National Kidney Awareness

March marks National Kidney Month. Kidneys have the big job of keeping our blood clean by removing waste products and excess fluid from the body. They also produce hormone that stimulates red blood cell production affecting other vital organs — some of these hormones help to regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.

According to the Centers For Disease and Control, chronic Kidney disease affected, “more than 45,000 people in 2011. More than 20 million (>10%) of U.S. adults have chronic kidney disease and most of them are not aware of their condition.” That’s why it’s so important to have routine check-ups.

KidneysFrom the Mayo Clinic, here are 9-Warning signs that may point to acute kidney failure:

  • Decreased urine output, although occasionally urine output remains normal
  • Fluid retention, causing swelling in your legs, ankles or feet
  • Drowsiness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Seizures or coma in severe cases
  • Chest pain or pressure

Sometimes acute kidney failure causes no signs or symptoms and is detected through lab tests done for another reason. Speak with our Pharmacists to learn more about preventing kidney disease.

During the month of March you can find lots more information online about the kidneys’ function, kidney diseases and how to best keep your kidneys healthy. Follow the link to the official National Kidney Foundation by clicking here.

Fend Off Dry Skin With These 4 Tips

Flaky brittle skin during the winter months can cause irritation and discomfort. Here are 4 tips you can do now to help relieve dry skin:
Dry Skin Collage 1

  • Hot Showers – daily hot showers during the winter can dry out the natural oils in skin. Solution:  Limit time in the shower to 5 minutes using lukewarm water.
  • Scrubs Are For Floors – friction strips the skin of its natural oils. Solution:  Use a soft wash cloth instead of a sponge scrub or a loofa.
  • Toweling vs Dabbing – the simple act of toweling off after a shower robs the body of moisture. Solution:  Leave the skin partially moist after dabbing most of the water from your skin with a soft towel. Follow that by applying a good lotion or cream such as The Naked Bee which uses natural organic ingredients.
  • Itch In Your Pants –  *Some fabrics such as wool, angora, or synthetic fabric blends irritate the skin. Solution:  Switch to cotton or silk. Love wool? Try wearing a layer of cotton under your favorite itchy sweater or purchase clothing with a soft fabric lining. *Fabric softeners and laundry detergents are packed with strong perfumes and other ingredients that can cause skin discomfort.  Solution:  Use dye-free and fragrance-free products for sensitive skin.

Click here to learn more from the Mayo Clinic about causes and solutions for dry skin.

Protect Yourself With A Flu Shot

Each year the flu vaccine changes because there are new strains that develop. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “changes in the 2012 recommendations reflect research that shows the best way to protect you and young, vulnerable children around you.” People who don’t vaccinate are most at risk for an outbreak. In some cases, many who are affected lose time from work, school, or other important everyday life responsibilities. That’s why it’s best to protect yourself with a flu shot to stay healthy.

At Webster’s Community Pharmacy the flu shot and other vaccines are now available. Visit the Rx to learn more about how you can safeguard from unwanted illnesses this season. Vaccines are not simply for children only; adults are also encouraged to keep up with important vaccines…

Pneumococcal Vaccination 

  • All adults 65 years of age and older.
  • Anyone 2 through 64 years of age who has a long-term health problem such as: heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, alcoholism, cirrhosis, leaks of cerebrospinal fluid or cochlear implant.
  • Any adult 19 through 64 years of age who is a smoker or has asthma.
  • Residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

Zoster (Shingles) Vaccine

The FDA recently approved the use of zoster vaccine in those 50 years old; however, CDC continues to recommend that vaccination for shingles begin at age 60.

Tdap and Td Vaccine

  • The Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine is now recommended for women in the third or late second trimester (20th week or more) of their pregnancy.
  • Tdap is recommended for all those who are close contacts of infants younger than 12 months of age – for example, parents, guardians, grandparents, babysitters, nannies, teachers, and those who have not previously received the Tdap vaccine.
  • Other adults, who are not close contacts of children younger than 12 months of age, are still recommended to receive a one-time dose of the Tdap vaccine. After your initial dose of Tdap, you’ll need the Td booster every 10 years. But you don’t need to wait to get the Tdap vaccine if you have recently been vaccinated with the Td booster.

The friendly pharmacists at Webster’s Community are happy to be on your team of defense!

