Menopause

Puberty, menstruation, contraception and pregnancy – hormones really put women through a lot! Menopause is a normal part of a woman’s reproductive life cycle. Typically, it occurs between the late 40s and early 50s. Each woman’s experience of menopause is unique, although most women experience some type of symptom in addition to the ending of their menstrual period.

Why do we experience Menopause?

A woman’s ovaries produce three types of hormones – oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Among other things, these hormones play a vital role in menstruation, ovulation and pregnancy. During the menopause transition, the ovaries’ production of oestrogen and progesterone fluctuates and declines, ceasing at menopause.

What happens?

The experience of menopause varies widely from woman to woman and from culture to culture. All women, however, undergo the same basic hormonal changes during menopause.

Hot flushes are characterised by feelings of heat that spread to the chest, neck, face or the entire body. Hot flushes may be accompanied by sweating, nausea, heart palpitations, and flushed skin and can contribute to sleep disturbances.

Flow/Cycle changes are experienced by peri-menopausal women with irregular periods that stop and start with no apparent pattern. It is also common for women to get heavier, lighter or longer periods at this time.

Physical changes of the vagina occur due to the reduction in oestrogen levels at menopause such as thinning of the vagina lining and vaginal dryness. Changes in the vagina’s pH level (which keeps naturally occurring bacteria in balance) can occur, resulting in bacterial infections and dryness.

Skin and hair becomes thinner and less elastic as we age naturally, these changes are accentuated at menopause as oestrogen appears to play an important role in maintaining the skin. Women may notice a change in the skin’s texture and tone and an increase in the appearance of lines and wrinkles. They may also find their skin is drier or oilier than before, or a combination of both.

What can help?

There are a number of supplements available in the pharmacy, which women can take to achieve a smoother transition into this new life stage, including clinically researched and standardised Actaea racemosa (black Cohosh), Trifolium pratense (red clover), and Vitex agnus-castus.

Moisturising pH balanced vaginal gels and moisturising creams including Replens and Dr Wolffes Vagisan can help with vaginal dryness and itching.

Unpleasant symptoms of menopause may be reduced by following a healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining good mental health, reducing stress levels, getting enough good quality sleep, cotton breathable pyjamas and bedding to help with night sweats, avoiding the things that trigger hot flushes, and quitting smoking.

Our Pharmacists and Friendly Society team help women every day with their menopause and post menopause experiences. (Some of us have even been through it.) Please speak to us with your queries so we can help make this time of your life a little easier.

From – The Pharmacy Guild of Australia Top six women’s health issues – and how pharmacy assistants can help. https://www.guild.org.au/news-events/blog/2017/top-six-womens-health-issues-and-how-pharmacy-assistant-can-help

Hay Fever & Allergies

Hay fever (also known as Allergic Rhinitis), affects around 1 in 4 people (children and adults) in Australia.

Despite its common name, allergic rhinitis is not caused by hay and does not result in fever. It is caused by the nose and/or eyes coming into contact with environmental allergens, such as pollens, dust mite, moulds and animal dander. People who are sensitive to these allergens may then experience one or more of the following symptoms:

Immediate signs or symptoms

  • Runny nose.
  • Itchy nose.
  • Sneezing.
  • Itchy, watery eyes. 

Obstructive signs or symptoms

  • Congested nose.
  • Snoring. 

Some of these symptoms may be similar to those caused by infection (such as colds and flu). However, allergy symptoms tend to persist, unless they are treated correctly. 

Symptoms range from mild to moderate (does not affect day to day function), to severe (affects day to day function). Symptoms may occur in a particular season (usually due to allergies to grass, weed or tree pollens), or are persistent and present all year round (usually caused by allergies to house dust mites, moulds or animal dander). It is important to note that allergic rhinitis is not caused by a food allergy. 

