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💰💰 Don’t Get Ripped Off at the Chemist 💊💊

 

Save money this cold and flu season!

4 Tips to Save at the Chemist:

1) don’t be suckered for the add-on sales which are airy fairy like vitamin C or echinacea (on their own they suck)

2) Go generics for basics like antibiotics: it’s the same chemical ingredients and u can save over $5. If you need a lozenge, simple eucalyptus drops only cost $2.50-skip more $$$ ones

3) early birds: recognize a cold coming? That scratchy throat? Take a solid product like Armaforce containing andrographis WITH vitamin C, echinacea, zinc, olive leaf within 24hrs of that sore throat..can nip it in the bud and rapidly get better (In my experience overnight-yes! Overnight!)

4) Pain relief in pharmacy these days are limited to non-codeine products (codeine now needs a script). As such our strongest options are basically paracetamol combos with ibuprofen. Sound familiar? Cos it’s Panadol and Nurofen! Just take two pills of each and skip the fancy packaged options like Maxigesic and Nuromol

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Home Deliveries to the Inner West Sydney from $15 Phone: (02) 8068 7131

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Follow Vien on Facebook and Instagram: @smilingpharmacist

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My Girlfriend’s Eczema Won’t Go! How To Fix It Inside-Out

 

I had the pleasure of meeting my physiotherapist friend, Kevin, and he asks:

Q. What should my girlfriend do for her eczema? She gets it on the nape of her neck and it never seems to go away. Having just returned from Taiwan, she’s going to eliminate diary from her diet in hopes of getting some relief. Currently she is using steroid creams.

I said this is a common condition and my strategy would be to work from the inside-out. This marries up perfectly with her approach to eliminate diary as this is a known irritant for a lot of people.

I decided to take him aside to my flip chart and show this picture (see below):

 

IMG_0237

I explained that having a skin condition is great! Now stay with me as I explain why. When such people have symptoms, it’s in the mirror for them to see, they are alerted to the fact that something is amiss with their health. For other people they cannot tell or haven’t yet married up the cause and effect.

I, for instance, after eating poorly, will suffer runny noses and sneezing: hay fever symptoms but due to poor food choices!

So back to the picture, we spoke about the main factors for having a weak immunity: poor or incompatible diet, broken or lack of sleep, no exercise, lots of stress. If we think of our body like an iPhone battery…you drain it through daily activity, and you recharge it through nourishing foods, rest, and exercise. I find this analogy quite helpful to a lot of people.

If fact, they will often reveal some of their indiscretions in these very areas saving me much digging lol! 

Unfortunately, we live in a busy time and me telling someone to eat better and hit the gym doesn’t go down well.

Therefore I always follow up with a quick fix: probiotics!Probiotics are good bacteria. Our body has more bacteria than it does human cells. Unbelievable when I first heard it. What the heck are these critters doing anyway? First, they help with digesting the food you eat. After all, most of them live in your gut. They also serve as your foot soldiers against oncoming invaders that come along with the food and drinks we consume. Ever had food poisoning? That’s salmonella! Ever had kids with worms?! That enters the body by not washing hands before you eat!

So its clear we need probiotics to help defend against invaders and in fact, they form part of our immune system. Back to the eczema, what is eczema? Its inflammation of the skin: it turns red, itchy, red, swollen. These are signs of an immune system going red-alert!

Kevin’s girlfriend is on the right track, re-examine the diet for it is 80% responsible for the immunity in the gut. 

On a side note, I came across a generational effect of NOT looking after your gut. If your grandmother suffered mild gut issues, and lets say she raised you during the 70s and 80s when breastfeeding wasn’t fashionable (what!) then you would have been born with moderate levels of gut issues. Lets say you went on the oral contraceptive pill for ten years before deciding to have a family, and lets say you had your ups and downs and needed the odd antibiotics. Now your daughter is born with severe skin allergies, asthma, or hay fever and knock on wood, autism and learning difficulties. Science is now showing that your grandmother’s gut bacterial population is mimicked across generations, and in fact, worsens in this picture I just painted. 

