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Common Cold

Common Cold

Overview

The common cold is a upper respiratory tract infection caused by viruses. The most common symptoms include fever, rhinitis, cough, phlegm and sore throat. It is usually mild and resolves on its own with time. Patients may commence self-treatment with over-the-counter medications when symptoms emerge. However, if this worsens, one should seek medical treatment from a healthcare professional.

Symptoms

Symptoms of common cold may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Rhinitis
  • Cough
  • Sore throat

 Symptoms will last around 7 to 10 days but should gradually improve. If worsening occurs, one should seek medical treatment from healthcare professional.

Treatment

In most cases, viruses like the common cold just require to run their course. Regarding treatment, there are two types, home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) medication.

Home remedies:

Home remedies are not able to treat or cure common colds however they may help to manage the symptoms such that the patient feels better.

Home remedies may include:

  • Drinking adequate water
  • Having adequate rest
  • Vitamin C supplements

Over-the-Counter Medication:

Over-the-Counter Medication include the following classes:

  • Pain Relievers: Pain Relievers such as Paracetamol may help to relieve headaches and body aches
  • Antihistamines: Antihistamines block histamine release, thereby reducing itchness and runny nose
  • Lozenges: OTC lozenges such as Dequa lozenges soothe sore throat symptoms

You can find our range of products here: https://www.beaconshealth.com/collections/cold-and-cough

Prevention

These are the steps you can take to prevent common colds

  • Clean and disinfect regularly
  • Wear a mask if you are feeling unwell.
  • Lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle, including diet and exercise
  • Consider regular intake of vitamin C supplements

Vitamin C supplements may not prevent common colds however regular intake may help to shorten the time of illnesses caused by cold virues.

When to see a doctor

Common colds will usually resolve on its own however if the following occurs, please visit a medical doctor:

  • Persistent high fever
  • Trouble breathing or chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Severe or lasting cough
  • Severe or lasting sore throat

References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351611

https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/the-common-cold

https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/cold#when-to-get-care

National Library of Medicine; Common colds: Research summaries – Does vitamin C prevent colds? December 11, 2023

 

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Eczema / Dermatitis

Eczema / Dermatitis

 

Overview

Eczema and dermatitis refers to the same condition. It is a non-contagious, inflammatory skin condition. The triggers include allergens such as pet dander and dust mites, cosmetics, soaps, detergents and weather changes. Most patients develop eczema before the age of 5 but it may also develop for the first time in adults. It is usually a long term condition. However, it may improve, or even clear completely in some children as they enter adulthood.

 

Symptoms

The location of eczema may change with age. In infants and young children, eczema is normally located on cheeks or knees. In older children and adults, symptoms commonly present on the hands and feet, arms and back of knees.

 

Symptoms of eczema include:

  • Itch
  • A red rash or red patches on skin
  • Dry, sensitive skin that might crack and bleed
  • Painful blisters in severe cases

 

Treatment

Treatment of eczema can help to manage symptoms and improve the condition over time.

 

  • Emollients (moisturising treatments) – used daily for dry skin

Emollients are the mainstay of treatment for eczema as it helps to repair the skin barrier and prevent eczema flare ups. It can be used for both treatment and prevention of the eczema. Patients are advised to persist with emollient use even when symptoms subside.

Products include emollient cream and emollient wash.

 

You can find our range of products (eg. Aqueous cream, Shea Lotion, Neem Cream) here:

https://www.beaconshealth.com/collections/personal-care

 

  • Steroid cream and ointment – purchased from pharmacy / prescribed by doctor

Steroid cream should be used sparingly during eczema flare up (short term use only)

 

Prevention

These are the steps you can take to prevent eczema flare ups:

 

  • Take short, warm baths rather than long, hot baths which tend to dry out skin
  • Use emollients several times a day especially after showering
  • Keep room temperature as regular as possible
  • Use unscented laundry detergent for sensitive skin
  • Stay hydrated and drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Wear loose clothing made of natural materials eg. Cotton
  • Avoid alcohol nappy wipes. Use cloth with water and bath oil
  • Manage your stress and emotional triggers

