How can I Safely Store and Dispose of My Medicines?

drugs

Continuing Series: Questions from Consumers …

This year, April 30, 2016 was National Drug Take-Back Day. According to the FDA, this day allows people across the country to safely dispose of unused or old medicines by dropping them off at designated sites. The goal is to reduce the number of cases of prescription drug abuse and prescription drug overdose, by lowering the availability of potentially lethal medicines that remain stored in medicine cabinets long after they are needed.

How you can help
It is alarming to note that, while we have a better chance of surviving diseases and conditions that were once a death sentence, the development of more effective prescription treatments has come with a price–medicines ending up in the wrong hands. But we can all alter the trend by doing our part to ensure this doesn’t happen, by storing and disposing of medicines safely.

Not only should we remember to store prescription medicines safely out of the reach of children and pets, but we must also not forget to get rid of medicines that are no longer necessary or that have passed their expiration date, to avoid misuse.

A good way to begin is to do a personal inventory of what’s in your medicine cabinet. Ask yourself – “Are my prescription medicines stored within easy access to anyone other than myself?” If your answer is “yes”, find a better place that will not encourage others to abuse your needed medicines.

If you are taking prescription painkillers (such as oxycodone) or other medical opioids, place them where only you can get to them.

DEA-Drug-Takeback

While the National Drug Take-Back program was only a one-day event, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us all, that we can practice safe disposal every day. And here are a few ways (courtesy of  WikiHow.com/Dispose Of Unused Medications):

  • Check disposal information that comes with your medicine first.
  • Check for a local take-back program in your community.
  • — Call your local hospital, pharmacy, or emergency rooms (they occasionally collect usable supplies and medications for donation out-of-country).
  • — Call your local trash service – they might have options for disposal.
  • — Check organizations that accept donations of unused medications for needs in developing countries.
If these options are not available, then you may follow these easy instructions for disposing medicines in the household trash as provided by the FDA:
  • Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules), with an unpleasant smelling or messy substance, for example: used kitty litter or coffee grounds are good choices.
  • Place the mixture in a sealed container (plastic zip bag), before throwing in trash.
  • Consider pouring ammonia or Clorox on medicines before placing them in the trash.
  • Throw liquid medicines in an absorbent material (kitty litter) place in plastic bag and dispose in trash.
  • Remove labels from all used pill bottles and containers before throwing empty ones away.

Avoid flushing medications down a drain or toilet – make this a very last resort and only if your medication is on the FDA approved list for flushing. Let’s do our part to protect our water supply while preventing drug misuse. Check with the  for the date of the next National Drug Take-Back Day and with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy for additional information on how they are helping with key initiatives.

Remember, keep your medicines out of easy access to anyone, at anytime, except yourself.

References: FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Protection, WebMD, Medicine.net, WikiHow, NABP.net

By WHblogger
04/29/14

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 health care provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.

A Superfood – The Avocado

imgres1

Did you know that there are over 100 different types of avocados and that they are said to have originated in Mexico? Also, the ahuacatl–the Aztec word for avocado–is not a vegetable, though we tend to use it as such?  It is really a fruit.

Avocados are plentiful and grow all along Central and South America as well as throughout the Caribbean Islands. The first U.S. avocado tree was planted in Florida in the early 1800’s. Today, it’s California that leads the country’s production of a wide variety of the fruit, placing the U.S. among the top three producers worldwide. One of the more popular varieties is the Hass avocado with consumption now averaging in the billions, here in the U.S. alone.

The popularization of the avocado in today’s foodie culture is due in large part to a highly successful marketing campaign sponsored by the growers. Foodies love avocados because they are a wonderful substitute for meat in a sandwich or in salads, or any variety of new ways the fruit is being used to add taste to various dishes.

As much as this pear-shaped fruit has now become an important agricultural commodity in this country, its true value is in the health benefits it delivers. You see, the avocado, as one article describes it, is a nutritional powerhouse. The avocado is jam packed, full of:

avocados

Additionally, the avocado is rich in fiber, low in sugar and high in protein. Early studies reveal that the avocado may actually reduce the risk of diabetes, strokes, coronary artery disease and cancer. Additionally, it seems the avocado’s high levels of monounsaturated fats, phytosterols, antioxidants and carotenoids help in reducing the inflammation affiliated with arthritis. As well, these carotenoids are thought to protect against eye diseases such as cataracts and degenerative eye disease.

