Half of UK parents let their kids drink alcohol at home

watching tvShocking statistics show that nearly half of parents with children under the age of 14 are letting their kids drink alcohol at home.

This emerged following new research conducted by Churchill home insurance, finding that 34% of parents with children under 14 years of age are using booze as a method of bribery for good behaviour. Furthermore – and alarmingly – 11% of parents with children aged between 5 and 7 are allowing them to drink alcohol at home.

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Coronation Street’s Bethany Platt collapses after taking Unlicensed Diet Pills

diet pillsIt seems that barely a week passes by without another story in the press about the dangers of diet pills. In most cases, there has been a self-conscious teenager, probably of a perfectly normal BMI, buying dodgy diet pills from the internet.

The potentially fatal repercussions of purchasing such toxic slimming tablets are due to feature on one of the nation’s favorite soaps – Coronation Street. This month will see 16-year-old Bethany Platt collapse in the gym after becoming hooked on diet pills.

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Bring Back Happy Memories and a Tan from a Summer Holiday – Not an STI

sunbathing coupleSummer is in full swing, the kids are off school, and that happy, glorious mood is in the air. One that is simply lacking in the cold months of winter.

Summertime also usually means thousands of Brits will be flocking overseas to even hotter climates in order to soak up the sunshine and enjoy a party atmosphere, usually fuelled by booze. Sunshine and booze abroad sounds idyllic, however it can lead to some risky behaviour when it comes to sex.

Holidays can provide the chance to meet new people, or get much closer to somebody you already know, but remember that it is absolutely vital to still think about sexual health when on holiday. After all, unprotected sex on holiday can have the same catastrophic consequences that it can have at home, namely sexually transmitted infections (STI) and unwanted pregnancies.

Protecting one’s own sexual health, and that of any potential sexual partner whilst on holiday, is imperative. Don’t forget to pack condoms as STIs aren’t the only reason to use condoms. Sickness and diarrhoea, in addition to certain medicines like anti-malaria tablets, may make the contraceptive pill less effective.

It is understandable that a visit to the local pharmacy perhaps isn’t the first thing on people’s minds when arriving to a holiday destination. Moreover, depending on the destination in question, it could be next to impossible to even find a trustworthy supply of genuine condoms.

Therefore, prior to any holiday, have a think about what you realistically may or may not get up to as it would possibly be wise to stock up on good quality condoms and important essentials with regards to sex. Some destinations have much higher rates of sexual infections compared to others, meaning the use of contraception is an even bigger must.

In particularly, the rates of certain serious sexually transmitted infections such as HIV and syphilis are significantly higher in some countries around the world in comparison to the UK. In fact, the majority of new HIV cases diagnosed amongst heterosexuals were caught overseas.

Unfortunately, it’s not usually possible to know if somebody has an STI or HIV simply by looking at said person, so for this reason alone, always wear a condom!

Those who forget to pack condoms for their jollies, should only purchase condoms bearing the European CE mark as this is a sign of quality assurance. This means the condoms have been tested to the required safety standards.

Exposure to the sun can actually damage the condoms, so it is vital to keep them stored in a cool and dry place. Also, don’t leave them packed closely together with any sun cream, baby lotion, or other oily products that can cause damage. It is also essential to wash hands between rubbing on the sun lotion and handling a condom.

At Medical Specialists® Pharmacy we realise that maybe only a small percentage of holidaymakers will be sensible enough to always use condoms when engaging in sexual activities. Anyone that has been careless and engaged in unprotected sex will be putting themselves at risk of infection.

Most that do end up displaying STI symptoms will not experience them until about two weeks after returning from holiday. Worryingly, with one of the most prevalent STIs – chlamydia – most infected people will be oblivious to actually having it due to no obvious symptoms. Approximately 50% of men and 70 to 80% of women will not experience any symptoms at all with the infection.

Symptoms of STIs can include:

. A pain or burning feeling when urinating.
. For women, bleeding between periods and/or after sex.
. Itching, blisters, sores or lumps on or around the genitals.
. Pain when urinating.
. Unusual discharge from your penis, vagina or anus.

Medical Specialists® Pharmacy provide treatments for many of the more common STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital herpes.

In addition, Medical Specialists® can provide almost 100% accurate pregnancy tests to be used in the privacy and comfort of a woman’s own home, a wide variety of condoms to suit different preferences, emergency hormonal contraception (morning after pill), other contraceptive pills, and the previously mentioned chlamydia test to be taken at home and posted off for a quick analysis and result, avoiding the time and embarrassment of having to personally attend a clinic for a check-up.

To obtain any prescription or antibiotic or contraceptive treatment, all patients must first undergo an online consultation with one of the GMC-registered doctors at Medical Specialists®, or send in a private prescription by post, obtained from the patient’s own doctor.

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Traffic pollution and cleaner homes mean HALF of us could have allergies by 2026

hayfeverWithin just a decade there could be up to half of the UK population suffering from hayfever, asthma, or another type of allergy, health experts are warning. The problems are mainly linked to an increasing amount of traffic pollution and much cleaner homes.

