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Archive for the ‘Plain City Health’ Category

Water and Boating Safety. By Our Student Pharmacist, Andris Grinvalds.

Pool Safety

Summer is almost here! The consistent warm temperatures and sunshine are drawing everyone to the outdoors.

There is no better way to enjoy the hot weather than to go for a swim or go boating out on a lake. However, it is important for everyone to first consider boating and water safety. Most accidental drownings are preventable and it is important for everyone to be aware of these safety tips so we can all beat the heat with safety in mind.

The number one rule is to never swim alone and to never leave young children alone around any body of water. Most drownings happen silently and quickly. Being distracted for a few seconds can be enough for a child to fall into the water. Accidents can happen in less than thirty seconds. And they can happen without a sound. It is important to always have a young child within arm’s reach when around water. Remember that floating toys and air mattresses are not alternatives for life vests. Remove floating toys when the pool is not being used. Children may reach for the toy and fall in by accident. Do not be lulled into thinking children are safe if they have taken swimming lessons; it is still important to stay near the child at all times.

Other safety precautions include:

  • Every able person should be trained in CPR and other rescue techniques.
  • Have a first aid kit handy.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol when swimming or supervising a child near water.
  • Do not become complacent and rely on a lifeguard to watch children.
  • If a child is missing, check the water first.

Swimming in natural bodies of water comes with different risks. Water in rivers and lakes is darker and may have a current or undertow. If you are caught in a current, do not fight it. Float with the current or swim parallel to shore until the current is weak enough to escape. Never dive in unfamiliar areas.

Other popular summer activities include sailing and boating. Most of boating fatalities can also be avoided if one is aware and knows how to stay safe. Nearly half of all boating accidents happen when alcohol is involved. Avoid alcohol when operating a boat. Anyone born after January 1, 1982 must have a boating license to operate a boat. It is important that all passengers are familiar with the safety precautions before boarding.

All of the boating regulations for Ohio can be found HERE.

Life Jacket Fit

Life jackets are crucial in boating safety. In Ohio, children under 10-years-old must always wear a life jacket on boats less than 18 feet in length. The law also says that there must be a life jacket for every person aboard the boat and they must be readily accessible. All boaters are encouraged to wear a life jacket at all times. Falling out of a boat may disorient the person and prevent them from being able to swim. A life jacket will keep the person’s head above water so they don’t drown.

Life vests should be inspected before leaving the shore to make sure they are in good condition. It is also important for everyone to try on the life jacket and make sure it fits. There are different life jackets for children and adults. Life jackets are fitted based on weight and chest size. Make sure the life jacket has a tight fit and is properly fastened. To check if the life jacket fits properly, lift your arms up and have someone pull up on the shoulders of the vest. If the jacket does not ride up over your chin or face, it fits correctly.

Some other boating safety tips include:

  • Never boat alone or at least have a plan and let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Always carry a cell phone for emergencies.
  • Never swim in a marina. Boats are connected to shore with power lines and stray power lines can result in paralysis and death.

Please share these tips with family and friends to bring awareness to the community. If we all know and understand the safety concerns of swimming and boating, we can avoid tragedy and enjoy this beautiful summer weather.


Boyse K. Water and pool safety. Published May 2010. Accessed June 2019. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/water.htm

National Safety Council. Water Safety. Published 2019. Accessed June 2019. https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/drowning

Kalkomey Enterprises. Study Guide for Ohio Boater Education Certificate. Published 2019. Accessed June 2019. https://www.boat-ed.com/ohio/studyGuide/10103602/

United Stated Coast Guard. Wearing your life jacket. Published June 2019. Accessed June 2019. https://www.uscgboating.org/recreational-boaters/life-jacket-wear-wearing-your-life-jacket.php

United States Coast Guard. How to choose the right life jacket. Published June 2019. Accessed June 2019. http://www.uscgboating.org/images/howtochoosetherightlifejacket_brochure.pdf

National Marine Manufacturers Association. Safe boating tips. Published May 21 2019. Accessed June 2019. https://www.discoverboating.com/ownership/safety/tips

Heatstroke, Heat Exhaustion, and Dehydration. By Our Student Pharmacist, Steve McVey.