Why? Breastfeeding passes good bacteria along. When we skip it for formula, we miss this crucial transfer. Taking the oral contraceptive pill plays with our gut bacteria. Finally antibiotics nuke what’s living in our guts and allows bad guys a chance to take hold. 

It’s a crazy side note that I learned today while reading Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book: Gut & Psychology Syndrome (GAPS). 

Wow! What a rabbit hole we’ve gone down. 

KEY TAKE AWAY: Eczema: treat it from the inside-out for more longer lasting results than just your prescribed steroid creams. 

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Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)-Does it actually do anything?

“One might think that fresh lemons and limes and raw organic apple cider vinegar are acidic, but they actually become alkaline when consumed.”

What a non-sensical claim! Before I get into the details of this, I’d like to say that after spending almost 12hours looking at material online regarding apple cider vinegar (ACV), I haven’t found any shred of evidence to show of it’s 20+ health benefits.

origins

ACV is basically apple pulped up, placed into wooden barrels and allowed to ferment. Much like the process of making wine, alochol is formed by this process. ACV however requires one further fermentation cycle to then produce the acetic acid aka “vinegar.” In fact, vinegar is French for “wine gone sour.”

 

Cider-making process in France.png
Microorganisms in Fermented Apple Beverages: Current Knowledge and Future Directions by Fabien J. Cousin and others.

Now before anyone gets upset, I’ll state clearly that a lack of evidence does not equate a lack of effect. A lot of drugs lack evidence for their effects/side effects until years down the track. In the case of the humble ACV, it’s been around since ancient Egypt times-analysis of urns have revealed traces of acetic acid. Ironically, anything left for that long would go “off” (ferment).

Now the purported benefits of ACV range from the mundane to the fantastical: antibacterial, reduces blood pressure, antioxidant, reduce sugar levels in diabetics, reduce cholesterol, improve brain function, relieve acid reflux, treat warts, treat cancer, treat bad breath, treat gout, treat urinary tract infections, and of course treat head lice.

 

Basically summarised, it can detox, help digest, and improve your energy levels. But does it really?

Rather than repeat what other reputable sources already mentioned on this topic, I will simply provide a summary of it below and provide links to a few reputable sources of information (see below).

 

Stated Health Claim Believable or Not?
Antibacterial Believable: acetic acid at concentration of 3% have been tested. Household vinegar is typically 5% (1)
Reduce blood pressure No studies found
Antioxidant Perhaps: like most plants, there exists phytochemicals (aka bioactive substances) that may defend against free radicals. There are thousands of these in nature and we can’t be sure which is what
Reduce diabetes Unlikely: there was a study on 30 people (FYI a good study requires thousands of people to have enough power). Ten were diabetes, ten were non-diabetics, and ten were pre-diabetic. After about a month of ACV, there fasting sugar levels were slightly lower.  These sorts of studies are too small for drawing conclusions. They also don’t look at factors like participants changed diets whilst in the program. (2)
Brain function No studies found
Acid reflux No large studies done. One was a doctoral thesis project consisting of a handful of volunteers with no conclusive answer.
Warts No studies found. Warning: chemical burns can occur with even standard 5% ACV despite being a weak acid. See images below.
Arthritis No human studies found. One study on arthritis-induced rats showed no effect. Link below
Antifungal One study on denture-associated candida showed it had some effect
Antidandruff Folk remedy but otherwise no studies found
Probiotic Whilst there does exist plenty of probiotics in ACV, there were no human studies on the benefits.

Studies in carp fish show that using ACV in combination with other probiotics may boost the immune system. Whether this relates to humans is unknown.

