Keeping track of your health for busy parents

From time to time on this blog, you will get to catch incredibly fascinating glimpses into the wild days of my teens. Oh yes, we were craze-ay.

I gather that many English teens spend their free time in parks drinking really rough booze straight out of the bottle. But I do wonder how the “geeky”, “goody-goody” ones – more like me, perhaps – get their thrills. I grew up in the USA, and while I gather that some of my classmates might have been living it up with Budweiser and bongs, my friends and I didn’t. We didn’t drink or do drugs at all. We got our thrills from hanging out at malls.

Our favourite one, for the warm days of summer, was a sort of open air one. We would go to the garden centre and put our hands in the birdseed (you should try it sometime; it feels nice). We would push each other round on the giant trolleys you’re supposed to use to transport your giant potted plants, until the staff would yell at us and we would run away giggling. And we would hang out in the pharmacy, taking our blood pressure and trying out all the free beauty product samples.

So when I recently attended the LloydsPharmacy Showcase, it kind of reminded me of the crazy carefree days of my youth. It was actually a small exhibition of all of the fantastic free services that LloydsPharmacy offers, along with a selection of some of their health and beauty products. All of this was presented in a lovely central London venue complete with smoothies, prosecco and canapes.

My regular readers will know that this blog is just as much about parental health and wellbeing as it is about the business of being a parent. If your health isn’t up to scratch, it’s difficult to do all the things you want to do with your kids. But at the same time, it can be difficult to find time to check on your health concerns, when you’re busy with your kids all the time.

That’s why I’m sharing this information about LloydsPharmacy, which offers some free time-saving services that can help you check whether your health is ticking along okay and help you deal with those niggling ailments or inconvenient routine doctor visits.

You might not be aware that LloydsPharmacy offers such services as:

  • Type 2 diabetes check
  • Asthma treatment & advice
  • Blood pressure testing
  • Pain management service
  • Skin analysis service
  • Online Doctor service

I got to try out or talk to people about all of these different services at the event. All of them (except the online doctor) are totally free, and you can book an appointment in advance or just pop into one of the larger stores when it suits you (although you might have to wait or come back later if it’s busy). Here is a little run-down of some of the services I learned about.

Type 2 diabetes test

It was kind of funny having a diabetes test with a glass of prosecco in my hand. You might not be aware that the way they test for this is by pricking your finger with a special little machine and then testing a small drop of your blood for sugar levels. Mine came out a bit higher than recommended, but it was probably down to the prosecco and the fruit smoothie I’d downed shortly beforehand. If you had a high result during normal circumstances, they recommend you come and try again after having fasted for an hour or more, to make sure it wasn’t just something you ate rather than a real blood sugar issue. If it turns out there is cause for concern, they can counsel you on what to do next.

Asthma treatment & advice

I don’t have asthma but the gentleman who was talking at this section of the exhibition was very interesting and knowledgeable. I was not aware that many people use their asthma inhalers incorrectly, by breathing in the medicine short and sharp instead of more slowly. Doing it the wrong way means that less medicine absorbs into your system. The Lloyds asthma guy had all sorts of neat contraptions that could tell you whether you’re taking your medicine correctly, and other contraptions that could help you improve your technique or perhaps just be more comfortable for you to use.

Blood pressure testing

You can pop into Lloyds anytime to have a quick check if you are wondering whether you have healthy blood pressure. Another feature of this service is that it can work in tandem with their online doctor service to help you get your contraceptives without having to go to the GP’s office. You have your online consultation with the doctor, and then pop into the pharmacy so they can make sure your blood pressure is at a safe level for your type of contraception.

Pain management service

This is designed for people who have either short-term extreme (acute) pain, such as headaches or a sprained ankle, or longer term (chronic) pain lasting more than 12 weeks. You can book a private one-to-one consultation with a pharmacist who will take you through a “pain control test”, which will help them give you personalised recommendations as well as ongoing support for managing your pain.

Skin analysis service

I got to try this out during the event as well – it really was a bit of fun if nothing else! There is a machine with a little probe that they run along different parts of your face, and it measures how dry your skin is, how much sebum it produces, and what its pH is. All of this info then feeds into a personalised recommendation as to the types of skin care products you could use to improve your skin. For example, I have very dry skin (apparently), and they recommended a gentle cleansing milk instead of the exfoliating scrub I currently use. It was a neat way to think about what products you use and if they are the best ones for you.

Online Doctor service

This service is great if you are very busy and find it difficult to get to the GP for routine prescription refills, or for minor “embarrassing bodies” type ailments. There is a small charge for this service. As mentioned earlier, you can use it as a convenient way to get your contraceptives re-prescribed, or you could have a consultation about other sexual health concerns. If you are already prescribed certain routine medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or for controlling blood sugar, the online doctor can sort out your repeat prescription. You can also get a free assessment if you are going travelling and not sure which vaccines you might need.

Looking after yourself

I think it’s really easy to ignore minor ailments or bury your head in the sand about potential common health issues such as high blood pressure, but it’s great to know that there is a free (or very affordable in the case of the online doctor) service that can make it easier for you to get help and look after yourself. This can free up your time for doing what you want to do, and free up your mind from worrying, so you can be the sort of parent you want to be.

Do you ever wonder about your health but don’t want to “bother” the GP? Did you know that you could do all this stuff at the pharmacy?

Disclosure: I was invited to the LloydsPharmacy Showcase and did drink a fair amount of their prosecco, but I was not required to write this post. I’m doing it just because I want to and all opinions are my own. 

The Pramshed
%d bloggers like this: