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Do men and women need the HPV vaccine?

Writing note showing  Hpv. Business photo showcasing Human Papillomavirus Infection Sexually Transmitted Disease Illness written Painted background Crumpled Paper Balls next to it.

What is HPV?

HPV is a group of viruses passed on through unprotected sex. It’s the most common sexually transmitted disease in the world and is linked to some cancers as well as other conditions such as warts or verrucas.

Most people don’t know they carry HPV, because it usually doesn’t cause any symptoms. While there isn’t a cure, the immune system fights off HPV in most cases. The problem with HPV is that high-risk infections can cause complications, such as cancer, while the virus is in the body.

In 2008, however, a vaccine became available. Since then, it has since been given to girls between 12 and 18 years to protect them against numerous HPV strains before they are at most risk. And it’s soon to be on offer for boys.

Who does HPV affect?

Anyone can catch HPV, both men and women. Although many people believe it’s only linked to cervical cancer, it can, in fact, cause other genital, anal and oropharyngeal cancers.

Because 99.7% of cervical cancers are caused by HPV, schoolgirls across England have been given the vaccine. Most girls receive it when they are 12, because they are much less likely to be sexually active at this age.  Testing has found the vaccine to be highly effective and it is now going to be rolled out to teenage boys, too.

red aids ribbon in hand. soft focus on ribbon

Why are boys getting the HPV vaccine?

Research has shown that two types of HPV, 16 and 18, are linked to anal, penile and some head and neck cancers. By giving teenage boys the vaccine before the majority of them are sexually active, it is hoped they will be at a much lower risk of developing these illnesses. It also protects against the strains of HPV that cause 90% of genital warts.

The benefits don’t stop there. Herd immunisation is a method that helps protect non-immunised people by reducing the level of potential threats. With fewer people carrying HPV (thanks to the immunisation), there is also a lower likelihood of people who haven’t had the vaccine catching the virus.

Should men and women get the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is given to girls (and soon boys) up to 18, because it’s best to have it before someone is sexually active. Having said that, the vaccine can protect against future infections if someone has already had sex and had the virus in their system. That’s why adults up to the age of 45 can also get the vaccine, but it will usually have to be organised privately.

On the other hand, men who have sex with men can now get the vaccine through the NHS, as long as they’re under the age of 45. It’s because they’re not protected through herd immunisation, with their sexual partners also unvaccinated. They can arrange it through sexual health and HIV clinics, and it’s free of charge, so it’s hugely encouraged.

How can people over 18 get the HPV vaccine?

Even if you’re outside the NHS age window for the HPV vaccine, you can still get the jabs before you turn 45. It’s a course of three injections in the upper arm, and you can arrange it through immunisation clinics, such as Superdrug Health Clinics.

Getting tested for HPV

Currently, all women over the age of 25 (or those with a cervix) are screened for HPV when they attend their smear (or cervical cancer) appointment.  However, Superdrug do offer an at home HPV self-test kit, which is sent safely through the post and all results are treated with 100% confidence.

For men, some clinics will offer the HPV test if you are considered particular high risk, such as men who have sex with men.

Find out more about the HPV virus and other health services offered by Superdrug on the website today.

 

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Why Should I Get the Chickenpox Vaccine?

Most of us will have caught chickenpox at some point during our childhood. Many of us won’t remember having them, unless your mum likes to bring up the story of how you liked to throw your scratch mitts across the room, while covered in lotion, when she’s meeting your other half for the first time (cheers, mum!).

All jokes aside, chickenpox can be dangerous if not dealt with properly, especially as an adult, so here’s the low-down on the chickenpox virus and the vaccination against it - which is available at Superdrug.

Little two year old girl at home sick with chickenpox, white antiseptic cream applied by her mother to the rash

What is chickenpox?

When you think of chickenpox, you’ll probably conjure up an image of being covered head to toe in red, itchy blisters - which would be about right! This irritating rash is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is part of the herpes family.

The saving grace about chickenpox is you should only get it once, as when you come into contact with it the body develops an immunity to the virus. However, is it possible to reoccur as shingles which causes a similar rash accompanied by severe nerve pain and can take weeks or months to fully disappear.

Is chickenpox dangerous?

Generally, chickenpox isn’t very dangerous, it’s more irritating than anything if you contract it as a child. It doesn’t usually have any lasting side effects, apart from leaving a few scars caused when you ignored your mum and scratched your blisters! However, as with most illnesses or diseases, it’s not completely harmless.  New born babies, those with compromised immune systems and adults will find it much harder to fight off the virus and it could develop into something far more serious!

