Medical Blog

Hay Fever- IPSA’s guide to help you enjoy your summer!

With the days getting warmer and warmer, the attraction to spend time outside and especially in nature grows. For the 25% of adults and 40% of children who suffer with hay fever, the hot weather presents the probability of uncomfortable reactions to the pollen count in the air. Hay fever Is an allergic reaction to pollen and is most prominent when it encounters your mouth, noses, eyes and throat. During contact, histamine is produced by the immune system and causes the symptoms of hay fever.

The symptoms of hay fever are comparable to that of a common cold and manifest themselves in:

  • Sneezing or coughing.
  • A blocked/ runny nose (sometimes resulting in the loss of smell).
  • Irritated eyes that are itchy, red or watering.
  • Itchy throat, mouth, ears and nose.
  • Pain around your temples and forehead.
  • Feeling of fatigue.

Top 10 tips to ease symptoms:

  1. Change your clothes and shower after being outside to reduce the time in contact with pollen.
  2. Place petroleum jelly around your nostrils to prevent pollen from entering into your system.
  3. Shut windows wherever possible.
  4. Fit a pollen filter for the air vents in your car.
  5. Avoid walking around on grass, especially fresh cut.
  6. Reduce the amount of time spent outside.
  7. Do not keep fresh flowers in the house.
  8. Do not dry your clothes on an outside washing line to prevent pollen from being transferred indoors.
  9. Don’t smoke and avoid being around smoke wherever possible as it worsens the symptoms.
  10. Avoid letting pets into your house as they too can transfer pollen inside.


There are a variety of great over the counter treatments that can be used as a first port of call when experiencing the symptoms of hay fever. Due to the large variety of available treatments, speak to your IPSA pharmacist today who will recommend the most effective option for you. Notable treatments include:

  • Antihistamines: Come in the form of nasal sprays, tablets or liquids and work by blocking the action of the chemical histamine. The treatment can be taken as a preventative measure on days when the pollen count is unusually high or when symptoms appear. Traditionally, antihistamines carry the side effect of drowsiness however newer treatments have managed to surpass this side effect.
  • Eye Drops: An effective and pretty instant means of treating itchy, red or watering eyes.
  • Nasal Decongestants: Nasal sprays which have anti-inflammatory properties assist in the reduction of swollen nasal blood vessels. These are very effective In alleviating the symptoms of a blocked/runny nose however can only be used for a few days at a time. If after this time symptoms continue, make sure to book a consultation with your IPSA doctor who will further explain your options and help find a solution!

If over the counter treatments do not work, book an appointment with an IPSA doctor who will find a perfectly tailored treatment for you. Common solutions include:

  • Allergy injections: Only needed once or twice a year, this treatment is very safe and often extremely effective, even in months with the highest pollen count. The effects of an injection last roughly 4 to 6 weeks however some people have reported reduced symptoms for up to 6 months!


  • Topical steroids: Reduce itchy rashes however this is not a long-term option as it can lead to skin changes over time. In this case, our IPSA doctor recommends speaking to our skincare specialists to find natural based skin care products to help alleviate your symptoms without the use of steroids. These products are effective because they can be used long term without any safety issues.


Don’t suffer in silence anymore! Let IPSA work to solve your symptoms so that you can fully enjoy the summer!



PRP- A silver bullet for hair loss? 

In the United Kingdom alone 8 Million women and 40% of men suffer from either partial or complete hair loss. Genetic influences alongside hormonal changes are currently hailed as the cause of hair loss and subsequently changes in lifestyle are not a viable solution to the issue. In the UK, Minoxidil (otherwise known as Regaine) is the most commonly used treatment for symptoms of balding and works by increasing blood flow to the scalp to support follicles. Minoxidil however carries a variety of side effects from stinging and burning sensations in the scalp to unwanted body hair, dizziness and chest pains. Whilst it does provide a workable solution to Hair Loss, the side effects of treatment can be debilitating.

In March of 2018, researchers from the Netherlands published a ground-breaking study revealing significant increases in hair density due to a 12-week course of Plasma Rich Therapy (PRP).  Initially utilised for facial rejuvenation, PRP involves filtering blood through a centrifuge to extract plasma containing special proteins which assist with blood clotting and cell growth. The concentration of platelets in the new extracted substance is usually 10 times higher than would be found in normal blood and studies have shown increased hair growth with increased concentration of platelets. Using a micro needle, the plasma is then injected into the scalp to naturally stimulate hair growth.

PRP for hair loss is a suitable treatment for both men and women, significant because the other main treatment for hair loss Finasteride is not suitable for women. Whilst it does not generate new hair follicles where they do not exist, numerous studies suggest that it is a viable alternative for those not wanting a hair transplant. It is important to note that PRP is not a suitable treatment for those who have a history of alcohol or drug abuse, smoke heavily or are on blood thinners.

Advantages of PRP for Hair Loss:

  • Simple non-surgical procedure lasting roughly an hour.
  • Very quick recovery period.
  • Natural looking results.
  • Relatively risk free as incidence of problems such as infection, tissue damage and nerve injury is no different than those associated with cortisone injections.

