Doing Exams? Feeling Stressed? … We’ve Got You Covered

Exam time can be really difficult on students.

Watch our Lovely Support Pharmacist in Haven Pharmacy Scannell’s & Riverview – Bandon, Suzanne Goggin give real, relatable advice for anyone who may be suffering with exam stress. Remember Haven Pharmacy are here to help, our doors are always open for a chat about how you are feeling.

Suzanne answers all your crucial questions:

  • Do we all get stressed?
  • What are her top tips to combat exam stress?
  • How can you best equip your body to cope with exam stress?

Remember Haven Pharmacy are here to help, our doors are always open for a chat about how you are feeling. Find your local Haven Pharmacy here.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis occurs when more bone is naturally lost than replaced. This results in bones becoming more fragile and therefore breaks more easily. Osteoporosis is when bones are more porous and it affects 1 in 5 men and 1 in 2 women.

Signs & Symptoms

Often there are no signs or symptoms prior to a person having a broken bone. A DXA scan of your spine and hips is the best method for diagnosing osteoporosis and is highly recommended if you are at risk.

Risk Factors

  • Menopause
  • Genetics
  • Steroids
  • Most treatments for cancer
  • Coeliac disease
  • Anorexia/bulimia
  • Many medications such as Warfarin and thyroxine
  • Low calcium and vitamin intake
  • Physiological or psychological stress
  • Smoking and excess alcohol


Ensure to take the daily-recommended amount of Calcium and Vitamin D3, essential nutrients for both the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Calcium is found in foods such as dairy products, bread, nuts, oily fish, and dark green vegetables. Vitamin D3 can be gained from 10-15 minutes of sun exposure a day or foods such as oily fish, dairy products, and foods fortified with Vitamin D.

It is essential that calcium is taken in conjunction with Vitamin D3 as vitamin D3 is required to absorb calcium.

Weight-bearing exercise is essential at all ages to maintain and increase bone density and strength. Examples of weight bearing activities include dancing, walking, running, soccer, tennis, soccer, stair climbing, and weight training.

Ask Your Haven Pharmacist

There are a range of treatments available from your Haven Pharmacy to help with bone health. Please speak to one of our trained advisers or ask your Haven Pharmacist if you would like advice on which treatment is best suited to your needs.


Stroke – Would You Know What to Do?

The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen. Always air on the side of caution and seek emergency medical advice if you suspect that you or someone you know might be having a stroke.


What Causes a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel, which is carrying oxygen and nutrients to an area of the brain bursts or is blocked by a clot. This can damage or destroy brain cells which will affect abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control. A stroke is a medical emergency. Therefore, recognising the symptoms and accessing treatment immediately can be crucial.

What Are the Symptoms of a Stroke?

How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much of the brain is damaged. However, there are key factors that can help to identify when a stroke may be occurring. These include:

  • Numbness, weakness, or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech, difficulty thinking of words or understanding other people
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Sudden blurred vision or sight loss
  • Being unsteady on your feet
  • Severe headache


Act F>A>S>T

Face – Can the person smile? Has their Mouth or eye drooped?

Arm – Can the person raise both arms?

Speech – Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

Time – Call 999 or 112 for an ambulance immediately if you spot any one of these signs

DON’T wait for the symptoms to go away

KNOW your Eircode so that the ambulance can reach you as fast as possible

Types of Stroke

Ischemic Stroke (blocked artery)

Over 80% of strokes are caused by a blockage of an artery supplying blood to the brain. This is known as an ischaemic stroke. Ischemic stroke can be broken into two main types: thrombotic and embolic

A thrombotic stroke occurs when diseased or damaged cerebral arteries become blocked by the formation of a blood clot within the brain.

An embolic stroke is also caused by a clot within an artery, but in this case the clot (or emboli) forms somewhere other than in the brain itself. Often from the heart, these emboli will travel in the bloodstream until they become lodged and cannot travel any farther. This naturally restricts the flow of blood to the brain and results in near-immediate physical and neurological deficits.

Ministroke/Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

TIA is a temporary period of symptoms  similar to those you’d have in a stroke. A temporary decrease in blood supply to part of your brain causes TIAs, which may last as little as five minutes.

