada contest raising awareness for ‘Treating Allergies with Genuine Care’.
September 10th, 2014
It is a great opportunity to write a blog – not only to inform readers but to put into words things one feels passionate about. The “division of responsibility” is such a topic for me.
I learned about the division of responsibility many years ago from its creator, Ellyn Satter. Satter, a dietitian and family therapist, crafted this simple message which I passed on to my clients over the years and now have been using very successfully with my own children.
The idea is simple. Parents provide the right food at regular times and children decide whether to eat, and how much. It is likely not the strategy your parents used with you so this message may surprise you and challenge your beliefs. Let’s look at the rationale for the division of responsibility and see how to put it into practice. READ MORE
September 4th, 2014
Today’s technology makes monitoring/improving your health a whole lot easier…
New technologies are making getting fit and monitoring your health a whole lot easier. Remember that great health is not just the absence of disease. It’s the ability to enjoy all that life has to offer, with maximum energy and in control of any health condition that might be present. Today’s health technologies make that goal a whole lot easier to achieve.
Keep tabs on your blood pressure
iHealth® Wireless Blood Pressure Monitors
Now, checking your blood pressure can be the cool thing to do! With no plugs or connections to manage, iHealth® Wireless Blood Pressure Monitors make it easy to check your own blood pressure, any time and anywhere. The iHealth® Wireless Blood Pressure Wrist Monitor attaches with a smaller cuff at the wrist, for easy on and off. The attractive device uses motion sensor technology to ensure the most accurate read possible. The iHealth® Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is a comfortable, easy-to-use cuff for those who prefer a more traditional way of checking their blood pressure. Using the free iHealth® mobile app, you can measure and track your systolic/ diastolic numbers, heart rate, pulse wave and measurement time, then share your results instantly. Why it’s important Knowing your blood pressure—especially if you have hypertension—helps put you in the driver’s seat. A sudden spike in blood pressure can signal a number of health conditions and should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible. The iHealth® MyVitals mobile app (iOS/Android) brings all iHealth® products to life. Once you’ve downloaded it from the app store, you can customize it for the products you use. Now, it’s easy to set goals, track your progress and be inspired to manage your personal health in a more hands-on way, wherever you go. The app may be used on iOS version 5.0 or higher devices: iPod Touch® 5th Generation +, iPhone 4S +, iPad mini, and iPad 3rd Generation +, as well as select Android devices.
Track your oxygen level
iHealth® Wireless Pulse Oximeter
The iHealth® Wireless Pulse Oximeter is a reliable, convenient way to spot-check blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) and pulse rate (BPM). This lightweight and portable device takes fast, noninvasive measurements at the fingertip. This allows you to track and view your SpO2 and BPM readings directly on the device’s display and in the iHealth® SpO2 app during sports training or other recreational activities. Once you’ve downloaded the free iHealth® SpO2 app, you’ll be ready to use your wireless pulse oximeter device. Why it’s important Pulse oximeters measure the amount of blood haemoglobin that is oxygen-saturated. For a healthy individual, the normal SpO2 should be between 96 and 99 per cent. The normal resting pulse rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Knowing these figures can help you keep track of your blood oxygen and fitness level.
iBGStar® Blood Glucose Meter
The innovative iBGStar® tests and analyzes your blood glucose, and fits conveniently into your pocket. While it can be used on its own, it also connects seamlessly with your iPhone or iPod Touch™—allowing you to view and analyze accurate, reliable information concerning your blood glucose, carb intake and insulin dose in “real time.” Using the iBGStar® Diabetes Manager app, you can share this information with your healthcare professional while on-thego, to help you make better-informed diabetes-related decisions together. Samples are analysed using Dynamic Electrochemistry® – an intelligent technology for results you can trust. To help constantly keep your blood glucose levels under control, you can retrieve analysis tables and diagrams at the touch of a fingertip. Why it’s important Monitoring your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes is an essential part of ensuring the condition is well managed. In recent years, the increasing incidence of pre-diabetes is bringing the importance of knowing your blood glucose levels to the forefront.
