Vote for Apple Valley Pharmacy!

Vote for Apple Valley Pharmacy for Best Pharmacy in the Times Herald Record Reader’s Choice Awards. Voting is June 3-19. What other pharmacy can you call on for over the counter medications, vitamins & supplements, homeopathic remedies, pill packaging service, consultation service, compounding for people & pets, emergency Rx Service AND free local delivery! We’re family owned, independent and local.

Just login to www.recordonline.com/choice to cast your vote. Thanks so much for your support!

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Creating a Healthy Sleep Environment

sleep

We’ve all had those nights where we toss and turn and can’t seem to get to sleep. Or, nights where we fall asleep but then awake in the middle of the night unable to return to sleep. It’s frustrating and unhealthy, especially if it goes on for more than one night at a time.


Lifestyle Tips for Better Sleep
Sometimes the problem may be related to stress – problems at work or at home that don’t allow our minds to rest. Sleep issues may also have to do with our sleep environment such as room temperature or the comfort of our beds, or it may be the result of external issues such as noise or lighting. Thankfully there are things you can do to help get you the sleep you need.

Before you try anything else, try the following:

  • Keep noise and light to a minimum. Use earplugs, window blinds, heavy curtains, or an eye mask. Small night-lights in your bedroom and bathroom are a good idea.
  • Avoid large meals two hours before bedtime. A light snack is fine.
  • Don’t drink caffeine (including tea and soft drinks) before bedtime.
  • Regular exercise like walking will reduce stress hormones and help you sleep better. But don’t exercise within two hours of bedtime. You may have more difficulty falling asleep.
  • Don’t nap late in the afternoon.
  • Stop working on any task an hour before bedtime to calm your brain.
  • Don’t discuss emotional issues right before bedtime.
  • Keep pets outside your sleeping area if you can.
  • Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Use earplugs to muffle disturbing sounds. Or use a device that emits “white” noise to mask outside sounds.
  • Keep your room cool. Don’t wear heavy sleepwear if you tend to get too warm.
  • Keep your room dark, but make sure you are exposed to plenty of bright light or sunlight during the day.
  • Learn a relaxation technique like meditation or progressive relaxation.

If a good night’s sleep is still illusive, you may wish to try these herbal supplements that may aid in sleep:

Chamomile Tea

People have used chamomile tea for sleep for thousands of years. Studies seem to back up its calming effect. One Japanese study of rats found that chamomile extract helped the rats fall to sleep just as quickly as rats that got a dose of benzodiazepine (a tranquilizing medication). The FDA considers chamomile tea to be safe with usually no side effects. To brew it properly, use two or three tea bags, and then put a lid on the pot to keep oils in the water and maximize the medicinal effects of the tea. Use chamomile cautiously if you are allergic to ragweed (the plants are related). Also, don’t take chamomile tea if you are pregnant or nursing.

Melatonin for Sleep

Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle (circadian cycles). Studies show that melatonin not only helps some people fall asleep, but also enhances the quality of sleep. Melatonin comes in two forms — extended release and immediate release. If you tend to wake up in the middle of the night, you may want to take extended release before you go to bed. If you have trouble falling asleep, try immediate release. A few cautions: Melatonin is considered generally safe for short-term use. However, there have been concerns about risks of bleeding (especially in people taking blood-thinners like warfarin). There also is increased risk of seizure, particularly in children with brain disorders.

Valerian for Sleep

Valerian root has been used as a sedative and anti-anxiety treatment for more than 2,000 years. A review of 16 small studies suggests that valerian may help people fall to sleep faster. It also may improve the quality of sleep. Valerian becomes more effective over time, so it’s best to take it every night for a short period of time. Some people have stomach upset, headache, or morning grogginess with valerian. Taking valerian with sleeping medications or with alcohol can compound its effect, so don’t use it with other sleep aids. Start with the lowest dose, and then increase over several days’ time. Valerian is considered safe to take for four to six weeks.

