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Archive for the ‘Plain City Health’ Category

Poison Ivy Dos and Don’ts. By Our August Student Pharmacist, Mackenzie Gill.

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Summer may be winding down but that doesn’t mean poison ivy has!

The rash commonly associated with poison ivy is caused by an allergic reaction to an oily resin called urushiol. This oil is in the leaves, stems, and roots of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac and is VERY easily spread. The oil causes redness and swelling followed by blisters and severe itching. This reaction typically develops 12 to 48 hours after exposure and lasts two to three weeks.

Prevention is key, and can eliminate weeks of scratching and irritation. It is recommended to wear protective clothing and apply a barrier cream when going outside into weedy areas.

Prevention may be preferred, but it is not always possible. So if the damage has been done, and now you or your children have the itchy rash, what can you do?


  • Do wash your skin within 30 minutes of exposure. This can eliminate or reduce the size of the rash.
  • Do use over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. This will help alleviate the itchiness and redness. One important note is that hydrocortisone should not be used for more than 7 days without speaking to your doctor.
  • Do use calamine lotion. This will also help with itchiness and can dry out the blisters formed.
  • Do wash your clothes to remove any resin that may be on them.
  • Do consider taking the ORAL antihistamine Benadryl at bedtime. This is strictly to help you sleep at night, as Benadryl makes you drowsy. Antihistamines do not help the itchiness caused by poison ivy.
  • Do apply a cool compress.


  • Don’t scratch! I know this is hard, but scratching can cause infection and make things much worse.
  • Don’t pick at blisters. Again, this can cause infection.
  • Don’t apply TOPICAL antihistamines as these can worsen the rash and itch.

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One common myth about poison ivy is that the blister fluid can spread the rash. This is not true! Your skin must come in direct contact with the plant’s oil to be affected. But as stated earlier, the oil can be spread VERY easily, so even if you do not touch the plant directly, the oil from the plant can contaminate shoes, tools, clothes, and even pet fur! If these objects aren’t cleaned, the oil on them can still cause a skin reaction years later.

If your rash is severe or widespread, you develop a fever, or the blisters are oozing pus, you should see your doctor for further treatment. As always, if you have any further questions, Plain City Druggist is more than happy to help!

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Flu Shot Season. By Our August Student Pharmacist, Moe Hamad.

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Summer is almost over and fall is just around the corner. With fall well on its way so is flu season.

The flu virus is highly contagious so it is very important to protect yourself. Once someone has the flu it is easy to spread around. Sneezing or coughing without covering your mouth and not washing your hands can cause the flu to spread. Getting the flu shot every year is important to ensure adequate protection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends anyone six months and older get the flu shot as soon as possible to promote “herd immunity”. Herd immunity is just a fancy way of saying we can stop the spread of a particular disease if enough people get vaccinated.

Why get vaccinated every year?

Yearly vaccines are needed because the flu virus changes; therefore, one year the flu might be just one strain of virus and some years it might be more (this year the CDC has decided to provide a vaccine to combat four strains of the virus). Every year the CDC does studies to predict the most likely strains of the flu and design a vaccine against the top strains.

How long does it take for the flu shot to work?

After getting the flu shot, it can take up to two weeks for the body to generate antibodies that are strong enough to fight any potential infection. Because of this time period before antibodies are produced, it is important to get the flu shot as soon as possible!

It is estimated that the flu causes U.S. employees to miss approximately 17 million workdays at an estimated $7 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity.

What happens if I get the flu?

If you get the flu, you are reduced to symptom management; over-the-counter Tylenol or Motrin, as well as increasing fluid intake (drink more water!).

Early possible signs to watch out for include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • muscle aches
  • cough
  • congestion/runny nose
  • headaches
  • fatigue.

Here are some friendly tips to help prevent spreading the flu:

  1. Cover your mouth when you sneeze using the “vampire method” (cover your mouth with your arm, similar to a vampire peering over their cloaked arm).
  2. Apply hand sanitizer after eating or using the bathroom.
  3. Avoid contact with people who have the flu.

Most insurances cover the cost of a flu vaccine. If you’re over the age of seven-years-old, you can stop by a pharmacy and have the vaccine administered.

As always if you have any questions, stop by Plain City Druggist and ask our friendly staff! Stay safe Plain City and Go Buckeyes!!

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Head Lice 101. By Our August Student Pharmacist, Mackenzie Gill.

lice pic 1Parents of school-aged children are all too familiar with head lice. Whether you’ve received notice that someone in your child’s class has lice or your own child has lice, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and a little helpless. But never fear! We will walk you through everything you need to know to conquer those pesky mites.

First and foremost: having head lice does not mean you are dirty! Head lice actually thrive in clean hair. Head lice are also extremely common. Between 6-12 million cases of head lice occur each year in children between the ages of 3-11. Head lice are spread primarily by head-to-head contact. This means children who play or go to school together are at the greatest risk.

So how do you get rid of head lice?

There are multiple options!

The two major over-the-counter products are:

  • Nix which contains permethrin
  • RID which contains pyrethrins

They are both considered equally effective. The major difference is permethrin (Nix) does not require a repeat application. Both products also include a lice comb to tease out the mites. Directions for specific use of these products will be included in their packaging. The pharmacy is always happy to help explain, as well.

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Manual removal is also becoming a popular choice for families. There are Lice Salons in the central Ohio area that will remove the lice manually using a Nit comb and other non-medicated products. The major downfall for this option is it is more expensive. Services range in price from about $100-$150.

