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Cold & Flu
This health information is provided to you by Apotex
NOTHING TO SNEEZE AT
The flu is common, but not harmless. Your Walmart Pharmacist can help you avoid the flu this season—or get through it more comfortably
Fever. Chills. Aching joints. Monster cough. Everyone agrees that influenza (“the flu”) is one big nuisance. But the illness does more than annoy: for some people, the flu can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications. Fortunately, you can take steps to avoid it this season.
Who, when, what, and why
Acontagious upper airway disease caused by Influenza viruses, the flu affects between five and 20 percent of the general population every year.1 Although it is possible to get aflu in the summer (especially if you have been travelling),2 you have a far greater chance of catching it during “flu season”—from late fall to early spring.3
The flu spreads from person to person through droplets that are coughed or sneezed out by affected individuals.4 You can catch the flu if you inhale or touch a droplet—which can live on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours5—and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.4 The illness is thought to be most contagious during the first three to fourdays, when people tend to cough and sneeze the most, but patients can remain contagious for up to a week.5
Young or old, healthy or sick—the illnessdoesn’t spare any group of people. Not surprisingly, your risk goes up if you have been in recent contact with an affected family member.6Having a child under 18 living in your house also bumps up yourownrisk.6
Flu symptoms may include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny eyes and stuffy nose, headache and muscle aches, extreme weakness and fatigue, and loss of appetite.7The flu may also lead to diarrhea or vomiting, though this happens more often in children than in adults.7
Is it a cold or the flu?8
Here’s a tell-tale difference: cold symptoms tend to sneak up on you over several hours or days, while the flu often comes on abruptly: one minute you feel well, and the next minute you want nothing more than to dive into bed. More clues:
|Weakness & fatigue||Sometimes||Usual|
|Sneezing & stuffy nose||Common||Sometimes|
|Chest discomfort, cough||Mild to moderate||Common|
It gets complicated
While most healthy people recover from the flu without any problems, typically within seven to 10 days,7 certain groups have higher odds of developing flu complications. These include:9,10
- Babies under sixmonths old (too young to get the flu shot)
- Children under fiveyears old, who have small airways that can get blocked easily
- People aged 65 years and older, who tend to have weaker immune systems
- People aged 65 years and older, who tend to have weaker immune systems
- People with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or any illness that weakens the immune system
Common flu complications include ear and sinus infections, dehydration, and pneumonia.9 In vulnerable people, the flu may also lead to muscle inflammation, heart problems, and problems with your central nervous system.10 All told, the flu leads to over 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada every year.11 Such figures leave no doubt: the disease needs to be taken seriously.
Outsmarting the flu virus
If you want to avoid the flu this season (and who doesn’t?), start with the most powerful weapon against the illness: vaccination.12 Recommended by Health Canada for everyone aged six months or older,12 the vaccine lowers your seasonal risk of getting the flu by up to 60 percent—and also protects the people around you.13 Even if you do end up catching a flu, your symptoms will likely be milder.13 And don’t forget to vaccinate your children: a 2017 study showed that the flu shot can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from the flu.13
Best of all, you don’t need a doctor’s appointment to get the vaccine: in most parts of the country, trained pharmacists offer it free of charge to walk-in clients14 and can also give advice about immunization. Along with standard injections, a spray form of the vaccine is now available in Canada—a welcome piece of news for people who dislike needles.15 Your Walmart Pharmacist can tell you more about this option.
Remember: last year’s shot won’t protect you against this year’s flu. Flu viruses come in several varieties and keep changing over time, so every year experts develop a new vaccine to deal with the upcoming season’s new “crop.” Unsure about the vaccine’s safety for you or your child? Talk to your doctor and your Walmart Pharmacist.
|Shots on the rise16
If you decide to get vaccinated, you will join the increasing number of Canadians who take this annual step. Between the 2015-16 and 2017-18 seasons, the rates of flu vaccination have risen slowly and steadily in all groups of adults, including healthy people between 18 and 64 years, seniors (age 65+), and people with chronic conditions. In total, 38% of Canadian adults got vaccinated in 2017-18; about a third of them in pharmacies
Along with the vaccine, you can reduce your risk of catching or spreading the flu with these simple behaviours17,18:
- Wash your hands regularly, especially before or after touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This prevents the virus from spreading when you touch your face or objects such as desks and doorknobs.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces touched by a lot of people. Soap and water will remove the virus, though you can also use a bleach-and-water solution approved for killing germs.
- Cough and sneeze into your shirt sleeve, to prevent the virus from spreading through the air or your hands.
- Dispose of used tissues right away so other people don’t touch them.
- Avoid close contact with other people who have the flu. If possible, stay at least three feet away.
- Stay home when you have the flu (especially the first three to four days) to avoid spreading germs to other people. If you have a fever, stay home at least 24 hours after the fever goes down, as resting will help you recover faster.
Flu symptom S.O.S.
If you end up getting the flu, a range of over-the-counter pharmacy products can help make the experience less miserable. Pain relief medications can help reduce fever and headache, cough suppressants can help make you cough less, and decongestants can help clear up congested sinuses and ear tubes.19 These products come in a variety of brands, formats, and doses. If you find yourself confused or overwhelmed by all the choices, your Walmart Pharmacist can point you in the right direction.
You also have the option of taking prescription antiviral medications. By slowing down the replication of the flu virus in your body, these medications allow your immune system to fight the virus more effectively.20 Beginning antiviral treatment within 48 hours of the start of flu symptoms will give you the greatest relief—and may also help shorten the duration of the illness.20 Your Walmart Pharmacist can advise you on whether these medications are right for you.
Finally, don’t ignore the old-fashioned counsel to “rest and drink a lot of fluids,” as sleep helps your immune system fight infection and fluids prevent dehydration.21
|A word about antibiotics22,23
Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses, so they won’t do anything for the flu. And why risk experiencing such antibiotic side effects as nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pain if the medication doesn’t make you feel better? Something else to consider: unneeded antibiotics increase your risk of getting a future infection that may not respond to antibiotic treatment.
Become flu-ent this year
Make this the year you develop a flu shot habit. If you have any doubts about how the vaccine works or how safe it is, your Walmart Pharmacist can address your concerns. Here’s to a cough- and sneeze-free flu season!
Resources1.Flu prevalence statistics: https://www.healthline.com/health/influenza/facts-and-statistics#5
2.Summer flu: https://www.verywellhealth.com/can-you-get-the-flu-in-the-summer-770307
3.Flu season: https://www.verywellhealth.com/flu-season-from-start-to-peak-and-end-2633835
4.How the flu spreads: https://immunizebc.ca/influenza
5.Flu contagion facts: https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/how-long-flu-contagious
6.Children living in the home as risk factor: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/4/pdfs/11-1812.pdf
7.Flu symptoms and course: https://www.ontario.ca/page/flu-facts#section-4
8.Cold vs. flu chart: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/coldflu.htm
9.Risk factors for flu complications: https://www.ontario.ca/page/flu-facts#section-3
10.Flu complications: https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-complications#1
11.Hospitalization & mortality stats: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/flu-influenza/health-professionals.html
12.Flu vaccine: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/flu-influenza/prevention-risks.html
13. Flu shot benefits: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/vaccineeffect.htm
14.Pharmacy role in flu vaccination: https://www.pharmacists.ca/education-practice-resources/patient-care/influenza-resources/pharmacists-role-in-flu-vaccination/
15. Spray form of the vaccine: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/medications/ue5492
16. Flu vaccination rates in Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/2017-2018-seasonal-influenza-flu-vaccine-coverage-survey-results.html
17. Non-drug flu prevention strategies 1: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/facts-about-influenza
18. Non-drug flu prevention strategies 2: https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/home/index.html
19. OTC flu treatments: https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2017/november2017/safe-and-proper-use-of-nonprescription-products-for-cold-and-flu-season
20. Antivirals flu medication: https://www.healthline.com/health/flu-treatments#antiviral-drugs
21. Lifestyle measures to manage the flu: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351725
22. Flu and antibiotics: https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-treatment-antibiotics-or-not#1
23. Antibiotic side effects: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322850.php
Allergy and Asthma
This health information is provided to you by Pharma Science
Allergy and Asthma: How are they related?
Many Canadians suffer from allergies and asthma. Both conditions affect the respiratory system – the breathing airways and lungs. Asthma and allergy can be related, but they are not the same thing.
Incidence of allergy1,5
- Respiratory allergies such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis) affect about 20% of Canadians.
- About 7.5% of Canadians say they have at least one food allergy – 7.6% of adults and 6.9% of children under 18 years.
Incidence of asthma6
- About 3.8 million Canadians have asthma and of those, about 850,000 are children under the age of 14.
Incidence of and relationship between allergies AND asthma1,2,4,6,7,8,9
There is a relationship between asthma and allergy, and there are similarities between asthma and allergy symptoms. They both affect the airways. Asthma and allergies both cause problems with breathing that begin with breathing in air through the nose (where allergy symptoms are often present) and continue along the airway to the lungs (where asthma symptoms are present).
- More than 80% of Canadians with asthma also have allergies.
- 75% of people with asthma have seasonal allergies.
- Some allergens (things that cause an allergic reaction) can also trigger asthma symptoms.
- Seasonal allergies may be a risk factor for developing asthma or making asthma worse.
- People with serious food or other anaphylactic allergies and asthma may be prescribed emergency medications. If you’ve been prescribed emergency medicine – certain asthma medicine and/or an epinephrine auto-injector (such as EpiPen®) – to manage anaphylaxis, you should always carry it with you.
- Skin allergy, for example eczema, may also be related to asthma.
What is an Allergy?8,10
An allergy is caused by your body mistaking a normally harmless thing (allergen) – such as pet hair or pollen – in the environment as something that is “attacking” the body and the body overreacts. This results in an allergic response. Allergens can be inhaled, swallowed, touched, or injected. Your Walmart Pharmacist can answer any questions you may have about allergies.
Type of allergies
Seasonal allergies are more common than other allergies and usually occur during certain times of the year – often spring, summer, and fall – in northern climates.10
- Things that may cause seasonal allergies include tree, grass and weed pollen, and outdoor mold that develops in rainy, humid weather where water collects, and in piles of leaves and freshly mown grass.
With hay fever (allergic rhinitis), symptoms may include:10
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes, nose, roof of mouth
- Red, watery eyes
- Stuffy nose and congestion
- Headache that may happen because of congestion
Perennial allergies are present all year. These are often caused by things such as:10
- Mold that forms in bathrooms and kitchens
- Animal dander and hair
- Dust and dust mites
A food allergy may occur with any food, but some food allergies are more common than others. Health Canada considers the following foods “priority allergens”.8
- Seafood – including fish and shellfish
- Sulphites – a food additive
- Tree nuts
The most dangerous allergies are anaphylactic allergies, including serious food allergies. Anaphylactic allergies cause very serious symptoms:8
- Trouble breathing caused by airway swelling.
- This can include a severe asthma attack for people who also have asthma (If you have been prescribed emergency medication for your asthma, always carry it with you).
- Drop in blood pressure that causes dizziness, feeling faint or light-headed, or passing out.
These very serious symptoms may lead to death if not treated right away. It is important to always carry an epinephrine auto-injector (such as EpiPen®) with you if you suffer from anaphylaxis.
Your Walmart Pharmacist can provide information about allergies including avoiding your allergens and advice for managing your symptoms. Ask your Walmart Pharmacist about allergy medications and how to use them correctly and safely – including prescribed epinephrine auto-injectors.
What is asthma?7,11
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the way air moves through the airway and makes breathing harder. This happens when you are exposed to an asthma trigger and either the lining of the airway becomes swollen and/or the muscles around the airway become sensitive and narrow. Remember that your Walmart Pharmacist can answer any questions you may have about asthma!
Symptoms of asthma may include:7,11
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Increased mucous production
Symptoms will be different from person-to-person and will also differ in how serious they are – from mild to moderate to severe – and in how often they happen. Different episodes of asthma may also be different in how serious they are.
Types of asthma
There are two types of asthma:11
- Allergic asthma – happens when exposed to allergens such as pollen, mold, dust mites, or pet dander.
- Non-allergic asthma – happens when exposed to triggers like smoke, exercise, stress, or very hot and humid or very cold weather.
Is asthma an allergy?11
While asthma and allergy can be related, they are NOT the same thing. An allergy is a reaction to an allergen that causes swelling and irritation in a certain part of the body, for example the nose, eyes, lungs, or skin. An allergic reaction in the lungs produces symptoms of asthma. Allergens are common asthma triggers.
Asthma is diagnosed by a doctor. A medical history will be taken. The nose, throat and upper airway will be checked. And the doctor will listen to the chest for wheezing in the lungs. The doctor will also look for signs of allergic conditions like eczema of the skin.
Spirometry is a test used to measure how well the lungs work and is used to test for asthma. Allergy testing may also be done to look for allergen triggers.
Just ask your Walmart Pharmacist for help if you think you or someone you know may have asthma.
Asthma triggers lead to asthma attacks by causing swelling of the airways. Triggers are different from person-to-person. It is very important to avoid triggers and to keep airways from the swelling that causes asthma symptoms.
Allergic triggers cause airway swelling and include many of the allergy triggers mentioned above:12,13
- Dust mites
- Viral infections
- Some kinds of air pollution
Symptom triggers are nonallergic triggers that do not cause swelling but do cause the muscles around the airway to become sensitive and narrow. These triggers include:14
- Cold air
- Chemical fumes, perfumes
- Sulphites (food additive)
- Some kinds of air pollution
- Intense emotion
Managing and monitoring asthma
An important way to manage asthma is to avoid asthma triggers. Since each person’s triggers may be different, try to avoid those triggers that affect you.
Indoor/outdoor trigger management12,13,14,15,16
Here are some recommendations:
- Remove carpeting from floors wherever possible.
- Use a HEPA filter. These filters trap very small particles from the air (air filters) or floors and furniture (vacuum filters), including dust mite feces, pollen, animal hair/dander.
- Keep pets off furniture and beds, and out of bedrooms.
- Try to keep dust mites to a minimum. Wash linens in hot water.
- Keep windows closed during hot weather, in your home and car, and use an air conditioner.
- Be sure to eliminate mold from the kitchen and bathroom.
- Choose personal hygiene, laundry, and cleaning products that are scent-free
- There are a variety of asthma- and allergy-friendly products that are endorsed by Asthma Canada’s asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program. Visit https://asthma.ca/what-we-do/resources/certifiedproducts/ for more information.
- If you are allergic to pollen, check pollen counts and avoid being outside for long periods of time during high pollen times.
- Remove piles of leaves and mown grass, as well as stagnant water.
- Avoid wood smoke and second-hand smoke.
- Exercise indoors on very warm and very cold days.
- On very cold days, breathe through your nose to warm air before it reaches your lungs.
Viral illness and allergic rhinitis14
Avoid catching viral illnesses, such as the cold or flu, that may worsen asthma symptoms. Wash your hands often. Get the flu shot. If you have allergies and asthma, treat your allergies to reduce symptoms that may worsen asthma symptoms. Talk to your Walmart Pharmacist about the best way to manage your cold, flu, and allergy symptoms and about getting your flu shot each year.
Food and/or other anaphylactic allergy management8,17
Anyone with asthma who also has food and/or other anaphylactic allergies must be very careful to avoid allergens that cause this reaction and may be prescribed emergency medications. If you have been prescribed emergency medicine for allergy and/ or asthma, you should always carry it with you. This medicine may include an epinephrine auto-injector (such as EpiPen®) to manage anaphylaxis and your rescue asthma medicine.
Asthma action plan18
An asthma action plan can help you and your doctor ensure you are managing your asthma effectively. By keeping track of when and why your asthma control changes, you and your doctor and pharmacist can develop ways to manage these changes for better asthma control.
The action plan from Asthma Canada will give you an idea of how to create a plan that you can share with your doctor, your pharmacist and other healthcare providers. Visit https://asthma.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/AAP-FINAL.pdf for more information.
Your doctor may ask you to monitor your asthma using a peak flow meter. The meter measures how quickly you can breathe out all the air from your lungs, after breathing in a big breath. The measurement will show how well air is moving through your airways. Higher readings mean better asthma control; lower readings mean poorer control. Good control will be different for each person. There are both mechanical and digital peak flow meters available. Your Walmart Pharmacist can help you decide which meter may be best for you.
People with asthma usually use two types of medicine; one to manage swelling and one to relieve symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath, when they happen.
- Controller medications help manage the underlying swelling to help reduce the risk of symptoms and attacks. They do not immediately relieve these symptoms and should not be used to treat a severe asthma attack. Controller medications must be used regularly. Ask your Walmart Pharmacist if you have any questions.20
- Reliever or “rescue” medications are short-acting medications that provide fast, but temporary relief of symptoms. Carry this medication with you at all times. If you have exercise-induced asthma, you may take the medication 10 to 15 minutes before exercise. Side effects of these medications include shaky hands, fast heartbeat, and nervousness. Ask your Walmart Pharmacist if you have any questions about your reliever medication.21
- Oral steroids that are taken by mouth are sometimes prescribed to manage very troublesome symptoms. You and your doctor can decide if these medications may be necessary for you22
- Allergy medications may help because good management of allergies may improve asthma control.23
Always take your asthma medication(s) exactly the way your doctor and/or pharmacist told you to take it/them. Ask your Walmart Pharmacist if you are not sure which medication to use when. Remember to tell your doctor and your pharmacist about any new medications you may be using, including over-the-counter and natural health products to be sure they are safe to use with your asthma medication(s).
Your Walmart Pharmacist can provide information about managing asthma and allergies, avoiding triggers, managing symptoms, and asthma and allergy medications and how to use them correctly and safely. To learn more about allergies and asthma, please visit Asthma Canada: https://asthma.ca/.
- Asthma Canada. Allergies. https://asthma.ca/allergies. Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 2, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Allergies and Asthma. https://asthma.ca/allergies/allergies-and-asthma/. Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 2, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Is asthma an allergy? https://asthma.ca/get-help/asthma-3/aboutasthma/ask-asc-expert/ Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 7, 2019.
- American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology. What does asthma have to do with your allergies? Probably a lot. https://acaai.org/news/what-does-asthma-have-do-your-allergies-probably-lot. Published April 10, 2018. Accessed March 6, 2019.
- Allergy, genes and environment network. New estimates of food allergy prevalence in Canada. http://allergen-nce.ca/wp-content/uploads/SPAACE_prevalence_data.pdf. Published October 29, 2015. Accessed March 6, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Asthma facts and statistics. https://asthma.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Asthma-101.pdf. Accessed March 6. 2019
- Asthma Canada. What is Asthma? https://asthma.ca/what-is-asthma/. Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 2, 2019.
- Food Allergy Canada (formerly Anaphylaxis Canada). Asthma and food allergies. https://foodallergycanada.ca/about-allergies/related-conditions/asthma/. Copyright 2019. Accessed March 2, 2019; Anaphylaxis. https://foodallergycanada.ca/about-allergies/food-allergens/ Copyright 2019. Accessed March 19, 2019.
- Canadian Dermatology Association. Common types pf eczema.https://dermatology.ca/public-patients/skin/eczema/. Copyright 2019. Accessed March 19, 2019.
- American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology. Allergic rhinitis. https://acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis. Copyright 2014. Accessed March 6, 2019.
- American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology. What is asthma? https://acaai.org/asthma/asthma-101. Copyright 2014. Accessed March 6, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Indoor triggers – home & work. https://asthma.ca/lifestyle/indoor-triggers-home-work/. Accessed March 2, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Outdoor triggers. https://asthma.ca/lifestyle/outdoor-triggers/. Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 2, 2019.
- The Lung Association. Avoid your asthma inducers. https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/lung-disease/asthma/treatment#asthma%20inducers. Updated April 26, 2016. Accessed March 2, 2019.
- Explain that stuff. HEPA filters. https://www.explainthatstuff.com/hepafilters.html. Updated 2018. Accessed March 11, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Asthma & allergy friendly ™ certification program. https://asthma.ca/what-we-do/resources/certifiedproducts/. Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 2, 2019.