Kava for Sleep

The Kava plant is a member of the pepper family, and has been shown to help relieve anxiety. One review of six studies showed reduced anxiety among patients who took kava, compared with those who got a placebo. Another small study showed that both kava and valerian improved sleep in people with stress-related insomnia.

The American Academy of Family Physicians says that short-term use of kava is okay for patients with mild to moderate anxiety — but not if you use alcohol or take medicines metabolized in the liver, including many cholesterol medicines. In fact, the FDA has issued a warning that using kava supplements has been linked to a risk for severe liver damage. Before taking kava, ask your pharmacist if kava is safe for you.

For those with persistent problems, it is advisable to make an appointment with your doctor as a more thorough evaluation is needed to determine the cause of your sleeping difficulties.

Out with the Old

medicine-cabinetThe New Year is a great time to take stock of everything, even what’s in your medicine cabinet! Lots of times we purchase over-the-counter medicines when we need them. We use what we need to get over a bout of stomach flu, a headache, an eye inflammation, etc., and when the ailment has subsided, the medicine sits in the cabinet. Out of sight; out of mind. I would venture a guess that most people don’t even know what’s in the back of their medicine cabinets.

Just like food, medications have a shelf life and there are expiration dates placed onto the packaging for a good reason. They should be cleaned out once a year and you’ll want to be sure they’re not expired when you need them. Some people like to hoard antibiotics for “just in case,” which is a bad idea, not just because they expire but certain antibiotics change their chemical structure and can become toxic.

Get rid of what you no longer need. If you are no longer using a medication, dispose of it safely so no pet or human can be harmed if they accidently ingest it if dumped in the trash.   Also, if medications are dumped in the trash or flushed down the toilet this leads to pollution of our water sources.  At Apple Valley Pharmacy, we take back any over the counter or prescription medications for free disposal.   We participate in a drug disposal program that properly discards unused medication in an environmentally safe way.  And of course, our staff is always here to review your medications with you to help you determine what to keep and what to toss.

Why We Need Vitamin D in Winter

jan-blog-photoVitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for overall good nutrition. However, vitamin D, also called the sunshine vitamin, is the vitamin most everyone is deficient or insufficient in, especially during the winter months.

Although it’s been widely associated with aiding the absorption of calcium for healthy bones and teeth, in recent years researchers have shown that vitamin D is responsible for more of the body’s functions than was originally thought. Two types of vitamin D exist: one found in foods and on that is produced when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Being in the sun for 10 minutes each day, with exposure to your hands and face, may give you your daily requirement of vitamin D. For people in northern climates, that may prove a problem in the winter, as light coming through windows does not cause your skin to produce vitamin D.

If you have ever heard that someone has the “the winter blues,” this is actually a condition known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD and is characterized by anxiety, irritability, hypersomnia, lethargy and depression during the winter months. It is related to shorter days and less exposure to sunlight. A study published in the journal, Psychopharmacology, reported a trial where 44 patients were given vitamin D supplements by mouth during late winter.  The results of the study found that in five days, those patients taking vitamin D supplementation had significant mood improvement. There are also studies suggesting that a vitamin D insufficiency may be the cause of winter weight gain.

Your personal vitamin D level may be determined by a simple blood test.  Speak to your primary care physician to determine if this test should be added to your annual physical.  If your levels are found to be low your physician may suggest that you take a supplement.  Vitamin D is available in a tablet, capsule, liquid or injection.  There are doses that are sold over the counter without a prescription or via prescription when higher strengths are needed.    Your pharmacist can help you determine what type of vitamin D is best for you.

The Best and Brightest

Maintaining the highest quality of customer service is always the highest priority for Apple Valley Pharmacy. As a compounding pharmacy, the only one in the Warwick Valley, it is even more important that our staff be educated and knowledgeable on the latest techniques, which is why continuing education is such a large part of our training.

Our pharmacy technicians, Diane Buturla and Joey Graziadio were recently awarded their Pharmacy Technician Certifications.

 

 

 

To further extend its compounding services, Apple Valley Pharmacy’s pharmacist and staff are always expanding education and training. Most recently, pharmacist, Dr. AnnMarie Cloutier, and lab technician Joey Graziadio completed certification in sterile compounding techniques at PCCA (Professional Compounding Center of America) in Houston, Texas. Both were awarded 40 hours of continuing education for completing this training.

