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Archive for the ‘Plain City Health’ Category

A Short Guide to Everything You Need to Know About the “Flu.” By Our September Student Pharmacist, Chris Santos.

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What is the Influenza virus or “flu”?

The “flu” is a highly contagious virus that infects our respiratory system—nose, throat, and lungs.

A person experiencing an influenza infection may have:

  • fever/chills
  • sore throat
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • headache
  • runny or stuffy nose

These symptoms begin one to four days (average two days) after you are exposed to the virus.

How common is the “flu” virus infection?

  • Each year between October and February, the influenza virus infects approximately 5% to 20% of the United States population.

Who has the highest rate of “flu” infection?

  • Infants and young children have the highest rates of an influenza infection. An influenza infection is the leading cause of office and emergency department visits by infants and young children.

Who has the highest risk for complication, hospitalization, and death?

  • Adults aged 65 and older are at the highest risk for complications, hospitalization, and death.

How can I become infected with the “flu” virus?

  • The influenza virus spreads most commonly to those in close contact with an infected person who is sneezing or coughing. Although less common, the virus can also spread when a person touches an infected surface or object and then touches their mouth, eyes, or nose.

How do I prevent a “flu” virus infection?

  • The most important step you can take to prevent a “flu” infection is to get a flu shot. Even if you get the flu shot, you will experience fewer symptoms if you are infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends frequent hand washes and staying away from those infected as additional prevention strategies. 

How long am I contagious with the “flu” infection?

  • You can spread the “flu” virus one day before experiencing “flu” like symptoms and five to seven days after becoming sick. Younger children and adults with a weaken immune system can spread the virus for a longer period.

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What should I know about flu vaccine?

  • The flu vaccine exposes your body to a dead virus strain to build your immune response.
  • Each year, scientists change the “flu” virus strain in the vaccine to predict the most prevalent virus.
  • The flu vaccine does not contain a live virus and it cannot cause you to experience symptoms of the flu.
  • It takes two weeks for your body to fully develop protection against the flu virus. You can get the flu within these two weeks, as you haven’t developed full protection—the full protection lasts the entire flu season.
  • The vaccine cannot provide protection against a flu virus not covered by the vaccine. Even though the strain may not exactly match, it can still offer you some protection.
  • Thimerosal, a preservative for the “flu” vaccine, does not cause any harm. Flu vaccines without a thimerosal preservative are available.

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Who should not get the flu vaccine?

  • If you have any severe allergic reactions to any components of the flu vaccine, please discuss this with you doctor or pharmacist.
  • If you ever had Guillain-Barre syndrome, please discuss this with your doctor.
  • If you are not feeling well, your pharmacist may ask you to come back another date when you are feeling better to get the vaccine.

What are some reactions to the flu vaccine?

  • Patients are most likely to experience injection site reaction of pain, redness, swelling, and soreness.
  • Other possible side effects include: hoarseness, cough, fever, aches, headache, itching, or fatigue.
  • To help manage local site reactions, apply cold compresses. You can also take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to help.
  • If local site reactions worsen after three days or last longer than seven days, you should see your primary care physician.

These side effects occur immediately after the shot and last about one to two days.








Get a Good Night’s Sleep. By Our September Student Pharmacist, Chris Santos.

Santos_PC Blog #1

Can you remember the last time you had a great night of sleep?

If you can’t, you are not alone.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, from a 2016 study, that more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep. A lack of sleep is associated with increasing your risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and frequent mental distress. Insufficient sleep is linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behaviors.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends sleeping for these hours considering your age:

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Insomnia is a medical condition described as unsatisfactory sleep that impacts daytime functioning AND causes difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep. Insomnia can be caused by medical disorders, medications, work shifts, life stressors, anxiety, and poor sleeping habits.

Before considering over-the-counter (OTC) medications to help improve your sleep insomnia, we recommend improving sleeping habits and sleep hygiene first.

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 Improve sleep hygiene:

  • Keep a routine of sleep/wake times.
  • Create a good sleep environment (cool, dark, quiet bedroom with good bedding and, sadly, no pets–which is very hard for some people to limit their pets’ access to the bed).
  • Stop caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the evening.
  • Exercise within 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  • Adjust eating and drinking times. 

Sleep habits:

  • We recommend leaving the bedroom to engage in quiet activities and returning when sleepy. If you cannot to fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of going to bed, get back up and don’t force yourself to try to fall asleep.
  • It is a good idea to avoid electronic device usage one hour before your planned bedtime and limit the bedroom for sleep only.

