July 15th, 2014

Summer in the pharmacy

Our pharmacists share the most common reasons for your summertime visits…

Summer in the pharmacyIt’s summer, and the pharmacy is busy! Although we see customers with a wide range of questions and concerns, most visits relate to the same warm-weather issues. This year, we thought we’d share them with you.


Every year, despite the best intentions, people get caught out. In the last couple of years, the hot weather has arrived late, with no springlike lead-in. This is the ideal situation for sunburns, for two reasons. First, summer’s UV rays are more intense, and the springtime lack of sunshine means there has been no time to build up a little protective colour.  Second, the sheer frustration of incessant rain, cloud or snow tends to make people a little reckless when the sun finally makes an appearance.

These are habits we need to break as the change in climate appears to be here to stay.

Cold sores

They have nothing to do with the cold, and a lot to do with the sun. UV rays activate the herpes simplex virus causing breakouts of the itchy blisters following exposure. You can help prevent breakouts by always wearing sunscreen (use a lip balm with SPF on your lips) and a sunhat. Our pharmacists will be happy to recommend products that will help you if you already have a breakout.

Itching/insect bites

pharmacistWhether caused by insect stings/bites, or the uncomfortable rashes that result from contact with itch-inducing plants, we have the solutions for uncomfortable itching. With insect bites and stings, including those from mosquitoes, avoidance is the best policy. Covering up at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active, is a good idea. We have bug repellent and mosquito-repelling citronella products in the store to further protect you from the bugs of summer.

If you or a member of your family is allergic to insect venom, it is very important to carry an Epipen® with you at all times.  These devices are available from the pharmacy.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning can take many forms and range from mild to serious. Usually, food poisoning lasts a day or two and may make you vomit and/or have diarrhea.
We carry a number of products that will help soothe the symptoms of mild food poisoning, but you should call your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Severe diarrhea (copious amounts of loose stool every one to two hours) that lasts longer than two days.
  • Vomiting that lasts longer than a day.
  • Sudden, severe pain in the stomach area.
  • Fever that doesn’t go away in a couple of days and/or signs of dehydration such as dark urine, not much urine, and dry mouth.

Get to a hospital emergency department immediately if your symptoms include blurred or double vision, trouble swallowing or breathing, and muscle weakness as these are signs of botulism.

Always call the doctor as soon as possible if your young child is having symptoms of food poisoning as young children can experience dehydration rapidly in hot weather.

Preventing traveller’s diarrhea

Every summer, we have many customers asking how to prevent the common vacation malady, Montezuma’s revenge. To reduce the risk of this uncomfortable and inconvenient condition, our pharmacists provide the following suggestions:

  • Always wash your hands before eating and after using the washroom.
  • Never drink tap water or have ice cubes in your drinks, and only drink from sealed bottles of water.
  • Avoid salads that may have been washed in tap water, and eat only fruits and vegetables that you peel yourself.
  • Never buy foods from street vendors.
  • Always use bottled water when brushing your teeth.

Travel vaccinations

Summer is a busy time of year for our injection pharmacists. Protecting yourself against hepatitis A and B, as well as other diseases prevalent in the countries you will be visiting is very important. We make vaccination available on an as-you-need basis (simply book an appointment for your vaccination with an onsite injection pharmacist when you plan to pick up your vaccine prescription), or as part of the services provided during our personalized Travel & Immunization Clinic. London Drugs Travel & Immunization Clinics have been introduced to a number of our stores. During these clinics, a Travel Medicine Pharmacist will advise you on the medications, vaccinations and health supplies that you’ll need for your trip. Common vaccinations include those for hepatitis A and B, malaria, cholera, typhoid fever and meningitis. Our clinics are presently available at the following stores:

British Columbia:

  • Granville & Georgia, Vancouver
  • Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver
  • Morgan Crossing, Surrey
  • Ironwood Plaza, Richmond
  • Trenant Park Mall, Delta
  • West Oaks Mall, Abbotsford
  • Lansdowne Village, Kamloops
  • Parkwood Place, Prince George
  • Cherry Lane Shopping Centre, Penticton
  • Vernon Square, Vernon


  • North Town Centre, Edmonton
  • Windermere, Edmonton
  • Lethbridge Town Square, Lethbridge
  • 50th Avenue, Red Deer
  • 8120 Beddington Blvd N.W., Calgary
  • 2781 Main St, Airdrie

To book, simply select the store you wish to visit. Then call or schedule online. Please be sure to provide your contact details and trip location, if known.

When booking online, a pharmacy staff member will call you within 72 hours to arrange an appointment time that works with your schedule. Once the appointment has been scheduled, you will receive a confirmation email. This will contain a link where you can provide more detailed information allowing us to provide you with the exact information/ vaccinations that you may need. The pharmacist will also prepare a personalized takeaway package with travel tips, helpful packing lists and a TRAVAX® Traveler Health Report featuring detailed travel destination information. It is important to schedule your appointment six to eight weeks before departure to determine what vaccinations and information you will require for a safe and healthy trip. (There is a nominal fee to attend a Travel & Immunization Clinic.) Summer is a busy time of year for our injection pharmacists.


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