- Food Allergy Canada (formerly Anaphylaxis Canada). Be allergy-aware. https://foodallergycanada.ca/about-allergies/food-allergens/eggs/. Copyright 2019. Accessed March 7, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Asthma action plan. https://asthma.ca/get-help/asthma-3/control/asthma-action-plan/. Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 2, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Peak flow meters. https://asthma.ca/get-help/asthma-3/control/how-to-monitor/. Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 2, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Controllers. https://asthma.ca/get-help/asthma-3/treatment/controllers/. Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 2, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Relievers. https://asthma.ca/get-help/asthma-3/treatment/relievers/. Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 2, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Medicines & treatment. https://asthma.ca/get-help/asthma-3/treatment/. Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 2, 2019; Oral corticosteroids. https://asthma.ca/get-help/asthma-3/treatment/oral/ Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 19, 2019.
- Asthma Canada. Will allergy medicine help my asthma? https://asthma.ca/get-help/asthma-3/aboutasthma/ask-asc-expert/. Copyright 2009-2019. Accessed March 7, 2019.
This health information is provided to you by Sun Pharma
It's time to think about this disease
It’s not Alzheimer’s disease, it’s just normal forgetfulness. Everyone misplaces their keys once in a while. Sounds like a senior moment. While we often make light of our memory problems, the brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease are no joke. So how do you know if the disease may be sneaking up on a loved one—or on you?
What it is—and isn’t
Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. First identified in 1906, it is a brain disorder that causes problems with memory and thinking. People with Alzheimer’s disease have protein deposits called plaques and fibrous clumps called tangles scattered throughout the brain.1 Over time, these plaques and tangles shrink the brain and cause brain cells to die.
Many people do not know the difference between the terms “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s disease.” Dementia is a general word that means decreased brain function, while Alzheimer’s disease is one type of dementia (the most common type).1
The older you are, the more likely you are to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. In Canada, more than 400,000 people over 65 (7.1% of the older adult population) live with dementia,2 and a quarter of people over 85 are affected.3 More women than men get the disease, and the gender gap increases with age.3
But age doesn’t tell the whole story: obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes all increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.4 If you smoke, your risk goes up by 45%.4 (The good news: quitting brings the risk down again.) With alcohol, the risk is more complicated: drinking moderate amounts actually brings the risk down a little, but heavy drinkers face the highest risk.4 While Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t usually “run in families,”4 having a parent or sibling with the disease does put you at slightly higher risk.5 Ask your Walmart Pharmacist if you have any questions about possible risk factors.
Nobody has a perfect memory—even young, healthy people misplace their keys or forget what someone just told them—but a pattern of forgetfulness may signal a drop in brain function.6 Perhaps you (or your loved one) misplace things more often, or stumble over words that used to come easily. Perhaps other people have begun noticing such changes.
Below is a table that discusses some of the differences between normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease.
|Normal Aging vs. Alzheimer’s Disease7|
|Normal age-related changes||Possible signs of Alzheimer’s disease|
Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later
A pattern of forgetting names, dates, and recently learned information
Occasionally needing help to use a familiar appliance
Difficulty completing daily tasks such as driving to work or using a familiar electronic appliance
Mistaking the day of the week but figuring it out later
Losing track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time
Sometimes having trouble finding the right word
Trouble remembering words and following conversations
Vision changes related to cataracts
Trouble understanding visual and spatial information (reading, how far things are)
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease generally get worse over time, though each person progresses at a different pace. In the early stage of the disease, people can still work, drive, and live independently.8 In the moderate stage, which can last for years, people may have more trouble performing daily tasks, but still remember important details about their lives.8 In the final stage, people lose the ability to carry out daily activities, to communicate, to recognize family or friends, and eventually to control movement.7 Their personalities may also change.
Detecting it early
If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may be developing Alzheimer’s disease, don’t wait: the earlier you detect it, the better you can treat it. Start by talking to your Walmart Pharmacist, who can help you find specialists and clinics that diagnose the condition. Some pharmacists may even be able to conduct quick screening tests and recommend a visit with a doctor if they suspect a problem.9
To diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, doctors evaluate memory, thinking, and ability to function. During the appointment, the doctor will likely:10
- Run simple memory and thinking tests
- Ask questions to find out how the brain changes are affecting daily life
- Look for changes in personality or behaviour
The doctor may also order lab tests to find out if other medical conditions could be causing the symptoms.10
Treatments to improve or delay symptoms
Health Canada has approved several medications for Alzheimer’s disease. Most of them improve the ability of brain cells to “talk to each other” and can make a noticeable difference in quality of life, sometimes for years.11 While none of these medications stop the disease from progressing, this may soon change. Researchers are now studying treatments that reduce the amount of plaque formed in the brain, direct the immune system to attack plaques, and prevent the formation of tangles.12
Before getting approved, a new medication needs to prove its value in clinical trials—studies that examine how a treatment works on a group of people. Participating in a clinical trial gives you the opportunity to try brand-new treatments and to contribute to medical research.13 Your Walmart Pharmacist can help you understand what a clinical trial involves and may know about clinical trials going on in your part of the country.
Overall, research doesn’t support the use of “alternative” health products to treat Alzheimer’s disease, though a few studies have found that coconut oil and omega-3 fatty acids can give brain power a boost.14 And what about cannabis? For the time being, it’s not recommended for Alzheimer’s disease because of limited evidence that it can improve symptoms.15 If anything, research suggests a link between long-term cannabis use and memory problems.15
Finally, don’t discount good old-fashioned physical activity. Not only does exercise preserve mental function in healthy people, but regular exercise can improve memory and thinking skills in people with early Alzheimer’s disease.16 Aim for 30 to 60 minutes, several times a week. Finally, there’s the direct approach: exercising the brain. Games, puzzles, or challenging yourself with a new language or musical instrument can help slow down memory loss and other mental problems.17
A pillar of support
As you begin the journey toward treatment, look to your Walmart Pharmacist for guidance and support. Alzheimer’s disease researchers are making new discoveries every day, and the pharmacist may know about new treatments that could help you or your loved one.
Once treatment has begun, your Walmart Pharmacist can monitor the side effects of medications and make sure you aren’t taking any drugs that interfere with each other.17 Staying in regular touch with your Walmart Pharmacist during treatment will help ensure that problems are caught early.
As further support, your Walmart Pharmacist may suggest ways to make Alzheimer’s disease more manageable, such as written schedules and other memory aids.18 Finally, the pharmacist can steer you toward resources in your community, including support for caregivers.
Below are some strategies that can help people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers cope with the condition.
|For people with Alzheimer’s disease19||For caregivers20|
Talking about it
Alzheimer’s disease is nobody’s fault—and is nothing to hide. A conversation with your Walmart Pharmacist can get you started on solutions. And keep talking to your family, friends, doctor, and pharmacist as the disease progresses. As key members of your support team, these team members can help lighten your load.
Resources1Alzheimer’s definition: https://alzheimer.ca/en/Home/About-dementia/Alzheimers-disease?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI-KmfwqTJ4wIVjI3ICh2_QAULEAAYASAAEgIVb_D_BwE
2Alzheimer’s stats: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/dementia-highlights-canadian-chronic-disease-surveillance.html
3Alzheimer’s stats: https://www.cihi.ca/en/dementia-in-canada/dementia-in-canada-summary
4Risk factors: https://alzheimer.ca/en/Home/About-dementia/Alzheimer-s-disease/Risk-factors
5Familial risk: https://www.healthline.com/health/alzheimers-hereditary#genetic-mutations
7Alzheimer’s vs normal aging: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs
8Stages of disease: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/stages
9Pharmacist screening tests: https://www.pharmacists.ca/news-events/news/pharmacists-doing-more-to-support-patients-with-dementia-their-families-and-caregivers/
12Emerging treatments: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/alzheimers-treatments/art-20047780
13Clinical trials: https://www.torontomemoryprogram.com/dementia-research-program/
14Alternative therapies: https://www.healthline.com/health/alzheimers-disease/alternative-treatments#the-takeaway
15Cannabis and dementia treatment: https://alzheimer.ca/en/Home/About-dementia/Treatment-options/cannabis-and-treatment-dementia
16Physical exercise: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/alzheimers-disease/faq-20057881
17Brain exercises: https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/preventing-dementia-brain-exercises#1
18Pharmacist’s role: https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2007/2007-01/2007-01-6235
19Patient coping strategies: https://www.alz.org/help-support/i-have-alz/live-well/tips-for-daily-life
20Caregiver coping strategies: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/coping_strategies_for_alzheimers_disease_caregivers/
Back to School
This health information is provided to you by Sandoz
Back-to-school bugs: How to recognize, treat and prevent four of the most common illnesses
Parents and teachers become anxious each year as children head back to school in September. Several illnesses may occur in school children after they return to the classroom. Dr. Harley Rotbart, the author of the book "Germ Proof Your Kids" and a professor of pediatrics calls schools “germ candy stores”. This is because schools and classrooms are a hotbed and breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Children are more at risk of contracting and spreading germs because of their daily social interactions, their affinity for physical exploration, as well as their under-developed immune systems. Some of the most common illnesses affecting school-aged children are the common cold, strep throat, pink eye (conjunctivitis) and head lice. During back-to-school, it is important to understand these illnesses and take necessary precautions.
What is the common cold?The common cold is a viral infection (caused by viruses) and one of the most common respiratory diseases. 1 There are more than 200 different viruses identified that can cause the common cold but rhinovirus is the most prevalent and behind as many as 40% of all colds.2 Colds are highly contagious and can spread easily from person to person, especially within the first 2 days of symptoms. 3
Incidence:It has been estimated that adults get an average of two to five colds per year, mostly between the fall and spring (the typical beginning and end points for cough and cold season). However, young children can get as many as 8 to 10 colds each year before they turn 2 years old.4 Colds are most frequent during this period because people are mostly indoors and in close contact with each other.
Colds are one of the leading causes of missed days at work.5 It also causes more doctor visits and missed school days than any other illness.6
Duration:A cold usually lasts about one week, but some colds can last for as long as two weeks, especially in children. Colds usually go away on their own.
Causes:Germs usually spread in one of three ways:
- Direct contact:Touching an infected person and then touching your own eyes, nose or mouth can spread the virus. They will have germs in their nose, mouth, eyes and hands.
- Indirect contact:Touching an object that has been touched by an infected person, such as a toy, a doorknob or a telephone, and then touching your own eyes, nose or mouth can also spread the virus.
- Airborne:Some germs spread through the air. Droplets of fluid from the infected person (though a cough or a sneeze that contain a cold virus) can reach another person’s nose or mouth.7
Why are children more at risk?
- - Children’s immune systems are less developed than those of adults, so they have not built up immunity to all these different viruses. They are therefore more prone to getting sick. As children get colds, they become immune to that specific virus. This explains why children get fewer colds as they grow older.8
- - Children are in close contact with each other at school or daycare.
- - Children are not necessarily familiar with proper hygiene techniques and tend to put objects into their mouths. 9
Prevention techniques: to prevent spreading germs at school:
One of the most common ways children get colds is by rubbing their nose or eyes after the cold virus germs have gotten on their hands. And children often don’t wash their hands often enough or well enough at school. 10
- Handwashing often with soap and water is the best way to reduce the spreading of the cold virus.
- After coughing, sneezing or wiping your nose
- After being in contact with someone who has a cold
- Before eating and drinking
- Before touching eyes, nose or mouth
- Moisten hands with warm water and then add liquid soap
- Rub the hands away from the water, including between the fingers and around the nails for roughly 20 seconds – the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice11
- Rinse hands in warm water
- Dry hands with disposable paper towels
- Turn off the faucet using the paper towel to avoid recontamination
- Throw away the used paper towel in a hands-free trash can
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizerwhen soap and water are not available, such as on field trips or at games or other events.
- Rub the gel until the hands are dry, roughly 30 seconds
- What to use?
- Natural Health Product (NHP) hand sanitizers approved by Health Canada – Ask your Walmart pharmacist for help locating an approved product
- Teach your child proper hygiene techniques, such as covering their nose and mouth with tissues when coughing or sneezing or coughing into the crook of their elbow, not their hands
- Teach your child to not share objects at school, such as pencils or other classroom supplies, lotions, ear buds, towels, sports helmets or gloves, toys etc.
- Make sure that your child knows not to put their mouth on the water fountain spigots when they drink and not to eat something that drops on the cafeteria tray. A 2005 study of germs in schools found that classroom water fountain spigots and plastic cafeteria trays were the “germiest” spots in school. The spigot had 2,700,000 and the tray 33,800 bacteria per square inch, compared with 3,200 on the restroom toilet seat. This is most likely because toilet seats get cleaned regularly, while trays and water fountains may not be.12
- While immunizationb may not prevent colds, vaccines may help prevent some of the complications from colds, such as bacterial infections of the ears or lungs.13 Make sure your child is up-to-date with their recommended vaccinations.
- Cleaning household objects (toys, door handles, remote control etc.) regularly with a disinfectant
Sore throat or strep throat?A sore throat is often the sign of a cold but it often gets better or goes away after a couple of days. You may also have other symptoms of a cold, such as a runny nose or congestion. Viruses, bacteria, allergens and environmental irritants are most often the causes of a sore throat.
Strep throat is an infection due to the A Streptococcus bacteria (called "group A strep"). The bacteria spread through contact with droplets after a person with strep throat coughs or sneezes or through direct contact with an infected person’s saliva or nasal secretions.14
- Usually starts quickly and can cause pain when swallowing
- Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
- Tiny, red spots (petechiae) on the roof of the mouth (the soft or hard palate)
- Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck.15
*** Typically do not include cough or runny nose (often the first signs of a cold)
Ask your Walmart pharmacist for advice if you have questions about your child’s symptoms.
Diagnosis:Healthcare professionals use two tests to see if the A Streptococcus bacteria are causing the sore throat. 3
The first test called “rapid strep test” requires the healthcare professional to swab the throat and provides results quickly. If the test is positive, antibiotics are prescribed by the healthcare professional. If the test is negative but the doctor still believes it is strep throat, the next step is to order a throat culture. A throat culture takes longer to provide results because the swab is sent to a lab where is it cultured to see if the bacteria grow from the swab sample.
Treatment – Antibiotics:
- Shorten the length of the illness
- Reduce symptoms
- Help prevent the spread of infection
- Prevent more serious complications, such as tonsil and sinus infections, and acute rheumatic fever (a rare inflammatory disease that can affect the heart, joints, skin, and brain) 16
Antibiotics may help people feel better a few days after the start of medication. To prevent the spreading of the bacteria, people with strep throat should stay home until the fever has gone and at least 24 hours after the start of the antibiotics.
Your Walmart pharmacist can answer all of your antibiotic questions.
Pink eye (Conjunctivitis)17
What is pink eye?Pink eye is an inflammation of the thin membrane (conjunctiva) that covers the white part of the eye (sclera). This membrane becomes pink or red in colour
Signs and symptoms of pink eye:The most common signs and symptoms that your child may have are:
- eye and inner eyelid redness
- slightly swollen eyelids
- itchy eyes
- clear or yellow-green eye discharge
Cleaning the eyes:Some children feel better when eye discharge or eye stickiness is washed away with a warm compress. Apply a clean, warm, wet towel or face cloth to the affected eye and gently wipe away any discharge or crust. Use a clean part of the compress for each wipe. Throw out the compress right away or put it into the laundry. Wash your hand after you do this.
You can also clean the eye and stop itchiness with saline or other soothing eye drops. Ask your Walmart pharmacist for advice.
Pink eye may be irritating, but it is usually not painful. Your child should not need medicine for pain.
How to reduce the spread of the infection at school:
Viral and bacterial pink eye are very contagious. Infection can spread easily in the following ways:
- eye and inner eyelid redness
- slightly swollen eyelids
- itchy eyes
- clear or yellow-green eye discharge
Pink eye is most often caused by viral infections associated with the common cold. It can also be caused by bacterial infections or allergies. Ask your Walmart pharmacist or health care professional for advice on finding the appropriate treatment according to the type of pink eye affecting your child.
When to seek medical assistance for pink eye:
Call your child's regular doctor if:
- your child develops pink eye symptoms
- your child's symptoms last longer than seven to 10 days
ake your child to the nearest Emergency Department, or call 911, if your child has:
- any change in vision
- eye pain
What are head lice?Lice are small, grey, flat, wingless insects that live on the surface of the scalp. Lice survive by staying close to the scalp for food and shelter. Adult lice lay eggs (nits) that stick to the hair shaft.
A head lice infestation does not indicate poor hygiene. In fact, head lice prefer clean hair and skin.
Signs and symptoms of head lice:Common symptoms of head lice include: itchiness of the scalp, tiny red bumps on the scalp, presence of lice, although they are hard to see and/or light grey lice eggs (nits) sticking to the hair shaft. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all for the first few weeks.
How to check if your child has head liceIf you suspect your child has head lice, use the following steps to check their hair.
- Wet your child's hair.
- Comb it with a lice-removal comb (a small fine-toothed comb that you can buy in your local pharmacy).
- Submerge the comb in water in a white bowl.
- Look for the adult or baby lice at the bottom of the bowl.
You may see the nits floating in the water, but they may be so well 'stuck' that you may also need to examine the hairs near your child's scalp. It is also possible to see small live lice in your child's hair. Check especially around their ears and neckline.
How to treat head lice:Consult a doctor before treatment if your child is under two years old or has allergies. Otherwise, you can treat your child at home. Various other treatments are available, but some work better than others. Ask your Walmart pharmacist for advice on the best option for your child.
How to prevent the spread of head lice:
|Check and treat||Check all family members for head lice. Each person who has head lice needs to be treated as soon as possible.|
|Wash combs, brushes, bedding and towels|| |
If head lice are found, wash all combs and brushes in boiling water for 10 minutes to kill any lice or eggs.
Wash all bedding and towels in hot water and dry them in a tumble dryer on a high setting for 45 minutes.
Put anything that cannot be washed in sealed, air-tight bags for two weeks.
|Tell your child's school||Contact your child's school if your child has head lice so the school can inform other parents.|
|Keep personal items separate||Encourage your child not to share hats, combs, brushes, headphones or bedding with other children at school or at home|
1The Canadian Lung Association. Common cold. https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/lung-disease/common-cold. Last updated 06/10/2014. Accessed June 21, 2018.
2American Lung Association. Facts about the common cold. http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/influenza/facts-about-the-common-cold.html. Last reviewed March 15, 2018. Accessed June 21, 2018.
4 Canadian Paediatric Society. Colds in children. https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/colds_in_children . Last updated February 2016. Accessed on June 21, 2018.
5Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Common Cold. https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/diseases/common_cold.html. Last updated on October 5, 2016. Accessed June 21, 2018.
6WebMD. Germs in the School Room. https://www.webmd.com/children/features/germs-in-school-room#1. Reviewed on December 19, 2011. Accessed on June 21, 2018.
7 Canadian Paediatric Society. Colds in children. https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/colds_in_children. Last updated February 2016. Accessed on June 21, 2018.
9WebMD. Germs in the School Room. https://www.webmd.com/children/features/germs-in-school-room#1. Reviewed on December 19, 2011. Accessed on June 21, 2018.
12WebMD. Germs in the School Room. https://www.webmd.com/children/features/germs-in-school-room#1. Reviewed on December 19, 2011. Accessed on June 21, 2018.
13Canadian Paediatric Society. Colds in children. https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/colds_in_children. Last updated February 2016. Accessed on June 21, 2018.
14WebMD. Is Your Sore Throat a Cold, Strep Throat, or Tonsillitis? https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/sore-throat-cold-strep-throat-tonsillitis#1.Reviewed on February 28, 2018. Accessed June 21, 2018.
15 CDC. Worried your sore throat may be strep? https://www.cdc.gov/features/strepthroat/index.html. Page last updated on January 31, 2018. Accessed June 21, 2018.
16 CDC. Worried your sore throat may be strep? https://www.cdc.gov/features/strepthroat/index.html. Page last updated on January 31, 2018. Accessed June 21, 2018.
17About kids Health, Pink Eye (conjunctivitis)https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/pinkeye.
