Meds Checks & Diabetes Checks

WCA0116-Medications-Wound-Healing-750x300

No one knows more about specific medications than the wonderful Pharmacists at Chapman and Wood Chemist.

Medscheck and Diabetes Medscheck have been designed to provide a in-pharmacy medicine review between pharmacists and consumers to enhance quality use of medicines and reduce the number of adverse medicines events.

Chapman and Wood Pharmacy are very please to offer the opportunity for our customers to have a FREE MedsCheck or Diabetes MedsCheck, so you can understand more about your medicines and feel confident you are doing the best for your overall wellbeing.

Every year in Australia, about 210,000 people are hospitalised due to mishaps with their medications. It is very important to understand how our medicines and work, and what they’re used for. It is also useful to know what other medicines and products you shouldn’t use or take while on particular medications.

A one-on-one review with Kim, Mike or Rose can help to answer these questions, while also gaining some knowledge to better manage your condition, and prevent unnecessary trips to hospital.

Why have a MedsCheck or Diabetes MedsCheck?

  • Better understand how to use your medicines to improve their effectiveness
  • Receive useful information about how to better manage your condition
  • Reduce your risk of an avoidable trip to hospital

What is a MedsCheck?

A MedsCheck involves a one-on-one consultation with your Pharmacist. They will review your medicines in store to help you:

  • Identify any concerns or problems you may have with your medicines
  • Better manage your health conditions and improve your general wellbeing
  • Improve the effectiveness of your medicines by using them correctly

What is a Diabetes MedsCheck?

A Diabetes MedsCheck involves a one-on-one consultation with your Pharmacist. They will review your type 2 diabetes management plan in store to help you:

  • Improve your understanding of your diabetes medication
  • Use your blood glucose monitoring devices more effectively
  • Manage your blood glucose levels
  • Understand the best time to test your blood glucose
  • Reduce the risk of developing complications associated with type 2 diabetes

What’s the difference between MedsCheck and services such as Home Medicines Review (HMR) and Residential Medication Management Review (RMMR)?

A Home Medicines Review and Residential Medication Management Review are conducted in your home and require a referral from your doctor. MedsChecks are in-pharmacy services, and don’t require a referral.

Could you benefit from a Medscheck?

  • Have you recently been discharged from hospital?
  • Are you taking 5 or more prescription medications?
  • Have you had recent changes to your medications?
  • Do your medicines need monitoring? (Eg. Blood thinners, blood pressure Tablets)
  • Do any of your medicines make you feel unwell?
  • Do you use devices to help manage your medicines like blood glucose monitors or nebulisers? * Do you see more than 1 doctor (including specialists and GP’s)
  • Are you sometimes unsure about which medicines you should be taking? * Would you like to better understand your medications?

If you have answered YES to any of these questions, then it would be a great idea to speak with one of our Pharmacists today! Call us on 6553 4001.

Are your bones ageing faster than you are?

bone-density-testing

  • Strong bones are important at any age
  • Osteoporosis can be prevented
  • Assess your risk early

Osteoporosis is often referred to as a silent disease. It occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone or both.

Most people don’t know the condition of their bones, because we can’t see them! Around one in every three women, and one in every five men are at risk of osteoporotic fracture. Fractures most commonly occur in the wrist, spine or hips, but can also affect the arm or pelvis.

We start to lose bone density from the age of 35. This is a normal part of ageing, but for some people it can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fracture.

There are often no warning signs for osteoporosis, until you experience a fracture – usually after a very minor fall. Some people have even known to get a fracture from leaning across a table!

Having a bone density scan can assess your risk, and ensure you take all preventative measures possible to optimise your bone health. Exercise is very important, as is ensuring adequate dietary calcium, vitamin D and Vitamin K2 intake.

Tips to reduce osteoporosis risk, so you can live better for longer

Both men and women can use these simple tips from an early age to avoid your bone density degrading to a point where you pass through osteopenia and become a sufferer of osteoporosis.

