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Posts Tagged ‘CDC’

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

Hot_Weather

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.

signs-of-dehydration-001

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.

Heat_Illness

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!

References:

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

Image Sources:
https://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/phobia/images/6/69/Hot_Weather.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/1000?cb=20161109044912
https://www.fix.com/assets/content/19035/signs-of-dehydration-001.png
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/heat-illness.shtml

It’s Not Too Late To Get A Flu Shot!!

flu-shot-infographic-picture

It’s not too late to stop in the pharmacy and get a flu vaccine.

Flu season often starts in October and runs all the way in to May. Peak flu season is usually between December and February! So even if you are thinking it’s too late for the vaccine, it is not. In fact, since it takes about two weeks to develop the antibodies to fight off the flu, the sooner you come by, the sooner your body can begin working to fight off flu germs.

No one wants to be sick during the holiday season and one of the best defenses against that is getting a simple vaccine.

Sometimes, people say that the last time they received the flu vaccine, they became ill. The flu vaccines cannot give you the flu. However, if you have encountered the flu before getting your vaccine and then you are vaccinated, it may seem like there was a cause and effect relationship. The real reasoning behind this, however, is that it takes two weeks for your immune system to be able to fight off the flu. If you encounter the flu before then, your body is not ready with the necessary antibodies and you may become ill. But the flu vaccine was not the culprit.

Getting the flu vaccine saves lives. As the infograph below explains, in 2012-2013, the vaccine prevented 6.6 million flu-related illnesses and 79,000 hospitalizations!

If you have any questions about getting your flu vaccine, please ask to speak to Jennifer, Joe, Mark, or any of our other pharmacists.

You can also gain more knowledge by reading several interesting articles on the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) web site:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/general/factsheet-whats-new-2016-17.pdf
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/current.htm

 

flu_vaccinate_infographic

Travel Healthy. By Ken Hecht, Our January Student Pharmacist, Who Will Soon Be Traveling on to Other Pharmacy Rotations.

There are numerous ways your local pharmacy can help you–probably some ways you’ve never even considered.

Our pharmacists and interns have a wealth of knowledge that we want to share. Typically, we answer questions about prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, insurance concerns, and immunizations – by the way, it is not too late to stop in and get your annual flu vaccination!

However, I wanted to share a topic with you where we can help answer questions and provide guidance that you might not have thought about—preparing for International travel. Having recently had the opportunity to travel outside the country, I thought I would discuss how I used my pharmacy and healthcare resources to help prepare for my vacation.

When traveling, with regard to medications, you want to make sure you will have enough of both prescription and over-the-counter medicine for the duration of your trip. In addition, depending on what part of the world you are traveling to, checking your vaccination status is important to help ensure that you stay healthy throughout your travels.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a spectacular website devoted to travel health information (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel). While this information can be essential, you may want the help of a healthcare provider, such as your pharmacist, to aid you in making sense of the vast amount of information provided.

First, the CDC recommends that you begin preparations 4 to 6 weeks in advance of traveling. This allows ample time to plan a visit with your healthcare providers to get any prescriptions, vaccinations, or vacation overrides for insurance plans, as well as take care of other logistics prior to departure.

On the CDC travel site, there is a “For Travelers” section. Here you can indicate your destination and even some additional information about yourself, such as if you are traveling with children, any chronic diseases you have, whether you will be aboard a cruise ship, if the trip is an extended stay/study aboard, if you are immune compromised or pregnant, if the trip is for mission/disaster relief, and if you are visiting friends or family.

For example, if I were traveling to Haiti and checked off that I were on a mission/disaster relief trip, the following information would be provided under “Vaccines and Medicines”:

All Travelers: Routine vaccinations (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/routine)

Most Travelers: Hepatitis A vaccine, anti-malarial medication, Typhoid vaccine

Some Travelers: Hepatitis B, Rabies, Yellow fever vaccinations

With this information in hand, I can now look and see if there are any gaps in my vaccination history or any preventative medications I would need prior to my trip.

In this example, if I were up-to-date on my vaccinations, I would only need prescriptions for anti-malarial medications and a Typhoid vaccination (Fun Fact: for those of you who have a fear of needles – the Typhoid vaccination has a capsule formulation that can be taken orally and your local pharmacy can order).