18 About Kids Health, Head Lice, https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Article?contentid=795&language=English
This health information is provided to you by Apotex
Over 75% of Canadians have been touched by cancer, whether it is through their own personal diagnosis or that of a close loved one.1 With the latest research suggesting almost 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer during their life, those numbers will increase.2 Although cancer mainly affects Canadians over the age of 50, it can occur at any age so it’s important for everyone to understand what they can do to reduce their risk and know the common signs and symptoms.3
Tips to Reduce Cancer Risk
Lifestyle choices can impact your chance of developing cancer. Follow these tips to reduce your overall risk:
- Be smoke-free – Smoking is the most preventable cause of cancer and it accounts for about 1/3 of all cancer deaths.4 Smoking, chewing tobacco and second-hand smoke have been linked to a variety of cancers such as lung, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas etc.5 If you’re a smoker and thinking of quitting, talk to your Walmart Pharmacist about how they can help. If you’re not a smoker, make sure to limit your exposure to second-hand smoke as much as possible.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – Approximately 1/3 of the most common cancers can be prevented with lifestyle changes that includes a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and being more active.6
- Healthy diet – Follow Canada’s Food Guide and have a diet that is high in a variety of fruits and vegetables, limits red meat and processed meats (i.e. bacon, hot dogs and deli meats), contains whole grains and limits sugary drinks such as soft drinks, sports drinks and fruit-flavoured drinks.7
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight – Ask your Walmart Pharmacist how to calculate your body mass index (BMI) which will give you a healthy weight range specific to your height and weight. BMI for healthy adults between the ages of 20 to 65 should be between 18.5 to 24.9.7
- Be physically active – Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Moderate intensity means activities like biking or brisk walking that cause you to sweat a little and breathe harder. Vigorous intensity means activities like jogging or cross-country skiing that cause you to sweat and be out of breath.8
- Get immunized – Talk to your doctor and/or Walmart Pharmacist about whether the hepatitis B vaccine or human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is right for you. The hepatitis B virus is associated with some liver cancers and HPV can lead to cervical and other genital cancers.5
- Protect yourself from the sun – Skin cancer is one of the more common cancers and can be prevented by avoiding the sun when it’s the strongest (between 10-4pm), staying in the shade as much as possible or covering exposed areas, using lots of sun screen and avoiding tanning beds.5
- Regular screenings and being aware of the common signs and symptoms – Awareness can increase your chances of discovering potential cancers earlier, which is when treatments are the most successful.5
Cancer Signs & Symptoms
The signs and symptoms (below) on their own are not enough to diagnose cancer but can help your doctor determine what’s wrong.9 Some of these symptoms can be caused by other medical issues, but still should be checked out by your doctor.
- Pain – Some cancers cause pain from the start but it can also be a late sign of cancer. With some brain tumours, there can be headaches that last for days and don’t get any better with treatment. If you have pain that can’t be explained or doesn’t go away, it’s always good to check with your doctor and/or Walmart Pharmacist.9
- Unplanned weight loss – Almost 50% of people with cancer will have had lost weight without trying by the time they are diagnosed. It is one of the more common and earlier cancer symptoms.9
- Fatigue – Tell your doctor and/or Walmart Pharmacist if you are constantly tired and rest doesn’t help. Leukemia can leave you exhausted as can blood loss from colon or stomach cancers. It may also be due to cancer-related weight loss.9
- Fever – If it’s high or lasts for more than 3 days, check with your doctor and/or Walmart Pharmacist as some blood cancers can cause a fever that lasts for days or even weeks.9
- Skin Changes – If you find any new or unusual moles, bumps or marks on your body, have them checked in case of skin cancer. If your skin darkens, looks red or yellow, itches, grows more hair or has an unexplained rash then have it checked as it could be a sign of liver, kidney or ovarian cancer.9
- Sores that don’t heal – Spots on your skin that bleed and aren’t going away can be another sign of skin cancer. Oral cancers sometimes start as mouth sores.9
- For Men – The more common cancers in men are prostate, colorectal and lung.9 Signs of these cancers can be:
- Pain, change in size or shape, lump or redness in the penis or testicles.9
- Coughing or hoarseness that lasts more than 3 weeks, is severe or produces blood when you cough.9
- Diarrhea or constipation for more than 4 weeks can be a sign of colorectal cancer. Talk to your doctor if there is blood in your bowel movements.9
- Trouble peeing, burning or pain when peeing and going a lot more than usual especially at night can be caused by an enlarged prostate. See the doctor if you have painful ejaculations or blood in your pee or semen.10 Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect men in Canada. 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime. It can be slow growing and some men will go years without having it detected, which is why regular screening and letting your doctor know if you have any of the signs or symptoms is very important.11
- For Women – The more common cancers in women are breast, lung and colorectal. Women can also get cancer in the uterus, endometrium, cervix, vagina or vulva.9 Signs of these cancers can be:
- Bleeding or discharge in between periods or after menopause. Endometrial cancer can cause bleeding when you shouldn’t be.9
- Changes in appetite that lasts 2 weeks or longer. Ovarian cancer can make you feel full or make it hard to eat.9
- Gas, indigestion and pressure can all be signs of ovarian cancer as can bloating and cramps not linked to PMS. Pain and pressure in the pelvic area could be a sign of endometrial cancer.9
- Breast changes that include breasts feeling different, finding lumps, size changes, discharge from nipples and spots or changes in the skin around nipples.9 It’s important to know your breast tissue by looking and feeling the entire breast area up to collar bone and under the armpits as well as nipple so you can detect any changes. There’s no right or wrong way to do this and any changes should be discussed with your doctor. Screening for breast cancer with mammograms is recommended for women between 50-69 years of age. Talk to your doctor and/or Walmart Pharmacist about the guidelines in your province. 12
For more information on the different types of cancer and resources to help you or a loved one with a cancer diagnosis, visit the Canadian Cancer Society website at www.cancer.ca.
1http://www.cancer.ca/en/about-us/for-media/media-releases/national/2015/daffodil-month-survey-shows-need-for-increased-awareness/?region=on Accessed: March 5, 2018
2http://www.cancer.ca/en/about-us/for-media/media-releases/national/2017/canadian-cancer-statistics/?region=bc Accessed: March 5, 2018
3http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/cancer-statistics-at-a-glance/?region=on Accessed: March 5, 2018
4http://www.lungcancercanada.ca/lung-cancer.aspx Accessed: March 5, 2018
5https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/cancer-prevention/art-20044816 Accessed: March 5, 2018
6https://www.wcrf.org/int/cancer-facts-figures/link-between-lifestyle-and-cancer-risk Accessed: March 5, 2018
7https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/diet-and-physical-activity Accessed: March 5, 2018
8http://www.csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelines_adults_en.pdf Accessed: March 5, 2018
9https://www.webmd.com/cancer/understanding-cancer-symptoms#1 Accessed: March 6, 2018
10http://www.prostatecancer.ca/Prostate-Cancer/About-Prostate-Cancer/Signs-and-Symptoms Accessed: March 6, 2018
11http://www.prostatecancer.ca/Prostate-Cancer/About-Prostate-Cancer/Prostate-Cancer Accessed: March 6, 2018
12http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/breast/screening/?region=on Accessed: March 6, 2018
This health information is provided to you by Apotex
The flu season runs from late fall to early spring and causes about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.1 Although a cold is a milder respiratory infection, it can still leave you feeling sick for a few days and can occur year round.2,3
Use this chart to help determine whether you have the cold or flu.2
|Fever||Sometimes, usually mild||Common, usually for 3-4 days and is usually higher (100-102°F or 37.8-38.9°C)|
|Aches and pains||Slight||Common, can be severe|
|Fatigue||Sometimes||Common, can last 2 to 3 weeks|
|Cough||Mild to moderate; hacking cough||Common, can be severe|
Regardless of whether you are suffering from the cold or flu, the key to staying healthy is prevention. Follow these tips to keep yourself protected and to prevent spreading viruses to others:
- Get vaccinated. Getting your annual flu shot is one of the best ways to prevent the flu. In fact, the flu shot has been shown to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu.1Recent studies also show the vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by about 40% to 60% among the overall population during seasons when the flu vaccine is well matched to circulating flu viruses.4The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that all Canadians 6 months of age and older should get the flu shot unless there is a reason they can’t receive the vaccine.5And because the virus changes frequently, important to get your flu shot each fall.1-Check with your Walmart Pharmacist to see if you a good candidate for the flu shot and then book an appointment to get your flu shot at the pharmacy.
- Wash your hands. Did you know viruses can live on your hands for up to 3 hours? Properly washing your hands often and thoroughly (for at least 15 seconds with soap and water) helps prevent the spread of illness.1
- Use alcohol based hand sanitizer. When soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is a good alternative.1
- Avoid touching your face or rubbing your eyes. Viruses enter the body when we touch infected surfaces and then touch our eyes, nose and/or mouth.1
- Cover your cough or sneeze. Use a tissue and throw it out right away rather than keeping it in your pocket, on a desk or table. Cough into your upper sleeve, and not your hands, when you don’t have tissues available.1
- Stay at home when you are sick. Viruses spread more easily when you are around other people. It’s better to stay home from work, school, nursing homes etc. to prevent getting other people sick.1
- Clean and disinfect surfaces.Viruses can live on hard surfaces like countertops, door handles, computer keyboards and phones for up to 8 hours. This makes it important to regularly clean and disinfect these areas.1
- Stick to a healthy lifestyle. Even with exposure to the cold or flu virus, it doesn’t mean you have to get sick. Keep your immune system working at its best with a balanced diet, regular exercise (at least 4 times a week) and enough sleep (7 to 9 hours/night).6
- Quit Smoking.Smokers are more likely to get flus and colds and when they do get sick, the symptoms are worse and last longer.6,7 If you are a smoker and thinking of quitting, talk to your Walmart Pharmacist about how they can help.
If you do end up getting sick, always talk to your Walmart Pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medications. They can advise you on what is the best product for your symptoms, ensure it does not interact with any other medications you may be taking or cause any issues with any medical conditions you may have. Children less than 6 years of age should not be given any over-the-counter cough and cold medicines8If they have a fever and/or aches and pains, you can give acetaminophen or ibuprofen (as long as they are over 6 months old).8 Do not give acetylsalicylic acid (e.g. Aspirin) or any medicine containing it to children or teenagers.8Ask you Walmart Pharmacist for help!
Use the following measures to help yourself or your child be more comfortable while sick:
- Drink plenty of fluids and small nutritious meals.8
- Use saline drops or sprays to help thin out thick mucus, making it easier to clear. For babies and toddlers, a suction bulb can be used to clear mucus from nose.8
- Use a cold mist humidifier (as long as it is cleaned regularly to prevent bacteria or mold growth).8
- Get plenty of rest.1
You should see your doctor if your symptoms get worse or you don’t start to feel a better in a few days.1
References1https://www.ontario.ca/page/flu-factsAccessed July 10, 2018.
2 https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-cold-symptoms#1Accessed July 10, 2018.
3 http://www.cfp.ca/content/57/11/1289Accessed July 10, 2018.
4http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm Accessed July 11, 2018.
5https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/canadian-immunization-guide-statement-seasonal-influenza-vaccine-2017-2018.html#rec Accessed July 27, 2018.
6https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold_flu_stopping_germs_work#1 Accessed July 11, 2018.
7https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/what-makes-colds-worse Accessed July 11, 2018.
8https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/colds_in_children Accessed July 27, 2018.
This health information is provided to you by Auropharma
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body does not effectively use the insulin it produces or does not produce enough insulin. Insulin is used by your body to turn the sugar (glucose) in your blood into energy. Type 2 diabetes occurs when this system doesn’t work properly and sugar levels in your blood are too high.1,2Sugar in your blood comes from consuming foods that contain carbohydrates such as breads, rice, pasta, fruit, and milk.
Screening for type 2 diabetesGenerally, if you are over 40 years old, you should be tested for diabetes every three years. If you have one or more risk factors, you should be tested more often and/or start regular screening earlier.3,4
Some common risk factors for type 2 diabetes:4
- Having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
- Being a member of a high-risk group (e.g., African, Arab, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous, or South Asian descent)
- Having health complications that are associated with diabetes
- Having given birth to a baby that weighed more than four kilograms (nine pounds) at birth or having had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
- Having been diagnosed with prediabetes
- Having high blood pressure
- Having high cholesterol
- Being overweight, especially if that weight is mostly carried around the stomach
Diagnosing type 2 diabetesYour doctor will take a medical history and do a physical examination (to screen for risk factors). You will need to take a blood test or tests to measure the sugar in your blood.
Two blood tests are typically used to diagnose type 2 diabetes:
- Fasting blood glucose: You cannot eat for at least eight hours before taking this blood test. A result of 7.0 mmol/L or higher suggests you have diabetes.5
- A1C: You do not need to fast for this test; it may be done at any time. If your result is 6.5% or higher and if there are no factors that might affect the accuracy of the test, this result suggests you have diabetes.5
Prediabetes6Prediabetes is diagnosed if your blood sugar level is higher than normal – an A1C of 6.0% to 6.4% – but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Your Walmart Pharmacist can answer questions you may have about prediabetes and help you develop a healthy lifestyle management plan to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Managing type 2 diabetesIf you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you and your healthcare team will develop an individualized management plan that meets your needs and wants. The plan may include healthy lifestyle recommendations (including healthy eating, physical activity, and weight management), medication, and blood sugar monitoring.7,8
Healthy eating9,10,11,12Following a healthy diet is important for everyone and will help you to better manage your blood sugar levels if you have type 2 diabetes. Your Walmart Pharmacist may be helpful in providing information about healthy eating and making good food choices, including eating a variety of foods – vegetables, fruit, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, and meats and alternatives. Following Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide is a good place to start. It may be found at:https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canada-food-guides.html
- Carbohydrate counting11 is an important way to help you prepare healthy meals and snacks. Grains, starches, fruit, milk and milk products, legumes, sugary and prepared foods, and some vegetables contain carbohydrates. You will need to manage the amounts of these foods that you consume at each meal or snack. Meat and alternatives and fats contain small amounts of carbohydrate. You and your healthcare team can determine how many grams of carbohydrate you may consume at each meal/snack. Try to stay close to that amount to help keep your blood sugar level in your target range.
- Food labels (see below)13may help you make sure you are within the range for carbohydrates for each of your meals and snacks. Pay attention to both serving size and the amount of carbohydrate on the label.
- “Plate Method” is another way to help you manage your meal planning and food choices. Generally, you should fill half of your plate with vegetables, a quarter of your plate with grains and starches, and a quarter of your plate with meat and alternatives.13 The image below shows how it works.14
For more information about meal planning and food choices, visit: https://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/diet-nutrition/basic-meal-planning
Physical activity15A healthy lifestyle is the first step in managing type 2 diabetes. Participating in regular physical activity is as important as following a nutrition plan. Check with your doctor before starting any physical activity routine, especially if you haven’t been physically active for a while. Start slowly – 10 minutes of walking each day – with the goal of increasing your time being active to 150 minutes each week. Even raking leaves and gardening can be included. Gradually build up the intensity of your activity. Your Walmart Pharmacist can help you with a personalized exercise plan.
Weight management6Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of your management plan. If you are overweight, you should aim to lose between 5% and 10% of your weight.16 Your nutrition and physical activity plans will help you achieve this goal. Your Walmart Pharmacist can help you with tips on how to safely lose and keep off extra weight.
Medication6Depending on your blood sugar level, healthy living routines, and other health-related factors, your doctor may recommend that you take medication to help you better manage your blood sugar level. Your Walmart Pharmacist can answer any questions you have about your medication, including how to take it, avoiding and managing side effects, and possible drug interactions.
Monitoring your blood sugar
Self-monitoring blood sugar16If you have type 2 diabetes and you are meeting your individualized blood sugar targets with a healthy lifestyle regimen (healthy eating, physical activity, weight management) or healthy lifestyle and oral medication, you may be asked to check your blood sugar one to two times per week. Your Walmart Pharmacist can help you get started by recommending a blood glucose meter and helping you feel comfortable self-testing.
A1CA1C is usually measured every three months in people with type 2 diabetes. Recommended target levels appear in the table below.8
|A1C||Fasting blood sugar/blood sugar before eating (mmol/L)||Blood sugar 2 hours after eating (mmol/L)|
|Target for most people with diabetes*||7.0% or less||4.0 to 7.0|| 5.0 to 10.0 |
5.0 to 8.0 if A1C targets are not being met
Managing diabetes-related health and wellness concerns
Self-management goals6In addition to your nutrition, physical activity, and weight-management goals, there are other important ways you may help manage your health and wellness with diabetes.
- Foot care, eye care, and dental care:It should be a regular part of your health maintenance routine. Check your feet often (e.g., for blisters, sores, redness, calluses) and have foot-care issues dealt with by a professional. See your eye specialist for checkups, see your dentist regularly, and practice good oral hygiene.
- Smoking cessation:If you smoke tobacco, your pharmacist can help you quit. Talk to your Walmart Pharmacist about strategies to quit smoking.
- Emotional wellness:It is important to try to manage your stress. Your Walmart Pharmacist can recommend ways to achieve this goal.
Heart health17,18People with type 2 diabetes may also have heart health issues. Diabetes is a significant risk factor for heart disease; in fact, 65% to 80% of people with diabetes die from heart disease. Help reduce your risk for heart disease by following your diabetes management regimen. Your Walmart Pharmacist can answer questions you may have about heart health and type 2 diabetes, and how to best manage both for better health and wellness.
- Diabetes Canada. Diabetes and you: Living with type 2 diabetes.https://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/living-with-type-2-diabetesPublished March 2018. Accessed September 15, 2018.
- Government of Canada. Type 2 diabetes. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/type-2-diabetes.htmlUpdated July 5, 2018. Accessed September 15, 2018.
- Ekoe JM, Goldenberg R, Katz P. Clinical practice guidelines: screening for diabetes in adults. Can J Diabetes. 2018;42(Suppl 1):S88-S103.
- Diabetes Canada. Are you at risk? https://www.diabetes.ca/about-diabetes/risk-factors/are-you-at-riskPublished March 2018. Accessed September 15, 2018.
- Diabetes Canada. Signs and symptoms.https://www.diabetes.ca/about-diabetes/signs-and-symptomsPublished March 2018. Accessed September 15, 2018.
- Diabetes Canada. Diabetes Canada 2018 clinical practice guidelines: quick reference guide. http://guidelines.diabetes.ca/docs/CPG-quick-reference-guide-web-EN.pdfPublished March 2018. Accessed September 17, 2018.
- Diabetes Canada. Staying healthy with diabetes. https://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/general-tips/staying-healthy-with-diabetesPublished March 2018. Accessed September 15, 2018.
- Diabetes Canada. Managing your blood sugar. https://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/blood-glucose-insulin/managing-your-blood-sugarPublished March 2018. Accessed September 15, 2018.
- Government of Canada. Canada’s food guides. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canada-food-guides.htmlUpdated September 1, 2016. Accessed September 15, 2018.
- 10. Diabetes Canada. Diet and nutrition. https://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/diet-nutritionPublished March 2018. Accessed September 15, 2018.
- Diabetes Canada. Carbohydrate counting. https://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/diet-nutrition/carbohydrate-counting Published March 2018. Accessed September 15, 2018.
- Government of Canada. Make wise choices. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/canada-food-guide/food-guide-basics/make-wise-choices.htmlPublished February 2007. Accessed September 15, 2018.
- Diabetes Canada. Understanding the nutrition label. https://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/diet-nutrition/understanding-the-nutrition-labelPublished March 2018. Accessed September 15, 2018.
- Diabetes Canada. Basic meal planning. https://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/healthy-living-resources/diet-nutrition/basic-meal-planningPublished March 2018. Accessed September 25, 2018.
- Government of Canada. How can physical activity help people with type 2 diabetes? Published August 6, 2011. Accessed September 17, 2018.
- Diabetes Canada. Diabetes Canada 2018 clinical practice guidelines: self-monitoring blood glucose (SMBG) frequency and pattern tool. http://guidelines.diabetes.ca/docs/resources/SMBG-pattern_K.pdfPublished March 2018. Accessed September 17, 2018.
- Heart Research Institute of Canada. Facts about heart disease. http://www.hricanada.org/about-heart-disease/facts-about-heart-diseaseCopyright 2018. Accessed October 2, 2018.
- Diabetes Canada. Diabetes Canada 2018 clinical practice guidelines: screening for the presence of cardiovascular disease. http://guidelines.diabetes.ca/cpg/chapter24. Published March 2018. Accessed October 11, 2018.
