How Connected Wellness Devices Can Help You

The concept of medical devices that attach to your body, take measurements to monitor your health, and report the results to your healthcare team may sound like the premise of a science fiction movie, but it is actually the face of medicine today.

The London Drugs Connected Wellness Program combines the medical expertise of our pharmacists with the expertise of our TECH Department. Our pharmacists can recommend appropriate health monitoring devices to meet your needs and can help you interpret the results. And our TECH Department can help you set up compatible Bluetooth devices and apps to download the readings to. The data collected on your device can then be shared with anyone YOU choose, from family and caregivers to members of your healthcare team. The most common connected wellness devices are fitness trackers and watches that monitor your activity, heart rate, and even oxygen levels in your blood. Connected health can also be used for monitoring blood pressure, body temperature, or blood glucose levels. These devices operate using a variety of solutions like sensors and wireless connectivity to collect and transmit data to your mobile phone or tablet through an app.

What are the benefits of connected wellness?

Monitoring blood glucose without pricking a finger
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices measure glucose levels at regular periods throughout the day and night. And you can view your glucose level any time just by looking at an app on your mobile phone or tablet. This can be extremely helpful for people with diabetes to reduce the number of finger pokes, to identify trends in the readings, or to monitor the glucose of a child or loved one remotely.

Avoidance of misleading blood pressure readings
Some people get so nervous when having their blood pressure measured at the doctor’s office, that it throws off the reading. Measuring your blood pressure at home with a connected blood pressure monitor and tracking it over time provides a more accurate way of assessing your blood pressure for you and your healthcare provider. You can share all your readings from home through an app to allow them to see what you are experiencing every day.

Improved quality of life
Knowing that you can monitor your own health and share it with those who can help is empowering. And by sharing this reliable health information with your healthcare team it will allow them to make more informed medical decisions with you.

Better access to healthcare
Connected wellness technologies enable care to be delivered outside of hospitals, laboratories, and doctors’ offices, eliminating barriers for people whose locations or life circumstances make it difficult to access healthcare testing and monitoring facilities on a regular basis.

How Does London Drugs Support Connected Wellness?

London Drugs carries a wide range of smart technology devices that can help you take control of your personal health. These devices can help you track your blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose, sleep, activity levels, and more. Our London Drugs pharmacists will help you find the right solution to manage your condition, and our TECH staff will make sure these solutions will work for you. Our pharmacists and TECH staff work together to help you select the right tech device for your needs, and we set up your device to ensure that everything is working properly and that you understand how to operate and maintain the device. We also help you track and monitor your results and share your health data with anyone you choose–your healthcare providers, caregivers, or family—through your smartphone or tablet.

We are here to help you. Ask us about connected wellness and what it can mean for you.

Men’s Health Week – June 13-19

Men’s Health Week is June 13-19 2022, aimed to raise awareness about important health issues impacting men and boys.

Did you know?

According to Health Canada, men are twice as likely as women to suffer a heart attack.

Did you know?

According to Health Canada, men are newly diagnosed with heart disease about 10 years younger than women (55-64 years vs 65-74 years)

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is a term to describe a number of conditions affecting the heart including coronary artery and vascular disease due to hardening of the arteries (cause of most heart attacks and angina), rhythm disorders (arrhythmias), structural heart abnormalities, and heart failure.

What are some common causes of heart disease in men?

How can you reduce your risk of heart disease?

What else can you do to reduce your risk of heart disease?

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your risk of and management of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. All are contributing factors to risk of heart disease.

What are the top 5 causes of death for men in Canada?

According to Statistics Canada (2020) the leading causes of death were:

  1. Cancers
  2. Heart diseases
  3. Unintentional injuries (accidents)
  4. Covid-19
  5. Cerebrovascular diseases (strokes, hemorrhages)

Stress and Mental Health

What exactly is stress?17 Stress is a biological response that causes hormones (brain chemicals) to surge through your body. These hormones make you sweat, breathe more rapidly, and tense your muscles. Sometimes called “fight or flight,” the stress response is a built-in alarm system that prepares your body to take action – or leave the scene.

Stress and Mental Health

Stress is a normal response to outside pres­sures or demands, and small doses of stress help people stay focused, meet deadlines, and handle challenging situations. When stress is frequent or prolonged, however, the risk of mental health problems increases. Long-term stress raises the risk of depression, anxiety, and harmful substance use, as well as medical problems such as aches and pains, digestive problems, and even heart disease.17 It also works the other way: mental health problems make you less capable of handling stress.1

Common sources of stress include a challenging physical environment (such as an unsafe living space), relationships, work, financial problems, and major life changes.17 Of course, you may have other sources of stress that reflect the unique pattern of your life.

