Our pharmacists provide advice on protecting yourself and your loved ones…
Influenza (the flu) is a nasty winter illness that can make you very sick for a couple of weeks or more. While most people who have flu are often well enough to return to work in a week to 10 days, you may feel weak and fatigued for much longer.
The symptoms of influenza develop quickly and include fever, fatigue, body aches, shivering, and headache. Congestion and coughing are also common. Flu affects approximately one third of Canadians each year. Although flu viruses exist throughout the world year-round, in Canada the flu season usually runs from late November to April.
Flu vaccinations are available at all London Drugs pharmacies
As the most accessible health care professionals in Canada, Pharmacists now play a key role in achieving higher flu immunization rates in Canada. During this year’s immunization campaign, London Drugs pharmacists expect to administer more flu vaccinations than ever before. Longer hours, appointments, as well as flexibility for walk-in patients and customers has allowed pharmacists to significantly improve ease of access to the vaccine.
“It’s really about convenience. People can literally call the pharmacy and make an appointment or walk in, fill out the paperwork and get a shot right then. So by coming to the pharmacy they can avoid lineups or wait times at their doctor’s office or at the public flu clinics,” says Jason Chan-Remillard, Pharmacy Manager at London Drugs.
Aside from providing in-store injections, London Drugs pharmacists are also venturing out into communities to administer flu shots at public events. Making the vaccine accessible through pharmacists has had a substantial impact on increasing public awareness and utilization of the flu vaccine.
“People want to protect themselves and their families against the flu but they want to get it done when it is close and convenient for them. The more accessible we can be, the more people we can vaccinate,” he says.
This year’s seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the H3N2 strain — along with H1N1 and influenza B. The vaccination is available at all London Drugs locations where it is administered by London Drugs’ Certified Injection Pharmacists. The public are invited to contact their local London Drugs pharmacy to inquire about getting a flu shot or visit http://www.londondrugs.com/flu for more information.
“Being proactive and prepared is the key to surviving the flu season,” says Chan-Remillard. “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.”
One in eight Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.
Prostate cancer will kill close to 4,100 Canadian men in 2015, yet somehow most of us believe it to be the cancer a man dies with and not from. This simply isn’t true. The myth came about when autopsies showed that many older men have low grade cancers in their prostate glands. (Roughly 70 per cent of men between 70 and 79 years of age are diagnosed with prostate cancer after their death.) Low grade cancers can stay put for many years, even decades, and not give rise to metastases, and it is true that the type of cancer that affects senior men is usually low grade. However, many men, including those in their 40s and 50s, die from more aggressive prostate cancers that spread quickly to the bones, or soft tissues of the body. These types of aggressive cancers are becoming more prevalent.
The flu shot
What is true, and what isn’t
Right about now, all across Canada, many families are in a quandary. The concern for some people, particularly those with school-age children, is whether or not to have a flu shot. While health authorities advise that having the influenza vaccine is the best way to avoid a bout with the flu—and possibly passing it on to others—alternative health proponents and magazines suggest otherwise, often saying it is “safer” to rely on botanical preparations, homeopathic immunity shots and healthy eating.
While we agree that healthy living makes a positive contribution to an effective immune response, flu viruses are ubiquitous, opportunistic, and unpredictable. Often, despite taking all the health-enhancing steps to avoid catching the virus, we fall prey to it, simply by being close to someone who coughs or sneezes on us, or touching something like a door handle that is contaminated with it.
Adult Canadians may not have had all the vaccinations needed to provide maximum protection against infectious diseases. Are you one of them?
The prevention of infection by immunization is both easily achieved and effective, but, while most of us recognize the importance of vaccinating children, we may not be so conscientious about ensuring our adulthood vaccinations are up-to-date.
Adult require immunizations to address weakened immunity against vaccine-preventable diseases, and to ensure that immunity against diseases more common in adults is acquired.
Up-to-date immunization of adults prevents the spread of infection and is important if the adult comes into contact with young children or babies and others at increased risk of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Health Canada advises that some vaccines are needed by all adults and other vaccines may be necessary due to the specific risk/s resulting from occupation, travel, underlying illness, lifestyle or age.
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.
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.