The seasonal battle against sneezing fits, sinus problems, hay fever, and eyes that itch (so much they feel like they’re on fire) has begun. With so many foes, how can we properly equip ourselves against this onslaught of symptoms?
While there may not be a secret weapon to vanquish every allergy symptom, there are a number of natural tools and tricks you can keep in your arsenal to help fight your seasonal allergies.
If you love taking spring time strolls, waiting to do so until after midday may help to lessen your allergy symptoms. Because most trees release their pollen early in the morning, waiting until the proverbial dust settles (and isn’t swirling around in the air you breathe) can make your time outdoors more bearable.
When you come home from work, school, or errands, change into other clothing when you return to your house. Pollen likes to hitchhike on your clothing and stick to it like tiny sea urchins, so toss your outside clothes into the wash to prevent pollen from infiltrating the stronghold of your home.
If you’ve never used a Neti Pot before, you may be a little bit intimidated by the thought of pouring water up your nose. It’s actually not that uncomfortable (really!). It takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it it’s quite effective, and will become a staple in your allergy-fighting regimen. Rinsing with a saline solution up to twice a day for short periods of time can help to clear out your nasal passages and help to lessen the effects of allergies on your sinuses.
Many an allergy-sufferer claims that eating local honey helps them battle seasonal symptoms. It needs to be local because it will contain a wide sampling of different pollen carried on the bees who made it. By gradually exposing themselves to small amounts of local pollen, many people report it noticeably helping them build up a pollen tolerance and overall decreasing their allergy symptoms.
HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in your appliances (like vacuum cleaners) can help ensure that allergens are taken out of the air in your home, instead of being stirred up and dispersed when you clean. There are also free-standing HEPA towers that you can put in high-traffic areas that will work to keep the air in your home as clear as possible.
There are many essential oils that can help to support your immune system while it battles allergies. Add them to a homemade all-purpose cleaner, mix with water in a diffuser, or dilute and apply directly to your pulse points. Especially effective against hay fever, some favourites are lavender, eucalyptus, rose, and peppermint.
This vibrant spice, belonging to the ginger family, is about to become your new best friend. Turmeric contains curcumin, which acts as a decongestant and is a natural antihistamine. If you’re not sure what kinds of dishes you can add this superhero of a spice to, try making this golden turmeric tea recipe in under five minutes. It’s also perfect for curries and stir-fry.
Mother Nature provides many kinds of foods that contain antihistamines, and incorporating as many as you can into your diet can help naturally ward off allergy symptoms. Naturopaths often recommend eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and deep yellow and orange vegetables as often as possible.
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So there you have it: your arsenal of weapons against allergy symptoms. Even though it can feel like a hopeless battle, any of these remedies can help make a difference.
If you’re like many Canadians, you or someone you know felt icky, yucky, or downright gross over the holidays. An early start to cold and flu season caught us off guard, allowing illness to spread at parties and festive gatherings.
On a positive note, the holidays are ideal for getting needed rest. But, if you become sick during the traditional danger zone from January to March, deciding what to do can be much more difficult.
The answer depends on many personal variables, of course. But here are a few things to keep in mind that might help you decide (don’t forget: a lot of sick days can be avoided if you simply get the annual flu shot).
If you have a mild sniffle or slight cough, it’s usually okay to head to work. Just be sure to let your coworkers know you aren’t feeling 100%. That way, they won’t be surprised if you refuse a handshake, avoid a social function, or choose to eat alone.
While at work, wash your hands often, disinfect them regularly, and use disinfectant wipes several times per day to clean your workstation. You don’t want to risk being known as ‘patient zero’ at the office this year. And be sure you have some tissues on hand, too. Ah-choo!
If you feel worse than somewhat under the weather, it’s a good idea to stay home for at least a day if you can. This includes if you’ve suffered from moderate symptoms persisting for more than a few days. There are also a few red flag symptoms to watch out for.
If you have any of these symptoms, you’re better off staying home if you can:
1. Fever: Running a fever of over 37.5°C (100°F) is the number one sign you should stay home from work. It’s likely you have the flu and the next 36-48 hours will be pretty tough. You can get ahead of the game by jumping into bed straight away. But see a doctor if your fever rises over 39.5°C (103°F), persists for over 24 hours, or is accompanied by severe sweating or chills.
You should also remain home from work at least one extra full day after your fever breaks. Feeling rejuvenated? This can be a great opportunity to work from home.
2. Sore Throat: Ahead of other traditional cold symptoms, a sore throat is a red flag that you should consider staying home. To start, if your job involves speaking (and most do), this will be uncomfortable and could prolong your symptoms. More importantly, a sore throat is a potential symptom of laryngitis, mononucleosis, strep throat, or tonsillitis.
3. Coloured Mucus: To be completely clear (no pun intended), if you’re coughing up considerable amounts of phlegm, no matter the colour, you should consider staying at home if you can. In addition to several other very good reasons, nobody wants to hear all that ruckus at work.
