Probiotics – a closer look at gut health

What is a Probiotic?
The word probiotic is a compound of two Greek words: “pro” to signify promotion of, and “biotic” – life. Probiotics are bacteria that line digestive tract and they are also known as friendly bacteria.

The difference between pathogenic bacteria or candida, and probiotics, is that the probiotic organisms have a symbiotic relationship with our bodies and both together they form a mutual defence treaty

  • The first and most overlooked reason that our digestive tract is critical to our health is because 80 percent of our entire immune system is located in the digestive tract!
  • In addition to the impact on our immune system, our digestive system is the second largest part of our neurological system.
  • It is called our enteric nervous system and is located in our gut. This is why it is called our second brain! 
  • Many people with health issues such as thyroid imbalances, chronic fatigue, joint pain, psoriasis, autism, and many other conditions do not realize that these illnesses originate in the gut.

The strongest evidence to date finds that probiotic benefits include: boosting immune system, prevent and treat urinary tract infections, improve digestive function, heal inflammatory bowel conditions like IBS, manage and prevent eczema in children, fight foodborne illnesses, treat colitis and Crohn’s disease, combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, treat liver disease, battle cancer, manage autism, lower cholesterol and the list is endless!

What affects our gut flora?
➢ Prescription Antibiotics

➢ Sugar

➢ Chlorine (Tap Water!)

➢ GMO Foods (Genetically Modified)

➢ Grains

➢ Emotional Stress

➢ Chemicals and medications

In order to improve gut flora balance, make sure to avoid the probiotic killers. We are exposed to many of these foods, toxins and stressors on a daily basis, and if going to restore digestive health, they must be addressed. If they’re not addressed, gut micro-organisms become imbalanced and system can become a breeding ground for bad bacteria, yeast, viruses, fungi and parasites.

How Probiotics Work?

Gut contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Nutrition experts agree that the balance of gut flora should be approximately 85 percent good bacteria and 15 percent bad bacteria. When this ratio gets out of balance, the condition is known as dysbiosis, which means there is an imbalance of too much of a certain type of fungus, yeast or bacteria that is affecting the body in a negative way.










Bad bacteria can damage the intestines causing irritation and reduced nutritional absorption


Consuming certain types of probiotic foods and supplements can help bring these rations back into balance.


By Agne Kazlauskiene

Everything You Need to Know About the Common Cold

Ever wonder why the symptoms of a cold tend to vary greatly? That’s because the common cold is caused by any one of more than two hundred viruses!

Adults tend to get two to four colds a year but children (especially preschoolers) may have up to eight to ten colds annually. Both adults and children are more susceptible to the common cold in the autumn and winter months when children are in school and people are spending a lot of time indoors.

Haven pharmacists have shared some of their expert advice so that you know what type of cold you have and how best to treat it. Also, we highlight the importance of self-care and dispel some “old wives” tales.

How Do We Catch a Cold?

The cold virus enters your body via your mouth or nose through contact with another carrier who has sneezed or coughed close to you. It can also spread by hand to hand contact with someone who has a cold or by using shared objects such as cutlery, towels, toys or telephones. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after such contact or exposure you are likely to acquire a common cold. Other “old wives” tales about how you catch a common cold, such as going outdoors with wet hair for example, have never been proven with clinical studies.

What are the Symptoms of a Cold?

These symptoms generally gradually develop over a few hours and occur one to three days after exposure to the virus. They usually last about seven days. Some symptoms, such as a cough, may persist after the worst of a cold is over. Symptoms of a cold include:

  • Runny/blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Aches and pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

Although you may feel hot when you have a cold it is unlikely to be a temperature. The presence of a fever may be an indication of flu rather than a cold.

During the summer months, you may have symptoms like nasal congestion, sneezing and irritated watery eyes but these are likely to be due to allergy or hayfever.

Who is Most at Risk?