Helicobacter pylori Studies show that taking ACV with triple-therapy did not show benefit towards H. pylori eradication

What’s my take on it? Drink it for it’s likely beneficial probiotic effects. Always dilute it with a glass of water-add honey to taste. Ignore all the other “benefits.”

 

References

  1. Antibacterial effects of ACV
  2. Vinegar improves insulin
  3. Mother Earth-make your own ACV
  4. superFoodly’s analysis of ACV
  5. Dr Mercola’s analysis of ACV
  6. Science behind why pH won’t budge
  7. Fish fed ACV+probiotics
  8. Helicobacter pylori eradication with ACV
  9. Probiotics in ACV
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Spinning out-You too have Vertigo?

Dim asks: “I have vertigo, what medications are available apart from Serc (betahistine)?”

*Couple of scrap notes from my research on Vertigo..

Almost 25% of the elderly have dizziness lasting more than one month.

Targets for therapy:

  1. hallucination alleviated through vestibular suppressants eg anticholingerics, benzodiazepines, or antihistamines
  2. Nausea and vomiting plus anxiety alleviated through antidepressants
  3. Enhance vestibular compensation through physical head exercises

Armamentarium:

  • benzodiazepines
  • histamingerics
  • Sympathomimetics
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Steroids methylprednisolone
  • repositioning maneuvers

Differential diagnoses:

  • psychiatric
  • motion sickness
  • otitis media
  • cerumen impaction
  • herpes zoster (shingles)
  • seizures

Risk factors (elderly syndrome? like falling, delirium, incontin)

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • hearing impairment
  • taking more than 5 medications
  • postural hypotension
  • balance impairment
  • past heart attack

Dizziness shouldn’t be taken lightly (even though the majority of cases resolve on its own) as there is greater morbidity associated such as: increased chance of falls, having a stroke, ending up in nursing home care.

Types of dizziness:

  • paroxymsal positional
  • acute vestibular neuronitis/labyrinthitis
  • Menieres+tinitus
  • migraine
  • anxiety disorders
  • vertigo
  • presyncope
  • disequilibrium
  • peripheral vs central vertigo
  • and the list goes on!….

A simple screening test to separate dizziness requiring medicines and those that require further checkup is if the dizzy spell lasts less than one minute or if it lasts for hours to days. The latter you would consider trial of certain medications and following this further medical treatment should it not improve.

Causes:

  • Ototoxic: some medications can be toxic the little hairs in our ear leading to permanent hearing loss and dizziness.
  • Multi-system impairment: data shows that elderly people suffer more dizzy spells than young people. We’re not sure why but perhaps a combined deterioration in visual acuity, muscle strength, hearing ability, etc is the reason; much like in dementia and falls.
  • Viral infections: of the inner ear leading to inflammation of the vestibular nerve causing mixed signals at the brain.

Tests

American guidelines do not recommend any lab tests except for:

  • Audiometric tests: when suspecting hearing loss
  • Brain imaging: when suspecting tumor or stroke
  • MRI: when suspecting acute vertigo with hear loss

Treatments

Type of dizziness Treatments
Labyrinthitis (inflammation of inner ear) Triggered by cold or flu virus, therefore goes away on it’s own. In resistant cases: vestibular suppressant + vestibular rehabilitation
Ménière’s disease No cure. Just relieve symptoms with: a low-salt diet, and/or diuretics
Vertiginous migraine Dietary changes, a tricyclic antidepressant, and a beta blocker or calcium channel blocker.
Vertigo with anxiety Slow introduction of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

 

 

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What if you COULD will away disease?

learned optimism

I was reading the book: Learned Optimism by world renown psychologist, Dr. Martin Seligman and he thinks you CAN improve your health just through changing the thoughts and feelings you have when you encounter failure and challenge.

Known as the father of positive psychology, Dr. Martin and his colleagues found that optimists live longer, experience less illness and infection, have better social relationships. And you guessed it, pessimists experience the opposite!

