From Pap Smears to Pregnancy – what you should be checking in on while in lockdown
Lockdown has changed the way most of us live our day to day lives, however it hasn’t changed the fact that essential health checks are still needed. Fortunately, most of these checks are quick and conveniently available at your local chemist. We spoke to Andria Aird, Pharmacist and partner at Blooms The Chemist Port Coogee and Joondalup, who shared her insights on the vital health checks women should be having whilst in lockdown and beyond.
Australia’s flu season normally peaks during the Winter months, from around June until the end of August. For those who are pregnant (especially in the last trimester) or over 65 years of age, it is recommended that you get a yearly flu vaccination in April or early May. People with severe asthma, diabetes or other chronic conditions should also get an annual flu vaccine. Put this one on the calendar for next year.
Other immunisations, such as tetanus shots, should also be kept up to-date.
Cardiovascular Health Checks
After the age of 18, blood pressure should be checked every two years. Regular cholesterol and blood pressure checks provide information on the health of your blood vessels and heart.
If you have high blood pressure, or are over 45, you should get a blood test every five years to check cholesterol. An easy, three minute ‘finger-prick’ test at Blooms The Chemist will test your total cholesterol and be able to identify if further tests are required. You should get a cholesterol check at least every two years if you have a high risk of heart disease.
Pregnancy and Pre-Pregnancy Check-Ups
If you become pregnant during lockdown, make sure to get regular check-ups to monitor your baby’s development, as well as your own health. If you are planning on becoming pregnant, a check-up with your local pharmacist is also a good idea for both you and your partner, in preparation for a healthy pregnancy.
If you have ever been sexually active or are over the age of 25, cervical cancer screenings are necessary – these now replace the Pap smear. You should have your first Cervical Screening Test two years after your last Pap smear test, and then every five years until you are 74.
Blood Glucose Screening
Similar to cardiovascular health checks, a quick finger-prick test will indicate if you have high blood glucose. Depending on your diabetes risk level, you should aim to check your blood glucose every one to three years. These tests are also available at your local Chemist. If they find that you do have high blood glucose, you will need to seek further medical advice from your GP.
In addition to these tests, it is also a good idea to keep up annual skin cancer checks, breast cancer screenings, dental checks and to see your GP regularly for any chronic health conditions. Your local Pharmacist is always ready to help with some essential check-ups and support your overall health and wellbeing.
Thank you Andria. To find your closest Blooms The Chemist click here, or visit your closest Pharmacy/Health Care Professional for these vital check ups.
 Health, B. Health Checks for Women. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/health-checks-for-women?
 Cholesterol Screening. https://www.bloomsthechemist.com.au/cholesterol-screening.
 Op. cit. B. Health Checks for Women.
 Diabetes Monitoring. https://www.bloomsthechemist.com.au/diabetes-monitoring