  • Children are more likely to get a cold because they haven’t developed resistance to most of the viruses that cause them. They also spend lots of time with other children who aren’t as careful about washing their hands – making it easier for the cold to spread.

Allergy sufferers

  • If you suffer from seasonal allergies (hayfever) or ongoing allergic reactions to dust, moulds or pet hair, which affects your nasal passages, you are more likely to develop a cold than people who do not have allergies.

Those living or working in close quarters

  • Viral and bacterial infections spread easily anywhere people gather – childcare centres, classrooms, hospitals, offices, prisons and military installations.

What are the Complications of the Common Cold?

Children, the elderly (especially those that are frail, malnourished or suffering from other illnesses), asthmatics and smokers have an increased chance of suffering from complications due to the common cold.

Acute ear infection in children

  • The most common complication of common colds in children is an acute ear infection (otitis media), which occurs when bacteria infiltrate the space behind the eardrum. Typical signs and symptoms include earaches and, in some cases, a green or yellow discharge from the nose or the return of a fever following a cold. Children who are too young to verbalise their distress may simply cry or pull on the affected ear.

**Unlike a common cold, ear infections may require treatment with antibiotics. Young children and children with chronic health problems are most likely to need antibiotics to treat an ear infection.**


  • In adults or children, a common cold that doesn’t resolve may lead to sinusitis. Other secondary infections that may develop following a cold include strep throat, chronic bronchitis and pneumonia. These infections need to be treated by a doctor.

When Should You Seek Medical Advice?

A cold generally goes away in about a week, although it may not disappear as quickly as you’d like. If your signs and symptoms last longer than a week, you may have a more serious illness, such as flu or pneumonia.

Seek medical attention if you have:

  • Temperature greater than 102 F (38.9C)
  • High temperature accompanied by achiness and fatigue
  • Temperature accompanied by sweating, chills and a cough with coloured phlegm
  • Symptoms that get worse instead of better

Seek medical attention if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Temperature of 103 F or higher, chills or sweating (39.4C)
  • Temperature that lasts more than 72 hours
  • Vomiting or abdominal pain
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Severe headache
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent crying
  • Ear pain

What is the Best Treatment for the Common Cold?

There is no cure for the common cold. Antibiotics are of no use against cold viruses, and over-the-counter cold preparations won’t cure a cold or make it go away any sooner. However, over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and cough expectorants can relieve some symptoms so make sure you talk to your local Haven Pharmacist for advice.

One of the most important things to do, if you have a cold, is to look after yourself. Follow these self-care tips to make yourself as comfortable as possible:

Drink lots of fluid

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarette smoke, which can cause dehydration and aggravate your symptoms.

Get some rest

  • Consider staying home from work if you have a temperature or a bad cough, or are drowsy from medications. This will give you a chance to rest as well as reduce the chances that you’ll infect others. Wear a mask when you have a cold if you live or work with someone with a chronic disease or compromised immune system.

Adjust your room’s temperature and humidity/steam yourself

  • Keep your room warm, but not overheated. If the air is dry use a vaporiser or humidifier. A cheaper and quite effective method is to boil a kettle several times in a room and place a small bowl of water on top of the radiator (if it is heated). The use of a steam inhalation hydrates the upper respiratory tract and helps loosen phlegm. Menthol and eucalyptus inhalants may also provide relief from the congestion caused by the common cold.

Soothe your throat

  • Gargling with warm salt water several times a day or drinking warm lemon water with honey may help soothe a sore throat and relieve a cough.


What is the Best Prevention for the Common Cold?

No effective vaccine has been developed because so many different viruses can cause a common cold. However, you can take some other precautions to slow the spread of cold viruses:

Take a vitamin C supplement during the winter months

  • Vitamin C is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system. Supplementation during the winter months may help to boost the immune system so the body can fight off cold and flu viruses more effectively.

Wash your hands

  • Clean your hands frequently and teach your children the importance of hand washing.

Keep things clean

  • Keep kitchen and bathroom countertops clean, especially when someone in your family has a cold. Wash your child’s toys after play.