You can maintain healthy bones by:

  • Enjoying a healthy lifestyle with a nutrient rich diet, including fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Taking a calcium supplements or ensuring good dietary intake of calcium rich foods as well as ensuring adequate vitamin D to ensure proper absorption of the calcium.
  • Quit smoking
  • Consume moderate amounts of alcohol
  • Reduce and limit caffeine
  • Be physically active. Physical activity is great for your bone density and muscle strength. Aim for at least 3 days per week – see a professional trainer if you are unsure how to achieve the best results.
  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet and a wide variety of foods to enrich your body with a good intake of calcium is vital for your bone density. If you have a lack of calcium in your bloodstream, your body steals calcium from your bones to function efficiently. The key to preserving our bone health is ensuring our dietary calcium intake is optimal, to prevent this from happening.
    The Australian nutrition guidelines recommend that people consume at least 1,000mg of calcium every day. If you’re postmenopausal or aged over 70, the Recommended Dietary intake is 1,300mg of calcium daily.
    Dairy has high levels of calcium, however there are plenty of other sources of calcium which include sardines and almonds, and sometimes the calcium from these sources is better absorbed. If you can’t get the appropriate amount of calcium in your daily diet, it is recommended you talk to a highly knowledgeable nutritionist, who will be able to help you.

Vitamin D and the prevention of osteoporosis

Vitamin D is very important for bone density growth and maintenance. It assists your body to absorb calcium from your daily diet. Vitamin D is produced in the body after exposure to the sun, and an average of 15 minutes of safe sun exposure helps your vitamin D production.
You can also get small amounts vitamin D from these other foods:

  • Fatty fish including mackerel, salmon and herring
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Foods fortified with Vitamin D


Movement is very essential to the prevention of osteoporosis. Weight bearing physical activity, strength and resistance training exercise helps bone density and promotes steady balance. Reducing your risk of falls is also a preventative measure for osteoporosis.

Before starting any exercise program, please consult your healthcare professional, especially if you’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle for many years, are over 70 years old or have any any pre-existing medical conditions. Osteoporosis prevention can be achieved with strength training to help maintain your bone mineral density. Be guided by a health or fitness trainer who specializes in complete body health.
Consider Improving your balance with exercises that include tai chi, yoga and Pilates. Balance is integral to preventing falls.
30- 40 minutes of exercise, 3- 6 times per week is a great recommendation to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.

TAKE THE QUIZ…

Are you at risk of Osteoporosis?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions you could be at increased risk of fracture (it is suggested, you follow up with a Bone Density Scan)

  • Are you a female over 40 years of age?
  • Are you a male over 50 years of age?
  • Do you have an Oestrogen deficiency as a result of menopause, especially early or surgically induced?
  • Do you have a family history of osteoporosis or easily broken bones?
  • Have you had prolonged absence of menstrual periods?
  • Have you had eating disorders e.g. Anorexia nervosa?
  • Have you had low lifetime calcium intake?
  • Have you had prolonged use of cortisone based medications, diuretics, or medications, for epilepsy or thyroid conditions?
  • Are you a male with low testosterone levels?
  • Have you broken a bone as an adult due to minimal trauma?
  • Do you have an inactive lifestyle?
  • Are you or have you been a cigarette smoker?
  • Are you an excessive user of alcohol?

There are many steps that can be taken to prevent and diagnose osteoporosis. Book in for a Bone Density Test now, and learn what steps you need to take to prevent future debilitating fractures due to osteoporosis.

Making the most of your New Year resolutions!

New Year resolutions have always been very popular and usually involves changing an undesired trait or behaviour. Others take it as an opportunity to set a health or wellbeing goal, such as losing weight, doing more exercise or quitting smoking.

Sadly most people don’t achieve their New Years resolutions because they either make them unrealistic, or they don’t put enough thought into the goal. Anything can be achieved if we REALLY want it.

New Year resolutions give us the perfect opportunity to start making changes at those things we have failed at changing next week or next month – it’s a new chapter, and a clean slate to start fresh.

As with all changes, they are most successful if we do some planning. Unfortunately, we can’t say ‘I’m going to quit smoking’ without first doing some planning, research, and setting mini-goals to ensure the goal is achieved.

Below are my top ten New Year resolutions, and some hints and tips on how to ensure you achieve them. If we achieve them, we find ourselves going into the next year with renewed energy and confidence to make another great change.