Four reasons why optimism should improve health:

1. Immunity is affected by psychology

When we are feeling depressed, helpless, stressed…our immune system’s T-cells (responsible for removing specific invaders like measles) and NK cells (responsible for removing anything foreign) no longer multiply as fast and lose their attacking abilities respectively.

2. Sticking to the plan

Optimists are more likely to seek medical advice and professional help where as pessimists will believe “it’s meant to be; nothing I do will help; why bother.” A study of 100 Harvard graduates showed that pessimists are less likely than optimists to give up smoking.

3. Shit happens (and all at once)

Statistics show that the more bad events happen in a given period, the more likely you are to have illness too. The odds of having a heart attack and cancer increase in the 6 months of a bad life event like getting fired, divorced, sacked, widowed.  The moral here is to get a physical check up at these pivotal times. Might save your life.

4. Better social support (not the Medicare variety)

When people are sick it’s natural to hide away at home to recuperate. What is important is having people you can call upon (or in today’s world, Whatsapp I presume). The friendships and love wards away isolation and depression and ill health.

To wrap up I want to share the results of a British study of sixty nine women with breast cancer who were followed for five years. Those who did not get a recurrence of the cancer came at it with a “fighting spirit,” whereas those who suffered a recurrence merely accepted the doctor’s diagnosis and were “stoic”.

It pays to have that fire in you!

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Sleep Apnoea: the snorer’s risk

devilbiss man sleeping

Think snoring was just a harmless nuisance? Think again.

Snoring is one possible sign of sleep apnoea (in Greek apnoia means ‘breathless’): a condition where you can stop breathing for anywhere between 10 seconds up to 1 minute!

Why should you care if you or your partner snores? Imagine holding your breath for a minute…….doable but not easy right? Now imagine all that oxygen you missed out on, depriving your organs of this essential molecule. The brain and heart suffer most when this happens.

It isn’t any wonder that sufferers experience fatigue, poor mental focus, daytime sleepiness and waking up un-refreshed.

Long term, the stress on the heart and brain leads to high blood pressure (7-fold higher risk)

This is what Wikipedia says: Sleep apnea can affect people regardless of sex, race, or age. However, risk factors include:

  • being male
  • excessive weight
  • an age above 40
  • large neck size (greater than 16–17 inches)
  • enlarged tonsils or tongue
  • small jaw bone
  • gastroesophageal reflux
  • allergies
  • sinus problems
  • a family history of sleep apnea
  • deviated septum

A simple home test can help determine if you have sleep apnoea. Our pharmacist will help set up the kit and all you need to do is go home, hook up, and press a button. The test looks for hours slept, number of times you woke, and then give us a print out at the end when you return the kit.

To book a kit, ring a pharmacist on: 02 8068 7131

To read more about it…head to:
http://www.snoreaustralia.com.au/obstructive-sleep-apnoea.php

 

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Nurturing our children’s courageous curiosity

Is dinner time still family time at your household? Or are your kids glued to an iPad whilst mum and dad chit chat the day’s events or themselves watch TV?

What is this digital revolution doing to our kids? Should we hand iPads to kids during their tender years? Does all these use of technology make our kids less sociable with their peers and later life? Is technology a band-aid solution to parenting? These are questions I’ve had for a few years now..

Technology is a necessary part of life..it’s impact widespread-a Digital is disrupting whole industries: Uber and taxis, AirBNB and hotels..rather than just feeling left behind..should we as parents be preparing our children for this revolution? Jobs like drivers, cleaners, data analysts…are going to be gone in the next few years. New industries built atop of: 3D printing (challenging manufacturing jobs), artificial intelligence (challenging data processing jobs) are actually available today..SpaceX rockets, IBM’s Watson Supercomputer, respectively. Heck I’m simply amazed that Woolies practically has no cashiers anymore!

…so what careers should we guide our children towards? Rather than answering that question I would like your permission explore the idea of nurturing our child’s inborn curiosities.

