August is National Breastfeeding Month

Breastfeeding is natural and healthy for both infants and Moms and more and more women are opting for breastfeeding due to the increased health benefits. Breast milk has disease-fighting cells called antibodies that help protect infants from germs, illness, and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of various health problems for babies, including:

  • Ear infections
  • Stomach viruses
  • Respiratory infections
  • Atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema)
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Childhood leukemia
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis, a gastrointestinal disease in preterm infants

For Moms, breastfeeding has been linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression. Infant formula cannot match the exact chemical makeup of human milk, especially the cells, hormones, and antibodies that fight disease. For most babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula as it takes time for their stomachs to adjust to digesting the proteins from cow’s milk.

Breastfeeding comes easier to some women than to others and whether to choose breastfeeding or formula feeding is a personal choice. For those who choose to breastfeed, it may be challenging at times, especially in the early days. But it is important to remember that you are not alone!

If you are transitioning back to work you will need to collect your milk throughout the day to ensure adequate milk supply.  If you need help to get your milk to start flowing, have one of the following items nearby — a picture of your baby, a baby blanket, or an item of your baby’s clothing that has his or her scent on it. You must also eat healthy and stay hydrated.  Mother’s Milk tea and dietary supplements such as Go-Lacta are also helpful to maintain milk supply.

Breast pumps allow mothers to express and store milk ahead of time to anticipate when they may be away from their babies and unable to directly breastfeed. We carry a full range of Medela breast pumps and accessories and are able to fit mothers with the one that is right for them whether they are pumping daily or occasionally. Stop into Apple Valley Pharmacy to speak with me or one of my associates about how we may help you or answer your breast feeding questions.

 

Insect Bites 101 for Parents: What to do if your Child Gets Bit or Stung

Is there anything better than being a kid in the summer? No school, endless days of fun playing outside, swimming and being with friends… it just doesn’t get any better! But outdoor fun puts kids in contact with insects and that may cause problems that parents need to be aware of.

In most cases, stings and insect bites are no more than nuisances that bring momentary alarm and discomfort, but no serious lingering health issues. On occasion however, they may cause infections that require treatment or allergic reactions that can be extremely serious, even fatal. Parents need to know the signs of infection or allergic reactions and when to seek medical help. If the child has a history of complications from bug bites, alert all caregivers so that medical intervention can be quickly sought in case of an occurrence. Here’s what parents should look for with some of the more common insect issues:

Bee and Wasp Stings

Bee

Bees will leave behind a stinger attached to a venom sac. Try to remove the stinger as quickly as possible and wash the area carefully with soap and water. Apply an ice pack for a few minutes to help reduce any swelling or discomfort and give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.

For itching, you may consider giving an over-the-counter oral antihistamine such as Benadryl®.   Follow the dosage instructions according to your child’s age and weight or ask your pediatrician or pharmacist which dose is best for your child. You may also apply a corticosteroid cream applied to the affected area.  For a homeopathic remedy for inflammation try Arnica or Calendula in cream of gel formulations.

A sting anywhere in the mouth warrants immediate medical attention because stings in oral mucous membranes can quickly cause severe swelling that may block airways. Seek medical care if you notice a large skin rash or swelling around the sting site, or if swelling or pain persists for more than 3 days, which could indicate an infection.

Get medical help IMMEDIATELY if you notice any of the following signs, which may indicate a serious or potentially life-threatening allergic reaction:

  • wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • tightness in throat or chest
  • swelling of the lips, tongue, or face
  • dizziness or fainting
  • nausea or vomiting

Spider Bits

Black Widow Spider

If bitten by a spider, wash the area carefully with soap and water and apply cool compresses and give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.

To protect against infection, apply an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin® to the bite. If you have any reason to suspect a bite by a black widow or brown recluse spider, apply ice to the bite site and take your child to the Emergency Room. Even if a child doesn’t show any symptoms, get medical attention right away.

Most spiders found in the US are harmless, with the exception of the black widow and the brown recluse spiders. The brown recluse spider — a tiny oval brown spider with a small shape like a violin on its back — is found mostly in Midwestern and Southern parts of the United States but can be found throughout the US. The bites usually don’t hurt at first, and a child might not even be aware of the bite, but in some cases they cause swelling and changes in skin color and a blister that may need medical treatment.

The black widow spider, which is found all over North America, has a shiny black body and an orange hourglass shape on its underbelly. The venom they release can cause painful cramps within a few hours of the bite. The cramps can start in the muscles around the bite and then spread. The bite may also lead to nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, and muscle aches. If your child has any of these symptoms — or you know that he or she has been bitten — go to the Emergency Room right away.

Tick Bites

Deer Tick

The Hudson Valley is a prime area for ticks. We enjoy lots of outdoor activities and ticks just come with the territory so we’ve got to be vigilant. Check kids and pets for ticks carefully after you’ve been in or around a wooded or grassy area. Common types of ticks include dog ticks and deer ticks (deer ticks may be carriers of Lyme disease).

If you find a tick on your child:

  • Call your doctor, who may want you to save the tick in a sealed container or zip-locked bag for identification later. Commonly physicians will prescribe a short course of antibiotics as a prophylactic measure to prevent Lyme disease.  Notifying your family doctor of a tick bite is important so they may have the ability to treat Lyme disease infections early on.
  • Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to the skin.
  • Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go (do not twist or jerk the tick), then swab the bite site with alcohol.