Over-the-counter options for treating insomnia include diphendydramine, doxylamine, and melatonin.


  • Indicated: for individuals 12 years and older (unless directed by your physician).
  • Offers relief of occasional sleeplessness.
  • Dosing: 50 mg of capsule, tablet, or liquid form once daily before bed.
  • Side effects: dry mouth, nose, eyes, as well as blurry vision, urinary hesitancy, and constipation.
  • Not recommend: Age >65, see your primary care physician.

We recommend diphenhydramine to be limited to no more than a 10-day use (unless directed by your primary care physician). Try diphenhydramine for 2-3 days, than take one night “off” to see if the symptoms have resolved.


  • Indicated: for individuals 12 years and older (unless directed by your physician).
  • Offers relief of occasional sleeplessness.
  • Dosing: 25mg once daily 30 minutes before bed.
  • Side effects: dry mouth, nose, eyes, as well as blurry vision, urinary hesitancy, and constipation.
  • Not recommended: Age>65, see your primary care physician.

We recommend doxylamine to be limited to no more than a 10-day use (unless directed by your primary care physician). Try doxylamine for 2-3 days, than take one night “off” to see if the symptoms resolved. 

Use caution with combination products labeled “PM,” as these most likely contain diphenhydramine or doxylamine.


  • Indicated: for individuals 12 years and older (unless directed by your physician).
  • Offers relief of occasional sleeplessness.
  • Dosing: 3-5 mg given 3 to 4 hours before bedtime.
  • Side effects: fatigue, dizziness, headache, irritability.

Melatonin is also approved for jet lag—a sleeping disorder caused by traveling between multiple time zones quickly.

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Skip over-the-counter self-treatment options and see a primary care physician if you are experiencing:

  • Chronic insomnia (defined as greater than three weeks).
  • Frequent nocturnal awakenings.
  • Insomnia due to psychiatric or medical disorders.
  • No improvement or continued symptoms after ten days of self-care.






image: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cant-sleep-cognitive-behavior-therapy-may-help-insomnia/

image: https://www.helpguide.org/home-pages/sleep.htm

image: https://www.helpguide.org/home-pages/sleep.htm

Support Your Bones, Support Yourself. By Our July Student Pharmacist, Kevin Wenceslao.


Our bones are responsible for many functions. They are the framework for our bodies, providing support. They protect our organs, allow us to move, and even produce red and white blood cells which help provide our bodies with oxygen and the ability to fight off infections.

Unfortunately, over time or without proper care, our bones can weaken, which can lead to a disease called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis occurs when the body loses too much bone and becomes frail, which can lead to painful breaks or fractures. Fortunately, there are ways to take care of your bones to prevent this condition and also ways to manage your life if you have weak bones.

Osteoporosis is a common type of bone disease. Our body maintains a balance between breaking down old bone and making new bone. If this balance is disrupted, and we lose too much bone, this leads to osteoporosis. Unfortunately, as we age, our bones sometimes break down more than we can create, which leads to a natural loss of bone as we get older. If we do not take proper steps to maintain our bones, we can become more susceptible to developing osteoporosis.

A bone density test conducted by your doctor can help diagnose osteoporosis and determine how severe it may be. In some cases, the doctor may order specific bone medicine in order to help the bones.

How do you know if you are at risk for osteoporosis? Well, there are two types of risk factors: controllable and uncontrollable. As mentioned above, getting older increases our chances of getting this disease. Other uncontrollable factors include:

  • Gender: Women are at higher risk than men due to smaller bones and hormone changes during menopause.
  • Ethnicity: White and Asian women are at greater risk than other races.
  • Family history: People with family members who also have osteoporosis or a history of fractures can be at risk.

If you fall into those categories above, it is especially important to take extra care to maintain your bones. The risk factors that every person can control are listed below:

  • Diet: Low calcium or Vitamin D supplementation from your diet contributes to greater risks.
  • Physical activity: Getting too little exercise or having an inactive lifestyle also increases your risk factors.
  • Alcohol: Drinking can increase your risk of developing bone disease, as well as falling and breaking your bones.
  • Body Weight: Being underweight can lead to frailty.
  • Smoking: Cigarettes can cause early menopause and prevent your body from utilizing calcium properly which leads to earlier development of bone disease.
  • Medications: Some medications can cause bone loss such as glucocorticoids, cancer treatment medicines, and seizure treatment. It is important to discuss the risk/benefit of your medications with your doctor if you are concerned.