Make sure IPSA is your doctor of choice for this treatment as a trusted and experienced practitioner is likely to wield the best results.

IPSA’s top 10 tips for living a healthier lifestyle. 

1) Sleep – Adults should aim to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. When you do not get enough rest, you tend to eat more to facilitate extra energy. Lack of sleep has also been shown to cause premature ageing.

2) Exercise –Exercise is important as it is proven to lengthen life span, reduces the chance of heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Improves joint stability so you can stay mobile for longer as you age and,  Improves mood reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. To make it a sustainable life habit integrating exercise into your daily life will stand you in better stead. This can be done through making a conscious effort to walk more, intensifying house work and gardening to make it more rigorous, choosing to take the stairs instead of a lift or elevator, and finding ways to do tasks previously done sat down standing up. Limiting screen time in favour of exercise is a worthwhile trade-in to make.

3) Don’t Smoke!!! -This extends to passive smoking which should be avoided as much as possible. The American Journal of Public Health published a study showing that women who quit smoking by the age of 35 adds an average of 7 years to their life.

4) Go for regular checkups- Many diseases may not manifest themselves in visible symptoms until they are severe. It is better to nip health issues in the bud and this extends to keeping on top of immunisations.

5) Wear sun cream – Adding sun cream to your daily skincare regimen reduces the chances of skin cancer and also helps you look younger by protecting you from sun induced symptoms of aging. SPF should be used even on a cloudy day.

6) Micro-nutrients– Small quantities of these nutrients are needed to sustain body function as they enable chemical reactions in the body to allow food to be utilised effectively. Important micro-nutrients and where they can be found include:

  • Calcium – Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, beans and almonds.
  • Vitamin B12 – Fish are the best source (although meats do contain it too). Eggs are also a good source.
  • Zinc- Oysters, beef, toasted wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, pork, chicken, beans and mushrooms.
  • Potassium – Bananas, spinach, potatoes and apricots.
  • Vitamin C- Oranges, peppers, broccoli and bananas.

7) Macro-nutrients– Large quantities of these nutrients are needed to fuel the body there are 3 macronutrients: Our bodies cannot produce these nutrients and so we need to ingest them.

  • Carbohydrates – Provide energy to fuel the body.
  • Proteins- Help to repair tissue.
  • Fats-Cell membranes for blood clotting and muscle movements to name a few. It is important to steer clear of Trans Fats as they increase harmful cholesterol. Common sources of trans fats are margarine and fast food products. Eating low or fat free dairy products such as fat free dairy products can reduce the amount of trans fats consumed without significant changes to your lifestyle and diet. Unsaturated Fats should be eaten and are essential for normal body function, they are found in olive oil, peanuts and avocados to name a few. The best source of unsaturated fat is omega 3s which are found in many fishes such as tuna and salmon alongside flaxseed and other nuts.

8) Eat small meals eating several small meals over a few large meals evens out energy distribution and is better for your stomach because it doesn’t overstretch from digesting too much food at once. It is also,important to stop eating when you are full.

9) Steer clear of processed foods– During production, the majority of nutrients are lost and preservatives are added which are bad for your health. IARC found that eating 50g of processed meat a day can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 185%. This extends to sugary drinks which cause weight gains and are artificial stimulants. It is best to prepare your own meals and snacks at home if possible.

10)Water- Our body is made up of 60% water and it is imperative for the majority of bodily functions such as waste removal and nutrient carrying. Every day you should aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water which equates to 2 litres a day (the 8×8 rule).


Vaccinations without injections?

Immunisation currently prevents between 2-3 million deaths every year, its effectiveness was highlighted through the near eliminating of Meningitis in Africa since the introduction of the Meningitis A vaccine in December 2010. Immunise USA went as far as to conclude that vaccinations save more lives each year than seatbelts in America.

In 2016, The University of Queensland developed a Nanopatch vaccination which eliminated the need for needles for certain immunisations. The patch, which looks like a plaster works by delivering powder into immune rich cells via small spikes attached to the material and requires less additives to have effect. The vaccination takes only one minute and there is no pain involved. The development of this technology is significant because according to Vaxxas it can help save money facilitating its use in several more deprived areas of the 2017 when applied to the immunisation of Polio, studies found it is more effective than using a normal needle injection. The trend of no-needle immunisations having greater effect is continued in the case of Oral Flu Vaccines which medical professionals internationally contend helps lung immunity in a way that injections do not.

The use of nasal spray flu vaccines was tested for treatment on Primates in 2017 as an inhalable immunisation and showed promising results. This confirmed that immunity to Ebola can be conferred through the respiratory tract.

In March 2018, Cardiff university released their plans to develop a pill flu vaccine. Not only does this remove the arduous task of going to the doctor for a yearly inoculation but facilitates its use without the need for a fridge to keep it cold and therefore it can be used in developing countries with ease.

The trend of needle free immunisations is set to continue and raises exciting questions about what further vaccines will be developed to treat specific illnesses.