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Archive for January, 2021

January is Mental Wellness Month. By Our Student Pharmacist, Adam Storc.


As we approach the end of January, I would like to acknowledge January as Mental Wellness Month and spend this post discussing resources for ensuring your mental wellness.

About one in every five people struggle with mental health issues every year and 2020 was especially stressful for many of us, so the beginning of the new year is a great time to reset and pursue help where needed.

As a pharmacy intern, you may expect me to give a medication-based solution to mental health troubles, but the answer is actually a bit more complicated than that. Medications, such as antidepressants and antianxiety drugs, are not considered the first line treatment for mental health issues, at least not by themselves. These medications can be very effective as an add-on to therapy and counseling which are the first line recommendations for most mental health conditions.

Aside from the time-commitment and awkward conversations, counseling has far fewer side effects and the data shows it as being the most effective option and can be customised to suit your needs. In comparison, antidepressant medications can take a few weeks to start working (like the counseling), but carry the potential for plenty of side effects, including nausea and reduced interest/desire. Medications can also take weeks to discontinue. That’s not to say they do not have a place in therapy, because they do, but rather that one should at least attempt counseling before trying medication and, if medication is needed, to continue counseling with medication for the best results.

Below are the resources that the Ohio State Government recommends to Madison County residents, though ohiocares.ohio.gov can be used to find local resources for wherever you live (in Ohio).

There are also national hotlines available such as 1-800-662-4357.

madison mh 

Life After the Vaccine. By Our Student Pharmacist, Sam Berens.


As more people receive their COVID-19 vaccine, everyone is beginning to ask when their lives can get back to normal.

You might assume that you no longer need to wear a mask if have received the vaccine, but there is actually not enough information available for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others.

The goal is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, so experts need to completely understand the protection that the COVID-19 vaccine provides to others in real-world conditions before a decision is made on wearing masks and social distancing.

The CDC plans to continuously update what they know about the vaccine as they continue learning.

One of the most important factors necessary for life getting back to normal is how many people are getting vaccinated.  While it has been difficult for many of us during these times, we all can make a difference in getting our normal lives back by encouraging others to get the vaccine. There are a lot of people that will not be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine for a variety of reasons, so those that are able to get the vaccine should try to get their vaccine to protect those who cannot.

As we continue to vaccinate everyone, I think it is important to remember all the ways that we can help slow the spread of the virus.

It is possible to spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick, so following these recommendations can protect you and everyone around you:

  • Continue to wear a mask over your nose and mouth to protect yourself and others.
    • Remember that some people are not able to wear a mask due to medical issues, so you are also protecting them by wearing a mask correctly.
  • Try to stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds.
    • Continue minimizing your social interactions to the best of your ability.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds to help prevent the spread of the virus, especially if you have been or are in a public place.
  • Clean and disinfect anything that may be dirty on a daily basis.
    • When disinfecting surfaces, be sure to use a product that is known to kill the virus.
  • Monitor your health daily by checking for symptoms and taking your temperature.
    • Try to stay ahead of the virus by being alert to protect yourself and others.

While the end of the pandemic is finally in sight, we still have a lot to do to get back to our normal lives. It is estimated that 70-80% of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve indirect protection from COVID-19. We are far from this goal at this time, but we can get there if we work together.

References: CDC.gov/coronavirus


Mythbusters: COVID-19 Vaccine Addition. By Our Student Pharmacist, Adam Storc.

As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine ramps up to include more and more people, there have been a number of people concerned about receiving the vaccine due to potential side effects or allergic reactions. In the post below, I will explain the side effects that you can expect from the vaccine and demystify the possible severe side effect of anaphylaxis.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick or give me COVID?

  • All of the currently approved COVID 19 vaccines being given do not contain any live virus and, as a result, cannot infect you with the COVID-19 virus. The approved vaccines are mRNA vaccines which introduce an inactive piece of the virus to your immune system so that your body learns to recognize it and can fight off the real virus in the future. You may develop flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine, such as soreness or headaches, but this is due to your immune system building antibodies to fight the vaccine (not because you are sick) and should pass after a few days at most.

After you receive your vaccines, you will not test positive for current infection if you get a COVID-19 test, but you may test positive for the COVID antibodies due your body having built up defenses against future exposure to the virus. This controlled introduction of the inactive virus piece into your system allows you to build up the resistance to COVID-19 without requiring you to get infected in the first place. As a bonus, if the vaccine prevents you from contracting COVID-19, then you cannot spread the virus to other people since it isn’t present in your system (though it is essential that you get both doses of the vaccine for maximum efficacy).

I heard that you could have an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine and can even die from it. Is it worth the risk?

Yes. The vaccine does have the possibility to cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to ingredients contained in the vaccine or who have had allergic reactions to vaccines in the past. HOWEVER, this is also the case for any other vaccine you may receive such as the flu vaccine or the shingles vaccine. To prepare for this, the medical provider giving you the vaccine will ask you many questions about your potential for a reaction and, if they think you may be at risk, will watch you closely after the injection and get you to the hospital if necessary.

