Be ready for Christmas - food, presents and medication, warns Shropshire pharmacist
Residents across Shropshire are being urged to try and reduce the number of emergency calls made to Shropdoc this Christmas by making sure they have ordered any prescriptions for medicine by the end of this week.
Every year Shropdoc receives thousands of calls over the festive period from residents requiring medical assistance.
But, Ian Swindell, pharmacist for Lunts Pharmacies which has premises in Shrewsbury, Craven Arms and Pontesbury, says a high proportion of these calls are related to people running out of medication and could be avoided if patients planned ahead.
He said: “Running out of important medication during the main Christmas period when many pharmacies are operating reduced hours can cause a lot of stress and worry for people.
“Quite often they don’t know what to do so call Shropdoc for advice.
“The number of these types of calls could be significantly reduced if people planned ahead.
“We have therefore been reminding all our regular customers to make sure they have ordered their prescriptions well in advance of Christmas and we would urge anyone needing extra medication over the festive period to have ordered their prescriptions no later than Wednesday, December 13.
“We appreciate it is a busy time of year and people have a lot on their mind, but we would urge people to have prescriptions at the top of their list - before presents and food shopping.”
Mr Swindell said it is also good idea to ensure your medicine cabinet is well stocked and be aware of the opening hours of your regular pharmacy.
And because Christmas Eve is a Sunday this year there will be a reduced service across the county for more days than usual, in many cases pharmacies will be closed on December 24, 25 and 26.
Lunts Pharmacies are operating usual opening hours and are closed on bank holidays.
Mr Swindell added: “Where possible we would ask people to assist any elderly relatives or friends to make sure they have enough medication or help them reorder if necessary before Wednesday’s deadline.”
Double the number of flu vaccinations given out in Shropshire this winter as experts warn of severe season
A group of pharmacies across Shropshire has reported that more than double the number of flu vaccinations have been administered this year, compared with the same time last year.
Bosses at Lunts Pharmacies, which has two stores in Shrewsbury and stores in Craven Arms and Pontesbury, said they are delighted that customers are listening to the warnings about a potentially severe winter.
Owner Martin Lunt said: “About two months ago we began warning all our customers that the impending flu season could be more severe than recent years.
“We shared NHS England advice that there could be more cases of flu than usual after Australia and New Zealand experienced their worst outbreak for several years.
“We are very pleased that a lot of people in Shropshire appear to be listening to this and taking the situation seriously.
“To have already more than doubled the number of flu vaccinations we have administered compared to last winter is remarkable.
“We hope to have taken some strain off GP surgeries by offering this service, but I believe there are still people at risk who haven’t yet been vaccinated - I would urge them to do so.”
The figures are based on the flu vaccinations administered in Lunts Pharmacies in Hereford Road and Roushill, Shrewsbury.
Those at risk can have a free NHS flu vaccination without appointment and a private service is also available to anyone who does not qualify for the NHS service.
You should get a flu vaccination if you are aged 65 or over, are pregnant, have a serious medical condition, are very overweight or live in a residential or nursing home.
You should also consider it if you are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person or are parent to a child who is aged six months to two years, as you becoming ill could put them at risk.
Ian Swindell, a pharmacist who works at both Lunts Pharmacy stores in Shrewsbury, said it has been very busy.
He said: “We have been kept very busy with people wanting a flu jab and we are delighted about that.
“As it’s a walk in service sometimes we have had just one after the other, up to 10 a day.
“Our pharmacists who carry out the injections are fully trained and the process is simple and quick.
“If you had a vaccination last year you still need one this year.
“It can take up to 10 days for the vaccine to get to work and for your body to produce antibodies to protect you from the flu virus.”
Symptoms of flu can include a sudden high fever, dry chesty cough, chills, tiredness and joint pains as well as a sore throat and diarrhoea, all for up to a week.
Complications such as pneumonia - which can be fatal - can occur in certain groups of people.
Raising awareness of indoor allergies
How can you be allergic to your own home?
But anyone who suffers from indoor allergies will know it can be exhausting and sometimes hard to avoid the cause….especially when where you spend most of your time is part of the problem.
National Indoor Allergy Week, organised by the charity Allergy UK, takes place from November 19 to 25, 2017.
