Allergies and Eczema: Connected?

eczemaThe exact cause of eczema, also known as dermatitis, is not known by medical professionals. It’s a red rash that can appear on the skin anywhere on the body. Eczema can be genetic, but can also be triggered by any number of environmental and emotional factors.
 
There appears to be a link between eczema and allergic rhinitis (hay fever) as well as asthma. Dust and other irritants that cause allergies can also incite eczema. Also, researchers are now discovering: one third of children who have eczema also have food allergies.  So what’s the connection?

The Physical Explanation
The answer lies in your immune system, which works to rid the body of infection. When a person has an allergic reaction to something, the immune system is activated to fight the “attack”. This may cause a reaction in the form of nasal problems and/or skin issues such as eczema. This can occur between minutes or hours after contact with the irritating substance.

Susceptibility
The “atopic triad” refers to the link between hay fever, asthma, and eczema. It is possible, however, to have hay fever and eczema at different times in your life. Some people get one condition in their childhood and another as an adultOver a third of individuals who have childhood eczema develop hay fever as an adult. And, those with hay fever as children are more likely to develop atopic dermatitis, the most common adult form of eczema.

The Link Between Allergies and Eczema28761661_l_lo res
Eczema itself is not an allergy, it’s more like the sneeze or itchy eyes you get from an allergy. It can happen when exposed to food allergies, loose animal fur, pollen, dust, and seasonal changes. Eczema is far worse when food allergies incite the reaction in children. Studies have not shown adult reactions to be any worse.

Some research has been done on the connection between eczema and allergies. The prevailing theory is that the two are linked by a vulnerability in the individual’s skin. The irritating stimulus that incites the allergy causes the body to swell the skin. The white blood cells also release chemicals to try to regulate the allergens, which actually only irritates the location.

Remember, if you or someone you know needs help affording their prescriptions, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out our video:
wtree.us/video 

You can also look up your prescription savings with our card using the wtree.us/SavingsTool. Simply look up savings by drug name and zip code to find the best price at a pharmacy near you. 

Related Articles:
Don’t Sneeze Your Way Through Allergy Season
Allergies or a Cold?

By WHBlogger 

4/25/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

Hypothyroidism 101

thyroidDo you lack the energy to get through the day,? Have you put on a few pounds but not been overeating? Has your voice been slowly weakening?  Does the cold weather now bother you? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it is very possible that you have the early symptoms of hypothyroidism, also known as under-active thyroid disease.

What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a fairly common disorder in which the thyroid gland under produces the thyroid hormone. These hormones are produced and scattered all across your body. They help regulate your metabolism and energy levels. Low levels of thyroid hormones can affect your entire body. It starts with energy loss, but may lead to more serious problems in the future if left untreated.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Symptoms can be difficult to identify because they snowball over time. The more serious, long-lasting problems may include some of the following:

  • Depression38153221_l
  • Anxiety
  • Eczema
  • Skin Rashes
  • Constipation and Digestion Problems
  • Fatigue
  • Weight Gain
  • Menstruation Problems
  • Temperature Sensitivity
  • 32558857_lLowered Heart Rate
  • Goiter Growth (Also partially due to iodine deficiency)
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Arthritis
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased Muscle Mass
  • Difficulty Maintaining Proper Eating Habits
  • Swollen Tongue
  • Jaundice

Some conditions, like jaundice, may be very serious, especially if they are present in young children. Many of these symptoms can be related to other problems. Your doctor will need to order a blood test to determine if it’s hypothyroidism.

Causes
Hypothyroidism is most frequently caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune disorder where your body produces antibodies that assault the thyroid gland. Over time, thyroid hormone production gradually decreases.

There are a variety of other causes, which include iodine insufficiency, thyroid surgery, some psychiatric and cancer medications, radiation therapy, and more. Anything that affects your iodine level, like radioactive iodine treatments, can reduce hormone production because iodine is used to create the chemicals.

Hypothyroidism Treatment
If you have developed hypothyroidism, you will need medication to elevate your iodine levels to speed up hormone production. In the meantime, you will likely be prescribed a synthetic hormone. The medication you take will depend on whether you are taking other medications, which can sometimes interfere with the synthetic hormones. Luckily, hypothyroidism may be easily treated, but you will need to work with your doctor to ensure your hormone levels remain normal long-term.