Summer heat

The arrival of summer brings us sunny weather and many opportunities for outdoor activities. With the good weather, it is important to be mindful of spending excessive amounts of time in the heat. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that heat-related illnesses, including dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke, cause approximately 600 deaths per year and all pose serious risks. However heat-related illnesses are preventable if you take the right precautions and watch for danger signs.

Higher temperatures, muggy or humid weather, and sun exposure can all increase the risk of heat-related illness. Under any of these conditions, the body may overheat and not be able to cool down properly. We normally sweat to help our bodies cool down, but dehydration, dry skin, or sunburn can stop the skin from sweating or releasing heat properly. However, in some circumstances, even proper sweating may not be enough to cool down our body temperature.


Some special populations including older adults, young children, people with other health conditions, and athletes are all at an increased risk from prolonged heat exposure.

Visit this CDC link to find more information about protecting at risk populations.

Heatstroke may be caused by either strenuous activity or simply being in a hot environment for an extended period of time. Other factors like wearing too much clothing, drinking alcohol, or dehydration can lead to heatstroke. Heat exhaustion is often caused by the same conditions and circumstances and can lead to heatstroke.

Hallmark signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion include increased body temperature, with heatstroke being above 103℉ and heat exhaustion being above the normal 98.6℉. A person with heatstroke may have hot, red, dry, or damp skin and may have a throbbing headache. Those with heat exhaustion usually sweat excessively and their skin may be cool or damp. Heat cramps are often the first sign of heat exhaustion.

You can click here for a chart with more information about signs and symptoms

Drinking water

It is important to stay hydrated and limit exposure to heat and sunlight. Everyone should increase their water intake during summer months regardless of how much exercise or activity you are getting. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. If you are fluid restricted, ask your doctor about how much you should drink.

You can also help prevent heat-related illness by dressing in lightweight, light colored, and loose fitting clothing. Plan outdoor activities in the morning and evenings to avoid the hottest times of the day. Apply sunscreen, at least SPF 15 or higher, 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply according to package instructions. Stay indoors when possible in a cool, air conditioned room. Fans may help with comfort, but air conditioning is needed in extreme heat to help lower body temperature. Never leave anyone, child or adult or pet, in a car in hot weather. Temperatures may reach upwards of 110℉ in as little as 20 minutes.

If you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke, call 911 immediately, move them to a shady area, and cool their body temperature rapidly with cool baths/water. Do not give them anything to drink. If someone is experiencing heat exhaustion, use similar methods to cool them down, and give them cool water to sip. Heat cramps may be treated with rest and cool sports drinks or juice.

You can find more information about how to treat heat-related illnesses here.

Remember to stay hydrated, stay informed, and stay safe while enjoying the summer weather.


  1. About Extreme Heat. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.html. Updated June 19, 2017. Accessed June 6, 2019.
  2. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Extreme Heat. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/faq.html. Reviewed June 1, 2012. Accessed June 6, 2019.
  3. Protecting Vulnerable Groups From Extreme Heat. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/specificgroups.html. Reviewed June 19, 2017. Accessed June 6, 2019.
  4. Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html. Reviewed June 19, 2017. Accessed June 6, 2019.
  5. Mayo Clinic Staff. Heatstroke. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-stroke/symptoms-causes/syc-20353581. Reviewed August 15, 2017. Accessed June 6, 2019.
  6. Mayo Clinic Staff. Heat Exhaustion. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-exhaustion/symptoms-causes/syc-20373250. Reviewed December 14, 2017. Accessed June 6, 2019.
  7. Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html. Reviewed September 1, 2017. Accessed June 6, 2019.

Dehydration pic link https://www.accesssportsmed.com/news/how-to-tell-youre-dehydrated/

Heat pic link https://northendwaterfront.com/2018/07/tips-for-beating-the-summer-heat/

Drinking water link https://centralflawatertreatment.com/clean-and-healthy-drinking-water

Preventing Bug Bites. By Our Student Pharmacist, Cambree Fillis.

b - Mosquito Image

As the weather gets nicer, everyone enjoys spending more time outdoors–but, so do the bugs! It is important to be mindful of bug bites and their consequences. Bug bites can result in the spread of various diseases including dengue, chikungunya, malaria, Zika, yellow fever, Japanese or tick-borne encephalitis, Lyme disease, and more.