 

Manual Breast Self-Checks Save Lives

According to the American Cancer Society, the procedure for performing a manual breast self-check has changed since it was first recommended. The revised procedure, which is thought to improve a woman’s chances of detecting any changes in breast tissue, is performed while lying down, applying varying degrees of pressure as you move your fingers in an up-and-down pattern across each breast. The goal is breast awareness and becoming familiar with what is normal for you so that you can detect even small changes in breast tissue if they occur and report them to your doctor.

Step 1 – Lie down flat on your bed, facing the ceiling. Raise your right arm up and place your wrist under your head.

Step 2 – Place the pads of the three middle fingers of your left hand to the side of your right breast, almost to the center of your underarm area. Make small circular motions as you move your fingers up and down from above the breast near your collarbone to the ribs below.

Step 3 – Apply light pressure, then medium pressure, then firm pressure to each spot on the breast as you move up and down. Repeat with the same circular motions and varying pressure in a vertical pattern as you move your way across the breast to the center of your chest.

Step 4 – Place your left arm behind your head. Repeat steps 2 and 3, using the middle three fingers of your right hand to examine your left breast.

Step 5 = Stand in front of a full-length mirror. Press your hands down firmly on your hips as you do a visual check of your breasts for any changes in size or shape or any skin changes on the breast or nipple.

Step 6 – Lift one arm just slightly and feel the underarm area for any changes. Then repeat with the other arm.

This easy-to-perform check is your first step in detecting breast cancer. Please do it!

 

September is National Fruits and Vegetables Month

Apple Valley Pharmacy offers this easy and healthy recipe for Roasted Vegetables

 

Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots (about 3/4 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick circles
  • 1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts (about 1/2 pound), halved
  • 4 cups red bliss potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 3 medium parsnips (about1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet pan with extra-virgin olive oil. Place vegetables in baking sheet and add the dried herbs, salt and pepper. Toss well, evenly coating all the vegetables with the seasonings and oil. Add more oil if the vegetables seem dry

Spread the vegetables evenly on a large baking sheet. Place on middle rack in oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

 

 

Fall Allergies

If sneezing and a runny nose spoil your autumns, you may be one of the millions of Americans with fall allergies. This most likely culprit is ragweed. This insufferable plant grows almost everywhere in the continental U.S., releasing its allergy-causing pollen from August to the first frost. Ragweed produces 1 billion pollen grains in an average season, and they can travel as far as 400 miles on the wind.

Three out of four people who are allergic to pollen-producing plants are allergic to ragweed. They’re also likely to have symptoms when they consume cantaloupes, bananas, sunflowers seeds, certain honeys or chamomile tea, which share similar proteins.

Here are the ragweed allergy symptoms to watch out for:

  • Puffy, irritated eyes
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • An itchy nose and throat
  • Headaches
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Difficulty breathing

While symptoms may be mild, close to 80% of people with seasonal allergies have trouble sleeping, which can harm concentration and cause absences from work or school. Moreover, ragweed can also cause skin conditions, such as hives.

Limiting your time outdoors and running the air conditioner can help to avoid ragweed pollen, however when it won’t relent, visit the pharmacy. You may try over the counter (OTC) antihistamines or anti-inflammatory eye drops and nose sprays to alleviate your symptoms. Your pharmacist can help you find the product that may work best for you.

For those with severe symptoms who get little relief from OTC options, see your doctor. You may require prescription nasal corticosteroids and oral antihistamines. Still others may require allergy injections.

For more information, visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America at www.aafa.org.

Vitamin Supplements for Picky Eaters – What to Look For

 

As parents, most of us understand the importance of a balanced nutritious diet and we know what to feed our children. It seems though that no matter how much healthy food we may put on their plate, some children simply turn up their noses and refuse to eat it. Sometimes children will cycle through different foods where they will like something one week and hate it the next. And while we can be as accommodating to their individual tastes and whims as we’d like, we need to make certain that they are getting all of the vitamins and minerals their young bodies need. This is where children’s vitamins come in.