Remember, if you or someone you know needs help affording their prescriptions, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out our video:
wtree.us/video 

You can also look up your prescription savings with our card using the wtree.us/SavingsTool. Simply look up savings by drug name and zip code to find the best price at a pharmacy near you. 

By WHBlogger 

4/28/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

The Importance of Checking Rx Prices

MEDICAL

Even with health insurance, prescription costs can build up fast. Many plans these days have a limited list of medicines that may be prescribed, pricey co-pays, or sometimes you have to meet a high deductible before your prescriptions are even covered. Take extra precautions before paying “an arm and a leg”. You could save as much as 75% with a little bit of investigative work. When filing a prescription, there are some important points to remember:

1. Retail drug prices vary by pharmacy.
Many people do not think of pharmacies as “retail” stores, but they are just like any other businesses operating within a competitive market. They set retail prices based on the wholesale prices and what they think their customers will pay, and generate a profit. It’s likely that you compare the price of toiletries from pharmacy to pharmacy; shopping for medications should follow the same routine. Ask your pharmacist to match the lowest price you find.

2. There may be less expensive generic or over-the-counter versions of your medication.
Ask your doctor if there is a generic version of your prescription, and if it is right for you.  It may also be available over-the-counter (OTC); look for the cheaper generic option. You should know that the Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card offers savings on many OTCs, if you have a signed prescription for them. 

3. Medicine offered online is often cheaper.
However, beware of fake online pharmacies. Go to www.fda.gov/besaferx to check if an online store is legitimate; also look for the NABP VIPPS seal. Google your drug’s name plus “discounts” to see if any online coupons, discounts and rebate offers are available. The downside to buying online is that you can’t talk to the pharmacist about intended effects, drug-drug interactions, etc.

4. Find the lowest price on your prescription before you even leave the house. Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 4.12.27 PM
Watertree Health’s Greatest Prescription Savings (GPS) tool allows you to look up the most up-to-date prescription savings with our card, at a pharmacy near you. Click “Check Rx Savings” at the top of this page or visit: Wtree.us/SavingsTool.

Remember, if you or someone you know needs help affording their prescriptions, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out our video: wtree.us/video .

Related articles: 
Navigate to Greatest Prescription Savings

By WHBlogger 

4/20/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

Can Stress Affect Your Physical Health?

None of us are immune to stress. It is your reaction to a situation that pulls you out of your comfort zone. Whether you feel the pressure of a deadline or are coping with a difficult life change, stress affects your mind and potentially your body. 

stressSome stress is beneficial (think: motivation at crunch-time), but too much may negatively impact your mental well-being and be damaging to your physical health long term.

Stress causes hormones to be released at the command of the nervous system. Among these hormones are adrenaline and cortisol. These chemicals are an evolutionary response designed to prime the body for immediate action, known as “fight or flight”. During this response, your heart races, blood pressure rises drastically, and your senses may become more focused.

31078090_lPhysical symptoms of stress.
Some of the physical symptoms developed from extended periods of heavy stress may include sleep problems, fatigue, and chronic headaches. However, it may be possible to relieve these symptoms and bring stress levels under control by seeking professional help. If you silently suffer through the stain of stress, much more serious problems may result. Here are some conditions that may be attributed to stress:

1. Heart Problems. Increased adrenaline, energy, and stress-eating all put strain on the heart. Heart problems may include hypertension (a chronic disease with no visible symptoms), stroke, and heart failure. Stress may increase blood pressure as well, putting you at risk of other organs failing, such as your kidneys and liver.

2. Weakened Immune System. Stress may suppress the immune system. A compromised immune system may exacerbate chronic problems like allergies, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases. You may be more susceptible to influenza, get sicker, and take longer to recover.

3. Skin Problems. Dryness, eczema, acne, and rashes often develop after prolonged, intense stress that may create negative habits, like scratching or rubbing, that make the problems worse.

4. Chronic Pain. Back pain, herniated discs, fibromyalgia, and muscular pain are all commonly associated with long periods of stress, during which time there is a constant flexing and release of muscles.

Although there are long-term effects of stress, they do not need to be permanent. There are ways to keep your stress in check: yoga, running, breathing exercises, diet, and therapy are just some of the ways to cope with stress. 

Remember, if you or someone you know needs help affording their prescriptions, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out our video:
wtree.us/video .

You can also look up your prescription savings with our card using the wtree.us/SavingsTool. Simply look up savings by drug name and zip code to find the best price at a pharmacy near you. 