Modern life puts stress in just about everyone’s path. So how do you know if stress is a problem for you? The table below lists some symptoms to watch for.17 Pay special attention if you notice these symptoms occurring more often than usual.

Thinking symptoms

  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Negativity or lack of self-confidence
  • Constant worrying
  • Difficulty making decisions

Emotional Symptoms

  • Nervousness, inability to relax
  • Fear or Anxiety
  • Sadness or Guilt
  • Low morale
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless

Physical Symptoms

  • Heahaches, muscle tension, other physical aches
  • Digestive problems
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of sex drive

Behavioural symptoms

  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Social withdrawal
  • Nervous habits such as nail biting
  • Increased use of substances
  • Neglect of family or work responsibilities

The Sandwich Life

About one in 10 parents belong to the “sandwich generation” – people caring for both children and elders- and they typically spend three hours per day on caregiving duties. Not surprisingly, such double duties create extra stress. if you find yourself in this situation and have other family members who can step up, hold family meetings to discuss and assign tasks, so the responsibility doesn’t fall on you alone. Prepare for financial challenges by consulting an advisor. Just as important, schedule “duty-free” leisure time with the older people you care for, so you get a physical and mental break from your to-do list.


Mental Health: When You Need Extra Help

Mental health problems rarely stay in one place. If we catch them early, they often improve. If we wait too long, they can easily get worse and turn into a true mental health disorder, like anxiety or depression.

Mental health problems and substance use also feed into each other: having a mental illness doubles the risk of having a substance use problem, and people with substance use problems are three times as likely to have a mental illness.21

Mental health and substance use disorders are common­ and not to be taken lightly. Consider these facts:2-1 25


  • In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction.
  • By age 40, about half of Canadians have had (or still have) a mental illness.
  • About 4.6% of Canadians have an anxiety disorder, while 5.4% have major depression.
  • Over a lifetime, about 18% of Canadians meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder (the most common substance use disorder).


  • Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in Canada.
  • People with mental illness and substance use disorders are more likely to die early.
  • Tobacco is the leading cause of premature death, responsible for 17% of cases.
  • Depression reduces cognitive (thinking) performance on the job about 35% of the time.

Recognizing when you need extra help can make all the dif­ference. Reach out to a health professional if you experience symptoms like these2:5

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Confused thinking
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Difficulty carrying out daily activities
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Changes in eating patterns, sleep habits, or sex drive
  • Overuse of substances
  • Physical symptoms without obvious cause (such as headaches or stomach aches)
  • Thoughts about self-harm

Such symptoms could signal depression or anxiety. Talk to your doctor to learn more. Once you have a diagnosis, you and your doctor can lay out a treatment plan, which in most cases will in­clude talk therapy and/or medication. In fact, research suggests that combining therapy and medication has the strongest and most lasting effect for both depression and anxiety.26

Don’t hesitate to use your London Drugs pharmacist as a resource. Your pharmacist can provide general guidance on mental health and substance use, help you navigate the healthcare system, and connect you to community resourc­es. If you start a medication for a mental health disorder, your pharmacist can answer your questions about the drug and help you manage side effects.

Bouncing Back: A self-help program for people with mental health problems

if you have anxiety or depression – or if you’re simply feeling low, worried or stressed, a free self-help program called BounceBack ( may help you gain new skills to boost your mental health. Developed by the Canadian Mental Health Association and available to everyone over 15, the program provides skill-building workbooks and online videos, as well as telephone coaching if you get a referral from a health professional.


Mental Health: From Fragility to Resilience

A cookie, a tall drink, an edible, a texting marathon with a stranger… unhealthy cop­ing strategies provide instant gratification: they allow you to forget the stresses of life, if only for a few moments. But in the long run, such coping strategies just add to the stress you already have. That cookie, multiplied by 100, puts you at risk of unhealthy weight gain. Those hours spent on social media prevent you from meeting a deadline.

Healthy strategies have the opposite effect: they build resilience, which means the ability to recover quickly from challenges. If stress is a problem in your life, start with these healthy coping strategies: 19

  • Recognize and focus on what you can control.
  • Take breaks from the news and from screens.
  • Practice self-care: eat healthy foods (including when snacking), get moving, and get plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid excessive substance use.
  • Make time for relaxing, including activities you enjoy.
  • Practice slow and deep breathing (four counts in, four counts out).
  • Stay connected with other people and organizations.
  • Reach out for help by talking with others who can help you.

Take the time to assess your unhealthy coping strategies. Start a paper or electronic log book and record your pat­ terns: when, where, and why you turn to your “quick fix:’ If you feel a craving coming on, resist it and replace it with another activity (like the healthy strategies listed above). If you feel uncomfortable, sit with the feeling and record it in your log book.