Allergy UK estimates that at least 12 million people are allergic to their own home and so could be classed as household allergy sufferers.
At Lunts Pharmacies in Shropshire we will be raising awareness of what can trigger indoor allergies. This can include house dust mites, mould, pets and household cleaning products.
But the good news is there are lots of tips to make your home an easier place to be if you do suffer from allergies.
At our bases in Shrewsbury, Craven Arms and Pontesbury, we will be making people are aware of indoor allergies and what they can do to change conditions in their own home.
Symptoms of indoor allergies vary but can include:
A runny nose
Some tips to help improve allergies include:
Air your bed - Dust mites are microscopic creatures that survive well in warm damp conditions such as the average UK home. Dust mites love a warm cosy place to breed and feed. If you leave duvets folded back and move pillows to the end of the bed during the day, this will allow the bed to air fully.
Soft toys - Cuddly toys should be washed as frequently and at the same temperature as bedding. Alternatively, if the toy cannot be washed at 60 degrees place it in a plastic bag in the freezer for at least 12 hours once a month and then wash at the recommended temperature.
Avoid carpets and curtains - These can trap extra dust and mites. Use wooden floors and tiles and wipe down blinds with a damp cloth.
Don’t use strong detergents - These can be very bad for your skin. Look at natural substances such as lemon and vinegar which can be very good at cleaning.
Keep an eye out for damp and mould - Keep your home ventilated and open bathroom windows after a shower or bath.
Pets - Your beloved pets can cause allergies so keep them out of the bedroom and other rooms where you spend a great deal of time. Replace carpets with hardwood floor or tile and clean away fur frequently.
For more information about Lunts Pharmacy and the store locations visit this page of our website or call 01743 232857 for further advice.
Ask Your Pharmacist Week
It’s Ask Your Pharmacist Week from November 6th - 13th and here at Lunts pharmacies in Shropshire we will be taking part, hoping to hear from lots of people with lots of questions.
What is it?
The week has a theme this year of Discover your Pharmacy - hoping to surprise people with the range of services on offer.
It acknowledges the invaluable contributions that pharmacists and technicians make to patient care as well as the extra services such as providing information, toiletries, medical products you can get over the counter and in many cases, much much more.
It’s a time to celebrate achievements and share those accomplishments with patients, other health professionals and the community.
What is happening?
At our bases in Shrewsbury, Craven Arms and Pontesbury, we will be making people aware of the national week and the important work that pharmacists do.
Did you know that in Craven Arms we have introduced a specialised line of goods especially to try to help elderly and isolated people this year? This is a direct result of feedback from patients and the knowledge that our staff have of our customers.
During the national week we will have leaflets explaining the many roles of a pharmacist as well as encouraging patients to bring their prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines to discuss their medication regimes with our pharmacists. We will be providing handouts on safe medication use.
Owner of Lunts pharmacies, Martin Lunt, said: “We are looking forward to celebrating Ask Your Pharmacist Week with our staff and patients.
“We want to make sure people understand how many roles a pharmacist occupies and just how much they can help you.
“It is a great source of advice for medication and can help to promote safe and effective medication too.
“Let’s also say thank you to all the pharmacists that work in our stores, hospitals, GP surgeries, shops, and elsewhere across the UK.”
For more information about Lunts Pharmacy and the store locations you can visit this page or call 01743 232857 for further advice.
We are delighted that our customers have heaped praise on staff and service
Lunts Pharmacies have been praised by our toughest critics, the customers.
Across our stores in Craven Arms, Pontesbury and two in Shrewsbury, we surveyed 468 customers and over 97% of respondents said they were very satisfied or fairy satisfied with the time it took to provide the service they were using.
The main praise was for the staff and short waiting times for prescriptions - but those surveyed said more work could to be done providing advice on physical exercise and stopping smoking.
Which is exactly what staff will do.
Owner Martin Lunt said: “Our annual patient questionnaire is a vital insight into how the pharmacies are working and what we can do to better provide for the people we serve.
“We always analyse the results very carefully and it influences our business plan each year.
“We are delighted that so many of our customers wanted to praise staff - often going to the extent to highlight work by individuals - and are pleased with the work we are doing.