No matter which method you choose for removal of lice from the head, it is important to also wash clothing, bedding, brushes, and hair accessories that were used during the head lice infestation. You do NOT need to wash your entire wardrobe or replace furniture, including your mattress! Lice don’t live on pets and cannot survive long at all once they leave the warmth of your hair.

It’s important to remember that getting lice happens. Just breathe and don’t panic. And if you have any further questions you can always call or stop into Plain City Druggist. We are always happy to help!

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Improve Your Sleep. By Our August Student Pharmacist, Moe Hamad, Who is Feeling Very Sleepy After Writing This Blog.

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With school just around the corner, it is important for us to improve our sleep habits in order to maximize our everyday potential. We all need our sleep and a good night’s rest can help get us through the day.

Here are some helpful tips you can use to improve your sleep hygiene provided by the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Avoid Caffeine and Nicotine close to bedtime.
    • Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that keep the body awake. Consuming them close to bedtime will keep you awake and mess with your body’s normal sleep cycles!
  • Stay away from foods that can cause indigestion.
    • Eating a heavy meal close to bedtime can cause indigestion which will be irritating and affect the quality of sleep.
  • Exercise during the day.
    • Any form of aerobic exercise (jogging outside/on treadmill) during the day can help dramatically improve nighttime sleep quality.
  • Turn off lights, television, phones, iPads, and other electronic devices before going to sleep.
    • Lights can be a distraction. Turning off light can minimize any disturbance and help improve the quality of sleep.
  • Don’t take long naps during the day.
    • There is nothing wrong with taking a short day-time nap, but limit those naps to less than thirty minutes. A light sleep can help improve cognition, memory, and mood, but anything more than a half hour will disrupt normal sleep patterns.

There are a lot of benefits to getting a good night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep has been proven to boost immune system as well as improve mood and overall well being.

On average, we should try to aim to get at least eight hours of sleep in order to get in the proper amount of sleep cycles. It is important to try to stay consistent.

Here are the recommended hours of sleep by the National Sleep Foundation based on age. Keep in mind that some people may require more sleep.

  1. Toddlers (1-2 years old): 11-14 hours
  2. Preschoolers (3-5 years old): 10-13 hours
  3. School-aged Children (6-13 years old): 9-11 hours
  4. Teenagers (14-17 years old): 8-10 hours
  5. Adults (18-64 years old): 7-9 hours
  6. Older Adults (≥65 years old): 7-8 hours

Adjusting to the proper sleep routine can take some time. However, taking Melatonin one hour before sleep can help you ‘fix’ your sleep routine. As always, if you have any questions or need more helpful tips for adjusting your sleep, stop by Plain City Druggist and ask to speak to our helpful staff pharmacists! Good luck in school this year and Go Buckeyes!


Vaccine Requirements for the Upcoming School Year. By Our August Student Pharmacist, Mackenzie Gill.

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School is just around the corner! While you are busy making sure your child has everything they need in order to be prepared for their first day, don’t forget to make sure they also have their required vaccinations.

The following vaccines are required by ALL Ohio schools. Failure to provide proof of vaccination could result in exclusion from school.

**All students entering 7th and 12th grade MUST get the meningococcal (meningitis) vaccine.**

This vaccine prevents and protects against meningococcal disease (meningitis).

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is the inflammation of brain and spinal cord membranes, typically caused by a bacterial infection. Meningitis can cause blindness, loss of limbs, and even death.

How does someone get meningitis?

Meningitis can be spread by coming in contact with the germs of an infected individual. Individuals who carry the bacteria do not always appear sick. The most common way these germs can be spread are by coughing, sneezing, and kissing. Children in school are especially susceptible because they are in close contact with many other students throughout the day.

What are the common signs and symptoms of meningitis?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion

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**All students entering 7th grade MUST get a booster dose of the Tdap or Td vaccine.**

This vaccine prevents and protects against tetanus and diphtheria. Pertussis (whooping cough) is also protected against if receiving Tdap.

What is tetanus? How does someone get tetanus? What are the common signs and symptoms of tetanus?

Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection. Most commonly, tetanus occurs when a puncture wound occurs, like stepping on a nail or needle. There are other events that can cause tetanus like burns or pre-existing wounds that get contaminated with dirt, poop, or spit.

Common symptoms include:

  • Jaw cramping
  • Muscle spasms and stiffness

What is diphtheria? How does someone get diphtheria? What are the common signs and symptoms of diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a serious infection of the nose and throat. It is spread from person to person, commonly by coughing or sneezing.

Common symptoms include:

  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Weakness
  • Sore throat

What is pertussis? How does someone get pertussis? What are the common signs and symptoms of pertussis?

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. It is spread from person to person, typically by coughing, sneezing, or sharing breathing space. Early symptoms resemble a typical cold. The symptoms progress into much more serious symptoms with the most common one being coughing fits followed by high-pitched “whoop” sounds. These fits can cause vomiting and exhaustion and shortness of breath.

These very serious illnesses can all be prevented by getting your children vaccinated! Most insurance plans cover these vaccines at no cost or at a reduced price.

Plain City Druggist can administer these vaccines to your children if they are over thirteen-years-old WITHOUT a prescription from their doctor. If your child is between the ages of 7-12, Plain City Druggist can administer these vaccines only WITH a prescription from their doctor.

We look forward to seeing you!

More information on these vaccines and Ohio School requirements can be found at www.cdc.gov and www.odh.ohio.gov

There are other vaccines that are required for entry into school, but are not discussed here since they are routinely given as part of your child’s pediatric visits as babies and/or young children.