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

sore throats

Sore throats in children

It is cold out there and it seems like every second person has some sort of dose and that includes children. We have a lot of people coming to the pharmacy with sore throats. Children tend to get more sore throats than adults. Many children with a viral infection will complain of a sore throat and will in fact have 2-3 sore throats every year.In fact on average most children will get 6-7 viral infections every year. Viral infections are usually self-limiting and will resolve themselves within 5-7 days.  While it can be distressing for the child, 9 out of 10 children will have fully recovered within a week without having to see a doctor.  If the sore throat lasts longer than a week then you should bring your child to their GP as it may mean they have a bacterial infection such as strep throat and may need antibiotics. In the meantime it is advisable to keep your child well hydrated and there are over the counter solutions if the sore throat is painful.

Over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can relieve pain associated with a sore throat. Always check with your pharmacist or GP before using ibuprofen if your child is asthmatic. Older children can also be given lozenges or a throat spray. Avoid giving your child hot drinks or hot food as this can further irritate the throat. You may find giving them ice pops to suck or ice-cream may give them some relief. While it is best to avoid very hot drinks you could make up a warm drink with honey and lemon that can lubricate the throat. If you are worried about your child bring them into your pharmacy and a pharmacist can check you are doing the right things and advice you when it is best to book an appointment with your GP.

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.