Albert Einstein said “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious”

The reason I was inspired to write on this topic is because I had read somewhere in the USA that a 16 year old boy had made a nuclear fusion reaction in his grandma’s garage. I thought OMG! At what age did he start learning this stuff? Who influenced him? Did his parents not stop him?

You can watch the whole story at :

Wonderment: the state of awe or respect. In school and home we can foster this state where no questions are stupid and it’s okay not to know the answer…for the void of knowledge is the basis of curiosity. Take your child to the err library (seriously I still do because who has money for magazines) it encourages exploring new genres…or simply Google…you literally ask questions like “How do I…”, “How much does it cost to…”, “Why does this….” With 7 billion people on this planet there’s bound to be someone with the same questions.

Curiosity some say is a skill that’s like a muscle….use it or lose it. Use it on the daily and it grows into a tool that we can rely upon to push through hard times. Back when I was a student sitting there I would often have questions to ask but because I was too shy to seem like the idiot…I would hope some other kid had the same question in mind. Half the time they did, the other half I was resigned to silence. As adults, it’s not like these bad habits die away…imagine though the world of possibilities if you just had that bit of courage?

To start building courageous curiosity…try:

  1. Letting our kids go wide: read/watch/study a wide range of things..rockets to volcanoes, role playing police and butcher, save the whales and ask why snow is snow. Branch off down the rabbit hole.
  2. As the parent, ask lots of questions: rhetorical and non-rhetorical. Children will learn by modelling. Curiosity starts with an unknown and a question sets the stage for finding the answers.
  3. Be patient. Learning can seem a struggle at the start when new jargon needs to be picked up or when the answer is obvious to you but not your child. Guide them with further questions.
  4. Stand in the other person’s shoes: it can teach a different perspective on touchy subjects like politics and religion and build invaluable tolerance for other culture’s.
  5. Challenge the status quo. Like Taylor, the kid who believed he could produce greener energy and built the nuclear reactor in his garage
  6. Travel: this ones self explanatory
  7. Go BIG: dive into unsolved mysteries of the world, try to tackle the hard issues which can be the most rewarding

Remember that kids will learn at their own pace. Just because your friend’s child started talking at two doesn’t make your child any less effective a person if he/she starts talking at three. Be observant of times when your kid is flexing their new brain power…like devouring higher level textbooks, being more pre-occupied with a certain musical instrument, or drawing sketches on the margins of the exercise book =p

Links to stimulate those minds:

Wikipedia

Khan academy: learn economics, calculus, physics etc…

Learn to code: https://code.org/

Science Comps: https://www.asi.edu.au/about/

DIY Science Projects: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/

Inspiring young scientists: https://www.googlesciencefair.com/en/

Science competitions: Physics/Chemistry/Science Olympiads, Big Science, Curious Minds Winter Camp

 

State of Australia: http://www.pwc.com.au/pdf/a-smart-move-pwc-stem-report-april-2015.pdf

 

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Sunscreens: the down-low

After a mother came into the pharmacy to ask about how effective MooGoo SPF 15 sunscreen+moisteriser is for her baby…I took to research journal articles on Google Scholar to get at an answer!

Honestly, I came out with more questions than answers.. lols.

Image result for sunscreens

Photo credit: http://www.womenshealthmag.com

 

First some basic terminology:

SPF = Sun Protection Factor….the time it takes for your skin to turn red

Here’s the definition from HowStuffWorks.com (this site saved my HSC btw)

To determine a sunscreen’s SPF, testers round up 20 sun-sensitive people and measure the amount of UV rays it takes them to burn without sunscreen. Then they redo the test with sunscreen. The “with sunscreen” number is divided by the “without sunscreen” number, and the result is rounded down to the nearest five. This is the SPF.