“One of the most important parts of this exercise though is looking at what we don’t do well.
“As a result we are now offering more advice sessions and leaflets on getting exercise and stopping smoking in the locations where these issues were highlighted.
“We have started this already and will make further plans to improve this over the coming months.”
At the base at Hereford Road, Shrewsbury, customers said they trust the staff who are ‘polite, kind, warm and friendly’.
The efficient service is provided in a clean environment.
At Roushill customers said it was a ‘first class service’ and every single person said the staff were very good or fairly good
At our store in Pontesbury we were given a 100% mark for the time it takes to provide the service customers are using and the pharmacy was described as a ‘wonderful asset’ to the village.
They were praised for being ‘always clean’, ‘well stocked’ and with ‘great gifts’ on offer.
In Craven Arms customers thought the staff were 100% and said they were well trained and offered good support.
One respondent described the store in The Auction Yard as ‘the best chemist I have ever visited’.
Mr Lunt added: “The comments people took to the time to write about each pharmacy are really overwhelming at times.
“I am so proud of our excellent workforce at Lunts, some of whom have been here for many years.
“These results are a fitting tribute to the hard work they put in day in day out.”
So, thank you!
Shropshire pharmacies to offer advice during National Eczema Week
As part of national Eczema Week this month, our group of pharmacies in Shropshire is urging people to take the disease seriously.
Lunts Pharmacies, with bases in Shrewsbury, Craven Arms and Pontesbury, is urging people to make sure they get proper treatment as Eczema can be a debilitating condition to live with.
Eczema Week runs from September 17 to 25 and is organised by the charity National Eczema Society.
Lunts Pharmacies owner Martin Lunt said learning to manage your eczema or your child’s is an important part of coping and living with the condition.
According to the National Eczema Society, 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults suffer from Eczema.
He said: “While Eczema is an incurable condition, it can be managed. People must take it seriously and understand the particular challenges that the condition brings.
“During National Eczema Week, we will be offering support and advice to patients and those who have children with the condition.
“Eczema is a dry skin condition, which can be very painful and uncomfortable. In mild cases, the skin is dry, scaly, red and itchy. In more severe cases there may be weeping, crusting and bleeding. Constant scratching causes the skin to split and bleed and also leaves it open to infection.
“We want to focus on how to live with condition and teaching about the different products available. We want to encourage people to come to their local pharmacy for advice.”
Mr Lunt said there are a number of treatments available.
He said: “Keeping skin moisturised using emollients, which are medical moisturiser, is key to managing all types of eczema with topical steroids commonly used to bring flare ups under control.
“There can also be other trigger factors to flare ups and you may need to look at your environment and other circumstances, such as the presence of pets, the nature of your work or your home life.”
Mr Lunt said Eczema sufferers can also look at their diet, although there is not enough research yet about the role of food in the condition.
He said: “It can help to keep an accurate diary of what you or your child eats to see if food may be playing a role in worsening Eczema or the itching.
“The most common food triggers are cow’s milk and eggs, but many other foods including Soya, wheat, fish and nuts are common. Exclusion Diets to work out triggers should be supervised by a healthcare professional. Parents and carers should never attempt an exclusion diet on their own and it is important the diet chosen is the right one and nutritionally correct.”
For more information and advice from Lunts Pharmacy and the store locations you can visit www.lunts.net/contact-us or call 01743 232857 for further advice.
Free blood pressure checks at Shrewsbury pharmacy during month of action
A pharmacy in Shrewsbury is determined to alert people in the county town to potential health problems during a month of action.
Lunts Pharmacy in Roushill will be offering free daily blood pressure checks as part of a campaign to increase awareness of heart health and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The campaign, run by Public Health England, begins on September 4 and will also see people asked to fill in an online questionnaire.
Lauren Wagstaff, Dispensing Technician at the pharmacy in Roushill, said they were expecting a large number of visitors.
“This is an important issue for many adults,” she said.
“We decided to take part to ensure people in Shropshire can tackle any conditions they may have as early as possible.
“Not always, but in some cases persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, aortic aneurysms, kidney disease or vascular dementia.