  • Stop procrastinating – The biggest barrier that keeps most people from reaching their goals is the desire to relax and do something fun instead of working hard. Once you get used to procrastinating it’s difficult to snap yourself out of it, so you’ll need to put in a lot of work to change this bad habit.
  • Get in shape, eat healthier and exercise more – Losing weight is the top resolution for Aussie’s and combined with “exercise more” and “stay fit and healthy” it is something that most people wish to achieve. It’s easy enough to start an exercise and diet program, but the trick is to find a decent one that will give you steady results and will be easy to stick to in the long run. Sometimes recruiting a workout buddy will help keep you motivated and on track.
  • Become more confident and take some chances – If you are confident other people notice it, and it is much easier to have your opinions heard, ask people out on dates and get ahead in life. A good dose of self-confidence will help you lead a much happier life overall. Believe in yourself, and use positive language!
  • Reduce stress – They say that stress is one of the biggest killers out there, and it can have a very destructive effect on your relationships as well as your health. It may be an unavoidable side effect of our hectic modern lifestyles, but it can be effectively managed with the help of useful, unconventional and easy to practice tricks for stress management. Don’t take on too much, and don’t be afraid to ask others for help.
  • Quit Smoking – A bit of bad habit that a lot of people don’t know how to kick, smoking will not only endanger your health but can burn a hole in your wallet as well. Just be prepared – it will take a lot of will power to give up cigarettes entirely – recruit the help of a health professional (like your pharmacist). We are a lot more successful if we have support and understanding.
  • Become more polite – Good manners have always been important. They make it easier to connect with others, avoid offending people and will ensure that others perceive you as a good and trustworthy person. Learn how to deal with rude people in the right way and learn how to say no.
  • Meet new people – When we get stuck in a rut, we usually end up staying at home most of the time, missing out on a lot of interesting opportunities for networking and having fun. Meeting new people can be beneficial to your mental well-being and help your career, so don’t be afraid to get out there and make some friends. Overcome your shyness, gain some knowledge and get to know new and interesting people.
  • Sleep Better – With big TV’s, computers, smartphones, tablets and all sorts of gadgets with glowing lights and beeping alerts, it can be hard to get enough sleep at night. You should be aiming for at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Eating well, exercising daily and limiting all technology in the hour before bed can help us achieve a restful sleep.
  • Start drinking in moderation or quit drinking altogether – While it is completely safe and healthy to drink one or two alcoholic beverages each day, not a lot of people can say that they can follow this rule effectively. Getting your drinking under control has many benefits, but it can be a difficult process. Aim for two alcohol-free nights each week, and if you feel you have an alcohol dependence problem, have a chat with your GP.
  • Stick to the good healthy habits you’ve developed – The last, and most important point to mention is that all the positive changes you make have to be permanent. You will need to work on sticking with the good changes you have adopted until they just become part of who you are. That is how you achieve true self-improvement, empowerment and ensure your goals are achieved.
  • Write your goals down – do they seem achievable? If not, then you will need to set some mini-goals to help you on your path to your resolution.
  • Display your goal in a prominent place – the more you see it, the more determined you become to achieve it, and also discuss your resolutions with others. Gaining support or even recruits will only help more for the goal to be achieved.

If you find yourself struggling to get on track to achieve your goal, then change it! You can always make small changes to increase your confidence. Increased confidence helps us in achieving the main resolution.

Can you stop a hangover?

We all want to be sociable and have a great time at that party – but don’t go reaching for the hair of the dog the next morning – there are healthier ways to face the next day and get back on track.

Here are some proven ways to help deal with, or even prevent a hangover from happening – so you can have an enjoyable time over the holiday celebrations.

Refuel at the breakfast table – alcohol causes our blood sugar levels to drop, so boost it back up with a glass of apple juice the next morning. Fruit juices are a good way to help treat mild low blood sugar, but if you are really feeling unwell, then reach for something a little higher in glycemic index. Some Rice Bubbles or Vegemite on toast might be a good addition to the fruit juice.

Go one for one – keeping well hydrated while drinking alcohol is very important, especially in our hot Aussie climate. We often find ourselves outdoors, next to the pool or BBQ, drinking alcohol, and forgetting to rehydrate ourselves. For every glass of alcohol consumed, reciprocate this with a glass of water. Our tissues around the brain are made mostly of water, and dehydration shrinks these tissues so you can understand why “a pounding headache” can happen the next day if you don’t keep hydrated. Having some rehydration formula on hand is also a great, sensible option – especially on those really hot days!

Make sure to eat as well as drink! Just because alcohol contains calories, doesn’t mean it counts as a meal replacement. Drinking on an empty stomach will allow alcohol to absorb faster, so try getting a good meal in with plenty of healthy carbs before starting on the alcohol. Some research also suggests that a full stomach will also help keep blood alcohol levels lower.

Keep it light – darker drinks like bourbon or red wine produce more substances during fermentation, which may contribute to the cause of a hangover. Skip the whisky in favour of a nice crisp white wine, or vodka instead!