Some of the diseases that are transmitted by bugs can be prevented in several ways. Prophylactic medications and vaccinations are available in some cases. Be sure to talk with your doctor and/or check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website for traveler’s information and specific health risks prior to any extensive travel this summer.

Additionally, staying informed on the prime times for bug bites can prevent illnesses. For instance, mosquito season begins at the start of summer and persists until autumn. Most mosquitoes tend to bite more often during the daytime; however, those carrying Malaria and West Nile are more active after dark, between dawn and dusk. Ticks, on the other hand, may be active during all times in grassy areas and woodlands. Be sure to check for ticks regularly if you spend time outdoors and remove them immediately if spotted.

The best way to remove ticks from pets, children, and yourself includes using a tweezer to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. With even pressure, pull the tick upward. Do not twist. Once the tick is removed, the area should be cleaned with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. The tick should be disposed of in a sealed bag or container, submerged alcohol, or flushed.

Here is an excellent article from the CDC about ticks, tick bites, what various ticks look like, and their removal. Click HERE to view it.

Additional preventative measures to avoid bug bites include keeping homes and businesses air conditioned. Also, empty and clean out anything that holds water at least once a week. If you are traveling and air conditioned sleeping spaces are not available, be sure to sleep with a bed net and stay covered up at all times. Long sleeve shirts should be tucked in to long pants and long pants should be tucked in to socks. Boots are also recommended as opposed to open-toed shoes.

b - Applying Bug Spray Image

Lastly, bug repellents can be used to lessen the risk of illnesses by deterring bugs from biting. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the safe and effective use of bug repellents in the United States.

As approved by the EPA, permethrin, although it should never be applied directly to the skin, can be used to wash and pretreat tents, sleeping bags, and clothing.

Other repellents are approved with the following active ingredients:

  • DEET
  • picaridin
  • oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • IR3535
  • para-menthane-diol
  • 2-undecanone

Each of these ingredients may be applied directly to exposed skin. They should not be applied to skin that is covered by clothing.

Please note that other products may be marketed as bug repellents, but if they do not contain the aforementioned active ingredients, they have not yet been approved by the EPA. The safety and effectiveness of those products are unknown. Approved repellents should be applied and reapplied as directed on the label. They should be used with caution as to avoid accidental ingestion. When applying to your face, spray repellent on your hands first and then rub gently onto your face, avoiding your mouth and eyes. Be sure to avoid applying repellents in areas with an open cut, wound, or irritated skin, as well.

When using insect repellents, the higher the concentration of active ingredients, the longer the duration of protection. For this reason, it is recommended to use at least 20% DEET to prevent mosquito and tick bites. However, in the case of DEET, there is thought to be minimal difference in the extent of protection as concentrations exceed 50%. Additionally, the effectiveness of all products may vary depending on temperature, extent and type of activity you are completing, as well as if you are sweating while doing it.

Additional tips when using insect repellents include to:

  • Wash your hands after every application.
  • Rinse thoroughly with soap and water once returning back indoors.
  • Avoid use in children less than two months old, unless using oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol. These should not be used in children younger than three years old.
  • Avoid use of DEET concentrations greater than 30% in children.
  • Apply sunscreen first, let it dry completely, and then apply repellent.
    • You may need to apply sunscreen more frequently if using with a product containing DEET as studies have shown a decrease in sun protection factor (SPF) when combining these products.

Two natural products that we can order and have for you and that we recommend are:


  1. Bonner L. Given CDC report, make sure patients know how to prevent insect bites. Published July 2018. Accessed April 2019. https://www.pharmacytoday.org/article/S1042-0991(18)30931-9/fulltext.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Avoiding Bug Bites. Updated March 2019. Accessed April 2019. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/avoid-bug-bites.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Mosquito Bite Prevention. Published October 2018. Accessed April 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/pdfs/fs_mosquito_bite_prevention_us.pdf.
  4. Mutebi JP, Hawley WA, Brogdon WG. Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Other Arthropods. Accessed April 2019.
  5. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Find the Repellent that is Right for You. Updated June 2017. Accessed April 2019. https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.

Seasonal Allergies. By Our Student Pharmacist, Cambree Fillis.

c - Allergies 1 Image

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 50,000,000 Americans suffer from allergies each year, especially as seasons start to change and warm weather emerges.

