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 are 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 https://bit.ly/2GlzqPx) 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. Water! Water! 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 https://bit.ly/2RpXTcz

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 https://www.drinkaware.ie/

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! 


Feeling Stressed about your Exams?

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.

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.

Tips for Hay Fever Sufferers
• Talk to doctor or pharmacist about taking medication to prevent / reduce symptoms.
• Keep windows closed in your bedroom at night
• Stay indoors as much as possible on high pollen days
• Stay away from grassy areas, especially when grass is freshly cut
• Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
• Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
• Shower, wash your hair and change your clothes if you have been outside for an extended period
• Avoid drying clothes outdoors, or shake them outdoors before bringing them in
• Minimise your contact with pets who have been outdoors and are likely to be carrying pollen
• Consider a purifier with a built-in air quality sensor to remove allergens and pollutants from the air

Treatment for Allergies
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

Childhood illnesses – knowing the symptoms

It’s easy to forget that children are not little adults. Children have not yet developed their body’s natural defences and therefore are far more prone to infections from bacteria and viruses than adults. As a result, children often get sick. Most of the time there is no need to worry, however a child that is unwell must be watched carefully as they can get worse very quickly.

As a parent, it is important to be diligent and understand the warning signs because unlike adults, children don’t understand they are poorly. Our Haven pharmacists have put together some useful information about how to recognise when your child is sick and when to see a doctor. Remember, Haven pharmacies are looking after families across Ireland on a daily basis. At Haven, we pride ourselves on the trust and care we invest in the people in our local communities and are here to listen and assist if you ever have any concerns about your family members.

What are the Symptoms of a Sick Child?

Healthy children are usually active and alert whilst a sick child will be more withdrawn than normal. They can be cranky, sleepy, and more in demand of your attention and affection than normal. They often lose their appetite.

General Symptoms

  • General symptoms of a sick child are fever, pain, vomiting and diarrhoea, cough, headache and rash. For specific symptoms of common illness in children have a look at our easy reference table below.

Raised Temperature

  • When a child is running a fever, they will have a raised temperature (above 37°C). This is an indication your child is fighting an infection, either viral or bacterial. Monitor any changes by taking a regular temperature reading with the thermometer.


  • Children’s pain can be from sore ears, teething, headache or injury. Sore throats, runny noses, coughs and headache may also cause distress so it can be helpful to talk to your local Haven Pharmacist about your child’s symptoms.

Vomiting and Diarrhoea

  • Vomiting and diarrhoea are more serious for a child than an adult because they are at higher risk of dehydration due to losing fluids from their bodies. A Haven Pharmacist can help you treat and manage these symptoms or advise referral if necessary.

When Should You See Your GP About Your Sick Child?

  • If your child still has pain or a fever (39°C or more) after 24 hours
  • Regular vomiting for over 24 hours
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea together
  • More than two very loose, smelly bowel motions in a day
  • Refuses two or more regular daily meals/feeds
  • Rubbing or tugging ear, crying or grizzling, or has runny discharge coming from the ear
  • Ongoing cough or wheeze, breathing more quickly than normal or grunting
  • Difficulty waking the child
  • Seizure or fit
  • Unusually floppy or pale
  • Develops a rash or stiff neck

Common illnesses in children that require a Doctor:

For further advice and information, please call in to your local Haven Pharmacy

We are here for you every little step of the way!

Baby Care – Looking After Your Little Ones


Ever feel like there are just so many things to look out for with a new baby that you don’t know where to start? It can be really overwhelming. You’re doing a great job, so don’t worry and be kind to yourself. Here, our expert pharmacists list out just some of the most common queries that they receive from parents in our pharmacies…


Blocked Nose

Saline nasal drops will help clear a blocked nose. If you are finding these difficult to apply – try some capsules containing light aromatic oils and sprinkle on the bed sheets. (Not suitable for children under three months)


Symptoms of Colic include

  1. Excessive Crying
  2. High Pitched Piercing Sound
  3. Clenched Fists
  4. Excessive Gas
  5. Knees Drawn Up to Chest
  6. Red Face
  7. Grimacing/Frowning
  8. Difficult to Comfort

Colic in young babies is not a permanent condition and one they generally grow out of. Colic may be caused by wind or by a temporary reaction to the lactose in milk which can cause bloated stomach or tummy upset.

Talk to your Haven Pharmacist about the products available to help reduce the effects of colic.


Babies should only very rarely be constipated. If your baby is constipated, please contact your Haven pharmacist of GP.

Cradle Cap (Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis)

Cradle cap is a greasy, yellow, flaky condition on the scalp of recently born babies – which can be easily treated. Your Haven Pharmacist will be able to advise you on treatments containing liquid paraffin in addition to a mild shampoo.