Complications of allergic rhinitis may include:

  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Daytime tiredness.
  • Headaches.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Recurrent ear infections in children.
  • Recurrent sinus infections in adults.
  • Asthma which is more difficult to control.*

* Some people with allergic rhinitis also have asthma. Better control of allergic rhinitis has been shown to result in better asthma control in both adults and children. Untreated allergic rhinitis may also increase the risk of developing asthma.

Treatment options – Medications

Although medications do not cure allergies, they are effective and have few side effects. It is important to use them correctly, and to avoid medications that can cause problems such as frequent decongestant (unblocking) nose sprays or tablets.

Seek advice from your pharmacist or doctor about the following medications.

  • Antihistamine tablets, syrups, intranasal sprays and eye drops (non-sedating), help to reduce symptoms (sneezing, itchy and irritating eyes). They are not as effective in controlling severe nasal blockage and dribble. The advantage of antihistamines is their flexibility, as you can take them when you have problems, and avoid them when you are well. Antihistamine eye drops can be helpful in controlling watery eyes due to allergies. 
  • Intranasal corticosteroid nasal sprays (INCS) have a potent action on inflammation when used regularly (like asthma preventer medications). These need to be used regularly and with careful attention to the way in which they are used. Different brands of INCS vary in strength and effectiveness, so it is important to read the labels and check details with your pharmacist or doctor. 
  • Combination medications containing an antihistamine and intranasal corticosteroid nasal spray are  available and offer the combined advantages of both medications.  
  • Decongestant sprays unblock and dry the nose, but should not be used for more than a few days as they can cause long term problems in the nose. 
  • Decongestant tablets unblock and dry the nose, but should be used with caution. They can have stimulant side effects like tremors, trouble sleeping, anxiety or an increase in blood pressure. People with high blood pressure should not take decongestant tablets.

Natural products such as salt water nasal sprays or douches can also be effective in relieving symptoms.

*Information gathered from https://www.allergy.org.au

Blood Glucose Machine Upgrade

You can now access the most accurate and up to date technology to manage your Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes with this generous off from Roche.

If you have Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and are:

· Newly diagnosed, or

· Currently using a blood glucose monitoring machines over 12 months old (of any brand)

Come into our stores and speak to our friendly staff to get a new Roche Accu-check Blood Glucose Monitoring Machine.

You will need to purchase new cartridges or strips for the new machine (if required).

This offer is available while stocks last.

For more information give us a call on 4661 1944 or 4667 0692.

Be sure to take advantage of the Accu-Chek warranty program.

Please refer to your packaging insert for your warranty Terms and Conditions. You must enrol by fully completing the form in the link.

Eczema

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a common skin condition that affects both children and adults. It’s also known as Atopic Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis and Allergic Eczema.

People with eczema have skin that doesn’t keep the moisture in very well, so it becomes dry and easily irritated. This causes chemicals to be released, which worsens the irritation and makes you want to scratch. But scratching only makes your skin more itchy and so the cycle repeats itself.

What triggers Eczema?

There are many things, known as triggers, that can make eczema symptoms worse, including:

  • dry skin
  • scratching the affected area
  • viral or bacterial infections
  • chemicals from swimming pools
  • sand, especially from sandpits
  • some types of carpet or grass
  • animals or house dust mites
  • allergens that you can breathe in, such as pollen
  • artificial colours and preservatives
  • perfumes, soap and chemicals
  • woollen or synthetic fabrics
  • heat or very hot rooms
  • stress

Not all of these things will trigger a person’s eczema as it varies from person to person.

Using a lot of soap, grease, food or chemicals can damage the skin’s protective barrier, making it more likely that eczema will develop.

How is Eczema treated?

While there is no cure, eczema is quite treatable. Here are some ways to manage your eczema:

  • Protect your skin by applying moisturiser every day. Some people with severe eczema might need wet dressings, which cool, protect and re-hydrate the skin.
  • Treat flare-ups by using ointments or creams prescribed by your doctor.
  • Control itching by using antihistamines, a cold compress for the affected area and trying not to scratch.
  • Control and prevent infection by keeping your house clean and using antibiotics to treat infection if prescribed by your doctor.

