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Surviving the Fall Season with Asthma

For many, autumn happens to be the most wonderful time of the year. Especially if you live in an area that takes a beating on the thermostat during the summertime! The weather is cool and there are many festive activities to partake in outside. However, there are some allergy triggers that can bother you if you have asthma. The most common problem is ragweed pollen, which is released into the air from mid-August until early October and can cause congestion, sneezing, and an itchy or a runny nose. Here are some ways you can maintain control of your asthma during this season.

1. Don’t leave your doors and windows open. This will stop pollen from entering your home.

2. Sleep on an asthma-friendly bed. There are mattress brands that make beds safe for those with allergies and asthma. In addition, you will need to wash your sheets weekly in hot water that is at least 130F in order to kill any dust mites and/or eggs that are present.

3. Use your vacuum on a regular basis. It’s best to use one that has a high-efficiency filter and is recommended to clean weekly in order to decrease the number of indoor allergens in your home.

4. Change your furnace’s air filter often. Filters are great for trapping dust and allergens; if there are plenty present, the filter can become full rather quickly. Replace them every 30 to 90 days and make sure you’re using ones that are allergen and asthma friendly.

5. Try to prevent mold growth as much as possible. Keep an eye on the level of moisture in your home by keeping the humidity level below 50%. Also, remove any damp firewood and leaves from your yard.

How To Save On Prescriptions

In today’s world, the price of medication has become quite expensive. In fact, the rising cost of prescription drugs has been one of the main topics in the great debate of US healthcare. Thankfully, there are ways your local pharmacy can help. Here are tips to help you save money while still receiving the treatment you need.

  1. Consider prescriptions without the assistance of insurance. At first this may seem like the more expensive option, but according to a study done by Consumer Reports, many pharmacy chains and “big box” stores sell common generic drugs for less than $5 for a 30-day supply and less than $15 for a 90-day supply for patients who can pay out of pocket. However, your ability to receive this discount depends upon the certain types of medication and the condition for which it is treating. If you choose this method, the money spent will not go towards your deductible. If you’re on Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare, you may not be eligible
  2. Complete a medication review. If you receive different medications from multiple prescribers, there’s a high risk one of those medications is incorrect. This results in poly-pharmacy, which tends to affect elderly patients and patients with multiple co-morbid conditions. Pharmacies should inform patients that the discontinuation of unnecessary meds will also reduce the amount they’re spending on prescriptions. Pharmacies can identify all meds being used through a medication and medical history, and then they can see exactly which meds are helpful in treating the current state of the patient.
  3. Ask about 90-day prescriptions. If you have a chronic condition and will need certain medications for an extended period of time, ask about filling a 90-day prescription rather than the typical 30-day option. With 90-day prescriptions, there is one co-pay whereas 30-day prescriptions have three co-pays for the same amount of meds. You would also only have to make one trip to the pharmacy every three months for a refill.
  4. Get generic rather than brand name meds. In the US, 88% of prescriptions are for generic meds. However, your prescriber isn’t obligated to give you generic. That being said, make sure you ask for generic.
  5. If advised by your pharmacist, safely split your pills. This helps save money, yes, but only do so if you’ve received permission from your pharmacist. Certain pills, such as Mevacor and Crestor (for high cholesterol), and Zoloft (for depression) can be split. However, drugs such as Oxycontin, Prilosec, chemotherapy drugs, and contraceptives should never be split.

Tips on How to Prevent Sunburn

While summer is officially here, it doesn’t mean we have to fall victim to the painful side effect known as sunburn. Here are some tips from The Pharmacy on how you can protect your skin this season.

1. Use sunscreen. Of course, this tip should go without saying. Suggested SPF is between 15-50, depending on your skin tone and sensitivity to sun exposure. Apply 30 minutes before going outdoors and re-apply every two hours, even more so if you’re frequently sweating or in water. Make sure you’ve covered every area of your body that is exposed; this includes your lips and ears.

2. Choose loose-fitting clothing. If you burn easily, wear loose fitting clothing that is tightly woven. This will protect your skin from UV rays. Dark colored clothing is best, as dark colors absorb UV rays.

3. Be cautious of exposure between 12PM-4PM. UV rays can be dangerous during these hours, so make sure you’re covered in a high level of SPF sunscreen should you be outside for an extended period of time during these hours.

4. Protect your eyes and head. Your scalp and eyes can fall victim to sunburn, too! Make sure you’re wearing a hat that shields your head and your shoulders (such as a sun hat), as well as sunglasses.

5. Stay away from tanning oils. While we all love a summer glow, tanning oils can be quite dangerous as most contain little to no sunscreen in them. If you insist on using them, make sure the one you’ve chosen to use has a decent level of SPF within it.

6. Stay on track with your omega-3 consumption. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming fish oils can provide protection against sun damage and improve your immunity towards the sun. According to a study conducted by the journal, four grams of fish oils each day can reduce suppression of the immune system caused by the sun’s rays.

7. Cut back on processed foods. Try to avoid foods with vegetable oil, soy oil, corn oil, and sugar… All of these can negatively impact the quality of your skin.

8. Incorporate antioxidant foods into your diet. These will boost your immune system and can be found in foods such as cherries, blackberries, kale, and spinach. Antioxidants help in the fight against cancer and many of these foods also have vitamin C and vitamin E, which helps reverse the aging effects of prolonged sun exposure.