Humidifier Benefits: Defeat Dry Winter Air

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Maintain humidity levels and keep your humidifiers clean!

As temperatures drop, we all know it’s important to keep your home warm and comfortable. Unfortunately, your heating system may significantly dry the air in your home, which can aggravate your skin, sinuses, and throats. Not only is that uncomfortable, it can leave you vulnerable during cold and flu season. A room humidifier can provide numerous health and beauty benefits simply by adding moisture back into the air.

All humidifiers are great for clearing congestion and easing coughs, but some allow you to add essential oils that can help open sinuses or fill the room with a calming scent like lavender. If your budget is tight or you’re looking for a solution while shopping around for a humidifier, try placing a pan or bowl filled with water over your heater for an instant homemade humidifier. Read on to learn more about the advantages of a humidifier.

Some health benefits of a humidifier:

  • Relieves sinusitis: If the air is dry, your sinuses aren’t draining properly
  • No more nosebleeds: Keeping your nasal passages moist is key to preventing nosebleeds
  • Reduces the sound of snoring: The moisture from a humidifier keeps your throat from drying out so your snoring may not be as loud
    woman humidifer benefits

    Humidifiers can add moisture back to skin, lips, and hair.

Some beauty benefits of a humidifier:

  • Adds moisture to your skin and hair 
  • Relieves your dry and usually red eyes 
  • Keeps your lips from drying out and being chapped

Don’t forget, it’s important to keep your humidifier clean and change the filter as indicated. Dirty humidifiers can breed mold or bacteria. They can actually make you sick if they aren’t maintained properly or if humidity levels stay too high.

If you have allergies or asthma, talk to your doctor before using a humidifier.

Whether you’re fighting a cold or sore throat this season, or have regular prescription medications, the Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card can help you and your loved ones save money. To get a card, simply click on the “Get Your Free Card” link at the top of the page. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how our free Prescription Discount Card works, check out this short FAQ video: wtree.us/video 

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

By WHBlogger
 


12/9/2015 
Updated: 11/30/18

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.

Give a Meal This Holiday Season

What is food insecurity? The government uses this term broadly to refer to hunger and the coping mechanisms that households use to avoid going hungry. According to FeedingAmerica.org, in 2017, 40 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including more than 12 million children. Research shows that food insecurity tends to be episodic and often cyclical. 

food bank

Photo courtesy of Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma City

During this holiday season, you can help break the cycle of food insecure households and help put meals on tables by simply filling your prescriptions.

Watertree Health® and 15 regional Food Banks have a one-of-a-kind program that helps people save money on prescription costs while providing more meals in their local communities. Through this program, Watertree Health makes a donation to your local Food Bank for every prescription discounted using the FREE Prescription Discount Card benefitting that organization. (See list below).  

The foundation of this partnership is the mutually held belief that no one should have to choose between vital medications and basic necessities such as food. This holiday season, we encourage you to help feed your local community with two simple steps: First, use your Prescription Discount Card benefitting your local Food Bank to help make a donation every time you save on your medicines. In some regions, filling as few as 4 prescriptions equals three meals. Secondly, take a look through your pantry for canned and dry goods to donate–even a few items can make a difference. To find your local Food Bank, click here

Here are some relevant facts:

  1. According to DoSomething.org, more than 1 in 5 children is at risk of hunger. Among African-Americans and Latinos, it’s 1 in 3.
  2. Center for American Progress reports, “Food insecurity and hunger…harm the U.S. economy, hinder educational advancement, and increase health care spending.”

You can help your local Food Bank provide meals and get significant savings on your prescriptions, by going to the web address noted below and downloading a card or having one mailed, emailed or texted to you. 

By WHBlogger 
12/11/2014 
Updated: 11/30/18

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. 

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The Flu: 4 Common Questions Answered

Just like the holidays, flu season comes once a year. And with it, ads for flu shots at your doctor’s office, pharmacy, and local clinic. You should know that this vaccine only protects against the influenza viruses that research has indicated will be most common during the upcoming season. So, it is possible you will get the flu even if you get vaccinated. 

In the U.S. the flu epidemic generally doesn’t peak until about February each year. So, whether you choose to get a flu shot or not, you should still learn about the virus. Here’s what you should know… 

1. What Are the Symptoms?

Unlike a cold, the flu can come on suddenly and aggressively. Its symptoms are similar to the common cold, but can include fever*, headache and muscle soreness. If you experience any of the following, you may want to consider a visit to your doctor.
  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
    woman sick in bed

    Try ginger, lemon, honey tea for a sore throat.