Diet is a key factor in keeping your bones healthy. It is important to have your calcium and Vitamin D levels regularly checked at your doctor’s visits.

Many foods can be good sources of calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium is an important mineral that is necessary for your bones and teeth. Calcium can be found in most dairy products.

Vitamin D is found in small amounts in food, but most of it is provided by getting enough sunlight.

Listed below are the different foods to look for if you need more calcium and Vitamin D in your diet:


If diet is not enough or not an option, your doctor may recommend getting over-the-counter Vitamin D and calcium supplements. At Plain City Druggist, we offer a wide variety of supplements in different strengths to meet your daily needs. These supplements can come in a multiple forms ranging from traditional tablets to chewable gummies and liquids. Ask your pharmacist for more information next time you come visit.

Daily intake of Vitamin D and calcium can vary depending on your age, current health condition, or diet. It is possible to get too much calcium and Vitamin D, so it is important to consult your doctor to determine your individual needs.

The chart shown below represents recommended daily intake and maximum intake for an average person.


By adjusting your daily lifestyle, you can reduce your risks of developing bone disease. Even if you already live with osteoporosis, taking these steps can help prevent it from getting worse and ultimately prevent falls and fractures.

Sharing this information is a great first step in helping yourself and those you care about.

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Bone Health For Life. (2014, July). National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Retrieved July 28, 2017, from https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/bone_health_for_life.asp#2
Learn What Osteoporosis Is and What It’s Caused by. National Osteoporosis
Foundation. Retrieved July 28, 2017, from https://www.nof.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/

Stay Cool and Stay Hydrated. By Our July Student Pharmacist, Kevin Wenceslao.


As longtime Columbus meteorologist Marshall McPeek would say, this summer has been “hazy, hot, and humid.”

This past week alone, the average temperature was 84℉ with the humidity around 97%. Not only does the high temperature and humidity lower the air quality, these factors also put many people at risk for dehydration and heat-related illness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 618 people in the U.S. are killed by extreme heat each year despite the fact that heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable.

By understanding the warning signs of dehydration and learning how to treat and prevent those symptoms, we can help reduce the number of heat-related incidents.

To start off, dehydration is defined by excess loss of water from the body. Water is required by the body to function normally. Typically, there should be a balance between water intake and output, but that can be disrupted by various factors:

  • Excessive heat
  • Physical activity
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sickness/High Fever
  • Medications, like diuretics (cause urination) or laxatives (cause watery bowel movements)
  • Barriers to fluid intake (sore throat or upset stomach)

In order to recognize if someone is dehydrated, there are symptoms that you can watch out for.

Mild symptoms include:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Urinating less often
  • Having dark urine
  • Having a dry mouth.

As dehydration becomes more severe, other symptoms may develop such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Feeling light-headed.

The best way to treat dehydration is with fluids. Mild dehydration can often be self-treated by drinking water, sports drinks, or rehydration liquids such as Pedialyte, which all can be found here at Plain City Druggist. If symptoms continue or worsen over a few days, it is important to call your doctor to get help. In cases of severe dehydration, people are given intravenous fluids through an IV at the hospital.


In summers like these, the extreme heat makes us more prone to dehydration. Not only does the hot weather directly increase our body temperatures, but it also causes us to sweat profusely and lose water more quickly.

Sweating is an important cooling mechanism for the body. As the water droplets evaporate from our skin, they also take away heat. When we are dehydrated, we lose that ability to produce sweat and cool ourselves down. If the body’s core temperature is too high, the vital organs and brain can be damaged, which leads to heat exhaustion, and, in extreme cases, heat stroke. In these severe cases, it is important to cool the affected person down and get the appropriate emergency help.


Fortunately, dehydration is a preventable condition. Proper hydration is key, and it is important to drink throughout the day even if you’re not feeling thirsty. In hot weather or during times of physical activity, you should also drink more than you think is actually necessary.

Staying cool is also a great way to avoid dehydration. Stay indoors and avoid doing outdoor work during the hottest parts of the day from noon to 3 PM.

If being outside is unavoidable, make sure to wear a hat and loose-fitting clothing, apply sunscreen, and plan frequent breaks to drink water and cool down.

More importantly, certain people are also at greater risk of dehydration and of developing heat related illness. These include older adults over the age of 65, people with chronic medical conditions, children, and infants. Keep a close eye on friends and family during these hot and humid days, and encourage each other to stay cool and stay hydrated. If you have more questions, the CDC website is a great place to visit for tips or pop into our air-conditioned pharmacy to talk to your local pharmacist!