“We will have a wealth of information and advice for people who want to come and get a free blood pressure reading.
“We suspect it will be something a large number of people will be doing - you may have been wondering about this and popping into your local pharmacy is a lot easier that making a doctor's appointment ‘just in case’ - so this is your opportunity to get checked.”
The free blood pressure checks will be on offer Monday to Friday from 9am to 12pm and then again from 2pm to 5pm.
The pharmacy staff will also be encouraging adults to complete the new online 'One You' Heart Age Test.
This is run by Public Health England and provides a series of questions for users based on lifestyle, it will calculate a figure to tell people 'how old their heart is' (in comparison to their physical age). There are tips on actions you can take to lower your heart age online.
For more information call Lunts Pharmacy in Roushill on 01743 232857 or email email@example.com.
Shropshire pharmacies raising awareness of migraines during national week
Migraines - they stop you in your tracks. They mess with your vision, they mess with your stomach and they generally make you stop. Whatever you are doing, wherever you are. It is much more than just a headache.
Migraine Awareness Week, organised by The Migraine Trust, runs from September 3rd to 9th and at Lunts Pharmacies we’re holding advice clinics to highlight the facts and reduce stigma - we also want you to know just how many things are available over the counter these days.
Our bases in Shrewsbury, Craven Arms and Pontesbury, are aiming to raise awareness about the complex neurological disorder with no known cause or cure.
According to The Migraine Trust, one in seven people are affected by migraines and The World Health Organisation recognises migraine as one of the most disabling lifetime conditions, yet awareness and understanding is low.
A painful headache, disturbed vision, sensitivity to light, sound and smells, feeling sick and vomiting.
There are a number of branded products you can buy off the shelf, we can suggest appropriate relief depending on your symptoms and other medication that you may be taking.
We can also offer advice to people suffering with migraines too.
Ian Swindell, chief superintendent pharmacist at our Hereford Road base, said it is also important to talk to your GP and keep a migraine diary so you can notice what trigger points can lead to a migraine developing.
He said: “There are a wide variety of trigger points. Common ones include changes in routine, stress, too much or too little sleep, caffeine, hormonal changes in women, the environment, such as weather changes, high humidity and loud noises, lack of food and mild dehydration.
“Migraine is a serious condition and one that a lot of people don’t understand. They assume someone is just complaining of a headache. Living with migraines is debilitating and can really affect your way of life.
“We urge sufferers to come into our stores to pick up our advice leaflets.”
For more information and advice from Lunts Pharmacy and the store locations you can visit us or call 01743 232857 for further advice.
The importance of a consultation room at a pharmacy
Next time you go into one of our pharmacies take a look around - as well as the prescriptions dispensing area, the shelves of medicines, the shelves of toiletries and essentials and the leaflets giving you information on what you may be suffering with, you’ll also notice a door.
This door will lead to a consulting room and we believe this is vitally important for anyone coming to a pharmacy.
You may pop into one of our pharmacies quite often and be so focused on what it is you need, you have never noticed the door.
But there is one in both our Shrewsbury bases and at the pharmacies in Craven Arms and Pontesbury too.
A consulting room is essential to give privacy and confidentiality to all our customers. Whether you have an intimate condition you want to discuss or you simply don’t want to discuss your medical needs in front of other customers, you can always use the consulting room.
These can also be used for a Medicines Use Review (MUR) too - these are different to the ones carried out at the doctors.
A MUR consists of an accredited pharmacist undertaking structured adherence-centred reviews with patients on multiple medicines, particularly those receiving medicines for long-term conditions. They will only be offered to a selection of patients.
In fact, to be eligible to offer MURs pharmacy premises need to meet national standards because they need to take place in a confidential environment.
Consultation areas must meet the following requirements:
The patient and the pharmacist can sit down together
They can talk at normal speaking volumes without being overheard by staff or customers
The area is clearly signed as a private consultation area.
So our consultation rooms are not only vital for you, they are vital for us to meet the standards expected.
Next time you’re in one of our pharmacies take a look around and see if you can spot it, they are there for whenever you need them.
For more information and advice from Lunts Pharmacy and the store locations you can visit www.lunts.net/contact-us or call 01743 232857 for further advice.