Interactive fitness devices
Why They’re Important
Tracking your fitness activities through wearable devices and mobile apps can increase your motivation to work out, manage your weight more productively, and have fun while doing so. Checking in with your online dashboard to see how well you have done, comparing your performance with previous performances, and knowing how many steps you took and calories you burned while hiking in the hills or washing the car, can provide the extra spark needed to get you off the sofa and getting physical. With some devices, you can even compare your workouts with those of friends or a fitness partner, and let a little competition further motivate you! Many users of connected fitness devices say they enjoy their devices so much that they go out of their way to add a few steps here and there, or go for an extra walk or run. Even vacuuming or mowing the lawn becomes a fitness activity instead of a chore. Samples are analysed using Dynamic Electrochemistry® – an intelligent technology for results you can trust. To help constantly keep your blood glucose levels under control, you can retrieve analysis tables and diagrams at the touch of a fingertip.
The Fitbit Flex™ Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband tracks steps, distance, and calories burned and shows you if you’re meeting your daily goals. At night, it tracks your sleep cycle, helps you learn how to sleep better, and wakes you silently in the morning. You can even wear it in the shower. The Fitbit Flex™ allows you to access your stats anytime on your computer, tablet or from leading smartphones – both iPhone and Android. Available in black and slate.
The compact Fitbit Zip makes fitness fun. It tracks your steps, distance, and calories burned, then wirelessly syncs the data to your Fitbit account through your computer or smartphone. Whether online or through the Fitbit app (iOS, Android), you can set personal goals and stay motivated with graphs, badges, and friendly competition.
The Fitbit One™ helps you be active, sleep well, and eat smarter. During the day, it tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. At night, it measures your sleep cycle, silently waking you in the morning, without disturbing your partner. As with all Fitbit models, your stats upload wirelessly via computer or select mobile device. Compact and discreet, the Fitbit One™ can be slipped into your pocket, or clipped on your bra or belt.
Body analysis scales
Why they’re important
An appropriate body fat percentage is essential to maintaining good health. For women, 14-31 per cent is considered a healthy range, and for men 6 -24 per cent. BMI (body mass index) relates body fat to height and weight. Knowing these figures gives you a powerful advantage for better managing your health to achieve long-term results.
The Fitbit Aria™ not only measures your weight, but helps you stay on track and achieve better results. It contains advanced technology to accurately assess your body fat percentage and BMI. The ultra-sleek Aria™ then syncs your stats through your WiFi network to your Fitbit online or mobile dashboard. Graphs and charts help you focus on long term trends and not short-term blips. Available in black or white.
Don’t be fooled by its cool design! The iHealth® Wireless Body Analysis Scale allows you to measure, track and share nine different characteristics of your body composition on the iHealth® mobile app. These include weight, body fat, lean mass, muscle mass, bone mass, body water, daily calorie intake, body mass index, and visceral fat rating. (You can use it online or off.)
Speak with the experts at your local London Drugs to discover which health tech gadgets fits your lifestyle best!
August 25th, 2014
Today’s woman has little time for
the annoyances and discomforts associated
with the end of her childbearing years… Here is some more information to follow up from part 1.
The dreaded hot flash
Arguably the most disruptive symptom of menopause, hot flashes affect 80% of women. Although most hot flashes are simply annoying and uncomfortable, for some women, they can be debilitating.
The unpleasant, prickly, hot sensations are caused by a reduction in the body’s output of estrogen. When estrogen levels are lower, the blood vessels close to the skin dilate, giving rise to the sensation of heat.
Hot flashes may occur as often as 20 times a day, or as infrequently as once or twice a month. They typically last for 30 seconds to a few minutes and are unpredictable, occurring at seemingly random moments. When they occur at night, they are often accompanied by intense perspiration and are known as night sweats.
Wearing comfortable, loose clothing is a good way to manage hot flashes. Some women also carry a cooling spray with them, to use as the need arises.
