Archive for June, 2014
Leaves of Three, Let Them Be: Tips for Preventing and Treating Poison Ivy. By Our June Student Pharmacist, Megan Chaney, Who Suddenly Feels Itchy!
Have you ever wondered: Can I get poison ivy? Not everyone is actually allergic to poison ivy, but up to 85% of Americans are. If you are allergic to poison ivy, there is a good chance you are also allergic to poison oak and poison sumac. All three plants contain the same oil called urushiol (pronounced yoo-ROO-shee-all) which causes you to itch and develop a rash.
There are a few ways you can get poison ivy, such as:
- Direct contact with the plant.
- Indirect contact when you touch pets, gardening tools, sports equipment, or other objects that had direct contact with the plant.
- Airborne contact from burning these plants, which releases urushiol into the air causing the chemical to come in contact with the skin, lungs, or eyes.
After you have come in contact with the oil from the plant, the itchy, blistering rash often does not start until 12 to 72 hours later. The rash itself is not contagious, only the oil from the plant. It might seem to spread, but this is simply a delayed reaction. Scratching the rash doesn’t cause it to spread either, but can cause the skin to take longer to heal and cause additional problems–for example, an infection.
Common symptoms of poison ivy, oak, or sumac include:
- Red streaks or patches
- Blisters that may leak fluid and later crust over
Within a week or two most people see the rash begin to clear up. Here are some suggestions to help prevent the spread of the rash, as well as treatment options to help you feel more comfortable until the rash goes away:
- Immediately rinse your skin with lukewarm, soapy water. Rinsing your skin ensures that you get the oil off of your skin and prevents it from spreading to other areas on your body or even other people.
- Wash everything that may have the oil on its surface, including things such as gardening tools or pets, to prevent it from spreading.
- Wash your clothing as soon as possible. The oil can stick to clothing and potentially cause the rash to come in contact with your skin.
- Leave blisters alone. If blisters open, do not remove the overlying skin, as the skin can protect the raw wound underneath and prevent infection.
- Take colloidal oatmeal baths to help soothe itching. You can also draw a bath and add one cup of baking soda to the running water for the same results.
- Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to skin that itches.
- Use cool compresses to itchy skin. You can make a cool compress by wetting a clean washcloth with cold water and wringing it out so that it does not drip.
- Consider taking antihistamine pills such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin or Allegra. These pills can help lessen itching. Do not apply an antihistamine to your skin because this could potentially make the rash worse.
If you have a serious reaction, you need to see a doctor right away. Signs of serious reaction include:
- Trouble breathing or swallowing.
- The rash covers most of your body.
- Extreme swelling, especially your eyelids.
- The rash is on your face or genitals.
- Much of your skin itches or nothing seems to ease the itch.
Stay clear of poison ivy and enjoy your summer!
Beat the Summer Heat! By Our “Keeping Cool in the Air Conditioned Pharmacy” Student Pharmacist, Katy Schafer.
Most of us are glad to finally see the temperature rising! The first official day of summer was Saturday, June 21, but the heat arrived well before summer did!
Summer sun is lots of fun, but the heat can also be dangerous. Here are some quick facts about warm weather and ways to beat the heat and stay safe in the upcoming extreme temperatures.
What is a heat index?
The heat index is a number in degrees Fahrenheit that tells you how hot it actually feels outside once humidity is added to the air temperature. For example, when the air temperature is 85 degrees, it might actually feel more like 90 or 95 degrees depending on how humid it is outside. The humidity can make a huge difference in how much you sweat and how you feel!
The heat index was designed to work in shady, light wind conditions, so exposure to full sun can increase the heat index by up to 15 degrees!
Heat can cause a variety of different problems. They can be broken down into four general categories:
- Sunburn – Skin redness and possible swelling.
- Heat Cramps – Painful spasms in the leg and abdominal muscles along with heavy sweating.
- Heat Exhaustion – Heavy sweating, weakness, cold and clammy skin, and sometimes vomiting.
- Heat Stroke – High body temperatures, usually above 106 degrees. The skin will be hot and dry and your heart will beat very fast. Some people will pass out.
Heat Stroke is a severe medical emergency! If you or someone you know is experiencing a heat stroke, call 911 or emergency medical services immediately. Get the person to a cooler place and remove clothing if you can. Do not give them water! If they are unconscious, they won’t be able to swallow and it could cause them to choke.