Can chickenpox cause complications?

Chickenpox can come with complications, but the good news is, they are very rare.  Adults need to be more observant, as they are at a bigger risk of chickenpox turning into a potentially life-threatening situation. If you have chickenpox, or your child does, it’s always best to keep an eye out for developing symptoms such as dehydration or if either of you are feeling really unwell.

How does the chickenpox vaccine work?

The chickenpox vaccine contains a very small dose of a weakened version of the virus, but don’t be alarmed! By introducing a harmless form of the virus into the body, your immune system will respond, in a positive way, and learn how to keep it at bay if you ever come into contact with it. Our bodies are pretty amazing, aren’t they?

Eczema

Benefits of the chickenpox vaccine

Apart from the obvious (protecting yourself from an illness), getting the chickenpox vaccine can also help others around you. Not everybody can have the vaccination, such as new born babies, pregnant women and those with conditions that effect the immune system. So, by you receiving the vaccination, you’re doing your part in preventing the spread of this, potentially deadly, disease.

How can I get vaccinated?

The chickenpox vaccine is not routinely administered in the UK. However, it is available at Superdrug! If you, or your child, is aged between 1 and 65 then you are eligible. The vaccinations are given in two doses, and each dose cost £65. So, that’s £130 for the course.

Around 70-90% of people who are vaccinated will develop complete immunity against chickenpox, meaning they will experience zero symptoms!  And there’s more good news! Even if you are vaccinated but do not become fully immune, if you do come into contact with the chickenpox virus it will generally be much milder and pass quicker.

If you want to find out more about Superdrug’s chickenpox vaccination, or any other vaccination we have offer, you can book an appointment with one of our nurses today.

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How to manage diabetes when travelling

Travelling long distances always has the potential to be stressful. But when you add into the mix a chronic health condition like diabetes, the stress factor goes up a notch. So, how can you make travelling easy when you have diabetes? From packing extra medication, to planning for emergencies to adjusting to different climates and time zones, we’ve got everything you need to know about how to take the stress out of travelling with diabetes.

 

A suitcase with diabetes medical test devices on a bed.  Travelling with diabetes.

Preperation is key

It’s always best to be fully prepared when travelling with diabetes – think delayed planes, lost luggage or a medication mess-up. As a rule, you should pack double the amount of insulin and medical supplies (blood glucose testing strips, injection devices etc) you’ll need. Make sure you’ve ordered your prescription before travelling and if you’re short of time, use our Online NHS Prescription service to get your supplies delivered straight to your door. It’s also smart to pack an emergency spare set, just in case any medication goes missing during the journey.

Before travelling internationally, contact your insulin manufacturer to check if it’s available in the country you’re travelling to (you can find their contact numbers at www.diabetes.org.uk). This way, if anything happens to your insulin or you run out, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re able to get . If you rely on tablets, make sure you know the generic names of your medications. This will maximise your chance of accessing them in an emergency, even if the country you’re in doesn’t have the specific brand you usually take.

You’ll also need to prepare for things such as flight delays and hypoglycaemic episodes while you’re travelling. Make sure you pack plenty of starchy carbohydrates like biscuits, cereal bars or fruit buns to keep your blood glucose levels up throughout the journey, as well as fast-acting sugary snacks in case you need a quick boost.

Glucose tablets and gels for hypos can be carried on planes but if you’re not able to buy them at the airport, a sugary non-diet drink, sweets or fruit juice are effective treatments too. Try and follow it up with some longer-acting carbohydrates, like bread, fruit or biscuits, to keep your blood sugar at a normal level.

How will it affect your condition?

Depending where you’re travelling, your new destination could make a difference to how you manage your diabetes. Different climates can have an impact on how your insulin is absorbed, so make sure you check your blood glucose levels more frequently to monitor how your body is reacting to the temperatures. Both the heat and cold affect diabetes differently, so it’s vital to keep up good routines.

Changes in time zones can also disrupt your usual routines, so it may be that you need to add in an extra meal or reduce carbohydrates to keep your blood glucose normal. The most important thing is to stay aware of how your body is reacting to the changes and to adjust your routine to suit your new, temporary environment.