Many people find eczema improves as they get older.

Once you know what triggers your eczema, your doctor may be able to help you develop an eczema action plan. This is a personal guide and check-list for how to manage your eczema and prevent it from flaring up.

Here is an example of what an Eczema Action/care Plan might look like: http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/patients/children/emergency/documents/eczema_care_plan.pdf

Ways of managing eczema include:

  • avoiding your triggers
  • avoiding things that can damage or dry out the skin, like soap or bubble bath
  • making sure baths and showers aren’t too hot
  • rinsing off chlorine from swimming pools straight after swimming
  • avoiding overheating or wearing woollen next to the skin

Speak to our staff about what range of products we offer that can assist in the treatment of Eczema & lifestyle tips that may help with future flare-ups.

Pain Management

Different types of pain.

Pain is a common condition which can be caused by any number of different factors, such as injury, surgery, illness or ongoing medical conditions. The chances are you’ve experienced pain for yourself, and in many different ways.
There are two main types of pain – acute pain and chronic pain. Let’s take a look at both.

Acute Pain

Acute pain usually starts suddenly and lasts for a shorter period of time. These are just a few of the types of acute pain:

  • Post Surgery
  • Toothache
  • Headaches & Migraines
  • Period pains & abdominal cramps
  • Cold/flu (Sinus pain)
  • Burns or cuts
  • Sports injuries, such as sprains
Chronic Pain

Chronic pain lasts longer than acute pain (usually more than 3 months) and is generally somewhat resistant to medical treatment. It is linked with a number of conditions, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Nerve pain
  • Back pain
What else can be done?

When it comes to managing pain, getting the right medication is of the utmost importance. But there are a few other things you can try to help reduce the impact of pain.

 

Maintain a healthy weight

If you are overweight, losing the extra kilos will reduce the impact on your hip and knee joints.

Stay well hydrated

Headaches are a common symptom of dehydration. Drinking plenty of water or re-hydration fluids may assist with pain relief.

TENS Therapy

Trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS machines, use small electrical currents to prompt a pain-relieving response from the body.

Hot or cold packs

A hot pack can reduce discomfort from muscle pain. A cold pack can help reduce swelling after an injury.

Relaxation & stress management

Stress can actually make your pain worse. Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, practising yoga or socialising with friends may help to reduce pain.

Please find below a pain chart that can be downloaded and filled in to be taken into either your local Pharmacist or Doctor.

Diabetes Awareness Week

This year, National Diabetes Week runs from 12 – 18 July 2020 and the focus will be on supporting the emotional and mental health of people living with diabetes.

Did you know that people living with diabetes can make up to 180 extra decisions each day covering everything from food to medication to exercise and more just to stay well and healthy?

Mentally and emotionally that is a lot of stress to deal with.

Research shows that managing the daily challenges of diabetes can lead to anxiety, distress and depression for one in three people living with the condition.

That’s why this National Diabetes Week, we’ll be working to:

  • Raise awareness of the mental and emotional challenges of managing diabetes
  • Providing blood glucose consumables via NDSS program.

Above all we’ll be working with our community, so you know you’re not alone. We are here to help and support you.

For more information follow the links below

Live Your Life Virtual Expo

In a first of its kind for people living with diabetes, Diabetes Australia is hosting Live Your Life Virtual EXPO on Saturday 18 July 2020.

This free event will showcase the latest information on diabetes for people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, their families and carers.

For program details or to register visit the Live Your Life Expo website.

Men’s Health Week

This Men’s Health Week, being held from 15-21 June this year, aims to provoke thought and discussion about what needs to be done to improve male health.

Suicide prevention is one focus of the week. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says that 1.5 million Australian men aged 18 and over had a self-reported mental or behavioural condition in 2014-15. The statistics are staggering, with 1 in 8 men experiencing depression, and 6 out of every 8 suicides being men.

