Summer is here. After a long, wet winter we’re all ready to enjoy long days out in the sunshine and to celebrate the holiday season with friends and family. But summer and celebrations shouldn’t mean ignoring our health and well-being.
Pharmacy 777 Pharmacists share 7 tips for staying or getting healthy in the lead up to the holiday season and for the new year.
1. Sun care
The Cancer Council consistently warns Australians of the risk of skin cancer with their slip, slop,slap, seek and slide message – slip on covering clothing, slop on broad-spectrum sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek some shade and slide on your sunnies. However, with so much choice in skin care, the questions many people have is, “which sunscreen should I use?” and “how often should we apply?” The consistency and feel of sunscreens varies significantly, so choosing the right sunscreen is often down to personal preference. What’s important is to choose a sunscreen with a higher SPF and check product quality. You want to know that you purchase a sunscreen that has been tested and standardised for Australian conditions and for your personal circumstances – your local Pharmacist can support you. One issue that people often don’t think about is the risk of sunburn when driving or on overcast days, so if you’re going on a long trip during the holidays, slap on some sunscreen and make sure you take the sunscreen out of the car because overheating can reduce its shelf life.
We live in a hot, dry country and that means we need to stay on top of hydration and ensure we keep up our water intake. Pharmacist Kathryn Nankivell explains, “It’s not just heat that can cause dehydration. Changes in diet, being on antibiotics, having diarrhea all can increase your risk of becoming dehydrated. While there are many products available for hydration, it’s important that any rehydration support has a balance of electrolytes as well as fluid. Your pharmacist can advise you on how best to stay hydrated throughout summer and can provide various options”.
“Other common ailments over the holidays happen when we over-indulge. Good digestion is very important for your quality of life, but we know that stomach upsets do happen and can be exacerbated by eating rich food or too much food during the holidays. It's important to manage conditions such as reflux and indigestion. Your pharmacist is well-placed to give you advice and answer your questions, whether it’s recommending a visit to your GP or helping you with products that can support better gut health”.
4. Weight management
If you’re considering a new year’s resolution for 2022 to improve your health and looking to better manage your weight, Pharmacists are committed to supporting and collaborating with patients on their journey towards weight loss. In addition to lifestyle recommendations, medications might be helpful in some circumstances. Pharmacists can help patients with advice on support available, answer any questions and refer them to a GP who can further support their journey.
5. Quit smoking
Quitting smoking is hard but pharmacists and all healthcare professionals encourage all patients who do smoke to try, because the sooner you do quit, the better your longer-term health outcomes will be. There are many different effective smoking cessation programs available. The Cancer Council notes that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) increases the odds of quitting smoking by around 60% compared to placebo by reducing cravings for cigarettes and dampening withdrawal symptoms. If you are ready to get support to quit smoking, talk to your pharmacist or GP about which approaches are best for you.
Now more than ever, it’s important to ensure our vaccinations are up-to-date. Pharmacists undergo extensive training around vaccinations and can help you navigate any questions or concerns you might have. Over 55 pharmacies in the Pharmacy 777 Group are also continuing to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Comirnaty and Moderna’s SpikeVax, which are recommended for people aged between 12 and 59, as well as AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria. Pharmacists understand people may be nervous or uncertain about vaccination and are available to support you. Check with your local 777 about availability.
7. Health checks
People often make health-based New Year’s resolutions, but with so much conflicting information out there it’s often hard to know what’s best for you. Pharmacy 777’s health checks involve a 20-minute appointment where your pharmacist will go through a series of questions relating to your health, including family history, health history, and lifestyle, such as diet, exercise and alcohol consumption. Pharmacist Kristian Ray said, “Getting a health check is important, as it can identify some early risk factors for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, which may be prevented through early screening and lifestyle modifications.”
A healthy 2022
Pharmacy 777 Pharmacists understand personal health goals are different for each person and requires consultation together with your health care support network, including your GP, Pharmacist and other health professionals to provide a holistic approach for your optimal health.
The summer holidays are about enjoyment, but a healthy summer will be far more enjoyable. Make time this summer to think about your health as well as to have fun and relax as you prepare for a new year.