If you are coping with stress by using harmful amounts of alcohol, cannabis, or other substances, you may need help to quit or cut back. Take that first step and schedule a visit with a doctor or counsellor. And don’t forget your pharmacist: many London Drugs pharmacists have training in smoking cessa­tion, cannabis misuse, and opioid use disorder. Your local pharmacist can also point you toward other helpful resources.

Post-Pandemic Resilience

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted just about everyone’s routine and increased stress for most of us. To build resilience during the pandemic, the Mental Health Commission of Canada recommends crating a self-care and resilience plan. The idea is to make a list of behaviours and activities that can hep you manage stress, decide which ones you’re willing to try now, and then schedule times to try them. TIP: Focus on simple activities you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.

You can also reduce stress by taking every reasonable precaution to protect yourself from severe illness from the virus. The most important precaution, experts agree, is vaccination. If you have fallen behind on your COVID-19 shots, your London Drugs pharmacist can help you catch up. And while you’re at it, talk to your pharmacist about other vaccines that may protect you, like the influenza or pneumonia shots. The more protection you have, the less you need to worry about getting sick.


Seasonal Allergies FAQ

With seasonal allergy season here, we have some common questions our pharmacists field daily. From symptoms to treatments, continue reading for answers. You can also speak to a pharmacist for advice on what products may be right for you.

What are some usual seasonal allergy symptoms?

Seasonal allergies commonly cause itchy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing, runny nose, or nasal congestion.

How can I tell if my symptoms are due to an allergy or COVID-19?

Many of the symptoms of seasonal allergies and COVID-19 are similar.  You should use a COVID-19 rapid antigen test if you have one, especially if the symptoms are new to you. Then talk to a health care provider for further advice.

What treatments are available for seasonal allergies?

Your pharmacist can advise you about which treatment is best for you. There are many non-prescription and prescription options (oral tablets/liquid, nasal sprays, eye drops, injections) to help relieve your symptoms.

What if I try an allergy treatment and it isn’t working?

Talk to you pharmacist or doctor for further advice and options.

To learn more about seasonal allergies, watch this video. If you have questions about allergy treatments or if you need help selecting a product to relieve your symptoms, your London Drugs pharmacists are always happy to help you.

Medicine Cabinet Cleanup

Does your spring cleaning include cleaning out your medicine cabinet? If not, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk. Unused medicines left in a medicine cabinet can lead to misuse and abuse, yet more than half of all Canadian families do not regularly check the expiry dates of their medications. Medications that have passed their expiry dates can be ineffective or even toxic.

Getting Started

Cleaning out your medicine cabinet on a regular basis is important, but it is just as important to do it properly. According to Statistics Canada, 40% of Canadians do not dispose of their unused medications in a proper manner. This has led to traces of these products ending up in the water we drink and the soil our food is grown in and our children play in. You should not toss your unused medicines in the trash, pour them down the sink, or flush them down the toilet. So what should you do? Bring your unused medicines—prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and natural health products—to your pharmacy for proper disposal. At London Drugs we safely incinerate all returned medications to prevent them from contaminating the environment.

Here are some guidelines on how to return your medicines to us:

• If you can recycle the containers and lids for your solid dosage forms (tablets, capsules, lozenges, etc.), you can put all of the medicines in one sealed plastic bag and bring that to your London Drugs pharmacy. Remember to remove your personal information from the containers by removing the labels or blackening out the details before you recycle them.

• Keep liquid medications in their original bottles, but remove your personal information before bringing the medicine to the pharmacy for disposal.

• Tubes of creams and ointments, as well as inhaler cartridges, can be returned in their original containers with the personal information removed. You can also return needles, syringes, and lancets as long as they are in a sealed medically-approved sharps disposal container. These containers are available for purchase at the pharmacy, or are provided free with the purchase of 100 BD needles or syringes. More information on our returns policy is available here.

Medication Storage

Before returning your medicines to your medicine cabinet, review the storage instructions. A bathroom medicine cabinet is not appropriate for all products—some drugs need to be refrigerated, some are sensitive to moisture, and others should be kept in a cool, dark place. A kitchen or bedroom drawer may be more appropriate. Medicines that are not stored properly can become ineffective. Your pharmacist can advise you about special storage requirements for any medication, if it is not listed on the packaging.

Keep all of your medications in their original packaging. Don’t mix different medications together in a single container or store them in unlabeled containers. If you have children, make sure that all medicines are kept where they cannot access them. Ask your London Drugs pharmacist to dispense your prescriptions in childproof containers. If you are not physically able to open childproof containers, the pharmacy can provide easy open lids, but be extra careful to store these containers out of sight and reach of children.

If you have any questions about the proper storage or disposal of your medications, your London Drugs pharmacists will be happy to advise you.

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