Archive for the ‘Health and Wellness’ Category

Ask the Expert: Shingles

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Q. What is shingles and how can I help prevent it?

Shingles is a painful skin rash, often with blisters.  A shingles rash usually appears on one side of the face or body and lasts from 2 to 4 weeks.  Its main symptom is pain.  In one out of five cases the pain can be severe and linger for months or even years.

The chicken pox virus is the cause of shingles.  If you have not had chicken pox you cannot get shingles. However, a person who has never had chicken pox can get them from a person who has shingles. At least one million people a year in the United States get shingles.

A single dose of vaccine is recommended for all people 60 years of age and older.  It is 50% effective.  If you have ever observed a person who has painful shingles you will want to get the vaccination. People who are allergic to ingredients of the vaccine, those who are immune compromised or pregnant or are ill should not get the vaccination.

Vaccinations are available at MedSave Family Pharmacy upon the order of your physician.  We can request a prescription for you provided you have a relationship with a practitioner.

Feel free to call a pharmacist at MedSave if you have any additional questions.

Richard Chernugal, RPh

Organize Your Medications

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

When was the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet? Keeping track of your medications is an important part of your health care. If you are taking more than one prescription or over-the-counter drug, vitamin, or supplement, or caring for someone who is, managing them can be complicated. Here are some tips to make the job easier:

  • When you fill a prescription, verify the dose and timing with your pharmacist.
  • Make sure the pharmacy has a record of every medication you’re taking – including over-the-counter drugs and vitamins – and keep a list yourself. Bring the list to every doctor visit.
  • Keep a chart of your daily medication schedule and follow it exactly.
  • Take the exact dosage prescribed. Use a weekly or daily pill organizer to avoid mix-ups.
  • Store medications in their original containers.
  • Dont’ take medication in the dark, or when you’re tired or distracted.
  • Don’t drink alcohol with your medications unless your doctor has told you it’s safe.
  • Lock up medications to keep them from children.
  • Never take medications prescribed for someone else.
  • Dispose of medications that your doctor has told you to stop taking, or that have expired.
  • If no disposal instructions came with the medication, crush and mix it with coffee grounds, cat litter, or food scraps. Seal it in a bag or container, and throw it away with the trash.
  • If you experience negative side effects from your medication talk to your doctor. Don’t simply stop taking it.

Click here for a printable list to help you track your medicines.

Source: American Cancer Society

Q&A: Flu Shots

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Believe it or not, it is that time of year again to start thinking about getting your annual flu shot. We have had many people ask us questions pertaining to the flu vaccine so we thought we would answer the most common questions for you right here. Please let us know if you have any additional questions!

Who should get vaccinated this season?

Everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season. It’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated. Those people include the following:

  • People who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick with the flu
    • This includes
      • People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
      • Pregnant women.
      • People 65 years and older.
  • People who live with or care for others who are high risk of developing serious complications
    • This includes household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.

When should I get vaccinated?CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as soon as 2012-2013 flu season vaccine becomes available in their community. Influenza seasons are unpredictable, and can begin as early as October.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so availability depends on when production is completed. If everything goes as indicated by manufacturers, shipments are likely to begin in August and continue throughout September and October until all vaccine is distributed.

Doctors and nurses are encouraged to begin vaccinating their patients as soon as flu vaccine is available in their areas, even as early as August.

Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?

A flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing. It’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year. The flu vaccine is formulated each year to keep up with the flu viruses as they change.

Also, multiple studies conducted over different seasons and across vaccine types and influenza virus subtypes have shown that the body’s immunity to influenza viruses (acquired either through natural infection or vaccination) declines over time.

Getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against influenza throughout flu season.

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Flu shots are now available at MedSave! Feel free to stop in anytime during business hours.

  • No appointment needed
  • Convenient parking
  • Fast and friendly service
  • Professionals administering flu shots
  • We bill insurance. Ask us if your insurance qualifies.