TIAs are caused when a clot or debris blocks blood flow to part of your nervous system – but there is no permanent tissue damage and no lasting symptoms.

Having TIA puts you at greater risk of have a stroke. If you’ve had a TIA, it means there’s likely a partially blocked or narrowed artery leading to your brain or a clot source in the heart.

Always seek emergency care if you fear that you might be having a TIA,  even if your symptoms seem to clear up.

 Hemorrhagic Stroke (destroyed artery)

Up to 20% of strokes are caused by a bleed into the brain from a burst blood vessel. This is called a cerebral haemorrhage and causes the more serious kind of stroke. It is often not obvious why someone should have suffered a stroke. Even though many people believe it to be a factor, stress is not a cause of stroke.

How Can I Prevent Having a Stroke?

Many factors can increase your stroke risk. There are steps that you can take in order to limit your risk of stroke. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Keeping physically active
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all
  • Avoid the use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines
  • Don’t smoke
  • Controlling high blood pressure
  • Controlling diabetes


If you would like to avail of expert advice around stroke prevention or anything detailed in this article, drop into your local Haven Pharmacy where we have expert community Pharmacists ready to help you to improve your health and look after yourself.

Lets Talk About BV

Bacterial vaginosis or BV is caused by an imbalance of the normal bacteria in the vagina. BV does not usually cause any vaginal soreness or itching but it often causes unusual vaginal discharge and odour.

Normally, there is a delicate balance between different bacterial species that live naturally within the vagina. Your vagina is normally acidic, which helps prevent bad bacteria from growing and maintains the level of good bacteria called lactobacillus. If the pH balance becomes less acidic this can result in an overgrowth of anaerobic organisms replacing normal lactobacilli which then results in BV. Various factors can affect the pH balance of your vagina, including getting your period, taking antibiotics, over-washing, using an IUD (intrauterine device) and semen if you have sex without a condom.

Who Gets BV?

BV is the most common vaginal infection in women ages 15 to 44 But women of any age can get it, even if they have never had sex.

You may be more at risk for BV if you:

  • Have a new sex partner
  • Have multiple sex partners
  • Use a vaginal douche
  • Do not use condoms
  • Are pregnant
  • Have an intrauterine device (IUD), especially if you also have irregular bleeding


Symptoms of BV

Many women have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may include:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge. The discharge can be white (milky) or gray. It may also be foamy or watery. Some women report a strong fish-like odor, especially after sex
  • Burning when urinating
  • Itching around the outside of the vagina
  • Vaginal irritation


These symptoms may be similar to vaginal yeast infections and other health problems. Only your doctor or nurse can tell you for sure whether you have BV.


Risks Associated With BV

If BV is untreated, possible problems may include:

  • Higher risk of getting STIs, including HIV. Having BV can raise your risk of getting HIV, genital herpes, chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory disease, and gonorrhea. Women with HIV who get BV are also more likely to pass HIV to a male sexual partner
  • Pregnancy problems. BV can lead to premature birth or a low-birth-weight baby (smaller than 5 1/2 pounds at birth). All pregnant women with symptoms of BV should be tested and treated if they have it


Treating BV

BV is easy to treat. If you think you have BV:


  • See a doctor or nurse. Antibiotics will treat BV.
  • Take all of your medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to complete the course of antibiotics.
  • Tell your sex partner(s) if she is female so she can be treated.
  • Avoid sexual contact until you finish your treatment.
  • See your doctor or nurse again if you have symptoms that don’t go away within a few days after finishing the antibiotic.


Pregnancy and BV

About 1 in 4 pregnant women get BV. The risk for BV is higher for pregnant women because of the hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant and you have BV visit your doctor to discuss how to manage it.

