Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday: 9 am to 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am to noon
Closed Sundays and holidays

Please follow & like us!
Follow by Email
RSS Feed
Subscribe by email
Get new posts by email:

Archive for the ‘Plain City Health’ Category

Allergies. By Our September Student Pharmacist, Rebecca Miller.

hay fever

There are many kinds of allergies (food, pollen, pet, mold, dust, insect sting/bite, latex, drug, the list goes on…) but today’s discussion will focus on seasonal allergies caused primarily by pollen.

What are allergies?

Allergies are what happen when your body sees something normal from your environment and thinks that it is an invader. Imagine what happens when you see a garden hose slinking through tall grass… You scream ‘SNAKE’ and start to hit it with a shovel and end up with lots of missing chunks of your yard… Maybe that is just me after three cups of coffee. But that is what is happening inside your body when you have allergies–your immune cells see something that vaguely looks like something bad and then they attack. But during the attack, they also cause collateral damage and that damage is the symptoms of seasonal allergies

What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?

The most common symptoms of seasonal allergies affect the nose and eye, can be mild or severe, and are often confused with a cold:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, eyes, or ears
  • Puffy or watery eyes
  • Cough
  • Fatigue

Can seasonal allergies happen all year?

A person can have environmental allergies that affect them all year, though they usually have different causes. Seasonal allergies are most commonly caused by pollen, while year-round allergies (at least in Ohio) are more likely to be caused by pets, dust, or mold. A person could also suffer from both seasonal and year-round allergies.

avoid pollen

How do you treat seasonal allergies?

Over-the-counter antihistamines are usually very effective at treating seasonal and year-round allergies. There are also nasal sprays and eye drops available. Talking with your pharmacist can help you decide which option is best for you.

How do you prevent seasonal allergies?

The best way to prevent seasonal allergies is to figure out what you are allergic to and then avoid it. This is much easier for some people than others. The person who is allergic to grass pollen will find it much harder, for instance, to avoid the cause of their allergy than someone who is allergic to marigold pollen. Even so, there are some things that everyone can do:

  • Use air filters in your house which meet HEPA standards and change those filters regularly to reduce the amount of allergens in the air in your house.
  • Stay indoors on windy days when allergens are more likely to be picked up into the air by the wind.
  • Don’t hang laundry outside because allergens can stick to them and then to you.
  • Avoid doing yardwork, but if you must be outside, make sure to shower and change your clothes as soon as you are done to remove any allergens that might be on you or your clothing.

When should you talk to the doctor?

Seasonal allergies are often easy to take care of on your own, but there are some instances where it is important get the doctor involved. If you are experiencing any of the following, then you should talk with your doctor:

  • If your symptoms are affecting your ability to complete normal daily activities
  • If over-the-counter medicines are not able to control your symptoms
  • If you suffer from asthma or another chronic respiratory illness
  • If you have significant pressure/pain in your sinuses or ears

pollen cartoon

Over-the-Counter Options for Osteoarthritis Pain. By Our September Student Pharmacist, MiKayla Matheny.


It is estimated that more than 45 million Americans, over 17%, have some form of arthritis.

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis which results from ‘wear and tear’ on the joints. About a third of adults over age 65 have osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is due to the breakdown of cartilage, which normally serves as a cushion and shock absorber between the bones in joints. As the cartilage gradually decays, joints can become stiff and painful to move.

Arthritis tends to get worse gradually over time and the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis can have very significant impacts on a person’s daily activities and their ability to do things they enjoy. However, there are treatment options available, many of which are over-the-counter (OTC) and available without a prescription. Let’s discuss a few of the most common oral OTC options to help with pain due to osteoarthritis:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) – – Tylenol is a household name for a reason. Acetaminophen (sometimes abbreviated as APAP) is usually one of the first things recommended as an OTC option for pain. It is safe for most people when taken correctly and can be very effective.

Because of the way acetaminophen is metabolized by the liver, people with a history of liver problems should not take acetaminophen without talking with a doctor first. Taking too much acetaminophen can damage your liver, so you should never take more than the maximum dose indicated on the bottle (usually less than 4000 mg), unless your doctor specifically tells you to do so. Also, it is important to be aware that acetaminophen is contained in many combination OTC products, such as medicines for cough or cold, allergies, migraines, and sleep.

pastedImage 2

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) – – Ibuprofen can often be more effective than acetaminophen for arthritis pain because it has greater anti-inflammatory activity. However, ibuprofen has many more side effects and safety concerns. Ibuprofen is generally better for short term or occasional use. Long term use of ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers or bleeding, can increase high blood pressure, and can cause kidney damage. Ibuprofen also interferes with the heart protective and clot prevention effects of daily low dose aspirin. This risk is minimized with only occasional ibuprofen use and single doses of ibuprofen are generally okay with aspirin. However, it is best to take ibuprofen at least eight hours before or two hours after a low dose aspirin. People on long-term low dose aspirin therapy should consult a doctor before using ibuprofen regularly or often. Never take more ibuprofen than the dose recommended on the bottle label unless told to do so by a doctor.