If current trends carry on at their current pace, millions more people will be reaching for their antihistamine or being prescribed asthma inhalers by the year 2026 to combat symptoms such as runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, sneezing (hayfever), and breathlessness (asthma).

Currently, around 1 in 4 people have at least 1 kind of allergy, with the number of people suffering going up by an additional 5% per year.

An estimated half of all sufferers are children. By 2025 asthma alone will likely become the most prevalent chronic childhood condition and have one of the largest healthcare costs.

A cleaner environment at home with less childhood infections, increasing traffic pollution and multiple types of pollen have been highlighted as factors behind the allergy rise.

Allergies of all kinds have soared in recent years. For example, in the last decade alone, cases of food allergies have doubled in number.

With regards to the most severe form of allergic reaction – anaphylaxis – there has been a massive 615% jump in hospital admissions between 1992 and 2012.

Sheena Cruickshank, senior lecturer in immunology at Manchester University, told the ESOF science forum: “Allergy is really common and it’s thought to be increasing.

“It’s not something we saw a hundred years ago and maybe in ten years’ time 50 per cent of us are going to be suffering from hay-fever, asthma, or food allergy.

“Basically we are looking at that kind of trend year on year. We are certainly seeing more young people affected by an allergy and we do see adults develop it in later life.

“Why is this happening? There are lots of theories, such as the fact we are very clean now so our immune system doesn’t get properly educated.

“Or the types of infection we get exposed to are very different, and again makes our immune system misfire.

“But of course the other thing is our atmosphere has very much changed.

“We are farming different crops and on a different scale so there are different pollens, and more of them. And there are the invisible pollutants we are exposed to.”

A new project known as Breathing Britain is attempting to determine the causes behind respiratory allergies by the use of a mobile phone app.

The app will pinpoint a person’s location, whilst analysing their symptoms, as well as pollen and pollution levels – particularly whilst at the time of an allergic attack.

Dr Cruickshank added: “The real issue in trying to understand the cause-and-effect is the lack of good quality data.

“If you think about the average person with hay-fever, the only time they will go a doctor or a hospital is when they are very unwell.

“We have no data whatsoever on the day-to-day symptoms people are living with. We don’t know when the symptoms are starting and when they are starting to have difficulties.

“The only way to get data is to work with the public, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”

Professor Gordon McFiggans, an atmospheric researcher, said: “Our work is all about finding the level of data needed to make good policy decisions.

“If we are going to tackle the issue of pollution, we need more integration between policy makers and scientists.

“And measurements of atmospheric pollutants on the ground and measurements of their impact on health is a hugely important part of that mix.”

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Viagra for a stiff back? Scientists say ED drug could treat sciatica

sciaticaWe all know erectile dysfunction drug Viagra has been helping men get ‘stiff’ in the bedroom for almost 20 years now, but could it prove to be a potent remedy in the fight against stiff backs?

This could indeed be the case after Turkish researchers looked into the potential of Viagra – also known as ‘the little blue pill’ – being utilised as a treatment for sciatica.

Tests involving rats seemed to demonstrate that the wonder male impotence drug manages to alleviate the painful symptoms associated with sciatica, a painful condition which affects a million UK men and 400,000 women.

Researchers involved in the tests made the discovery that a daily dose of the erectile dysfunction treatment can quicken recovery. Taking Viagra for a month also managed to heal damaged nerves and helped increase movement.

Exercise, acupuncture, and an anti-inflammatory painkiller such as naproxen or diclofenac are the usually the first port of call for treating sciatica, but in more serious scenarios – such as if the pain has lasted more than 6 weeks, the patient could need surgery to stop the pain from reoccurring.

However, scientists based in Malatya, eastern Turkey, found anti-impotence medication Viagra to be successful at offering pain relief during tests on 30 rats.

The scientists administered a daily dose of Viagra to some of the rats they tested, and others were given a smaller amount every other day, whilst some rats received none of the drug at all.

Remarkably, the rats given the daily dose of Viagra actually ended up being able to enjoy more movement in comparison to those in the other groups.

Scans were conducted on the rats, finding they had higher levels of nerve regeneration, meaning that Viagra had accelerated the body’s healing mechanisms.

The drug would appear to work by boosting the blood supply to damaged areas. Scientists commented in a report: “We believe a daily dose of Viagra plays an important role in treatment of sciatic nerve damage.”

Sciatica is the term used for when pain caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. If the sciatic nerve becomes compressed or irritated, it usually results in pain, numbness and a tingling sensation emanating from the lower back and travelling down one of your legs to your foot and toes.

Many pregnant women incorrectly believe they have sciatica – in fact they are more likely to be suffering with pelvic girdle pain (PGP), which is much more common and has some of the same symptoms as sciatica.

While people with sciatica may suffer with general back pain, the pain caused by the condition is primarily located in the buttocks and legs much more than the back.

Depending on how the condition is defined, an estimated 2% to 40% of people will suffer with sciatica at some point in their life. It is more predominant in people aged in their 40s and 50s, and perhaps surprisingly to some, it is actually men who are often more affected than women.

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