September 8th, 2015

Back-to-School Immunization Information

Pharmacists Help with Proper Protection and Prevention for Grade School Through Post Secondary


The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) recently expressed concern about declining immunization rates in Canada and would like to see more efforts to educate parents who hesitate to pursue vaccination for their children. The physicians also voted to ask that governments across the country authorize schools to require a mandatory declaration of immunization status for all students.

CMA issued a press release that states, “If results indicate that a student has not been immunized, there would then be a conversation between public health officials and parents.”

London Drugs pharmacists are joining the CMA to help educate parents on immunization options as back to school nears. Getting ready for back to school or dorm isn’t limited to making sure you have the right school supplies and latest tech gear. It also means making sure grade school children and adults have the proper and up-to-date vaccinations to prevent potentially serious health issues from coming in contact with a variety of communicable diseases.


Immunization Recommended for Grade School Recommended for Adults Available at London Drugs*
Pre-school immunizations

(diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella)
YES If not received during preschool, grade school.

(grades 1 or 5 or 9)
London Drugs recommends checking with your public health agency first for pre-school vaccination options.
Herpes zoster (shingles) YES

Human papillomavirus  (HPV) YES

(ages 9-18)

(ages 18-26)
Influenza (flu) YES

(ages 5 -18)

Meningococcal diseases YES

Up to and including 24 years
Pneumococcal disease YES

Pertussis (whooping cough) YES


(if not taken as child)
Travellers’ vaccinations

(hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, cholera, and typhoid fever)
* Subject to vaccine availability by location and differing provincial immunization regulation.
Immunization fees may apply.


Public health agencies across Western Canada will often provide the recommended vaccinations for grade school children. Most parents will find their schools will offer these programs in affiliation with their provincial public health agency.

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s recommended immunization schedule provides a detailed breakdown of what vaccinations are recommended and at what age they should be administered.

Helping children get ready for their immunizations is important, as many children often become worried about getting needles.

“It’s important to communicate to the child what is about to happen, and tell them when they will be getting their needle,” says Anil Goorachurn, Pharmacy Manager, London Drugs. “When we administer a vaccine, we will often try and take their mind off of the needle by thinking of a favourite memory or asking about a friend. Helping them to stay calm and focus on something happy is a great way for parents to help their child be prepared.”

Children in school are at higher risk for sharing the flu virus, so being proactive and prepared for the upcoming flu season is also strongly recommended by London Drugs’ pharmacists.

“By getting the influenza vaccination early in the season, as well as taking some simple and healthy preventative actions, you not only protect yourself, but you protect others because you are less likely to spread the flu,” says Goorachurn. “This is especially important in grade school where children tend to share things like clothing, beverages and snacks.”

London Drugs encourages parents to ask if they, or their children, qualify for a publicly funded flu shot.

The flu shot will be available at all London Drugs locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in late October and availability ranges by province. Immunization age allowance also varies based on provincial regulation. Please check with your pharmacist regarding availability and options.

Learn more about influenza vaccination through London Drugs.


In recent years, new vaccines have become available for adults. These include vaccines for herpes zoster (shingles) and human papillomavirus (a sexually transmitted virus that causes genital warts and certain cancers). However, the number of Canadians who avail themselves of these vaccines remains low. This means that many adults remain unnecessarily vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases.

There are many reasons why adults fail to get the vaccinations that they need. These include not liking injections, assuming injections are just for children, lack of awareness that certain diseases can be vaccinated against, and simply forgetting follow-ups such as those required for hepatitis prevention.

Learn more about adult immunization.


Pharmacists recommend post-secondary students who may not have had certain immunizations during their grade school years, ask about their options – especially those who are travelling abroad for their schooling.

London Drugs travel immunization options will provide the vaccinations an adult student will require to keep them properly protected outside of Canada.

“If you are travelling outside of the country to study, you may require vaccines to prevent diseases prevalent in the countries where you travel,” says Goorachurn. “These include, but are not limited to, hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, cholera, and typhoid fever.”

Hepatitis A and B are easy to contract in many parts of the world. Hepatitis A—a serious liver disease that is usually contracted by ingesting food or drinks that have been contaminated with human waste—is the most common vaccine-preventable disease in travellers.

Those travelling to Mexico, South or Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, South East Asia, China and the Middle East are at greatest risk for contracting hepatitis A. Hepatitis B is a type of hepatitis commonly contracted through exposure to the body fluids of an infected person, and is less common.

Vaccines against hepatitis A and B are usually given together in a vaccine product called Twinrix®, available from the London Drugs pharmacy.