Some ticks are so small it is hard to see them. This makes it hard to tell if you have removed the tick’s head. If you do not see any obvious parts of the tick’s head where it attached, assume you have removed the entire tick, but watch for symptoms of a skin infection. Symptoms of infection may include:

  • Pain, swelling, redness, or warmth around the area.
  • Red streaks leading from the area.
  • Pus draining from the area.
  • Fever or chills.

If you have a rash, headache, joint pain, fever, or flu-like symptoms, this could mean you have an illness related to a tick bite such as Lyme disease. If you have any of these symptoms, or symptoms of a skin infection, call your doctor.

Sun Protection

In recent years, the American Academy of Dermatology has been educating Americans about the risks of skin cancer and the need for sun protection. This year the FDA has changed the guidelines related to claims made on sunscreen packaging.  We know it’s important to limit our time in the sun (avoid peak hours 10am-2pm), to cover up, and to use protection when we are in the sun, preferably year-round. As a result of this information, sun protection products are flying off supermarket and pharmacy shelves as people purchase sun protection to keep safe in the sun.

 

A question that we get at the pharmacy is, “What is the difference between sunblock and sunscreen?”

 

There is a difference. Sunblock or physical sunscreen contains ingredients that reflect and scatter the UV light and acts as a barrier on the skin.  They are opaque in color, are FDA approved and are less irritating to the skin.  The main ingredients are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Also, physical sunscreens do not cause free radical formation.  Examples of physical sunscreens include Badger, Blue Lizard and Vanicream.  Certain national brands also offer these now such as Neutrogena and Coppertone to name a few.

 

Sunscreen or chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, contains chemicals that protect the skin by absorbing UV rays. Broad spectrum sunscreens protect against UVA and UVB rays.  Look for Avobenzone as an active ingredient in quality chemical sunscreen products.  Chemical sunscreens tend to be more irritating to the skin and generate free radicals which make your skin wrinkle and age.

 

Should you get too much sun, there are a number of over-the-counter remedies to alleviate sunburn pain and promote healing.  Keep the skin moist with cool compresses.  Apply aloe vera, lavender water or moisturizer to the skin to replenish moisture.  These treatments will minimize peeling and promote quicker healing.   If you are really suffering, take an ant-inflamatory such as Advil to reduce swelling and pain.  Avoid picking at peeling or blistered skin.

June is Thyroid Awareness Month

Whenever you look in the mirror, an important key to your well-being is staring back at you. Your thyroid gland — a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower front of the neck, above the collarbones, and below the voice box (larynx) — makes hormones that help control the function of many of your body’s organs, including your heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and skin. Making sure that your thyroid gland is healthy is important to your body’s overall well-being.

 Some patients who have an enlarged thyroid gland may also produce too much or too little thyroid hormone. Because many symptoms of thyroid imbalance may be hard to recognize and may be mistaken for symptoms caused by other conditions, the best way to know for sure about your thyroid health is to ask your doctor for a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test, a simple blood test that measures whether your thyroid gland is functioning normally. If you have a family member with thyroid disease, are over the age of 60, or have any symptoms or risk factors associated with thyroid disease, you should talk to your doctor about getting a TSH test.

It’s not difficult to keep your thyroid in balance, but you need to know your numbers. If you are diagnosed with thyroid disease, be sure to take your thyroid medicine every day, as instructed by your doctor, and refill your prescription on time so that you don’t miss any doses. Your doctor may want to periodically run a TSH test to monitor your thyroid levels to ensure that you receive the optimal dose of thyroid medicine. Use the card below to monitor your levels and discuss them with your doctor.

According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, there is an easy way to check for thyroid problems.

Take the Neck Check

What you’ll need: Glass of water and a handheld mirror 

  1. Hold the mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above the collarbones, and below the voice box (larynx). Your thyroid gland is located in this area of your neck.
  2. While focusing on this area in the mirror, tip your head back.
  3.  Take a drink of water and swallow.
  4. As you swallow, look at your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions in this area when you swallow. Reminder: Don’t confuse the Adam’s apple with the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located further down on your neck, closer to the collarbone. You may want to repeat this process several times.
  5. If you do see any bulges or protrusions in this area, see your physician. You may have an enlarged thyroid gland or  a thyroid nodule and should be checked to determine whether cancer is present or if treatment for thyroid disease is needed.

Warwick EXPO

Come visit us at the Warwick EXPO on March 31st at the Warwick middle school.

BOGO Windmill Vitamin Sale!

All Windmill Vitamins are Buy One Get One FREE until March 31, 2012.  Please come in and talk to us about what vitamins are right for you.

The 50th Anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week is March 18-24, 2012

We now offer a FREE solution for proper disposal of unused patient medications, both
prescription and over–the–counter. Medical waste is recovered and transformed into
PELLA-DRX, a clean raw material used in the manufacture of a variety of industrial
applications.

Most people have traditionally flushed, tossed into the garbage or stored prescription
and over-the-counter medications that are expired or no longer needed; none of which
is safe. Please call 988-5805 or visit Apple Valley Pharmacy today.