This health information is provided to you by AuroPharma
What is Epilepsy?1,2,3
Brain cells communicate using electrical signals. Epilepsy is a condition in which abnormal electrical activity in the brain changes the way the brain works, for short periods of time. These changes may affect consciousness, movement, and/or actions. When this happens, a person experiences a seizure.
In Canada, epilepsy affects about 300,000 people. New cases of epilepsy are diagnosed in about 1 in 2,000 people each year. About 75% to 80% of people with epilepsy are diagnosed before the age of 18.
What causes epilepsy?1,3,4
In more than 50% of cases, the cause of epilepsy is unknown. In other cases, causes may include:
- brain tumour, severe head injury, brain injury during birth, problems with brain structure
- poisoning due to alcoholism or street drugs
Screening and diagnosis5,6
If you or your child experience(s) a seizure, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will take a medical history, ask questions about what happened during the seizure, and do a physical examination to see if:
- the seizure is related to a short-term problem (e.g., a fever, infection)
- there is a physical problem with the brain or a continuing problem with the way the brain works
- the seizure was an isolated incident or perhaps suggests epilepsy
In addition, the doctor may order:
- blood tests and other lab tests
- an electroencephalogram (EEG) recording:7An EEG is a safe and painless test that allows your doctor to see if there is unusual electrical activity happening in your brain that may cause seizures.
- computerized (axial) tomography (CAT) scan:8 A CAT scan of the head is a safe, low-radiation x-ray that produces three dimensional (3-D) images that may show if there are problems in the skull or the brain that may be causing seizures.
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):9The MRI provides very detailed images of the brain’s structures and provides valuable information that helps find the source of seizures, diagnose epilepsy, and determine appropriate treatment of epilepsy.
It is important to remember that a single seizure does not mean a person has epilepsy.
What are the different types of seizures?1,6,10
There are many different types of seizures. Most seizures can be categorized as “focal” also known as “partial,” or “generalized.”
Focal/partial seizure activity happens in a limited area of the brain. There are two types of focal seizures:
- In focal/partial seizures with retained awareness a person is aware and can communicate during/after the seizure. The person may have jerking movements in parts of the body, physical symptoms such as stomach pain, and sensory changes such as hearing things that are not there
- In focal/partial seizures with a loss of awareness a person may lose consciousness and may appear dazed. The person may not be able to communicate during the seizure.
Generalized seizure involves the entire brain. There are six types of generalized seizures:
- In absence seizures a person may lose consciousness and muscle control without convulsions. The person will not remember the experience.11 These seizures usually last from two to 10 seconds.
- In tonic-clonic or convulsive seizures a person first loses consciousness and may fall to the ground due to muscle stiffness. The person may lose bladder and bowel control, bite the tongue, and his/her hands and feet will jerk.12 These usually last from one to three minutes but may last up to five minutes.
- In atonic seizures (drop attacks) a person will suddenly lose consciousness and collapse and may hit his/her head when falling.13There are no convulsions. These seizures do not occur very often. This type of seizure is more common in children.
- In clonic seizures a person may lose bladder/bowel control and begin to jerk in various parts of the body.14The person may temporarily lose consciousness and experience confusion afterwards. This may progress to tonic-clonic seizures over time.
- In tonic seizures (very uncommon) muscles in the face, arms, legs, and trunk may spasm and tense.15
- In myoclonic seizures (may occur one at a time or in a series) a person will experience muscle jerks in parts or all of the body.16.
As a person ages, the frequency, intensity, and duration of seizures may change. In some people seizures may disappear over time. Your doctor and Walmart pharmacist can help you understand what type of seizures you or your child may be experiencing and help you manage them.
Common seizure triggers3
There are some seizure triggers that are more common, but each person’s triggers may be different. Common triggers may include:
- skipping meals
- flickering lights
- fever or illness
- feeling angry, worried, or scared
- weather conditions such as heat and/or humidity
Epilepsy cannot be cured, but medication can help control and/or prevent seizures. In the majority of cases medication is helpful in controlling seizures. It may be necessary to take more than one medication for treatment to be successful.
It is very important to take antiepileptic medications (also known as antiseizure or anticonvulsant medications) exactly as they have been prescribed by your doctor.
- This means taking the dose prescribed at the time(s) prescribed and not missing doses. If you or your child miss(es) a dose, speak with your doctor or Walmart Pharmacist.
- You should never stop taking medication for epilepsy without telling your doctor.l
- If you or your child switch(es) from a brand name to a generic drug (with the same ingredients that help control seizures) or to another form of the brand name drug, it is very important to speak with your doctor and/or Walmart Pharmacist to be certain that the dosing for the new drug is correct.
Common side effects from antiepileptic medications may include:
- loss of muscular coordination
- hyperactivity (in children)
- behaviour changes
All side effects, including those that are not on this list, should be discussed with your doctor and/or Walmart Pharmacist as soon as they occur.
- In order to avoid unpleasant or dangerous drug interactions, tell your doctor and your Walmart Pharmacist about any other medications, even over-the-counter medications and natural health products, you or your child may be taking.
- Avoid drinking alcohol.
- Never take someone else’s seizure medication.
Surgery is a treatment that may be considered if seizures do not respond to medication.
- People who may be considered good candidates for surgery are those with focal/partial seizures that are limited to one part of the brain.
- You and your doctor may discuss the pros and cons of surgery if seizures are not controlled with medication.
You and your healthcare team20
Ask your questions1,5,19
Your doctor and your Walmart Pharmacist are important members of your healthcare team. They can help you better understand epilepsy and how to carefully manage the condition. If you have questions about any aspect of this condition, ask your doctor or Walmart Pharmacist.
Journalling20Journalling is a helpful way to keep track of the nature, frequency, and intensity of seizures, possible seizure triggers, medication(s) and side effects, and any other information that may be helpful to you and your healthcare team.
Managing relationships and daily living1,21,22
Your relationships with your family, friends, colleagues, and teachers are an important part of your life.
- Sharing information about epilepsy with family, friends, and caregivers will help them understand the condition and how they may help you or your child manage seizures.
- It is important to have a colleague (or colleagues) know about your condition and how to help you if you have a seizure at work.
- Teachers (and other school staff) of children/teens should be advised of what to do in case of a seizure.
You may have questions about many things including: watching television and playing video games (the light may be a trigger), alcohol consumption, smoking (cigarettes, cannabis), street drugs, sex, travel tips, driving, safety in your home and in your workplace, and more.
- Record your questions in your journal and share them at your next visit with your doctor.
- Your healthcare team may be able to answer many of these questions, but you may also find answers at http://epilepsy.ca
First aid23The following information about how best to help during and after a seizure should be shared with loved ones, friends, caregivers, colleagues, and teachers.
- Remain calm, stay close by, and provide reassurance after the seizure ends and the person is fully conscious.
- Keep the person having a seizure safe:
- Remove things from the environment that may cause harm.
- Place something soft under the person’s head if he/she falls, and if you can, gently roll him/her onto his/her side.
- If the person wanders, stay close by.
- Try to note the time the seizure started and the time it ended.
- Do not put anything in the person’s mouth or restrain him/her.
- Call 911 if:
- the seizure lasts more than five minutes or a second seizure begins right after the first
- full consciousness and regular breathing do not resume after the seizure ends
- the person is injured, pregnant, or has diabetes
Emotional wellnes is important for everyone. This means paying attention to feelings, behaviours, and moods, and finding ways to enjoy life even when faced with challenges, like epilepsy. Reach out to your healthcare team if you or your child are/is having trouble managing your emotional health and wellness.
Physical activity is important for overall health. When participating in any physical activity be sure that there is someone with you who is able to recognize your seizure pattern and knows what to do to keep you safe. If you or your child participate(s) in team sports, make sure the coach knows about your/your child’s epilepsy and how to take care of you/your child. Wear a helmet when appropriate and wear a life vest when in or on the water.
- Epilepsy Canada. Answers to your questions. http://www.epilepsy.ca/uploads/7/0/8/6/70868839/epilepsy_answers2011.pdf. Revised 2010. Accessed September 25, 2018.
- Government of Canada. Epilepsy in Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/epilepsy.html. Modified April 13,2018. Accessed September 25, 2018.
- Epilepsy Canada. Epilepsy facts. http://www.epilepsy.ca/epilepsy-facts.html. Copyright 2016. Accessed September 25, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Causes. http://epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/causes/. Copyright 2018. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Canada. Understanding your diagnosis. http://www.epilepsy.ca/diagnosis-and-treatment.html. Copyright 2016. Accessed September 25, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Diagnosis. http://epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/diagnosis/. Copyright 2018. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Electroencephalogram (EEG).http://epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/treatments/eeg/. Copyright 2018. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. CT or CAT Scan [computerized (axial) tomography scan].http://epilepsyontario.org/cat/. Printed August 8, 2011. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).http://epilepsyontario.org/mri/. Printed August 8, 2011. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Types of seizures.http://epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/types-of-seizures/. Copyright 2018. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Absence seizures.http://epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/types-of-seizures/absence-seizures/. Copyright 2018. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Tonic-clonic seizures. http://epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/types-of-seizures/tonic-clonic-seizures/. Copyright 2018. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Clonic seizures.http://epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/types-of-seizures/clonic-seizures/. Copyright 2018. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Atonic (drop) seizures.http://epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/types-of-seizures/atonic-drop-seizures/. Copyright 2018. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Tonic seizures.http://epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/types-of-seizures/tonic-seizures/. Copyright 2018. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Myoclonic seizures. http://epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/types-of-seizures/myoclonic-seizures/. Copyright 2018. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Canada. Your medication for epilepsy.http://www.epilepsy.ca/uploads/7/0/8/6/70868839/medication-new.pdf. Revised 2009. Accessed September 30, 2018.
- Epilepsy Ontario. Medications. http://epilepsyontario.org/about-epilepsy/treatments/medications/. Copyright 2018. Accessed September 30, 2018.
Head lice, Pink eye, and the Common cold
This health information is provided to you by Sandoz
Back-to-school – What you need to know about head lice, pink eye, and the common cold
Every year, back-to-school can be an exciting, as well as stressful, period for both parents and children. Kids will see their friends again after a couple of months of summer vacation and are about to spend a lot of time together back in the classroom. It remains important to understand how the common back-to-school illnesses that can be transmitted and prevented. Head lice, pink eye and the common cold are some of those common illnesses. What are they? What are the symptoms? How do we treat them? Here is what you need to know.
What are head lice?Head lice are visible tiny insects that can live on the human scalp and feed themselves with blood. They are about the size of a sesame seed and they can multiply themselves by producing lice eggs. As opposed to what some people think, head lice are not a sign of poor hygiene or an unclean living environment. They commonly spread from direct or indirect head-to-head contact making children more subject to this type of common illness. Children heads often touch when they play together and share accessories in places such as schools, day cares, or at the park. Shareable items such as hats, gloves, scarves, hairbrushes, pillows and headphones may lead to the spread of head lice. It is important to note that lice transmission is possible through direct and indirect contact, but that lice cannot jump from one person to another. 1, 2, 3, 5
What are the symptoms?Symptoms associated with head lice are numerous. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Itching on the scalp, neck and ears which can start a couple days/weeks after lice transmission
- Visible but hard to see head lice and/or eggs 1, 2
How can head lice be prevented and treated?Even though it is hard to prevent children from getting head lice, parents can work with them on good habits to follow in order to reduce the chances of transmission like hanging their garments on a separate hook from other children's garments and not to share hair bands, barrettes, towels, combs, brushes, hats and scarves. 1, 3, 4, 5
Fortunately, they are multiple products to treat head lice. There is a broad range of treatments available. It is always recommended to consult your Walmart Pharmacist prior to starting a treatment. Remember to always read and follow the product label carefully for an effective treatment.
What is pink eye?Children can also be exposed to pink eye when they return to school – also referred to as conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is when the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) layer covering the white part of the eyeball and lines the inside of the eyelid is infected or subject to inflammation. 6, 7 There are many types of conjunctivitis. It can be caused by a virus or bacteria (infectious conjunctivitis), by seasonal allergies like pollen and grass (allergic conjunctivitis), or by irritants, such as when children play in a pool full of chlorine (chemical conjunctivitis). 7, 8, 9
Pink eye is a common eye condition. Pink eye can be contagious if it is caused by a virus or bacteria, and this is one of the reasons why children can be infected at school or any other place where direct contact with another infected person can occur. Conjunctivitis can also be spread through indirect contact – such as when children share items together like towels and washcloths. However, it is rarely dangerous for the vision of the person to be affected when treated and diagnosed properly.
What are the symptoms?There are multiple symptoms with pink eye, including:
- Redness of the eye(s) – eyeball or eyelid
- Swollen conjunctiva
- Itchy eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sandy or scratchy feeling in the eye(s)
- A discharge that forms a crust that keeps the eyes from opening after sleep
How can pink eye be treated?There are many conjunctivitis treatments available in the pharmacy such as antibiotic eye drops, eye ointments, and antihistamine medications. Your Walmart Pharmacist can help you with the proper treatment depending on the type of conjunctivitis you may have. 6, 7, 8, 9
What is a common cold?Common cold is a viral infection of the nose and throat and can be one of the reasons why your children may miss school this year. It is caused by a virus that infect the nose, throat and sinuses. There are many types of common colds. Children are also subject to be infected at school or day care, as it can be transmitted through direct contact with others who have a cold as well as through items that are contaminated. Children are likely to have five to seven colds per year.14
What are the symptoms?Here are some of the symptoms your children can experience when having a common cold: 10, 11, 12
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
How can the common cold be prevented or symptoms be treated?The chances of getting common cold can be reduced in several ways such as by washing your hands often with soap and water, not touching your face with unwashed hands, and by staying away from people who are sick. It is always important to take time to explain and show good prevention practices to your children. Your Walmart pharmacist can advise on what products for relief of cold symptoms may be right for you or your family. If symptoms do not go away after a few days or if the common cold seems to cause serious problems such as high fever and vomiting, you should consult a doctor. 10, 12, 13
Resources1Mayo Clinic. Head lice. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/head-lice/symptoms-causes/syc-20356180
2WebMD. Slideshow: treating and preventing a head lice infestation. https://www.webmd.com/children/ss/slideshow-lice-overview
3Health Link BC. Head Lice. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/hw51114
4Ottawa Public Health. Head Lice Fact Sheet. https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/professionals-and-partners/resources/Documents/Educators/head_lice_en.pdf
5Canadian Paediatric Society. A home for paediatricians. A voice for children and youth. https://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/head-lice
6WebMD. Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye). https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/eye-health-conjunctivitis#1
7Mayo Clinic. Pink eye (conjunctivitis). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pink-eye/symptoms-causes/syc-20376355
8National Eye Institute. Facts about Pink Eye. https://nei.nih.gov/health/pinkeye/pink_facts
9Ontario Association of optometrists. Pink eye (conjunctivitis). https://www.optom.on.ca/OAO/Patients/Library/Pink_eye_conjuctivitis_.aspx
10Mayo Clinic. Common cold. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/symptoms-causes/syc-20351605
11WebMD. Understanding the common cold – the basics. https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/understanding-common-cold-basics#1
12Caring for kids. Cold in children. https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/colds_in_children
13WebMD. Children and colds. https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/children_colds#2
14WebMD. Why do children get sick so often? https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/qa/why-do-children-get-sick-so-often
Healthy Living Awareness
This health information is provided to you by Pharma Science
Healthy Living: Achieving Maintainable Health Goals
Introduction1Healthy living … whether you’ve been motivated by a New Year’s resolution or had a wake-up call due to a health concern, it will take commitment, effort, encouragement, and support to achieve that goal. Healthy living can start with making healthy lifestyle changes.
- Start small.
- Build on your successes.
- Ask for support.
SMART is an acronym often used for goal setting. It may help you decide if you can and will achieve and maintain each of the healthy lifestyle goals you set.
- S: Specific – How and when will I do what I mean to do?
- M: Measurable – How will I keep track of what I am doing (how much, how often)?
- A: Attainable – Will I be able to do this (is it too much at one time, should I cut back)?
- R: Rewarding – Is this something that I want to do? (Note: The “R” often refers to Realistic)
- T: Timely – When will I start and for how long will I do this (try to choose goals that you can maintain over the long term)?
Your healthcare team, including your Walmart Pharmacist, can help you choose a few lifestyle goals to start with. You may find the SMART goals worksheet helpful in keeping you on track. It can be found at: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Alberta/AlbertaDocuments/smart-goal-worksheet.pdf.
Healthy Eating2,3,4Making healthy food choices may help you to feel and look well. There are tools available to help you make the food choices you prefer. Make meal planning more interesting by choosing foods from other cultures that meet your personal daily nutrition requirements e.g., naan instead of sliced bread or couscous instead of rice.
Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide2This guide provides information on the varieties of foods in each of the four food groups, serving sizes and numbers of servings per day, and other information for different ages and stages of life. You will also find information on how to read and use food labels based on serving size to help you make healthy choices at the grocery store. Canada’s Food Guide can be found at: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/migration/hc-sc/fn-an/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/food-guide-aliment/print_eatwell_bienmang-eng.pdf.
Eat Well PlateThis infographic can help you visualize how much food from each food group you should include at a meal. You can find it at: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating-saine-alimentation/food-guide-aliment/my-guide-mon-guide/index-eng.php.
My Food GuideYou may also want to create a personal food guide through a customizable tool from Canada’s Food Guide. Find out more at: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating-saine-alimentation/food-guide-aliment/my-guide-mon-guide/index-eng.php.
It is helpful to know how many calories you may need each day, based on your activity level.
|Estimated energy (calories) requirements3^|
|Male||Age 19 to 30||Age 31 to 50||Age 51 to 70||Age 71+|
|Female||Age 19 to 30||Age 31 to 50||Age 51 to 70||Age 71+|
^ The calories calculations are estimated based on median height and weight, age and activity level.
*Sedentary: little daily physical activity even during leisure time (e.g., sitting for long periods, relying mostly on motorized transportation).
**Low active: some physical activity daily (e.g., walking to the bus, shovelling snow, mowing the lawn).
***Active: at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (you breathe harder and your heart beats faster; you will sweat during vigorous activity) each week.
You’ll find more information in Canada’s Food Guide and at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/canada-food-guide/food-guide-basics/estimated-energy-requirements.html.
Popular diets4Popular diets promise to help you lose weight fast, often by restricting the types of foods you may consume (e.g., carbohydrates). These diets may work in the short term, but keeping the weight off after you stop the diet may be very difficult.
Diets that may be more helpful for you in achieving your weight loss goals and maintaining your healthy weight include those that encourage healthy eating – making healthy choices from the four food groups – teach portion control, and recommend physical activity.
Your healthcare team, including your Walmart Pharmacist, can help you with a nutrition plan that will help you achieve and maintain your healthy eating/healthy weight goals.
Active Living5,6,7An active lifestyle has many health benefits including maintaining a healthy weight, helping prevent disease, and reducing stress. It is important to incorporate a variety of activities that you enjoy, including endurance activities (e.g., walking, cycling, jogging, dancing, swimming), flexibility activities (e.g., gardening, stretching exercises, bowling, yoga), and strength activities (e.g., lifting and carrying groceries, climbing stairs, abdominal exercises, light weight/strength training), into your daily routine. More information may be found at: https://www.physicalactivityplan.org/resources/CPAG.pdf.
In all cases, before you start a new physical activity routine, check with your doctor. You should first learn the proper technique to perform the activity to avoid injury, and if you feel excessively breathless or tired, or if you are in pain, stop the activity.
For adults aged 18 to 64, it is recommended to get 150 minutes of moderate (e.g., brisk walking, bike riding) to vigorous (e.g., jogging, cross country skiing) physical activity each week. This may be achieved in sessions of 10 minutes or more throughout the week. Try to include activities that target your muscles and bones (strength and weight-bearing activities) at least two times per week.
Responsible Choices8,9,10,11,12,13,14Part of a healthy lifestyle includes making responsible choices.
To reduce health risks, injury and/or harm:
- Women: no more than 10 drinks per week, with no more than two drinks per day most days.
- Men: no more than 15 drinks per week, with no more than three drinks per day most days.
Plan “no alcohol” days every week to reduce the risk of developing a habit. Drink slowly and have no more than two drinks in a three-hour period. On special occasions, you may add one drink, based on the limits above.
