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Pharmacy Summer320x200Summer is here with the rising temperatures your family may face a range of health challenges.

Your community pharmacist is an easily accessible source of advice and support to help you prevent illnesses as well as treat them.

Here are 11 healthy tips for the coming summer months:

  1. Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world with as many as two in three people diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they reach the age of 70i. During the hot summer months it’s important to be Sunsmart - ‘Slip’ on protective clothing; ‘slop’ on SPF30 or higher sunscreen; ‘slap’ on a broad-brimmed hat; 'seek' shade; and 'slide' on sunnies. For young children and babies it’s important to choose a sunscreen that’s specific to your child’s age, skin and any medical conditions, so speak to your community pharmacist for advice.

  2. Hot weather and extreme heat can affect us all but can especially affect the elderly, babies and young children, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or vascular diseases. If you are caring for an older person, make sure to keep them cool, look for signs of dehydration and monitor their medications. Certain medications may also affect how the body reacts to heat, including blood pressure medication, diuretics and antidepressants. Also remember to store medications at the correct temperature.

  3. The risk of food borne illnesses is higher in summer as bacteria multiply quickly in the heat. Food safety is always important, but especially during pregnancy. Always ensure food is stored at the correct temperature and speak to your pharmacist should you have symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea. It’s Australian Food Safety Week between the 9th to 16th November, raising awareness of how to prepare and store food safely. There are an estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia on average every yearii.

  4. Heat rash is another common summer complaint for both babies and adults. There are a number of products that can help to ease symptoms of itching and can treat inflammation, so speak to your pharmacist about the most appropriate one for you.

  5. You don’t expect to be worrying about cold sores in summer, but the warmer months when you may be suffering from dry or sunburnt lips can provide the perfect conditions for an outbreak. If you have a cold sore it is important to avoid contact with babies and infants and try not to lick or pick at the area. You may also want to avoid acidic foods that irritate the wound.

  6. In summer we spend lots more time in the water whether ocean, swimming pool or spa. While most swimming pools are clean, if a pool hasn’t been properly treated with pool chemicals you can contract eye, ear, skin and chest infections as well as gastroenteritis. ‘Gastro’ affects thousands of people each year and causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

  7. Swimmer’s ear or Otis externa can also be triggered by exposure to water as well as over-enthusiastic cleaning. It’s an infection or inflammation of the canal between the outer ear and the ear drum and treatment will depend on the severity of symptoms and the cause. If you are prone to swimmer’s ear, it’s important to keep your ears dry when swimming by using a tightly fitting swim cap that covers your ears or using a special drops to dry out the ear canal after swimming.

  8. The end of January heralds back-to-school preparations and unfortunately the possibility of head lice. If your child does have head lice speak to your pharmacist about suitable products as head lice are very adaptable and can develop resistance to some chemicals.

  9. February Asthma is a recognised phenomenon that occurs when children go back to school. Make sure inhalers are up to date and ask your pharmacist to check that your child is using the correct technique for their inhaler. Some of the common problems children face are holding it the wrong way; inhaling too late or too early; or using an inhaler that’s empty.

  10. In summer we spend much more of our time outdoors and with that comes the increased potential for bites and stings. It’s important to have suitable products on hand to both prevent and treat bites and stings from insects such as mosquitoes, bees and ants.

  11. One of the most common summer complaints are warts and fungal skin infections which thrive on hot, sweaty skin. HPV or the Human Papilloma Virus is responsible for causing warts and can enter the body through damaged skin, such as a cut or bruise. You also see more fungal skin infections like Athlete’s Foot or tinea pedis which most often grow between the toes and can cause an itchy, stinging rash and cracked skin.

If you have questions or concerns about any of these summer ailments, speak to the friendly team at Pharmasave Woden Pharmacy. They offer a range of services including professional compounding with on the premises dedicated laboratory, vaccinations, MedsCheck and Diabetes MedsCheck, ear piercing, Venosan Compression Stockings, Dose Administration Aids, Diabetes Australia Access point, Biometric passport Photos; specialised Sports and Injury needs as well as free delivery to Woden/Weston/Tuggeranong area.