Natural Disasters and Severe Weather. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, June 19). Retrieved July 21, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html

Patient Education: Dehydration (The Basics). UpToDate. Retrieved July 21, 2017, from https://www-uptodate-com.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/contents/dehydration-the-basics?source=see_link

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Unused, Unwanted, and Unsafe: What To Do with Old Medications? By Our July Student Pharmacist, Kevin Wenceslao.

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Do you have unused medications sitting around in your medicine cabinet? Are you afraid that a family member or loved one might accidentally take or use that medicine? Do you know how to properly dispose of those medications?

For this week’s topic, Plain City Druggist is here to explain why it’s important to get rid of old prescription medications and to also educate on how to dispose of them properly.

To start off, there are a number of reasons why people may have old medications laying around.

  • Medications are often stopped or changed for a variety of reasons: allergic reactions, side effects, or lack of effectiveness.
  • Other medicines, such as painkillers or rescue inhalers, are taken only “as needed” and may not be completely used up by the time they expire.
  • Someone in the family may have died and other family members are not sure what to do with those medications.

In any case, holding on to these old medications can lead to problems such as overdose, accidental poisoning, or even drug abuse.

Medications do not last forever; all medicine has an expiration date. Typically, all prescription drugs have a “discard by” date on the label, and over-the-counter (OTC) medications have an expiration on the original container. After a drug expires, it can lose effectiveness or become harmful. Simply having an expired medicine in your house can increase the risk of you or your family member taking it by mistake which could lead to accidental poisoning. If you are ever unsure if a drug is expired, don’t hesitate to call your local pharmacist at Plain City Druggist to ask.

Another potential hazard of keeping unused medications, especially controlled substances like opiates, is the risk of misuse and abuse. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mentions that studies have shown that many abused prescription drugs are often obtained from friends and family. These drugs are easily accessible because they are commonly kept in a place like the medicine cabinet where they can quickly be found. The potential for abuse is why it is important to discard any unused medicine when you no longer need it. By getting rid of these drugs in a proper manner, you can help prevent abuse.

So now the question is, how do I get rid of these old medicines in a safe and responsible manner?

Luckily, there are a number of options available for you right here in Plain City. First and foremost, if you ever need help with disposing of a medication, Plain City Druggist is a great place to start. We are always happy to answer questions and provide information about local drug take back facilities and programs. Every year, Madison County hosts a Drug Take Back Day in April. This event serves to educate the public and encourage the community to bring back expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications. Furthermore, this process is anonymous and no questions will be asked at the event.

In addition to this event, there are three local sites that have permanent drop off boxes that can be used throughout the year:

Blog 2 Fire Department

  • Union County Sheriff’s Office:
    221 West 5th St, Marysville, OH 43040
  • Pleasant Valley Fire Deparment:
    650 West Main St. Plain City, OH 43064
  • Richwood Police Department:
    153 North Franklin St. Richwood, OH 43344

If these options are not accessible to you, there are also ways to dispose of medicines at home. In order to prevent harming others or the environment, and to reduce the risk of abuse, there are specific instructions when it comes to disposing of medications at home.

The FDA recommends following these steps when disposing of drugs in the trash:

  • Mix the medicine with unpalatable substances like used coffee grounds, kitten litter, or dirt and placing it in a sealable container before throwing it out in the trash.
  • The original bottle should be thrown away separately with all the information scratched out.
  • Some medications are especially harmful if taken by mistake or have a high potential for abuse, and the FDA actually recommends flushing these medicines down the toilet to reduce those risks.

Click HERE for the FDA list of medications that should be disposed by flushing.

As you can see, keeping expired, unused, or unwanted medications in the household can lead to many problems. Proper disposal of these medicines can help keep you and your family safe. In addition to having a local pharmacy like Plain City Druggist as a resource, the FDA website also has great sources with more in-depth information about drug disposal.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to come in to the pharmacy to ask!

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Drug Disposal Information. (n.d.). U.S. Department
of Justice. Drug Enforcement Administration. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov /drug_disposal/index.html

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.).
Special Features – Don’t Be Tempted to Use Expired Medicines. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/specialfeatures/ucm481139.htm

Commissioner, O. O. (n.d.). Consumer Updates – How
to Dispose of Unused Medicines. .S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm101653.htm

Press, M. (2017, April 11). Drug ‘Take-Back’ in
Plain City this month. AIM Media West Operating. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from http://www.madison-press.com/news/249995/drug-take-back-in-plain-city-this-month