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • You may have vomiting and diarrhea, but this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

2. How Long Does the Flu Last?

It typically lasts one to two weeks, with severe symptoms subsiding in two to three days. However, weakness, fatigue, and a dry cough can linger for three to seven days.

3. Who is at risk?

cute baby

Children under 2 are most at risk for complications from the flu.

You are at risk, because anyone can get the flu. However, some people are at a higher risk for complications, including:

  • Young children
  • Adults 65 years or older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease)
  • Pregnant women

4. How Does the Flu Spread?

Magnifier and bacteria

Wash hands regularly

You’re exposed when an infected person coughs, because the germs travel through the air and you can breath them in. Shaking hands that are contaminated with the influenza virus also puts you at risk. If you have the flu, you can help prevent spreading it by covering your mouth and nose when coughing and washing your hands regularly.

To save on flu shots or medications such as Flublok, Tamiflu, Fluzone, as well as other prescriptionssimply click on the “Get Your Free Card” link at the top of the page. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how our free Prescription Discount Card works, check out this short FAQ video: wtree.us/video 

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

By
WHBlogger 

12/22/2015 
Updated: 11/22/18

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 Germy Facts about Thanksgiving Air Travel

Cold and flu season is ramping up just in time for the busiest travel season of the year. Airlines are expecting to see a record-breaking 30.6 million passengers over the Thanksgiving holiday. airplane travel

Despite the high concentration of people flying, the majority of Thanksgiving travelers will be able to visit their destination and return home healthy. Just how likely are you to get sick on an airplane? And, where do all of those germs live? Let’s bust some common myths about holiday air travel and find out the real germy facts about getting sick on a plane.

MYTH: You are more likely to get sick on an airplane than in everyday life.
The House Subcommittee on Aviation found that the risk of contracting an airborne infection on a plane is very low. However, if you’re sitting behind, in front of, or across from another passenger who’s sick then your chances of catching their cough, cold, or flu increases by 80%. Window seats were found to be the safest for avoiding germs, while aisle seats were the most risky.

MYTH: Your immune system functions the same on the ground and in the air.
When your ride is cruising at 30,000 feet, your immune system is crying out for help. What makes this happen? Low humidity.

Humidity levels are usually 10 percent or below at that elevation. Because of the extremely dry air, the mucus membranes in your nose, mouth, and throat dry out. Under normal circumstances, that mucus catches germs before they invade your body. But, when your passages are dry, germs get a free pass right into your body.

MYTH: Airplanes are a hotbed for germs.
Yes, airplanes carry around a lot of germs, but one independent study found that the number of germs and microorganisms found on planes is actually lower than what you’d find in office buildings, on a city street and on public transportation like buses and trains.

Where are an airplane’s germiest places? The bathroom, the pull-down tray table, and aisle seats. Since the flu and common respiratory illnesses are rarely airborne, you’re most likely to pick up a sickness from these places. 

Tips for Not Getting Sick on a Flight:

  • Try to stay at least 3 feet from people who are coughing/sneezing. If there are spare seats on your flight you can ask a cabin crew member if you can be moved further from a sick passenger.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, especially before eating.
  • Use hand-sanitizer.
  • Try to avoid touching your face, as germs can be transferred from your hands and enter your body through your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Do not travel if you are sick.

Now that you know the facts from the myths, how will you protect yourself during this season’s holiday travels? The best protection really comes from the simplest tips: get a flu shot, wash your hands, and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

If you need help affording your medications, 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. 

By WHBlogger 
11/24/2014 
Updated: 11/20/18

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.

The Importance of Medication Adherence

By Shane Power, President of Watertree Health

You’ve probably read in the news that Congress is furthering its investigations into the rising costs of prescription medications. We think this is great news because we share their concern about the affordability of medicines. Higher prices may mean fewer people will be able to afford their prescriptions and take them as directed by their doctors.

What is medication adherence and why does it matter?

Medication AdherancePrescription adherence is important to your health. Medication adherence is generally defined as the extent to which patients follow a prescription regimen determined by their doctors. It involves filling prescriptions, understanding directions and taking medicine as scheduled.  It matters because failure to comply limits control and effective management of chronic illnesses.

This may result in an increased burden on our health care system because these individuals with poor health will keep returning to the doctor’s office for unresolved problems. Per year, poor medication adherence has resulted in 33% to 69% of medication-related hospital admissions in the United States, and at least 125,000 deaths annually.

Why is this happening? 

Why do more than 1 in 5 patients let their prescriptions go unfilled?  And, why do 50 percent of patients not take their medications as directed? 

Not being able to afford medications is cited as the number one reason that patients do not adhere to prescription schedules.

Poor medication adherence may negatively affect your cycle of health.  Don’t let it.

