Health spring clean

Improving our health as we go from winter into spring

Health and wellness as we go from winter into spring

Sorting out our diet, exercise and skin

We all tend to hibernate during winter time but now it’s time to shake off the cobwebs. Hopefully you survived the January cold and flu season unscathed. Or if you did end up suffering a dose then I hope you are feeling better. Now that we are in February it is time to start building up our immune system in preparation for spring and summer. It is also a great time of year to look at getting some exercise into our weekly routines and looking after our skin after it has been battered by winter weather extremes.


I’ll start with our immune system which is key to good health. Over winter time we may have switched to bad eating habits and we may be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. It is great time of year to get the diet back on track. There are so many resources available to us with healthy recipes. A really great resource is Operation Transformations recipe section on their website ( or in Supervalu stores. Just because you didn’t get on the eating healthy buzz in January it isn’t too late to start now. If you were sick over the winter there is a good chance your immune system is still fighting back. There are loads of excellent supplements available today for your specific needs. Some of our best sellers are as follows;

Oxylent– This supplement comes in a powder form that you can make into a delicious drink. As well as the fact it is jam packed with multivitamins it also contains electrolytes.

Multivitamin, health

Seven Seas Perfect 7– This supplement has individually tailored supplements for men and for women. There also is an over 50 version of each supplement available.

Perfect7, health

Centrum Men and Women– This is another great multivitamin that contains a different version for men and for women. It also has an over 50 option available.

Centrum, health

Pharmaton Active Life– This multivitamin contains Ginseng which gives an extra energy boost to those who feel they need it.

pharmaton active life. health

All of these multivitamins have different quantities of the essential vitamins and minerals that we need for a healthy life. However nothing beats up your fruit and vegetable intake. Call into the pharmacy for advice on which one is best for your needs. It is also important to get a sufficient intake of vitamin D as we make Vitamin D from sunlight, which we here in Ireland don’t get enough of, especially during winter.


Secondly let’s look at the whole subject of exercise. Exercise is fundamental to our health. We all find exercising difficult during the dark winter months so this is a great time to start putting exercise to the top of our priority list. There are small measures that can make a huge difference such as taking the stairs at work or waking to the shop for a pint of milk instead of driving. However the WHO recommends that we do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, which works out at 30minutes five days per week. So phone a friend and have a catch up over a brisk walk. It’s more fun if you have company and makes it easier to include in your weekly routine.


The third aspect of our health that may need attention after winter is our skin. The magic ingredient that does more for our skin than any other is…..water. During the cold months we tend to not be as vigilant in keeping ourselves hydrated so if you make one change in February then it should be aim to drink more water. We should aim for at least 2 litres of water a day. You will see the difference in your skin immediately. The other thing we can do in winter is to use good moisturisers. High street brands have got some excellent choices for dry damaged skin. You can make a massive difference to you skin by ensuring you apply a moisturiser every morning and evening. You can also treat yourself to a facemask every week such as the Garnier Moisture Bomb sheet mask or other similar sheet mask. These are extremely handy because they take the hassle out of applying a facemask.

garnier moisture bomb mask

Vichy has an incredible range of serums and moisturisers that contain hyaluronic acid which can really improve the texture of dehydrated skin. La Roche Posay has great solutions for extremely dry or intolerant skin such as their Toleriane and Hydraphase range. Call into the pharmacy for a great range of skincare, or send your other half in for a Valentines present.


So leave winter behind, make three resolutions for February to get ready for spring;

  1. Eat well and make sure you are getting your immune system back on track.
  2. Get out and get moving, include exercise in your daily routine.
  3. Look after your skin and drink more water.

If you need healthcare advice, to get your health back on track, call into your pharmacy today. Read more


Cough in a child- how to treat

What to do if your child has a cough.


Winter doses:

We are coming into that lovely time of year where we get a lot of queries from parents about coughs. It can be worrying to hear a small child suffering and parents often don’t know what to do. However a cough is a sign that your child’s immune system is working effectively. We would far prefer if your child brings up phlegm than allow it to pool in the lungs where it can lead to more serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia.



Most coughs are caused by a mild viral infection such as the common cold or flu. It is one of the symptoms that you may notice when your child is fighting a mild viral infection. Other symptoms may include a stuffy or runny nose, a high temperature and general aches and pains. The cough will usually resolve itself within a couple of days.


Treatment if dry:

However there are some over the counter medications that can help ease the discomfort. If the child is under one year old it is better to get them checked by the doctor to ensure there are no under lying issues. There are no cough bottles that are suitable to use in this age group. However you can get simple syrups such as glycerine, honey and lemon which can be given to babies of over one year of age. These will lubricate the throat and ease a dry non-productive cough. When children reach 6 years of age they can be given dry cough suppressants such as Benylin Dry  for children. However cough suppressants should be used in caution in asthmatics as they can mask an exacerbation of asthmatic conditions.

Treatment if chesty:

If your child’s cough sounds chesty then they may need an expectorant to help loosen any phlegm on the chest. A good expectorant is Carbocisteine which is the main ingredient in Exputex or Viscolex. These can be given to children over two years of age. An expectorant is usually given twice or three times per day. However try to avoid giving an expectorant just before bed time as they can make the child cough more if they lie down directly after getting their evening dose.