*Our pharmacists can administer flu shots for ages 18 and up. For children younger than 18, please come to one of our family flu shot days (see below).

Family Flu Shot Days

Every Tuesday in September from 3:00 to 6:00PMBring in the entire family. We will have a nurse on staff who can administer flu shots for anyone ages 6 months and up. 

 

Free Hearing Screenings at MedSave

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Don’t miss out on the daily sounds of life. Your hearing healthcare is important to us. Get a free screening!

Dr. Heather Zimmel from Advantage Audiology will be offering FREE hearing screenings at MedSave the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month (with exceptions to holidays). The screening takes approximately 15 minutes.

If you would like to make an appointment for a free hearing screening at MedSave, please call Advantage Audiology at
333 – 8833.

Upcoming Screening Dates
Mon. Aug. 20th
Thurs. Sept. 6th (We will be closed Monday, Sept. 3rd for Labor Day)
Mon. Sept. 17th
Mon. Oct. 1st
Mon. Oct. 15th

MedSave introduces Free Vitamin Program for Kids

Friday, July 27th, 2012

We are fulfilling our mission to give back to the community with a free vitamin program for children. A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics described vitamin deficiency as a problem with children, especially with Vitamin D. As a result of that study, as well as desire to provide service to the community, we have established a Healthy Kids Free Vitamin Program. Under the program, children 4 to 12 years of age are eligible to receive a free 30-day supply of chewable multivitamins for one full year. The only requirement is that the parent fills out a program registration form. Registration forms are available at MedSave pharmacy or you can click on the Free Kids Vitamin Program link on our website and click on the registration form on the bottom of the page.  “It’s a good program. It doesn’t cost anything and you do not have to be a customer of MedSave Pharmacy. In these times of financial hardship for many families, a child’s health needs should not have to be sacrificed,” says owner Richard Chernugal.

Chernugal said the pharmacy would like to continue the program beyond its trial year. “We want to see how it works for this year. If it works out and is a great success, we hope to continue it forever and expand it out to different age ranges,” he said, adding that MedSave hopes the community will take advantage of this program.

“We’re a community pharmacy. We’ve started that way and want to remain that way,” Chernugal said. “We have all the bells and whistles of the large chain pharmacies, but we still are here for the main purpose of serving our community with solid customer service and education.”

For more information on the kids vitamin program, feel free to call Aimee at MedSave at (218) 759-1222.

Stop Dieting and Start Living!

Friday, June 29th, 2012

You’ve heard it so many times that you probably say it in your sleep. “Diets don’t work; if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to make a lifestyle change.”

But what does a lifestyle change look or feel like, and how do you know when you’ve made one? The way some people talk about it, you’d think there’s some sort of mystical wisdom you get when you “make the change” that tells you when and what to eat, and how to stop worrying about the number on the scale. Does this mean you’ll finally stop craving chocolate and start liking tofu?

The basic difference between a diet mentality and a lifestyle mentality is simply a matter of perspective. Having the right perspective may not make tofu taste better than chocolate, but it can make all the difference in the world when it comes to achieving your goals, avoiding unnecessary suffering along the way, and hanging onto your achievements over the long haul.

Here are the main ways a diet differs from a lifestyle:

  1. A diet is all about numbers—the number on the scale and the number of calories you eat and burn. Success is defined in terms of how well you stick to your numbers.

    A lifestyle change is all about you. It’s about lining up your eating and physical activity with your real goals and desires. Success is defined in terms of how these changes make you feel about yourself.
     

  2. The diet mentality assumes that reaching a certain weight is the key to finding happiness and solving other problems. That’s why messing up the numbers on any given day can be so upsetting—it means you’ve messed up on just about everything that really matters.

    The lifestyle approach assumes that being overweight is usually the result of other problems, not the cause. Addressing these problems directly is the best way to solve both the problems themselves and your weight issues. This means focusing on many things, not just the numbers on the scale or the Nutrition Tracker. Numbers only tell a small part of the story, and “bad” numbers often provide good clues into areas that need attention.
     