If you are unable to pay for your prescription, check if a generic version is available or if your doctor can suggest ways to offset the drug cost.  The free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card can also be a great help. The card provides savings on most FDA-approved brand and generic medications. Sometimes, our discounted pricing is cheaper than insurance co-pays. And, if you have a high deductible that must be met before prescription coverage begins, our card can help right away.

Use our Greatest Prescription Savings™ (GPS) tool (wtree.us/savingstool) to find out the cost with our card on your prescription medication, at pharmacies close to you. Simply provide the drug name and your zip code, then get a card to start saving.

Remember, when medication adherence falls that affects the health of our entire community. Let’s work together towards everyone’s improved wellness.

Type 2 Diabetes – Weighing the Risk

By: Shane Power, President of Watertree Health

Type 2 diabetes is becoming an increasingly common diagnosis for America’s children, but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, this form of diabetes, often associated with being overweight, was veryteam sports rare as recently as a decade ago. Today, children with Type 2 Diabetes are overwhelming the health care systems of rural and urban areas alike. 

Unlike Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes, Type 2 has a direct correlation to weight and fitness. As a former athlete, being active has always been a huge part of my life. I firmly believe a lifetime commitment to good health develops during childhood. In addition to team sports at school, simply going to the park or running around the yard can have a positive contribution to the health of a child. 

Nutrition is also a huge factor in children developing Type 2 Diabetes. As someone who has watched family members struggle with diabetes, I understand how challenging it can be to always make good health choices. Additionally, as a father I am all too aware of how overly processed, sugar rich and nutrient deficient foods are marketed to children. While a sugary treat once in a while is appropriate; sodas, fast food, chips, and candy should not be staples of a child’s diet. Moreover, parents need to instill and model healthy eating habits to their children. Leading a busy life, it is easy to quickly resort to pre-packaged or fast food meals and snacks. But when you examine how detrimental these foods can be to a child’s health, especially if they are already overweight and at risk for a condition like diabetes, moderation is essential.

Ultimately it is in everyone’s best interest to stay as healthy and active as possible. Type 2 Diabetes is not the only ailment associated with being overweight. Heart disease, osteoarthritis and certain cancers have all been linked to obesity. When adults adopt healthy habits and promote a cycle of good health, it is transmissible to their children. 

Type 2 Diabetes, while manageable with medication, is currently incurable. Studies have shown that lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, can reverse the condition. For children, prevention is key. 

For more information on Type 2 Diabetes please visit: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/children-and-type-2/

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I wish to go on a shopping spree

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Why You Should Grow A Mustache This Month

handsome bearded man with paper cup of morning coffee walking in park

Prostate cancer statistics are staggering. Every year, over 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed, and almost 30,000 men die from it. It’s the second most deadly cancer affecting men in the U.S.

This November, we challenge our male readers to become a “Mo Bro” by participating in The Movember Foundation’s “Movember.” The campaign aims to “change the face of men’s health” by asking men to grow a mustache. To participate, you can sign up on the Movember Foundation’s website. The rules are simple: You start off clean-shaven, then let nature take its course over the next 30 days. Be sure to document your mustache growth with lots of selfies. 

Beyond getting creative with your facial hair, Movember encourages participants to raise funds for men’s health issues including: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health. Start a mustache trend at work and encourage co-workers to get involved. Bring your personal campaign to social media. You may even consider holding a friendly competition for best mustache. 

Women can also participate in Movember (called Mo Sistas) and support the men in their lives by promoting the importance of men’s health. Mo Sistas sign up, start a team, and fundraise – they do everything Mo Bros do, they just don’t grow a “Mo”!

Everyone can partake in raising awareness for these important men’s health issues this month, and all year long.

To save on medications for the whole family, including men’s health medications, s
imply click on the “Get Your Free Card” link at the top of the page. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out this short FAQ video: wtree.us/video 

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

By
WHBlogger 

11/09/2015 
Updated: 11/8/18

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.

Four Years and Counting

By Shane Power, President of Watertree Health

It’s been nothing short of an honor to have been president of Watertree Health for the past four years. With my team, we’ve helped change the lives of millions and forged incredible partnerships with leading nonprofits that have helped accelerate our mutual missions. Watertree Health’s mission is simple—it’s your health. Unfortunately, we all know that maintaining good health today comes with challenges. I often ask myself, what more can we do? How can we serve our communities around us even more? For us, the answer is: keep people at the center of what we do. With this in mind, we began laying the foundation of programs that would help those who need it most.