Use tissues & dispose of them carefully

  • Always sneeze and cough into tissues. Discard used tissues right away.

Sharing is not always caring

  • Don’t share drinking glasses or utensils with other family members. Use your own glass & cup when you or someone else is ill.

Steer clear of others with a cold

  • Avoid close, prolonged contact with anyone who has a cold.

Choose your child-care centre carefully

  • Look for a child-care setting with sound hygiene practices and clear policies about keeping ill children at home.

For more advice contact your local pharmacist. Trust Haven to put your family’s health first this Winter.

Have you had your Flu Vaccine yet?

The seasonal flu vaccine is available from October 2019 until the end of April 2020

What is the Flu?

Seasonal flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus. The virus infects your lungs and upper airways, causing a sudden high temperature and general aches and pains, headache, weakness and exhaustion. Symptoms can last for up to one week. You may need to stay in bed until your symptoms get better. Flu affects people of all ages. In some people flu can cause serious complications such as pneumonia.

How flu is spread?

If you are carrying the virus, you can spread it by coughing or sneezing. This can happen from 1-2 days before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after symptoms develop. Flu can survive on worktops and objects, especially in low temperatures and low humidity. You can get flu by touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. The virus can live on a hard surface for up to 24 hours and a soft surface for around 20 minutes.

How Serious is Flu?

The Flu virus is an unpredictable virus. If you are healthy you will usually recover in 7 days. But Flu can be severe and can cause serious illness and death. Complications of flu include bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections and rarely acute encephalopathy (swelling of the brain). Serious complications of flu are more likely if you have a chronic medical condition or if you are aged 65 years or older. Pregnant women are also at increased risk of flu complications. In Ireland, between 200 and 500 people, mainly older people, die from flu each winter. Every year, around the world, flu causes between 3 and 5 million cases of severe disease and up to 646, 000 deaths.

How can I care for someone with flu at home?

If you are at home with flu or taking care of someone at home, follow these tips to help stop the flu spreading to others:

  • If you have the flu stay in one room with the door closed and, if possible, open a window for fresh air
  • Family members should limit time spent with someone with flu and avoid sharing dishes, books, toys, etc
  • Avoid face-to-face contact with someone who has the flu
  • Discourage visits from people not living in the house
  • If you have flu, cover your nose and mouth with disposable tissues when sneezing or coughing. If tissues are not available, coughing or sneezing into your arm or sleeve (not hand) is recommended
  • Used tissues should be put into a bin and the bin sealed in the room and immediately taken outside for collection
  • Wash hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, especially after coughing and sneezing
  • Everyone in the house should frequently clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, especially after every contact with someone with flu or their room or bathroom
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with your hands as this helps spreads the flu virus
  • Surfaces and items inside the house should be cleaned regularly with bleach-based household cleaners

The Flu Vaccine

This year, the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the 4 strains of flu virus recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the strains most likely to be circulating this season. The flu viruses that are circulating change every year. This is why you need to get a new vaccine each year. You should get your flu vaccination from early October to be protected for flu season. People 10 years and over should get the vaccine from their GP or Pharmacist or Occupational Health Department. Younger children should get the vaccine from their GP. The flu vaccine is free if you are in an at-risk group but you may be charged a consultation fee, unless you have a medical card or a GP visit card. The flu vaccine doesn’t contain any live viruses – it cannot give you the flu.

How it works

The flu vaccine helps your immune system to produce antibodies to fight influenza virus. If you have been vaccinated and you come into contact with the virus, these antibodies will attack it and stop you from getting sick. The flu vaccine starts to work within two weeks.