A scheme to get people to use the pharmacy as the first point of call for common ailments is failing in Shropshire compared to other counties, one of our experts has said.
Lorraine Anderson, who works at Lunts Pharmacy in Drovers’ House, Craven Arms, has hit the headlines recently campaigning for the Think Pharmacy First scheme to be better advertised and facilitated in Shropshire.
Before starting a permanent role with us three months ago she previously worked as a locum pharmacist in Shropshire, Cheshire and Powys - and said the scheme is much better elsewhere, mainly in Cheshire where it works very well.
You can read Lorraine's comments in full in one of the many news stories here.
The NHS scheme, updated last year, aims to ensure patients can access self care advice and where appropriate can be supplied with over the counter medicines at NHS expense for children and those who don’t pay for prescriptions.
The scheme is aimed at any many common ailments such as acute conjunctivitis, bites, stings and allergies, constipation or diarrhoea, earache, sore throat, athlete's foot, threadworm, haemorrhoids and warts and verrucas.
It can also apply to young children and conditions such as teething.
Under the scheme patients would take their NHS number and some ID into a pharmacy, as well as proof of exemption from paying for prescriptions. This would entitle them to free advice and a free prescription if needed.
For more information about the Think Pharmacy First scheme visit www.nhs.uk.
For more information about Lunts Pharmacy and what is on offer visit https://lunts.net/ or call 01588 672327 for further advice.
Pharmacy staff celebrating 55 years between them
Two members of staff at a Shropshire pharmacy are celebrating 55 years service between them - and thousands raised for charity.
Nicky Pearson, 49, joined Lunts Pharmacy in Pontesbury when she was just 16 - and has since completed a host of qualifications
And Jan McDermott, from Minsterley, has worked there 19 years - but has worked for the Lunts company for 31 years.
When she returned to work after a break to have children she went to the Pontesbury pharmacy.
They've been hitting the headlines due to their success. You can read their stories in full here.
Scheme to get people checked if they are coughing is proving a success in Shrewsbury
A scheme to get people thinking about the symptoms of cancer has proved successful in Shrewsbury.
The Be Clear on Cancer scheme was run throughout June at Lunts Pharmacy in Roushill, aiming to get people to take notice if they have been coughing for three weeks or get out of breath easily.
Pharmacist Helen Grass said: “We have seen quite a bit of interest in this topic.
“People started picking up the leaflets and thinking about it as soon as it launched.
“When our regular customers come in for a repeat prescription or someone comes in for some paracetamol, we then make them aware of the current scheme.
“The message is be aware. You can get advice from your pharmacist and buy over the counter remedies first.
“But if you’ve had three bottles of cough medicine and you are still coughing then you need to get checked out.”
The pharmacy, next to The Salopian pub, is running a different awareness scheme each month along with the other Lunts Pharmacies based in Hereford Road, Shrewsbury, Craven Arms and Pontesbury.
The Be Clear on Cancer scheme aims to gain early diagnosis of conditions such as lung cancer, COPD (a group of lung diseases) and heart disease.
“We will help you with advice and treatment in any way we can, and have leaflets that you can take away,” Helen added.
“We would always advise that your pharmacist should be your first point of call, but when you need an appointment with your doctor we can also spot this.
“In this instance, during your visit to the doctor they will ask you some questions such as how long you have had your symptoms and if they have changed over time.
“They may suggest some tests such as a chest x-ray, blood tests and lung function tests. They are all standard tests and nothing to worry about.
“Often if people have spotted our leaflet and after talking with us in the pharmacy they are concerned, we would advise them to write down the symptoms and how you feel. This would prepare you for the visit to the doctor if you need one.”
For more information about Lunts Pharmacy and the store locations you can visit the contact us page or call 01743 232857 for further advice.
Hayfever hitting a high in Shropshire
Hayfever has been a big problem in Shropshire this past week.
We’ve heard of customers who haven’t suffered for years suddenly becoming very ill with it again. Some even triggering asthma attacks.
It is because the pollen levels have soared. According to the Met Office, pollen has risen to “very high” - the highest possible rating, during the week.
Hayfever affects around one in five people in the UK so if you were unsure if you suffer, chances are you’ve found out you do this week.