Stay classy – the more expensive liquors are usually distilled more times, so contain fewer substances from fermentation – therefore fewer chemicals for a potential hangover.

Take a multi-vitamin – drinking depletes nutrients in the body, including B12 and folate. A Berocca the morning after a party night might help replenish what nutrients you lost the night before.

Skip the bubbles – opt out of carbonated beverages – research shows that the bubbles may cause alcohol to be absorbed more quickly (yes we’ve all tried drinking beer through a straw to get the party happening faster!) – hence the New Year’s Day hangover.

Try some meditation or a gentle walk – deep breathing and meditation-type exercises can get oxygen flowing and blood pumping to help relieve stress. A gentle walk or some gentle meditation the next day might help you feel a little more relaxed and in control.

Grab some potassium – when dehydrated, we not only lose water but electrolytes. Gain them back by snacking on potassium-rich foods like bananas and spinach, or make sure to have a rehydration formula on hand to sip during the day.

Get into the eggs! Eggs contain taurine, which has been shown to reverse liver damage caused by a night of heavy boozing. Scrambled, fried, poached it doesn’t matter – add some spinach and veg for extra antioxidant power!

Take some ginger – hangovers will often cause an upset stomach. Having some ginger tablets, fresh ginger or ginger tea on hand can certainly help settle things down.

Get some fresh air – oxygen increases the rate that alcohol toxins are broken down, so slip, slop and slap and get outdoors! It may even release some endorphins to boost that post-hangover mood (don’t forget to keep hydrated)

Be the D.D. – the only 100% proven way to prevent a hangover is to not drink! If waking up to a pounding headache doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, then play designated driver for the night, and cheerfully enjoy helping your mates stay safe and recover the next day.

Things to have on hand during the holiday season:

  • rehydration formula
  • Berocca or a multivitamin
  • Ginger tablets or ginger tea
  • Paracetamol
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Fresh food – fruit, veg, eggs
  • Hats and sunglasses
  • Aloe Vera Gel (sometimes we find our sunscreen efforts a little lacking)
  • Eye drops for Red eyes

Enjoy the social events that the holiday season brings, but always remember to be sensible and safe. 

Other products you might also like to keep in the medicine cupboard…

  • Travacalm Ginger Tablets
  • Caruso’s liver detox
  • Hydralyte formula and icy poles
  • Blackmores Coconut Water
  • Berocca
  • Amcal Paracetamol
  • Visine Red Eyes Relief
  • Glucodin Tablets – for a fast glucose boost

Passing Exams with Flying Colours

For many youngsters completing their HSC or School Certificate, the next few months are going to be very stressful. Stress is not technically a ‘bad’ thing; without it, humankind wouldn’t have been able to achieve some of the most wonderful things we have. The problem lies where stress is experienced for long periods – this we know is what causes damage. Small amounts of stress can help students to keep focus, but everyone reacts differently to stress and its effects.

Some people feel pressure and develop stress symptoms more than others. Stress responses can differ between males and females as well, with research showing females present internal symptoms and responses such as nausea, butterflies and feelings of inadequacy which can lead to sadness and depression. Males tend to externalise their anxiety and can become increasingly irritable or angry.
When someone is faced with increased pressure (in this case at exam time) their body can go into a ‘fight or flight’ response which releases increased amounts of adrenaline into the body. This can lead to various symptoms including:

  • Feeling cranky and irritable (increased yelling or crying, swearing, hitting)
  • Indecisiveness and/or confusion
  • Problems with going to sleep or getting up in the morning
  • Strongly beating heart, sweating
  • Mild chest pains, back pains, nausea, trembling, shortness of breath
  • Minor stomach upsets
  • Possible skin breakouts
  • Teeth grinding, nail biting and fidgeting
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Going blank in the exam.

One of the best things parents or carers can do if their child is experiencing exam stress is to try to be as supportive and tolerant as possible. Encouraging positive lifestyle habits can help the exam period seem easy.

Get That Organised feeling…

  • Picture your exams as a time-bound project. Are the exams 60 days away? That’s your 60-day challenge. Best of all, there’s a definite end point.
  • Work out the basics: which exams you have, how the marks are allocated, and how much you have to learn for each one. Don’t expect to learn everything, but having in mind where you’ll get the marks can help you prioritise.
  • Break your revision down into small chunks, and form a plan.Once you’ve got a plan, you won’t have any more dilemmas at the start of the day about what to work on.
  • Schedule in plenty of free time to unwind, and protect this time. Nobody can work all day every day. Give yourself plenty of rest and you can do the same amount of work in half the time or less.
  • Equally, don’t panic if you go slightly off schedule – tomorrow is another day.