SPF numbers start at 2 and have just recently reached 70. To figure out how long you can stay in the sun with a given SPF, use this equation:

Minutes to burn without sunscreen x SPF number = maximum sun exposure time*

e.g. if it takes you 10 minutes to burn without sunscreen…using SPF 30 means 10mins x 30 = 300mins before you burn*

*WARNING this formula isn’t applicable once you past SPF 30! See this table:

SPF % UV absorbed
2 50
4 70
8 87.5
15 93.3
30 96.7
50 98

So that SPF 70 that you saw at your Myer store is giving you a false sense of protection if you think it gives you 700 minutes of protection (10min x70). So how much time do you enjoy in the sun with SPF70? it’s anybody’s guess unless you called the company itself.

Further…how many times do we slip, slop, slip, half-assed? C’mon Hands up! To get the supposed 300 minutes of protection from the earlier example, you will need to lather to a thickness of 2.0 mg/cm. Erm what? Most folks apply only a quarter (if at all) that thickness. Research in China showed that SPF 15 not slapped on properly drops to only SPF 2! So the lesson is to slap on generously. Try the teaspoon rule: 

TEA SPOON RULE:

Legs, chest and back: 6mL aka a tad more than one teaspoon

Arms, face, and neck: 3mL or a tad less than a teaspoon worth.

Second thing, UV radiation has two main forms:

UV A: causes that goddess-tan look; long term causes premature aging and wrinkling

UV B: causes sunburn, skin cancers, cataracts (eyes)

Because SPF only measures UV B levels...you’re going to be misled if you simply look at SPF numbers. What you should look for are the words: “Broad Spectrum” which means it covers both.

The stuff in MooGoo SPF 15 is Zinc Oxide….the white stuff cricketers have on their noses and the same ingredient in nappy rash cream. Zinc is an excellent blocker of both UVA and UVB. Now a lot of us don’t like the “white” look and so companies have come out with “microfine” versions that are invisible to the eye. Great! I hear you say. Here’s the catch (like that pun?), the smaller “microfine” particles are not as good at protecting you against UV A…Alas!

Third, a sunscreen ain’t gonna work if it doesn’t stay on you through water, sweat and rubbing. Re-apply after every swim or every hour to be sure. Here’s what those other labels mean:

  • Sweat-resistant: protects up to 30 minutes of continuous heavy perspiration.
  • Water-resistant: protects up to 40 minutes of continuous water exposure; and
  • Waterproof: protects for up to 80 minutes of continuous water exposure.

Finally, between chemical and physical blockers, what’s safer for our kids? Physical blockers sit atop the skin and don’t get absorbed. Chemical blockers absorb into the top layers of the skin and some can cause dermatitis. Both are safe to use in adults but in young infants its best avoid because they have a larger surface area to weight ratio meaning they’re more likely to absorb chemical blockers in minute amounts and be susceptible to possible irritation.

For infants under 6 months, the FDA recommend not using any sunscreen-but if you’re at Bondi Beach and just spent an hour finding parking…try sunscreens made of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. From 6 months plus, you’re quite safe to try any on the market. Just spot-test a small area to check for allergies in either case.

UV B Chemical Blockers Comments
Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) Can cause contact dermatitis. Avoid in children under 6months as it may absorb through skin.
Cinnamates* Can cause contact dermatitis
Octyl salicylate
Octocrylene
Phenyl benzimidazole sulfonic acid
UV A Chemical Blockers
Benzophenone Can cause contact dermatitis
Anthranilate
Avobenzone
Terephthalylidene dicamphor sulfonic acid or Mexoryl SX
Bisethylhexyloxyphenol methoxy phenyl triazene
Physical Blockers (UV A and UV B)
Titanium dioxide ideal for infants as it won’t absorb through skin
Zinc oxide ideal for infants as it won’t absorb through skin

*don’t bring these if you’re watching Fifty Shades Darker =P

So what would I recommend to that mum with the baby? Seek shade for her infant, avoid the hours of 10am to 2pm if possible. If you’re at the beach, try a physical blocker such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Summary Points

