Summer Minor Ailments – London Drugs Blog

Summer can be a great time to unwind and relax outdoors with additional positive effects on our general wellbeing and health. As we enjoy this much anticipated season, it is important to also be aware of some minor ailments that can be more prevalent during the warmer months. Some of the most common summer ailments are sunburns, cold sores, bug bites, toenail fungus, athletes’ foot, vaginal yeast infection, upset stomach and heartburn. These common minor ailments that come from those fun summer days should not ruin your planned activities or holidays. Pharmacists can now assess your symptoms and prescribe medications for these concerns, without you having to wait for a doctor’s appointment. London Drugs is your convenient one stop shop for all your health and wellness needs so you can spend more time enjoying your summer.Toe Nail InfectionsSummer is the season to kick off your boots and throw your feet into your favorite pair of sandals. With your feet on display, you want to ensure your toes look and feel great. Fungal infections can impact the appearance of your nails and cause pain and discomfort. They are caused by yeasts, moulds and other types of fungus that thrive in warm and moist places. Toenail fungus can spread from person to person and common ways of acquiring the infection include walking barefoot in public spaces, sharing personal items or through spread from an athlete’s foot infection. Nails infected with fungus may appear yellow, white or brown, become thicker and can crumble or split.Once developed, fungal nail infections can be quite difficult to treat, requiring months of treatment as you wait for healthy nails to grow out. You can reduce your risk of getting a fungal nail infection by keeping your feet clean and dry, not going barefoot in public places, not sharing personal items such as shoes, socks, towels, nail clippers, nail polish and by changing your socks often.  People with diabetes need to be especially cautious as serious secondary infections can occur. If you suspect that you have a fungal nail infection and would like to explore your treatment options, talk to your local pharmacist they might be able to prescribe medication to treat it.Cold SoresDid you know that sun exposure can be a trigger for cold sores? Cold sores, or fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus and it can spread to others when blisters are present around the lips or nose. Once you have been exposed to the virus, future outbreaks can be triggered by sun exposure, upper respiratory tract infections, surgery, stress, hormonal changes, tiredness and extreme temperatures. Some ways to prevent spreading cold sores and reduce your number of outbreaks include avoiding triggers, using sunscreen or lip balm with a minimum of SPF30, avoiding touching open cold sores on yourself and avoid skin-to-skin contact or sharing personal items with others until sores are dried up and crusted over, or healed completely.Cold sores often start with a tingling or burning sensation before a blister forms. The blisters will usually leak a clear fluid before crusting over and healing within 7-10 days. Cold sores can be the cause of embarrassment, pain, and inconvenience. In many provinces, pharmacists can assess cold sores as a minor ailment, and they may recommend non-prescription products and/or prescription creams or oral antiviral tablets as part of your treatment. Many treatments are most effective when started early, before a blister forms, so don’t delay asking for help.Insect Bites and StingsAs we enjoy the warm weather, we also face an increased risk for bug bites and stings. These are not always just a minor inconvenience, many of them can carry diseases or cause severe allergic reactions.Ticks can be found in wooded areas or places with tall grasses or shrubs or under leaves and are common in summer but can be active at any time of the year if the conditions are right. Ticks can bite, and some can transmit bacteria leading to Lyme disease, which if left untreated can cause fever, chills, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes or problems with the heart and nervous systems. An early indication of Lyme disease is a red target-like rash within 3 to 30 days after the tick bite. If you find a tick on your skin, it is important to remove it carefully as soon as it is discovered by grasping it as close a possible to where the head attaches to the skin with tweezers or a tick-remover tool and pulling upwards slowly. Keep the tick in a bag or bottle and show your healthcare provider to determine if antibiotic treatment is recommended.Mosquitoes in many parts of the world are capable of transmitting viruses to humans that lead to serious diseases like malaria and dengue. Fortunately, most mosquito bites in Canada only cause mild to moderately itchy spots that can become swollen or inflamed, especially when scratched. Symptoms usually go away on their own in a few days and can be relieved with non-prescription anti-itch creams. However, it is important to point out that each year some cases of mosquito-borne West Nile virus are found in Canada with symptoms ranging from no noticeable effects to fever, body aches, fatigue, rash, meningitis or encephalitis appearing 2-15 days after infection. See a doctor or pharmacist if you need help relieving the itch, or if you experience unusual symptoms.Bee and wasp stings contain venom that commonly causes pain and localized inflammation and swelling for a few hours. Honeybees and bumblebees do not usually sting unless they are provoked or are protecting their nests and are only able to sting once in their life. Carefully remove the stinger from your skin if you can see it. Wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets can sting multiple times. Some people are severely allergic to bee or wasp venom and anaphylactic reactions can occur. Seek medical attention immediately if any difficulty breathing, swelling in the throat, or hives. If you have a history of severe reactions, you should always carry an epinephrine injection with you.Some general measures to avoid insect bites and stings include, wearing insect repellent when bugs cannot be avoided, wearing long protective clothing that covers exposed skin, using bug nets and window screens and regularly inspecting yourself for any insects that may be attached to your skin. There are many products marketed to relieve bug bite symptoms for of itchiness, redness, pain and swelling. Selecting a treatment can become overwhelming. Speak to your pharmacist to help you assess your bite and for recommendations on how to manage your symptoms. Pharmacists in certain provinces can assess insect bites and stings as minor ailments and can prescribe oral antihistamines or topical steroids to help relieve your symptoms. Related

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