That said, keep a close eye on the colour. If your mucus is distinctly green or yellow, it could be a sign of infection. At the very least, it shows your body is fighting off something nasty.
Check out this LD Expert video of Pharmacist Gianni Del Negro on Global News with Sonia Sunger.
Note: Please consult your pharmacist before taking any cold or flu treatments.
Antiviral Mask: If you’ve never tried one of these before, you might feel slightly self-conscious wearing what appears like a surgeon’s scrubs from the neck up. But you’ll be glad if it helps you avoid catching or spreading a cold this year. These masks are especially great to wear in large crowds or shared public spaces, such as transit, stores, or airports.
LD Expert says: “If you are concerned about getting sick or you want to prevent someone else from getting sick, you can put a mask on to prevent those droplets from going into the air.”
Saline Nasal Rinse: Again, some might feel unsure about using one of these products for the first time. “The water goes where!?,” they ‘ll say. But many of those who have tried a neti pot for themselves absolutely swear by the results. It involves rinsing out your nasal cavity with what is essentially warm, salty water and it can make all the difference when you’re stuffed up.
LD Expert Says: “If you’re really congested, it’s hard to breathe and you’re not going to get a good night’s sleep. Using a saline product like a neti pot helps relieve some of that congestion and makes it easier for you to breathe and function.”
Cough, Cold, and Flu Relief: There are a wide variety of off-the-shelf treatments for cold and flu symptoms. They feature numerous active ingredients and can be taken in many different ways, including everything from pills to fruit chews. But know that none offer a true cure or a proper substitute for needed bed rest. Still, they can make you feel a bit better in the meantime.
LD Expert Says: “The old stand-bys in terms of helping with cough, nasal congestion, those sorts of symptoms. Keep in mind it’s really important that you do talk to your pharmacist about these products before you use them.”
This holiday season, the Alzheimer Society of BC is asking all British Columbians to join them in building communities that are more welcoming, compassionate and inclusive for people living with dementia.
The Society works with local governments, professional groups and the general public to assist Canadian communities in becoming truly dementia-friendly. In this video from the society we hear from Jim Mann, a person living with dementia, who offers insight into the daily struggles of living with the disease – and how members of the community can help.
As proud sponsors of the Alzheimer Society of BC, we encourage you to get educated about the disease. With 560,000 Canadians living with dementia, and 1.1 million Canadians impacted either directly or indirectly, it’s important to recognize that those living with dementia deserve understanding, compassion, and support.
Please join the Alzheimer Society of BC in building Dementia-Friendly Communities across British Columbia. For more information about how you can join the movement to build more Dementia-Friendly Communities, please contact Heather Cowie at 604-742-4941 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The nights are starting earlier, the leaves are all gathered, and Canadian Thanksgiving is a distant memory. All that means it’s time to start planning your holiday shopping. Need some good ideas? London Drugs is here to help.
Each week until mid-December we’ll post shopping guides for different people on your list, including a wide range of options on each – from stocking stuffers to the real show stoppers.
We begin with a list for the busy woman in your life. Of course, these days that group includes most women. Whether it’s commitments to school, business, family, or their community, it seems Canada’s women are always on the go, even in the snow.
Domo stone-ground matcha tea is made with authentic matcha and all-natural vanilla, with no cholesterol and no saturated or trans fats.
Everyone knows about the health benefits of drinking Japanese green tea. But not everyone realizes that matcha tea has an even higher concentration of healthy compounds than regular green tea. Matcha not only tastes great – it’s one of the healthiest drinks you can enjoy.
This stuff is good for you
Did you know that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods reduces damage to cells and biochemicals, and can help fend off disease and aging? Matcha contains as much as 70 times the antioxidants of orange juice, and up to 200 times that of regular green tea. Researchers are also finding that the antioxidants in green tea may help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and control blood pressure. In addition, regular matcha drinkers enjoy a metabolic rate increase of 35-40%. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ll know that’s a good thing!
PRESS RELEASE — Thanks to a generous donation from the London Drugs Foundation, first-year medical students at the University of British Columbia will be the first in Canada to use a new state-of-the-art 500-pound, 5-foot by 3-foot 3-D anatomy visualization table.
The Swedish “Sectra” table and technology allows students to interact with digital patients in detail, using a “virtual scalpel” revealing human anatomy and physiology that will greatly enhance traditional teaching in the lab.
UBC’s Dr. Bruce Forster, head of UBC’s department of radiology says, “Medical imaging has become a critical component of patient diagnosis and treatment in virtually all medical disciplines.”
The London Drugs Foundation is extremely proud to be able to continue its commitment to health and education with the donation of this first-ever Sectra table to the UBC Faculty of Medicine.
With warm weather comes adventures and activities – but it also brings scrapes, burns, cuts, and bites.
You should always have a first aid kit in your home and car, but what about when you’re out and about? You probably already have a lot of these items lying around the house, so take the time to keep your family safe this summer and create your own Summer Safety Kit. This DIY kit will make sure you have everything you need when an inevitable scratch or sting comes your way.