Naproxen (Aleve) – – Naproxen is in many ways similar to ibuprofen and has most of the same safety considerations because they are in the same class of medications. Some people prefer naproxen to ibuprofen, or vice versa, but there is no evidence that either is really more effective. The main differences between the two are that naproxen can be a little easier on the stomach and does not need to be taken as frequently as ibuprofen because it lasts longer in the body.


While these are the most common choices, there are many other options for arthritis pain available over the counter. There are several types of topical medications (which are applied to the skin rather than taken by mouth) which can also be very effective. Topicals can be more convenient or more effective for some people, but the choice of a topical medication is often very individualized. If you ever have questions about what OTC arthritis pain reliever would be best for you, ask your doctor or pharmacist to help you pick one out.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). By Our September Student Pharmacist, Rebecca Miller.

Autism written on the wipe board

Most people have heard the term autism before, but few have a good understanding of what it actually is. Autism is a diagnosis used to identify a group of neurodevelopmental disorders which range widely in symptoms and levels of disability. Nearly 1.7% of children in the US suffer from an autism spectrum disorder according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – that’s one kid out of every 59. Autism is not an intellectual disability; while some individuals on the spectrum may also suffer from intellectual disability, the majority do not.

The saying goes that ‘if you’ve met one person on the autism spectrum, then you’ve met one person on the autism spectrum’; that is to say that the characteristics of autism are so diverse that any two people on the spectrum are more likely to have nothing in common than to be similar. The severity of the disorder is, likewise, very individual. This is because severity is based on the resulting level of impairment in intellectual, social, educational, and occupational function. Even if two people have the same symptom, difficulty driving, for instance, if one of them lives in a city with public transportation while the other lives in a rural area, it would be much more difficult for the second person to find a job or attain a desired college degree than the first.

Generally, there are two core characteristic types which are shared by all autism-spectrum disorders: difficulty with social interaction and restrictive or repetitive behaviors. How these characteristics manifest, however, can take a multitude of forms, such as:

  • Difficulty understanding when it is their turn to speak in conversation
  • Poor eye contact or lack of friendly smile
  • Difficulty with relationships
  • Snapping fingers, lining up objects, repeating a phrase or sound
  • Distress in response to small changes in routine
  • ‘Special interests’ or topics about which the person is especially knowledgeable or passionate
  • Indifference to pain or temperature
  • Inability to wear clothing with tags
  • Visual fascination with lights or motions

Examples are varying and exhaustive, can change as a person grows, and there is no set list.

autism genetics

The exact causes of autism are unknown. There are many theories and it is likely that there are multiple possible causes. Because a first degree relative with an ASD diagnosis is a risk factor for developing the disorder, there has long been the theory that autism is a genetic condition. While there is no single gene which causes autism (as is the case for sickle cell disease, hemophilia, and cystic fibrosis), researchers have recently identified 18 different genes which contribute to the development of ASDs.

Treating autism is a difficult proposition. There is no actual treatment for autism, only treatments for some of the symptoms, such as speech therapy to improve verbal communication, medication for anxiety, and counseling/coaching on appropriate skills. There has been a large push in recent years to diagnose children with ASD as early as possible because the earlier these treatments begin, the better their quality of life and the more independent and productive they will be.

Autism and Vaccines

Although there has been a large movement against vaccination of children based on the argument that children who are vaccinated are more likely to develop autism, there have been no reputable studies that back this up. There have, in fact, been numerous studies to the contrary. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins before birth and, therefore, before a child is vaccinated.

A note from the author…

I was not diagnosed with ASD until I was 27. I cannot tell you how many difficulties that I encountered in my life because I did not know about my condition and the difference that it would have made if I had received treatment as a child, teen, or even young adult. Luckily, I eventually learned the skills that I needed to succeed and am living happily with a husband and daughter, about to graduate with a doctoral degree. My story turned out well, but not all of them do. If you see signs of autism in your child, please, please, please talk to your child’s pediatrician. It cannot hurt to talk to them and it could make all the difference.

iaa poster

Concussions are Serious. By Our September Student Pharmacist, MiKayla Matheny.


Concussion in Introduction to Sports Medicine, wikidot.com

About one million children go to the emergency room or are seen by a doctor for a concussion in the United States each year.