This time of year too we see particularly high levels of grass pollen - this is the form which affects most hay fever sufferers.
So, we’re here to help. Pop into any of our pharmacies to get over the counter goods to help you out and let you begin to enjoy the outdoors. And here’s some helfpul information for you.
What is hay fever?
It is a very unpleasant condition which a lot of county residents think they just have to put up with.
It can be confused with a cold so it is important to recognise the symptoms and then deal with it accordingly.
How do I know if I’ve got it?
Generally speaking if you have an itchiness in the eyes, nose or throat then it’s hay ever. If you have a sore throat then that is more likely to be a cold.
If the symptoms appear between late May and the middle of July then, again, it is probably going to be hay fever. Hay fever symptoms are similar to a cold, with a runny nose and congestion, so it can be difficult to tell.
And what do I do about it?
Treatments vary as to how bad the case of hay fever is.
Anti-histamine tablets are a good bet and if you are a regular sufferer. It is usual to take one tablet a day as a prevention but ask for guidance from your pharmacist as you don’t want to be taking something that will make you sleepy. It is also a good idea for hay fever sufferers to keep off the alcohol.
There are steroid nasal sprays but these can take time to take effect and anti-inflammatory eye drops are also a consideration. All these items are available from the pharmacy
If you can find out what pollen you’re allergic to then it will be easier to advise on the correct type of medication.
Pollen sticks to clothing so changing clothes and showering after being outside is advisable, and staying indoors where possible when the pollen count is at its worse - early mornings or evenings - can also reduce the problem.
Ask Lunts for help
Hayfever is a very unpleasant condition but with the help of your pharmacist it can be made more bearable.
Always speak to to your pharmacist before taking any "over the counter medication" particularly for the first time. We need to know what other medication you are taking as there can be interactions. Also important if you are pregnant or under 12.
For more information about Lunts Pharmacy and the store locations you can visit our website or call 01743 232857 for further advice.
Diabetes Week: When is it? What is it? What is happening?
When is it?
June 11 to 17
What is it?
Organised by the charity Diabetes UK, it is a national campaign to get people thinking about diabetes, the risk of it and what it does to your life.
This year’s theme is ‘Know Diabetes. Fight Diabetes.”
What is happening?
As part of national Diabetes Week this month Lunts pharmacies in Shropshire are urging people to focus on prevention.
Our bases in Shrewsbury, Craven Arms and Pontesbury are urging people to pick up the signs of Type 2 diabetes early and make lifestyle choices to stop it progressing.
According to Diabetes UK, there are currently 4.5 million people in the UK living with the condition, and 11.9 million at increased risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.
Owner of Lunts pharmacies, Martin Lunt, said: “Knowing the facts about diabetes is important when it comes to managing the condition.
“We want to focus on prevention and teaching people about self care to avoid diabetes. We want to encourage people to come to their local pharmacy for advice.”
During Diabetes Week we will be providing information to the public and offering support to those living with diabetes.
We would encourage anyone who has any concerns about diabetes to pop in and have a chat to our pharmacists who will be able to advise on helpful next steps.
We also offer free blood glucose tests in our pharmacies, which are for people who may be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This is where the body does not effectively respond to the insulin produced so blood sugar levels become too high. It can be managed partly through maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
The signs of diabetes may not be obvious and it could be up to 10 years before you realise you have it, that’s why it’s very important to know the risk factors and find out your risk because then you can do something about it.
You’re more at risk if you’re white and over 40 or over 25 if you’re African-Caribbean, Black African, or South Asian.
You’re two to six times more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you have a parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes.
You’re more at risk of Type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight, especially if you’re large around the middle and you’re more at risk if you’ve ever had high blood pressure.
The Diabetes UK website has an online tool you can use to find out your risk of type 2 diabetes, which is definitely worth looking at or come and visit us in store.
How can I fight diabetes?
You can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. But around three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by making simple changes in our everyday lives.
These include getting active and staying active and eating well and getting to a healthy weight.
There are some great recipes on the Diabetes UK website and we can offer advice in our pharmacies too.
For more information about Lunts Pharmacy and the store locations you can visit our contact us page or call 01743 232857 for further advice.