At-risk groups

The HSE are strongly urging people in at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine. It is strongly recommended the vaccine if you:

  • are 65 years of age and over
  • are pregnant
  • are a child or adult with a long-term health condition
  • work in healthcare
  • are a carer or household contact of anyone at increased medical risk of flu
  • live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility
  • in regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl

You should not get the flu vaccine if you have had a severe allergic (anaphylaxis) reaction to a previous dose or any part of the vaccine. Don’t get the flu vaccine if you are taking medicines called combination checkpoint inhibitors (e.g. ipilimumab plus nivolumab). Vaccination should be re-scheduled if you have an acute illness with a temperature greater than 38°C.

Speak to your local Haven Pharmacist about the Flu Vaccine. You can make an appointment in selected Haven Pharmacy stores nationwide.

For more information about Flu and it’s symptoms check out the HSE website



Back To School Hair Care

Back to school can unfortunately bring with it dreaded Head Lice. Children are most likely to have head lice infestations because of their relative close proximity to one another in schools and the playground. They are not a cause for embarrassment nor are they a result of unhygienic environments, but because of their highly contagious nature they simply thrive in busy close human to human places, like kids parties, sport activities and summer camps.

Head lice are a harmless but irritating pest that can cause severe distress to both parents and children. Most people will experience trying to tackle head lice at some point in their lives. Head lice are not dangerous for your child, but you do want to get rid of them as soon as possible to avoid spreading to others.

In our Haven Pharmacies, we often meet parents who have taken every precaution available to them and are still surprised when their child manages to catch head lice. You cannot prevent head lice and anyone with hair can get head lice not just children. Despite common misconception, they aren’t fussy about clean or dirty hair!

Hopefully this blog will enable you to spot a louse, but if in doubt, we would encourage you to drop into your local Haven to speak to an expert who can advise you on the best course of action.

What are Head Lice?

Head lice are small blood sucking insects that live on the human scalp. They are one of the most common childhood conditions worldwide. Head lice are tiny wingless insects that are grey-brown in colour. They are the size of a pinhead when they hatch and 3mm long (the size of a sesame seed) when fully grown. Although children are most commonly affected, anyone with hair can get head lice. Nits are empty eggs left behind when lice hatch. They can be white, yellow or brown.

Image result for head lice


What Causes Head Lice?

They are passed by head to head contact. They cannot jump or fly from one head to another, so it is this close contact that spreads them from one person to another. They prefer the warmest parts of the head so are usually found behind the ears or in the nape of the neck. Head lice only affect humans and cannot be passed on to animals or be caught from them. Lice will not survive on bedding or clothing, but it’s advised to change and wash pillow cases after detection.



Signs and Symptoms

The usual symptoms of head lice are persistent itching of the scalp, finding empty white or opaque eggshells in the hair or on the shoulders. Itching is not caused by the lice biting the scalp but by an allergy to the lice so may not always be present. Some people are not allergic to head lice, so they may not notice that they have a head lice infestation. Even if someone with head lice is allergic to them, itching can take up to three months to develop. In some cases of head lice, a rash may appear on the back of the neck. This is caused by a reaction to louse droppings.

Image result for symptomshead lice

Detecting Head Lice

In order to confirm an active infestation, a louse must be found through a reliable method, such as using a fine tooth comb otherwise known as wet combing. No treatment should be used unless a louse is found. Regular combing is more effective at detection than relying on a repellent spray. A good tip is to use a hair dryer on low speed and low heat to search the hair thoroughly.

Image result for wet combing lice

Treating Head Lice

There are many treatments for treating head lice and help reduce their reoccurance:

    • Wet comb children’s hair regularly to prevent an infestation of head lice. The hair is divided into sections with a regular comb, and then a lice detection comb should be drawn from the scalp to the ends of the hair, checking for lice at each stroke. Sufficient combing may take up to 30 minutes per head. Parents can be reassured that regular combing can be just as effective as a chemical-based treatment at removing live lice, especially in smaller numbers.
    • If head lice are found, inform those who they have been in close contact with, to check if they are present in their children.
    • Head lice can be found in all types of hair, clean or dirty, long or short, so children should be reassured it’s not a ‘dirty’ problem
    • Head lice don’t live on pets or other animals, so they can’t be caught from a family pet
    • Resistance to head lice treatments can occur, so only treat those who have head lice. Head lice treatment should never be used unless a live louse is found.
    • Conduct regular weekly checks for head lice to make sure that you can treat an infestation as soon as possible
    • Medicated lotions and sprays are not effective in preventing head lice infestations. They should only be used if a live louse has been found on your or your child’s head.
    • Treatment can be regarded as successful if no live lice are found on both days three and seven after completion of a course of treatment.
    • Itching may persist several weeks after a successful treatment and parents should be reassured not to keep re-treating unless you find live lice.