 

Young diabetic woman checking her blood glucose

Travelling with insulin – keeping it cool and safe

When travelling with insulin and other medical supplies like syringes and lancets, you’ll need a letter from your doctor to prove you’re diabetic. Without it, you won’t be allowed to take your insulin and medical equipment in your hand luggage and storing it in the hold could expose it to high temperatures that decrease how effective it or risk it getting lost. Once you arrive, make sure you put your insulin in the fridge as soon as possibleIf you’re worried about how the insulin will fare during the journey, you can buy specific cool bags before you travel to keep it at the right temperature for as long as possible. However, insulin can be stored at room temperature (around 25c) for up to 28 days, so a journey on an air-conditioned plane shouldn’t affect your supply.

If you’re a type two diabetic who manages their condition with tablets, things are a bit more straightforward. Tablet medication doesn’t have the same restrictions and can be carried in your hand luggage, but you’ll still need either a letter from your doctor or your prescription for authentication.

Travel Insurance for diabetics

Travel insurance can be costly and difficult to find when you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes. However, it’s a vital part of travelling preparation that shouldn’t be skipped, especially when travelling to countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Some specialist insurance companies such as All Clear* offer cover specifically for people with Diabetes and comparison websites also offer specific diabetic travel insurance policies for a reasonable price, so they’re worth checking out too.

You should always check if you need any travel vaccinations before jetting off anywhere, but it’s especially important if you have a condition like diabetes that could make you more vulnerable to serious illness. You can find out which travel vaccinations you’ll need by booking an appointment online with Superdrug at least 6-8 weeks before you’re due to travel.

 

 

* References to All Clear are given for information purposes only and is not an endorsement of the services provided by All Clear.

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How to ease flu symptoms: the ultimate guide

The cooler weather is approaching, which also signals the start of the inevitable coughs, colds and fevers that make us want to go into hibernation. But how can you beat the germs and make yourself feel a bit more alive when you’re struck down by the dreaded f word – flu?

 

Woman with cold or flu coughing and blowing her nose with a tissue under autumn rain. Brunette female sneezing and wearing warm clothes.

 

‘Flu’ is a broad name given to three strains of over a hundred types of influenza virus, which is responsible for most of the coughs and colds we catch throughout the year. However, flu is more serious and contagious than its milder cousin, the winter cold, and can take you from busy to bedbound in just a few hours, with a generous dose of coughing, chills, achy and weak muscles and high temperature too. Most people recover from it within a week or two with no lasting effects, but it can lead to complications such as pneumonia in vulnerable or elderly people.

Protect yourself against flu

Flu can be serious, especially for those who already struggle with a serious health problem, so it’s sometimes better to prevent catching it in the first place.

Dr Pixie McKenna, Superdrug’s Health & Wellbeing Ambassador, advises “The flu jab is important for anyone to have and particularly if they already have medical problems such as asthma, diabetes or if you're pregnant. If you come under this category simply head to your local pharmacy for a flu jab consultation.

Getting the flu jab is important for looking after others too, especially if you’re a carer looking after an elderly relative who could have a lower immune system, or in a career where you're more exposed to picking up the flu such as teachers, or parents looking after young children.”

If you fall in to any of the below categories, you can get a free flu vaccination from Superdrug pharmacies in England and Wales.

  • You are over 65
  • You have children over the age of 6 months with a long-term health condition, Children aged 2 and 3 on born between September 1 2014 and August 31 2016 and children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  • You have a long-term health condition like diabetes, asthma, heart disease or kidney disease
  • You have a BMI over 40
  • Have a reduced immune system
  • You are pregnant
  • You are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long stay care facility
  • You receive a carer's allowance or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

Even if you’re not eligible for an NHS vaccine, anyone can be vaccinated against the most common strains of flu for a small fee. Visit the flu vaccination section of our website to find out more.

So, how can you make yourself feel better if you get the flu?

 

Beauty Tips for cold 2

 

Have a duvet day

Flu is really contagious and can have a serious impact on the elderly, very young or those who have long-term health problems. So, to avoid spreading the virus to anyone who’s vulnerable, stay at home and get plenty of rest, as this will also help your body fight off the virus and get you back to normal as quickly as possible.