The avocado has been elevated to “superfood” status because of the antioxidants, amino acids and essential oils it contains, which are said to do everything from repairing damaged hair, moisturizing dry skin, treating sunburns and minimizing wrinkles, in addition to all of the ways it can prevent or reduce certain health issues. Add to that the fact that it tastes good too and you could in fact say that the avocado is one of nature’s most perfect products.

If you are on prescribed medications for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.

References: What’s Cooking America, Agricultural Marketing Research Center, Hass Avocado Board, Medical News Today, Huffington Post, www.Medical.nyu.edu, Health Magazine.

By WHblogger
04/25/14

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 health care provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.

Get in Shape, At Your Own Pace

exercise

In less than 60 days summer will officially begin, and you can almost hear the sound of sweat beads falling as people rush to get in shape. There are a number of different reasons so many individuals will find themselves running, lifting, climbing, biking, and dieting. But no matter what your reason for getting into shape, it should all be done safely. Whether the choice is to diet or to work out – or both, at the end you want to feel better than when you started.

We are not all made equal. You know your body best and you know your limits. If you have just decided to start jogging – don’t expect to run a marathon on your first day, your first week or maybe even your first month. It’s always best to pace yourself. And that goes for dieting as well. Consult your health professional before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments, or have any health concerns that might preclude certain activities or include diet restrictions.

Once you’ve determined that you are ready to get started, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Set a fitness goal
  • Formulate a workout plan
  • Do a reality check (be honest with yourself about how fit you are)
  • Seek support (get a workout friend)
  • Eat right (to optimize the benefits of your exercise)

Importantly, start slow and build your stamina. That’s true for any form of activity you decide to take on. What you want to avoid is increasing your chances of injury. Don’t make it a chore; make it something you look forward to doing and that’s achieved when you find the activity that really motivates you. Remember that you have a wide variety of choices.

Experts also suggest that you cross-train at least once per week (e.g., runners could take a Pilates class, etc.).

fruit-and-vegetable-group

If you decide to change up your diet to include more healthy foods, don’t go from steak and potatoes to a vegan diet overnight. Gradually introduce new, nutritious and tasty foods into your daily menu. Here again, starting slow will make it easier to stick to it and achieve better outcomes. With summer comes an assortment of fruits and vegetables that are both delicious and good for you. It is the perfect time to start changing up your menu – adding fresh fruits, salads, roasted summer vegetables, or raw veggie platters.

Here are a few tips from the Public Health Agency:

  • Plan meals in advance
  • Make a shopping list and stick to it
  • Don’t shop when you are hungry
  • Reduce your portions
  • Snack on raw veggies or fruits in between meals
  • Reduce alcoholic beverages, they tend to be high in calories
  • Swap sugary drinks for water, or natural juices

The road to success is ahead of you, but remember that change does not happen overnight, it’s gradual. Don’t give up because you don’t see immediate results. Gradual change is a good indication that it will be more permanent. Now let’s get out there and move.

If you are on prescribed medications for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request your card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.

References:  Public Health, Foot Doctors Colorado, WebMd, Redbook, Shape Magazine

By WHBlogger
04/22/2014

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 health care provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.

 

Same Prescription, Different Prescription Prices. Can that Be Right?

Continuing Series: Questions from Consumers …

cost-antidepressant-400x400-e1365527739165

There is a lot of confusion around the topic of retail prescription prices. For example, why the exact same prescription can vary in price depending on the state and city you live in, the day on which you purchase and the pharmacy or drugstore you use, even if they are located on the same block or next to each other. Before answering this question, here are a few key facts.

The Facts:

  • 133 million Americans or 1 in 2 adults has at least one chronic illness.
  • At least 70% of Americans take one prescription medication.
  • More than 50% of Americans are on two or more prescription medicines.