It’s best to get checked out as BV can cause complications such as

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • Increased risk of premature labour


Top tips for preventing BV infections

  • Avoid using deodorants or perfumed products in and around your vaginal area
  • Avoid over-washing
  • Avoid using strong detergent to wash your underwear
  • Change your tampons or pads frequently
  • Ensure you wipe from front to back after going to the toilet
  • Dry your vaginal area after washing, swimming & working out
  • Change your underwear after swimming & working out


How Haven Pharmacy Can Help

Haven pharmacists are committed to providing expert care, made personal for our customers. All our pharmacies have consultation rooms where you can explain possible symptoms to our pharmacists in private. You will be provided with clear, professional advice in a warm and reassuring environment.



Women’s Health



Blood Pressure – what you need to know

Blood pressure refers to the amount of work that our heart has to do to pump blood around the body. It measures how strongly blood presses against the walls of your arteries (large blood vessels) during this process. If this pressure is too high it puts a strain on your arteries and your heart, which makes it more likely that you will suffer a heart attack, a stroke or kidney disease.

Circulatory system disease is the number one cause of death in Ireland. Treatment and detection starts with you.

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (which is written as mmHg) and it is recorded as two figures:

  1. Systolic pressure: the pressure of the blood when your heart beats to pump blood out
  2. Diastolic pressure: the pressure of the blood when your heart rests in between beats

The normal level of blood pressure is usually about 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic) written as 120/80mmHg.

“If you are over 30, it’s best to have your blood pressure checked every year”

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (medically known as hypertension) is when blood pressure readings taken on separate occasions consistently show your blood pressure to be 140/90mmHg or higher. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it means your blood pressure is consistently higher than it should be. Thankfully, there are several ways to help reduce it which we will talk you through below.

Causes and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

There is often no single cause of high blood pressure and therefore it is really important to check your blood pressure readings regularly. A number of factors can combine to raise blood pressure, and high blood pressure tends to run in families. It is not a disease of a nervous, anxious person or someone with a stressful lifestyle – though these factors can sometimes impact a reading.

In some rare cases, where a person has very high blood pressure, they can experience symptoms including:

  • A persistent headache
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Shortness of breath

Measuring Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, you should have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis, even if it is not high. Watching your blood pressure while you are pregnant reduces your risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension. This can lead to a serious condition called pre-eclampsia which harms the placenta (the organ that links the baby’s blood supply to the mother’s).

Haven pharmacies offer blood pressure tests which only take a couple of minutes. We are always on hand to offer advice and measure your blood pressure.

Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure is medically known as hypotension. On its own, low blood pressure does not always cause symptoms. If you have low blood pressure, and you do not have any symptoms, you do not require treatment.

Causes and Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure within certain parameters is considered good. However, GPs will look out for symptoms of low blood pressure that may cause concern. These symptoms which can occur when standing up from a seated or lying position or after eating include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Dehydration and unusual thirst
  • Lack of concentration
  • Blurred vision
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Fatigue

Measuring Your Blood Pressure

Blood pressure checks are available in your local Haven pharmacy, GPs and health clinics. If you have one high reading, it does not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day and night. Therefore, you will need to measure your blood pressure on numerous occasions over a certain period of time. You can purchase a home testing monitor from your Haven pharmacy which will allow you to take readings when you are relaxed throughout the day and night.

“The more blood pressure readings you have, the more accurate your diagnosis will be, particularly as blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day and night”


Treating Blood Pressure

There are a few key steps that we can all do to prevent high blood pressure:

  1. Know your blood pressure
  2. Aim for a healthy weight
  3. Reduce salt intake and processed food
  4. Eat more fruit and vegetables
  5. Drink less alcohol and caffeine rich drinks such as tea, coffee and soft drinks
  6. Increase exercise
  7. Relaxation therapies such as yoga, meditation and stress management
  8. Don’t smoke – smoking greatly increases your risk of heart and lung disease

Medication is also available for high blood pressure, this should be discussed with your GP.

How Haven Can Help

At Haven pharmacy, we are dedicated to improve the health and well-being of people within our local communities. We are independent with shared goals for the future of Ireland’s health. Drop into your local Haven to discuss blood pressure or to pick up a home blood pressure monitor.