  3. Going on a diet involves an external and temporary change in eating technique. You start counting and measuring, and you stop eating some foods and substitute others, based on the rules of whatever diet plan you are using. Maybe you throw in some exercise to burn a few extra calories. You assume that it’s the technique that produces the results, not you. The results of a diet are external; if you’re lucky, you may change on the outside—but not on the inside. Once you reach your goal weight, you don’t need the technique anymore, and things gradually go back to “normal.” So does your weight—and then some. And, of course, all the problems you hoped the weight loss would solve are still there.

    Making a lifestyle change involves an internal and permanent change in your relationship with food, eating, and physical activity. You recognize that the primary problem isn’t what you eat, or even how much you eat, but how and why you eat. Eating mindlessly and impulsively (without intention or awareness) and/or using food to manage your emotions and distract yourself from unpleasant thoughts—this is what really needs to change. Learning to take good care of yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually—so that you don’t want to use eating to solve problems it really can’t—is a lifelong learning process that is constantly changing as your needs and circumstances change.

This doesn’t mean the surface level things don’t matter. Clearly, controlling how much and what you eat is vital, and caring how you look is a great motivator. The real issue here is where you fit into the picture. The key to both permanent weight loss and feeling satisfied and happy with yourself and your life is to take personal responsibility for what you can control, and let go of everything else.

Many factors that are out of your control—your genes, age, medical status and previous weight history— will affect your weight and appearance. These factors may determine how much weight you can lose, how quickly you’ll lose it, and how you’ll look and feel when you’ve gone as far as you can go. When you focus too narrowly on the numbers on the scale or what you see in the mirror, you are staking your happiness and satisfaction on things you really can’t control. That pretty much guarantees that you’ll be chronically worried, stressed, and uncomfortable—and more likely than ever to have problems with emotional eating.

And when you rely too much on external (diet) tools, techniques, and rules to determine your behavior, you are turning over your personal responsibility to the tools and techniques. If you find yourself frequently losing motivation or feeling powerless to control your own behavior, it’s probably because you’re counting on the tools to do your part of the work for you. You’re the only one who can decide what’s right for you; only you can change your attitude and perspective to match your personal reality.

In fact, one of the best ways you can start the transition from a diet to a lifestyle is by taking on the responsibility to identify the problems you need to work on and gather the info you need. Whether it’s coming to terms with emotional eating, improving your body image, or finding a vision of the life you want to live—you’ll find that you aren’t alone and that plenty of support and help is available.

You just need to take that first step away from the diet mentality and closer to a new and improved life(style).

Source: www.sparkpeople.com

Ask the Expert: Swimmer’s Itch

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Q. How can I prevent Swimmer’s Itch?

A. Buy Swimmer’s Itch Guard.  It is a very water resistant cream that contains 30 SPF zinc oxide sunscreen and natural plant oils that prevent the parasite from penetrating the skin. Applied properly and before entering the water, Swimmer’s Itch Guard is 100% effective in preventing swimmer’s itch. This product can be purchased at our pharmacy.Here are some other tips to help prevent swimmers itch:

  • Swim away from the shore, if possible. Shallow water is more likely to contain the parasites that cause swimmer’s itch.
  • Shower as soon as possible after swimming and rub your skin with a towel to dry thoroughly.
  • Wash your swimsuit after every swim. Have more than one suit available so you have one to wear while the other is in the wash.
  • Avoid water populated by snails, which serve as the intermediate host for the larvae that cause swimmer’s itch.
  • Don’t feed waterfowl while you’re swimming, which encourages them to stay in the area.

Richard Chernugal RPh

5 Calming Foods to Help Seniors Overcome Sleep Difficulties

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Many seniors complain of difficulty sleeping, listing a variety of reasons, and look for solutions to help them find the restful sleep they seek. 

This is not a new problem, of course.

A National Institute of Aging study several years ago found that over 50 percent of men and women aged 65 and older complain of at least one chronic sleep issue.