Get into some good habits… These habits will help you concentrate as well as reducing stress!

  • Take frequent breaks. Psychologists say we can only concentrate properly for 30-45 minutes. When you’re on your break, do something completely different – move away from your desk, walk about, or make some tea!
  • Eat well. Keep blood sugars level to avoid highs and lows of energy, by eating slow-release foods like healthy fats, proteins, fruit and veg.
  • Drink lots of water. People often underestimate how much hydration helps!
  • Think about when and where you work best. Some of us aren’t morning people and not everybody finds themselves productive in the library. There’s no one best place or time to work – it’s about what works for you!
  • Keep active. Even a short walk will do. Exercising is one of the quickest and most effective ways to de-stress. Fresh air will clear your head and perk you up.
  • Sleep! Try to get about 8 hours’ sleep a night. If you’re stressed about not being able to sleep, there are lots of ways you can overcome sleep problems.
  • Find activities that help you relax. Maybe it’s a hot bath, watching a TV show, or a creative activity. Schedule this down-time into your timetable.

Avoid Bad Habits…

  • Don’t set yourself ridiculous goals. Nobody can revise 10 topics in a day! Avoid setting the day up to be a disappointment.
  • Don’t cut out all the enjoyment from your life. It’s tempting to decide you’ll just knuckle down to work and “focus”, but this is counterproductive – it’s impossible to focus without giving your brain rest by doing other activities.
  • Avoid stimulants. Caffeine, alcohol and drugs impede your energy and concentration in the long term. It’ll also make it more difficult to get that much-needed sleep.

Exam Day…

  • Eat a good and light breakfast – something that will sustain you and help you concentrate.
  • Try to arrive at school or the exam venue early.
  • Go to the toilet before the exam starts.
  • Keep away from people who may agitate you before the test or may say unhelpful, anxiety-provoking comments.
  • Try writing about your thoughts and feelings at least 10 minutes before the exam to free up brainpower from focusing on emotions, so you can focus on the test material instead.
  • Take time to slow their breathing and relax when you first sit down in the exam room.
  • Skim over the exam paper, underlining key words and instructions.
  • Work out how long you have for each question or section.
  • Watch out for the wording of the questions – you need to understand and address what the question is really asking.
  • Answer the questions you find easiest first to build your confidence, then as you relax more move on to more difficult ones.
  • Don’t worry about how long others are taking but keep an eye on the clock to ensure you have enough time to answer the more difficult questions.
  • Re-read answers if possible and make any changes that are necessary – correct spelling, check workings.

Other Tips…

  • Eat well. Sugar may give an instant energy hit but, eventually, it will make you even more nervy than before. Whole foods provide sustained energy, freeing your body from the extra stress of big highs and even bigger lows.
  • Exercise increases blood flow, including to the brain, and provides a buffer against anxiety associated with minor stress, but keep it gentle. Evidence suggests that while light-intensity exercise lowers anxiety, a high-intensity workout can make it worse. Yoga is a good choice.
  • Avoid stimulants. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and heightens emotions. Nicotine is also a stimulant, so using cigarettes to calm your nerves may only deepen anxiety.
  • Alcohol may help you to feel relaxed but at a cost. Apart from a rebound stimulant effect (hyperexcitability), alcohol is an amnesiac; it helps you to forget – bad news around exam time.
  • Supplement. Stress depletes the body of stress-busting vitamins C, E and the B-complex family, magnesium and zinc. A good-quality multivitamin or stress supplement should help replace what is lost.
  • Try aromatherapy. Sprinkle lavender essential oil on your pillow to help you sleep. Lemon oil is also effective. Put a few drops of lavender or rosemary on a handkerchief to inhale before an exam as these can improve mental clarity. Aromatherapy massage also has a mild, transient anxiety-reducing effect.
  • Drink water. Your brain cells work better when you are hydrated.
  • Stay positive. Don’t reinforce fears with negative thoughts. Thinking positive can change paralysing stress into motivating stress. In healthy adults, after a month, positive thinking made their outlook more positive; objective testing revealed a 23 per cent reduction in cortisol (a stress hormone) and a 100% increase in DHEA (an anti-stress hormone)
  • Meditation can reduce anxiety and panic attacks in the long term.
  • Consider herbs that help maintain balance during stress. While the herb Panax ginseng can also be a stimulant, the gentler Siberian ginseng is said to sharpen mental alertness and help cope with stress.