August is National Immunization Month

Webster’s Community Pharmacy is ready for National Immunization Month. Prepare your body to fight against serious diseases and illness. Here are some shots people need at different ages:

Young children
• Children under age 6 get a series of shots to protect against measles, polio, chicken pox, and hepatitis

Pre-teens and teens
• Pre-teens need shots at age 11 or 12 to help protect them from tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis, and HPV (human papillomavirus)

• Teens need a booster shot at age 16 to help protect them from meningitis

• All adults need a booster shot every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria.

• People age 65 or older need a one-time pneumonia shot.

Talk to our pharmacists about which shots you and your family need.

Osteoporosis: Build It Or Break It

The month of May is dedicated to building awareness about Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a condition in the bones that causes them to become weak and break easily. Something as simple as sneezing can cause a bone to break. In older adults breaking a bone can be very serious. Most affected areas include:  the hip, spine, and wrist. Loss of height and stooped or hunched posture are caused by breakage or collapse of the vertebrae (spine).

Who’s at risk?
It’s most common in older women. Some risk factors include:

  • Body size — women who are small and thin are at greater risk
  •  Ethnicity — White and Asian women are at higher risk than Black and Hispanic women
  • Sex hormones — Low levels of estrogen due to missing menstrual periods or to menopause can cause osteoporosis.
  • Medication use — some types of medicines increase the risk of osteoporosis

While it’s not as prevalent in men they too should be aware of the risks:

  • Up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis
  • Men are more likely than women to die within a year after breaking a hip. This is due to problems related to the break.
  • 2% of men 50 years of age and over with osteoporosis of the hip will die.
Unfortunately there are no symptoms to watch for in the early stages of the disease. However, there are symptoms to look for in the late in the disease:
    • Bone pain or tenderness
    • Loss of height 9as much as 6 inches) over time
    • Neck pain due to fractures of the spinal bones
Prevention and Nutrition
As with most disease prevention, eating a well-balanced meal is essential to healthy bones. Calcium consumption for both men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 require 1,000 milligrams a day. Once women turn 50 and men turn 70 the daily amount increases to 1,200 milligrams. Dairy is a good source of both calcium and vitamin D (for your body to absorb calcium).
Dark green leafy vegetables, salmon or sardines (with bones), calcium-fortified cereals soy and orange juice, and baked beans are other good sources of calcium. Spending a few minutes in the sun (not hours) is a convenient way to get vitamin D in the body. About 600 to 800 international units (IU) a day, through food or supplements is recommended.
Exercise helps build strong bones and slow bone loss. When combined with strength training with weight-bearing exercises, it helps strengthen muscles and bones in your arms and upper spine. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, jogging, running, stair climbing, skipping rope, skiing, and impact-producing sports benefit the legs, hips and lower spine.
For more information about Osteoporosis, please visit with our knowledgeable pharmacists.

Taking Hold Of Allergies

What Are Allergies?
An allergy is an exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances that are derived from genes and/or environmental factors. Pharmacist Lorig Matosian at Webster’s Community Pharmacy explains, “Normally the immune system protects the body from substances that are harmful (e.g., viruses and bacteria) or from harmless allergens (e.g., food or environmental).” “A person with allergies has an immune response that is oversensitive triggered by allergens, which releases chemicals such as histamines.”

Allergies may make certain existing medical conditions such as sinus problems, eczema, and asthma worse. Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) need to be treated with epinephrine, which is a prescribed medicine that can be life saving when given right away. If you use epinephrine, call 911 and go straight to the hospital.

Food Allergies
Food allergies are very common and vary from mild discomfort to severe medical emergencies. Typically food allergy symptoms will develop within a few minutes to two hours after eating the offending food. It’s best to avoid what causes your allergies, in order to reduce symptoms.

Many customers at Webster’s Community Pharmacy come to us seeking relief. Not all allergies are alike nor do they require the same treatment. That’s why it’s important to speak with a pharmacist or physician to help navigate through the various options for each specific ailment. According to our Pharmacist, Lorig Matosian, “Many of our patients come to the counter for personalized recommendations. After a quick assessment of their allergy symptoms we guide them to the best solutions to help alleviate the flare-ups.”