Related articles:
Keep Your Stress in Check
Everything You Need to Know About Blood Pressure
Pain Management Without a Prescription
Get in Shape At Your Own Pace
Best Foods For Your Heart

By WHBlogger 

4/16/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

“Spring Clean” Your Life

It’s spring. It’s time to clear the clutter – physical and mental! The following are some ways to “spring clean” your life.

Edit your clothes: We recommend you go through your winter clothes to determine what youclothes donation didn’t wear or use last season. If it’s taking up prime real-estate in your closet, part ways. Now is also an opportunity to look at your spring and summer clothes with a discerning eye; styles and tastes do change. Don’t forget to make sure they fit!

You can always donate old clothes and other items to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or a local organization of your choice. (Tip: Ask for a receipt and save it for a tax write-off.)  If you have something of value, you can try to sell or trade it at stores such as Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, or Beacon’s Closet. As they say, your trash may be another person’s treasure.

Find your balance:  Also get rid of broken chairs, unused furniture, and knickknacks. Hold a garage sale or donate whatever is still usable. The biggest mistake people make is hanging on to old stuff that might be useful, one day, but probably not anytime soon.

Feng shui, a Chinese philosophy that connects your environment to your mental state, suggests that an ordered, cleaned home invites a nice cross breeze that may lighten your life.  Letting go of “stuff” can help ease your mind and make you feel more at peace. 

Face finances: Now’s a good time to have a spring awakening and really look at your spending. This way, you can get a sense of what summer plans you could make and what excesses in your life can be removed. For example, if you aren’t taking full advantage of that pricey gym membership, cancel it and embrace the outdoors. Make a new warm-weather reading bookworkout routine. 

If you commute, commute wiser: Try going a week replacing Candy Crush or Instagram with that book you’ve been meaning to read. If you look at a computer screen all day at work, your eyes may thank you for not staring at the screen of your phone.

Everyone can probably use a clean slate in at least one area of their life. It may help reduce stress and keep it from building. Being late for appointments, forgetting to pay the credit card bill, and spending three days in bed with the flu may sometimes tie back to stress. Taking small steps to reduce the physical and mental clutter can feel like a much-needed fresh start.

Remember, if you or someone you know needs help affording their prescriptions, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out our video:
wtree.us/video 

By WHBlogger 

4/14/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

Allergies or a Cold?

The symptoms of allergies and colds can be very similar, so it can be pretty difficult to tell them apart. Each can cause running noses, sneezing, possible headaches, and congested nasal cavities. Luckily, there are some differences that make it possible to tell whether or not what you have is contagious.sneezing

Colds often include some special “bonuses” that allergies rarely deliver, like coughs and sore throats. Seasonal allergies, on the other hand, can cause itchy eyes and soreness behind the front of the skull, which is unusual in the common cold. People who live in rural, pollen-laden areas or who get hay fever may experience these symptoms more severely. 

These differences are very slight. So much so that your family physician may even get the two mixed up. The following are a few, more concrete methods of telling the two apart.

1. Genetics
Studies have found that 30% of children develop allergies if one of their parents have them. If both parents have allergies, that number skyrockets to 70%. In addition to genetic predisposition, take note that most children rarely develop allergies until they are around five years old or later. Some may develop allergies as young as four. If your child is 3 or younger, they likely have a cold.

2. Season
Winter is the prime season for colds. Whereas pollen saturates the air during the spring and summer. Take note of whether or not you develop symptoms at the same time each year. An annual occurrence usually signifies allergies.

3. Mucus
Colored mucus, those beautiful yellows and greens, usually point to a cold. Allergies typically produce clear nasal drips. If a drip starts clear and becomes yellow-green after a few days, you may be developing a sinus infection.

How Colds and Allergies Affect Your Body
Viruses invade your body and then rapidly multiply to start colds. The immune system attacks them, causing congestion and coughing. The immune system engages in an actual battle against the cold, so the symptoms are typically more severe than allergies, and may cause more severe headaches, fever, and muscle cramps.

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Allergies, on the other hand, are caused by the immune system overreacting to some stimulus. Pollen, certain food chemicals, dust, sawdust, animal dandruff, and more can all cause the immune system to act up. This is why people with allergies take antihistamines, because histamines are the chemicals causing runny noses and sneezing.

