June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Jun 15, 2017Posted By: igorUnder: Health News, Your Health, Your Pharmacist

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Robot Pharmacist

Feb 12, 2017Posted By: igorUnder: Health Comment, Pharmacy Profession, The Internet, Your Pharmacist

Xerox: Innovation at Work/19 jobs for 'bots (and why that's not such a a bad thing)

This morning I stumbled on this posting which was sent to me via Quartz Daily Brief, a subscription I have that drops a collection of links to topics on politics, technology, global affairs, science and economics just to name a few.   One of the articles that caught my eye was the link to an article posted on the Xerox website (hyperlink posted above), under the subsection 'Xerox Innovation at Work > Jobs for Robots".

Just take a look at No. 1 in this list of 19 jobs that will be done by robots by the year 2025.  Drum roll please.....The Pharmacist!  This article is based on the McKinsey Global Institute's Report that the current pace of machine learning and natural-user interfaces (such as speech recognition) will be responsible for transforming knowledge work which years ago were certainly thought to be aided by this technology but the last to be replaced, ahead of say the technical tasks of pharmacy technician (for example).  Not so according to this article.  I'll add that I have run across several papers, books and talks on this topic.  In fact, this replacement of knowledge workers will see the real engine for this change to be Artificial Intelligence (AI) which is even predicted to have physicians replaced by robots infused with AI that will replicate the reasoning, the logic and even some of the 'fuzzy' logic related to intuition, previously a purely human activity.  ...

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Health Canada Advises Not To Use Boric Acid: Here’s Why

Jan 7, 2017Posted By: igorUnder: General News, Health Advisory

Health Canada is advising Canadians to avoid using boric acid for arts and crafts projects, such as homemade slime, or modelling clay. Health Canada is also advising against making homemade pesticides with boric acid.

Boric acid, sometimes also called boron or borax, is found in the environment and Canadians are exposed to it naturally through food (such as fruit and vegetables) and drinking water. Canadians can also be exposed to boric acid through a variety of commonly used products, such as pesticides, cleaning products, homemade arts and craft materials, cosmetics, swimming pool and spa chemicals, and drugs and natural health products.

A recent draft risk assessment by Health Canada has found that overexposure to boric acid has the potential to cause developmental and reproductive health effects. Since Canadians are already exposed to boric acid naturally through their diets and water, Health Canada is advising that exposure from other sources should be reduced as much as possible, especially for children and pregnant women. The concern is not with any one product, but rather multiple exposures from a variety of sources.

With this in mind, the department has also announced that many existing products containing boric acid will be removed from the marketplace.

What you should do

Canadians can minimize their exposure to boric acid from sources other than food and water. Here are some steps you can take.

Use recipes to make children’s arts and craft...

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Zostavax: The Shingles Vaccine & Shingles Protection

Dec 22, 2016Posted By: jaclynUnder: Health Comment, Health News, Product News, Your Health, Your Pharmacist

Since its approval by Health Canada in 2008, the shingles vaccine (Zostavax®) has been in very high demand even at times becoming unavailable due to manufacturing delays in combination with a demand that may not have been anticipated.  Merck, the company producing Zostavax®, has finally produced enough of the vaccine to fill back orders and has managed to continue meeting the demand.

In addition, since it's original introduction the vaccine has seen a formulation change - an improvement in fact.   The original vaccine had to be kept frozen until reconstituted and once reconstituted remained stable only long enough to allow for the immediate administration.    The new product Zostavax II only requires refrigeration, as do all vaccinations which means our access to the vaccine is much easier making it much simpler to maintain some minimum inventory at all times and gaining additional inventory is next day during weekdays (Monday to Thursday).

When the vaccination was first approved it was only indicated for adults aged 60 or older. Now it is recommended for those who are 50 or older. If you are over 50, you should consider being vaccinated against shingles.  Here is why.

What is shingles?

Shingles is a viral infection resulting in a painful blistering rash potentially lasting several weeks.   It can cause skin infections, scarring and nerve pain.   Shingles can appear anywhere on the body and the severity of the outbreak varies depending on the locati...

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Our 2016/17 Flu Clinics Begin, Monday, October 24th, 2016

Oct 8, 2016Posted By: igorUnder: Ask the Pharmacist, General News, Infectious Disease, Your Health, Your Pharmacist

It's that time of year again and yes we will be participating in the Alberta Health sponsored Flu Vaccination program beginning with our first day Monday October 24th, 2016 at 1:30pm.   This is a no charge, come as you are, just walk in flu shot clinic.   All you need to bring is your Personal Health Card (Alberta Health Card), one bare arm (left or right will do) and a big smile for our pharmacists who will be administering the flu shots. By the way, you have to be 9 years of age and older.   We will have the appropriate flu vaccination for all ages from 9 years old and up.   Seniors are recommended to receive Fluad this year which is a trivalent vaccine with an adjuvant, which improves the immune response gained from the vaccination.   All others will receive Fluzone or Flumist if that is preferred for our younger crowd.   The Flumist is administered as a nasal mist and is an alternative to the injection for those who prefer this over the injection.   All of this will be discussed with you when you arrive for your flu shot.   Give yourself some extra time if you have some questions.   The pharmacy staff will be glad to help you with any questions related to your vaccination. See you soon.  