This vaccine can be injected by your doctor (or other primary health professional) or by a London Drugs Travel Medicine Pharmacists or other certified injection pharmacist.

For more information on adult vaccination recommendations, please visit Health Canada’s Canadian Immunization Guide at:

August 28th, 2015

Itchy, scratchy eyes? Managing dry eye

Do you wake up feeling like you have grit in your eyes? Do your eyes feel dry, sore and scratchy, particularly when you are driving, working at your computer or reading?

If so, you likely have dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca—an uncomfortable condition where the eye does not produce a sufficient amount of tear film, or the film produced lacks the appropriate composition to prevent fast evaporation from the eye’s surface. Since the tear film serves to lubricate the eye when blinking, a lack of it can cause extreme discomfort.

Dry eye can be caused by a number of factors, including aging, environmental issues, and medications such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), diuretics, antihistamines, nasal decongestants, beta blockers, oral contraceptives and antidepressants. Sometimes, the dryness is temporary but, for most, it is a chronic condition that needs to be addressed for the ongoing comfort of the eyes.


August 25th, 2015

Protect your Peepers, Healthy Eyes for Life


Few people take their eyesight for granted, but did you know that most eye conditions and mishaps are preventable? Here are ways to ensure your eyes—and those of your family—remain healthy throughout life.

The early years

The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that babies have their first eye exam between the ages of six and nine months. Children should have at least one eye exam between the ages of two and five, and yearly after starting school.


August 21st, 2015

Supplements with Purpose

supplements1For many people, purchasing a health supplement that is specifically formulated for a single purpose— and labelled accordingly—is a big step in the right direction. New Nordic health supplements, recently introduced to London Drugs, are an innovative range of formulas designed to help with specific health conditions.

Let’s take a closer look at these nature-inspired formulations from Sweden and how they may help you achieve better health.

Thicker, healthier hair

L8068918Thinning hair can affect both sexes and all ages. Usually the result of genetic influences or hormonal shifts, hair that is fine or sparse can profoundly affect one’s sense of well being.

New Nordic Hair Volume is formulated to nourish the scalp and hair follicles from the inside. It contains a number of helpful ingredients for building healthy hair. These include proanthocyanidin B2, which has been studied extensively and found to increase hair growth.1

Millet extract, organic silica and other B vitamins (biotin, and pantothenic acid) help boost hair growth and volume, while copper contributes to normal hair colour (helping to avoid greyness). The amino acid L-methionine helps protect the hair follicles from oxidative stress and zinc helps reduce hair loss.


August 19th, 2015

Anaphylaxis Preparedness: Making the Classroom Safe for the 300,000 Canadian Children With Allergies


Teachers, parents and caregivers still need broadened awareness of emergent anaphylactic treatment required for school-age children with severe allergies, say pharmacists.

Understanding how to administer epinephrine in an emergency is just as important as other lifesaving skills like CPR or the Heimlich maneuver,” says London Drugs Pharmacist, Jason Chan-Remillard. “While awareness in schools about allergies has grown in recent years, there is a lag in understanding when it comes to emergent anaphylactic treatment.”

For those students with severe allergies, school can be a dangerous place. Teachers, parents and caregivers must be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and know how to initiate treatment.


August 18th, 2015

Glow Naturally – Maintaining Youthful Skin


Most of us understand that we’ll pay the price for a beautiful tan later on in life. Even a light tan means damage to the skin has already taken place, and this damage is cumulative. Not only does acquiring a tan cause damage to the collagen and elastin fibres, it also increases our lifetime risk for disfiguring and fatal skin cancers.

So how can we best achieve that warm glow of summer, without risk to the health, or of prematurely aging the skin?

The newest formulations of self-tanners are the answer. No longer overly orange, or impossible to predict in terms of resulting colour, today’s self-tanners are a far cry from those of yesteryear. Jergens® Natural Glow®, for example, creates a gradual, natural looking tan and comes in a variety of formats that also enhance and moisturize the skin.


August 18th, 2015

Diabetes alert dogs to the rescue

Image_003Sophie Mullins of Paradise, Newfoundland, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she became seriously ill at the age of 18 months. Her parents, Heidi Pavelka and Jamie Mullins, worried about her constantly, since her blood sugar can drop without warning, putting her at risk of hypoglycemia. “Sophie doesn’t feel her lows—she could have low blood sugar and be running around the house as if everything is normal,” says Pavelka. Their worries were alleviated thanks to a new addition to the family: a six-month-old black Labrador retriever named Peaches, a diabetes alert dog who has been trained over several years to detect Sophie’s low blood sugar levels and get help when she needs it. (Note: At six months the dog moves in with the patient’s family to begin the training process.)


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