Drink responsibly to avoid injury and/or harm:
- NEVER drink and drive.
- NEVER drink when pregnant.
For more information, see:http://www.ccdus.ca/Resource%20Library/2012-Canada-Low-Risk-Alcohol-Drinking-Guidelines-Brochure-en.pdf.
Caffeine consumption9Health Canada recommends that most adults consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day. This is equivalent to two to three cups of coffee per day. Pregnant women should reduce their consumption to 300 mg or less per day. For more information, including caffeine amounts in tea and cocoa products, see: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-safety/food-additives/caffeine-foods/foods.html.
Cannabis and recreational drug use10,11There are no current guidelines regarding cannabis use, despite legalization. As with any recreational drug, it is important to be responsible: use cannabis in moderation, get cannabis from a legal distributor, and be aware of potential overdose risks/signs.
Be safe and avoid injury and/or harm
- NEVER smoke cannabis/use recreational drugs and drive.
- NEVER use these drugs when pregnant.
For information about the affects of cannabis on cognitive functioning and mental health, see: http://www.ccdus.ca/Resource%20Library/CCSA-Clearing-the-Smoke-on-Cannabis-Highlights-2016-en.pdf.
Note:There is evidence that suggests that the use of alcohol and cannabis together will have a more harmful effect than the use of either alone, including effect on cognitive, psychomotor, and impaired driving.
Screen time12,13Adults and children of all ages are drawn to screens. For a variety of reasons, limiting screen time, especially for younger children, is advised. Evidence suggests that screen time has an influence on children’s physical and mental health – how they feel and what they do. Too much screen time may interfere with good nutrition, physical activity, and sleep time.
The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends two hours or less of screen time per day for children, and that those under the age of two have as little exposure as possible. Be a good role model. Children will learn from what they see of your own screen time habits.
Sleep hygiene14Getting a good night’s sleep is important for your physical and mental health. Here are some tips to help you have a restful night:
- Make your bedroom as comfortable as possible.
- Try to relax before you get into bed.
- Engage in regular physical activity at least three times per week.
- Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it every night – even on the weekend – this includes a regular bedtime and awakening time.
- Avoid screen time before bed and especially in bed.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.
- Avoid napping during the day.
Disease prevention/immunization15,16One of the most important things you can do for your and your family’s health is for all of you to get immunized. Your doctor or Walmart Pharmacist can advise you about what vaccines you and your family members need for optimal health and disease prevention. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends using the CANImmunize app to learn more about, and keep track of, immunizations. Find out more at: https://www.canimmunize.ca/en/home.
Stress Management17We live in stressful times. Competing priorities – family, friends, jobs – can be very stressful. It is often not easy to juggle your priorities. To maintain overall wellness, it is helpful to try to reduce stress. A few suggestions include:
- Participate in yoga, meditation, and/or mindfulness activities.
- Try to maintain work/life balance – ask for help from trusted family members/friends when you need help meeting your personal responsibilities because of professional demands.
- Participate in activities you enjoy with people you enjoy spending time with.
- Talk about your stressors with trusted family members/friends.
Your healthcare team, including your Walmart Pharmacist, can provide information and strategies to help you to manage your stress. They may also be able to suggest other health professionals who can help you.
What you should know about your medications15,16Caring for yourself and your family members – both children and older parents – often involves the use of medications. It is important to know the questions to ask so that you may be confident that you are treating your loved ones safely and effectively. Your Walmart Pharmacist is your medication expert. He/she is available to answer your questions about your/your family’s medications and conditions. Don’t guess; Just Ask to get the information you need to provide the best possible care to your loved ones.
- MyHealth.Alberta.ca Network. Setting SMART goals. https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/Setting-smart-goals.aspx. Current as of December 12, 2016; https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Alberta/AlbertaDocuments/smart-goal-worksheet.pdf Accessed November 6, 2018.
- Government of Canada. Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/migration/hc-sc/fn-an/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/food-guide-aliment/print_eatwell_bienmang-eng.pdf.Published 2011; My Food Guide.http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating-saine-alimentation/food-guide-aliment/my-guide-mon-guide/index-eng.php.Updated July 6, 2018; Eat Well Plate.http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating-saine-alimentation/tips-conseils/interactive-tools-outils-interactifs/eat-well-bien-manger-eng.php.Updated September 1, 2016. All accessed November 6, 2018.
- Government of Canada. How much food you need every day.https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/canada-food-guide/food-guide-basics/much-food-you-need-every-day.html.Modified February 7, 2018; Estimated energy requirements.https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/canada-food-guide/food-guide-basics/estimated-energy-requirements.html.Published November 8, 2011. Both accessed November 6, 2018.
- Huffington Post (CA). The most popular weight loss diets ranked by whether or not they work. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/04/07/weight-loss-diets_n_7017562.html. Published April 7, 2015. Accessed November 6, 2018.
- Public Health Agency of Canada. Canada’s Physical Activity Guide. https://www.physicalactivityplan.org/resources/CPAG.pdf.Accessed November 6, 2018.
- Government of Canada. Physical activity tips for adults (18-64 years). https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/physical-activity-tips-adults-18-64-years.html.Modified October 1, 2018. Accessed November 6, 2018.
- Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Canadian physical activity guidelines for adults (18-64). http://csepguidelines.ca/adults-18-64/. Copyright 2018. Accessed November 6, 2018.
- Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction. 2012 Low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines. http://www.ccdus.ca/Resource%20Library/2012-Canada-Low-Risk-Alcohol-Drinking-Guidelines-Brochure-en.pdf. Copyright 2018. Accessed November 6, 2018.
- Government of Canada. Canada’s food guides. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-safety/food-additives/caffeine-foods/foods.html. February 16, 2012. Accessed November 6, 2018.
- Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction. Health impacts of cannabis. http://www.ccdus.ca/Eng/topics/Cannabis/Health-Impacts-of-Cannabis/Pages/default.aspx. Copyright 2016; Clearing the smoke on cannabis.http://www.ccdus.ca/Resource%20Library/CCSA-Clearing-the-Smoke-on-Cannabis-Highlights-2016-en.pdf. Copyright 2016. Both accessed November 6, 2018.
- Public health Ontario. Evidence brief: Risk factors for simultaneous use of alcohol and cannabis. https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/eRepository/Evidence_Brief_Risk_factors_alcohol_cannabis.pdf.Published August 2018. Accessed December 4, 2018.
- Screen Smart. Screens & health. http://www.screensmart.ca/screens_health. Copyright 2010. Accessed November 10, 2018.
- Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for kids: screen time at home: healthy habits. https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/screen-time-at-home-healthy-habits. Updated June 2017. Accessed November 10, 2018.
- Anxiety BC. Getting a good night’s sleep. https://www.anxietycanada.com/sites/default/files/SleepHygiene.pdf.. Accessed November 10, 2018.
- Government of Canada. Get immunized. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/immunization/get-immunized.html. Modified April 6, 2018. Accessed November 10, 2018.
- CANImmunize. https://www.canimmunize.ca/en/home.Published 2018. Accessed November 10, 2018.
- Canadian Mental Health Association. Stress. . https://cmha.ca/documents/stressCopyright 2018. Accessed November 10, 2018.
- Canadian Pharmacists Association. Medication management. https://www.pharmacists.ca/education-practice-resources/professional-development/medication-management/.Copyright 2018. Accessed November 10, 2018.
Heart Health Facts
This health information is provided to you by Sandoz
General Cardiovascular Facts
- Cardiovascular diseases are the No. 1 cause of death globally, according to the World Health Organization.1
- In Canada, heart disease is the second leading cause of death after cancer, and is a leading cause of hospitalization.2
- 1.6 million: Number of Canadians living with a heart condition or stroke effects.3
- Did you know that every 7 minutes, a Canadian dies from heart disease or stroke?3
- Did you know that the overall risk of heart disease may increase in menopaused women? During a woman's reproductive life cycle, from about age 12 to 50, the naturally occurring hormone, estrogen, provides a protective effect on women's heart health. When menopause occurs, the hormone production reduces and risk of heart disease increases.4
- Almost 80% of premature heart diseaseand strokecan be prevented through healthy behaviors such as eating healthy, being active and living smoke free.5
- The early detection and management of medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol can help you reduce your risk of heart disease.6
Heart Failure Facts
- What is heart failure? Heart failure occurs when the pumping action of your heart is not strong enough to move blood around, especially during increased activity or under stress.7
- True or false: Eating a low-sodium diet will help prevent heart failure? TRUE7
- What are the principal symptoms of heart failure? Shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles, legs or abdomen, persistent cough/wheezing, sudden weight gain, lack or variation of appetite.7
- What are the two most common causes of heart failure? Damage to the heart muscle caused by a heart attack and ahigh blood pressure (hypertension). It is important to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis.7 Many Walmart pharmacies are equipped withblood pressure monitors and pharmacists can help you understand your results.
- The 2 most important lifestyle causes of hypertension are obesity and a sodium-rich diet.8
- High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. Untreated hypertension may lead to the narrowing of arteries, forcing the heart to work harder in order to pump blood through blood vessels.9
- The cornerstone for controlling blood pressure is to make and maintain healthy lifestyle changes such as: having a healthy diet reduced in sodium, engaging in moderate intensity physical activity 4-7 days per week, maintaining a healthy body weight, limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking.10 Talk to your Walmart pharmacist to see how they can offer support in making some lifestyle changes.
- Why blood cholesterol matters? Highblood cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. As your blood cholesterol rises, so does your risk of coronary heart disease11
- What is blood cholesterol? Cholesterol is a fat found in the blood. There are two main types of blood cholesterol: high density or HDL cholesterol (referred to as “good” cholesterol) and low density or LDL cholesterol (referred to as “bad” cholesterol). High level of LDL can form fatty deposits on your artery walls and block blood flow to the heart and brain.11
- Highly processed foods are a major source of saturated fat and are usually high in calories, sodium, sugar and sometimes trans fats. Saturated fat increases LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the blood.11
- Canadian guidelines recommend having your cholesterol tested if you:
- Are a male over 40 years of age
- Are female over 50 years of age and/or post-menopausal
- Have heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure
- Have a waist circumference greater than 94 cm (37 inches) for men and 80 cm (31.5 inches) for women
- Smoke or have smoked within the last year
- Have erectile dysfunction
- Have a family history of heart disease or stroke11
Signs of a heart attack
- What are the most common signs of a heart attack?
- Chest discomfort (uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness.)
- Upper body discomfort
- Shortness of breath
Signs of a stroke
- The signs of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym FAST13
- Face: is it drooping?
- Arms: can you raise both?
- Speech: is it slurred or jumbled?
- Time: call 911 right away!
This health information is provided to you by Sandoz
Hypertension: What to know about high blood pressure
Hypertension affects 7.5 million Canadians1 and is among the leading cause of death and disability worldwide2. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a chronic disease that affects many people, not just the elderly. Approximately 2% of children and adolescents1, 7% of pregnant women2, and 25% of adults have hypertension.2 The number of people with high blood pressure continues to rise, as there are better screening tools, increased awareness, increased obesity and an aging population. High blood pressure control in Canada is estimated to be nearly 70%. However, this still means that approximately 30% of Canadians with hypertension still do not have adequate blood pressure control. As well, nearly 20% of Canadian adults are either unaware of their high blood pressure or are aware but are not being treated with high blood pressure medication.2 Your Walmart Pharmacist can help you check your blood pressure and partner with you to help keep your blood pressure under control.
What is hypertension?Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition in which blood pressure is consistently higher than normal. Blood pressure is the force of blood against your blood vessel walls. Hypertension means that there is too much pressure in your blood vessels which, over time, can damage your blood vessels and organs. Keep in mind that hypertension is a chronic condition. Once it develops, it usually last for life. Some risk factors for hypertension cannot be changed such as family history, age and gender. Other factors are controllable like diet, physical activity, alcohol intake, and smoking.4,5
Is hypertension serious?Hypertension is often called the "silent killer" because it has no warning signs or symptoms. High blood pressure can only be diagnosed through blood pressure measurement. If left untreated, chronic (or long-term) hypertension can lead to serious heart outcomes, such as heart failure, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, eye problems, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and dementia.4,5
What is normal blood pressure?Blood pressure readings have two numbers – the top number is your systolic blood pressure and is the highest level of pressure reached as your heart beats. The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure and is the lowest level of pressure as your heart relaxes between beats. Blood pressure is expressed in “mmHg”, which is the abbreviation for millimeters of mercury (the scientific term of a unit of pressure).4,5 Normal blood pressure is typically 120/80 mmHg. However, normal blood pressure can be different for different people. Blood pressure can be sensitive to a number of different environmental factors – including what you ate and did prior to taking the measurement. Blood pressure readings taken at different times can vary, even in the same day.4,5 If you have questions about your blood pressure readings, just ask your Walmart Pharmacist.
How is blood pressure measured?Blood pressure is measured on your upper arm using a device with an inflatable cuff.4 When taking your blood pressure, try to be in a sitting position with your back supported if possible. Your legs should be uncrossed with both feet flat on the floor.4
If you suspect your blood pressure is high, your doctor will likely determine if you have high blood pressure based on the average of two or more blood pressure readings, at two or more visits. The evaluation should also include one reading taken outside of your doctor’s office4 – for example with your Walmart Pharmacist, at home, or by wearing a device. Your Walmart Pharmacist can advise you what is the best blood pressure monitoring device and method for you.
What are the blood pressure targets? How can I control my blood pressure?Most people should ideally aim to reduce their blood pressure below 120/80 mmHg to maintain good health and reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and other conditions. But your specific blood pressure targets will depend on many factors, such as your age, health conditions, and where and how the readings are being taken.4 Your health care professional will determine your blood pressure targets. The best ways to help lower your blood pressure will depend on those targets.
|Below 120||Below 80||Maintain or adopt healthy behaviors|
|120-139||80-89||Maintain or adopt healthy behaviors|
|140-159||90-99||Adopt healthy behaviors. If your target is not reached after a month, check with your doctor whether medications to treat your blood pressure is necessary|
|160 and higher||100 and higher||Combination of healthy behaviors and high blood pressure medications|
*Blood pressure targets for adults under the age of 80. Blood pressure ranges may be lower for children and teenagers and higher for people over the age of 80. Always talk with your health care professional for more information.
How is hypertension treated?Blood pressure responds very well to healthy behaviors, and some people may be able to improve their blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle alone. However, other people may need extra help from drug therapy to lower their blood pressure to a safe range.
- Limit salt intake: Adults should restrict salt intake to less than 2 grams/day. Choose unprocessed foods and those with a Nutrition Facts label showing less than 5% Daily Value for sodium per serving.4,6
- Potassium supplementation:The preferred method of supplementation is by modifying your diet, unless you have kidney disease or use certain drugs that reduce the amount of potassium being eliminated from your body.4,7See your Walmart pharmacist who can advise you on drug interactions and contraindications before starting any new supplements.
- Maintain or reduce weight:Even moderate weight loss can have an impact – for every 1 kg of weight loss, blood pressure decline ranges from 0.5 to 2mmgHg or about 1mmHg for every pound lost.4,5 Talk to your Walmart Pharmacist about what target weight is healthy for you.
- Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet: The Dash Diet is similar to Canada’s Food Guide. It is high in vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean meats, fish, dried beans, and nuts and low in sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats. Combining the DASH diet with modest sodium restriction produces an additive blood pressure lowering effect and is the best way to manage blood pressure with food.4,5
- Physical Activity:Aerobic exercise and possibly resistance training can decrease systolic and diastolic pressure by, on average, 4 to 6mmHg and 3mmHg, respectively, independent of weight loss. A reduction in blood pressure was seen with 3 to 4 sessions per week of moderate-intensity exercise lasting 40 minutes for a period of 12 weeks.4,5
- Limited alcohol intake: One to two standard drinks per day or less is recommended. Adult men and women should consume, respectively, no more than two and one alcoholic drinks daily.4,5
- Do not smoke5: One to two standard drinks per day or less is recommended. Adult men and women should consume, respectively, no more than two and one alcoholic drinks daily.4,5
- Manage stress levels4
Hypertension can be controlled by medication.4,5 There are many types of drugs that lower blood pressure, often referred to as “antihypertensives”. People respond differently to these medications and may need to take a combination of two or more of them over time for the best effect.
When you first start a high blood pressure medication, it may take up to four weeks before showing optimal effects. And it may take some time for you and your doctor to find the best dose and combination of medications to help control your blood pressure.4,5 Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and Walmart Pharmacist. They will adjust your medication and help you manage any side effects.
Importance of taking your blood pressure medications
Not taking or stopping blood pressure medication returns blood pressure to its normal state, which can cause it to rise again to dangerous levels. Medication only controls blood pressure. It does not cure it! Take your medication as directed, and renew them on time. Do not stop taking your blood pressure medications because you do not feel symptoms. Report side effects to your pharmacist. Your Walmart pharmacist, with your doctor, will help you manage any drug side effects. Your Walmart Pharmacist can provide advice on different methods to help you to remember to take your medications. Just ask!
1Statistics Canada. Blood pressure of children and youth 2012 to 2013.
2Padwal et al. Epidemiology of Hypertension in Canada: An Update. Canadian Journal of Cardiology 32 (2016) 687-694
3Public Health Agency of Canada. Canadian Chronic Disease Indicators 2016.
4Hypertension Canada’s 2018 Guidelines for Diagnosis, Risk Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment of Hypertension in Adults and Children
5Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: A report of the ACC/AHA on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Hypertension (2018): 71
6Appel et al. Dietary approaches to prevent and treat hypertension: a scientific statement from the AHA. Hypertension (2006) 47:296
7Whelton et al. Sodium reduction and weight loss in the treatment of hypertension in older persons: a randomized controlled trial of nonpharmacological interventions in the elderly (TONE). JAMA (1998) 279: 839
This health information is provided to you by Mint Pharmaceutical
YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND YOUR PHARMACIST
Help is available - and it's closer than you think
How is your mental health today? Are you relaxed or tense? Do you wake up with a smile or drag yourself out of bed? Do you feel like your usual self, or do things seem not quite right? If you’re concerned about your mental health, remember this: you’re not alone, and help is available.
Mental distress is all around usJust how common are mental health issues? In any given year, one in five Canadians will face a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression.1These conditions don’t play favourites: they visit young and old, rich and poor, and people from all cultures. One year it may be your family member or friend, the next year it could be you.
What’s more, the problem appears to be increasing, especially in young people. Some research has blamed social media2(think of those beaming smiles on Facebook photos, which make other people’s lives seem picture perfect), while other researchers have pointed to “the rising stress of living.”3
On a more encouraging note, people today are more likely to talk about their mental health struggles than even five years ago. That said, shame and embarrassment continue to keep some people from getting the help they need. Many employees still keep their managers in the dark about their mental health issues, and 4 out of 10 respondents to a 2016 survey reported feeling depressed or anxious—but were not seeking help.4
In the table below, you’ll see a list of common mental health conditions. While it takes a trained health professional to make a diagnosis, the list can help you start a conversation.
|Common Mental Health Conditions 5-8|
|Mood issues||Major depression||Loss of enjoyment, low mood, fatigue or agitation, changes in appetite|
|Chronic mild depression||Same as above, but longer-lasting and not as intense|
|Bipolar disorder||Dramatic swings in mood, from extreme highs to crushing lows|
|Anxiety issues||Generalized anxiety||Excessive anxiety and worry about many things in everyday life|
|Phobias||Excessive anxiety about specific things (such as flying, spiders, public speaking, etc.)|
|Panic disorder||Panic attacks in response to specific situations or for no clear reason|
|Post-traumatic stress disorder||Distressing memories of, or “reliving,” a traumatic event|
|Obsessive compulsive disorder||Unwanted thoughts and/or behaviours you feel compelled to carry out (e.g., worrying about germs, excessive hand-washing)|
How do you know if you have a mental health issue?What separates mental health conditions from life’s ups and downs? First of all, mental health conditions tend to last longer. While “the blues” come and go, depression may last for weeks, months, or years at a time.9 As shown in the table below, several other clues can help you distinguish true depression and anxiety from the expected challenges of everyday life.