Stick the kettle on

It’s vital to stay hydrated when you’ve got the flu and hot drinks in particular can help to ease some of the nasty symptoms. Natural remedies such as hot water with honey and lemon or fresh ginger can help to reduce discomfort from sore throats, excess mucus and feelings of nausea. You can also try dissolving salt in warm water and gargling, which is said to help with recovery from a virus and congestion (just make sure to spit it out afterwards). If you don’t fancy those, try dissolving a flu remedy sachet in hot water. Most contain paracetamol to combat aches and pains alongside ingredients to help loosen a chesty cough - always make sure you read the label first! Even a good old cup of tea can do wonders when you’re sick and feeling sorry for yourself.

Speak to a pharmacist

Visiting your GP might turn out to be waste of time when you have flu, as antibiotics have no effect on the virus and most people just have to wait it out. However, over-the-counter remedies like sore throat lozenges, paracetamol and ibuprofen can reduce your symptoms. Day and Night tablets, such as Superdrug’s Max Cold & Flu Day and Night Tablets, contain two types of medication: one will treat symptoms such as a sore throat, aches and pains and fatigue during the day and the other will help you get a good night’s sleep, which will speed your recovery along. If you’re not sure which products might help you through the flu, pop into a branch and speak to a Superdrug pharmacist.

Steam away the germs

Try a relaxing bath or shower to steam away some of the worst symptoms of flu. The steam from warm water will help to clear your head and loosen mucus from your chest, and showering before bed is a good way to wind down for a restful night’s sleep. You could also try sprinkling Epsom salts into a warm bath as they’re known for their ability to relax and soothe aching muscles, or a few drops of calming essential oils like lavender or peppermint can do the trick too.

Dr Pixie’s top tips for avoiding the flu this Winter:

  1. Wash your hands. Hand to nose, hand to mouth, hand to eye – this is how the flu virus will enter your body. Hand washing is critical, people underestimate the importance of this. Germs from sneezing and coughing can stay on hard surfaces for up to three hours and on your clothes for around 20 minutes.Take time to wash them thoroughly - for at least 30 seconds.
  2. Fresh air. Offices and air con will spread the flu more, especially in the winter when the windows are closed or when you have office parties – as there will be more close contact. Open windows when you can and make sure you get fresh air at lunchtimes.
  3. Get a flu jab! Protect yourself by visiting your local Superdrug pharmacy and simply popping into a nurse clinic.

 

     

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The 10 best films to watch when you’re at home with the flu

Cold_&_Flu_lifestyle_model_sick_on_sofa

You’ve called your boss and told them you won’t be coming in, you’ve dosed yourself up on vitamin C and made a hot drink. Now what do you do?

 

Cold_&_Flu_lifestyle_model_sick_on_sofa

 

Being bowled over by the flu doesn’t tend to be fun experience, but it does give you chance to dive under the sheets and watch a few films. To get better you need to relax and let your body get on with the task of fighting the virus. A good movie is the perfect way to switch off without feeling too bored or cooped up.

You can’t just watch any film though. The perfect flu film ideally needs a few key elements. Firstly, it needs to be comforting and secondly, it needs to be simple enough to follow so that if you fall asleep it won’t be too hard to pick up what’s going on when you wake up. Some people want to stay strictly light-hearted while others are in the market for a good cry. Whatever your preference, you’re sure to tick all the boxes by watching one of your old favourites.

So close the curtains and make sure you’ve got tissues, lots of liquid to hand and your comfiest pyjamas on. Here are our top picks for what to stick on.

 

1) 13 going on 30

This light-hearted film is definitely one that will pick your spirits up when you’re feeling rubbish, as 13-year-old girl wakes to find herself a 30-year-old woman. The results are an hour and a half of good natured fun.

 

2) The Notebook

For people that want to wallow in their illness and let some emotion out, you don’t get better than The Notebook. If the ending doesn’t have you in tears, you may not be human.

 

3) Shrek

The first instalment of the hugely successful franchise is still loved for a reason. This film has everything you could want for a relaxing afternoon – great jokes, a fast paced plot and a warm love story.

 

4) Forrest Gump

This Tom Hanks fronted powerhouse has it all. The story of a kind-hearted Alabama man swerves majestically from comedy to action film to heartfelt drama over the course of its two hour running time.

 

5) Guardians of the Galaxy

If you want bright colours and funny banter, this Marvel mega-hit is a good choice. The story of how a rag-tag group of misfits are brought together and end up saving the universe, Guardians features a break-out performance from Chris Pratt as well as a genius turn from Bradley Cooper as a talking raccoon.

 

6) Any Disney film

Beauty and the Beast. Aladdin. Lady and the Tramp. Do we need to say anymore? Also, if you include Pixar under the Disney banner, you also have Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Up. It would

be easy to fill up your whole recovery day by watching these classics back to back.