 

When to see a doctor

 

  • Signs of severe eczema that might involve skin infections eg. Inflamed blisters, pus, yellow scabs
  • Suspicion of concurrent severe allergies (recurrent widespread skin rash, eczema around the eyes, difficulty in breathing)
  • Severe eczema in a children less than 12 months old
  • Poor feeding, poor sleep, and failure to thrive in young patients
  • Worsening of symptoms despite being compliant with treatment for 6 weeks or more

 

References

 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atopic-eczema/

https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/skin-allergy/eczema/

https://www.singhealth.com.sg/patient-care/conditions-treatments/eczema

https://www.rch.org.au/clinicalguide/guideline_index/eczema/

 

 

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Indigestion

Overview

Indigestion is the name given to a collection of digestive symptoms, including a feeling of fullness or discomfort in your upper abdomen, heartburn, and nausea. The medical term for indigestion is dyspepsia. People often experience indigestion after eating large meals. Indigestion may often be relieved with lifestyle changes and medicines.

 

Symptoms

The symptoms of indigestion include:

  • Burning in the stomach or upper abdomen
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating (full feeling)
  • Belching and gas
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Acidic taste
  • Growling stomach

 

Treatment

Indigestion often goes away on its own and will pass with time. For example, if you experience indigestion after a large meal, your abdominal discomfort may lessen as your body begins to digest the food you’ve eaten. Some medications may also help you treat and provide relief of indigestion symptoms. Nonprescription antacids are generally the first choice.

Antacids are medicines that neutralize acid in the stomach. They contain ingredients such as aluminium, calcium, magnesium, or sodium bicarbonate which act as bases (alkalis) to counteract stomach acid and make its pH more neutral. By neutralizing stomach acid, antacids relieve symptoms related to indigestion. Antacids are available as liquids or tablets. Some products also contain other ingredients, such as simethicone which helps disperse gas in people prone to bloating. 

You can find our range of antacids at our company’s website:

https://www.beaconshealth.com/

 

Prevention

The best way to prevent indigestion is to avoid the foods and situations that seem to cause it. Keeping a food diary is helpful in identifying foods that cause indigestion. Here are some other suggestions:

  • Eat small meals
  • Eat slowly.
  • Try not to chew with your mouth open, talk while you chew, or eat too fast.
  • Avoid foods that contain high amounts of acids, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes.
  • Avoid spicy foods.
  • Reduce or avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine.
  • If stress is a trigger for your indigestion, learn new methods for managing stress, such as
  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking can irritate the lining of the stomach.
  • Cut back on alcohol because it can also irritate the stomach lining.

 

When to see a doctor

Contact your doctor right away if pain is severe or accompanied by :

  • Unintentional weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Repeated vomiting or vomiting with blood
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Trouble swallowing that gets worse
  • Fatigue or weakness, which may be signs of anemia

Seek immediate medical attention if you have:

  • Shortness of breath, sweating or chest pain radiating to the jaw, neck or arm
  • Chest pain when you’re active or stressed

 

References

https://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/indigestion-overview

https://www.healthline.com/health/indigestion

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/indigestion-dyspepsia/symptoms-causes

 

 

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Mouth Ulcers

Overview

Mouth ulcers are painful and typically small lesions that develop within the mouth. There are no definite causes of mouth ulcers, but some injuries, allergies, or sensitivities may trigger them. Mouth ulcers are common and should clear up on their own within a week or two. See a GP or dentist if you have a mouth ulcer that lasts longer than 3 weeks.

 

Symptoms

Symptoms of mouth ulcers may vary, but they typically include:

  • Painful sores that may be yellow, white, or red
  • Areas of redness surrounding the sores
  • Pain that worsens when you eat, drink, or talk

You may have more than one mouth ulcer at the same time.

