Don’t suffer with Mouth Ulcers

What is a mouth ulcer?
Mouth ulcers (or apthous ulcers) are common, with as many as one in two of the population suffering from them, but the cause in many cases is unknown. They may occur on your tongue, on your soft palate, inside your cheeks or lips, and at the base of your gums. They differ from cold sores in that they occur in the soft tissues of your mouth and aren’t contagious. Conversely, cold sores rarely develop in the soft tissues of your mouth and are extremely contagious because they’re caused by the herpes virus.

How do we get mouth ulcers?
The cause of mouth ulcers in many people cannot be explained, but others may have caused by the following:-

1. Trauma or damage
A minor injury may trigger a mouth ulcer for example, over-zealous tooth-brushing, or eating or drinking something that is very hot as well as biting the inside of the mouth.

2. Disease
Normally mouth ulcers occurring as a symptom of a disease are associated with other symptoms.

What are the symptoms of a mouth ulcer?
Mouth ulcers are very painful and are usually round or oval in appearance inside the mouth. Seek advice from your Haven pharmacist if you experience any of the following symptoms:

1. Tingling or burning
This sensation may occur before the development of an ulcer.

2. Painful lesion(s)
Most mouth ulcers occur in crops of one to five with common being on the sides of the tongue and inside the lips and cheeks. They may be up to 5mm in diameter and have a white or yellowish centre with an inflamed, red outer edge.

What increases the risk of mouth ulcers?
1. Trauma
Minor injuries to the mucous membranes occur commonly in people who wear dentures (they may not fit properly) and people who wear braces or other orthodontic devices.

2. Food and Nutrition
A deficiency of vitamin B12, zinc, folic acid or iron may cause mouth ulcers and also lead to other symptoms involving the lips, tongue and oral mucosa. These kinds of deficiences are more likely to occur in people with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract which affect absorption of nutrients (e.g. ulcerative colitis). Mouth ulcers may also be caused by allergies to some foods.

3. Age, sex and family history
Mouth ulcers occur more between the ages of ten and forty and it is estimated that in one in three people suffering from mouth ulcers there is a family history of mouth ulcers. Women more commonly suffer from them and they often occur before the start of the menstrual period. Ulcers often occur less or even not at all during pregnancy, which indicates a hormonal involvement.

4. Reduced immune system function
People who are taking drugs which lower the effectiveness of their immune system (for example after transplantation, for the treatment of cancer or for auto-immune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or colitis) and people with HIV are more likely to get mouth ulcers. This is because the mouth normally contains a large number of micro-organisms, which provide a healthy environment in the mouth. But if the immune system is not functioning properly, the balance of these micro-organisms can change and this can cause problems, such as the development of mouth ulcers.

5. Blood Disorders
Rarely, mouth ulcers may be associated with disorders of the blood including anaemia and the abnormally low white cell count of leukaemia.

6. Oral Cancer
Oral cancers are more common in smokers. Oral cancer more commonly affects the lips but can affect the tongue.

What are the complications of a mouth ulcer?
These mainly occur when a mouth ulcer that is left untreated is infected by bacteria and this can lead to infection of the whole mouth or teeth.

When should you seek medical advice?
See your doctor if you experience mouth ulcers with any of the following.
-Persistent sores, lasting three weeks or more
-Pain that you can’t control with self-care measures
-Difficulty drinking enough fluids
-High fever with mouth ulcers
-Weight loss
-Involvement of other mucous membranes (e.g. genitalia)

What is the best treatment for a mouth ulcer?
Most ulcers usually heal within seven to ten days. Preparations on sale in Haven Pharmacies for the treatment of mouth ulcers can help to relieve the discomfort and pain and also reduce the risk of a bacterial infection. Many over-the-counter preparations are not suitable for those who are pregnant or for children under two years of age and may not be suitable for other individuals, so it is always important to talk to your local Haven pharmacist when buying preparation for mouth ulcers over-the-counter.