Ill movies

 

7) Breakfast at Tiffany's

Sometimes you just need a bit of classic romance, and with Breakfast at Tiffany’s you also get the benefit of a great soundtrack and incredibly softly spoken characters. This could be like being gently rocked to sleep, or you could be transported to fabulous New York in the early 1960s, filled with elegant dinner parties and heavy drinking.

 

8) Harry Potter

Go with the earlier instalments for adorably bad acting, low risk storylines and a wholesome dose of childhood friendship.

 

9) Love Actually

This film is almost guaranteed to make you feel better about the world. And you get to see Hugh Grant dancing too.

 

10) Bridesmaids

The story of the calamitous build up to a marriage and the toll it takes on the maid of honour is wickedly funny. Kristen Wiig shines in the lead role, and a strong supporting cast featuring Chris O’Dowd, Rebel Wilson and Jon Hamm all bring their A game too.

What about a boxset?

You could always opt for binge-watching your favourite show. US sitcoms like Friends and Frasier are precision engineered to provide a few jokes every minute, while their twenty-minute runtime means that each episode’s premise doesn’t overstay its welcome. You could also go with the gentler, down to earth comedy such as Gavin and Stacy.

Or, if comedy isn’t your thing, you could burn your way through some amazing dramas like The West Wing, Orange is the New Black or Downton Abbey.

Get yourself covered

As tempting as a duvet day spent binge-watching your favourite films sounds, ultimately being hit by the flu is no fun at all. If you’d like to give yourself the best chance of being flu-free this winter, visit or call your nearest Superdrug pharmacy or nurse clinic to book an appointment for the flu vaccine.

      

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Just landed: Protein to help fuel your workout

Two ladies sitting on steps outside a house drinking protein shakes

Back in the day whey protein was a secret weapon that was discussed low key in body builders’ changing rooms. Well, not anymore! We want to prove that they can be loved and used by all – whether you’re a once-every-blue-moon gym go-er or a self-confessed yogi. Which is why we have shiny new powders, bars and supplements for you to play with. Meet the new multi-tasking formulas to fuel your workouts and take your health and fitness game to the next level.  

 

two ladies at the gym with protein shakers

Missfits, Multitasker protein powder

Thanks to the moreish chocolate flavouring, this protein powder is one that can not only be used as a delicious smoothie but also in your cooking. Sprinkle a little powder over your morning oats or bake protein-packed brownies or energy balls. And the best part is? It’s suitable for vegans too!


Missfits Nutrition


Missfits Nutrition Chocolate Vegan Protein Multitasker 500g


£13.31


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Whey Box, Protein sachet

If you want to be able to enjoy protein on-the-go then these single-serving sachets are perfect for carrying around with you. We love this cookies and cream flavour, a welcome change from the usual suspects (we’re looking at you vanilla!).

 

Grenade Carb Killa, Protein Bar

Adding more protein to your diet doesn’t have to be all shakes, smoothies and sprinkled powders on brekkie. Case in point, Grenade Carb Killa protein bars. Combining three layers of low-carb, high-fibre, protein-packed goodness it’s a yummy and nutritious snack you can enjoy in-between meals.


Grenade


Grenade Carb Killa Caramel Chaos Protein Bar 60g


£2.49


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SiS, Rapid recovery powder

Beat your PB in the gym? Suffering from a bad case of the DOMS? You might want to complement your next workout with a protein-hit that’s formulated to aid recovery. SiS rapid recovery powder mixes a bunch of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein to help replenish damaged muscles and depleted glycogen stores.


Science In Sport


Science in Sport REGO Rapid Recovery Powder Strawberry 50g


£1.39


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Exante, Pancake sachet

If you’re following a high protein diet to keep your weight on track, then Exante have a diet plan to help you achieve your goals. With their flexible meal replacements (like this delicious lemon pancake recipe) you can top up on protein, keep calorie intake to a minimum and enjoy a scrummy snack all at the same time.

Free Soul & My Protein, Vegan protein blend powder

Fusing plant-based protein with vitamins and minerals, these new breeds of protein powders are great all-rounders for the ladies. Whip up a shake or smoothie and you’ll immediately feel completely virtuous!