The reasons cited for the varying prescription costs are usually focused on the “greedy pharmaceutical companies”, the drugstores and pharmacies and, of course, the government. However the factors that actually do contribute to these fluctuations are:

Cost of doing business
What a business must spend to stay in business is often influenced by where they are doing business, and how the local economy is trending. Add to that, the cost to the store, to purchase the medication from a manufacturer or distributor. This will influence the cost to consumers and will contribute to the flux in pricing by day, location and store.

Supply and demand
For example, consider that at the height of the flu season more people are going to be seeking out either the vaccine or other helpful prescription medicines like Tamiflu. This demand plays a factor on the cost of these drugs. As well, given this year a bad pollen season is predicted, we will most likely see the prices of prescription allergy medicines go up. So, more people needing or wanting specific medications drives demand, which impacts the availability of the drug, which then drives the cost change.

Negotiations between insurance companies and pharmacies
People with insurance, who don’t have flat (i.e., have varying) co-pays on their prescriptions, find that their costs go up and down as well. This is due in part to the reasons cited above but also, to the fact that their insurance company renegotiates with pharmacies.

This is just a broad stroke to get the conversation started. The complex network and the diversity of factors that contribute to what consumers end up paying for, whether generic or brand medicines, is a conversation that we hope to explore in this on-going multi-part series. According to several articles by medical professionals, “much more could be done to deal with the unregulated prescription drug prices pharmaceutical manufacturers are allowed to charge, and to establish fair and reasonable reimbursement costs for new medications.”

If you are on prescribed medications for any condition, and you need help affording your prescriptions, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request your card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.

Reference: Consumer Reports, medcohealth.com, The True Cost of Healthcare, CDC, Kevin MD, NYTimes

By WHBlogger
04/15/2014

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 health care provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.

Understanding Autism

tumblr_lgfncvZjzT1qg6bspo1_400

Seven years ago, April 2nd was designated as “World Autism Awareness Day.” It is a time when organizations around the globe, fundraise on behalf of on-going research to better understand this condition, and advance its treatment. It is also a day devoted to celebrating breakthroughs and milestones surrounding this disorder.

Last week, the Center for Disease Control released a report that put the number of children afflicted with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in this country, at 1 in 68. That is 30% higher than previously suspected. But what exactly is Autism and why does this disorder occur?

In the early 1940’s two doctors, one at John Hopkins University, Leo Kanner, and Hans Asperger in Germany began observing children that displayed certain “emotional or social problems.” Kanner termed the condition autism (from the Greek word “autos,” meaning self), to describe the tendency to withdraw, which was noticeable in the children he was studying. Around the same time, Asperger’s syndrome, named after Hans Asperger, was introduced into our vocabulary to describe a similar disorder.

For decades autism and schizophrenia were thought to be related, and patients were given similar treatments (electric shock and a variety of medications). With time and research, new information about autism has emerged, improving understanding of the disorder and influencing how it is treated.

Today autism is known to be a developmental disorder that affects more boys than girls and is most often identified in Caucasian children than Black and Hispanic children. Levels of intellectual ability vary greatly among children with autism, ranging from severe intellectual challenges to average or above average intellectual ability.

Experts stress that early diagnosis is the most important weapon in managing this disorder and in finding the appropriate course of treatment. Some of the symptoms can manifest themselves as early as the first 2 to 3 months in a child’s development. Children diagnosed with autism will generally have:

  • Social challenges
  • Difficulties communicating
  • A tendency toward repetitive behavior
  • Associated medical conditions such as –
  • — Genetic disorders
  • — Gastrointestinal disorders
  • — Seizure disorders
  • — Sleep dysfunction
  • — Sensory processing problems
  • — Pica (eating things that are not food)

Autism is a life-long condition; there are no easy answers or cures. But early screening can lead to a child receiving treatment that’s right for them. There is not one course of treatment that can be applied across the board. With so much more known about autism now, treatment aims at helping children become more productive, social and independent. Much of this can be achieved through behavior management and modification, as well as the use of a variety of services – therapy sessions, social skills training, special teaching and learning services.