The inability to sleep is more than just a threat to comfort but is a health issue for seniors. Sleep deprivation can impair their memory and cognition. As serious as these are, many seniors are inviting other risks in their attempt to get more sleep.

We would like to share some natural dietary solutions that you or your senior loved ones can try to help find relief. We hope they bring many hours of good sleep!

5 Calming Foods to Help Your Senior Loved One Sleep

  1. Tart Cherries and Cherry Juice – they contain not only antioxidants but also melatonin, which has been shown to aid the sleep/wake cycle. Seniors who were studied were given 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day with positive results.
  2. Bread - foods containing carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes, pasta, corn and brown rice, assist tryptophan and aid your senior’s sleep response.
  3. Turkey - contains tryptophan, which enhances the function of the hormone serotonin, which in turn aids relaxation and sleep.
  4. Chamomile Tea - this non-caffeinated herbal tea gives a calming effect, according to research.
  5. Fortified Cereal - vitamin fortified cereal provides additional nutrients, which may be lacking in many seniors’ diets, including B6. B6 helps the body produce serotonin, which helps give a more sound sleep. Other good sources of vitamin B6 are tomato products, bananas, rice and turkey.

While it might help your senior to add some of these foods to promote sleep, other foods may be robbing them of much needed rest.

Foods to Avoid for Better Sleep

  1. Fatty Meals
  2. Caffeine
  3. Alcohol
  4. Spicy Foods

Adding a few of the “calming” foods everyday and staying away from those on the “avoid” list may help your senior loved one find a more restful sleep which will pay off benefits in their health. The senior’s loved ones might find some benefit from this tip as well!

Source: http://seniorcarecorner.com/calming-foods-help-seniors-overcome-sleep-difficulties

Ask the Expert: Diabetic Screenings

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Q. As a diabetic, what tests and vaccinations should I have on a regular basis?

A. The newest recommendations include:

  1. Blood pressure check at each opportunity 
  2. Hemoglobin  AIC every six months
  3. Cholesterol and blood lipids once a year
  4. Flu shot (once a year)
  5. Microalbumin  (at least once a year)
  6. Foot Exam every time you see your health practitioner.  To include sensory testing with monofilament. Diabetic shoes are available at our pharmacy and are 80% paid for by Medicare and most insurances on prescription.  The pharmacy will handle the process.
  7. Injections site exam every time you see your health practitioner.
  8. Pneumonia shot- At diagnosis, repeated at age 65 and as suggested by your practitioner. Pick up a prescription from your practitioner at your next visit and bring it to them.

MedSave Family Pharmacy can provide many of these services to you at a reduced cost or for free. Ask us!

It may also be practical for you to reduce the number of blood glucose tests done each day and save money by grouping your tests and doing them less often.  Ask your practitioner or your pharmacist. Get prior approval from your practitioner before making a change in your test frequency and process.

Find a pharmacy that specializes in diabetic care and has a “”Medicare Approved”  diabetic education program.

- Richard Chernugal RPh

Ask the Expert: Cholesterol Medication

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Q. I take care of my aging mother who is in her 80’s, is cholesterol medication still beneficial? 

A. This can be a difficult question for many families especially if a person is taking multiple medications and if the given cholesterol medication is causing side effects.   However cholesterol is still a very important risk factor for heart disease in all people no matter the age.  Statins are a commonly prescribed class of cholesterol medications that are usually prescribed to help lower bad cholesterol.  Experts recommend continuing using these medications in elderly people unless the person is not likely to live a year, and it is important to keep in mind that a person who reaches the age of 80 will live an average of 8 more years.  Statins however are known to cause some side effects, with the most common side effect of muscle pain and weakness.  If this is causing a problem talk to the doctor or pharmacist as they may be able to suggest a different statin medicine that is less likely to cause problems.   In addition some people with muscle pain due to statins have been helped by taking CoQ10 (an OTC supplement), and having their vitamin D level checked.

Erin Folland Pharm-D