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.”
Saturday, May 9 is National Prescription Drug Drop-off Day and London Drugs encourages Western Canadians to drop off their unused and expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications at their local London Drugs pharmacy on this day, and every day.London Drugs pharmacists have long recognized the importance of properly disposing of medications, needles and other medicine-related supplies. There are programs in place at London Drugs to cut down on environmental waste through the safe recycling of medication-related materials:
Customers can contact Abbott Diabetes Care Customer Service at 1-866-723-2697 to expedite return and replacement of your FreeStyle InsuLinx meter at no charge. London Drugs patients can also contact your local London Drugs pharmacy for assistance and more information.
We wish to inform the public regarding a Health Canada Type 1 recall on the drug Dexamethasone Sodium Injection 10mg/ml injection (10 x 1 ml vials) (an anti-inflammatory drug) and LOT Number CH 1607 only. It has been discovered that there may be particulate foreign matter in the medication vial which may pose a serious health risk to the patient. Health Canada is urging the public to check for this drug and lot number and to return this to the pharmacy.
London Drugs is reviewing drug and patient files and will be contacting individual patients who have received this medication to inform them of this Health Canada drug recall. The PDF file below contains information regarding this drug recall.
Things just got a little easier for those looking for sugar-free options.
A few years ago, a friend suggested I try a sugar-free chocolate bar. She had been changing her eating habits, and found the sugar-free chocolate bars were a great treat that didn’t interfere with her weight loss efforts. To find them, though, you had to go to the pharmacy and find the diabetic products. I almost felt bad, like I was buying something that I shouldn’t. But I have to say, they are a decent alternative to regular chocolate bars.
With the cooler weather and flu season upon us, the Community against Preventable Injuries (Preventable) is partnering up with London Drugs to raise awareness about the dangers of mixing medications and self-medicating.
Tragically, unintentional poisoning is among the top three causes of death and hospitalization in BC. In BC alone, hospital emergency departments treat an estimated 210,000 patients each year for adverse drug events.1 Drugs or medicinal agents are the predominant substances that result in poisoning deaths and hospitalizations, accounting for approximately 84 per cent. According to the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre (DPIC) data, the majority of calls were related to non-prescription (22.8 per cent) and prescription medications (22.2 per cent)2.
“No one expects to have a serious drug interaction or that mixing medications could lead to death…but it does happen,” says Dr. Ian Pike, spokesperson for Preventable. “The key to reducing preventable injuries including the unintentional mixing of medications is behaviours and attitudes. This fall, we’re pleased to partner with London Drugs again to raise awareness about the scope and magnitude of preventable injuries in this province, and to encourage people to have a word with themselves, and their pharmacists before self-medicating and mixing medications.”
As part of this Preventable campaign, signs will be placed in London Drugs stores across BC with the message “You’re not expecting mixing medications to make you feel worse.” In addition, Preventable will be airing 15-second television spots featuring London Drugs’ Vice President of Pharmacy, John Tse, with the same message. The television spots and signage will also be supported by a social media campaign to further help raise awareness about this important issue, and to encourage British Columbians to talk to their health care provider.
Preventable and London Drugs hope to make a difference by raising awareness and getting British Columbians to think differently about their current attitudes and behaviours toward preventable injuries.
London Drugs has provided a list of suggestions to help prevent people from mixing medications:
Stress. This one little word carries the weight of the world. And it’s responsible for many health complaints in doctors’ offices across Canada. But what exactly does this word mean? Stress is the “wear and tear” your body experiences as you adjust to the continually changing environment. It has physical and emotional effects and can cause a variety of feelings.