The War on Allergies: Best Strategies to Enjoy Spring

Allergy season is upon us! If you couldn't tell with the fine dusting of yellow covering every car, you may notice you are sneezing, have a sore throat, stuffy nose, and itchy eyes. It is time to battle these symptoms so you can frolic in the flowers, not sneeze at them. Here are some strategies to help you fight the yellow scourge this season.

PLAN YOUR DEFENSES

Pre-treatment is key. When you notice any flora blooming around you, start taking an over the counter allergy medication. If you treat before symptoms start you can dampen your symptomatic reactions. We have Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, Flonase, a multitude of Eyedrops, and more here in your local pharmacy. We will help you find what you need.

AVOID HONEY PROPAGANDA

Have you heard the theory that eating local honey can desensitize your bodies reactions the foreign invader known as pollen? Sorry to those of you looking forward to a spoonful of honey a day to keep the sniffles away but that theory is wrong. It is based on an Allergist's method of introducing a purified form of specific allergens into your system over time to lessen reactions. The problem is eating honey is not nearly as exact. Most seasonal allergy sufferers are allergic to weeds, grass and trees. Bees are harvesting pollen from a multitude of flowering plants and it is most likely not the specific pollen you are allergic to. So unless you can control the honey bee's harvesting practices, you are out of luck. 

POUR WATER UP YOUR NOSE

Using a nasal saline solution system like the Neti pot to flush your sinuses can help clear out those precocious pollen spores that keep irritating you. Warning: this is a specialized tactic and not something to do in front of prospective acquaintances or friends. Its not pretty but will get the job done so lock the door and get to pouring!

RETREAT!

Sometimes when the trees, weeds and grasses are conducting a full on attack you must return to home base. If you know you are allergic to a certain kind of flora, find out when it is pollinating. Stay indoors and utilize your air filtration system. Also, if you have to go outside, avoid mornings when trees tend to pollinate. 

CALL IN THE CALVARY

Quell your allergies with overwhelming force! Taking a medication like Singulair can block the actions of lukotrienes, which trigger mucus production and the tightening of airways. This is a more intense tactic with several possible side effects so talk to your doctor when considering this option.  Finally there is now SLIT or Sublingual Immunotherapy, which is basically the same multi-year treatment an Allergist can give you but with drops or tablets under your tongue instead of injections. Please note that it is an investment of both time and money as most insurance providers do not cover the multi-year treatment.

Now you are armed and ready for this fight. Do not go gentle and remember to utilize a combination of these tactics in your war on allergies this spring.

The Best Time To Get Your Flu Shot

It seems like everything is popping up earlier and earlier these days. Halloween items are all over the stores and you know that the endless stream Christmas music is not too far off. Tis' the season right? However, there is one thing we should hold off, getting the flu shot.

You may have seen advertisements for the flu vaccine in some of the national chain drugstores around town. While it is good to get the flu vaccine every year to maintain immunity, the efficacy of these shots is best further into the flu season. The season begins in October and lasts through May with the peak hitting between December and February.  It takes about two weeks for the average human to develop the antibodies to the influenza strains in the vaccine. Now here is the kicker, the immunity provided by the vaccine does fade over time. So if you get the vaccine too early you can see its effects waning in the tail end of the flu season right around the end of peak time.

"We call it waning immunity," Jorge P. Parada, M.D., a professor of medicine and director of the infection control program at Loyola University in Chicago, told Everyday Health. "If you get your flu shot in the beginning of September, you may start running out of protection by February or March, when the virus is still around.

There are many variables with waning immunity including age and immune system health. For older adults, another flu vaccine option is available called the “high-dose” vaccine, which is designed specifically for people 65 and older. This vaccine contains a higher dose of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody), which is intended to create a stronger immune response in this age group. For more information, see Fluzone High-Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Questions and Answers.

Whether you get the shot in December or tomorrow, it is better than not getting it at all. With over 40 million doses already having been distributed in the United States, we won't be running out anytime soon!

The CDC recommends that everyone older than 6 months of age get a flu vaccine every year. People with a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, allergies to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine or who are not currently feeling well should talk to their doctor before getting the shot. People younger than 2 or older than 49, pregnant women and people who are allergic to eggs cannot get the vaccine via nasal spray, while people with a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome and asthma should discuss the nasal spray with their doctor.