Sources: Irish Heart Foundation, Health Service Executive Ireland


Cervical Cancer Prevention – Get the Facts

As it’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, we try to explain in simple terms a little more about cervical cancer, the symptoms and causes. From the outset, it’s important to emphasise that there is no 100% effective method to prevent cervical cancer and therefore it is crucial that women continue to have regular cervical smear tests.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in a woman’s cervix (the entrance to the womb from the vagina). Cancer of the cervix often has no symptoms in its early stages. Therefore it is vital that we educate ourselves and our children around prevention, vaccinations and testing.


As noted, cancer of the cervix often has no symptoms in its early stages. If you do have symptoms, the most common is unusual vaginal bleeding, which can occur after sex, in between periods or after the menopause. Abnormal bleeding doesn’t mean that you definitely have cervical cancer, but it should be investigated by your GP as soon as possible. If your GP thinks you might have cervical cancer, you should be referred to see a specialist within two weeks.

What Causes Cervical Cancer?

Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is a very common virus that can be passed on through any type of sexual contact with a man or a woman. There are more than 100 different types of HPV, many of which are harmless. However, some types of HPV can cause abnormal changes to the cells of the cervix, which can eventually lead to cervical cancer.

Two strains of the HPV virus (HPV 16 and HPV 18) are known to be responsible for 70% of all cases of cervical cancer. These types of HPV infection don’t have any symptoms, so many women won’t realise they have the infection. However, it’s important to be aware that these infections are relatively common and most women who have them don’t develop cervical cancer.

Can I Prevent Cervical Cancer?

There are many ways in which you can lessen your risk of contracting cervical cancer, however, taking these precautions cannot fully protect you and it is pivotal that you continue to get cervical checks on a regular basis once you have become sexually active.

Safe Sex

Most cases of cervical cancer are linked to an infection with certain types of human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV can be spread through unprotected sex, so using a condom can reduce your risk of developing the infection. However, the virus isn’t just passed on through penetrative sex – it can be transmitted during other types of sexual contact, such as skin-to-skin contact between genital areas and by using sex toys.

Screening for Cervical Cancer

Over the course of many years, the cells lining the surface of the cervix undergo a series of changes. In rare cases, these precancerous cells can become cancerous. However, cell changes in the cervix can be detected at a very early stage and treatment can reduce the risk of cervical cancer developing. An abnormal cervical screening test doesn’t mean you definitely have cancer. Most abnormal results are caused by an infection or the presence of treatable precancerous cells, rather than cancer itself.

Cervical Cancer Vaccination

The HPV vaccine works in the same way as other vaccines. The body reacts by making special proteins, called antibodies, which help the immune system fight and clear the HPV infection so it can’t cause cancer. The vaccine works best for girls and boys who have not been exposed to the virus through sexual activity although HPV vaccine can also be given to adults up to 26 years of age. In Ireland, the HPV vaccine is offered free of charge to all girls in their 1st year of second level school. The vaccine is given through injection into the upper part of the arm in two doses, six months apart, via a school-based programme. However, in specific instances some girls will be invited to special HSE clinics for their vaccines.

The vaccine is recommended by

  • the World Health Organization
  • the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • the National Immunisation Advisory Committee

Avoid Smoking

You can reduce your chances of getting cervical cancer by not smoking. People who smoke are less able to get rid of the HPV infection from the body, which can develop into cancer. For more information and advice on giving up smoking, see our blog: Never Quit Quitting

If I Have Had the HPV Vaccine, Do I Still Need to Get Tested?

YES! The vaccine does not protect you against all types of HPV. The vaccine targets the main HPV types. If you have been exposed to the virus already, the vaccine may not protect you. It reduces your risk of cervical cancer but does not remove it. So, it is important that all women, aged 25 to 60, continue to have regular cervical smear tests.

Can the Vaccine Be Given to Boys?

Yes – HPV vaccines have also been shown to be effective in preventing infection in men. This is not recommended as part of the school programme in Ireland at present. If you wish to get your son vaccinated you will need to pay for the vaccine and the administration of the vaccine privately with your doctor.

The vaccination of teenage boys increases the preventative effects of the vaccine against other cancers, such as anal cancer, where HPV infection can be associated and also prevents HPV-vaccinated boys passing the infection to unvaccinated partners.