After Treatment

Check the hair again 2 days after the treatment, to make sure it has worked. If you find nits, but don’t find lice, don’t treat again. Nits may be left behind on the hairs but this does not mean the treatment has failed. Only treat if you find living, moving lice. If you find lice after the treatment, it means that your child has been re-infected with lice or the initial treatment wasn’t carried out correctly. Check the whole family again and treat all those with lice and ask your GP or Haven pharmacist for more advice.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

The best way to prevent head lice is to keep long hair tied up in a plait or a bun. Tea Tree Oil shampoo can also be used to prevent head lice. You can either buy one of these ready-made shampoos or you can add a few drops of tea tree oil to your regular soft shampoo. Tea tree oil contains terpenoids, which have antiseptic and antifungal properties, and have thus the property to kill adult head lice and nymphs.

Avoid Re-infestation

Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed.  Follow these steps to help avoid re–infestation by lice that have recently fallen off the hair or crawled onto clothing or furniture:
– Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (60°C) cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry–cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
– Soak combs and brushes in hot water (at least 60°C) for 5–10 minutes.
– Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, the risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a rug or carpet or furniture is very small. Head lice survive less than 1–2 days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the human scalp

There are a range of very effective over the counter remedies available from your local Haven Pharmacy to help treat head lice. If a pharmacy treatment is requested, either a pesticide or a non-pesticide lotion can be recommended. All need to be repeated and none guarantee absolute success. Please speak to one of our trained advisers or ask your Haven Pharmacist for advice on which treatment suits your needs. For more information check out the HSE Website 

Quit Smoking with Haven Pharmacy

1 in every 2 smokers will die of a tobacco-related disease. It doesn’t have to be that way – you can quit!

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?

The disappointment in returning to this bad habit might off trying to quit again? Don’t let it… Never give up giving up!

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

Health Benefits 
Straight away you will have fresher breath, hair & clothes and

Straight away you prevent staining your fingers & teeth and delay premature aging

Straight away you will have more money in your pocket!

Within 20 mins your blood pressure and pulse rate begin to return to normal

Within 1 day your risk of heart attack begins to fall

Within 2 days you will have a better sense of taste and smell

Within 3 days you will feel fitter as you will be less breathless as the nicotine is gone from your body completely

After 2-3 weeks your lung function will improve

Within 2-3 months your lung capacity can increase by up to 30%

After 1 year your risk of sudden death from a heart attack is almost cut in half, while your risk from cancer is also reduced

After 5 years the risk of smoking related cancers will be greatly reduced

After 10 years the risk of a heart attack drops to almost the same as a non-smoker

Did you know Ireland has more quitters than smokers?

Join the Quitters and start your journey today! Here are some helpful tips to guide you on the road to a smoke free life…

  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 for Free Support

  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. Go for a brisk walk or jog to get rid of your anxiety or stress – it will help your body and mind.

  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 Smoke Free journey – contact your local Haven Pharmacy who will help you with your plan and start you on the right NRT products such as Nicorette and NiQuitin- we have a range of patches, gum, lozenges and inhalers. Using these NRT products increases your chance of successfully stopping by up to 70%.

Download your Quitters Guide from the HSE and start your smoke free journey today to look forward to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Good luck, YOU CAN DO THIS!