Mouth ulcers are not usually contagious unless they’re caused by an infection such as hand, foot, and mouth disease.

 

Treatment

Most of the time, mouth ulcers heal on their own without treatment within a week. There are also over-the-counter treatments available that may decrease discomfort and healing time. These include:

  • Using an antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Covering the ulcer with topical pastes
  • Using a numbing anaesthetic mouth spray

You can find our range of antimicrobial mouthwash at our company’s website:

https://www.beaconshealth.com/

 

Prevention

You can take these steps to help reduce the occurrence of mouth ulcers:

  • Avoid very hot or spicy foods and drinks.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to clean your teeth.
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet
  • Attend regular dental check-ups

 

When to see a doctor

See a doctor or dentist if your mouth ulcer:

  • Lasts longer than 3 weeks
  • Unusually large, painful or bleeding
  • Persistent and keeps recurring
  • Concurrent presence of symptoms of general illness, including fever, stomach pain etc.

 

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/mouth-ulcers#diagnosis

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mouth-ulcers/

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/mouth-sores-and-ulcers

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Heat Rash (Prickly Heat)

Heat Rash (Prickly Heat)

Overview

Heat rash — also known as prickly heat and miliaria affects both adults and children, especially in hot, humid conditions.

Heat rash occurs when sweat is trapped in the skin. Symptoms can range from small blisters to deep, inflamed lumps. Some forms of heat rash are very itchy.

Heat rash usually goes away once the skin cools down. Severe forms of the condition might need treatment from a health care provider.

Symptoms

The symptoms of heat rash are:

  • Small raised spots
  • An itchy, prickly feeling
  • Mild swelling

Heat rash is typically found in skin folds and where clothing rub against the skin e.g., armpit, elbow creases and groin. In infants, it can appear on the neck, shoulder and chest. Heat rash cannot be passed on to other people.

 

Treatment

Treatment for mild heat rash is cooling the skin and avoiding exposure to the heat that caused the condition. Once the skin is cool, mild heat rash tends to clear quickly.

To keep your skin cool, one can wear loose cotton clothing, take cool showers and drink plenty of fluids.

To calm the itching or prickly feeling, apply calamine lotion, calamine lotion with menthol etc.

You can find our calamine lotion at our company’s website: https://www.beaconshealth.com/

 

When to see a doctor

See your doctor about a heat rash if the rash worsens or does not go away after a few days.

 

References

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heat-rash-prickly-heat/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-rash/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20373282

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-heat-rash-basics

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Fungal infections

Fungal infections

 

What are fungal infections?

A fungal infection, also called mycosis, is a skin disease caused by a fungus (such as Candida albicans). They usually affect your skin, hair, nails or mucous membranes but they can also infect your lungs or other parts of your body. Symptoms may range from mild for superficial infections, to serious for life-threatening infections. For superficial infections (such as athlete’s foot, jock itch), common symptoms are the following:

  • Irritation
  • Scaly skin
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Blisters

Life-threatening infections usually happen to people who are immune compromised. Do seek for immediate medical attention if you suspect that the fungal infection is serious (or life-threatening) and not resolving to current medications.

 

What are some possible treatments for fungal infections?

For fungal infections that occur on the skin, the most common medication is an anti-fungal cream, such as miconazole (such as Beacons Micon Cream) and clotrimazole. This medication is contra-indicated for those who are allergic to the medication.

 

Apply the cream to the affected area once to two times a day or as directed by the physician. As fungal infections are harder to treat, the duration of treatment is often a few weeks. Unless otherwise directed by the doctor, apply this cream daily until the infection is completely gone. It is sometimes recommended to apply for an additional week (after all symptoms have resolved) to prevent recurrence.

 

For full information on the medication, please refer to the specific product’s information. Also, discuss with your healthcare team if you have questions on the medications or are taking other chronic medications at the same time.