Practical tips to deal with Mouth Ulcers:
• Apply a protective paste to ulcer
• Use a painkilling oral rinse, spray or gel
• Use a soft toothbrush to prevent further damage
• Antimicrobial mouth wash may speed up the healing process and prevent infection.
• Take a Vitamin B supplement. Vitamin B is linked to preventing mouth sores and skin irritation around the mouth.

Prevention is better than cure! 
Because mouth ulcers can recur, you may be able to reduce their frequency by addressing factors that seem to trigger them, so:
– Avoid foods that seem to irritate your mouth. These may include acidic foods, nuts and certain spices
– Don’t chew and talk at the same time, you could cause minor trauma to the delicate lining of your mouth, triggering a mouth ulcer
– Regular brushing of teeth after meals and using floss once a day can keep your mouth clean and free of foods that might trigger an ulcer
– Using a soft brush may help you avoid irritation of mouth tissues

Haven Health Tip! Use ice to help relieve the pain of a mouth ulcer and rinse your mouth with salt water to help the ulcers heal.

Find out more about mouth ulcers from your local Haven Pharmacy

Allergy Season – all you need to know

Spring into Summer Health with Haven Pharmacy!

You can trust your local Haven Pharmacist to protect your family from Allergies this season. Our expert team can advise you on the best Antihistamines for your Allergy symptoms. But what exactly is an Allergy?
An allergy is a reaction the body has to a particular food or substance. They are particularly common in children. Having an allergy can affect your everyday activities but most allergic reactions are mild and can be treated. Severe reactions can occasionally occur, but these are uncommon.

Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. Most of these allergens are harmless to people who are not allergic to them.
Examples of common allergens are:
• Grass and tree pollen – an allergy called hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
• Dust and Mould Allergies
• Food – particularly nuts, fruits, shellfish, eggs and cow’s milk
• Insect bites and stings
• Medicines – including ibuprofen, aspirin, and certain antibiotics
• Household chemicals – including cleaning agents and hair dyes common during pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms
Allergic reactions usually happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
• Sneezing
• Runny or blocked nose
• Red, itchy, watery eyes
• Red, itchy rash
• Wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing (anaphylaxis)

Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis can be triggered by an allergy. This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment. Seek advice from your Haven pharmacist or GP if you experience any of the following symptoms:
• Breathing difficulties – such as wheezing or shallow breathing
• Feeling lightheaded or faint
• Confusion and Anxiety
• Collapsing or losing consciousness
• Other allergy symptoms including hives, feeling or being sick, swelling (angioedema), or stomach pain.

In many cases, the most effective way of managing an allergy is to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction whenever possible. These are a few examples of how to limit exposure to allergens: • Food Allergy: Check a food’s ingredients list for allergens before eating it.
• Pet/Animal Allergies: Keep pets outside as much as possible and wash them regularly.
• Mould Allergies: Keep home dry and well ventilated, reduce damp and condensation.
• Hay fever: Stay indoors and avoid grassy areas when the pollen count is high.
• Dust Allergies: Use Allergy-proof duvets and pillows, use wooden floors rather than carpets.

If a patient is at risk of experiencing a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) the following should be done:
• Carry two adrenaline auto-injectors at all times.
• Know how to use adrenaline auto-injectors. Your Haven pharmacist can help you with this.
• Wear a medical bracelet to make others aware of the serious allergy.
• Tell teachers, work colleagues and friends, so they are aware of the serious allergy

There are a range of very effective over the counter remedies from your Haven pharmacy to help reduce the symptoms of allergies. Please speak to one of our trained advisors or ask your Haven Pharmacist if you would like advice on which treatment is best suited to your needs.

Wear broad spectrum SPF everyday

Did you know you should wear SPF everyday?

Sun protection factor (SPF) plays an important preventative role against the long term effects of overexposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun including: sunburn, skin damage, premature ageing of the skin and skin cancer.

