Should I take supplements?

Ask your Ritzman Pharmacist!

By Hannah Cross, PharmD, RPh

Should I take supplements?
With everything being touted as the next big thing-- How do you know what is good for you? Herbal products and supplements come in all shapes and sizes so finding the right one can be difficult and even confusing. First off, it is a good idea to contact a healthcare professional such as your physician or pharmacist before starting any new supplement or medicine as some products cannot be taken in certain circumstances. Supplements can be complimentary to a healthy diet to help you be a healthier you. 

There is evidence that supplements can be beneficial for health and wellness. For those of us in Northeast Ohio many of us can benefit from a multi-vitamin with a calcium and vitamin D supplement. Fish oils and omega fatty acids have been shown to help patients at risk for heart disease. There are supplements that may help with stress, difficulty with sleep, and low energy. Other herbals and supplements such as grape seed extract, resveratrol, and valerian root have many uses and benefits you could talk to your pharmacist about. 

Are all supplement brands the same?
Picking which brand of supplements to take is just as important as which types of supplements to take. Dietary supplements do not require testing or review by the FDA before being sold to the public. There are manufacturing standards that good supplement companies follow to ensure a quality product is being supplied to the consumer. Our Ritzman Brand Collection meets standards held by Natural Products Association and are certified as such. Made with clean, premium ingredients, our supplements are designed to help combat negative side effects of medications, strengthen your immune system, and improve your overall health. We aim to use non-GMO products whenever possible and have many options that are gluten-free.

Stop by a local Ritzman pharmacy to talk to your pharmacist or shop online today. We will help you find what is just right for you!

Dental Health

Dental Health

Rob Reidel, RPh - Akron - Summa's Centers of Excellence Building on the Akron City Hospital Campus

Q: Why is dental health so important?

A: Dental health is very important for many reasons. Since we are only given one set of adult teeth, good oral hygiene is a must. Nothing is nicer than a beautiful smile and good oral hygiene also helps with maintaining proper speech. It's a lot less costly to maintain good healthy teeth versus having to correct problems that arise from poor oral hygiene. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gingivitis, periodontitis, and is associated with other health conditions as well.

Q: What should I do to promote a healthy mouth?

A: To promote a healthy mouth there are many things you can do. Eating a well balanced diet, limiting sugar consumption to meal times, and brushing at least twice daily are essential. You should also visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings. Brushing and flossing (with a soft bristle brush) after breakfast and at bedtime is preferred, and replacing your brush every 3 months is recommended. For people with dry mouths, the use of oral moisturizers is a good idea as well. Tobacco use is also very detrimental to the teeth and gums.

Q: Are there natural products I can use?

A: There are many natural products that can help maintain a healthy mouth. Vitamin A helps with maintaining healthy mucous membranes, formation of tooth tissue, and salivation production. Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B7, B12 and folic acid all help reduce tongue inflammation and discoloration of oral tissues. Vitamin B2 seems to remedy the dry cracking some people get in the corners of their mouth as well. Vitamin B3 has shown to reduce symptoms of gingivitis. Vitamin E can help with healing damaged oral tissues. Calcium supplements reduce gingivitis symptoms and also help with maintaining healthy bones therefore reducing the incidence of jaw bone degradation. CoQ10 also has been associated with gum healing and reducing inflammation.

Q: Are there prescription
 medications which can affect dental health?

A: Many prescription medications can affect oral health, this is why it is so important to keep your dentist informed of your medications. Medications such as antihistamines and antidepressants can lead to dry mouth, which can lead to the promotion of tooth decay. Many inhalers contain steroids that if not used correctly can lead to oral fungal infections (thrush). Antibiotics in the tetracycline class, if used in young children, can cause permanent discoloration of the teeth. Biphosphonate medications used for osteoporosis are documented to cause jaw bone destruction. Others include calcium channel blockers (overgrowth of the gums) and cancer medications. While this list is not complete, it is a good starting guide. Talk to your Ritzman pharmacist if you have questions about your medication.

Q: Someone told me that dental health and heart health are related - is this true?

A: Yes this does seem to be the case. Medical researches have linked people with gum disease (periodontitis) to being more prone to heart attacks and strokes. It is thought that this is due to the body's response to the bacteria in the bloodstream.

Our Top Picks

Our Top Picks

We asked a few of our Ritzman pharmacists what THEIR favorite Ritzman Brand Supplement is and why. Here's what they had to say…

Helene Hall, RPh - Copley Road, Akron location

"The Ritzman Cholesterol Complex is one of my favorite supplements! It has two ingredients that have been tested in clinical studies to lower cholesterol: plant sterols and policosanol. The plant sterols are a type of plant oil which causes the body to eliminate cholesterol, thereby lowering cholesterol levels. Another great Ritzman product is the Ritzman Calcium 600mg with Vitamin D 200. This calcium is readily utilized in the body, especially when taken with food. The Calcium 600 with D 200 is a novel product, containing 600mg of calcium carbonate in just one capsule, along with vitamin D. The recommended dose is one capsule twice daily which provides 1200mg of calcium AND 400 IU of Vitamin D in only two doses. It's easy to swallow and highly absorbed."

Rob Wilkins, RPh - Ritzman Pharmacy within Buehler's Fresh Foods Market - Ashland

 "My favorite Ritzman Supplements are the Ritzman Omega-3's. The health benefits, including cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory effects are well documented. Ritzman has two formulas, concentrated and a once-daily. The Ritzman Concentrated Omega-3 is also included in the Ritzman Four Pillars supplement."

Leah McGraw, RPh - Seville location

"I really like the Ritzman Maximum One tab. It's a full multivitamin and B Complex in one tablet. It is a prolong release dose form and comes in an iron free formulation as well!"

Kim Sherman, RPh - Green location

"My favorite is Ritzman Probiotic Blend, my new medicine cabinet staple. It works great for tummy upsets, and works for everyone; adults, kids, even the dog."

The Start of a Healthy Year

The Start of a Healthy Year!

Chuck Zimomra, RPh - Ritzman Pharmacy within Buehler's Fresh Foods Market - Coshocton

Q: I have been feeling depressed lately, how do I know if it's just a case of the winter blahs or if I have depression in which I should see a doctor?

A: To meet the traditional clinical diagnosis of depression, a person must have five or more of the following symptoms for a two week period; depressed mood most of the day, loss of interest in most activities, significant weight change, change in sleep patterns, slow thinking or movement, fatigue, feeling of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, loss of concentration, or thoughts of death or suicide. Either depressed mood or lack of interest must be one of the symptoms. If the depression lasts more than 2 weeks, or causes disruption of daily life, consult a physician.


Dennis Getz, RPh - Ritzman Pharmacy within Buehler's Fresh Foods Market - Orrville

Q: My skin is always so itchy in the winter time. What can I do to make it better?

A: This is a very common question I answer several times a week over the winter season. As the temperature drops we put on warmer clothes and fire up the furnace. Between the furnace drying out the air in our homes and warmer clothes wicking the moisture from our skin, we end up with dry and itchy skin. The reduced levels of moisture in our skin causes it to become dry and crack, then itch. Taking long hot showers in the winter time actually causes even more damage to the skin by removing the natural oil from the skin, which helps keep the skin hydrated.

There are several things to do to help relieve that seasonal, winter time, itchy skin. Using a good moisturizing skin product can be a quick and easy fix. The best skin moisturizers are the oil based products which are called ointments or oils, but they tend to have an oily and sticky feel about them. Moisturizing creams and lotions are by far

the most preferred products because they go on quick and easy and do not leave you with that oily feeling because they are made using oil which is suspended in a water base. Using a moisturizing shower soap as well will help put moisture back into the skin and provide a barrier to prevent further loss of moisture. Remember to take short showers in the winter time and only use warm water, not hot water. This will help reduce the loss of your natural oil in the skin. If you have a humidifier on your furnace turn it on. Make sure the water flow is not blocked and the humidifier screen is clean and free of mold or mildew. A humidifier places moisture back into the air in your home when the furnace is on. Portable humidifiers can help some but are limited because they do not cover the whole house. Keep a portable humidifier in the room you spend the most time in or in the bedroom while you sleep. A few simple steps can help you overcome that annoying winter time itchy skin.


Anna Beazel, RPh - Ritzman Pharmacy within Buehler's Fresh Foods Market , Medina - Forest Meadows

Q: How do I know if I have the flu or just a bad cold?

A: It is important to know the difference between flu and cold symptoms.The flu can result in serious health problems such as pneumonia and hospitalization. Cold symptoms usually begin with a sore throat, which usually goes away after a day or two. Nasal symptoms, runny nose and congestion follow, along with a cough by the fourth and fifth days. Fever is uncommon in adults, but a slight fever is possible. Children are more likely to have a fever with a cold.

Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of flu include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion and cough. An easy way to remember the signs and symptoms for the flu is this acronym: FACTS which stands for Fever Aches Chills Tiredness Sudden onset.

Here are a few tips to help reduce your flu and cold risk:

• Wash your hands frequently

• Keep your hands away from your face (especially your nose and mouth)

• Get a seasonal flu shot

• Cover your mouth/nose when sneezing and coughing (tissue or sleeve, not your hands)

• Use antibacterial wipes on public equipment like computer keyboards and phones

• Open restroom doors with a paper towel to keep your hands clean

• Stay home if you are not feeling well


Sue Milward , RPh - Ritzman Pharmacy within Buehler's Fresh Foods Market - Brunswick

Q: I was recently on an antibiotic for a sinus infection. Once it started to improve I would forget to take a dose here and there and now I have several days of medication left. Should I go ahead and take the rest even though I feel better?

A: Antibiotics work best when there is a steady blood level in the system. When you miss a dose, drug levels of the antibiotic in your blood decrease and all the harmful germs will not be killed. An incomplete course of antibiotics often kills only the most vulnerable bacteria, leaving the resistant bacteria to thrive. Either the symptoms will not go away, or they will come back in a short period of time. Even though you might feel better, it is best to continue and finish your course of antibiotics.


Bill Malley, RPh - Ritzman Pharmacy - Barberton

Q: I have been working out and want to start a supplement program to achieve my goal of better overall health. There are so many supplements available. Where do I start?

A: With the availability of so many products and supplements that promote good health it's easy for consumers to become confused or overwhelmed on which product is best for them. I would suggest you start simple, and Ritzman Four Pillars of Health is a great, simple way, to help achieve your goal of better overall health in a convenient daily packet. Each packet contains a daily multiple vitamin to support energy, antioxidants to protect your cells and support the immune system, calcium and magnesium for bone & joint health, and omega-3 fish oils for cardiovascular health. Also, consider choosing a supplement without any unnecessary additives, artificial colorings or flavorings. Remember that these and other products can't work by themselves, that's why they are called supplements, they "supplement" or enhance a healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy, low fat diet and exercise. With this combination you should be on your way to a healthier you!


Karen Hughes, RPh - Ritzman Pharmacy - Akron, Summa Akron City Hospital

Q: My New Year's resolution is once again to lose weight and to get fit but I am not sure how to get started to be successful. What do you suggest?

A: To lose weight and get fit, one must first have a very specific plan. Once you formulate your plan, consult your healthcare provider before getting started. Follow your plan consistently and think of it as a lifestyle NOT as a "diet". Remind yourself that this is your pathway to becoming healthier.

First, decide nutritionally how you will change what you are doing to achieve weight loss. This could include following a plan that is low in carbohydrates, high in protein or simply just counting calories. Next, obtain a journal or notebook and document EVERYTHING that you consume and any exercise that you perform. There are great online journals and smart phone apps that will assist you in counting calories or approximating how many calories you have burned with your exercise. Document EVERYTHING that you put into your mouth, including gum, soda, water, etc. Remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated so that you don't mistake thirst for hunger and take in more calories than you were planning. Eat healthy; limit refined sugars and starches, and consume lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, such as chicken and fish, especially those with omega-3 fatty acids.

Decide what type of exercise that you enjoy and will continue to do even after you have achieved your goals such as walking, biking, running, jumping rope, etc. Make sure to add some weight training twice a week that challenges your muscles and helps redefine your shape. Remember, document everything you do in your journal.

Weigh yourself once a week to see your progress. If your progress is slow or at a standstill refer back to your journal and look at how you could have done better. Change things the following week and see if you notice a difference. Set small goals with built-in non-food rewards and reinforcements for yourself.

Don't forget to add vitamins to your weight loss plan. These should include a multivitamin to ensure you are getting the nutrients that your body requires. Good Luck with your goals in 2012!

Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease

Lynn Mohr, R.Ph. - Seville Location

Q: What is celiac disease?

A: Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disease that affects over 3 million Americans, many of whom are undiagnosed. CD is a disorder of the digestive system where there is a chronic reaction to certain proteins called gluten. This reaction causes the immune system to respond, which damages the villi in the small intestine. Villi are small finger like protrusions in the small intestine that absorb nutrients from food into the bloodstream. Damage to the villi prevents the absorption of essential nutrients that leads to nutrition related problems such as malnutrition, weight loss, osteoporosis, lactose intolerance, and deficiencies in iron, folate and other B vitamins.

Q: What is gluten?

A: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats.

Q: What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

A: Symptoms vary from person to person and may occur in the digestive track or present in other parts of the body. People with celiac disease may experience one or more symptoms or none. Digestive symptoms may include abdominal pain and bloating, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, chronic constipation, excessive gas, or fatty stools that float rather than sink.

Other symptoms may include unexplained iron deficiency anemia, any problem associated with vitamin deficiency, fatigue, bone or joint pain, arthritis, bone loss or osteoporosis, depression or anxiety, tingling in fingers and toes, or dermatitis herpetiformis (a disease in which severe rash forms often on the head, elbows, knees, and buttocks).

CD sufferers may also experience a strong lack of concentration referred to as "Celiac fog." This is due to lack of B vitamins. In addition to the digestive and neurological symptoms, patients may also suffer from depression.

Q: How is Celiac disease diagnosed?

A: Diagnosis can be challenging because symptoms may be similar to those of other diseases. A lab test looking for higher than normal levels of transgluctaminase or anti-endomysium in the blood can determine a diagnosis. Another method of diagnosis is a biopsy of the small intestine. Some people with no digestive symptoms have dermatitis herpetiformis. A skin biopsy and blood test can provide a diagnosis with no intestinal biopsy needed.

Q: How is Celiac disease treated?

A: The only successful treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. With strict adherence to a gluten-free diet, symptoms usually improve in 2-3 weeks. After 3 months, symptoms should be gone, but it takes 2-6 months for the villi to return to normal. Medicines are used to treat complications of the disease. Steroids are sometimes prescribed by a doctor to treat swelling in the intestine.

Q: Explain a gluten-free diet?

A: A gluten-free diet means eating no wheat, rye, and barley or any products made with these grains, such as pasta, bread, cereal. Eating a tiny amount of gluten can cause symptoms of diarrhea and weight loss. Avoidance of milk and milk products while the intestine heals may be recommended. This is a new approach to eating and many find working with a dietician helpful. Support groups can be very helpful since the gluten-free diet can be challenging for CD sufferers of any age. There are many gluten-free products on the market and available at some Ritzman Pharmacy locations. These products offer convenience as well as variety to the diet. A gluten-free diet will eliminate the symptoms of CD and prevent long-term complications.

Q: Are there supplements I should take?

A: Your doctor may recommend calcium and iron supplements. Other supplements that may be helpful are digestive enzymes and probiotics. The Ritzman 4 pillars - consisting of a multivitamin, calcium, antioxidant, and essential fatty acids in convenient packets ready for daily use - are a great choice for a CD sufferer on a gluten-free diet.

Headaches

Headaches…

Kim Lenz, R.Ph. - Med-Dose Location

Q: What are headaches and why do I get them?

A: There are 150 different headache categories, with over 45 million Americans suffering from chronic headaches.

Some of the most frequently seen headaches are:

Tension Headaches are caused by muscle contractions that create mild to moderate pain which comes and goes over a long period of time. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache experienced. Some causes are life stress, erratic eating patterns, and eyestrain.

The exact cause of Migraine Headaches is unknown. What we do know is that many sufferers experience a throbbing/pounding migraine 1 to 4 times a month, with symptoms that may include sensitivity to light, noise, or odors, nausea and vomiting, even abdominal pain along with moderate to severe head pain. Migraines can be inherited, with certain situations triggering an episode. Eating certain foods especially aged foods - red wine, cheese and chocolate are common triggers among suffers. Strong odors such as chemical cleaners, perfumes and second hand smoke can also be triggers.

Typical sinus symptoms such as a runny nose, pressure over the sinus area, and a fullness in the ears usually accompany aSinus Headache. The pain is described as deep and constant around the sinus area. Hormone Headaches are experienced by women with hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menstruation, or menopause. They can be chemically induced from birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.

Q: What should I do for my headache?

A: If you experience frequent headaches or suddenly start having headaches it is best to be seen by your family doctor for a check up and headache evaluation. Treatment will depend on a variety of things including your health and headache history. Further testing may be necessary. Your physician will then recommend treatment which may include medication and lifestyle changes.

Q: What medications are used for migraines?

A: Your physician may recommend an over-the-counter product containing acetametaphin, aspirin, or ibuprofen. There are also prescription products he/she may prescribe. As with any medication, remember to follow the dosage guidelines.

Q: Are there basic things I can do to prevent headaches?

A: Keeping a headache diary might help you identify what situations seem to cause your headaches. Noting details about time of day, what you've eaten, what is going on around you when a headache starts might show a pattern. Some basics include a regular sleeping routine, avoiding strong odors, limiting red wine, cheese and chocolate in your diet. If your headaches are tension induced working on how you deal with stress may be of help. Consider a yoga class, relaxing breathing techniques, or even a brisk walk.

Natural products that some people have found relief with are B6, Feverfew, and powdered magnesium. Homeopathy is another natural remedy, there are many different formulas to choose from depending on the type of headache - the staff at your local Ritzman Pharmacy can help you choose the one that is right for you.

Cleanses

Cleanses

Lynn Mohr, R.Ph. - Seville Location

Q: Why cleanse?

A: As early as 1500 BC, humans have been aware of the benefits of a body cleanse. Its popularity has risen dramatically in recent years which parallels the rise in environmental, agricultural and household toxins which we face everyday. In a perfect world, our body would digest the food we eat completely, absorb the nutrients and eliminate all waste through natural body processes. In reality, we eat processed food lacking in fiber and fruits and vegetables lacking in minerals due to poor soil conditions and contaminated with pesticides. This food is not properly digested, nutrients are not properly absorbed and toxins build up in the colon. A colon cleanse not only improves the functioning of the colon but also can improve the overall health of the entire body.

 

Q: Are there different kinds of cleanses?

A: There are a wide variety of cleansing programs and products used to cleanse specific organs such as the liver, kidneys, colon, skin and lungs and the blood and lymph systems. Some programs include fasting, the use of saunas and colon hydrotherapy. Drinking plenty of water, getting proper exercise and consuming a diet high in fiber from foods such as raw vegetables, fruit and whole grains are healthy lifestyle habits that can enhance the effects of any cleansing program.

 

Q: Where do I begin?

A: Springtime is the perfect time of year to set a weight loss goal and a colon cleanse may provide a jumpstart to your dieting efforts. By ridding the colon of toxins, the body can properly digest nutrients from the diet leading to increased energy and exercise endurance. A good colon cleanse product should contain fiber such as psyllium, a bulk forming fiber containing both soluble and insoluble fiber. Other sources of fiber such as apple pectin and citrus pectin may be included to form bulk. In addition, natural laxatives such as marshmallow, slippery elm and magnesium help rid the colon of build up. Another important ingredient is fructooligosaccharides (FOS) which help the healthy good bacteria in the intestine to grow and flourish. These healthy good bacteria are vital to a person's immune system and the absorption of food and nutrients. Potassium may also be included to help maintain electrolyte balance during the cleansing process. Some cleansing programs recommend taking other supplements such as probiotics, digestive enzymes and essential oil capsules along with the cleanse to optimize the effects.

 

Q: Can a cleansing product interfere with my prescription medications?

A: Yes, there are certain herbs in cleansing products that can interfere with prescription medications. It is important to check with your pharmacist before starting a cleanse. It is generally recommended that prescription medications be taken an hour before or two hours after a cleansing product. Your Ritzman pharmacist can assist in the decision to use a cleansing product and help choose the product that best suits your needs

Shingles

Shingles

Kim Sherman, R.Ph. - Green Location

Q: What are shingles?

A: Shingles (zoster) is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once you have had chickenpox, the virus stays in your body and can resurface as Shingles. Shingles appears as a very red rash with blisters that often appears on the trunk of the body and is contained to only one side. The Shingles rash usually lasts up to 30 days, and for most the pain lessens as the rash heals. But some people, particularly the elderly, can experience long-term nerve pain. This pain can last for months after the rash has healed and can be very severe-this is called post herpetic neuralgia or PHN.


Q: Who is at risk of having shingles?

A: Anyone who has ever had chickenpox can develop shingles. Most adults in the United States had chickenpox when they were children. Shingles is most common in people over the age of 50. The risk increases with age. Some experts estimate that half the people who live to the age of 85 will experience shingles at some point in their lives. People with weakened immune systems are also at higher risk for developing shingles. A weakened immune system can be caused by HIV/AIDS, cancer or cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, prolonged use of steroids, such as prednisone, or certain medications.


Q: What can you do to prevent shingles?

A: Try to stay healthy by eating well, exercising, and taking a multi-vitamin. This will keep your immune system strong. Try not to become overly stressed. Stress and anxiety can weaken an otherwise strong immune system, and weakened immune systems are triggers for shingles outbreaks. Also, now a vaccine is available to prevent shingles. The vaccine, called Zostavax, is recommended for those age 60 and older who have had chickenpox. It is a single dose vaccine and is recommended by the CDC and the American Academy of Family Physicians.


Q: How do I get a vaccine?

A: Vaccines are available from your physician or at your local health department. Also, now many pharmacies offer vaccinations. A pharmacy is a great place to get your shingle vaccine since Medicare Part D (the prescription drug plan) will often cover some of the cost of the vaccine. Your Ritzman pharmacist is immunization certified. Ask your doctor if the Zostavax vaccine is right for you and bring your prescription to Ritzman Pharmacy to help protect you from a shingles outbreak.

Prescription Coverage 101

Prescription Coverage 101

Bill Mally, R.Ph. - Barberton Location

Q: I am confused by the term "formulary" that is used frequently in my health plan regarding prescription coverage. What is it?

A: Drug formulary refers to the list of prescription medications or pharmaceutical products developed and approved by each health plan to encourage greater efficiency in the dispensing of prescription drugs without sacrificing quality. The list will contain both generic and brand name drugs selected for coverage under a health insurance plan.

Drugs named in the formulary are further classified as preferred or non-preferred, or tier 1, 2, 3, etc. Both of these determine the out-of-pocket cost, or co-pay, the patient is responsible for when prescriptions are dispensed by participating pharmacies such as Ritzmans. Drugs are included in the formulary list on the basis of their efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness. Drugs that are not on the formulary list are considered "non-formulary" items. Sometimes, coverage for non-formulary drugs is given only after the physician obtains prior authorization through the insurance company. If you have questions about your prescription drug coverage you should contact your health plan by calling the number on your prescription card. The pharmacists and staff at Ritzmans will work with your doctor and insurance company to provide the medications you need at the least cost to you.


Q: My health insurance plan gives me a phone number and an e-mail address to receive my prescriptions by mail. Do I have to order my prescriptions by mail or can I still go to my local pharmacy?

A: Many health insurance plans offer a prescription mail order service as an option for its members. Others mandate that members use mail order or may strongly suggest mail order. At Ritzman we believe in the value of interacting with your pharmacist on a personal level - eye to eye, being able to explain your medications and answer your questions. If you feel your insurance is insisting you use mail order, talk to a Ritzman pharmacist or associate, we may be able to help you retain your right to get your prescriptions filled locally.


Q: My health insurance plan requires me to pay a $15 co-pay for prescriptions. Will my co-pay be the same no matter what pharmacy I go to?

A: If your insurance plan requires straight co-pays for prescriptions, for example, a $5 co-pay for a generic drug, and a $15 co-pay for a brand name drug, your co-pay will be the same no matter what pharmacy you have your prescription filled at. However, there are some prescription drug plans that use a "percentage-of-cost" instead of a straight co-pay structure. This means the patient is responsible for a percent of the total cost of the medication, which can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.

Summer's Not So Fun Stuff

Summer's Not-So-Fun Stuff

Barbara May, R.Ph. - Green Location

Q: The mosquitoes have been really bad this year. My daughter counted 23 bites on her from a recent camping trip. Is there anything we can do to make the bites not itch so much and heal faster?

A: Hydrocortisone creams, calamine lotion, or a homeopathic product like Sssting Stop® will help with itching and irritation. In the future, try applying AfterBite® right after she's been bitten. This lessens the itching and swelling. If needed, oral antihistamines such as Benadryl® can help if the itch is severe. Usually reactions to mosquito bites aren't severe, but mosquitoes can carry serious diseases like West Nile Virus, so if fever, severe headache, nausea and vomiting or other serious symptoms occur, contact your doctor.

Try to plan ahead to prevent mosquito bites. There are a variety of products available to keep mosquitoes at bay, such as a mosquito repellant to spray on your skin and insect

repelling wrist bands for the kids. There is even insect repellant available to spray onto your clothing or clothing that is pre-treated with an insect repellant. Citronella candles may also help to keep mosquitoes out of the area.


Q: Is heat rash anything to be concerned about? I have heard that in most cases it goes away on its own?

A: Heat rash is usually not something to be too concerned about. Heat rash looks like dots or tiny pimples. Also known as Prickly Heat, heat rash usually develops in skin folds or where clothing causes friction. In young children, heat rash can appear on the head, neck, and shoulders. It is caused by blocked sweat glands. Keep the affected area cool and dry.

Cool your body in an air-conditioned room or with a fan, or take a cool shower or bath and let your skin air dry. Once the skin is cool and dry again, don't use any type of oil-based product, which might block your sweat glands.

Heat rash usually resolves itself on its own, but if symptoms are severe or persist longer than a few days, or if there is drainage or a fever, a doctor should be consulted. To prevent heat rash, avoid situations that can lead to excessive sweating, such as hot, humid environments and strenuous physical activity.


Q: Our family hikes a lot in tall grass. What should you do when you discover a tick on yourself or your child?

A: Remove the tick as soon as possible by grasping the tick with tweezers as close to the head as possible, the head is the part of the tick that burrows under the skin. Gently pull the tick straight out with a slow steady motion. Avoid twisting or "unscrewing" the tick as this may separate the head from the body and leave parts of its mouth in the skin. Wash the area and your hands with warm soapy water, or rubbing alcohol. Ticks can carry diseases like Lyme disease, so if a rash or fever develops within a few weeks of the tick bite, see a doctor. Be sure to tell him/her when and where you were when bitten.

To prevent ticks from biting, cover as much of your skin as possible when hiking. Wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants with the legs tucked into your socks. Apply an insect repellant before hiking. Also, wear light colored clothing as it is easier to spot a tick on light colored clothing.


Q: My grandmother believed in making a paste of baking soda and water to put on a bee sting? What do you suggest?

A: Baking soda and water paste is a good idea. If the stinger is still in the skin do not try to pull it out with your fingers or tweezers as this will cause more venom to be squeezed from the stinger sac into the skin. Instead, knock out the stinger by scraping the surface of the skin at a 45 degree angle with a credit card, a blunt knife, or long finger nail. Applying ice after a sting can relieve pain and swelling. Oral antihistamines, such as Benadryl®, or hydrocortisone cream can help also. If they experience severe swelling or extreme warmth or redness in the area consult a doctor. If someone is having difficulty breathing after a bee sting they may be having a severe allergic reaction, call 911.

To help avoid bee stings wear light colored clothing. Bees are attracted to brightly colored clothing - particularly floral prints and dark colors. Also, wearing perfume or after-shave may also entice bees to come your way.


Q: Between tree climbing, softball, bike riding, etc. the kids get a lot of bruises. Should you try to treat a bruise or just let it heal on its own?

A: Bruises usually heal on their own without treatment. If possible ice the injured area as soon you can, 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, repeating a few times. After 48 hours, heat can be applied to the area. A homeopathic preparation of Arnica gel, cream, or pellets will sometimes accelerate healing of a bruise.

8614 Hartman Road
Wadsworth, OH 44281