The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that a well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk products and whole grains provides adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. However, for children lacking proper nutrition, vitamin supplements may be beneficial, as long as they are taken in the proper dosages. Finding the proper vitamins for your children may be difficult. For example, vitamin supplements that are labeled “complete,” may still actually be lacking some of the vitamins and minerals that children require.

Fluoride

U.S. Pharmacist published an article regarding fluoride supplements for children US PHARM 2007; 32(10): 52-56.  This article addresses general guidelines for fluoride supplements based on age and access to water sources that are supplemented.  In general children should have fluoride supplementation by age 6 months and until age 16.  Children can get fluoride exposure from tablets by prescription, dental gels applied by the dentist as well as over the counter fluorinated toothpaste and mouth rinses.   If you live in a house that has water that is fortified with fluoride of at least 0.6 parts per million this is adequate and no prescription supplementation is recommended.  If you live in areas like parts of Warwick where you have your own well water, it is advisable to give your child fluoride supplementation.  The prescription guidelines for fluoride are: 0.25mg per day for 6month to 3 year olds, 0.5mg for 3-6year olds and 1mg per day for 6-16 year olds.    You can give your child fluoride alone or in combination with a multivitamin.

Vitamins and supplements sold over the counter are not regulated by the FDA and therefore it is up to the consumer to educate themselves on which brands are of good quality by researching the companies or asking a healthcare provider for guidance.  Many children have allergies to food and dyes.  There are companies that manufacture their products without artificial dyes, soy, gluten, nuts and artificial preservatives.   We carry brands that meet the needs that many people have for supplementation.  In the event that an item is not commercially available to meet your needs we can compound the supplement for you or your pet in our lab.  Please speak to your health care providers about what supplements you and your family members may need and at what dosages to ensure proper use and effectiveness.

Taking Care of the Skin You’re In

No matter what your age, it’s important to take care of your skin. When your skin looks good, you feel good about your appearance. Skin is the largest organ of the body and shows the signs of our health.  Proper nutrition, hydration, environmental exposures and genetics also play a huge role in how our skin looks and feels.

I’ve recently found a skin care line that I truly believe in. It’s called Rx Skin Therapy and was developed by a pharmacist. Kristen Riddle, PharmD, pharmacist and creator for U.S. Cosmeceuticals, Inc., who developed Rx Skin Therapy after years of compounding prescriptions for problem skin.  She began to manufacture RX Skin Therapy when she saw significant clinical successes. Today, the line includes 18 products intended to improve the appearance of skin including cleansers, masques, exfoliants, moisturizers, anti-aging and skin-rejuvenation serums. Because the formulations are science-based and contain medicinal percentages of cosmeceutical ingredients and botanicals, the products are significantly different than most products, which often include only trace amounts of the active ingredients.

The formulations are designed to repair, replenish and revitalize. The skin care regimens from Rx Skin Therapy are customized according to your skin type. If you don’t know your skin type, here are some pointers:

  • Normal – skin that isn’t oily or dry, has few blemishes, is firm and generally smooth with small pores.
  • Oily – skin is shiny, possibly greasy, may have large pores and be prone to breakouts.
  • Dry – skin that, due to sun and age, may lack natural oils. May look smooth with fine pores and few blackheads or blemishes. May show rough, flaky patches of dryness.
  • Blemish – skin is normal to oily but has recurring blackheads and enlarged pores.
  • Anti-aging (35+ & 60+) – skin shows signs of aging, including crow’s feet, frown and expression lines, and loss of elasticity and hydration.

It’s important to note that the products are cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. All ingredients are eco-safe and the products contain no irritating dyes or chemical fragrances.

We will be demonstrating the skin care line during a very special evening event at Apple Valley Pharmacy on August 29 at 7pm. Skin care consultants will work with participants to find their skin types and showcase the line of products that are only available at select pharmacies. Champagne and hors d’ oeuvres will be served. We hope you will join us!