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Summer Health

Thursday, May 28, 2015

As summer approaches, most Americans will find themselves enjoying more outdoor recreational activities than in the previous, cold months. With increased heat and sun exposure, extra measures need to be taken to ensure that you and your family are at their safest. Having a fun and healthy summer is affordable and easily attainable by following a few basic tips.

Perhaps the most obvious and most important, is to stay hydrated. It is easy to forget to drink the recommended amount of water every day especially when participating in fun and games under the sun. Most doctors agree that you need about eight cups, which consist of eight ounces each, on any given day. However, it is important to keep in mind, especially when sweating a great deal, that this intake amount should be increased. There is not a thing as too much water. Be sure to take an ice chest or cooler full of water bottles to every outing. Also remember that alcohol can be especially dehydrating in the sun.

Another summer health necessity is to protect your eyes. A good pair of sunglasses or goggles will go a long ways to not only help with squinting but to increase your comfort and ability to see in bright conditions. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B rays. In the long run, protective eyewear will help prevent cataracts and wrinkles.

With skin cancer a very real reality, choosing the proper sunscreen may seem like a chore with so many options. The American Academy of Dermatology says not to worry so much about brand but rather focus on a few basic rules. Choose an option with a SPF of 30 or higher and make sure the label reads that it is broad spectrum. The latter means that it protects skin from both UVA and UVB rays, both of which can cause cancer. Also make sure your sunscreen is water resistant for up to 40 or 80 minutes. No sunscreen is waterproof and manufacturers are no longer allowed to advertise as such. Also, check the expiration date and restock your supply every year. Active ingredients can become ineffective when gone past their expiration date. Typically, one ounce of sunscreen is considered the amount needed to cover one person. Make sure you get a bottle large enough to accommodate all those in your group.

To make yourself feel better and give your immune system an extra boost, eat berries such as blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Berries are loaded with antioxidants and will help keep you feeling and operating at your best. Also be sure to still get plenty of sleep based on typical recommendations. It is easy to get run down even when having fun!

Summer is a great time to spend with family and friends. However, it can easily be ruined by ill health or accidents. By following a few basic tips, you can ensure that you get to take full advantage of your vacation and time in the sun. If you do find yourself unfortunately ill, make sure to have your FreeRxPlus card ready to save big on all your prescriptions. Print one instantly at freerxplus.com now!

Vitamins and You

Thursday, May 21, 2015

There is a lot of debate as to whether vitamin or mineral supplements are actually of any use to the majority of us. The aisles at pharmacies and department stores are usually lined with a great deal of bottles with names that may or may not be recognizable to you.  So do you need to take a daily multivitamin or singular supplement? That answer can vary drastically based on your usual diet and other factors.

The first thing to remember is that the majority of your vitamin and mineral needs should be coming from your food intake. It is important to note that vitamin and/or mineral supplements are not a replacement for a healthy and balanced diet. If you are already taking in the recommended amount of a nutrient, you will most likely not get any further health benefit from taking an over the counter supplement. By not monitoring your intake, there is always a chance that you may actually exceed what are considered safe levels of nutrients.

Depending on your health and the circumstances surrounding it, a supplement may be a must. For example, pregnant women have needs that may be hard to meet with their diet alone. The same goes for those with various ailments or natural deficiencies. In these cases, your doctor will usually prescribe or advise you of what supplements to take. However, if you are looking to take vitamins for any reason and have not been advised by a doctor, it is always a great idea to connect with them before doing so.

The Food and Drug Administration have a few questions that they recommend asking yourself and/or your doctor before starting any supplement.
  • Do you eat fewer than 2 meals per day?
  • Is your diet restricted? For example, do you not eat meat, or milk or milk products, or eat fewer than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day?
  • Do you eat alone most of the time?
  • Has your weight recently fluctuated one way or the other without you wanting to?
  • Do you take 3 or more prescription or over-the-counter medicines a day?
  • Do you have 3 or more drinks of alcohol a day?

By really taking a look at your lifestyle and the supplements you want to take, you can do your best to avoid any complications that may occur. You will also have a better understanding of what your body needs to function at the best of its ability.  After starting a supplement, if you experience any odd side effects, discontinue its use immediately and get with your doctor. You may simply need a lower dosage or to avoid it all together.

So, in short, the best way to determine if a multi-vitamin or supplement is good for you is to speak with your trusted medical team and analyze your lifestyle. The phrase “too much of a good thing” is particularly something to remember. After consulting with your doctor and coming up with a plan on what you should take, check out available Your Discount Benefit plans that offer options to help you save money on all your vitamin and nutritional supplement needs and much more. Stay healthy while saving money! Head over to www.yourdiscountbenefits.com to get started today.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The range of medications and treatments available to cure what ails us is simply amazing. Your doctor can prescribe something for almost any sickness or virus. In a simple world, your pharmacist then fills your meds and you are on your way to getting healthy. However, there are some things to keep in mind any time you get a new medicine or treatment. It is extremely important that you talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what to expect and what to do to make sure you stay as healthy and happy as possible. Just because you trust your medical team doesn’t mean you shouldn’t question them about doses, side effects, and more. In the very least, it can help make your transition easier and even possibly save your life.

Knowing the name and intended use of all of your medicine is a must. You may see a family physician and a specialist regularly. Don’t depend on each of them to automatically know what meds you are taking. Remember that they see several patients regularly and it’s impossible to remember every single one of them. Know what the purpose of your medicine is and what it does for you. When any of your doctors proceed to prescribe an additional item, it is okay to ask them if it will cause any interference with existing prescriptions and their purpose.

Asking about side effects right when your doctor is prescribing can also be very beneficial and save you aggravation later on. Drugs go through vigorous testing so there will be a list of possible side effects readily available. While this is handy, you shouldn’t rely on this list solely. Ask about specifics of your life and how they could interfere. For example, do you operate heavy machinery, smoke, or drink alcohol? These are all things that could be majorly affected by prescription medication. Certain foods can also cause reactions along with various vitamin supplements. While you may not get a complete list of things that can cause issues, you will at least have a better understanding.

Another important question to ask is what you should do if you forget to take a dosage or take it incorrectly. For example, say your med requires a dosage in the morning and one in the evening. Asking your doctor what you should if you forget one of those dosages will ensure you continue to take it properly without causing yourself harm. Also ask how you should store the prescription. You would be surprised at how many medicines become inactive when exposed to sunlight for too long. Many should be stored in a dark cabinet while others may need to be refrigerated. Knowing how to properly store them will also be helpful if you need to travel or take them with you to work every day.

Additional research via apps or the internet never hurt, but these methods definitely can’t tell you as much as your trusted medical team. They know what other meds you are on and what has or hasn’t worked for you in the past by having access to your medical history. Plus, if there is a problem, they will be better suited to help. With so much information floating around on the Internet, self-diagnosis can be easy to get wrong. After speaking with your doctor or pharmacist, you can always do more research on your own but never be afraid to ask them directly if you realize you need more information. Medicines are made to optimize your health and overall quality of life.  By making sure you are fully informed, you are ensuring that they do just that. Also make sure you are saving on your new meds with your FreeRxPlus card! Head over to www.freerxplus.com to print or request yours today and get on the road to health and savings.

Generic Medications

Thursday, May 7, 2015

You’ve probably heard several different things when it comes to generic medicine. Some people say it is the exact same thing and to save the money and purchase it. Others feel that it may be lacking in some aspect or another and prefer to stick with only the name brand. There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which route to go for yourself. 

After a medicine has been out for about seven years, the FDA then allows one specific generic version to be brought to market. That generic is then allowed to be exclusive for about six months. After that period is up, other generic forms can be brought to the public from all different manufacturers. For a generic medicine to be released, the manufacturer must prove that it can achieve the same drug concentrations in the blood that the brand name does. Manufacturers of generics aren’t required to do studies in people to prove safety since it is automatically assumed that if it achieves the same blood concentration as the name brand, they will achieve the same results overall. While this makes a great deal of sense, there have been accounts of generic meds not working the same as a name brand usually due to “filler” or inactive ingredients.

The FDA does not require generic drugs to contain the same inactive ingredients as the brand name product. These inactive ingredients are those that have nothing to do with the actual medicating act of the drug. It could be binding materials, dyes, preservatives, flavoring agents, or markers. This is why your name brand medication may look different from the new, generic form you are trying. It is usually just a sign that a different manufacturer is producing the generic. Some makers of name brand drugs are the first to market with a generic version, so you may not see a visual difference at all and be taking an almost exact copy of the name brand. However, for those generic meds made by other manufacturers and given the changes in inactive ingredients, a person can have an allergic reaction. This is usually due to an ingredient that wasn’t present in the name brand or so on. Since all of our bodies and allergies are different, it is always a good idea to talk with your doctor about changing to the generic form. Remind them of any allergies you’ve encountered in the past and make sure you are making the change with them knowing you are doing so. If you do have some kind of reaction, your doctor will already be familiar with what you did differently and be more prepared to help. It should be noted that most of the time, an individual can change to a generic med with no issues. Allergic reactions definitely aren’t the norm and are usually the only issue that can present itself when making the switch.

With a little more information about the process of getting a generic med to market, hopefully you can make an educated decision the next time your pharmacist informs you that there is one available. The savings are usually quite substantial over name brands. Plus, when you use your FreeRxPlus card, you can potentially save even more! Be sure you print out your free card and present it every time you get a prescription filled whether it be generic or name brand. Head over to freerxplus.com now to get going on savings!


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