 

For lifestyle changes, do keep the affected area dry and clean. As it is possible to spread fungal infections, don’t share towels or personal items with others.

 

 

 

References:

  1. https://www.mims.com/singapore/drug/info/miconazole?mtype=generic
  2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/24401-fungal-infections-mycosis
  3. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/fungal-infections-skin

 

 

 

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Office closure for Chinese New Year between 20 January to 25 January 2023

**   Note for Chinese New Year 2023:   ***

Dear valued customers,

Please help to take note that:

Our office will be closed for Chinese New Year between 20 January to 25 January 2023 and we will resume normal operation on 26 January 2023.

All orders received after 11:59pm on 16 January 2023, will be processed after 26 January 2023 and the usual delivery lead time is 5-7 working days.

BeaconsHealth wishes all a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year!

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Fish Oil

Fish oil supplement is a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are derived from dietary sources and they can't be produced in the body. The main types of omega-3s in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). 

Benefits

Omega-3 fatty acids may help to:

Dosage

If you do not eat 1–2 portions of oily fish per week, you may want to consider taking a fish oil supplement.

World Health Organization (WHO) recommend a minimum of 250–500 mg combined EPA and DHA each day for healthy adults. According to American Heart Association (AHA), patients with documented coronary heart disease should consume about 1g of EPA+DHA/day. For patients who need to reduce triglycerides, it is recommended to consume 2-4g of EPA+DHA/day.

Safety

Taking up to 3 grams of fish oil supplements is generally considered safe.

Side effects of omega-3 supplements are usually mild. They include fishy aftertaste, gastrointestinal symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea.

Taking high doses of fish oil supplements might increase the risk of bleeding but it is very rare at doses <3g/day.

 

Beacons Health carry a range of supplements and vitamins. We carry Omega-3 Fish Oil 1000mg, which contains EPA 180mg, DHA 120mg, Vitamin E 1.1IU. It is manufactured in USA.

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Overview for Calcium supplements

 

Overview for Calcium supplements

 

Introduction

It is common knowledge that calcium is usually recommended for bone health. But how much do we really know about Calcium supplements? And what should a person look out for when taking a calcium supplement for the first time?

 

Calcium, which is an element in the Periodic table, is a naturally occurring mineral that is often understood to strengthen one’s bones. Calcium is also needed in the heart, nerves and blood-clotting systems.

 

It is commonly found in our diet, such as diary products. Hence for most people, a well-balanced diet is often sufficient to meet the required amount.

 

[1]

 

 

Recommended Intakes

According to guidelines, the below are the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for Calcium[2]:

Age

Male

Female

0-6 months

200 mg

200 mg

7–12 months

260 mg

260 mg

1–3 years

700 mg

700 mg

4–8 years

1,000 mg

1,000 mg

9–13 years

1,300 mg

1,300 mg

14-18 years

1,300 mg

1,300 mg*

19 – 50 years

1,000 mg

1,000 mg*

51–70 years

1,000 mg

1,200 mg

>70+ years

1,200 mg

1,200 mg

* For those who are pregnant or lactating, the RDA for Calcium is 1,300mg for 14-18 years old and 1,000mg for those who are 19 – 50 years old.

 

As seen in the table above, those who are at risk of having low levels of Calcium are postmenopausal women (women 50 – 70 years old), as their lower levels of estrogen increases their risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Additionally since dairy products such as milk and eggs are rich in Calcium, those who avoid dairy products are also at risk of low levels of Calcium.

 

It is important to take the right amount of Calcium, not too low or too much. Hypocalcemia (low levels of Calcium in the blood) often leads to osteoporosis, which is characterised by weak bones and higher chance of falling. Common reasons of low calcium absorption are low Vitamin D levels, use of certain long-term medications (such as proton pump inhibitors) and low Magnesium levels.  Hence, it is common to see Calcium supplements being formulated with Vitamin D.