     

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Understanding your blood pressure

High blood pressure is something we get warned against, but it’s also a health condition lots of us know little about. Medically known as hypertension, it means that your heart is working hard to push blood around your body, which is why it is hitting the walls of your vessels with higher force. Whether it’s because of weight, diet or stress, high blood pressure can lead to serious illnesses, which is why it’s important to keep yours in check. Low blood pressure can also cause problems because it means you’re not getting enough oxygen around your body.

Unless you’ve had yours measured recently, you probably have no idea what your blood pressure numbers are. So how can you find it out and what can you do to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level?

 

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How can I tell if I have high blood pressure?

There aren’t many symptoms of high blood pressure, especially if yours is only slightly over the threshold. If it’s really high, you might have headaches, unusual problems with your sight and blood shot eyes, find it difficult to breathe at times, feel generally tired and confused or have a pounding feeling in your chest, neck or ears. Low blood pressure can make you feel dizzy and nauseous.

The only way to find out your blood pressure is by measuring it using a monitor. These devices are easy to use. You simply wrap the band around your upper arm or wrist, inflate it and wait while it takes a reading. They’re accurate and will give you a measurement in a matter of seconds. Remember it is important to make sure you are sitting down and are rested before taking your blood pressure.

How often should I check my blood pressure?

Every adult should ideally get their blood pressure checked once every five years at least. Though if you’re concerned about your health, or you know you have high blood pressure, it’s worthwhile checking it more often. A doctor or pharmacist can let you know how often you should check yours, as it depends on your own health and lifestyle. [AF1]

What do the numbers mean on the blood pressure monitor?

Most of us don’t really have a clue what the numbers mean or whether it’s high, low or normal. If you’re taking your blood pressure at home, it’s essential that you understand what the numbers mean so you know where yours is at. There are two numbers on a blood pressure reading and they look like a fraction with one above the other.

Systolic pressure – this is first one or the number on the top. It’s the highest your blood pressure gets when your heart beats.

Diastolic pressure – this is the second one or the number on the bottom. It’s the lowest level the pressure gets between beats.A healthy blood pressure reading is anything between 90/60 mm Hg and 120/80 mm Hg. Anything outside of those is seen as either high or low, and extremely high blood pressure is anything around the 180/120 mm Hg mark.

You can enter your numbers here to find out what your numbers mean.

 

top view of fresh various vegetables, fruits and blood pressure gauge on wooden surface, healthy eating concept

When should I take action if I have high blood pressure?

If your blood pressure is over 120/80mmHg, it’s important that you try and reduce it to lower your risk of developing serious illnesses, such as heart disease, strokes and kidney problems.

You should speak to a doctor or a pharmacist if you have high blood pressure (140mg/90mmHg) to find out the best steps to take to get yours back under control and to prevent associated health problems.

What can you do to lower your blood pressure?

We should all try to keep our blood pressure healthy, and there are a few measures that are known to help control it.

Reduce how much salt you eat – sodium is one of two elements in salt and it’s something our bodies need – but too much can cause high blood pressure. Try avoiding processed foods and adding salt to what you eat.

Get moving – keep your heart and blood flow healthy by exercising regularly. Most people should be aiming to do 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week, plus some muscle strength training (or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise along with the muscle training). Moderate exercise can be anything from a fast-paced walk to playing badminton or a leisurely cycle ride.

Lose weight – if you’re overweight, you’re at more of a risk of developing high blood pressure. Try to slim your waistline by eating fewer high-calorie foods and upping your exercise.

Drink less alcohol and stop smoking – both of these are known to cause high blood pressure – along with many other health problems. Cutting back or stopping all together can make a huge difference to your heart health.

Keep stress at bay – stress is our body’s natural reaction to situations that make us feel anxious and feeling tense too much can take its toll on your heart. If you often feel stressed, it’s important that you take the time to combat it, whether that’s through relaxing exercise like yoga or spending time with friends – or simply doing something you enjoy.

Want to find out your blood pressure?

You can buy your own blood pressure monitor to check yours whenever you like. It only takes a few minutes to use, and it can give you a clearer idea of your overall health.

 

      

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How many calories does swimming burn?

Swimming is something a lot of us enjoy on holiday – a splash in the pool to cool down or a quick dip in the gorgeous blue sea. But when it’s taken seriously, swimming is a fantastic way to blast through calories and potentially help with weight loss. Add in the fact that it can be a lot more fun than pounding away on a treadmill for hours and it could be that swimming is the new exercise for you. So, let’s get into the numbers and see how many calories a speedy swim could burn off.