There are two types of UV radiation that we need to be concerned about: UVA and UVB

UVA rays penetrate more deeply through the layers of the skin than UVB. It is associated with Skin Ageing (wrinkles, lines, age spots) but also associated with Skin Cancer. UVA can pass through window glass and is present year round, even on cloudy days.
UVB rays are mainly responsible for sunburn, can’t pass through window glass and are strongly associated with two types of Skin Cancer: malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.
SPF is more accurately the sun burn protection factor, as it primarily shows the level of protection against UVB, not the protection against UVA. SPF Ratings are on a scale of 2-50+ based on the level of protection they offer, with ratings between 2 to 14 forming the least protected end of the spectrum and ratings of 50+ offering the strongest forms of UVB protection.

Broad Spectrum SPF refers to sunscreen which offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Originally, sunscreens were designed to protect against just UVB rays, which cause sunburn but only account for a small portion of the full UV spectrum. UVB rays were once thought to be the only rays that could cause harm and UVA rays were thought to produce a “healthy” tan. Now we know that UVA rays contribute to premature skin aging and some forms of skin cancer. According to the EU recommendation, the UVA protection for each sunscreen should be at least a third of the labelled SPF. A product that achieves this requirement will be labelled with a UVA logo which is the letters “UVA” printed in a circle.

UVA ratings range from 0-5 stars and indicate the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVA rays, compared with the level of protection it provides against UVB rays (i.e. the ratio between the level of UVA and UVB protection offered by the product). The higher the number of stars, the greater the level of protection against UVA. Sunscreens with a low SPF can still have a high number of stars, not because they are offering high UVA protection, but because the ratio between UVA and UVB protection is the same as offered in sunscreens with higher SPF.

That’s why it’s important to choose a high SPF as well as a high UVA protection (e.g. a high number of stars).  A good broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 and a UVA rating of 4 – 5 stars is generally considered as a good standard of SPF. So why not introduce an SPF as part of your daily skincare routine – we should all wear a minimum of SPF 30 or 50+ on the face, neck and décolletage everyday.

For more information, call in to your local Haven Pharmacy for expert advice on the best UVA & UVB protection for you and your family. Remember, SPF is not just for the sunny days- but all year round!

Information Source: The Irish Skin Foundation

Worried about Age-related Macular Degeneration?

Are you worried about Age-related Macular Degeneration? 👀

Over 7,000 new cases of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) are diagnosed every year in Ireland, often at a stage when damage has already been caused to vision. AMD is a disease that causes the gradual loss of sight due to blurring or loss of central vision. This is often as a result of a deterioration of the macula, a yellow pigmented structure at the back of the eye that is responsible for our detailed colour vision.

Smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, a diet high in unsaturated fats and simple carbohydrates and lack of exercise all increase the risk of AMD, but you can reduce your risk by taking Lutein Omega 3 as part of your daily routine.

Lutein Omega 3 is a nutritional supplement supporting healthy eyesight, it includes Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamins C and E, Copper, Zinc, combined with fish oil rich in DHA1. These agents are recommended to reduce the risk or slow the progression of AMD which is the leading cause of sight loss for those aged over 50 in Ireland.

The good news is Lutein Omega 3 Capsules is only €15 in Haven Pharmacies Nationwide! 

(Price is correct at time of publishing. Does not include Revenue increase of 23% from 1st March 2019)

Hurry! February Top 5 Offer ends 6th March 2019. Offer available while stocks.

Top 20 Haven Health Tips

A healthy lifestyle has huge long term health benefits. By choosing a balanced diet, taking regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight for your age can add years to your life and reduce the risk of certain diseases including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and obesity. The key to reducing the risk of these diseases is making just a few small changes to our daily lives – here is our Top 20 tips for a healthier lifestyle:

1. Don’t Drink Sugar Calories
Sugary drinks are the most fattening things you can put into your body. This is because liquid sugar calories don’t get registered by the brain in the same way as calories from solid foods
For this reason, when you drink soda, you end up eating more total calories. Keep in mind that fruit juices are almost as bad as soda in this regard. They contain just as much sugar, and the small amounts of antioxidants do not negate the harmful effects of the sugar. Sugary drinks are strongly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and all sorts of health problems.