 

However, consuming too much of Calcium isn’t a good thing too. Hypercalcemia (high levels of Calcium in the blood) might lead to abnormal rhythms in the heart (aka arrhythmias), which might lead to further complications.

 

How to take

It is important to follow the instructions on the product label, or to take according to the advice of your healthcare professional. The general advice are as follows[3]:  

  1. Calcium supplements should be taken with food to increase absorption.
  2. Avoid taking caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda with the supplement as it might reduce the absorption.

Some common side effects of calcium supplements are constipation, gas and stomach bloating. Calcium supplements might interact some of your chronic medications, so it is important to speak to your doctor or pharmacist before starting.

 

You might ask, are all Calcium supplements made the same? Unfortunately, not all Calcium supplements are made the same. Hence it is important to choose the right supplement for you. There are 2 main forms of Calcium in our store: Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Lactate.

 

Firstly, the amount of elemental Calcium in the 2 different salts are different. Calcium Carbonate is 40% calcium by weight whereas Calcium Lactate is 13% Calcium by weight. It is important to convert to the equivalent amount of elemental Calcium during dosing.

 

Secondly, individuals who are risk of low Vitamin D levels would benefit from a combination product of Calcium and Vitamin D.

 

Thirdly, calcium carbonate is often regarded as the most constipating[4].  If the side effects are intolerable, you might want try different brands or Calcium salts to see which ones is tolerable.

 

References:

  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/calcium
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/calcium-supplements/art-20047097
  4. https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/foods-rich-in-calcium-gm1071640080-286778418

 

[1] https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/foods-rich-in-calcium-gm1071640080-286778418

[2] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/

[3] https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/calcium

[4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/calcium-supplements/art-20047097

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Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin with several forms. Naturally occurring vitamin E exists in eight chemical forms (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol), but alpha-tocopherol is the only one used by the human body. Its main role is to act as an antioxidant. It also helps maintain healthy skin and eyes, enhances immune function and prevents clots from forming in heart arteries.

Recommended Amounts

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E for males and females ages 14 years and older is 15 mg daily (or 22 international units, IU), including women who are pregnant. Lactating women need slightly more at 19 mg (28 IU) daily.

Doses for oral vitamin E generally range from 50 to 1,000 IU. The upper tolerable intake level (UL) for vitamin E is at 1,000 mg (1,500 IU) per day for supplemental vitamin E.

The adequate daily intake of vitamin E is as follows:

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol)

Age

Non-pregnant, non-lactating individuals

Pregnant individuals

Lactating individuals

0–6 months

4 mg

7–12 months

5 mg

1–3 years

6 mg

4–8 years

7 mg

9–13 years

11 mg

14+ years

15 mg

15 mg

19 mg

 

1 mg of alpha-tocopherol is equivalent to 1.49 IU of the natural form

 

Signs of Deficiency

People who have digestive disorders or do not absorb fat properly (e.g., pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease) can develop a vitamin E deficiency. The following are common signs of a deficiency:

  • Retinopathy (damage to the retina of the eyes that can impair vision)
  • Peripheral neuropathy (damage to the peripheral nerves, usually in the hands or feet, causing weakness or pain)
  • Ataxia (loss of control of body movements)
  • Decreased immune function
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of muscle mass

 

Supplementation with vitamin E may be necessary in people who have digestive disorders, including chronic bowel disease, or those who have undergone gastrointestinal surgeries since their systems are less able to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

There is no evidence of toxic effects from vitamin E found naturally in foods. Most adults who obtain more than the RDA of 22 IU daily are using multivitamins or separate vitamin E supplements that contain anywhere from 400-1000 IU daily. There have not been reports of harmful side effects of supplement use in healthy people. It is advised not to take above the recommended dose of supplements, unless directed by your doctor or healthcare professional.

Beacons Health carry a range of supplements and vitamins. Do check out our Vitamin E 400 IU softgels, manufactured in the USA.

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