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Our favourite experts from Calanna Pharmacy tackle all your health related questions.

Dear Jana, How will a Food Detective Test help me?

Fatigue, bloating, irregular bowel habits, tummy pain, aches, pains, brain fog and headaches are common complaints that can have a variety of causes. Sometimes, it’s a food intolerance. While the gold standard for food intolerance testing is the elimination diet which can take many weeks, the Food Detective Test gives you results for and IgG immune reaction to 48 foods in 40 mins. Removing foods from your diet may resolve your symptoms but risk inadequate intake of essential nutrients. After identifying your food triggers, your Naturopath can advise you on how to maintain a diet for optimal health.

Dear Jana, What are the benefits / uses of Essential Oils?

Essential oils contain a variety of compounds with a variety of actions on multiple systems. Some essential oils can be applied to the skin to improve joint pain and mobility (such as ginger oil) while others might have a soothing or antimicrobial effect. Some oils assist with opening the airways (such as eucalyptus) and yet others are best used in a diffuser and inhaled for their soothing effect on our nervous system via the limbic system in the brain. Some oils in controlled doses can be ingested for a variety of conditions but it best to get advice on this from a health professional as essential oils can be toxic when taken in this way.

Dear Jana, What can a Naturopath help me with?

A Naturopath can support you in achieving the best state of health for you and your family with advice on diet, lifestyle and herbs or nutrients that support your body’s natural processes. Naturopaths commonly support people through acute or chronic conditions ranging from disorders of the nervous system including sleep and stress, issues with digestion, headaches, hormones and fertility, weight management, joint health and skin conditions. A Naturopath can be useful alongside other medical approaches for a holistic approach to your health.

Dear Jana, What can I expect in a Naturopath consultation?

Lots of questions! A first consultation is an in-depth look into all aspects of you – your health today, your health history and that of your extended family, your diet, lifestyle, energy levels and sleeping habits. A Naturopath will ask questions about each system of the body looking for systems or functional pathways out of balance. Based on this in-depth questioning, your Naturopath may then suggest further testing or investigations before presenting you with a tailored plan of nutritional, supplemental and lifestyle advice to help you reach your health goals.

Dear Jana, When it comes to a quality Essential Oil – what am I looking for?

The purity of an essential oil is undeniably important and can be defined as being 100 percent composed of the plant source or plant species that is printed in Latin on the label of the bottle. In other words, the essential oil has not been adulterated or contaminated by potentially toxic or synthetic substances. If the label lists other oils or ‘fragrances’, you haven’t got a pure essential oil. Two batches of the same essential oil can be 100% pure yet still vary in quality; this is because there are many factors that can give rise to natural variations in the composition of the essential oil and its components. This includes the climate, geography, harvest methods, distilling methods followed by the producer, and the time spent under storage conditions. Many Aromatherapists would say that the best oil for you is the one that provides a therapeutic effect.

Dear Matthew, How can I prepare my child for their vaccinations?

Many parents find taking their children to get vaccinated daunting. However, there are things you can do to help the process: on the day, ensure they have a good breakfast and are feeling well – you can also give them panadol prior to help with the discomfort. During their vaccination, they can choose to sit on their own or next to you, squeeze a comfort item or do slow breaths. For babies, breastfeeding, a bottle or dummy may help. Afterwards, be sure to give your child extra fluids to drink and put a cold press on the area if it’s sore and red.

Dear Jana, Do I really need to take a probiotic every time I take an antibiotic?

The most commonly prescribed antibiotics can cause negative and lasting effects to the microbiome. Studies demonstrate a link between antibiotic use and the development of IBS, allergic conditions in children and antibiotic resistance. Not all strains of probiotics are beneficial in helping the gut recover from a course of antibiotics and there are large variations in combinations and strength between products. Seek professional advice on which products are best for your family and take probiotics for a minimum of 14 days after finishing antibiotics.

Dear Jana, My prebiotic is making me bloated. What do I do?