10 Steps to a Great Skincare Routine

Your skin is one of the largest organs your body has, it works hard every day to protect your body from harmful elements, pollution and environmental damage. Taking good care of your skin and developing a daily skin care routine is so important because it can help your skin do its job at its best and for longer.

In our teens and twenties, we’re blessed with youthful skin that recovers quickly from pretty much anything including all night parties, takeaways, sun damage, wipes and sleeping with make-up on. The first signs of aging usually begins in our 30s when we start to notice fine lines and wrinkles, then as we reach our 40’s we may find our skin is not quite as taut as it used to be, due to lack of collagen the skin begins to sag or drop. It’s never too late to start a skincare routine, but the earlier you start the better! And it doesn’t have to cost the earth either – these small, simple steps will help you give your skin all the help it needs to age beautifully…

1. Get lots of sleep
– It’s called ‘beauty sleep’ for a reason! At night, cell regeneration is faster as it’s busy repairing damage and rebuilding cells. After a good night’s sleep you will notice your skin looks more revived and brighter.

2. Drink plenty of water
– Drink at least 2 litres of water each day to keep your cells hydrated and flush out toxins that can build up making the skin looking dull and tired. Hydration is the key to plump, healthy, clear skin!

3. Eat Fruit, Vegetables and Nuts
– Eat your vitamins! Foods rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Selenium and Omega 3 are a great way of improving the health of your skin and the appearance of your complexion. Optimize your nutrition by eating antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables and healthy fats from oily fish and nuts.

4. Exfoliate once or twice a week
– Exfoliating your skin is important to remove the dead skin cells, revealing softer, smoother skin. You can use an exfoliating facial scrub or an exfoliating face mask depending on how sensitive your skin is.

5. Use a moisturiser daily
– Wear a moisturiser that suits your skin type, ensure it contains an SPF and apply it to a clean, damp face so that your skins absorbs all that goodness ensuring protection all day long. Tinted moisturisers are a good replacement for heavy foundations & drying powders

6. Double cleanse in the evenings
– Single cleanse isn’t strong enough to remove all the grime from your skin, so use an oil-based cleanser to remove oils from your skin and then your second cleanse will deep clean your pores. It will take a couple of extra minutes but your future self will be thankful.

7. Wear a night moisturiser
– Skin cells are at their most productive when we sleep, so they are quite receptive to moisturising ingredients. A good night cream can boost radiance, revive dull & tired skin, reduce the look of visible fine lines, increase moisture and tone the skin – that’s a lot of work all while you are asleep!

8. Invest in quality skin care products
– Instead of spending your heard earned money on expensive facials, why not treat yourself to a really good quality moisturiser or cleanser. It will last longer and is better for your skin in the long run rather than a one-off treatment.

9. Try out different face masks
– A great pick-me-up for dull complexions needing some extra TLC. Look for ingredients such as Tea Tree, Seaweed, Charcoal and Ginseng which contain properties that can detoxify, cleanse or hydrate the skin leaving it radiant & luminous.

10. Ditch the wipes!
– As much as we would all like to take the day off in one easy step, facial wipes are extremely bad for your skin and even worse for the environment. Use a face cloth, muslin cloth or cleansing mitt with your skincare products and bin the wipes for good!

And finally, this one goes without saying – wear a broad spectrum SPF every single day. Check out our recent blog on this topic and why it’s so important.

At Haven Pharmacy we take pride in knowing that we only sell the best skincare products from trusted brands such as La Roche Posay, Vichy, Clarins, Dr. Hauschka, NeoStrata and so many more*.

Ask our expert staff for advice on what skin care products suit your skin and your budget.

Haven, you’re in expert hands!

*skincare brands vary in each store

First Aid in the Home

We can all be prone to injuries at home, but especially children. Those most at risk from a home accident are the 0-4 years age group, boys are more likely to have accidents than girls and most accidents in the home occur in the summer, during school holidays and at weekends.

Most accidents aren’t too serious, but it is advisable to keep a First Aid Kit in a convenient location at home, easy to access when dealing with minor injuries. Your first aid box should be easy to carry and stored out of the reach of young children.