Perhaps one of the most positive faces of autism, and one that has changed how many people perceive autism and the autistic, is Temple Grandin. A professor, an animal behaviorist, an engineer and a best-selling author, Temple also happens to be autistic. She has shown the world that being wired differently does not mean that there is something wrong with you. Through her story and the HBO movie about her life (starring Claire Danes), she has helped raise awareness and has inspired better understanding of people with autism.

Because the way our brains operate is still a mystery, there is a lot more research to do before we fully comprehend what causes this condition.

If you or your child are on a prescribed medication for any condition, and you need help affording your prescription, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request your card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.

Reference: The Elkhart Truth (4-2-14), AutismSpeaks.org, WebMD, cdc.gov, TedTalk.

WHBlogger
4/2/14

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 health care provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.

Don’t Sneeze Your Way Through Allergy Season

images

If you are anything like me, you are about ready for spring to begin. But if you are one of the estimated 50 million allergy sufferers in the U.S., you are also dreading the pollen that so naturally comes with this season.

Doctors across the country are already reporting that this could very well be one of the “harshest” pollen seasons due to the very long, hard winter we have just gone through (and in some cases, are still going through). Why is that? – you might ask. Well record amounts of snow on the ground created a lot of water for trees to drink, so this means that the pollen count once trees start to pollenate is going to be significantly high. Add to that the fact that moisture creates mold, so between the mold and the pollen – well you get the picture.

The question then is: what can we do about the conditions that are converging to make life for millions a little less pleasant?

According to a recent article, experts across the country are offering up some helpful advice (click here for full article):

PollenCount

  • Avoid dependency on the same medication; it will lose its effect as the body becomes more accustomed. Switch up if you rely on medicines.
  • Consider some natural alternatives. Studies found a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids could lessen allergy symptoms.
  • While some foods lessen symptoms, experts say other foods might be irritants that you might want to stay away from (like pollen, apples and melons, contain similar irritant proteins).
  • If you can, avoid activities during periods of the day when the pollen count is highest (5am- 10am), that would be helpful.
  • Check the daily pollen count to stay prepared, and if you can, limit outdoor activity. Good websites are: (Pollen.com) or (Weather.com)
  • Don’t have a computer – your local TV or radio news stations are good sources.
  • Keep windows closed at home, to keep pollen from entering.
  • Wash face and hair after coming in from the outdoors.
  • Try not to engage in things like mowing the lawn, raking leaves, etc. This tends to stir up pollen and molds.
  • Don’t dry your sheets and clothes outdoors.

In a ScienceDaily.com article, the Center for Disease Control suggests that you should know the difference between allergies, a cold, and flu symptoms because they often resemble one another and you need to know what you are treating. Check with your doctor if you are not sure. Generally pollen tends to cause “itchy eyes, nose and throat; sneezing; stuffy or runny nose, tearing or dark circles under the eyes.”

The reason for these reactions has to do with our body’s complex system of defenses against foreign intruders. Our body activates certain chemicals as a response. In this case histamine is released to fight the pollen that has been mistaken as an enemy. “The histamine travels through the blood and latches onto histamine receptors on other cells, causing them to swell. This inflammation causes many familiar allergy symptoms.”

There are generally three pollen seasons, which might be different depending on which part of the country you live in:

  • Early spring when cedar, birch, cottonwood and pine pollinate.
  • Late spring brings with it, grass-related allergies.
  • Summer through fall is hay fever season caused by weeds.

Those of us who have allergies know that there are year-round irritants as well. Ragweed can grow in most regions and in almost all environments, and is one of the biggest offenders and triggers for allergy sufferers.

Get your tissues ready; we are in for a bumpy ride. So, make sure you know what “you are allergic to so you can avoid those triggers.”

Don’t forget, you can use the Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card to get significant savings on many of the prescription allergy medications and on other prescribed medicines.

References: bonap.org, CounselHeal.com, PhillyMap.com, Consumer.healthday.com – Allergy Season Springs into Bloom (03/22/14)

By WHBlogger
3/30/14

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 health care provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.

Mission

Our Prescription Discount Card is 100% free because it is our mission to make health care products and services in America more accessible. By helping you save on prescriptions and building relationships with nonprofit organizations, we’re working to improve the health of communities across the country.