Being well prepared before, during and after the exam period will ensure the exams come and go without major stress and disruption.

Good luck!

Spring has Sprung!

Are you suffering?

The days are getting longer, the sun is getting warmer. While some of us are rejoicing in the welcome change from the winter chill; 1 in every 5 are suffering from itchy/stuffy noses, watery, red and itchy eyes – commonly known as hay fever.

Hay fever (or correctly called seasonal allergic rhinitis) is an allergic reaction to pollen (fine grains produced by trees, grasses, flowers and plants), dust mite, animal fur and moulds. If these allergens get into the sinuses, nose, eyes or throat, it can cause an inflammatory response leading to:

  • a runny or blocked nose,
  • sore and itchy eyes
  • itchy throat, mouth, ears and nose
  • a cough or an exacerbation of asthma (Around 8 in 10 people with asthma have allergic rhinitis, making asthma more difficult to control).
  • Blocked sinuses can also lead to headaches, earache, fatigue, poor quality sleep, a sore face and if severe enough an infection.

Tips for reducing pollen exposure

  1. Stay indoors until after midday (if possible to reduce your exposure to pollen, particularly during the pollen season and on windy days.
  2. Try to avoid going out on windy days or after thunderstorms.
  3. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  4. Do not mow the grass and stay inside when it is being mown. If mowing is unavoidable, wear a mask or consider taking a non-drowsy antihistamine if your doctor has suggested this.
  5. Consider planting a low allergen garden around the home.
  6. Keep windows closed both at home and particularly when in your car (and where possible use recirculating air conditioning in your car).
  7. Do not picnic in parks or outdoors during the pollen season.
  8. Try to plan your holidays out of the pollen season or holiday at the seaside.
  9. If you are sensitive to particular weeds or trees that are outside your bedroom window, have them removed.
  10. If landscaping at home, research plants less likely to trigger allergic rhinitis or asthma.
  11. Shower when you arrive home and rinse your eyes frequently with water.
  12. Reduce your exposure to dust and dust mites, animals and animal hair or fur (dander).
  13. Carry a supply of tissues.

Effective treatments are available

Seek advice from your pharmacist or doctor about medications or treatments that will relieve your symptoms. Although medications do not cure allergies, they are much more effective with fewer side effects than medications available 20 years ago. You just need to know the best way to use them, and to avoid medicines that can cause more problems than they solve, like frequent decongestant (unblocking) nose sprays or tablets.

  • Antihistamine tablets or syrups (non-sedating) help to reduce symptoms (sneezing, itchy and irritating eyes), but they are not as effective in controlling severe nasal blockage and dribble. The advantage of antihistamines is their flexibility; you can take them when you have problems, and avoid them when you are well. Antihistamine eye drops can also be helpful in controlling watery eyes due to allergies.
  • Intranasal corticosteroid nasal sprays (INCS) have a potent action on inflammation when used regularly (like asthma preventer medications). These need to be used regularly and with careful attention to the way in which they are used. Different brands of INCS vary in strength and effectiveness, so it is important to read the labels and check details with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Combination medications containing an antihistamine and intranasal corticosteroid nasal spray are available and offer the combined advantages of both medications.
  • Decongestant sprays unblock and dry the nose, but should not be used for more than a few days as they can cause long-term problems in the nose.
  • Decongestant tablets unblock and dry the nose, but should be used with caution as they can have ‘stimulant’ side effects like tremors, trouble sleeping, anxiety or an increase in blood pressure. People with high blood pressure should not take this medication.
  • Combination medications containing an antihistamine and decongestant are also available, but these need to be used with caution as the decongestants can cause many side effects.
  • Natural products such as salt water nasal sprays or sinus irrigation/nasal toilets can be effective in relieving symptoms.
  • Appropriate management of ‘pollen asthma’ includes commencing anti-inflammatory asthma medication either preventatively or with the first ‘wheeze’ of Spring. Some patients undergoing allergen immunotherapy for their allergic rhinitis find that their seasonal asthma improves as well.

There is no known cure for hay fever. Although it can disappear as you get older – equally, people who have never had hay fever before can also develop it later in life.

Talking with your pharmacist, and understanding how treatments work, and how to best avoid pollens, can help give you a better quality of life and keep your allergic rhinitis well controlled. Sometimes, however, symptoms may worsen, and follow up with your GP would be recommended.