Allergies are a result of the immune system attempting to get rid of a substance that it does not recognize. Seasonal allergies are usually due to pollen from trees and grass, as well as different molds that grow in warm, humid weather.

Nevertheless, whether it is something consumed, inhaled, injected, or touched, your body can mount an immune response. This response can present as a cough, sneeze, itchy or watery eyes, scratchy throat, runny nose, rash, difficulty breathing, asthma exacerbation, and possibly even death if anaphylaxis results and is not treated promptly. Anaphylaxis is usually a reaction to food, latex, insect bites, and medications- not pollen. Therefore, seasonal allergies are not usually life-threatening, but can result is much discomfort. Fortunately, the symptoms of seasonal allergies can be managed.

Seasonal allergy treatments include prevention or treatment with over-the-counter and/or prescription medications, as well as immunotherapy.

c - Allergies 2 Image

To prevent allergies, avoiding whatever it is that you are allergic to sometimes works best. For instance, if you are allergic to pollen, limiting your time outdoors or keeping your air conditioner on as to avoid opening windows will limit your exposure. If you cannot avoid the allergen, be sure to bathe daily. This will remove allergens from your skin. Washing bedding every week also limits allergen build up.

If allergies cannot be prevented with non-pharmacological interventions such as avoidance and staying clean, ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter and prescription medications that can be used instead. In many cases more than one treatment may be used to alleviate symptoms. Your pharmacist can tell you which ones! Use the following information to get the conversation started.

  • Nasal Rinses: A Neti-Pot can be used to rinse the nasal cavity and get rid of pollen in the nose. It is important to use distilled water whenever using a Neti-Pot.
  • Nasal Sprays: Nasal sprays work in various ways to alleviate allergy symptoms. There are saline nasal sprays, steroid nasal sprays, antihistamine nasal sprays, and decongestant nasal sprays, all of which can be found over-the-counter. Steroid nasal sprays take several days to start working, but once they do they help with congestion and post-nasal drip by reducing inflammation in the nose. Antihistamine nasal sprays relieve the itchy, runny nose, and decongestant nasal sprays, such as Afrin, help with stuffiness. Afrin, however, should not be used for more than 3 days in a row, as it can cause rebound congestion.
  • Eye Drops: Ketotifen (Zaditor) is an over-the-counter option for itchy, watery eyes; Olopatadine (Pazeo) will also relieve allergy-related symptoms affecting the eyes but is prescription only. No matter which eye drop you use, always be sure to wash your hands before administering them!
  • Antihistamines: Antihistamines help with itching, sneezing, and runny noses. Examples include, diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine, which can both cause drowsiness. Less sedating antihistamine options that you can find over-the-counter include loratadine (Claratin), fexofenadine (Allegra), and cetirizine (Zyrtec).
  • Decongestants: Decongestants reduce nasal stuffiness. They can come in various forms including a nasal spray, such as Afrin mentioned previously, or in a tablet or liquid form, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). Some forms can increase blood pressure; therefore it is important to always ask your doctor or pharmacist which decongestant is best for you.
  • Creams/ointments: corticosteroid creams and ointments relieve itchiness from a rash caused by an allergen. Steroid topical products should not be used for more than 14 days, especially if applying to the face.

c - Allergies Image

When allergies cannot be prevented or treated with over-the-counter or prescription medications, immunotherapy can be used. Immunotherapy includes allergy shots and sublingual tablets that dissolve under the tongue.

Allergy shots have been used for decades and work by exposing patients to the substance that they are allergic to in increasing amounts. This gradual exposure is thought to create immunity and lessen allergic reactions.

Immunotherapy in a newer sublingual treatment can be used as an alternative to the shots.

1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Allergy Treatment. Updated March 2018. Accessed April 2019. https://www.aafa.org/allergy-treatments/.
2. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Allergies. Updated September 2017. Accessed April 2019. www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/ToolsTemplates/EntertainmentEd/Tips/Allergies.html.
3. Hennessy M. Helping Patients Breathe Easier. Published March 2019. Accessed April 2019. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/health-system-edition/2019/march2019/helping-patients-breathe-easier.
4. Tl;dr Pharmacy. Preparing for Spring: Allergic Rhinitis. Updated February 2019. Accessed April 2019. https://www.tldrpharmacy.com/content/preparing-for-spring-allergic-rhinitis.
5. Patient education: Seasonal allergies in adults. UpToDate. Updated April 2019. Accessed April 2019.