A concussion, which doctors consider a mild form of traumatic brain injury, usually results from a bump or jolt to the head. When an impact causes the brain to bounce or twist inside the skull, it can potentially cause damage to brain cells. This type of injury is common with falls and car accidents, but is also increasingly a concern with sports injuries. Children and teens are at higher risk of concussions and, while concussions are dangerous at any age, they can have more serious effects on young, developing brains. It is important that anyone with signs or symptoms of a concussion gets medical help as soon as possible.

Symptoms of a concussion can begin right after the injury, but sometimes may not appear or be noticed until several hours to days later. The majority of concussions do not involve being ‘knocked out’ or losing consciousness. Even a seemingly mild or harmless bump to the head can result in a concussion. In fact, many concussions occur without immediately noticeable signs or symptoms and therefore go undiagnosed. An undiagnosed concussion is particularly dangerous in young athletes because it increases the risk of a subsequent concussion occurring on the field, extends the time required for recovery, and increases the risk of lasting brain damage. Parents, teachers, and coaches should always know to watch for the visible signs of a concussion and should encourage their kids to speak up about any symptoms. Young athletes should never return to play on the same day an injury occurs, even if they initially feel able.

After an injury, medical attention is necessary if the person experiences any of the following symptoms of a concussion:

  • Headache or ‘pressure’ in the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Numbness or tingling

Sometimes children cannot easily describe these symptoms or may simply say they do not feel ‘right’. This should be taken seriously even if complaints are not specific. Someone with a concussion may have difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating on or remembering things, or feel sluggish, hazy or foggy.

Parents, teachers, and coaches should seek medical help for their kids if they notice any of the following:

  • Dazed or stunned appearance
  • Confusion about events
  • Answering questions slowly
  • Behavior or personality changes
  • Loss of consciousness (even briefly)
  • Inability to recall events before or after the hit, bump, or fall
Signs and symptoms of a concussion. Ivan Chow for Queensland Brain Institute.

Signs and symptoms of a concussion. Ivan Chow for Queensland Brain Institute.

Even with proper medical attention, it can be difficult to recover from a concussion. For the first several days after a concussion, rest is the best course of action. Physical and mental activity should be restricted in order to give the brain time to heal. Parents, teachers, and coaches may need to help make sure their kids are excused from school and/or practice initially. Concussion symptoms usually resolve within a month or two, but may persist longer in some cases. Kids should resume normal activities gradually to avoid aggravating concussion symptoms and their activity level should increase only if no symptoms occur.

Concussions are quite common and can be easily overlooked. Concussions can be serious and have long-term consequences. It is important that parents, teachers, coaches and their children, students, and players all be aware of what to watch for and how to react if a head injury occurs.

For more information check out the CDC “Heads Up on Concussion” Campaign: https://www.cdc.gov/HEADSUP/

Quit Smoking. By Our August Student Pharmacist, Moe Hamad.

smoking-stop-how-to-quit-tips-cigarette-nhs-uk-931532 2

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans spend roughly 80 billion dollars a year on cigarettes. Along with the high financial cost of tobacco, prolonged exposure can lead to many deadly complications including cancer. Your health is a precious thing and every cigarette you smoke affects every organ in your body.

Many people don’t even remember the reason they began smoking. But now that they have picked up the habit, it is difficult for them to stop. It has become entrenched in their daily routine. It is difficult to get someone to break a habit. It takes several attempts for a person to stop smoking. That might sound difficult, but the payoff is worth the effort. Quitting helps your body heal from the damages caused by tobacco.

Listed below are just some of the many ways smoking can affect your body, according to Healthline newsletter:

  1. Lungs: When you smoke, every cigarette you take in contains chemicals that directly damage the lungs. Over a prolonged period of time, the lung damage can lead to long term consequences such as emphysema, COPD, chronic bronchitis, and even cancer.
  2. Cardiovascular system: Smoking also affects your cardiovascular system causing your blood vessels to constrict and  tightening and allowing less blood to flow to your body. This condition is known as peripheral vascular disease. Smoking can also raise your blood pressure and cause blood clots. Other deadly ways smoking can affect your cardiovascular health is by increasing your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
  3. Tobacco affects nearly every organ in the body: Other complications of tobacco include skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, mouth cancer, increased insulin resistance, and decreased libido.

The CDC reports that cigarettes contain more than 7,000 chemicals and about 70 of those chemicals cause cancer. Breaking the habit of smoking is difficult, but engaging in an active discussion with your doctor is an important first step to quitting. A crucial step to quitting is admitting it needs to be done. There are a lot of options that you and your doctor can discuss that can help you stop. All you need to do is ask. You’re never too old to quit.

Smoking-Image-1 2