Managing mood swings
During menopause and the years leading up to it, many women suffer from mood swings. These can range from general highs and lows to feeling irrational, anxious and/or depressed. These feelings are just as normal and natural for a woman going through menopause as they are for a pre-teen embarking on puberty, and are similarly due to the imbalance/irregularity of hormonal activity within the body.
There are many ways of evening out your mood including going for a long walk, practising yoga, meditation or other calming activity, keeping up with friendships and learning a new skill to practise. Eating healthily,
ensuring you get enough quality sleep, and avoiding tranquillizers and alcohol are also helpful.
Many menopause supplements are formulated to help balance hormones, and bring relief for mood swings. However, if depression and/or anxiety are becoming the norm for you, it would be wise to discuss the issue with your doctor or other health professional. He or she can assess the situation and perhaps prescribe drugs to provide shortterm relief.
Vaginal dryness, and associated discomforts, can be very troubling, often resulting in withdrawal from intimacy. This can result in misunderstandings and put stress on otherwise healthy relationships.
While vaginal dryness can occur at any age, it is a common symptom of menopause, and is associated with vaginal atrophy—the thinning of the vaginal walls due to a decline in estrogen output.
Vaginal dryness may be accompanied by itching or stinging around the vaginal opening and the lower part of the vagina, soreness, burning and/or light bleeding during and after intercourse, and increased urinary urgency and frequency. It is a symptom of menopause that few women choose to discuss with friends or health professionals, yet it is relatively easy to resolve.
A number of moisture replacement products/lubricants suitable for the vaginal dryness associated with menopause are available from our stores, including Replens* Gel.
At a loss for words…
One of the most troubling symptoms of menopause is the loss of train of thought, or inability to come up with the right word in a sentence. The name of a movie, your favourite actor, or a common term for something that you’ve known for ever suddenly vanishes into thin air, leaving you feeling frustrated, and younger people thinking you’re forgetful. These “brain freezes” are very common.
Once again, low hormone levels are to blame. Estrogen has a significant impact on the functions of the brain and influences language skills, mood, attention, and a number of other functions, including memory.
Estrogen is directly linked to verbal word fluency—the ability to remember names and words—so as estrogen levels fall, memory is likely to suffer.
Aerobic activities and a diet that includes fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids can help keep the memory working as it should, and there are a number of natural products that help balance hormone levels and
help clear foggy thinking.
Getting a good night’s sleep is also very important for the memory to work as it should. Many women find that crosswords and memory games/activities can help but the jury is still out on what effect, if any, can be
directly attributed to these passtimes.
Strictly speaking, menopause is defined as the time of life when periods have been absent for one year. However, many women perceive the term to mean the actual transition from having periods to not having them.
Whatever your personal definition, one fact remains: that menopause is simply the passage from one stage of your life to another. Having survived the hormonal ups and downs of puberty, and perhaps also pregnancy, you will be well prepared for surviving menopause.
Menopause is a significant phase in the life of any woman and, just as we all differ in our personalities and opinions, so the experience of menopause differs. Some celebrate it, some pass through it without noticing much, and others may find the emotional and physical changes to be extremely challenging.
For many women, the cessation of periods and the reduced risk of an unwanted pregnancy means they can relax and enjoy life more. Others may feel saddened by the fact they can no longer become mothers.
A newfound joy
Today, the average age of menopause in Canada is 51 years – an age now considered to be youthful. Back in the day, however, the 50s were considered to herald old age. With social changes of the past few decades, we no longer perceive a woman’s role as restricted to giving birth, child-rearing and other homemaking functions. Rather, she is a fully-functioning and free member of society with at least a third of her life still to live.
As a Baby Boomer, she will have learned how to care for her body better, and likely be a role model for the phrase “50 is the new 40.”
Today’s woman of menopausal age keeps her options open and is often searching for a new career, once her child-rearing responsibilities are over. Not one to let the grass grow under her feet, she is both adventurous and worldly. Whether she takes up art or photography, or opts for a surfboarding or ziplining course, she is determined to make the most of her transition.