If you get bloated from pre-biotic fibre, the most common cause is an overgrowth of otherwise beneficial bacteria in the wrong place. Our microbiome should be a symbiotic relationship – we feed our bacteria what they need to keep multiplying (i.e. fibre) and in return, they supply us with vitamins and nutrients that fuel our gut cells, the by-product being gas. Too much gas in your upper digestive tract and you’ll feel bloated. There are natural ways to correct this, under the guidance of an experienced Naturopath.

Dear Jana, My hair is thinning and my nails are not as strong as they once were. Will a supplement help me?

It depends on the underlying cause. Every nutrient that we consume has multiple functions in the body and when in shortage, your body sequesters that nutrient for what it sees as the most important (e.g. fighting an infection), leaving your hair and nails with less nutrients for growth. In that case, a supplement may help when taken for two – six months. Make sure you get advice on the correct form and dose of any nutrient to make sure you’re getting the right amount to correct a deficiency but not so much you could harm your health. Thin hair and nails can indicate something more serious. Chat with your GP before seeking advice on supplements.

Dear Jana, Are Omega 3’s or Fish Oils better?

Omega 3’s are essential fatty acids that we get through dietary intake. They are a group of fatty acids at points along a chain towards eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which has anti-inflammatory and cardio-protective properties. Humans can convert plant-based Omega 3’s to EPA but the conversion is poor and worsened by genetic variants that are identifiable with a MyDNA test. If you want omegas to protect your heart or help with pain, the only way to get more of that beneficial EPA is by consuming oily fish or a fish oil supplement.

Dear Jana, I’m curious about using a menstrual cup but I’m not sure how I feel about trying something new…

Made from silicon, menstrual cups are reusable and can last up to 10 years – saving you money and saving the environment from waste. They hold more volume than a tampon so can be left in for up to 12 hours without the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Most retailers that stock menstrual cups will have a few samples available for you to feel the texture and flexibility and they’ll hopefully give you tips on how to use cups effectively.

Dear Matthew, I’m struggling to manage all my medications. Is there a better way?

Managing multiple medications is hard and can take a toll on anyone, but luckily there are some great services you can take advantage of to make it easier! At Calanna Pharmacy, we offer free medication checks which includes a one-on-one with our Pharmacists to discuss how you can better manage your medications and get the most out of them. We also offer free medication packing where we pack your medicines into simple daily doses that are easy to use and dated – so you know what medicine to take, when and they are easy to carry so you can take them with you wherever you go.

Dear Jana, My three-year-old is such a fussy eater and I’m worried they’re not getting all the nutrients they need. What do I do?

Young children are very sensitive to new flavours, especially the bitterness of some nutrient-dense vegetables. Mixing those foods in with other flavours, offering those foods several months apart and making sure you’re all eating the same meal together are long-term strategies to set up a wide taste-palette for your child. Shorter term, there are several excellent liquid or chewable multivitamin options for kids. Get advice on a quality formula that isn’t just a lolly in disguise.

Dear Matthew, How can I prevent or decrease my chances of catching the flu?

The general advice consists of washing hands regularly, incorporating vitamin C and zinc into your daily diet or supplement regime, exercising regularly and eating healthy – ensuring you’re eating enough fruit and veg each day. However, the most effective way to avoid the flu is to get the family flu vaccines every year. If you don’t feel like waiting around at the doctors, book your flu shot at Calanna and chat to your pharmacists about strengthening your immune system. Calanna will have flu vaccinations available from early-mid March. Talk to our friendly staff for more details.

Dear Jana, Is drinking eight glasses of water a day really necessary?

There is no formal recommended volume of water per kilo of body weight per day. The eight glasses of water a day rule has been debunked as a medical myth, numerous times. Water is consumed in food and drinks.

Rest assured your body will let you know with the thirst response that you’re due for a top up. Make it filtered water or herbal tea to avoid adding extra calories. Be mindful of needing extra fluids during physical work or when in hot, humid conditions.

Dear Matthew, I have a holiday planned and I don’t want to get sick! What can I do to prevent that from happening?

There’s nothing worse than getting sick on a holiday. These products will help ensure good hygiene and lessen the chances of your family getting sick: Hand sanitizer, baby wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste, sunscreen, Panadol, throat lozenges, vitamin C, Chapstick, a personal water bottle and something for an upset tummy, along with any other regular medicines you take (check with your GP about any medicines you may need). Make sure you wash your hands regularly.