Preventing heat disorders is all about planning ahead. Here are some tips to prevent heat disorders and dehydration:
- Avoid the heat. If you know it’s going to be too hot outside, stay indoors as much as possible. Try to spend time in an air conditioned space if you can. Just two hours a day in air conditioning can greatly reduce the risk of heat disorders. If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, malls or other public places would be a good option to spend time when it is very hot.
- Dress for the heat. Wear loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Lightweight, light-colored clothes reflect heat and sunlight, which will help you stay cool. Try to avoid sunburns as they prevent your skin from cooling itself.
- Drink for the heat. Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. However, if you have heart or kidney disease and are on a fluid-restricted diet, talk to your doctor before you increase your fluid intake.
- Don’t drink in the heat. Avoid alcohol and caffeine–both of these constrict blood vessels in the skin and keep your body from releasing heat. They can also cause dehydration.
- Living in the heat. Reschedule strenuous activities like running, biking, or yard work when it heats up. The best times for these are early morning or late evening hours. Cool baths and showers can also help. Do not leave children or pets in closed vehicles! Temperatures in a car can reach 140-190 degrees in as little as 20 minutes.
If you have any questions about heat disorders or other tips on prevention, stop in or give us a call! Have a great summer!
With the Fourth of July fast approaching, I want to remind people that their pets don’t enjoy fireworks and loud festivities as much as we humans do (actually, I don’t really like that sort of thing much, either).
When Joe and I have been up to Pastime Park in Plain City for the fireworks and the parade, I’ve noticed a lot of people who bring their dogs along–some of them not even on leashes. All it takes is that first firework exploding in the air to spook even a very laid back dog. And when that happens, often the animal’s first instinct is to bolt.
I can’t imagine how much scarier things must be for dogs at the giant fireworks extravaganza “Red, White, and Boom!” in downtown Columbus! Our Plain City festivities are minuscule by comparison!
Even dogs in their own homes can become frightened and leap fences, break through windows in a panic, or hurt themselves trying to escape the noises of public fireworks displays or even just back yard fire crackers.
So rather than bringing your dogs to fireworks events this year, please leave them at home out of the heat in a safe, quiet spot (crate, bedroom, etc.) where they will not get scared and end up as one more missing pet.
Besides confining your dog to a “happy” place to reduce their fears, there is a product that helps relieve stress in dogs (and cats with anxiety) that are afraid of thunderstorms and other loud noises (which would be perfect for fireworks). The Thundershirt for dogs (and cats!) wraps the dog tightly and applies a gentle pressure to the body. The constant pressure of the shirt causes the brain to release chemicals that have a calming effect. The Thundershirt can be used for anxiety from loud noises, owner separation, travel, or other stressful events. It can currently be purchased at PetPeople (all locations), Moochies (all locations), and Mutts & Co. at 7549 Sawmill Road. Buy one now in preparation for the Fourth holiday.
Humane societies always have an increase in the number of lost pets coming into the shelter and being reported missing directly after Fourth of July celebrations. In fact, sadly, it is one of the busiest times for missing pets.
If you do decide to take your dog with you to the park, please make sure they are either microchipped or have a collar that fits well with identification tags attached. If your dog does get away, it will be much easier to relocate them if they have some way to be identified. If you cannot find them and the shelter doesn’t know who the dog belongs to, you may never see your beloved canine again.
Because the 4th of July holiday is the worst day for losing pets, especially dogs, and because microchips help to get pets safely home, a new program, Safe Pets Ohio, sponsored by SAVE Ohio Pets and several other local rescue groups, will offer FREE microchipping of pets this coming Saturday, June 28.
The microchip clinic will be held at the Hilltop Bean Dinner in Westgate Park, 455 South Westgate Avenue, in Columbus from 10 am to 5 pm.
Along with a FREE Microchip and registration for your pet, you will also get a FREE bag of Lay’s Chips and a FREE Dirty Franks coupon with the microchip!
Safe Pets Ohio is also being sponsored by Peace for Paws Ohio, PetPromise, PAWS (Powell Animal Welfare Society), Faithful Forgotten Best Friends, Columbus Dog Connection, BarkPark, and Pets without Parents.
Cats are also affected by the noises. Happily, most people don’t bring their cats to see the fireworks, but, even at home, the noises can cause them fear. My sister lives on Main Street here in Plain City and the fireworks are so loud and so close that the vibrations shake her house and panic her cats. She closes up her windows, pulls the blinds, and plays soft music and runs a fan to help relieve the anxiety caused by the rattling fireworks.