 

Professional female swimmer is inside pool preparing for swimming. Copy space.

Which stroke burns the most calories?

The champion at blasting calories is the difficult-to-master butterfly stroke, with its forceful propelling method torching around 770 calories per hour (for an average person of around 11 stone/70kgs). However, it’s unlikely anyone would manage an hour of the demanding stroke, because you’d need excellent fitness, flexibility and technique to keep up the speed required.

So what about the easier strokes?

A fast-paced freestyle, or front crawl, burns an average of 704 calories per hour. It’s the fastest swimming stroke and one of the most energy-efficient ways to swim, meaning you’re likely to manage more time in the pool before you’re exhausted. Breaststroke burns up to 700 calories as well despite being slower, as it uses your large leg muscles (which use lots of energy) to push you forward. Backstroke burns around 500 calories during a vigorous hour’s swim and it’s a gentler choice for people nursing injuries or joint problems.

Generally, you’ll burn the most calories doing the stroke you’re best at, because you’re most likely to keep it up for the longest time instead of wasting energy through poor technique.

How does it measure up to other exercise?

Swimming isn’t always thought of as the best way to work off excess food, but it’s more effective at burning calories in an hour than many traditional workouts. The good old jog lags behind at around 400 calories and even a torturous spin class only burns around 480 calories. Kick-boxing gets through roughly 580 calories and a really intense rowing session can use up 680 calories. Only running up flights of stairs beats swimming, getting through a remarkable 852 calories per hour (we’re not sure anyone would be mad enough to try that, though).

 

Top view shot of young man swimming laps in a swimming pool. Male swimmer gliding through the water.

Does the amount of calories burned vary?

The amount of calories you’ll burn during swimming will vary massively, depending on your swim’s intensity, your body type, weight and metabolism. If you weigh more than the average person, you’re likely to burn more calories as your body has to work harder to move the increased mass. Similarly, those with lots of lean muscle (regardless of body weight) will burn more calories, as muscle cells need more energy than fat cells.

However, you might also be plagued with a slow metabolism, meaning your body needs less fuel to keep going and burns less energy too. It’s possible to speed your metabolism up and turn your body into a calorie killing machine and exercise can help to do this. Stick to swimming and it could help improve your metabolism, as well as getting you fit and healthy.

The best way to get a rough estimate of the calories your swims are burning is to use an exercise calorie calculator. Available online, just type in your weight, age and intensity of the workout and you’ll be able to see how many calories you’ve worked off. It’s not likely they’re 100% accurate, but it will let you know if you’ve worked off enough calories for a sneaky bar of chocolate.

What other benefits are there to swimming?

Even if you’re not worried about burning calories, swimming has loads of health benefits. Virtually anyone can do it, even if you have joint, mobility or weight problems that make traditional exercise difficult. It’s a fantastic way to improve fitness and your vital heart and lung health, while also reducing your risk of chronic, dangerous illnesses like heart disease, type two diabetes and a stroke.

Doing laps not your thing? There are lots of classes such as aqua fit or aqua Zumba available, so you can still get fit in the water. If you’re not a confident swimmer, there are lessons available across the country for all abilities including total beginners. Being a strong swimmer could even save your life one day if you ever find yourself in an unexpected emergency in the water.

Fuel your laps

Make sure you’ve got plenty of energy before you hit the pool, or you might find your workout isn’t as effective. Although a big meal might slow you down, try something light like a tasty snack or protein shake from our Some Body range. Keep another bar in your bag for a healthy treat when you’re done.

 

 

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Get your feet island ready!

Looking for love this summer? Make sure you put your best foot forward. Feet can be a touchy subject, making summer shoes a nightmare when you don’t feel confident with your tootsies out. The simplest way to keep your feet neat and avoid sweat and smells is a daily foot care routine. So, just like this year’s Islanders get your feet island ready with Superdrug’s fabulous foot care range.

 

Relaxing at marina pier, horizontal

 

Step 1: Superdrug Foot Peeling Socks

New Superdrug foot peeling socks will leave your feet feeling instantly refreshed, softer and smoother. Specially formulated with a blend of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) which help to hydrate the skin and have a gentle skin peeling effect from 3-5 days of use. Help your feet to feel softer and visibly healthier after just two weeks.

RRP: £9.99


Superdrug


Superdrug Honey and Almond Nourishing Foot Sock Pack


£1.99


Buy Now

 

Step 2: Tea Tree & Peppermint Foot Pack or Honey and Almond Foot Pack

Slip on the sock for 20 minutes before removing for effective results. Superdrug foot sock packs contain Vitamin E to help moisturise the skin. Helps to soothe and soften dry, rough and cracked heels.

RRP: £1.99

 

 

Step 3: Intensive Foot Butter

Treat your skin to plenty of care and relaxation. With natural avocado oil and shea butter for soft, smooth skin.

RRP: £4.99

 


Superdrug


Superdrug Intesive Foot Butter 150g


£4.99


Buy Now


Superdrug


Superdrug Foot Powder 100g


£3.49


Buy Now

 

 

Step 4: Superdrug Foot Powder and/or Superdrug Intensive Foot Spray

Foot powder has a drying, cooling, deodorizing and absorbent effect. Protects against sore feet. Makes skin smooth and resilient.

RRP: £3.49

 

 

Problem Areas

 

Ideal to use at the first sign of rubbing to prevent blisters from forming or can be used on existing blisters to relieve pain and promote healing.

RRP: £3.79

 

 

 

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Summer sweat workouts

Too hot to handle?! Superdrug ambassador, AJ Odudu shares her summer sweat workouts. Bicep curling in the sun and glutes squatting by the pool, it must be this year’s Love Island gym sessions, and although Adam was a bit tied up Superdrug has someone even better to take you through the dos and don’ts of a holiday work out...

 

AJ

 

Superdrug’s Fitness ambassador, AJ Odudu shares her top tips and exercises to get your heart rate pumping and get you sweating in the sun as whether you’re abroad or staying at home, exercising in the heat comes with its sweating safety baggage. She also recommends a few of her favourite Superdrug products to help you along the way.

AJ says, ‘’First of all, let’s talk about sweating safety. Heat increases your overall core body temperature which increases your heart rate, leaving less blood for your muscles. With this in mind, we must watch out for signs of overheating when exercising in hot and humid conditions.

Signs can include weakness, headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting. These are all signals that your body temperature is too high to continue exercising. But of course we all love a good workout and want to get our pulses raised in more way than one on holiday, so I’ve got a few ways you can keep active and stay safe.’’

 

Exercises to do in the water

In addition to simply swimming (which can burn 600 calories per hour) you can do the following moves for two minutes per exercise in the shallow end of the pool, to help sculpt your entire body whilst improving your stamina.

1. Jog in place

Ensuring you keep the knees high

2.  Squat jump

Squat down with arms extended at shoulder height; jump as high as possible while raising arms overhead

3. Bicycle

Lean with back against side of pool, arms outstretched at edge and pedal legs at surface

4. Flutter kick

Hold onto edge of pool, arms extended; kick legs quickly

5. Push ups

Hold onto edge of pool with your chest almost touching the wall of the pool edge too, feet facing the ground. Slowly push your hands down and extend your arms as though you're getting out of the pool before slowly lowering yourself back into the water and repeat as many times as you can in two minutes. 

 

aj2

 

Exercises to do at home/in hotel rooms

No gym? Here are some moves to do at home or in a hotel room. Importantly these exercises don’t require any equipment at all, and will still help you feel energised for the day - there are no excuses people!

Do each exercise for a minute each, rest for a minute and then repeat. You'll have a fat burning, body toning workout done and dusted in less than 15 minutes!

  1. Star jumps
  2. Crunches
  3. Sit ups
  4. Press ups
  5. Burpees
  6. Plank

Hard floor? Get kitted out with Superdrug’s yoga mat to get your ‘om’ on.  

Exercises to do on the beach

Beach games are a great way to exercise without even thinking about it. Playing catch with a ball, frisbee and beach or pool volleyball will work out your entire body, burn calories and bring out your competitive side. Fun and fitness combined!

 

AJ3

 

AJ' Odudo's top Superdrug products for the heat

Along with all this exercise, AJ shares her favourite Superdrug products to enjoy in the heat.

‘‘I'm loving the Some Body Banana protein shake, aiding muscle repair post workout. Also the Some Body Mojito flavoured water - it’s great for making ice lollies, keeping cool and staying hydrated without the hangover. The Some Body Cocoa and Orange Bars are another favourite of mine- easy snacks to pop in your beach bag and keep the ice creams at bay.’’

So, whilst we’re sizzling in the sun, be sure to stay hydrated, know the warning signs of overheating and enjoy Superdrug products this summer.

 

 

 

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