WH_GPS_logo_web_LORESIf you take antihistamines, did you know that our free card could save you up to 50%? Now you can know your savings before you pick up your prescription by using the new Watertree Health GPS tool (wtree.us/savingstool). Just enter drug name and zip code to find the lowest drug prices at a pharmacy near you.

WatertreeHealth_pinterst copyRemember, if you or someone you know needs help affording their prescriptions, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577.  The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out our video: wtree.us/video 

Related article:
 http://www.watertreehealthcard.com/dont-sneeze-way-spring/ 

By WHBlogger 

4/09/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover

Navigate to Greatest Prescription Savings

By Shane Power, President of Watertree Health

WH_GPS_logo_webSusan Tompor’s recent column (“RX: Can free discount cards offer savings?”) highlighted comparison shopping as one of the best ways for consumers in Detroit to answer the question “can I save money on my medications?” However, we think the bigger question that should be addressed is “can I afford this medication?” Many people don’t even go to the pharmacy to drop off prescriptions because they assume they won’t be able to pay for them. Further, according to recent research, 1 in 4 people don’t pick up their prescriptions due to cost.

Instead of going from pharmacy to pharmacy or calling around to determine the price of a medication, we have another option: the Watertree Health GPS. It’s an online tool that helps locate the Greatest Prescription Savings on your medications in your local community. Simply entering a zip code and a drug name provides a list of discounted prices at pharmacies near you, and the savings you’ll achieve with the Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card.

Too many people in Detroit do not fill or pick up their prescriptions at the pharmacy because of steep costs—resulting in their cycle of health not improving. The Watertree Health GPS and Prescription Discount Card can help address this issue and show people with or without insurance that medications can be affordable.

Autism Therapies

April 1, 2015 kicked off Autism Awareness Month. According to the CDC, about 1 in 88 people are born with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Despite how common it is, treatments for autism continue to be a challenge for many parents and professionals. There is no “cure” for autism; however, there are therapies that may help improve the symptoms and bring healing, happiness, and increased self-awareness to people with autism. Today, we’ll highlight some of the therapies available.

Surf Therapy surfer girl
Some people have found that the ocean may have a calming effect on people with autism. The unique properties of the water and the energy of the waves have been shown to improve developmental skills. Social interaction, self-regulation, speech, motor-skills, strength and coordination are just a few areas that are likely to improve as a result of ocean therapy and surfing. 

One pioneer organization, Surfers Healing, teaches children with autism to surf, for free. The founders of Surfers Healing state they are “challenging preconceived notions of capability” when they teach children with ASD to surf. The “weightlessness and rhythm of the ocean” may help these kids deal with the sensory overload they often experience on land. The organization uses this non-traditional therapy to focus on raising the confidence levels of kids with autism, and uniting them with peers who also enjoy surfing. This increases social interaction and may help these children embrace their unique gifts.

Animal-Assisted Therapygirl and cat
Autism spectrum disorder experts are catching onto the benefits of animals for kids with autism. Experts agree that caring for an animal increases their gross and fine motor skills, care-taking skills, and emotional awareness. Therapists participating in animal-assisted therapy find that it is fun for these kids, so they’re more likely to participate.

Animal therapy helps children with autism work on their eye contact, shifting their gaze from the animal to the therapist to share the enjoyment of animal interaction. Petting or caring for an animal may decrease self-stimulatory behavior, such as hand-flapping, rocking, tongue-clicking, and similar actions. Animal therapy benefits children with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s in that it may widen their interests and provide one to share with neurotypical children: a love for pets.

Sensory Integration Therapyball pit
Autism’s symptoms often include sensory-overload from certain textures, sounds, smells, tastes, brightness and movement. Sensory integration therapy, as practiced by occupational therapists, uses play activities in ways designed to change how the brain reacts to touch, sound, sight and movement. For example, for a child who hates touching food, the goal might be to decrease touch sensitivity so the child can comfortably eat a meal. “The rationale is that by changing how sensations are processed by the brain, we help children with autism make better sense of the information they receive and use it to better participate in everyday tasks,” says Roseann Schaaf,  lead researcher in recent study funded by Autism Speaks

These three therapies are just a few of many options available for parents who have a child with autism. For more information on treating autism, visit: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment. 

Remember, if you or someone you know needs help affording their prescriptions, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out our video: wtree.us/video 

By WHBlogger
 

4/02/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.