How common are anaphylactic (severe allergic reactions) with the COVID vaccines? Below is a picture of the current number of anaphylactic reactions for the state of Ohio for a few different vaccines from the Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System. These numbers are for every 50 vaccines given, so 2/50 COVID vaccines have had reported anaphylactic reactions whereas the pneumonia vaccine has the same 2/50 ratio and certain flu vaccines have had as many as 14/50 anaphylactic reactions. All in all, your risk of an anaphylactic reaction is very low and medical personal will be on-site in case of an emergency.

COVID reaction numbers




January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. By Our Student Pharmacist, Adam Storc.

glaucoma vision

With hindsight being 2020 (especially in 2021), January marks the beginning of National Glaucoma Awareness Month so we here at Plain City Druggist thought that it might be helpful to discuss just what glaucoma is and how to watch out for early signs that you might be developing it.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the slow loss of vision caused by damage to the optic nerve situated at the back of your eye. More specifically, open-angle glaucoma is the most common type in the United States and is most often caused by increased eye pressure damaging your optic nerve. Currently, glaucoma is not curable, but early treatment with medication and/or surgery can help prevent further damage and loss of sight.

Glaucoma Signs and Symptoms:

  • Loss of peripheral (or side) vision, most often the area closest to your nose or the outer edges of your vision
  • Untreated glaucoma can lead to blindness

Who is Most at Risk?

  • Patients over the age of 60
  • African American or Hispanic patients over the age of 40
  • Patients with a family history of glaucoma

Prevention and Treatment:

Because glaucoma is a disease that gets worse over time and the damage done to your sight is irreversible, prevention and early treatment are the key to stopping the damage from glaucoma before it causes sight loss or blindness because once the damage is done, it cannot be undone.

Glaucoma can be difficult to notice for many patients because it happens slowly and starts at the edges of the vision, so it is important to have regular eye exams which can detect early glaucoma and help treat it before more permanent damage is done.

If an eye doctor detects glaucoma, usually through a dilated eye exam, there are a few different treatment options to protect your eyes. These include:

  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe daily eye drops, such as latanoprost and/or timolol, to lower the pressure in your eye or reduce the fluid build-up. These medications may not make you feel any differently, but are important to take regularly since they will prevent future damage to your eyes.
  • Laser therapy: You may also qualify for a quick and simple laser treatment to help drain the fluid from your eyes. The treatment can be done on one or both eyes while at the eye doctor’s office and most patients recover on the same day as the procedure. It may take 4-6 weeks to work, however, and does not work for everyone, so consult your eye doctor to see if laser therapy is an option for you.
  • Surgery: Your doctor may recommend traditional surgery if medications or lasers fail to reduce the pressure in your eye(s). This option is least common and has the longest recovery time.

In conclusion, make 2021 a healthier year by getting a routine eye exam and maybe you can avoid adding eye drops to your list of medications in the new year.


The DASH Diet. By Our Student Pharmacist, Sam Berens.

We are now about two weeks into the new year and many of us are looking for a good New Year’s resolution to start the year off right.  After this crazy year, I think a lot of adults are looking to get back to a healthier lifestyle.  With around half of the adult population struggling with hypertension, this blog post could apply to a large portion of the community.

This post is designed to help provide tips for health benefits to your heart and overall wellbeing, while also giving you the opportunity to lose some weight.

It has been proven through research that by following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, high blood pressure can be prevented and lowered, which has numerous health benefits.  This eating plan considers your age, gender, and activity levels to give you a daily calorie goal.  The DASH diet does not require any special foods or hard-to-follow recipes, which makes it easy to follow.

To find out the calories you should have each day, we need to determine your activity level.

Identify your physical activity level:

  • Sedentary – typically light physical activity that is a part of your day-to-day routine
  • Moderately active – physical activity equal to walking about 1 to 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 mph, plus light physical activity
  • Active – physical activity equal to walking more than 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 mph, plus light physical activity


The calorie level that you fall into will help tell you how many servings of each food group to eat each day.  Choose the calorie goal that most closely matches your recommended daily calories on the DASH eating plan included here to see what is recommended that you eat each day.

One of the most important criteria for the DASH diet is limiting the daily sodium intake to 2,300 (about 1 teaspoon), which can be difficult due to all the processed foods that we are regularly provided.  To help reach this, aim for foods that contain 5% or less of the recommended daily value of sodium and try to avoid canned and frozen foods, which contain higher amounts of sodium.


It can be difficult to change up your entire diet, so here are a few recommended suggestions to help you start the DASH diet:

  • Begin adding a serving of vegetables at lunch or dinner one day and add in fruit as a snack or during a meal.
  • Start buying only fat-free or low-fat milk products.
  • Include at least two vegetarian meals each week.
  • Limit lean meats to 6 ounces a day.
  • Begin increasing daily servings of vegetables, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and cooked dry beans.
  • Eat fruits or foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugar and calories for snacks and desserts.
  • Use fresh, frozen or low sodium canned vegetables and fruits.

The DASH diet can help you prevent and control high blood pressure and help you lose weight. Start today and live a healthier life!

Reference: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/dash_brief.pdf