For more information on making Independence Day a happy affair for you and your furry babies, check out the links below. And please take your pet to be microchipped this Saturday for FREE!
Click on either of the posters to enlarge them.
Read the ASPCA’s tips HERE.
Read a great article from the Vet Depot HERE.
Read tips from the American Kennel Club HERE.
And from the Humane Society of the United States HERE.
For helpful tips on how to find a lost or stolen pet in Franklin County, please click on the poster below to enlarge it. If you have lost a pet in Union or Madison Counties, please call their shelters to check on your pet.
Union County Humane Society: 937-642-6716
Humane Society of Madison County: 614-879-8368
Colleen Koesters has always loved art. After obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design, she worked in advertising and marketing for over twelve years before deciding to start her own business, C Side Creative, in 2012. Colleen is proud to announce that C Side Creative is celebrating two years in business this June.
What kinds of things does C Side Creative offer? How can Colleen help you and your business? Here are just a few things that C Side Creative does:
1. Brand Development
2. Print Design of anything you might need, including brochures, calendars, invitations, and more!
3. Promotional items and t-shirts with your designs and logo!
4. Web and digital solutions
5. Copywriting, Photography, and more!
One project that C Side Creative is very proud of is the “Fighting Faces” calendar that Colleen has produced for the past three years for The Columbus Zoo. The calendar pairs children who have overcome or are battling severe illnesses with furry critters from The Columbus Zoo. Check it out HERE.
In celebration of C Side Creative’s two year anniversary, Colleen is providing a special offer to allow existing and new clients to celebrate with her. If you start a new project between June 20-July 20 (the first month of C Side Creative’s third year), you will receive a gift card bonus. If your project is $250-$499, you will receive a $25 gift card; $500-$749, a $50 gift card; $750-$999, a $75 gift card; and for a project that is $1000, a $100 gift card.
Colleen has done several things for us here at the pharmacy and we cannot say enough nice things about her and C Side Creative.
Congratulations, Colleen, on two great years in business.
For more information, please visit C Side Creative’s web site HERE.
You can also call or email Colleen to discuss a new project: 614-874-9250, email@example.com
It’s that time of year again! Allergy season! Mold growth blooms inside and outside with spring rains. Additionally, as flowers, trees, weeds, and grasses blossom, allergies will soon follow.
As we move into summer, warm temperatures and high humidity can continue to cause problems, because summer is the peak time for some types of pollen, smog, and mold. If you’re one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies and suffer from sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and other bothersome symptoms, here are some helpful tips to relieve your most annoying allergy symptoms.
- Know the pollen counts for your area. Check your TV, radio station, local newspaper, or Pollen.com to get an “allergy forecast” for your zip code. Tree pollen counts are high in spring, while grass pollen is highest in summer, and weed pollen in fall.
- Avoid outdoor allergy triggers. Stay indoors between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. when outdoor pollen counts tend to be highest. The best time to go outside is after it rains, because the rain helps to clear pollen from the air.
- Wear an inexpensive painter’s mask when you mow the lawn or when around freshly cut grass.
- Close doors and windows at night or at any other time when pollen counts are high.
- Dry laundry inside instead of on an outside clothesline.
- Shower before going to bed, because pollen can stick to your skin and hair and accumulate in your bedding.
- Wash your bedding every week in hot water to help keep pollen under control.
- Vacuum twice a week.
- Limit the number of throw rugs in your home to reduce dust and mold.
If you are suffering from allergy symptoms and the above suggestions are not providing relief, it may be time to consider non-prescription medications, such as:
- Antihistamines: These type of medications help relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose, and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include: loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra). Other antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), work well, but can cause more drowsiness.
- Nasal sprays: Steroid nasal sprays, such as Nasacort, can reduce allergic inflammation and make it easier to breath. For many decongestant nasal sprays, such as Afrin, be sure to use as directed, because they should only be used for up to three days or they could make your symptoms worse.
- Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) can help to temporarily relieve a stuffy nose.
- Know when to see your doctor. If over-the-counter allergy medications don’t work; if your symptoms are severe; or if you’re prone to secondary infections or worsening of asthma or other respiratory conditions, it may be time to schedule a doctor’s visit.
- Combination medications: Many antihistamines are available in combination with decongestants, including Zyrtec D, Claritin D, and Allegra D in order to provide relief of a variety of allergy symptoms.