Dear Jana, Can you recommend pain relief for children?

Children will suffer from a variety of conditions. These include teething, viral infections and gastrointestinal infections. They’ll also often be associated with pain, fevers and general irritability.

In general, if you suspect your baby or child is in pain or they have a high fever, you can give them over the counter medication to help. Treatment options available include paracetamol or ibuprofen. Both of them are available in oral liquids for younger children or chewable tablets for older children. In addition, paracetamol is also available in a suppository which can be useful if the child is vomiting and cannot keep medication down.

Dear Matthew, How do I know the difference between a food intolerance and food allergy?

According to the Mayo Institute, a true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs. In some cases, an allergic food reaction can even be severe or life-threatening. But overall, food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems. However, food intolerances can cause similar signs and symptoms to a food allergy.

If you are not sure about your intolerances, book in to have them tested at Calanna Wholehealth with one of our Naturopaths.

Why Is It So Important to Choose One Pharmacy?

By choosing only one pharmacy, your family is in safer hands. Why? All of your medication data will be in one place. This helps to avoid the risk of conflicting medications that could make you sicker.

At Calanna we are able to learn about your medical history and make recommendations on the type of medicine you’re taking. Additionally, we can provide the correct dosage amounts. It helps us to better liaise with your GP and we can provide advice in emergency situations, such as losing an important script or what to do if you have missed a dose. Just like you’d choose one doctor, we’d love you to choose Calanna as your number one pharmacy, so our family can get to know yours.

Visit Calanna on Facebook or read more from them HERE. 

What is a chronic condition?

A condition that lasts six months or longer is classified as a chronic condition. The most common ones include asthma, crohns, diabetes, chronic pain, arthritis, cancer, dementia, COPD, depression and more. Unfortunately, according to Australia’s Department of Health, fifty percent of Australians live with one or more chronic conditions. Furthermore, coping with one can be really stressful. So, if you or someone you love has a chronic condition, we’d love to offer our extended support. We have a number of services and products (and always a friendly face) to help you manage your chronic conditions, so make sure to drop in to see how we can help you today.

Read more expert advice from Calanna HERE. 

How Can Prickly Heat Be Treated?

Prickly heat, or Miliaria, is caused by heat and humidity and sweating more than usual. It is very common in the tropics, especially in babies and young children. This is because their sweat glands haven’t developed properly yet.

The rash will generally clear up on its own. However, you can speed up the process by keeping the child cool, giving lukewarm baths and dressing them in light cotton clothing. If it persists, try a product such as Mario’s Prickly Heat Spray which is designed to provide relief. It also treats the issue by drying out the blocked sweat glands.

Visit Calanna WholeHealth Pharmacy’s website or read more on the PakMag Cairns site HERE.

Since Having a Baby I Experience Continence Issues...

Many women experience continence issues, especially during pregnancy or after childbirth. The symptoms of a weakened pelvic floor include leaking small amounts of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or running, failing to reach the toilet in time, reduced sensation in the vagina or a sensation of heaviness.

Strengthening the pelvic floor muscle by completing pelvic floor exercises at least three times every day should help, and if it doesn’t, then it is important to see your general practitioner or women’s health physiotherapist for further treatment options.

Dear Matthew, my daughter has eczema. What is the treatment?

Eczema is an inherited condition. It usually presents as patches of skin which can be dry, red, scaly and usually very itchy. In addition, it varies in severity from quite mild to very serious forms, which sometimes require hospitalisation.

This condition is usually treated by moisturisers and steroid creams. Unfortunately, it can be a bit of trial and error to find which cream is going to work for your child. Alongside this treatment, it is also very important to avoid soaps, hot water and other irritants. This is because they will dry out the skin and worsen the symptoms.

Read more about childhood eczema here.

Dear Matthew, my child has ringworm. How can this be treated?

Fungal infections are particularly common in North Queensland as they thrive in hot, humid climates. The most common fungal infections we see in children are fungal nappy rash and ringworm. Despite what the name suggests, ringworm is not caused by a worm. It’s contagious and usually presents as a red scaly rash in the shape of a ring, and can be quite itchy.