Getting Tested

In Ireland, the Government launched a national cervical screening programme in 2008 called CervicalCheck. This programme provides free smear tests to women aged 25-60. For more details about this service in your area, call 1800 45 45 55, visit or contact your local GP.

Sources of Information: The Irish Cancer Society and The NHS UK

For more information, you can contact the Irish Cancer Society on Freephone 1800 200 700 or visit

Scabies, a common and treatable condition…

Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by a parasitic mite called Sarcoptes scabiei that burrows into your skin. It is highly contagious and can easily be passed from one person to another through direct skin contact or infested clothing or bedding. Outbreaks often occur in confined environments such as schools, sports locker rooms, prisons or nursing homes, where people are in close proximity to each other.

Scabies mites cannot fly or jump and can only be transmitted from one person to another by prolonged, direct physical contact such as prolonged holding hands, or having sexual intercourse with an infected person. Transmission through brief and limited physical contact, such as shaking hands or hugging someone is unlikely but it can sometimes occur by sharing clothes, towels or bedding with an infected person.



After the initial exposure to scabies, it can take up to twelve weeks for symptoms to appear. The symptoms usually develop more quickly in people who’ve had scabies before. The most common symptoms are severe itchiness and a pimple-like rash. Occasionally, tiny burrows may be seen in the skin.

  • Intense Itching

The itch is caused by the body’s reaction to the mites droppings. It may take four to six weeks for the itch to develop initially, however if you have been infected before, you can have symptoms in 1-2 days. The itch is generally worse at night or after a hot bath/shower when your skin is warmer.

  • Rash

The rash usually appears shortly after the itching starts. It is typically a blotchy, lumpy, red rash. The rash can usually affect any part of the body, apart from the head. It is usually most obvious on the inside of the thighs, around the waist, buttocks, armpits and groin area.


  • Infection

Continuous scratching of the infected area can create sores that become infected. If this occurs, additional treatment with antibiotics for the skin infection may be recommended. Our Haven pharmacists will be able to advise you about whether you will need to consult your GP once they see the rash.


Common Sites for Scabies:

  • Wrist
  • Elbow
  • Armpit
  • Nipple
  • Penis
  • Waist
  • Buttocks
  • Area between the fingers
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Area between toes



It’s a good idea to visit your Haven pharmacist first, as they can often diagnose scabies by the appearance of the rash and advise on whether or not to visit your GP.

The most common treatment is Permethrin Cream (Lyclear).


  • Permethrin Cream (Lyclear) is considered safe, easy to apply and tends not to irritate the skin. It should be left on the skin for at least eight hours and may not be used on the head and necks of children under two years. This is available over-the-counter and on prescription from your Haven pharmacy and can be used on babies from 2 months. An adult will need 30g (one tube of cream) to cover the body. Particular attention should be paid to difficult-to-reach areas, such as your back, the soles of your feet, in between your fingers and toes, under fingernails, and on your genitals.  The cream is applied when your skin is cool and dry, not after a hot shower or bath. It is left on for 8-12 hours before washing it off thoroughly. It is important to reapply the cream to any area that is washed during the treatment period e.g. hands. This treatment should be repeated after 7 days.
  • A lotion containing an insecticide called malathion is also available but mainly used only if permethrin cream has not worked. Unlike permethrin cream it needs to be left on the body for 24 hours before washing off.

Creams should be applied to the whole body except the head and neck of all household members, close contacts and sexual partners of the infected person. This precaution should be taken at the same time by all those possibly affected, even if these people don’t have symptoms of scabies, to avoid reinfection.



If someone you know has been infected with scabies, it’s important that you take the following steps as well as using the treatment mentioned above

  • Wash all clothes, towels and bed linen at a temperature above 50 degrees Celsius on the day you first apply the cream to kill the scabies mites.
  • Clothing that cannot be washed should be kept in a sealed plastic bag for 72 hours to contain the mites until they die.
  • Other alternatives to kill mites are ironing with a hot iron, dry cleaning or putting the items in a dryer on a hot cycle for 10-30 min.