Our goal to improve the health of individuals started with helping people better afford their prescriptions. Millions of individuals aren’t taking their medications as prescribed because they can’t pay for them. I’m proud to state that we’ve helped people save about $500 million on their vital medicines to-date. Seeking to improve the health of as many people as possible has also led us to join forces with organizations that share our passion. We began with an alliance with The Food Bank of Rio Grande Valley and are now partnered with 15 regional food banks to help provide nutritious meals to people who would otherwise go hungry. To-date, we’ve donated almost 3 million meals to children, seniors, hard-working families, and veterans in need.

It’s this dedication that led us to partner with Make-A-Wish Ⓡ to help change the lives of children with critical illnesses. Granting wishes gives children the opportunity to see things beyond their condition, to enjoy life with the ones they love most, and importantly, to improve their medical outcomes. Understanding the power of a wish is the fuel we’ve used to help grant almost 400 wishes so far.

Our communities have grown to include pets, too. The ASPCA Ⓡ shares our mission to help get more cats and dogs adopted into loving families and, in turn, help improve the health of their owners. People with pets have been shown to live happier lives through reduced stress, depression, and anxiety. To date, we’ve helped improve the welfare of hundreds of animals through our program with the ASPCA.

Most recently, we’ve joined efforts with the National Kidney Foundation Ⓡ to help raise awareness, prevention, and treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD). 1 in 3 people are at risk for CKD but don’t know it; and sadly, 13 people die each day while waiting for a kidney transplant.

Achieving these milestones with my team has been amazing. The growth we’ve seen over the last four years has shown us that a lot of good can be accomplished when like-minded individuals unite. However, there is a bittersweet reality. While we’ve helped improve the lives of so many, I know our work is nowhere near finished. The continuation of increasing prescription costs, hunger in America, animal homelessness and abuse, critically ill children, and poor diet & lack of exercise possibly leading to CKD are all reasons we keep pushing harder each day.

We have our work cut out for us, but improving the health of people in our communities is our “why”—why we do what we do. It will be my honor to lead our team to new and exciting accomplishments in the coming years.

Can Daylight Saving Time Cause Insomnia?

Circadian rhythmMuch like food and water, sleep is an essential part of human life. Our bodies desperately need shut-eye in order to process memories, repair tissue, and restore energy. Despite its importance, nearly 35% of American adults don’t get enough sleep.

You may be quick to blame the lack of sleep on stress or kids, but there may be another answer that’s not quite as obvious. Daylight Saving Time can also contribute to sleep deprivation.

The Internal Clock
Daylight Saving Time began back on March 11 and it officially ended on November 4th at 2 am. During these 238 days, our internal clocks (also known as our circadian rhythm) and the external time that we see on the clock are slightly out of sync.

Circadian rhythms come from an involuntary biological system that has more power than you may think. They influence a wide variety of bodily functions like body temperature, hunger, hormone regulation, and the sleep-wake cycle. All of these rhythms are based on a 24-hour cycle that is largely regulated by the presence of natural light.

The External Clock
Ignoring the presence of external time, our bodies base their circadian rhythms on the rising and setting of the sun. Scientists have found that our sleeping patterns actually follow the timing of dawn. However, when we set our external clocks to follow Daylight Saving Time, our bodies fall out of sync.

Unfortunately, many individuals find that it’s difficult to adjust to this clash in timing. Studies have shown that even with more than 200 days of Daylight Saving Time, many people never fully adjust their circadian rhythm to match the external time. This can lead to trouble falling asleep, insomnia, and extreme sleepiness during daylight hours.

Getting Back on Track
Daylight savings undoubtedly brought much-needed relief for many tired people. As we “fall back,” our bodies can once again sync up with the sun.

If the return to standard time doesn’t provide enough relief, consider these sleep tips:

  • If you’re having trouble adjusting to the time change, try to avoid excessive caffeine and other stimulants. Try a short bout of exercise or a glass of water instead.glass of water
  • As mentioned above, light and sleep are intimately intertwined. Being exposed to natural light during the day may improve your circadian rhythm and help you sleep better at night. You can try throwing open the shades when you wake up or going outside for lunch. Similarly, try to limit your exposure to bright light during the evening hours. Try using room-darkening shades to make your room more sleep-friendly.
  • Use last weekend’s time change to jump-start your circadian rhythm. Science shows that we can slightly alter our rhythms and gear ourselves toward being a “morning person” or “night owl”. Find out which personality best fits your life and start gradually adjusting your sleep/wake schedule. Keeping a regular sleep schedule will lead to improvements in both sleep quality and daytime alertness.

If you are on a medication and you need help affording the prescription, 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. 

By WHBlogger 
11/03/2014 
Updated: 10/24/18

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.