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New PharmaChoice Health Advice Pages

May 6, 2016Posted By: igorUnder: Ask the Pharmacist, Your Health, Your Pharmacist

You've received a new medication and maybe wanted to review: how it works or what dosage forms, strengths that are available, how should you use the medication, what is the medication used to treat or who will best benefit from the medication, who should not be taking the medication, known side effects that are possible, precautions, drug interactions All of this information is now available on our new page "PharmaChoice Health Advice" that offers you links to a new medication search page provided by your PharmaChoice pharmacist.  Always here,  ready to offer reliable    'Advice for Life'! Visit the new page and be sure to browse our website additional information you need to keep you informed when health problems arise as well as those tips and products to help keep you on track to good health.    We appreciate the fact that research and clinical experience helps pharmacists, physicians and healthcare professionals of every type, improve their knowledge, their skills and also delivers new, improved medications (prescription and non-prescription) to better treat health related problems.  The new knowledge now comes at a rate that makes it difficult to keep on top of the new as well as to keep focused on the true advances We are Pharmacists first!  Here to help with whatever it takes to achieve positive health outcomes for you and your family.                            

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Scarlet Fever on the Rise in United Kingdom

Apr 4, 2016Posted By: igorUnder: Disease Information, Health News

Yes, Scarlet Fever is on the rise in the UK and researchers currently have no explanation for the increase in incidence.  The only good news is that the Victorian infection has not resulted in the fatal fevers that previously meant a certain finality to the disease in Victorian times.   The disease was the leading cause of death in children in the late 19th Century with the greatest threat in North America experienced between 1840 and 1910.   The drop in incidence coincided with the introduction of antibiotics in the early 20th Century when Sulfonamides and Penicillins saw a drop in many previously fatal infections including Scarlet Fever. The disease seen recently is caused by a Streptococcus which is not any different than the causative bacteria in those previous years and so far, none of the bacteria cultured have shown any strains to be more dominant.  The Public Health England (PHE) will continue to monitor the strains for antibiotic resistance. See full article on Quartz

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CES 2016 and Health Technology

Jan 23, 2016Posted By: igorUnder: Health Comment, Health News, Product News

Recently returned from CES 2016 in Las Vegas, the annual Consumer Electronics Show.   This was a first for me and for anyone who has attended you’ll understand when I say it was ‘information overload’, but in a good way – if there is such a term.   For those of us who have grown up with technologies, this is where the better part of the world’s technological innovations are highlighted, demonstrated, paraded and critiqued.  There were familiar companies, but the dominant theme was the up and coming or the company that maybe saw their start via Kickstarter.   And it had its international flavour with companies from all over the world including a large contingent from China, France, Germany, UK and more.

The dominant themes were drones of course, virtual reality, large format TV’s and the resolution continued to increase after the introduction of the 4K format.   The automakers were there with BMW having a prominent position and made good use of it to show off how technology is already impacting form and function.  And there were the technology makers who are bringing new innovations to the mobile world – not the phone but at least for North Americans where their car or truck are still considered must haves – there were all manner of technological add on’s for your vehicle.

All of that was great – what red blooded Canadian or American male wouldn’t get excited by all the bells and whistles!  What I really came to CES to see, was the techno...

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Help Protect Your Community and Get A Flu Shot

Oct 3, 2015Posted By: igorUnder: Ask the Pharmacist, Health News, Infectious Disease

2015/16 Flu Clinics: Stafford Pharmacy & Home Healthcare

Our walk in clinics begin:  October 20, 2015 

 From:  1:30pm to 4:30pm every Tuesday and Thursday

For Ages: 9 years old and up

No Charge to holders of a valid Alberta Healthcare Coverage Number

Can't make it in during our clinic hours, call to set up an appointment.  We'll do our best to accommodate you or your family's schedule.


Seasonal influenza (flu) is a contagious viral respiratory disease that causes thousands of deaths every year.   Thankfully, there is a simple way to help prevent it: the flu vaccine.

Should I get vaccinated?

Yes! It is recommended for everyone over six months of age who is able to get the vaccine!  As well, if any of the following apply to you, you are considered high risk for influenza-related complications and it is especially important that you get the vaccine if possible:
• Seniors (65 years or older); children 6-59 months old; pregnant women
• Aboriginal people
• People living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities
• People with certain medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, renal (kidney) disease, heart disease, immune suppression, blood disorders, severe obesity, and asthma or chronic lung disease.
If you ...

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30 Year Entrepreneurial Adventure

Jul 23, 2015Posted By: igorUnder: Historical Notes, Stafford Pharmacy News

Hard to believe as it is, but it's our 30 year anniversary.  The doors of Stafford Pharmacy opened on a Monday morning July 15, 1985.

A sprawling 980 sq. ft. space in the Stafford Plaza, at the corner of Stafford Drive and Saint Edward Boulevard North.  We squeezed in between a pizza place and a video rental store.  Cliff Helm and his family operated the pizza place, while Brad Whyte managed the video shop.  It was a great community to be a part of, with Alma Lynn's Hair Stylist two doors down, owned and operated by Alma Lynn (Zacher) Morcom, Alberta Meat & Grocery, owned and operated by the Crighton family the major tenant back then, managed by Bob and Ron Crighton and later Bob's son Scott joined his dad managing the business.  And around the corner from Alberta Meat & Grocery several more merchants of various types rounded our merchant community.   A tanning shop, laundromat,  Mar-Rene's Kitchen and even a dry cleaning drop off for a short time.  And in the middle of the parking lot was a small gas bar - a Shell before it closed up and before that it was the Canadian chain, Turbo!

Heady days they were!  And there I was,  the pharmacist with five years of experience working in Edmonton and in Lethbridge, that after driving past the Plaza day after day, thinking it would make a great location for a community pharmacy.   Being a recent graduate of the University of Lethbridge's Management faculty, I had the tools to assess the merits of opening a sm...

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