Mental health conditions also interfere with your day-to-day functioning. It’s normal to get “stressed out” from time to time, but not to avoid cars, elevators or shopping malls because of fear. It’s normal to feel sad, but not to feel so hopeless you can’t get your work done—or get to your workplace at all. Bottom line: if your symptoms lead you to avoid activities you want or need to do, you may need professional help.
|Normal life challenges||Mental Health Conditions|
|Everyday anxiety||Anxiety disorder10|
Help is closer than you thinkIf you’re facing mental health challenges, you may wonder where to turn. Family doctors are a definite possibility—if you have one—but they can’t always see you right away. Have you ever considered your pharmacist? Approachable, easily accessible, and someone you can trust,11 your Walmart Pharmacist is a logical place to start.
Your Walmart Pharmacist knows not only about drugs but about diseases and how they affect you. In some cases, they may use tools, such as the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ),12 to help screen for common mental health conditions. If your responses raise a red flag, your pharmacist can help steer you toward the right health services so you can get the treatment you need.
A watchful eyeTreatment for mental health conditions typically involves medication paired with psychotherapy (talk therapy). Antidepressant medications, a common treatment for both depression and anxiety, may cause side effects such as nausea or stomach upset.13 As an expert in medications, your Walmart Pharmacist can help you understand and manage these possible effects, which often subside over time.
Your Walmart Pharmacist also knows if you are taking other medications or supplements that could interfere with your mental health treatment—or actually worsen your mental state. For example, some prescription pain medications can cause changes in mood.14 In such a case, your Walmart Pharmacist can warn you to look out for mood changes and to see your doctor if your mood does worsen.14 The pharmacist can also share any concerns about your prescriptions with your doctor.
If you are juggling several medications, you may have trouble remembering when to take what. Your Walmart Pharmacist can make the process easier for you—for example, by providing you with compliance packaging (often called blister packs) to organize your medications and help you remember to take them. The pharmacist may also conduct a medication review to make sure the drugs you are taking work well together and to suggest changes if they don’t.15
|Did you know?|
|Research has shown that pharmacists can improve mental health care. In one study, team meetings (arranged by pharmacists) to discuss patients’ medications led to more appropriate use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications—and the positive change lasted for three years.16 In another study, over half of patients whose pharmacists provided “comprehensive medication management” (reviewing drugs, monitoring patient status, and reinforcing treatment goals) saw an improvement in their mental health condition.17|
Taking the first stepIt’s never easy to take that first step, but your Walmart Pharmacist can help. Many Walmart Pharmacies have counselling areas or similar spaces where you can talk privately.18 And no matter where you have the discussion, you can trust your pharmacist to listen to you and to respect your boundaries.
Here are some questions you can ask your Walmart Pharmacist to start a conversation about your mental health treatment:19,20
- May I speak to you about some of the struggles I’ve been having with my mood?
- How will this medication help me, and when should it start working?
- How do I store it and take it, and what do I do if I miss a dose?
- Can I stop using it if I feel better?
- Are there foods or other products I should avoid while taking it?
- How do I recognize an allergic reaction and what should I do about it?
At the same time, be sure to tell your Walmart Pharmacist about all other medicines, vitamins, and other supplements you use.20 Also, let your Walmart Pharmacist know about any challenges that could affect your ability to take your medication as prescribed, such as trouble swallowing or memory problems.20 Are you pregnant or breastfeeding? Your Walmart Pharmacist needs to know that too, to make sure that none of the medications you take put the child at risk.20
Walmart Pharmacists are here to help you and have the expertise to support your mental health treatment. Take that first step toward better mental health: just ask your Walmart Pharmacist.
1CMHA—prevalence stats: https://cmha.ca/about-cmha/fast-facts-about-mental-illness.
2Forbes—social media as contributor: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2018/11/16/new-research-shows-just-how-bad-social-media-can-be-for-mental-health/#18d5fe4f7af4
3Global News—rising stress as contributor: https://globalnews.ca/news/4138006/stress-causes-today/
4CAMH—prevalence & stigma info: https://www.camh.ca/en/driving-change/the-crisis-is-real/mental-health-statistics
5NIH—common mental health disorders: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92266/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK92266.pdf
6Mayo Clinic—PTSD symptoms: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967
7MDSC—bipolar disorder symptoms: https://mdsc.ca/edu/what-is-bipolar-disorder/?gclid=CjwKCAjw2cTmBRAVEiwA8YMgzeOs3dvd6dGR6YFeYHJO5rTAzghNbVCWe2TJdWq5Tsy4dQZIaKNaCRoCDRIQAvD_BwE
8WebMD—dysthymia symptoms: https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/chronic-depression-dysthymia#1
9Medical news today—sadness vs depression: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314418.php
10ULifeline—everyday anxiety vs anxiety disorders: http://www.ulifeline.org/articles/439-anxiety-vs-anxiety-disorders
11CPA—pharmacists are highly trusted: https://www.pharmacists.ca/cpha-ca/assets/File/news-events/PAM/PAM2017_CommunicationsToolkit.pdf
12The Translator—medication management by pharmacist improved outcomes in psychiatric patients: https://www.pharmacists.ca/cpha-ca/assets/File/education-practice-resources/Translator%20Winter_V9_Issue4_2015.pdf
13Harvard Health—antidepressant side effects: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-are-the-real-risks-of-antidepressants
14Pharmacy Times—opioid pain medications and mood changes: https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2017/august2017/pharmacists-can-play-important-role-in-depression-screening
15CPA—pharmacist’s role in mental health: https://www.pharmacists.ca/news-events/cpha-blog/the-pharmacist-s-role-in-mental-health/
16Journal of the American Geriatric Society—impact of drug reviews on appropriate prescribing: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9434669
17J Am Geriatric Society—team meetings led by pharmacists improved treatment outcomes: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9434669
18Ontario College of Pharmacists—private counselling areas: http://www.ocpinfo.com/protecting-the-public/your-pharmacy/managing-care/
19Central Care Health—mental health services pharmacies may provide: https://www.centracare.com/for-the-health-of-it/your-health/mental-health-how-can-your-community-pharmacist-help/
20FDA—talking to your pharmacist: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/resources-you/stop-learn-go-tips-talking-your-pharmacist-learn-how-use-medicines-safely
This health information is provided to you by Sandoz
What is nutrition?
- Nutrition is the intake of food, considered in relation to the body's dietary needs. Good nutrition – an adequate, well balanced diet – combined with regular physical activity is a cornerstone of good health. 1
What are the benefits of healthy eating?
Eating the right amount and type of food recommended by Canada’s Food Guide may help:
- Meet your body’s need for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients
- Reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and osteoporosis
- Contribute to your overall health and well-being
What should we eat and how much?
Canada’s Food Guide is a good starting point to better understand what is meant by healthy eating. Of course, how many calories you should eat will depend on how many calories you burn each day through physical activity; in other words, how many calories you use is based on how active you are.
Enjoy a variety of food from the four (4) food groups:
- Grain products
- Vegetables and fruits
- Milk and alternatives
- Meat and alternatives
The number of servings per food group varies based on age. Canada’s Food Guide can provide guidance for you.2
Don’t forget water!
Drink water regularly, especially during hot summer days or when you are very active.
What is the glycemic index?
What we eat impacts our blood sugar level. The glycemic index measures how quickly a food raises blood sugar, compared to a slice of white bread.
Food with a high glycemic index will quickly raise your blood sugar level, while the opposite is true with a low glycemic index food.
Examples of high glycemic index foods (glycemic index of 70 or more) include:3
- Glucose (sugar)
- Boiled potato (hot)
- Instant rice
- Corn flakes
- White rice
- White bread
- White bagel
- French fries
Examples of lower glycemic index foods (glycemic index less than 70) include:3
- Oatmeal (old-fashioned)
- Parboiled rice
- Sweet potato
- Rye bread
- Boiled carrots
Eating lower glycemic foods more often may help contribute to a more constant blood sugar level.
Do I need to take a vitamin supplement? Which vitamins should I take?
Despite our best efforts to eat a well-balanced diet, vitamin supplements may help. But, it can be difficult to know which vitamins to take, how much should be taken, and the proper way to take them. In some cases, your doctor may recommend taking a supplement, but talking to your pharmacist is also a
good place to start.
Your pharmacist can review and discuss your medication history and advise you on whether a supplement is right for you. Your pharmacist may also be able to advise you on vitamins or supplements to avoid as they could interfere with your prescribed medications. Sometimes, a medication might impact how your body absorbs or uses vitamins. Your pharmacist can help you find a supplement to help protect against a vitamin and mineral imbalance.
Vitamins and iron supplements: Essential nutrients for growing children4
Vitamins and minerals are the building blocks of your child’s development, aiding in everything from strong bones and teeth to a healthy immune system and maintaining normal vision
Infants have vitamin and mineral needs that are very different from adults or young children. Specially-formulated vitamins are available, which meet the specific needs and requirements of your new bundle of joy.
Vitamin D helps in the development and maintenance of bones and teeth, and in the absorption and use of calcium and phosphorus. Health Canada recommends giving exclusively and partially breastfed babies 400 IU (10 mcg) of vitamin D per day until the age of 1, or until the infant’s diet includes at least 400 IU (10 mcg) of vitamin D from other sources.
Health Canada’s Dietary Reference Intake for vitamin D is 10 mcg per day for infants aged 0–12 months and 15 mcg per day for children aged 1–3 years.
Rickets – a disease that develops as the result of vitamin D deficiency – can affect bone growth in children. Vitamin D supplements can help reduce the risk of rickets. Be sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist before starting a vitamin D supplement and follow the recommended dose. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, so be sure to ask for advice.
Vitamin A is important for your child’s well-being. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, meaning it can be stored in the body and released as needed. It helps to maintain eyesight, skin membranes and immune function, as well as in the development and maintenance of night vision, bones and teeth. Vitamin A helps growing bodies to do their job.
Health Canada’s daily recommended dietary allowance for vitamin A is 300 mcg RAE for children aged 1-3 years.
There are several kinds of vitamin A. To standardize the way it is measured, Health Canada uses a measurement called “retinol activity equivalents” (RAE).
Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant for the maintenance of good health. It helps in the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth and gums, connective tissue formation and wound healing.
Health Canada’s daily recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C is 15 mg per day for children aged 1-3 years.
Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means the body does not store it, and any extra intake leaves the body. That means your child may need vitamin C every day.
Iron is a factor in the maintenance of good health. It helps to form red blood cells (which move oxygen around the body) and helps in their proper function.
When iron levels are low, a condition called anemia can happen. Symptoms can include slowed growth and development, lack of appetite and energy, difficulty concentrating, irritability and infections that keep coming back.
Health Canada’s daily recommended dietary allowance for iron is 11 mg for infants aged 7-12 months and 7 mg for children aged 1-3.
If you aren’t sure if your little one is getting enough iron through diet alone, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about taking an iron supplement.
We don’t usually think about what happens to our food once we eat it and what supports our digestion.
Although microbes are best known for their role in causing disease (‘bad bacteria’), many friendly microbes (‘good bacteria’) are a part of a healthy human ecosystem that helps the body function properly. Within the human body, there are between 10-100 trillion microbial cells.5
The majority of these microbial cells are located in the gut, where they form microbiota, also known as microflora or gut flora.6
Bacteria in your microbiota produce substances to help digest your food. For example, you could not break down lignans (which are found in foods such as wheat, soybeans, some fruit and vegetables) without their help.7
- Gut microbiota help to control the movements of your gut so that food passes through at the correct speed.
- Microbiota neutralize toxins in foodstuffs, which protects the body.
- Gut microbiota can also neutralize bile acids to render them harmless
- Gut microbiota also supports your body’s immune system and helps to protect against harmful pathogens.
Probiotics are “good’’ bacteria that can be found in many dairy products, as well as in dietary supplements and medicinal products. They are considered to be live microorganisms which, when taken in adequate amounts, may give you a health benefit. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist whether a probiotic may be right for your gut health.
4Please note that all essential vitamins and minerals are equally important, but we are only discussing a few in this particular article.
5Balance Inside and Out About Probiotics (Sandoz) - Ursell L, et al. Nutr Rev. 2012;70(1): S38–S44
6Balance Inside and Out - About Probiotics (Sandoz) - Ursell L, et al. Nutr Rev. 2012;70(1): S38–S44
7Balance Inside and Out - Probiotics and your digestive system (Sandoz) Zhang YJ, et al. Int Journ of Mol Sci. 2015;16(4):7493–7519
This health information is provided to you by Sandoz
Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines
- People who are physically active live longer, healthier lives. Active people are more productive, and more likely to avoid illness and injury.1
- Adults aged 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in sessions of 10 minutes or more.2
- The activity doesn't have to be non-stop: you can do 10 minutes or more at a time throughout the day to reach your daily total. For example, take a brisk 10-minute walk during lunch hour, play for 10 minutes with your kids after work, and then spend another 15 minutes walking the dog in the evening.3
- Muscle and bone-strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least two days per week is beneficial to all, including older adults (65+ years), to enhance balance and prevent falls.4
Benefits of physical activity on overall health5
For children (5-11 years) and youth (12-17 years)
- Physical activity is essential for healthy growth and development. Regular physical activity in childhood develops cardiovascular fitness, strength and bone density.
- Physical activity helps to prevent chronic diseases like cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease later in life.
- Establishing positive habits early in childhood and adolescence can last a lifetime.
For adults (18-64 years)
- Physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of over 25 chronic conditions, including coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, breast cancer, colon cancer, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
- Regular physical activity and higher levels of fitness allow daily tasks to be accomplished with greater ease and comfort, and with less fatigue. Research shows that as much as half the functional decline between the ages of 30 and 70 is due not to aging itself but to an inactive way of life.
For older adults (65 years and older)
- Weight-bearing physical activity reduces the rate of bone loss associated with osteoporosis. Regular physical activity maintains strength and flexibility, balance and coordination, and can help reduce the risk of falls.
- Regular physical activity is a great way to keep your heart healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle.
- If you're not active now, don't worry! You don’t have to suddenly embark on an Olympic training program. You can start slow. Speak to your doctor and/or pharmacist about how to get started!
Tips to introduce physical activity on a daily basis
For children (5-11 years)6
- Encourage walking to school and getting active as a family
- Encourage your kids to skateboard, bike or run instead of getting a ride
- Ask them to walk the dog with you
- Have them rake the leaves, shovel snow or carry the groceries
- Encourage your kids to dance to their favorite music
- Replace computer and TV time with something active
- Encourage participation in a school sports team
- Take your kids to the playground or park to play
Youth (12-17 years)7
Encourage a variety of activities. Advise your older children to choose activities they like or urge them to try something new – run, jump, swim, skateboard, snowboard, ski, skate, or toboggan.
- Walk, run or bike instead of getting a ride
- Advise them to check out yoga, hip-hop, or aerobics classes
- Try indoor rock climbing, play soccer, ride a bike
- Take the dog for a walk
- Dance to their favourite music
- Rake the leaves, shovel snow, carry the groceries home
- Join a team at school
- Set physical activity goals with friends and family
- Reduce screen time
Adults (18-64 years)8
Physical activity plays an important role in your health, well-being and quality of life. Improve your health by being active every day!
- Choose a variety of physical activities you enjoy. Try different activities until you find the ones that feel right for you.
- Get into a routine — go to the pool, hit the gym, join a spin class or set a regular run and do some planned exercise. Make it social by getting someone to join you.
- Limit the time you spend watching TV or sitting in front of a computer during leisure time.
- Move yourself — use active transportation to get places. Whenever you can, walk, bike, or run instead of taking the car.
- Spread your sessions of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity throughout the week. Do at least 10 minutes of physical activity at a time.
- Join a team — take part in sports and recreation activities in groups. You’ll make new friends and get active at the same time.
- Set a goal.
- Make a plan
- Pick a time and place for physical activity.
- Listen to your body.
- Every step counts!
Older adults (65+ years)9
Physical activity plays an important role in your health, well-being and quality of life. These tips will help you improve and maintain your health by being physically active every day!
- Find an activity you like, such as swimming or cycling.
- Minutes count — increase your activity level 10 minutes at a time. Every little bit helps!
- Active time can be social time — look for group activities or classes in your community, or get your family or friends to be active with you.
- Walk wherever and whenever you can.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator, when possible.
- Carry your groceries home.
- Start slowly.
- Listen to your body.
- Every step counts!
Examples of physical activities with different levels of effort (low to intense)10
Just as a variety of foods is important for healthy eating, a variety of activities is important for healthy living. Choose physical activities that require endurance, strength, flexibility and balance:
- Endurance activities are continuous activities such as walking, cycling and tennis. They’re especially beneficial for your heart, lungs and circulatory system.
- Strength activities, such as carrying groceries (or toddlers), heavy yard work or weight training, strengthen muscles and bones and improve posture. Aim for at least two times a week.
- Flexibility activities, such as stretches, yoga, housework or golfing keep your muscles relaxed and your joints mobile. Increased flexibility later in life will allow you to continue to tie your shoes, reach the top shelf in your kitchen and clip your toenails.
- Balance activities you can do at home include standing on one foot or standing on your toes while holding onto the back of a chair. As you progress, steady yourself with one finger, then try it with no hands. When you are really steady, try the exercise with your eyes closed. Yoga and Tai Chi are also good for your balance along with any exercises that will strengthen your lower body.
Be sure to vary your activity from light, moderate and vigorous effort. Here are some suggestions:
- light walking
- easy gardening or foraging
- brisk walking
- raking leaves
- water aerobics
- fast swimming
- fast dancing
You are never too old to strengthen your body! Studies have found that weight training can reverse muscle weakness even among people in their 90s.
NOTE: Before starting a physical activity program, speak to your doctor and/or pharmacist first to discuss what is right for you.
Physical activity for people with medical conditions
- Before starting any new activity program, always check with your doctor and/or pharmacist to ensure you are physically ready.
- Properly designed activities may not only decrease your arthritis pain, but may also increase your flexibility and overall fitness.
- Did you know you are “feeding” your joints when you're active? Cartilage depends on joint movement to absorb nutrients and remove waste. Cartilage, ligaments and bone also become stronger and more resilient with regular exercise.
- If you have more severe arthritis, accompanied by joint deformity, pain and muscle weakness, it is important to consult with a physiotherapist. You don't want to hurt yourself. Having an expert coach at your side is a sensible precaution. The same holds true if you recently underwent joint surgery.
Find exercises ideas on The Arthritis Society website: https://www.arthritis.ca
Physical activity helps improve physical and mental health and it also plays a vital role in the management of fibromyalgia.
Physical activity helps reduce stiffness and pain, increase energy and stamina, improve sleep quality and promote weight loss and long-term weight management.
It’s important to consult your doctor, pharmacist or physical therapist about a routine that is moderate and will not increase the chance of flare-ups. There are many fitness centres and organizations that have exercise programs which target people with arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Osteoporosis Canada has a very complete toolbox to help people manage osteoporosis through various exercises called “Too Fit to Fracture”.
Too Fit to Fracture was developed by expert consensus using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) method, which is endorsed by the World Health Organization and the Cochrane Collaboration.
Exercise is recommended for all people with osteoporosis, even people who have had a spine or hip fracture. Consider speaking to a physical therapist or kinesiologist to get advice on exercises that are right for you.
Experts recommend four (4) types of exercise:
- Strength exercises every day to keep you strong and fit: at least twice a week.
- Posture exercises every day to keep you standing tall, not stooped.
- Balance exercises every day to help you be more stable on your feet. You can walk easier. Good balance helps prevent falls
- Aerobic physical activity that is weight bearing at least 150 minutes per week to improve your overall health. It may also improve your bone strength.
Find exercises proposed by Too Fit to Fracture program at: https://osteoporosis.ca/health-care-professionals/clinical-practice-guidelines/exercise-recommendations/.
Being faced with physical activity after you have had a heart attack (with or without stents), heart surgery or a heart procedure, can be a bit scary. But we know that physical activity is the one sure way to work your heart muscle back to health.
It is very important to work with your health care team to find the type of physical activity that is right for you to start with — and to slowly build your strength and health.
What is cardiac rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehab teaches you how to safely become more active and make lifestyle changes so you improve your heart health and reduce your risk of future heart problems. Program teams may include a:
- Exercise professional
- Social worker
Your healthcare team will help guide you toward heart health. They can help to set you up with a program in your community.