Other men’s health facts include:

  •          Men are at significantly higher risk of dying from liver disease.
  •          Men are more likely to die of heart disease at an earlier age.
  •         80% of spinal cord injuries occur in young men.
  •          Men on average live 4.4 years less than women.
  •          Top 3 reasons for reduced lifespan in men are cardiovascular disease, suicide, and motor accidents.

So, what can we all do about this I hear you ask? SUPPORT each other.

Headspace Warwick is a wonderful confidential service helping young people in the community aged 12-25 with their mental health and wellbeing. They will focus your care around individual needs and work with their in-house team to offer you tailored support. Please feel free to call them on 07 4661 1999

Beyond Blue’s Support Service (1300 22 4636) which is a 24/7 service, can be a great starting point if you are worried about your mate and think he might need a bit of extra support. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected millions of people around the world, both physically and mentally. Beyond Blue is a great haven to seek support.

The Warwick Men’s Shed not only passes on real life skills, but it’s a way of talking over problems with a few mates while doing something constructive.

Be sure to speak to your local GP about your concerns – they are a vital support for both your mental health and physical well being.

From all of us at the Friendlies, please support each other and spread awareness during Men’s Health week.

Hand Hygiene

Good hand habits to stay safer from flu and germs this winter

Here at the Friendlies we have not shied away from good hand hygiene practices.  Doorknobs, the button on the photocopy machine, the kettle, microwave door, refrigerator door handles, PC keyboards – they are all places with high hand traffic and therefore the potential to spread viruses and bacteria across our workplace.

Washing your hands frequently can stop the spread of germs and viruses.  For hand hygiene to be effective it needs to be consistent and thorough. Here are three hand habits to prevent you from getting sick and spreading germs:

 1. Frequently wash your hands – including before, during and after preparing food; before changing contact lenses; before and after caring for someone who is sick; after you have blown your nose, coughed or sneezed; before treating wounds; after changing nappies or assisting a child who has used the toilet; after touching pets or picking up their waste.

 2. Wash them the correct way – Especially when it comes to children, it can be hard to explain to them about germs when they can’t see them. To get the idea across, put glitter on your child’s hands and then get them to wash their hands with just water and after that with water and soap. You can also put some glitter on your hand and then touch your child to show how germs are spread.

Some steps to ensure the correct way to wash your hands:

a. Wet your hands with clean running water.

b. Apply enough soap to cover your hands. Rub your palms together and then your palms over each other with your fingers interlaced, cleaning under your nails, the backs of your fingers and your thumbs. For children. Simply singing the ‘happy birthday’ song twice should do the trick.

c. Rinse your hands with clean running water.

d. Dry your hands using a clean towel, a single use paper towel or air dryer.

3. Watch what you touch – germs, like influenza and coronaviruses, can survive for many hours on hard surfaces like stainless steel and plastics and in the air in enclosed environments.  The best way to avoid spreading germs is to frequently wipe down all those surfaces which are touched by multiple people during the day. Surfaces should be cleaned with detergent or soap and water, and then disinfected with a product designed to kill viruses following the label instructions. 

 

During the COVID-19 outbreak and flu season, everyone must practice good hygiene to protect against infection and stop viruses from spreading.  Come in and see us at the Friendlies for all your hygiene needs.  We can help with hand sanitisers, gloves, masks and other items. 

Red Apple Day

A highlight of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, Red Apple Day sees Australians young and old support the work of Bowel Cancer Australia.

Bowel Cancer Australia is a 100% community-funded national charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, quality treatment and the best care for everyone affected by bowel cancer.

What is Bowel Cancer:

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, can affect any part of the colon or rectum; it may also be referred to as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where the cancer is located.

Most bowel cancers start as benign, non-threatening growths – called polyps – on the wall or lining of the bowel.

Polyps are usually harmless; however, adenomatous polyps can become cancerous (malignant) and if left undetected, can develop into a cancerous tumour.