Top Ten Hydration Tips

BlufftonPharmacyDrinks

In the dog days of summer it is important to hydrate because you will lose fluids as you perspire. This is unavoidable when it is "96 degrees in the shade" and humid as all get out. But don't worry this doesn't have to be some huge undertaking. Keep your gallon water jug at home and follow these ten tips.

1. Drink when you are thirsty. And forget the old wives tales.

Hydration needs vary based on age, weight, gender, etc so a good way to know when you need some water is your thirst. The good news is being thirsty doesn't mean you are dehydrated. When a person experiences thirst it indicates only about 2% dehydration, which is not critical. So take a quick sip and get on with your day.

2. Eat some WATERMELON!

You can eat any multitude of fruits and vegetables and get some of your daily water intake. Watermelon is particularly delicious in the summer so I would go that route. Carrots, grapes, cucumbers, and spinach also have very high concentrations of water – over 90 percent. And you’re also getting health benefits like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

3. Coffee Counts!

So does tea. Conventional wisdom says anything with caffeine will dehydrate you but that is not the case. It does not make you evacuate any more that water. Now the extras like cream and sugar make this pack a bit more calories than water. However in moderation coffee is a great way to get some of your liquids.

4. So Does Soda!

Okay so it is not a great option because it packs a crazy list of ingredients and sugars. It is really quite unhealthy but sometimes you want a nice old fashioned coke on a hot day and that's okay. Just not everyday. Also maybe follow it up with a glass of water for good measure.

4. Drink it Cold!

Studies have shown that people prefer to drink cold beverages when working out and will drink more water if it is a bit colder. It doesn't really affect your internal workings if it is cold just makes you more eager to consume fluids!

5. Drink 2 Cups of Water BEFORE meals and lose a little weight!

A study published in 2011 in the journal “Obesity” reported that drinking about 2 cups of water before each meal aids in weight loss because it helped study subjects eat fewer calories during each meal.

6. Drink More Water if you are a Man!

The Institute of Medicine recommend that most women consume about 91 ounces—that’s actually about 9 cups of total water a day. Men need a bit more; about 125 ounces (or 13 cups) a day.

7. Exercisers Don't Need Sports Drinks

If you are working out for less than an hour, water is fine. Its only after the first hour that you need to replace sugar and sodium. Let's be honest how many of us even get to 15 minutes daily. If you are working out for more than an hour you are a beast, congratulations! Drink some Gatorade and stop flexing....

8. You Can't Really Over-hydrate so just go for it.

Is it possible to suffer from water-intoxication...yes. Is it probable no. So if you fear overdosing on liquids, chill. It happens when we drink past our thirst. So if you follow tip one you should do fine. It commonly happens to refueling marathon runners and has pretty clear symptoms like vomiting, headache and confusion. Just don't drink so much that you feel full from water.

9. Pale Yellow Pee Is the Way to Be!

In terms of pee color we don't really want clear or crayola crayon primary yellow. For optimal hydration a pale yellow like this is preferable.

10. There's an App for everything. Even hydration.

There are many free and paid apps to remind you to drink water daily. Can it be annoying, sure! But maybe that is just the kick in the tuchas you need. Waterlogged is free and pretty easy to use. It even works with the FitBit. So try it out if you find you aren't getting the hydration you need.

 

 

 

 

 

INDEPENDANCE DAY!

It's time to celebrate that great day when the thirteen colonies declared our independence from our mother country, England. Let's break out the hot dogs and hamburgers, some sparklers and don our red, white and blue! This is also a time when we as Americans can reflect on our most cherished values and evaluate whether or not they are being represented in our families, communities, and country.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These beautiful ideals which were so unheard of at their fruition grew into the prestigious country we have today. Yes there is still famine and strife within our borders but we persevere. We will continue to persevere because of our endless capacity for hope and change. We are human beings and as Charlie Chaplin famously said "We want to live by each others happiness- not by each others misery." So in this coming election season vote. In your community effect some change whether that be starting a new business, patronizing local businesses, or helping with any number of the non-profits that serve our Lowcountry. Be proud of our country, of the people who fight for it, and how staggeringly amazing it is that we have made it this far.

God Bless America! 