2. Eat more Nuts
Despite being high in fat, nuts are incredibly nutritious and healthy. They are loaded with magnesium, vitamin E, fiber and various other nutrients. Studies show that nuts can help you lose weight, and may help fight type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, about 10-15% of the calories in nuts aren’t even absorbed into the body, and some evidence suggests that they can boost metabolism
In one study, almonds were shown to increase weight loss by 62% compared to complex carbohydrates.

3. Avoid Processed Junk Food
All the processed junk foods in the diet are the biggest reason the world is fatter and sicker than ever before. These foods have been engineered to be “hyper-rewarding,” so they trick our brains into eating more than we need, even leading to addiction in some people. They are also low in fiber, protein and micronutrients (empty calories), but high in unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and refined grains.

4. Rejoice Coffee Lovers!
Coffee has an undeserved bad reputation. The truth is that it’s actually quite healthy. Coffee is high in antioxidants, and studies show that coffee drinkers live longer, and have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and numerous other diseases.

5. Eat More Fish
Pretty much everyone agrees that fish is healthy. This is particularly true of fatty fish, like salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and various other nutrients. Studies show that people who eat the most fish have a lower risk of all sorts of diseases, including heart disease, dementia and depression.

6. Get Enough Sleep
The importance of getting enough quality sleep cannot be overstated. It may be just as important as diet and exercise, if not more! Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, throw your appetite hormones out of whack and reduce your physical and mental performance. What’s more, it is one of the strongest individual risk factors for future weight gain and obesity. One study showed that short sleep was linked to 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults.

7. Take Care of your Gut Health with Probiotics
The bacteria in your gut, collectively called the gut microbiota, are sometimes referred to as the “forgotten organ.” (Check out our Blog Post here These gut bugs are incredibly important for all sorts of health-related aspects. A disruption in the gut bacteria is linked to some of the world’s most serious chronic diseases, including obesity. A good way to improve gut health, is to eat probiotic foods (like live yogurt and sauerkraut), take probiotic supplements, and eat plenty of fiber. Fiber functions as fuel for the gut bacteria. However, eating too much fiber can cause digestive distress, gas and intestinal blockages.

8. Drink lots of Water!
Drinking enough water can have numerous benefits. One important factor, is that it can help boost the amount of calories you burn. It can boost metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours. This can amount to 96 additional calories burned if you drink 2 litres of water per day. The best time to drink water is half an hour before meals. One study showed that half a liter of water, 30 minutes before each meal, increased weight loss by 44% The problems occur when meat is overcooked and burnt. This can lead to the formation of harmful compounds that raise the risk of cancer.

9. Take Vitamin D
Back in the day, most people got their vitamin D from the sun. The problem is that most people don’t get much sun these days. They either live where there is no sun, or they stay inside most of the day or use sunscreen when they go out. If adequate sun exposure is not an option for you, then supplementing with vitamin D has been shown to have numerous benefits for health. This includes improved bone health, increased strength, reduced symptoms of depression and a lower risk of cancer, to name a few.

10. Eat more Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits are the “default” health foods, and for good reason. They are loaded with prebiotic fiber, vitamins, minerals and all sorts of antioxidants, some of which have potent biological effects. Studies show that people who eat the most vegetables and fruits live longer, and have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and all sorts of diseases.

