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World Pneumonia Day, November 12, 2021. By Our Student Pharmacist, Khoi Dang.

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs which can cause inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, 1.5 million people were diagnosed with pneumonia in an emergency department during 2018. Unfortunately, more than 40,000 people died from the disease that year in the United States. Most of the people affected by pneumonia in the United States are adults.

Pneumonia could be caused by a bacteria or a virus.

In the US, the most common causes for viral pneumonia are influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), or, more recently, SARS-Cov-2.

For bacteria, the most common cause of community acquired pneumonia is Streptococcus Pneumoniae.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

Symptoms of pneumonia are very similar to bronchitis. The picture below from Medical News Today did a great job of differentiating the two disease:

bronchitis vs pneumonia


  • Physical exam:
    • The doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs. Patients with pneumonia usually have crackling, rumbling sounds when they inhale.
  • Diagnosis tests:
    • Blood Test: to confirm the infection as well as the source.
    • Chest X Ray: to look at where the disease is and how severe it is.
    • Pulse oximetry: to check your oxygen saturation. Pneumonia could prevent you from breathing effectively, so having the oxygen saturation will give the doctor an idea of how severe your case is.
    • Sputum Culture: the doctor will take a sample of your sputum after a deep cough. This is to look for the source of infection.


  • Antibiotics: remember to finish all the antibiotics to prevent resistance.
    • NOTE: if the doctor suspects or confirms that the source of the infection is viral, antibiotics will not help and should not be prescribed.
  • Tylenol, NSAIDS (ibuprofen or naproxen), aspirin will help with any fever or pain.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to loosen the mucus, preferably warm liquids.
  • Do not take any cough suppressing medications, since coughing is a way the body expels harmful bacteria. If the cough prevents you from resting, Delsym will help with the symptoms.
  • Get plenty of rest. The best way to fight off infection is to give your body time to recuperate and regain the lost energy to fight back against the disease.


  • Wash your hands:
    • The most common infection route is from touching dirty hands to nose and mouth. Washing hands is the most effective way to prevent infections which could lead to pneumonia
  • Get vaccinated: receiving vaccines could reduce the risk of infections leading to pneumonia. These vaccines include:
    • Flu Vaccine: as discussed above, influenza is one of the causes of viral pneumonia.
    • Pneumococcal vaccine: the vaccine can prevent infections from 23 pneumococcal bacteria chains, the most common bacteria for bacterial infections. There are two types of pneumonia vaccine. Please talk to one of our friendly pharmacists for their recommendation.
    • Tdap: this vaccine could prevent pertussis or whooping cough. Tdap is recommended every 10 years.
  • Don’t smoke:
    • Smoking will damage your lungs and weaken your immune system; as a result, you are more likely to catch an infection that leads to pneumonia. If you have any questions about how to stop smoking, whether you are ready to quit smoking or not, please talk to our friendly pharmacists.


Please Welcome Our Student Pharmacist for November, Paul Matheke.

professional pic

This month, we are joined at Plain City Druggist by Paul Matheke, a fourth-year pharmacy student from The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy.

Paul will graduate in May 2022 with his PharmD degree and will then take the test to become a registered pharmacist. Paul will be with Meghan, Tayler, and the staff here in Plain City throughout November, so please stop by and meet him while he is here.

Here is what Paul tells us about himself:

My name is Paul Matheke and I am a fourth year PharmD student at Ohio State. I am originally from Columbus; my hometown is Gahanna. I went to Ohio State for undergrad. Some hobbies and interests of mine are playing the bass guitar, collecting vinyl records, and tennis.
My interest in healthcare started in high school; however, I did not know what area of healthcare I wanted to be involved with. As a senior, I decided to start volunteering at Riverside Methodist Hospital. At Riverside, I got to see all aspects of patient care in a hospital. I found I was most drawn to patient care from the side of medication therapy. Naturally, I sought out pharmacists and discussed the possibilities in pursuing a career in pharmacy. Two of my cousins are pharmacists and their advice helped solidify my choice to major in pharmaceutical sciences.
During undegrad,  I enjoyed researching the diversity of the field and amount of pathways one could take. Eventually, I TA’d a course for the college of pharmacy where I gave lectures about the pharmaceutical field. This experience helped me begin to realize that my passions for pharmacy not only lied in patient care, but also in industry and regulation.
Once I entered pharmacy school, I continued to pursue opportunities and experiences that would continue to give me a look into the niches of pharmacy I may want to work in one day.  I worked in the community setting and in the medication therapy management setting which helped open my eyes to how intertwined regulation and pharmacy are. After a rotation in managed care with the State of Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, I confirmed my passion for regulatory affairs. I enjoy the intersection of the law and pharmacy and how it shapes not only medication available to patients but also how it affects pharmacists’ scope of practice.

As a future pharmacist, I hope to work in this intersection of law and pharmacy in the area of regulatory affairs. I would like to work in a way that makes it easier for pharmacists to give and patients to receive high-quality care. One area of policy that I am passionate about is the issue of drug pricing and how it affects patients. Our current system has its strengths and weaknesses and one day I would like to contribute my efforts to shaping new initiatives and policies that improve our current system.

Please Welcome Khoi Dang Our Student Pharmacist at Karl Road for the Month of November.


This month, we are joined at Happy Druggist on Karl Road by Khoi Dang, a fourth-year pharmacy student from The Ohio State University’s College of Pharmacy.

Khoi will graduate in May 2022 and will then take the test to become a registered pharmacist. Khoi will be with Kristie and the staff on Karl Road throughout November, so please stop by and meet him while he is in the store in Columbus.