4 Simple Ways to Prevent Falls

Preventing Falls as You Grow Older

Written by Jim Sauter PharmD

Whether it simply bruises your ego or breaks a bone, taking a fall is no fun. Each year, one in three seniors 65 and older experiences a fall—a number that has grown in recent years. For people in this age group, falling is the leading cause of injury and injury-related deaths.

Whether due to concerns about independence or worrying others, fewer than half these people tell the doctor about their falls. That could add insult to injury because one fall often leads to another.

1. Don’t Keep It A Secret. 

Be upfront with your doctor—and with me. Provide details about when, where, and how you fell. We can help you pinpoint the problem and suggest changes you can make. For starters, falling might be due to:

·         A chronic health condition

·         An infection

·         A balance disorder

·         Vision problems

·         Muscle weakness

·         Medications

2. Stay Healthy

Fortunately, falls needn’t be a fait accompli. Even simple lifestyle changes can make a difference in preventing falls. This includes maintaining good physical condition with exercise, sleep, and nutrition.  Try to stay well hydrated with plenty of water and limit alcohol, which can slow your reflexes and throw you off balance.  Wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles and toss out the floppy slippers or shoes with slick soles.

With your doctor’s permission, engage in exercise that improves strength, flexibility, balance, and gait. This might include walking, yoga, water workouts, or tai chi—a gentle exercise that involves meditative movements. Is a fear of falling keeping you stuck in your easy chair? Your doctor may suggest physical therapy or a guided exercise program.

3. Review Your Meds

Here’s where I can really help. Make a list of your medications. Do any make you dizzy or drowsy? Your doctor and I can review this list with you, discuss any side effects you are having, and decide whether it makes sense to change your medications. Of course, don’t make any changes without first having a conversation with your doctor.

4. Make Changes On The Home Front

Here are a few more ways to help prevent falls at home:

·         Clean up spills right away.

·         Remove throw rugs.

·         Clear newspapers and electrical or phone cords from walkways.

·         Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and shower.

·         Put nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathroom.

·         Keep flashlights in easy-to-reach places.

·         Turn on lights before going up or down stairs.

·         Install handrails on both sides of stairways.4

Has your doctor suggested an assistive device such as a cane or walker—but your pride won’t quite allow it? It may help to focus on how this can keep you more independent. Other assistive devices can also help prevent falls. They include:

·         A raised toilet seat with armrests

·         Shower or tub grab bars

·         A shower seat and hand-held shower nozzle

                Remember to check our store for supplies to safe-proof your home. I can help point you in the right direction.

Avoid falls with a cane! It can be fun!

Avoid falls with a cane! It can be fun!


Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

The Crazy Old Days: Listerine

133 years ago Joseph Lawrence was beeboping in post-civil war era America and thought "Hey you know what would be great is an alcohol based surgical antisceptic with some other stuff like menthol...for the fresh smell!" Well, we can't be sure he was thinking about the smell but who knows? I mean I can't understand how he had the time to sit around inventing antiseptics, GET A JOB! Honestly. Its a good thing he came up with such a money maker because he wasn't such a looker either.

Exhibit A.

The most intense sideburns ever.

The most intense sideburns ever.

 

So he decides to name this cool invention of his Listerine after his doctor idol Joseph Lister who was all about reducing post-op infection with carbolic acid. If only my doctor idol had been around then! We could have all swished Ozerine in our mouths after a good brushing!

He brings Listerine to his pharmacist buddy Jordan Lambert (further proof pharmacists make the world go round). Lambert says "Hey I am gonna take Listerine and make it a star in my new pharmacal company!". It became sort of a catch all product as a surgical antiseptic, refreshing cigarette additive, floor cleaner, cure for gonorrhea, sweaty feet, the common cold, dandruff and soft corns. Ew.

Yeah it was crazy. Then Lambert's son Gerard comes in and says "Dad you suck at marketing, move over!" He invents the phrase "chronic halitosis" and markets it to young people/couples with the threat of perpetual loneliness due to bad breath. He forever cemented bad breath=bad life in the public consciousness. He was pretty bad. Like Michael Jackson Bad.

One whiff of your bad breath at the alter and that's it! I'm leaving

One whiff of your bad breath at the alter and that's it! I'm leaving

So that is why you can have such fresh breath today thanks to Gerard, Jordan, and Joe! Its also why you are so self conscious about your breath after you eat anything with garlic, onions, chocolate or coffee. So its really a toss up as to whether you should be happy right now. Let us know in the comments below!