11. Make Sure to Eat Enough Protein
Eating enough protein is incredibly important, and many experts believe that the recommended daily intake is too low. Protein is particularly important for weight loss and works via several different mechanisms. A high protein intake can boost metabolism significantly, while making you feel so full that you automatically eat fewer calories. It can also cut cravings and reduce the desire for late-night snacking. Eating plenty of protein has also been shown to lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

12. Get active! 
Doing aerobic exercise (or cardio) is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. It is particularly effective at reducing belly fat, the harmful type of fat that builds up around your organs. Reduced belly fat should lead to major improvements in metabolic health. Just 30 minutes walking a day improves heart health and reduces chances of getting Diabetes. Check our our Blog on Benefits of walking here

13. Don’t Smoke. Don’t take Drugs. Only Drink in Moderation
If you’re a tobacco smoker, or abuse drugs, then diet and exercise are the least of your worries. Tackle those problems first. If you choose to include alcohol in your life, then do so in moderation only, and consider avoiding it completely if you have alcoholic tendencies. For more advice on alcohol check out

14. Minimize Your Intake of Added Sugars
Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. Small amounts are fine, but when people eat large amounts, it can wreak havoc on metabolic health. Avoid taking sugar in tea, coffee & breakfast cereals. A high intake of added sugar is linked to numerous diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many forms of cancer.

15. Don’t Eat a Lot of Refined Carbohydrates
Not all carbs are created equal. Refined carbs have been highly processed and have had all the fiber removed from them. They are low in nutrients (empty calories) and can be extremely harmful. These include white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, and many breakfast cereals. They digest quickly and their high glycemic index causes unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels. Studies show that refined carbohydrates are linked to overeating and numerous metabolic diseases.

16. Avoid Artificial Trans Fats
Artificial Trans fats are one of the worst fats you can eat when it comes to your cholesterol levels. It’s best to avoid them altogether – deep fried fast food, pastries, cakes, biscuits, doughnuts, frozen food, crisps and crackers. Artificial trans fats are harmful, man-made fats that are strongly linked to inflammation and heart disease.

17. Use Plenty of Herbs and Spices
There are many incredibly healthy herbs and spices out there. For example, ginger and turmeric both have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, leading to various health benefits. Try make an effort to include as many different herbs and spices as you can. Many of them can have powerful beneficial effects on your health and a great substitute for salt and sugar filled sauces.

18. Track Your Food Intake
The only way to know exactly what you are eating, is to weigh your foods and use a nutrition tracker like MyFitnessPal or keep a food diary. This is important to know how many calories you are eating. It is also essential to make sure that you’re getting in enough protein, fiber and micronutrients. Studies show that people who track their food intake in one way or another tend to be more successful at losing weight and sticking to a healthy diet.

19. Get rid of excess Belly Fat
Not all body fat is equal. It is mostly the fat in your abdominal cavity, the belly fat, that causes problems. This fat builds up around the organs, and is strongly linked to metabolic disease
For this reason, your waist size may be a much stronger marker for your health than the number on the scale. Cutting carbs, eating more protein, and eating plenty of fiber are all excellent ways to get rid of belly fat.

20. Short term “Diet”, short term solution
Diets are notoriously ineffective, and rarely work well in the long term. In fact, “dieting” is one of the strongest predictors for future weight gain.
Instead of going on a diet, try adopting a healthier lifestyle. Focus on nourishing your body, instead of depriving it. Remember, weight loss should follow as a natural side effect of better food choices and improved metabolic health.

Improving your lifestyle with small steps in the right direction will have a big impact on your well-being. Start Today! 


Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 21st – 27th January 2019

The Facts
Every year in Ireland about 300 women get cervical cancer and 90 women die from it. Cervical cancer is the second most common cause of death due to cancer in women aged 25 to 39 years. Worldwide cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women with over 500,000 new cases and over 250,000 deaths in 2012.

Cervical Cancer Causes & Prevention
Most cervical cancers are caused by the HPV virus, a very common virus that is passed on during sex. Most women will get this infection in their lifetime and it usually clears up by itself. If you smoke, it can prevent the infection from clearing up.