  • Apply sunscreen 15-30mins before going in the sun.
  • Re-apply every 15-30mins
  • Apply a thick layer (you’re allowed to be wasteful in this instance)
  • Wear a shirt, hat, sunnies
  • Seek shade between 10am-2pm esp for infants under 6months
  • Physical blockers are ideal for infants…just apply to exposed areas and keep use to a minimum

References:

Melissa Jeffries. 2017. What do SPF numbers mean? How Stuff Works: Link
Schneider J. The Teaspoon Rule of Applying Sunscreen. Arch Dermatol. 2002;138(6):838-839. Link
Rai, R. and Srinivas, C.R., 2007. Photoprotection. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, 73(2), p.73. Link
Liu W. et al. 2012. Sunburn protection as a function of sunscreen application thickness differs between high and low SPFs. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, 28(3), p.120-126 Link
Wulf, H.-C., Stender, I.-M. and Lock-Andersen, J. 1997. Sunscreens used at the beach do not protect against erythema: A new definition of SPF is proposed. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, 13: p.129–132. Link
Commonwealth of Australia as represented by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). 2015. Ultraviolet Radiation. Link
More, B.D., 2007. Physical sunscreens: on the comeback trail. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, 73(2), p.80.
US Food & Drug Administration. 2016. Should You Put Sunscreen on Infants? Not Usually Link
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First Impressions Matter!

Do first impressions count? A whiter smile can often make the difference..or so the ads say….find out in this episode with pharmacist, Vien, as he meets folks within our community.

In this funny episode-we call it “edu-tainment”-Vien gets behind the scenes of next door’s dental centre. Safa is a tour guide/practice manager and Rami shares his view on the best teeth whitening products.

 

 

Safa and her team of dentists can be reached at:

www.canterburydental.com.au

02 9787 6611

 

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The socially acceptable Terror on our Roads

This one is just going to be short and sweet. But excuse me if I get on my soapbox and rant.

I’m just so angry that over the last two months I’ve seen three accidents. My sister, two days later myself then only last weekend our barista next door.

The latter two involved the other driver at fault and more importantly, under the influence of alcohol.

On the 6th of Feb I was driving my girlfriend home…had just left home and driving past Canterbury Hospital when I noticed a white van signalling to turn onto a side street. The idiot didn’t see me driving straight and we had a collision. I swear the first thing I noticed after the crash one that his front wheels were still spinning. Suggesting he did not even hit the breaks. He was just blind drunk? He got out of the car…lit a cigarette and acted like he knew nothing. I was so stupid to let him get back into the van and he did a runner. Luckily we had his number plate on camera.

You know what the really dumb thing is? Police eventually found him that night but because of the delay…couldn’t officially use alcohol breath tests. He wasn’t charged for driving under the influence. And I am left without a car for 6+ weeks and waiting.

The barista was in a worse off accident. Horrific when she retold it to me. She was in a hired van with her partner and was on Canterbury Road waiting to turn right. Suddenly I madman rear-ends their van at ~80km/hr….sending the van towards oncoming traffic…causing a secondary head on collision with another car. The first idiot was also under the influence of alcohol. The barista and her partner had to be hospitalized for two days.

Roundabout story but this alcohol fueled insanity is not healthy for our communities. Honestly men, if you can’t handle your alcohol-man up about it. Stop putting other people’s families in harms way for your recklessness. I think we need tougher laws..maybe following the USA for once and implementing a 21 year age limit is a good idea? And tougher sanctions on those who have previously offended with DUIs. I once had a chat with a lawyer and he said paraphrasing here: “Hands down alcohol is the biggest offender and responsible for much of the harm in the Sydney area-Much more than other illicit drugs”

Do you know someone involved as an alcohol-fuel collateral? Leave your 2 cents in the comments.

Vien LeTran (Pharmacist)