Protect Your Skin! Sunscreen is In! By Our Student Pharmacist, Cambree Fillis.

With summer quickly approaching and copious sunscreen products starting to fill up the endcaps at many retail stores, it is important to understand which products are appropriate. Check out our endcap display at the end of this posting or stop in the store to find what you need.

What causes sunburn and what is my risk?

Sunburn is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from natural and artificial light sources. Ultraviolet radiation is made up of UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are the main culprits of sunburn, but both rays can contribute to cosmetic concerns and cancer down the road.

The body’s natural protection from the sun is by a substance called melanin. The amount of melanin correlates to the pigmentation of the skin. Generally, the more melanin, the darker the skin color. Individuals with lighter skin tones have less melanin and are therefore at a higher risk of sunburn.

Additional risk factors for getting sunburn include:

a - Melanoma image

Why is it so important to prevent sunburn?

By preventing sunburn, you can prevent unnecessary pain and possible infection. You can also prevent the possible development of skin cancer and wrinkles in the future. One in five Americans develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and melanoma is one of the deadliest forms. However, if it is detected early enough it can be treated effectively. Use the ABCDEs of melanoma shown above as a visual guide for when to seek help from a medical professional.

a - Sunscreen Image

How can I prevent sunburn?

Several mechanisms for preventing sunburn exist. Finding shade during the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm when the sun’s rays are at their strongest is helpful. Or, seek shade from trees, umbrellas, and tents. Hats, too, may provide adequate protection for the face, head, ears, and neck, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts and pants may provide more full-body coverage. In addition, remember to protect your eyes with sunglasses while you’re outdoors. Lastly, sunscreen can, and should be, used in combination.

Sunscreens come in a variety of forms including sprays, lotions, gels, and wipes. When choosing a product it is important to consider the sun protection factor (SPF) and whether or not it protects against UVA and/or UVB rays.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunscreen should have an SPF of 30 or greater and be broad-spectrum, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Water-resistant sunscreen is also recommended. A water resistant label ensures at least 40 minutes of protection while swimming and/or sweating. However, even if you are using water-resistant sunscreen, you should always re-apply every two hours or immediately after swimming and/or sweating.

What if I was unable to prevent the burn?

Treatments of sunburn are geared towards symptom management to relieve pain and swelling due to the burn. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen and naproxen, can be used to reduce pain and swelling. The use of lotions with Aloe, sprays with a local pain reliever, and cool compresses can also be used to relieve discomfort related to mild sunburns. Burns that result in blistering should be cleaned with mild soap and water, and then covered with the appropriate dressing. Severe sunburns, however, may require a visit to the emergency room.

Additional pointers to stay protected this summer include:

  • Generously apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun.
  • Don’t forget your lips, ears, back, and tops of feet!
  • Apply sunscreen even on cloudy days.
  • Check expiration dates on all sunscreen products. Expired sunscreen may be less effective.
    • If there is no expiration date, it is recommended to replace supplies every three years.
  • Protect sunscreen from direct sun and excess heat if possible.
  • Sunscreen has not been studied on children less than 6 months old. Protective clothing and avoidance of direct sun is recommended. A minimal amount may be applied to small areas including the child’s face and/or back of hands if needed.


  1. American Academy of Dermatology. Defend! Catch! Take Action! How to be a Skin Cancer Hero. Accessed April 2019. 2019. file:///C:/Users/ Owner/Downloads/be-a-skin-cancer-hero-infographic.pdf.
  2. American Academy of Dermatology. Say Yes to Sun Protection Say No to Skin Cancer. Accessed April 2019. https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/prevent/say-yes-to-sun- protection.
  3. Young AR, et al. Patient education: Sunburn (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. Wolters Kluwer. March 2019. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/sunburn-beyond-the-basics.
  4. Young AR, et al. Patient education: Sunburn prevention (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. Wolters Kluwer. March 2019. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/sunburn-prevention-beyond-the-basics?topic Ref= 2730&source=see_link.