Who gets Bowel Cancer:

Bowel cancer affects men and women, young and old.

Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world; 1 in 13 Australians will develop the disease in their lifetime. Bowel cancer is Australia’s second deadliest cancer.

Around 30% people who develop bowel cancer have either a hereditary contribution, family history or a combination of both. The other 70% of people have no family history of the disease and no hereditary contribution.

The risk of developing bowel cancer rises sharply and progressively from age 50, but the number of Australians under age 50 diagnosed with bowel cancer has been increasing steadily. That is why it’s important to know the symptoms of bowel cancer and have them investigated if they persist for more than two weeks.

Almost 99% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully when detected early.

How can I reduce the risk of bowel cancer?

Healthy diet and lifestyle choices, as well as screening and surveillance, can help to reduce your bowel cancer risk.

Evidence reveals quitting smoking, abstaining from or limiting alcohol consumption, and eating foods containing dietary fibre are all beneficial.

Maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular physical activity have also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, but not rectal cancer.

Additionally, people who are more physically active before a bowel cancer diagnosis are less likely to die from the disease than those who are less active.

Bowel cancer screening is safe, easy and can be done at home.

Screening involves collecting small samples of toilet water or poo, placing them on a card or in a container, and mailing them to a pathology laboratory for analysis. The results are then sent back to the individual and their GP.

A positive result means blood in poo has been detected. It does not necessarily mean bowel cancer is present but does require further investigation by a GP and a referral for colonoscopy within 30 days.

A negative result means blood in poo has not been detected in the samples; however, it does not guarantee no cancer is present or that the person will never develop bowel cancer.

The at-home test can detect non-visible blood that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Blood in poo is one possible symptom of bowel cancer. If the result of the test is positive, the person is contacted to arrange a colonoscopy.

For people ineligible to participate in the government program, talk to your GP or pharmacist today about BowelScreen Australia, or order a screening test online or by calling Bowel Cancer Australia’s Helpline on 1800 555 494.

 

For more information from Bowel Cancer Australia- click the link below.

Modified Release Paracetamol

Paracetamol Osteo (665mg) to Pharmacist Only Medicine

From 1 June 2020, in order to purchase modified release 665mg paracetamol products, like Panadol Osteo, from a pharmacy you will need to talk with a pharmacist. It is important to discuss with your healthcare provider about the best treatment options available to you for ongoing pain.

What is modified release paracetamol?

Modified release paracetamol (sometimes labelled as sustained release, slow release, extended release, or Osteo) is formulated with a higher dose of paracetamol per tablet (665 mg) compared to immediate release paracetamol at 500 mg per tablet. In modified release formulations, paracetamol is released into the body more slowly and has a more convenient 8-hourly dosing regimen compared to the immediate release products (usually taken 4-6-hourly).

This includes these medicines:

· PANADOL OSTEO

· APO-OSTEO RELIEF

· CHEMISTS OWN OSTEO RELIEF PARACETAMOL

· OSTEOMOL

· PARACETAMOL OSTEO SR

· PHARMACY ACTION PARACETAMOL OSTEO

Overdose or misuse with modified release paracetamol has significant health risks, whether intentional or accidental, has been a common occurrence in Australia and many other countries. The complex and unpredictable concentrations of the medicine in the blood of modified release paracetamol following an overdose makes it very difficult to treat in emergency situations using the standard antidote for immediate release paracetamol overdoses.

The changes mean that you will need to speak to a pharmacist to ensure the medicine is appropriate for you and will be used safely and correctly. If a pharmacist thinks that a particular medicine is not suitable for the condition, is unsafe for the person or is being misused, they may suggest another treatment, refuse the sale of a product and/or refer you to a doctor.

We are here to help.

Please visit the following site for more detailed information.

https://www.tga.gov.au/changes-way-modified-release-paracetamol-products-are-supplied-questions-and-answers#fn