Just starting to exercise? Begin by walking
For many people, it is easy to start with walking. Below is an example of a walking program. Walk in the hallway, walk the length of your driveway, walk in the mall, walk a block, walk for 10 minutes.
Remember you are starting slow and easy and speak to a doctor and/or pharmacist before starting any new physical activity.You may need to plan rest areas or places to stop and sit along the way. This program can be used for biking, stationary bike, water walking and swimming.
|At home||Warm up||Training period||Cool down|
|Week 1 |
Every Second day
|10-minute walk at an easy pace|
|Week 2 |
Every Second day
|5-minute easy walk||10-minute walk at faster pace |
5-minute walk at an easy pace
|5-minute easy walk and stretch|
|Week 3 |
4 times a week
|5-minute easy walk||15-minute walk at a faster pace||5-minute easy walk and stretch|
|Week 4 |
4 times a week
|5-minute easy walk||20-minute walk at a faster pace||5-minute easy walk and stretch|
|Week 5-6 |
At least 5 days a week
|10-minute easy walk||25-30 minute walk at a faster pace |
Start to pump or swing arms
Walk up gentle hills leaning slightly forward
|5-minute easy walk and stretch for each walk|
Physical Activity can be a trigger for people when their asthma in not under good control. People with asthma should not avoid exercising. As long as your asthma is under control, physical activity is recommended to keep your lungs and body in good shape.
Exercise helps you:
- strengthen your breathing muscles
- boost your immune system
- keep a healthy body weight
All of these benefits can improve your asthma in the long run. The key to physical activity – make sure your asthma is under control before you start. If you have asthma that is triggered by exercise, you should follow your asthma action plan.
How to exercise with asthma:
1. Keep your blue rescue inhaler on you at all times.
2. Check that your asthma is under control. If it's not under control, physical activity could be dangerous.
3. Take your medications as directed. If you're having trouble breathing, you should take your rescue medicine (blue inhaler, for example, Ventolin® or generic equivalent). Your doctor may also ask you to take your blue rescue inhaler or another bronchodilator fifteen minutes before you exercise.
4. Warm up and cool down properly
- Before physical activity, warm up slowly by walking, stretching, and doing other low-level activities.
- After you've finished physical activity, cool down slowly for at least 10 minutes.
- Don't stop exercising all of a sudden. If you've been running, taper the run to a walking pace. If you've been swimming, finish your swim with a slow paddle. Give your body time to adjust.
5. Protect yourself from other asthma triggers while you're exercising (cold air, smog, pollen, etc.)
- Pay attention to the air quality and temperature in the place you are planning to exercise. Use your good judgement. You may have to move your exercise to a place with better air quality.
- If you are planning a run outside on a hot, humid, smoggy day, your asthma is likely to be made worse by the air and by exercise. Try running indoors, in an air-conditioned gym instead.
- If you are running on a grass field but are allergic to grass, your asthma may get worse. Try running in the woods or on a paved trail.
- If cold air is a trigger, try breathing through your nose or through a scarf, to warm the air up before it gets to your lungs. If your asthma symptoms are bad, wait until the temperature warms up.
6. If you have symptoms, stop exercising and take your blue rescue inhaler.
- Sit up. Wait a few minutes to see if your symptoms improve.
- If your symptoms improve a lot, warm up again and slowly go back to exercising.
- If your symptoms don't improve, take another dose of your blue rescue inhaler. Wait a few minutes to see if your symptoms improve.
7. If your symptoms still don't improve, follow these instructions:
What to do in an asthma attack?
- STOP any activity
- Take your blue rescue inhaler
- Sit up
- If the medicine is not working, call 911
- If symptoms are not getting better, keep taking your blue rescue inhaler until the ambulance arrives
Prostate Cancer Awareness
This health information is provided to you by Sandoz
Men’s Health and the Prostate
The month of September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Canada, a month dedicated toward engaging and connecting the public, media, academia, and government around a disease that affects everyone on some level. One in seven Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, making it the most common cancer in men. Even if you are feeling healthy, a little planning can help you stay that way.
What is a Prostate?The prostate is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is about the shape and size of a walnut. It rests below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It also wraps around the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. The prostate makes a thick, milky-white fluid that becomes part of the semen. Because of its location and function, prostate problems can affect the ability to pass urine and sexual function. 2
Conditions that can affect the prostate
Benign prostatic hyperplasia2As you age, your prostate can become larger. This is a normal part of aging for most men.
Because it surrounds part of the urethra, an enlarged prostate can squeeze that tube. This causes problems when urinating. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH affects about 3/4 of men over age 60.
Prostatitis3Prostatitis is swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland. It also causes painful or difficult urination. Other symptoms include pain in the groin, pelvic area or genitals and sometimes flu-like symptoms. Prostatitis affects men of all ages but tends to be more common in men 50 or younger. The condition has a number of causes. Sometimes the cause is not identified. If prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection, it can usually be treated with antibiotics. Depending on the cause, prostatitis can come on gradually or suddenly.
If you have pelvic pain, difficult or painful urination, or painful ejaculation, talk to your Walmart Pharmacist. If left untreated, some types of prostatitis can cause worsening infection or other health problems.
Prostate Cancer4,5,6Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Usually prostate cancer grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. Prostate cancer may grow slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment. However, other types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can spread quickly.
Prostate cancer that is detected early — when it is still confined to the prostate gland— has a better chance of successful treatment. Prostate cancer that is more advanced may cause signs and symptoms such as:
- Trouble urinating
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Blood in the semen
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Bone pain
- Erectile dysfunction
While any man can develop prostate cancer, you may be at a higher risk if you are:
- Over 50: Age is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. Your risk increases starting at age 50, and most cases are diagnosed in men over age 65.
- Have a family history of prostate cancer: Your risk is higher if a first-degree relative (father or brother) has had prostate cancer. Your risk increases with each additional first-degree relative who has the disease.
- African or Caribbean: Prostate cancer is more common among men in these ethnic groups. (Men of Asian descent have lower risk.)
- Overweight: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk. Regular exercise and a nutritious diet are important to overall well-being.
- Do not have a healthy diet: Men who eat a low-fibre, high-fat diet are more likely to develop prostate cancer. Saturated fats may increase testosterone production and promote the growth of prostate cancer cells.
A common test for prostate cancer is the prostate-specific antigen test (PSA test). Debate continues regarding the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening, and medical organizations differ on their recommendations. Discuss prostate cancer screening with your doctor and/or your Walmart Pharmacist. The decision to have prostate cancer screening is not simple. It is a personal choice that depends on many factors, like age, degree of risk, and family history.
Prevention is Key5You may help reduce your risk of prostate cancer if you:
- Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables: Focus on choosing a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and nutrients that can contribute to your health. Whether you can prevent prostate cancer through diet has yet to be conclusively proven. But eating a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables can improve your overall health.
- Choose healthy foods over supplements: No studies have shown that supplements play a role in reducing your risk of prostate cancer. Instead, choose foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals so that you can maintain healthy levels of vitamins in your body.
- Exercise most days of the week: : Exercise improves your overall health, helps you maintain your weight and improves your mood. There is some evidence that men who don't exercise have higher PSA levels, while men who exercise may have a lower risk of prostate cancer. Try to exercise most days of the week. If you're new to exercise, start slow and work your way up to more exercise time each day.
- Maintain a healthy weight: If your current weight is healthy, work to maintain it by exercising most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, add more exercise and reduce the number of calories you eat each day.
- Talk to your doctor and/or Walmart Pharmacist about increased risk of prostate cancer: Men with a high risk of prostate cancer may consider medications or other treatments to reduce their risk. Some studies suggest that taking 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, including finasteride (Propecia®, Proscar®) and dutasteride (Avodart®), may reduce the overall risk of developing prostate cancer. These drugs are used to control prostate gland enlargement and hair loss in men. However, some evidence indicates that men taking these medications may have an increased risk of getting a more serious form of prostate cancer (high-grade prostate cancer).
1http://prostatecancer.ca/Get-Involved/Events/Prostate- Cancer-Awareness-Month (accessed July 24, 2018)
2 https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/prostate-health-and-disease(accessed July 30, 2018)
3https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostatitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355766 (accessed July 30, 2018)
4http://www.prostatecancer.ca/Prostate-Cancer/About-Prostate-Cancer/Risk-Factors (accessed July 30, 2018)
5https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostate-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20353087 (accessed July 30, 2018)
6https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/does-prostate-cancer-screening-matter (accessed July 30, 2018)
Seasonal Affective Awareness
This health information is provided to you by Mint
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Managing Winter Blues
Do you regularly find yourself feeling “blue” during the winter months?1,2,3Like it or not, in Canada we can be sure that winter will arrive. As the days get shorter and hours of daylight are fewer, some people experience changes in mood and energy level because of the reduced amount of light. These mood changes may affect general wellbeing and may be due to:
- Your biological clock – With less sunlight, your body’s natural wake-sleep cycle may be disrupted.
- Serotonin level – The brain chemical serotonin affects mood. When this level drops because of less sunlight, you may experience mood changes.
- Melatonin level – The brain chemical melatonin affects sleep and mood. As melatonin levels drop, this can disrupt sleep and impact mood.
If you experience changes in mood and energy levels seasonally – usually during late fall and winter – you may have a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?1,2,3SAD is a type of depression related to the changing seasons. In most people with SAD, symptoms begin in late fall, as the days get shorter, and end in late winter or early spring, as the days get longer. There are some people who experience SAD in the summer, but this is much less common.
About 2% to 3% of Canadians will experience SAD in their lifetime. About 10% of people who have depression have SAD. Some people (about 15% of Canadians) will experience a milder form of SAD that does not interfere with their daily routines but is still SAD.
What are the signs and symptoms of SAD?1,2,3
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
- Wanting to sleep all the time (winter); not being able to get a good night’s sleep (summer)
- Feeling sad, tired all the time, hopeless, irritable, tense, stressed, anti-social
- Changes in appetite; food cravings such as sugar and starch
- Low energy and motivation
It is important to know that while these symptoms are also general symptoms of depression, with SAD the symptoms will typically start and end at the same time each year.
Who is at risk of developing SAD?1,2,3
- Adults (usually younger than 50 years old) are at greater risk of developing SAD.
- Women may experience SAD more often than men.
- People who live in countries further to the north or to the south of the equator, where daylight fluctuates seasonally.
- People with a family history of SAD or other forms of depression.
How is SAD diagnosed?1,2,3If you are concerned that you may have symptoms of SAD, speak with your doctor. He/she will take a history, perform a physical examination, and may recommend having some lab tests to rule out other conditions.
In addition to a physical examination, your doctor or a recommended mental health professional will do a psychological examination that will include questions about your symptoms, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
How is SAD treated?1,2,3
- Light therapy- Light therapy is a common treatment for SAD. Your doctor or Walmart Pharmacist may recommend a light box that may be purchased for use at home. They can also advise you about when, how, and for how long to use the light box.
The therapy requires that you sit a short distance from the light box to be exposed to bright light within the first hour of waking up. The light from the box is similar to natural, outdoor light and seems to cause changes in brain chemicals like serotonin and melatonin that are linked to mood. It may take a few days/weeks for the treatment to have an effect, but it seems to be effective for many people. You may experience some side effects including nausea, headache, and eye strain.
- Counselling- Counselling (psychotherapy) may be helpful for some people, and in particular, some people may find cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helpful. Your doctor may be able to recommend therapists with expertise and experience treating people with SAD, and explain how and why counselling may be helpful.
- Medication- Discuss with your doctor what medication may be most helpful. You may need to try more than one medication to see which one works best for you. Your doctor and Walmart Pharmacist can answer any questions you may have about what to expect with your medication, including how to take it, possible side effects, and how long it may take to relieve symptoms of SAD. Your doctor may recommend taking medication before your symptoms generally appear each year.
- Self-help- There are many ways you may help reduce your symptoms:
- Follow your treatment plan.
- Practice yoga or meditation to relieve stress.
- Consider art therapy or music therapy to help you relax.
- Try to exercise regularly. Any physical activity helps to relieve some stress and anxiety, and may improve your mood and boost your energy level.
- Practice good sleep habits.
- Follow a healthful diet and try to avoid overeating sugary or starchy foods.
- Make an effort to socialize and be with people you enjoy.
- If your budget and vacation time allow, try to schedule a trip to a sunny destination during the winter.
Tips for making winter “brighter”2,3
- Keep blinds and curtains open and up, and trim trees and high bushes in the yard to allow in more light.
- If you are able, sit closer to windows at home and/or at work.
- Get outside for a walk during the day, even on cloudy days. Any outdoor light will be helpful, especially within two hours of waking up, but any time during the day is a good time.
Support2,3Your healthcare team, including your Walmart Pharmacist, may be supportive in several ways, such as answering questions you may have about SAD, your symptoms, and medications, and offering information and recommendations for counselling services, relaxation techniques, and more.
Let family and friends you trust and with whom you enjoy spending time know how you are feeling. Share a laugh or a tear with those you care for and who care for you. Stay connected!
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/seasonal-affective-disorder. Accessed October 17, 2018.
- Canadian Mental Health Association (BC). Seasonal Affective Disorder. https://cmha.bc.ca/documents/seasonal-affective-disorder-2/Accessed October 17, 2018;http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/sites/default/files/seasonal-affective-disorder_0.pdf. Accessed October 17, 2018.
- Mayo Clinic. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Symptoms & Causes.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651.Accessed October 17, 2018.
This health information is provided to you by Pharma Science
As spring begins to take hold, the familiar sneezing, itchy eyes and throat, and runny nose start to appear in people with seasonal allergies. An allergy is your body’s reaction to something in the environment that it becomes sensitive to – called an allergen – that typically doesn’t cause a reaction in most other people.1 It is estimated that more than one-in-six Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies.2 The allergy season in Canada typically begins in early spring and ends with the first real frost in late autumn.
What are seasonal allergies?3,4
Seasonal allergies, often called “hay fever,” are allergies people have to outdoor allergens, such as pollens that are in the air and mould spores that are stirred up into the air.
- Allergies that appear in the spring (April-May) are usually due to tree pollen.
- Allergies that appear in the summer (late May to mid-July) are usually due to grass and weed pollens and outdoor mould spores (mid-July) that may develop in rainy, humid weather on logs and rotting plants, in soil, and on grasses.
- Allergies that appear in the fall (mid-August to October) are usually caused by weeds, especially ragweed.
What are the signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies?5
People with seasonal allergies may have some or all of these more common signs and symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Watery, red, itchy eyes
- Itchy nose, roof of mouth, or throat
Other symptoms may include blue-coloured skin under the eyes, postnasal drip, and fatigue.
Is it hay fever, or is it a cold?6
|Symtoms||Causes||When do symptoms start?||How long do symptoms last?|
|Hay Fever|| || || || |
|Common Cold|| || || || |
How are seasonal allergies diagnosed?7,8,9
Both children and adults may have symptoms of seasonal allergies. A specialist doctor called an allergist can help you/your child determine the exact cause of the allergies, and learn more about seasonal allergies and how to best manage and treat them.
- The doctor will ask if you have a family history of allergies and about you/your child’s allergy symptoms to see if there is a pattern to the symptoms.
- If the symptoms and history suggest that you/your child may have seasonal allergies, the doctor may recommend allergy testing to confirm what allergens are causing you/your child’s symptoms.
- Allergy testing is done by skin testing and/or blood testing.
- The diagnosis of seasonal allergy is made when BOTH positive test results show a sensitivity to an allergen AND you/your child have symptoms when exposed to the allergen.
- For example, if you/your child test positive to grass pollen and you/your child sneeze and have a runny nose when playing on the grass, you/your child would be diagnosed with an allergy to grass pollen.
Can outdoor seasonal allergy allergens be brought indoors?10
Even though your seasonal allergies are mainly triggered when you are outdoors, they may also be triggered indoors when allergens are brought in from the outside.
Allergens that may be brought indoors:
- Pollen that comes into the house through open windows and doors
- Pollen that comes indoors on your hands and in your hair
- Pets may carry pollen in from outside on their coats
Indoor allergens that may trigger or make seasonal allergy symptoms worse:
- May not be a trigger for seasonal allergies, but it does make symptoms worse
- May occur in damp bathrooms and basements
Preventing seasonal allergies10,11
Avoiding your allergens is the best way to prevent symptoms. There are ways to manage your indoor environment, and when you are outdoors, there are ways you may avoid or reduce exposure to seasonal pollen.
Managing your indoor environment:
- Keep bathrooms and basements dry and clean, especially if when it is humid in the summer.
- Use a dehumidifier.
- Avoid carpet in bathrooms and basements.
- Keep windows and doors closed – as much as possible – during high-pollen seasons.
- Use an air conditioner.
- Change furnace filters regularly.
- Avoid drying clothes outdoors when pollen levels are high.
Avoiding outdoor triggers:
- Know the daily pollen count.
- Pollen counts are highest when the weather is warm, dry, and breezy.
- Your local weather forecast may include a pollen count during allergy season.
- Pollen counts are often higher in the morning.
- Wash your hands when you come indoors and shower or bathe in the evening to wash off pollen.
- Wear gloves and a mask if you do a lot of gardening.
- Keep your grass cut short.
- Drive with the windows closed and the air conditioning on.
How are seasonal allergies treated?12
It is important to know what your allergens are and to try to avoid them if/when possible. If avoiding them is not always possible and symptoms are bothersome, medications may be used.
- BEFORE taking any medication – even over-the-counter medications – to treat your allergy symptoms, speak with your doctor and/or pharmacist.
- Always take your medication(s), or give your child his/her medication(s), exactly as you have been told to by your doctor and/or pharmacist.
These medications may help control symptoms:
- Antihistamines help to manage symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and itchy eyes and/or throat.
- Decongestant nasal sprays, drops, or tablets may be used for stuffy nose.
- They should only be used for a few days.
- Inhaled steroids (nasal sprays) may be suggested if antihistamines are not controlling your symptoms, especially if your allergies are more severe.
- These medications “prevent” symptoms, so they should be started BEFORE your seasonal allergy(ies) begin.
If you are not able to manage your symptoms by avoiding triggers and taking medications, your doctor may recommend allergy shots.
- These shots include small amounts of your allergen(s).
- Allergy shots are usually given over a longer period of time.
- Shots are given on a regular schedule to allow your body to get used to the allergen(s) and so that you no longer have the allergic reaction to it/them.
- You may be asked to wait in your doctor’s office for about 30 minutes after each shot to be sure you don’t have a reaction to the shot.
Medications in pregnancy and breastfeeding13
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about which antihistamines are known to be safe in pregnancy.
- Antihistamines are considered safe to use during breastfeeding.
- Only very small amounts are excreted in the breast milk and would not cause any adverse effects on a breastfeeding infant. Talk to your healthcare practitioner if you have concerns.
Medications and allergy shots in children9
- If it is not possible for your child to avoid seasonal allergy triggers, there are allergy medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and inhaled steroids (nasal sprays), that can help manage symptoms.
- An allergist may evaluate your child and recommend allergy shots.
- Always let your doctor know if your child is sick or experiencing asthma. The doctor may stop the shots until your child is better.
- As with adults, your child will have to wait in the doctor’s office for about 30 minutes after each shot to be sure he/she doesn’t have a reaction to the shot.
Your doctor and/or pharmacist can help you make the right treatment choice(s) for your child’s symptoms and seasonal allergy history.
Seasonal allergies and asthma14
- Approximately 75% of people with asthma also have seasonal allergies.
- Some of the same allergens will trigger seasonal allergies and asthma.
- Well-managed seasonal allergies may reduce asthma symptoms and may help prevent the development of asthma in children with seasonal allergies.
1American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Seasonal Allergies. https://acaai.org/allergies/seasonal-allergies. Reviewed and updated 12/28/2017. Accessed April 19, 2018.
2CBC News. Seasonal allergies: something to sneeze at. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/seasonal-allergies-something-to-sneeze-at-1.930532. Posted March 19, 2010. Last updated May 13, 2011. Accessed April 18, 2018.
3Asthma Canada. Allergies. https://www.asthma.ca/allergies/about-allergies/. Accessed April 19, 2018.