Treatment is with an over the counter antifungal cream applied to the areas 2-3 times per day and continued for two weeks after the rash has cleared. It’s also important to keep the area clean and dry. Calanna Whole Health Pharmacy

Dear Jana, I’m tired all the time! Is there anything I can do?

Lethargy and feeling tired can be caused by many things which are not necessarily associated with lack of sleep. It is important to talk to your trusted health professionals to ensure you cover all bases if this is an ongoing issue for you.

When it comes to vitamins, the B group vitamins are beneficial for increasing energy and helping relieve stress and anxiety. We have a variety of products available at Calanna that help with a range of issues that cause tiredness including the largest range of practitioner vitamins in Cairns and Townsville. We also have Naturopaths on staff who can get to the root cause of the issue.

Dear Matthew, What are the different types of nappy rash?

The irritant version of the rash is caused when the skin is in contact with the child’s urine or faeces for too long. Symptoms include red, swollen skin and discomfort, and can be treated by changing nappies frequently and applying barrier cream. Fungal nappy rash may occur following irritant rash, and is common in North Queensland due to the heat. It appears bright red and shiny, and can be treated by specific creams for the rash. The bacterial version of the rash may also occur following irritant rash. The rash may have yellow crusting and the child may have a fever, and it’s important you see a doctor.

Dear Jana, my son has head lice. How can I get rid of them?

The main symptom of head lice is an itchy scalp. The best way to check for head lice is by lathering the hair in conditioner and using a fine-tooth nit comb to go through each section of hair multiple times, wiping the comb on a tissue after each section and examining carefully. The conditioner makes it hard for the lice to move and traps them in the teeth of the comb. The conditioner also detangles hair, making combing easier.

When treating lice it is ideal to seek out a natural based solution. Calanna has a range of natural head lice treatment and prevention products in store including our range of Mario’s head lice packages. Remember to follow up with a second treatment seven days later. Also make sure to wash hats, brushes, hair ties and pillow cases in hot water.

Dear Matthew, what are the different types of conjunctivitis?

Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection, and symptoms generally include red eyes and a thick yellow or green discharge which comes back frequently when wiped away, and is contagious. It can be treated with antibiotic eye drops such as Chlorsig.

Viral conjunctivitis usually follows a viral infection such as the common cold or influenza. Symptoms generally include eye redness and a clear, stringy or watery discharge, and it’s very contagious. Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by pollen, animal dander or dust mites, and causes itchy eyes. It’s treated using over the counter antihistamine eye drops.

I’m Pregnant and Am Suffering From Morning Sickness. What Can I Try That Will Be Safe for My Baby and Provide Some Relief?

During pregnancy (especially pregnancy in summer) the last thing you want to deal with is morning sickness. It affects more than 50 per cent of expectant mothers. At Calanna we take a holistic approach to managing a person’s health and well-being. This is why we stock a combination of the best natural and traditional products.

We always encourage women to talk with their GP or Obstetrician for advice. However, store our go to morning sickness recommendations are Elevit Morning Sickness Relief and Owen Homeopathic Ipecac. Both are specifically formulated for pregnant women to help relieve nausea and vomiting.

For best results it is best to start treatment as soon as possible rather than letting it become chronic. Small snacking throughout the day can also help keep nausea at bay.

For advice on the safety of any other vitamins or medications you may be taking during pregnancy ask our team of pharmacists and naturopaths. They are highly skilled in letting you know which ingredients are safe for you and bub during pregnancy.

Visit the Calanna website or read more HERE. 

Dear Jana, I have a holiday planned and I don’t want to get sick! What can I do to prevent that from happening?

The dry air in aeroplanes and close proximity to others can increase the chance of getting a cold. An immune booster such as the Mario’s Immune Tonic taken in the days before and days after travelling will help you defend against viruses. Using a saline nose spray during and after your flight will also help. Make sure you’re washing your hands thoroughly, regularly and keep them away from your face. When you can’t wash your hands, use a hand sanitiser.