Here’s a list of the recommended first aid supplies that you should have in your first aid kit:

Plasters – variety of sizes for minor cuts, blisters and sore spots.

Adhesive Tape – to hold dressings in place.

Bandages – crepe bandages are useful for support or holding a dressing in place. Tubular bandages are helpful when a child has strained a joint and needs extra support. You can also buy triangular bandages that you can use for making a sling.

Sterile Gauze Dressings – for covering larger sore areas and cuts.

Antiseptic Cream – can be applied to cuts or grazes after cleaning. This will help prevent infection and some numb the pain.

Burn Gels –  should only be used if you are not near cool running water. The best first aid treatment for burns is placing it under cool running water for 20 minutes.

Antiseptic Wipes – handy way to clean cuts and grazes and help prevent infection. To use them, take a fresh wipe and clean the wound. Work gently away from the centre to remove dirt and germs.

Absorbent Pads – lightly apply pressure to a wound that is bleeding. Do this until the bleeding stops. Make sure there is no object stuck in the wound first.

Thermometer – digital or electronic thermometer. These are quick and accurate. You can also use them under the armpit. Always place the thermometer under the armpit for children under 5.

Saline Solution – washing dust or loose particles out of sore eyes.

Small Scissors – for cutting clothes and also plasters & tape to size.

Safety Pins – these are used to secure an arm sling in place around the elbow area.

Tweezers – use tweezers to remove stones, thorns, splinters and ticks. Never use tweezers to remove objects from nose, mouth or ears – seek medical attention.

Hand Sanitiser – wash your hands before and after you give first aid, but if you do not have access to water, hand sanitiser is a good option.

Disposable Gloves – protect you from infection when giving first aid.

The above list provides a general guide on the recommended contents for first aid kits in the home. All supplies or similar are available in your local Haven Pharmacy, so please ask one of our expert staff for advice on what you need.

Useful Tips:
1. It’s a good idea to keep the supplies sorted in separate zip-close bags to save time rummaging for what you need in an emergency.
2. Never store medication in your first aid kit because a young child might take medication from it, this could easily happen while you are attending to another child who is injured.
3. Put a list of emergency phone numbers into the kit: 112 and 999, your home’s Eircode, your nearest hospital emergency department, your GP & your local GP ‘Out of Hours’ service and your local Haven Pharmacy number.
4. Keep your first aid kit up to date, check use-by dates and always replace used items.
5. Remember, if someone else is caring for your children, let them know where you keep the kit.

To find out more on how to deal with some of the most common accidents and emergencies check out this information from the HSE.

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.

Summer 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 this Summer:

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. So during this warm weather, it’s all about H20!

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. 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%

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, even during an Irish Summer! Many people seek shade from the sun to protect from harmful UVA and UVB Rays, so 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. During Summer, some of the best fruit, berries, herbs and vegetables are in abundance and taste even better when they are ‘in season’.

11. Make Sure to Eat Enough Protein
Eating enough protein is so 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. Now is a great time to start as the weather is warm and dry with long bright evenings. 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 and get advice from your local Haven Pharmacist. 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 drinking alcohol responsibly 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. Remember to avoid drinking Sugar Calories (Reference point 1) 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 (Yes all the nice things!) They digest quickly and their high glycemic index causes unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels. You may have heard about the White Diet which basically means cutting out anything White from your diet. 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. instead, focus on choosing foods that contain unsaturated fats such as Salmon, Avocado, Nuts which are all a good source of Omega-3 and are great anti-inflammatory foods to include in the diet.

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. Not only can you measure your food intake but you can measure your waistline too – the first step to starting your healthy lifestyle. Measure your steps, measure your calories intake, measure your weight… when you start to see the difference it will motivate you even more.

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, reduce sugar, eat more protein and eating plenty of fibre are all excellent ways to get rid of belly fat. Get that measuring tape out!

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.