Haven Pharmacist Advice

  • Wash hands before and after use of the cream
  • Patients should see your doctor or Haven pharmacist if you think you might have scabies, especially if they are elderly or have a lowered immunity. These patients are more at risk of developing crusted or Norwegian scabies, a rare form of scabies where there are a large number of mites on the skin.
  • Repeated scratching of the skin may break the skins surface, increasing the chance of secondary bacterial infections. These will often require antibiotic treatment from your doctor.
  • If you find that symptoms persist after four weeks of treatment, we would recommend contacting your Doctor right away.
  • It is important to ask your Haven pharmacist for advice on which treatment to use and to make them aware of any drugs you may be taking or if you have any allergies



Transform Your New Year

January can be tough! Not only are we suffering the come down after the festive season, we are all generally trying to improve our health and well-being – which can sometimes feel like deprivation or punishment. The good news is, it doesn’t have to feel this way. At your local Haven Pharmacy, you have access to expert advice on health, nutrition, smoking cessation and a range of topics for you and your little ones to get 2018 off to a great start!


Haven Health Check Service

This service includes cholesterol testing, blood glucose testing, Body Mass Index Measurement, Blood Pressure testing. We provide you with an easy-to-understand written record of your results that you can discuss with our pharmacist in confidence. We will tell you where you can get the right kind of help to improve your health and if there is anything you can do yourself to instantly start making a difference. (As this service uses very advanced technology we apply a small charge).


 Free Blood Pressure Testing

High Blood Pressure puts extra strain on your arteries and your heart and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes. High Blood Pressure can also damage the eyes and kidneys if left untreated. In most cases, hypertension can be known as a ‘silent disease’ in that it may produce no symptoms even while it is damaging the body. This is why it is important to have your blood pressure checked periodically even if you feel fine. Managing high Blood Pressure is something we will be happy to help you with.


Weight Measurement and BMI

Talk to the experts in your local Haven Pharmacy about their weight measurement programmes and nutritional advice. Many of our pharmacies have programmes to regularly monitor your weight and BMI and all our staff will be able to provide you with expert advice on minor changes that can make a big difference to your health.


Smoking Cessation

Follow our 8 Step Guide to giving up smoking this year, put together by our experts. Our key message in relation to smoking cessation is to be kind to yourself, you can do it and never quit quitting!! This is one of the best things you can do for yourself this year. You will reduce your risk of cancers, heart problems and general health by kicking this habit.


Remember that decisions to improve your health are a great start to the new year. However, they are not limited to January. Set your goals, try to stick to them as best you can, but don’t give up if you feel like you’ve ‘failed’ –  you’re trying, therefore you are not failing! Everyone has difficult days, keep going and be good to yourself. At Haven, our priority is looking after you and your family. Call into us today for some expert advice.

2 Most Common Reasons People Avoid The Flu Vaccine

Getting your flu vaccine, is now more convenient than ever before.

Ever chat with your friends about the flu vaccine? Do you all get it? If not, why? In January 2017, the Health Service Executive issued a statement indicating that uptake on the vaccine was “nowhere near” where it ought to be. Why do you think that is? Flu is responsible for 200-500 deaths a year in Ireland and can even reach the 1000s in an epidemic. So why have we a low uptake on the vaccine?

Here’s the two most common misconceptions we find among men, and the truth behind them

  1. “I don’t need the vaccine, I’ve never had the flu”

Luckily many of us have never had the flu and if you are not in the at risk category getting the flu will probably just result in a few days in bed with fatigue, aches and pains, nasal congestion and a bad cough. However if you are in one of the at risk categories getting the flu can result in serious illness, in some cases require a stay in hospital and may even be life threatening. For this reason if you are in one of the at risk categories you should get the flu vaccine every year.

  1. “I don’t want the vaccine because it will give me the flu”

Impossible. The vaccine can’t give you the flu. The most common side effects will be mild and may include soreness, redness or swelling where the injection was given. Headache, fever, aches and tiredness may occur. Some people may have mild sweating and shivering as their immune system responds to the vaccine, but this is not flu and will pass after a day or so.