What to do if the cough lasts longer then 3 weeks:

Also keep your child well hydrated while they have a dose. If the cough does not clear up within 3 weeks it is worth bringing them to the GP to ensure there is no underlying condition or infection that is causing a problem. If you are worried about your child’s health bring them in with you to your pharmacy for some advice on whether you need to bring them to the GP.

You can get more advice on the following website:


What effects Fertility-


What effects Fertility?


A huge amount of women come into our pharmacy looking for advice on fertility and on getting pregnant so I have decided to write a blog on this topic. Fertility is often in the media lately with TV shows such as the Babymakers shedding light on a subject that we have always treated as taboo. It is great that we have started to have these conversations in Ireland but it can still scare some women into thinking that she and her partner need to rush straight to the nearest fertility clinic immediately.


How long does it take to get pregnant?

When you make that decision to stop using whatever contraceptive method you have relied on and to start trying to have a baby, you expect it to just happen immediately, however this isn’t always the case. So women often get confused as to when they need to seek help and when they need to keep trying on their own. My advice would be to start with the basics. If you want to get pregnant then it is important to be in the best possible health you can be in. This means eating a balanced diet and doing exercise. You should also avoid smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol and caffeine.

Conception is a complicated process and it is completely normal for a healthy couple under the age of 35 to still take up to a year to get pregnant. This process can be further delayed in the women has been the contraceptive pill for a long time. If you do need further advice, call into your pharmacy to have a chat. We will make sure you are doing all the right things and can let you know if it is time to speak to your GP or a fertility expert.


Do you know your cycle?

It is also important to get to know your cycle so you know when you have the best chance of pregnancy. For some women this may be on day 12-14 for many women they may have a longer cycle, while means it could be day 26 before they ovulate. It is a good idea to start tracking your cycle. You can do this easily now with various different apps which allow your record the day of your period and then they estimate when you will ovulate. There are also aps such as Natural Cycles which allow you to input your temperature every morning which will give you a more accurate prediction of ovulation as your temperature tends to be lower before you ovulate and higher afterwards.  You can also purchases Luteinising hormone detector kits that detect the LH surge that happens just before ovulation. These can be bought in your pharmacy.


Why is ovulation so important?

So why is it so important to understand when ovulation occurs in your body? Well ovulation is the term given for the release of an egg from the ovaries. In order to get pregnant an egg must get fertilised by sperm. As sperm can live up to 5 days in the body, the best time to have sex is in the 5 days leading up to and including the day of ovulation. However trying to plan sex too much can result in stress for a couple. So the advice is to aim to have sex every couple of days keeping in mind to have sex around your ovulation window.


What supplements should you be taking?

We are often asked for advice on supplements to take when planning a pregnancy. The first priority for women when considering pregnancy is folic acid. This should be started 2/3 months before conception and should be continued for at least the first trimester. Folic acid is essential for development of the baby’s neural tube. Don’t panic if you find that you are pregnant and you have started folic acid but do start it straight away. The department of Health recommends a daily dose of folic acid of 400ug which can be purchased without a prescription in the pharmacy. There are also supplements that provide folic acid as well as other vitamins and minerals that support egg and sperm health. Examples of these include Pregnacare conception and Proceive.

hay fever solutions in your pharmacy

Hay fever advice- It’s that time of year

Hay fever advice- It’s that time of year

Do you suffer from hay fever every year or have you just started this year. Either way this article has practical tips and advice to help you find solutions to your hay fever problems.

1 in 5 Irish people suffer from hay fever. The first symptoms that people usually notice are runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing. This is because hay fever is where the body’s immune system over reacts to normally harmless substances. Hay fever affects the nose, the sinuses, the eyes and the throat.

Hay fever can affect any one but is more common in families where there is a history of eczema and asthma. Hay fever tends to be worse when the pollen count is high. However people react to different types of pollen. In general tree pollen causes more problems from January to April, where grass pollen causes hay fever from May to August.

There are practical steps you can take to reduce your exposure to your trigger. These include closing windows and doors so pollen doesn’t enter, this is especially important if grass is being cut outside. It can also help to put a small amount of Vaseline on the inside of your nose to block the pollen from getting in. Wearing sunglasses outside can help you avoid getting pollen in your eyes. It can be useful to change your clothes and to take a shower after being outside in pollen.

You can also visit your pharmacist or doctor for help with your symptoms. In the pharmacy you can buy over the counter antihistamines. Some of these can cause drowsiness and may interfere with other medications so be sure to mention any regular medicines that you take. Antihistamines work by blocking the action of Histamine. The body produces Histamine when it thinks it is under attack.

Another option is to buy a Corticosteroid nasal spray that will work by reducing inflammation inside the nose. These sprays can work really well to both prevent and relieve hay fever symptoms. They are based used every day and ideally before the start of the hay fever season.

You can also buy antihistamine eye drops to relieve eye irritation. These drops usually contain Sodium Chromoglicate. You can get these in a multi-use bottle or individual single use versions. The single use drops are very handy if you only suffer from eye symptoms from time to time as they don’t expire a month after opening.

It is also possible to buy nasal decongestants over-the-counter which work well for short term nasal congestion. However you should be careful not to use these for longer than 7 days as they can cause dryness and rebound congestion if used continually.

Above all there are options that can ease your symptoms, don’t suffer on. Call into your pharmacy and ask for help.