Ongoing HPV infections can cause abnormal changes in the lining of your cervix. These changes, if left untreated, can lead to Cervical Cancer. Not having regular smear tests can increase your risk of getting cervical cancer too. Cervical cancer is now largely preventable because there is a vaccine that guards against HPV (human papillomavirus). The HPV vaccine will make antibodies that will protect you against many HPV types.

Cervical Screening
Ireland has had a cervical cancer screening programme since 2008. However even in countries with well-established screening programmes many young women still die from cervical cancer. Cervical screening looks for pre-cancer changes of the cervix before they become cancer. The HPV vaccine prevents these precancer changes to the cervix. The HPV vaccine will greatly reduce the number of women dying from cancer and also the need for hospital treatment of cervical precancers (CIN). HPV vaccine protects against HPV types 16 and 18 which cause 7 out of 10 cervical cancers. The vaccine is licensed for girls and women aged 9–26. But it is proven to work best for girls and women who have not been exposed to the virus. It is still very important for girls to have regular smear tests when they are adults to detect cancers caused by HPV types not in the vaccine.

What are the symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
There are some recognised symptoms associated with cervical cancer that you should be aware of. These include;
• Abnormal bleeding: during or after sexual intercourse, or between periods
• Post-menopausal bleeding: if you are not on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or have stopped it for six weeks or more
• Unusual vaginal discharge
• Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse
• Lower back pain

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms?
If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms or are concerned about any new symptom you should make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible. You should report these symptoms even if you have recently had a cervical screening (smear test) that came back normal. Remember, these symptoms can be associated with many other conditions that are not cancer related. There are usually no symptoms associated with abnormal cervical cells and not all women diagnosed with cervical cancer experience symptoms, which is why it is so important to attend regular cervical screening when you are invited. A National Cervical Screening Programme is available in Ireland called CervicalCheck. The Government funds this service and provides free smear tests to women aged 25 to 60 years. The HPV vaccine will protect girls from developing cervical cancer when they are adults and is available free of charge from the HSE.

Are you due your Smear Test?
Regular screening saves lives. Don’t fear the smear – it’s free, painless and only takes a few minutes.  For more details, contact CervicalCheck at 1800 45 45 55 or visit the CervicalCheck website

As cervical cancer develops it can cause further symptoms. These may include:
• Increased frequency of urination
• Blood in the urine
• Bleeding from the bottom
• Diarrhoea
• Incontinence
• Lower limb lymphoedema (swelling)

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cervical cancer, The Irish Cancer Society can provide the information you need, whether you’re making a decision about treatment, looking for support or just need to understand the basics.

For More Information

Sources of Information: The Irish Cancer Society, HSE, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust UK



Benefits of walking and how to stay motivated

Did you start off 2019 with new goals and objectives for the year ahead? Perhaps one of them is to get fit & healthy or lose weight and one of the best ways we can do any of these is to go Walking!

We all know walking is good for us but it’s actually more important than we realise! Click on the infographic below to see the 20 benefits of walking:

Being physically active is probably the single most important thing that we can do for maintaining or improving our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Physical activity which includes an active lifestyle and routine exercise, like walking, plus eating sensibly is the best way to stay healthy.

What is physical activity?
It can be formal exercise which tends to be planned, structured and repetitive, and which is designed to maintain or improve physical fitness. It can be sport which is an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and is often of a competitive nature. Most importantly, it is a broad term which covers all different types of movement such as active play, walking, dance, gardening or housework. The National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland were published by the Department of Health and the HSE in 2009:

Children and Young People (2-18)
All children and young people should be active, at a moderate to vigorous level, for at least 60 minutes every day. Include muscle-strengthening, flexibility and bone-strengthening exercises 3 times a week.

Adults (18-64)
At least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity on 5 days a week (or 150 minutes a week). You can count shorter bouts of activity towards the guidelines. These bouts should last for at least 10 minutes.

Older People (65+)
At least 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity activity on 5 days a week, or 150 minutes a week. Focus on aerobic activity, muscle-strengthening and balance.