At Risk Groups

  • Persons aged 65 and older
  • Those with long term medical conditions such as diabetes and chronic heart, kidney, lung or Neurological disease
  • People whose immune system is impaired due to disease or treatment including all cancer patients
  • Persons with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40
  • Pregnant women (at any stage in pregnancy)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long stay institutions
  • People with regular close contact with poultry, water fowl or pigs
  • Health care workers
  • Carers


Since October 2011, pharmacists in Ireland have been authorised to administer the seasonal influenza vaccine. These additions to the pharmacists’ role have been widely welcomed, with former Minister for Health and current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar saying that

“Pharmacy-based vaccine is an excellent example of safely making health services more accessible to patients”.

leo getting flu vaccine

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar getting his flu shot 

Reasons to Visit Your Haven Pharmacy

  • Expert Advice – Our Pharmacists are fully trained and qualified, but also our staff have been trained, so from the moment you walk in you are in safe hands. We provide you with all the information you need, answer any questions or concerns you may have and help you to set up your vaccine appointment
  • We Care – At Haven, we pride ourselves on ‘Care in the Community’ and providing you with ‘Expert Care, Made Personal’. Our priority is the health and wellbeing of the people in our local communities. We are happy to take time to explain anything to our customers and patients so that you are confident in making your own decisions
  • Convenience – Our 54 Haven Pharmacies are embedded in local communities throughout Ireland. Many of our pharmacies provide the flu vaccine and all our pharmacists can give advice and information around the vaccine.

Find your local Haven here and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with health information, and the latest news from Haven pharmacy, your charity partners.



Never Quit Quitting! Smoking Cessation with Haven

Have you tried to give up smoking in the past? Have you managed to give up for long periods of time and then one little slip spiraled you back to your former full-time smoking self? Has the disappointment in returning to this bad habit put you off trying to quit again? DON’T LET IT! … NEVER QUIT QUITTING

According to recent studies, it can take between 6 and 142 times for some people to give up smoking (a successful quitter is measured on having not had a cigarette for 12 months).

Giving Up

There are a range of very effective over the counter remedies available from your Haven pharmacy to help stop smoking. Please speak to one of our trained advisers or ask your Haven pharmacist if you would like advice on which treatment is best suited to your needs. With our customers health in mind, we have put a plan in place for anyone that wants to quit.

Quit Smoking

  1. Decide to Quit

Write down all the reasons why you want to quit so you can refer to them in moments of weakness.

  1. Make a Date

Pick a date that you feel you will be relaxed and focused on quitting and then stick to it. Throw out all your cigarettes including any emergency supplies as quitting outright is more effective than cutting down gradually.

  1. Talk to Your Support Team

Friends and family can offer wonderful encouragement when trying to quit. Talk to your Haven Pharmacist for advice in our private consultation room or contact the National Smokers’ Quitline on 1850 201 203.

  1. Avoid Your Triggers and Temptations

Know your trigger situations and prepare in advance. Many of our customers find it difficult to avoid a cigarette when drinking alcohol. Try to remove this trigger in the first couple of weeks/months after quitting.

  1. Learn how to cope with cravings

Cravings can occur frequently in the first week of quitting. Remember cravings intensify over 3 to 5 minutes then subside. Practice the Four D’s:

Delay acting on the urge to smoke,

Deep breathe,

Drink some water

Do something else.

  1. Make positive lifestyle choices

Increase your level of exercise as this helps improve mood and manages your weight. Many quitters experience a spike in appetite after giving up initially, this is your body and mind adjusting to a habit and it will level out. Avoid snacking on sweets, choose healthy snacks like fruit and nuts instead.

  1. Stay positive

In moments of weakness remember why you are quitting and believe in the strength of your will power. Look back at the list of reasons you put together when you decided to quit. This will shift your focus back to the long term goal.

  1. Reward yourself

Cigarettes are expensive! Get a money box, work out how much money you were spending each week on cigarettes and put it away. Buy yourself something as a treat instead.


The important thing is, be kind to yourself. Don’t see quitting as a punishment, see it as a liberation and a step on the road to a happy and healthier life.