Babies and children are immunized to protect them from certain diseases. Please consult your doctor about the vaccination routine for your baby or child.

Nappy Rash

Most babies will suffer from nappy rash at some time. There are many creams or powders that will help to prevent, treat and soothe the condition. It’s important to change the nappy frequently when a baby has nappy rash as the baby’s urine may make the rash worse. In severe cases and when infection is involved, the condition can be distressing and require medical attention. Ask your Haven Pharmacist if in any doubt about the severity of the rash.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush appears like white patches on the cheeks and tongue. If a baby is being bottle fed or is using a soother, then make sure to rinse the soother or bottle teat with water. Do not place the teat/soother in your mouth and do not let other children use the teat/soother as thrush can spread easily in this way. If you think your baby may have thrush, ask your Haven Pharmacist for help.

Teething and Pain

Paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used to help reduce the pain of teething. Ibuprofen should not be given to children who are asthmatic. It is important to use the correct dosage and not to overdose.

**Please Note: These drugs should not be used routinely. Aspirin should not be given to children under 16.**

Skin Conditions and Rashes

If your baby has an unusual rash or skin condition, make sure to talk to your local Haven pharmacist or your GP.


Worms may be visible in the nappy or in the toilet bowl. Quite often the child will be scratching their bottom and may be grinding their teeth when they are asleep. Talk to your pharmacist about the best advice for worm treatment.

This list is not exhaustive and there are many more conditions that can affect babies. A great information resource for expectant and new parents is MyChild.ie from the HSE.

Always remember to talk to your local Haven Pharmacist or your Family GP if you are concerned your baby or child may have a health problem. If in doubt, get it checked out!

Haven Pharmacy… we’re here for you every little step of the way

Children’s Fever Advice

Your child can get a slightly raised temperature from the simplest things. But how do you know if they really have a fever? Here is some advice on how to look after your little one when they’re running a temperature

It’s not unusual for children to get a mild fever. So it’s good to feel sure about what’s normal and be confident you can tell when your little one is definitely unwell. From taking their temperature to doing all you can to bring down their fever, there’s lots of ways you can help your child feel better.

What is a normal temperature?
When it comes to a ‘normal’ temperature, every young child is slightly different. Your little one’s temperature range can vary quite widely, and go up and down quickly as their body hasn’t yet worked out how to control how hot they get. Generally, if they have a temperature above 37.5°C, then it’s classed as a fever.

How do I know if my child has a high temperature?
Your little one may look flushed or hot, but to be sure that they have a temperature, you’ll need to use a thermometer. To get a fast and accurate reading it’s best to use a digital thermometer.

How to take your child’s temperature
If your child is under 5, you should take their temperature under their armpit not under their tongue, as you’ll get a more accurate result. Pop the digital thermometer under their armpit and hold their arm against their body for as long as the thermometer’s instructions tell you (keep watch or they may try and play with it!) Try to keep a note of the reading as this will help you track how your little one is doing. Remember, any temperature above 37.5°C is usually classed as a fever.

As a parent it can be very worrying if your child has a high temperature. But it is very common and often clears up by itself…

While it lasts, here are some ways to help your little one feel more comfortable:
If your child is distressed, you can use a paracetamol-based medicine to reduce a fever. CALPOL® Infant Suspension, which contains paracetamol, gets to work on fever in just 15 minutes. It’s suitable for most babies from 2 months.

Handy tips:

  1. Make sure your child gets plenty of restful sleep.
  2. Try not to overheat your house. Your child should be more comfortable in a well-ventilated room at a normal temperature.
  3. Your child might lose their appetite – this should only last a couple of days. Just let them eat when they are hungry.
  4. Make sure they have plenty to drink. If they have started eating solid food, offer lots of cool drinks, especially water.
  5. Undressing your child to their nappy or underwear then covering them in a light cotton sheet can help them feel more cool & comfortable

How long will it last?
When your little one is suffering from a fever, it can be a sign that their body is fighting an illness, like an ear infection, the flu, or chickenpox. So it can last for anything from a few hours to a few days, depending on what they’re fighting off and how poorly they are.

When to call the doctor
Although it can be hard to see your little one feeling so hot and bothered, most fevers will soon clear up.

But you should get in touch with your GP if:

  • your baby is less than 3 months, and has a temperature 38°C or over
  • your child is 3 to 6 months, and has a temperature 39°C or over
  • as well as a fever, your child has other signs of being unwell, such as floppiness, drowsiness, persistent vomiting or refusal to feed.

The information on this page is not exhaustive. You know your child best, if you have any concerns about your child, you should contact your GP.

For more advice and information contact your local Haven Pharmacy 



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 where you will gain expert advice on what treatment suits you and your family’s healthcare needs.

Find your local Haven Pharmacy here


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



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.