Here is what Khoi tells us about himself:

Hello, my name is Khoi Dang. I am currently a fourth-year pharmacy student at The Ohio State University. This month, I am honored to have my community rotation with Dr. Kristie Holliday at Happy Druggist Pharmacy on Karl Road.

I was born and raised in Vietnam and moved to the US when I was 17-years-old. I, then, completed my senior year of high school in California. After that, I moved to Seattle to complete my bachelor’s degree in Biology, specializing in Cellular and Molecular Development at the University of Washington before coming to The Ohio State University for my four year pharmacy school experience.

While I was studying for my bachelor’s degree, I had an opportunity to work as a pharmacy technician at Rite Aid pharmacy, where I saw a lot of distressed, underserved patients experience the frustration of not getting their medications (whether because of insurance issues or lack of communications from the physician’s office). My mentor at Rite Aid did a very good job at helping patients understand what steps needed to be taken in order to receive the medications. He piqued my interest in pharmacy. After about a year and a half working there, I decided to pursue pharmacy as my career. After five years working at community pharmacy, I am devoted to helping patients any way possible.

My initial career goal was working at Giant Eagle as a community pharmacist (where I am currently an intern). However, after my two hospital rotations at Fairfield Medical Center and Doctor’s Hospital, I saw the importance of pharmacists in hospitals. I also realized that the transition of care after patients are discharged and the disease management when they are at home creates a lot of issues. As a result, I want to bring my experience in community pharmacy and apply that in hospital settings in order to help patients receive the best care possible. In order to do that, I will pursue a PGY1 residency, hopefully in Ohio.

Outside of work and school, I am an introvert. I like spending time relaxing at home, listening to music, playing computer games, or watching anime. I also love playing badminton, so my friends and I are trying to play at lease once or twice a week.

October is Healthy Lung Month. By Our Student Pharmacist, Fatima Shah.


Every October is Healthy Lung Month where healthcare organizations and communities strive together to increase awareness and education on lung health.

Our lungs play a huge role in regulating our body. They provide our body with oxygen which in turn sustains us for our daily needs and activities. Our body has a natural defense system which protects the lungs from germs, allergens, and pollutants. However, there are some ways to reduce the risk of lung complications or diseases in the future.

  1. Stop Smoking:

Cigarette smoking is a major cause of lung cancer and respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking can limit daily activity and cause difficulty breathing. Smoking cigarettes can narrow the lung’s airway passages due to inflammation of the lungs. Cigarettes also contain carcinogens that can further lead to lung cancer.

There are a variety of smoking cessation products available that can help individuals quit smoking. Your doctor or pharmacist can guide you with appropriate prescription medications or over-the-counter products for smoking cessation.

  1. Avoid exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants:

Minimizing exposure to secondhand smoke, chemicals, and allergens can help prevent lung diseases and stop the worsening of some lung conditions.

  1. Prevent Infections:

It is important to prevent respiratory illnesses and infections especially during the pandemic since this puts a strain on the lungs.

There are several things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Avoid crowded areas especially during the flu season.
  • Get vaccinated every year against the flu. Talk to your healthcare provider if you need a pneumonia vaccine. Also, the covid-19 vaccine is an option to protect yourself from covid-19.
  1. Exercise:

Being physically active can help strengthen your lungs and keep them healthy. It is recommended to exercise at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days per week.

  1. Get Regular Health Screenings:

Regular check ups with your doctor can help prevent diseases. Getting your lungs and breathing checked with your healthcare provider is important even if you are feeling well.


Tips to keep your lungs healthy. Tips to Keep Your Lungs Healthy | American Lung Association. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/wellness/protecting-your-lungs. Accessed October 25, 2021.



COVID Booster Vaccines. By Our Student Pharmacist, Fatima Shah.

On October 21, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that certain people are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, including those who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines.

The Director, Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccines in certain populations.

Here are the updates:

For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:

  • 65 years and older
  • Age 18+ who live in long term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic Kidney Disease
    • Chronic Liver Disease
    • Chronic Lung Diseases such as Asthma, COPD, etc.
    • Dementia or other neurological diseases
    • Diabetes (Type I and II)
    • Down Syndrome
    • Heart Conditions
    • HIV infection
    • Immunocompromised individuals
    • Mental Health Condition
    • Overweight and Obesity
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
    • Smoking, current or former
    • Solid organ or blood stem transplant
    • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
    • Substance use disorder
    • Tuberculosis
  • Age 18+ who work or live in high risk settings:
    • First responders (e.g., healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
    • Education staff (e.g., teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
    • Food and agriculture workers
    • Manufacturing workers
    • Corrections workers
    • U.S. Postal Service workers
    • Public transit workers
    • Grocery store workers

For Individuals who received J&J/Janssen vaccines, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. The CDC is now permitting mix and match dosing of boosters.

Here is the FDA’s recommendation on how to “mix and match” on booster doses:

A single booster dose of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines may be administered as a heterologous booster dose following completion of primary vaccination with a different available COVID-19 vaccine. The eligible population(s) and dosing interval for a heterologous booster dose are the same as those authorized for a booster dose of the vaccine used for primary vaccination.

We are still awaiting official recommendations/guidelines from the ACIP.

IF you are eligible and want to make your appointment for a booster vaccine (or check to see if you are eligible), go to:
Answer the questions there and make your appointment. Put in your zip code and you can find places that offer each of the types of vaccines.
We have Johnson and Johnson at Plain City (43064), Mechanicsburg (43044), and West Jefferson (43162).
Happy Druggist Karl Road has Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson (put in zip code 43229 and they should come up first to choose).


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