Walking is the best form of exercise as it can be tailored to most fitness levels and health needs – and it’s absolutely FREE! No gym membership, no sign up fees – all you need is comfortable footwear, appropriate clothing for the weather and you are good to go!

Here are 10 tips to help you get started and stay on track:

1. Ask a friend to join you in your new exercise routine, you will motivate each other to get out there each day
2. Join a walking group like Operation Transformation – a great way to meet new people and interact with your local community
3. Go for a stroll after dinner each day instead of watching television – make this a habit like brushing your teeth or taking your vitamins
4. Give yourself an aim like walk to the shop to get milk or post a letter – it helps to have a reason to get to your destination
5. Change your route and explore different paths every day – that way it won’t seem so monotonous and you will gain more appreciation of your the surroundings on your doorstep
6. Leave the car at home and walk to public transport to get to work / shops – this is not only good for your health but you will also save money too!
7. Take the stairs instead of the lift or go the longer route instead of your normal routine – get those steps up each day
8. Aim to participate in a charity event like Darkness into Light on 11th May 2019 or other fundraisers in your community – build on your fitness so you are physically ready & looking forward to them
9. Keep track of your progress by using a calendar or a fitness tracker – you will soon see improvements in your timing and want to increase your steps
10. Remind yourself of the above 20 benefits – it’s not just a form of exercise but also a form of self care and mental well being

So come on everybody, dust off those trainers and lets get the nation Walking!!!

For more information on how to get started on your new fitness plan, call in to your local Haven Pharmacy for more advice!

Are you worried about Meningitis?

The HSE have advised the public to be vigilant regarding meningococcal meningitis/septicaemia as there has been a noted increase in meningococcal disease in the country in the last two weeks.

Meningitis is a serious illness involving inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. There are two types of meningitis; bacterial and viral. Parents are advised to check their children have been vaccinated against meningococcal disease as it poses a serious risk to children and adolescents.

A vaccine that protects against meningococcal C disease (MenC vaccine) is given at 6 months and at 13 months and meningococcal B vaccine (MenB vaccine) is given at 2, 4, and 12 months of age. In addition adolescents are routinely offered the MenC vaccine in the first year of secondary school. Older teenagers and young adults up to the age of 23 years who never received a MenC vaccine are recommended to get the vaccine. Other vaccines that protect against other forms of meningitis and septicaemia are included in the routine child vaccination programme (Hib vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine (PCV).

All children should get their vaccines in accordance with the national schedule. Children who have missed vaccines can obtain these vaccines from their GPs.

The illness occurs most frequently in young children and adolescents, usually as isolated cases. Bacterial meningitis or septicaemia requires urgent antibiotic treatment.

Signs and symptoms may include:
– Fever (sometimes with cold hands and feet)
– Joint or muscle pain
– Rapid breathing
– Severe Headaches
– Drowsiness
– Discomfort from bright light
– Neck stiffness
– Vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea
– Non-blanching rash may appear which may be tiny red pin pricks that may develop to purple bruises. This rash does not fade under pressure.

The HSE advises that if anyone has any concerns or showing symptoms, they should contact their GP in the first instance but ensure that medical expertise is sought.

For more information see


Transform Your New Year with Haven Pharmacy!

Happy New Year Everyone!

January can be tough… Not only are we suffering the come down after the festive season and feeling the pinch, we are all generally trying to improve our health and well-being – which can sometimes feel like deprivation or punishment after all the indulgence. 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 2019 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.


Never Give Up Giving Up! 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 spiralled 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 – it will pass
  • Deep breathing, calm your nerves
  • Drink lots of water, it will decrease the need for snacking
  • Distract yourself, do something else to take your mind off it
  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.

For more information on starting your Stop Smoking Plan – contact your Local Haven Pharmacy who will help you with your plan and start you on the right Nicotine Replacement Therapy products such as Nicorette.

Good luck on your journey, you can do it!