Since I would need prescriptions from my physician, I would probably need to schedule a doctor’s appointment. This is why the CDC recommends preparing 4 to 6 weeks ahead of a trip. It gives you time to make appointments and allow your body to build up antibodies if you do receive a vaccination.

The information continues with the following sections:

Stay Healthy and Safe” – highlights safe behaviors while traveling.

Travel Health Notice” – lists pertinent health warnings.

After Your Trip” – provides suggestions on managing illness after your trip and when to see a doctor.

Healthy Travel Packing List” – provides a comprehensive list of prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as medical supplies that might be helpful to have while traveling. Furthermore, it is this section where your pharmacist will be able to help you with your medication checklist to ensure you travel safely.

The information shared in this example is only a fraction of the information available on the CDC website. The CDC travel site contains more on travel and vaccination and I recommend, whether you are preparing for a trip to a foreign country or are simply interested in a certain part of the world, that you take a closer look at the website. If you have any questions about travel and how your pharmacy can help – please do not hesitate to ask!

With the help of resources such as the CDC Travel website and my local pharmacy, my wife and I were able to enjoy safe travels on our honeymoon cruise in December 2013.

I wanted to share a couple of photos from that trip. First, is the two of us in front of our ship – Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas – in Labadee, Haiti. Second, is a pharmacy storefront in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

Happy, healthy travels!

The Flu and You, Part 1: Why Should (Almost) Everyone Get a Flu Shot Every Year? By Our September Student Pharmacist, Rich Carter.

Well, that time is now upon us again.

What’s that Rich? Are you talking about Buckeye football season? Or the major league baseball race to the playoffs?

No, I am talking about flu (shot) season! It is now time to start thinking about flu shots. Scratch that–it is now time to come in and get your flu shot or schedule an appointment if that would make your life easier. The flu shots are here–hot off the press!

There is a fair amount of talk out in the community regarding different kinds of shots and what type of shot may or may not be the best for you. We are here to help you with those decisions and make your flu shot experience as seamless and painless (well almost) as possible. Over the next couple of weeks, you and I are going to go on a short journey. We are going to cover some frequently asked questions and try to dispel some myths and misinformation regarding the flu shot. I will try to ‘arm’ you with the most up-to-date and proper information so that you can make informed decisions about your healthcare. As always, if you have any questions regarding any immunizations, don’t hesitate to call and ask us. We are here to help you!

Ok, without further adieu…

Why should I get a flu shot?

I am glad you asked that question! The flu, or Influenza, is a serious disease. The flu can lead to hospitalization and occasionally even death. Sometimes, people who are normally very healthy can get the flu and become very sick. It is estimated that up to 49,000 people suffered from a flu-related death between 1971 and 2007. Besides being potentially deadly, the flu is no picnic!

Flu symptoms can include:

  • Fever/chills
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Runny or stuffy nose

Some people may become sicker than others, but, typically, the people (or family members of these individuals) who must be the most careful are:

  • Young children
  • Individuals over 65
  • Pregnant Women
  • People with certain health conditions, such as heart, lung, or kidney disease or a weak immune system

If you are in any of these groups or have a loved one in these groups, then both you and this person should get the flu shot. If you are not in any of these groups or don’t know anyone in these groups, then you may need to get outside, meet people, and stop living in a van down by the river. Seriously, though, you should get the flu shot also, both to protect you and those around you.

I got the flu shot last year, so why do I need to get another one this year? I paid attention in biology class and they said that your immune system is capable of ‘remembering’ viruses so that it can defend against them in the future (sometimes years).

I say to you, first of all, great job for paying attention in biology class, because you are absolutely right, your immune system can remember a virus, sometimes for your entire lifetime. The problem is that the flu is always changing. Most of the time all three (or sometimes four) of the flu strains that the shot covers change every year. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) runs complicated studies to determine which flu strains are the most deadly and which are the most likely for you to encounter. Then, the CDC picks three to create a combination vaccine, which will maximize your protection for the year.

That is all for this week. Look for Part 2 next week as we will explore more of the information, myths, and legends of the flu shot. Additionally, if you want more information, all of the info I have given you and much more is available at www.cdc.gov/flu/.