4CBC News. The four seasons of hay fever. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/the-four-seasons-of-hay-fever-1.1024941. Posted May 24, 2011. Accessed April 18, 2018.
5Mayo Clinic. Hay fever. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20373039?p=1. Accessed April 19, 2018.
6Asthma.ca. Ah-choo! Is it a Cold, Hay Fever, Sinusitis or the Flu? https://asthma.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Sinusitis_Rhinitis_Comparison_Chart.pdf. Accessed April 18, 2018.
7Allergy/Asthma Information Association. Allergic Rhinitis. http://www.aaia.ca/en/allergic_rhinitis.htm. From Allergy & Asthma News 2008(2). Accessed April 20, 2018.
8Hospital for Sick Children. AboutKidsHealth: Allergies. https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Article?contentid=804&language=English. Updated December 18, 2014. Accessed April 18, 2018.
9KidsHealth®. About seasonal allergies. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/seasonal-allergies.html. Reviewed October 2016. Accessed April 18, 2018.
10CHealth. Avoiding outdoor allergens. http://chealth.canoe.com/channel/allergy/allergy-prevention/avoiding-outdoor-allergens. Accessed April 18, 2018.
11Asthma Canada. Allergies: Taking control. https://www.asthma.ca/allergies/taking-control/. Accessed April 18, 2018.
12Asthma Canada. Allergies: Treatment. https://www.asthma.ca/allergies/treatment/. Accessed April 18, 2018.
13SickKids. Motherisk: Safety of antihistamines during pregnancy and lactation. http://www.motherisk.org/prof/updatesDetail.jsp?content_id=927. Published May 2010. Accessed April 19, 2018.
14Asthma Canada. Allergies. https://www.asthma.ca/allergies.Accessed April 19, 2018.
This health information is provided to you by Apotex
Canadians are travelling more and more each year, whether for work or pleasure. But whatever the reason, it’s important to make sure your travel planning includes taking measures for healthy travel.1 Being proactive, prepared and taking precautions will help ensure a healthy trip for you and those travelling with you.2 The following tips can help:
1. Consider Your Health Status: Check with your doctor to see if you should cancel or delay your travel plans if you are not feeling well, especially if you have a fever. This can help prevent spreading diseases to others as well as ensuring you don’t end up with a health emergency during your trip. If you’re pregnant, you can be at higher risk for certain conditions such as blood clots due to flying. Talk to your doctor about what specific precautions or health considerations to keep in mind for safe travelling while pregnant.3
2. Get Immunized: Book an appointment with a travel clinic (or your doctor or Walmart pharmacist if they offer travel services) a few months before any international travel. In certain Canadian provinces, pharmacists are permitted to inject travel vaccines. Some countries require specific immunizations prior to entry and may require more than 1 dose that needs to be separated by a few months. This is also a good time to get updated on routine immunizations as well. Ask your travel expert to review any other health precautions you may need to take based on your destination, such as malaria prevention.2
3. Learn About Your Destination: It’s a good idea to do research on where you will be visiting. Some precautions will be discussed at your travel health appointment but you should look into things, such as whether the tap water is safe to drink or if there are any specific customs or rules, especially if you plan on driving,. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injuries during travel. A good resource is www.travelhealth.gc.ca by the Public Health Agency of Canada. You can review by destination and get information on travel health notices, safety and security, natural health disasters etc. for your specific travel destination.4
4. Pack a Travel Health Kit: There are few essentials that all travel health kits should include. This includes:
- Basic first aid items (bandages, gauze, tweezers, antiseptic etc.)
- Insect repellant
- Antibacterial hand wipes
- Oral rehydration solution packet
Over-the-counter travel medications should always be discussed with your Walmart Pharmacist or doctor before you leave on your trip. It is important to make sure medications such as pain/fever medications, travel diarrhea treatments, motion sickness medications, antihistamines, and laxatives etc. are appropriate for your specific needs and you need to understand when/how they should be taken.5
5. Travel Safe with Prescription Medications: When travelling with prescription medications, make sure to keep them in the original container and pack them in a waterproof container in your carry-on luggage. You should pack extra medication in checked luggage in case of loss or unexpected travel delays. A cooler might be needed for medications that need to be refrigerated, such as insulin. It’s also a good idea to travel with a copy of the prescriptions or letter from your doctor outlining your conditions and the medications you take.2 Talk to your Walmart Pharmacist to see if you are eligible for a medication review. Your Walmart Pharmacist can review all your medications and provide you with a detailed medication list that would provide the information you need for a trip.
6. Manage Jet Lag: Jet lag makes it hard for you to sleep at night or stay alert during the day, and it can also make you feel weak and affect your bowel movements. It occurs when you cross time zones; most people won’t feel the effects until they’ve crossed three time zones. The more time zones you cross, and if travelling east, the more you will feel the effects. Talk to your doctor and/or Walmart pharmacist to see if melatonin (hormone that helps regulate sleep/wake cycle) or sleeping pills would be appropriate. Other tips that can help:
- Get plenty of rest before your trip
- If your trip is 2 days or more: sleep 1 hour earlier each night for a few days before travel when travelling east and 1 hour later if travelling west
- Set your watch to the new time zone on the plane and try to sleep/stay awake depending on what the time is at the destination
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol and caffeine on the plane
- Adjust your schedule as soon as you arrive – go to sleep at your usual bedtime and try not to sleep in
- If travelling for a big event, try and arrive a few days before to give your body time to adjust6
7. Learn what To Do If You Get Sick While Away: Contact the Canadian Consulate or Embassy if you become seriously ill as they can help you find medical care. For locations by destination, please refer to the Government of Canada website: https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies-consulates. If travelling to a malaria-risk area, get medical help right away if you become ill with a fever or flu-like symptoms. Traveller’s diarrhea is the most common illness while away on a trip. If it lasts more than 7 days or if you have a fever, bloody or mucus in your stools, and/or signs of dehydration, make sure to see a doctor. 5 To help avoid traveller’s diarrhea watch what you eat:
- Avoid eating food from street vendors
- Make sure all milk and dairy products consumed are pasteurized
- Don’t eat raw or undercooked meat and seafood
- Stick to fruits and vegetables that are cooked and only eat raw ones if they can be washed and peeled by yourself
- Avoid unsterilized water and ice in high-risk countries.7
8. Get Post Travel Care When Needed: If you were healthy while away and feel fine when you return, there is no need to see your doctor. But keep in mind that some diseases can take weeks to months to show any symptoms. If you were sick with fever or serious flu-like symptoms while away or within 6 months of returning, have diarrhea that won’t go away or keeps recurring, skin rash or sores, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, yellowing of the whites of the eyes or shortness of breath, be sure to see your doctor and mention which areas you travelled to.8
1https://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/170818/dq170818b-eng.htm Accessed May 4, 2018
2https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/te7636#te7641 Accessed June 12, 2018
3https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/publications/well-on-your-way Accessed June 12, 2018
4https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/te7636 Accessed May 14, 2018
5https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/te7642#te7642-sec Accessed May 15, 2018
6https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/ug4997#ug4998 Accessed May 15, 2018
7https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/travelers-diarrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20352182 Accessed June 12, 2018
8https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/te7636#te7647 Accessed May 16, 2018
This health information is provided to you by Apotex
CONCERNED ABOUT TRAVELLER’S DIARRHEA?
Your pharmacist can help – before and after your trip
Montezuma’s revenge, Tut’s tummy… whatever you call it, traveller’s diarrhea does not make a pleasant travel companion. In fact, it can ruin a much-anticipated holiday.
However, it would be a shame to let concerns about traveller’s diarrhea keep you from exploring the world. Fortunately, you can take steps to make the experience less uncomfortable — or avoid it altogether. Consider your Walmart Pharmacist a valuable partner in this mission.
What is it, anyway?
Traveller’s diarrhea is the most common health issue that travellers face, striking up to 40% of people visiting less developed parts of the world.1 The risk tends to be highest in South Asia, the Middle East, tropical Africa, and Central America.2
Most people develop traveller’s diarrhea by eating foods or drinking beverages contaminated with bacteria (often E. coli), viruses, or parasites.3 These “bugs” can sneak into undercooked meat or fish, fresh salads, raw vegetables, unpeeled fruit, cold sauces, unpasteurized dairy products, and untreated water.3
|Did you know?3|
In a survey of about 500 Canadians, most respondents revealed they know very little about the possible sources of E. coli infection while on vacation:
All told, a whopping 98% of Canadians surveyed make a food or water mistake within their first three days of travel.4
If you have traveller’s diarrhea, you will probably know it. But here is a classic definition: three or more loose (and possibly bloody) stools in 24 hours along with at least one of the following symptoms: fever, nausea, vomiting, and/or cramps.5 While obviously unpleasant, the condition does not usually put healthy adults at serious risk. However, children and the elderly who get it can become dehydrated very quickly, so you need to watch them closely.6 When in doubt, always check it out! Seek advice from a healthcare professional if you have questions or concerns.
|Which bug is to blame? What to expect7|
|Caused by||How common||Clues||Duration|
|Bacteria||80-90% of cases||Starts suddenly |
|Viruses||5-8% of cases||Starts suddenly |
Vomiting may be greater
|Parasites||< 10% of cases||Starts gradually||Weeks to months if untreated|
An ounce of preparationYour Walmart Pharmacist can recommend products to help you prevent — or, in the worst-case scenario, handle — traveller’s diarrhea. Here are some options to discuss with your pharmacist:
- Bismuth subsalicylate: Taking a medication containing bismuth (such as Pepto-Bismol®) before your trip can decrease your risk of getting traveller’s diarrhea by up to 50%.7 Your Walmart Pharmacist can let you know when and how to take it. Avoid bismuth if you’re pregnant, and don’t give it to a child under age 3.8
- Dukoral® vaccine: This drinkable vaccine lowers your risk of getting traveller’s diarrhea caused by E. coli for about three months. Thus, you can take it before your vacation.3 You don’t need a prescription to get the vaccine; just ask your Walmart Pharmacist to help you. While Canada’s tropical medicine committee (called CATMAT) doesn’t recommend Dukoral for everyone, the precaution makes sense in people at higher risk.9 Just ask your Walmart Pharmacist to help you decide if the vaccine is right for you.
- Loperamide: If you do get traveller’s diarrhea, this medication decreases how often and how urgently you need to go to the bathroom,8 which can make your scheduled train or plane ride a lot more bearable.
- Antibiotics: If you’re travelling to a high-risk area, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Keeping the pills on “standby” during your trip can allow you to treat severe traveller’s diarrhea early. (Mild cases don’t require antibiotics at all.) Antibiotics shorten the duration of traveller’s diarrhea, especially when combined with loperamide.10 Be sure to discuss when to take the antibiotics with your doctor or Walmart Pharmacist before you leave. In very limited cases, a healthcare professional may suggest you take antibiotics before your trip as a preventive measure.10 Your Walmart Pharmacist can also advise you about the pros and cons of antibiotics for traveller’s diarrhea.
- Oral rehydration: If you’re travelling with children or older people, or if you have a chronic illness, talk to your Walmart Pharmacist about oral rehydration products. They are available in powdered form so they can be packed easily and mixed with water later. These products help replenish essential vitamins and minerals that the diarrhea may have washed out of your body.11 In children, who have a much greater risk of getting dehydrated, oral rehydration is essential as long as the diarrhea continues.11 While most pharmacies around the world carry these products, packing some in your travel kit can give you extra peace of mind.
While on your trip
Spending the day exploring an exciting new place can bring on thirst, especially in the hot summer months. But don’t reach for the first liquid you see! If at all possible, stick to drinks from commercially sealed containers. (Water in a bottle could be tap water.3) If you’re unsure, don’t drink it! And remember that ice cubes may also come from water that is not clean.
When eating fruits or vegetables, follow the rule of “cook it, boil it, peel it, or leave it.”3 Wait until you have washed fruit in clean water and peeled it before you eat it.8 Your safest bet in a restaurant is to eat only items that are both cooked and served hot. The salad buffet that’s been sitting at room temperature since the morning? Give it a pass.
The most effective strategies are often the simplest, like washing your hands. Wash them often — not just before and after eating. Wash your hands several times throughout the day.7 Good hand hygiene keeps germs from spreading.
|Street food smarts12
For many people, a big part of the travel experience includes sampling local foods on the street. Here’s how you can enjoy street foods without putting yourself at high risk of traveller’s diarrhea:
If traveller’s diarrhea strikesWhile prevention measures will greatly reduce your risk, traveller’s diarhhea can still find you. If your symptoms suggest traveller’s diarrhea, start treatment right away. There is no need to first get a formal diagnosis. Begin by drinking safe beverages, such as bottled water or bottled unsweetened fruit juice to replace the fluids you’ve lost. It’s important to know that alcohol and caffeine can make dehydration worse, not better, and that sugary drinks can worsen diarrhea.9
Now is the time to reach for the loperamide your Walmart Pharmacist advised you to pack. The bismuth subsalicylate-containing medication you took as prevention can also help shorten the duration of the illness.13 If you seem to have a more severe case, consider taking those antibiotics you brought with you and/or seeing a healthcare professional.
|When to seek medical help6,14|
|For adults||For children|
|A local embassy or consulate may be able to help you find a healthcare professional.|
Back on home soilIf you still have symptoms after you get home, a visit to your Walmart Pharmacist can help speed up your recovery. Your pharmacist will likely recommend some of the treatments listed above. Symptoms that will not go away or get worse require a doctor’s attention, of course. But in the great majority of cases, your traveller’s diarrhea will quickly resolve — making the memory of your trip one that you can share with family and friends, along with your souvenirs.
2Journal of Travel Medicine—riskiest regions: https://academic.oup.com/jtm/article/24/suppl_1/S2/3782734
3Newswire Canada—causes of TD: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/canadians-widely-unaware-of-how-to-protect-against-travellers-diarrhea-caused-by-an-e-coli-infection-515800651.html
4Dukoral website—food/water mistake stat: https://www.dukoralcanada.com/high-risk-areas
5AAFP article—symptoms: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0601/p2095.html
6Mayo clinic—risk in children, when to see a doctor: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/travelers-diarrhea/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352188
7U.S. Pharmacist—what to expect from different causative agents: https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/approach-to-treatment-and-prevention-of-travelers-diarrhea
8CDC advisory—safe eating and drinking practices, loperamide: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/travelers-diarrhea
9Canadian Family Physician—CATMAT vaccine recommendations: https://www.cfp.ca/content/61/11/976
10Medscape—antibiotics as treatment and prevention: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/887515_1
11HealthLink BC—oral rehydration: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/aa140669spec
12Travel insurance review—street food safety: https://www.travelinsurancereview.net/tips-and-advice/travel-safety-tips/tips-safe-street-food/
13WebMD—bismuth (Pepto-Bismol) as treatment: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/travelers-diarrhea#1
14MedicineNet—rapid fluid loss: https://www.medicinenet.com/travelers_diarrhea/article.htm#how_is_travelers_diarrhea_treated
Understanding Blood Cholesterol
This health information is provided to you by Sandoz
Understanding Blood Cholesterol
Every 7 minutes in Canada someone dies from heart disease or stroke. Understanding the risks of high blood cholesterol can help you beat the odds!1
How the heart works
Your heart is a muscle and its job is to pump blood around your body, to carry oxygen and other important nutrients needed by every cell in the body.
Did you know that:
- the average size of a heart is about the size of your fist?
- a heart pumps on average 2,000 gallons of blood per day?
- a heart beats about 100,000 times a day?2,3
Why blood cholesterol matters
High blood cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease and stroke. As your blood cholesterol rises, so does your risk.
Cholesterol is a lipid (fat) naturally found within the human body and is an essential building block for cell membranes, hormones and vitamin D.4 However, high blood levels of certain types of cholesterol can increase heart disease risk. Your Walmart Pharmacist can help answer any questions you may have about why controlling blood cholesterol is important to your health.
Who should take the test?
The only way to know if you have high cholesterol levels is to have a simple blood test. Everyone can take the test. The Canadian Guidelines5 recommends screening of cholesterol and heart disease risk if you:
- are a male over 40 years of age
are female over 50 years of age and/or post-menopausal
- have heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure
- have a waist circumference greater than 94 cm (37 inches) for men and 80 cm (31.5 inches) for women
- smoke or have smoked within the last year
- have erectile dysfunction (ED)
- have a family history of heart disease or stroke
Other risk factors:6,7
- Ethnicity: Individuals of First Nations, African and Asian descent have greater risk
- Physical inactivity
The more risk factors you have, the more important it is to keep your cholesterol in target range.8
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The blood test can measure the three following kinds of cholesterol (fat) in your blood :
- HDL cholesterol
- LDL cholesterol
The Good: HDL cholesterol is often referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol because it helps to remove excess cholesterol from the body.
The Bad: LDL cholesterol is often referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol because it can form plaque or fatty deposits on the walls of your arteries (blood vessels). If your LDL level is high, it can block blood flow to your heart and brain.
The Ugly: Although not considered a risk factor all by itself, high levels of triglycerides appear to be associated with greater risk of heart disease. Triglycerides are not a cholesterol, but are the most common form of fat in the body.9
Managing your cholesterol
You can take control of your health by making healthy lifestyle choices that can decrease your blood cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. The Heart and Stroke Foundation10 recommends that you:
1. Eat a healthy balanced diet
- Choose lower fat dairy products or alternatives with no added sugar. Select 1% or skim milk, plain yogurt and lower fat cheeses.
- Plan healthy snacks with at least 2 different types of food. For example try: hummus and baby carrots; apple wedges and lower fat cheese or plain yogurt with berries.
- Drink water or lower fat plain milk to satisfy thirst.
- Avoid sugary drinks including soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened milk or alternatives, fruit drinks, 100% fruit juice and ready-to-drink sweetened coffees and teas.
Note: If your blood cholesterol level is high, your physician or dietitian may recommend restricting your intake of foods high in cholesterol such as egg yolks, organ meats, full- fat dairy products and processed meats.
2. Cook and eat more meals at home
- Cooking at home allows you to select whole and minimally processed foods.
- Reduce the amount of sugar, salt and solid fats used in your favorite recipes.
3. Make eating out a special occasion
- Eating out usually results in you consuming large amounts of food, and more fat, salt and sugar.
- When you do eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes using whole and minimally processed foods and provide nutrition information.
4. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
- Being overweight or obese increases your LDL or bad cholesterol level, lowers your HDL or good cholesterol level and raises your triglyceride levels. Reducing your weight is a positive way to reduce your blood cholesterol levels.
5. Be active
- Being physically active will help improve your cholesterol levels and general heart health. Aim for 150 minutes a week. That is less than 25 minutes per day!
- Choose activities you like. Cycling, swimming, gardening, walking are great ways to keep active.
6. Be smoke-free
- Smoking is a risk factor for heart disease. It reduces the level of your HDL “good” cholesterol. Once you quit, within a few weeks your HDL levels may start to rise.
Consult your doctor or your Walmart Pharmacist for more information on lifestyle tips! Some people may need prescription cholesterol medication to help control their blood cholesterol. Just ask your doctor or Walmart Pharmacist for advice!
6Genest J et al. Can J Cardiol Vol 25 No 10 October 2009, 2009 Canadian Cardiovascular Society/Canadian Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of dyslipidemia and prevention of cardiovascular disease in the adult- 2009 recommendation.
Read the label, warnings and inserts provided by the manufacturer and consult your pharmacist when purchasing such medications or natural health products. Always keep medications and natural health products out of reach of children.
Health Product Stewardship Association:
Do you have medication that is expired? Extra medication you bought but never used? Used sharps needed for health conditions in your house hold?
Most households have medications and sharps that are expired or that are no longer needed. Don’t throw it out. You can return these medications and sharps to an Ontario Walmart Pharmacy through a program offered by the Health Product Stewardship Association called Ontario Medications Return Program (OMRP) and the Ontario Sharps Collection Program (OSCP). When you bring your used medication and sharps into the pharmacy you are doing your part to ensure that the items are being disposed of safely – keeping them out of the wrong hands, preventing needle stick injuries and protecting our environment.
* For Québec customers, some products may only be available for purchase at Accès Pharma, Wal-Mart's Québec-based affiliated pharmacies //www.accespharma.ca/en. Every medication or natural health product may cause serious adverse reactions or interactions with other medications.