Environmental Allergy Triggers In Southern California
This year Southern California has endured the forth-warmest winter on record, triggering an early release of pollen from trees. The mild temperature that we’ve had all winter long has developed an ideal environment for pollen growth, creating a longer allergy season. As a result, this is one of the most intense pollen seasons for allergy sufferers. Pollen is the most common trigger for springtime (tree pollen) allergy symptoms. Sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and a runny nose are classic symptoms that are related to springtime allergies.

Since Southern California doesn’t have four distinct seasons like in the Midwest and Eastern parts of the country, allergens are constantly in the air. This can make it especially uncomfortable for those with nasal allergies, triggering chronic drainage and congestion, leaving allergy sufferers vulnerable to sinus infections, bronchitis and colds.

Alleviating Allergy Symptoms

Antihistamines are available over-the-counter and by prescription. Below are some of the many forms that are available at Webster’s Community Pharmacy, including:

  • Capsules and pills
  • Eye drops
  • Liquids
  • Nasal sprays

Anti-inflammatory medications (corticosteroids) are available in many forms, including:

  • Creams and ointment for the skin
  • Eye drops
  • Nasal spray
  • Lung inhaler

Decongestants are used to relieve a stuffy nose. However it’s best not to overuse decongestants, because they can cause a “rebound” effect and make the congestion worse. People with high blood pressure, heart problems, or prostate enlargement should use decongestants with caution.

Before making an over the counter purchase be sure to check with your pharmacist to prevent a dangerous combination with prescription medications or other existing health issues.

Blooming Savings
Take back control of your allergies this season!

Now through the end of April save 10% off any OTC allergy remedy at Webster’s Community Pharmacy.

Our friendly and knowledgeable Pharmacists are available for personal recommendations. They are more than happy to guide you to relief.

Webster’s Community Pharmacy Welcomes Walgreen’s Customers

In recent news, Walgreen’s pharmacies are no longer accepting Anthem Blue Cross, or Express Scripts insurance plans. Walgreen’s customers are now faced with the question of where to go to fill their prescriptions. As an independent pharmacy we not only welcome these customers with open arms, we will also provide them with the best community care that our regular customers have come to enjoy:

  • In the mantra from the iconic television show Cheers, “I want to go to a place where everybody knows your name.” It’s that little extra touch not found at the big box stores. Over time we get to know our customers by first name without the aide of an identification card or some electronic means.
  • Our pharmacists are able to cross-reference all your prescriptions to make sure that you don’t double up or combine potentially harmful medicines.
  • With the newly installed state of-the-art robotic dispensing system all prescriptions are processed more efficiently, affording an added attention to detail.
  • We are located in the hub of Altadena. For most, this means a short drive to our pharmacy or a breezy walk in our lovely community.
  • We deliver!  You’ve probably seen our little white transit van in the neighborhood.  For a nominal fee we can deliver your prescriptions if you can’t pick them up.

Walgreen’s customers don’t have to worry about having to transfer their prescriptions to us. One call is all it takes and we’ll handle the rest. Everything else can stay the same with an added bonus of being part of the best community drug store this side of the San Gabriel Valley.

Give us a call to transfer your prescriptions today at 626-797-1163.

Arm Yourself This Season With A Flu Shot

The flu vaccine is now available at Webster’s Community Pharmacy. Stop by the pharmacy or give us call for information on how you can get the flu vaccine this season.

Vaccination is highly recommended to prevent a serious outbreak of the flu. Per the Los Angeles Times article by Roan, “Yearly vaccination is required even among people who got immunized last year and even though the strains targeted by the vaccine are the same. The effectiveness of the vaccine eventually wanes over the course of a year. However,  people who are vaccinated now will still be protected through the first half of 2012. Flu season typically peaks in January or February.” Statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC makes every effort to make certain that “The influenza (flu) viruses selected for inclusion in the seasonal flu vaccines are updated each year based information about which influenza virus strains are identified, how they are spreading, and how well current vaccine strains protect against newly identified strains.” Since the flu is a virus that is ever evolving it’s prudent to keep up to date with yearly vaccinations.

 5 Health Tips To Fight Off the Flu

Wash hands often – One of the simplest ways to keep you from getting sick this season is to keep your hands clean. Wash your hands after you sneeze, cough, touch door knobs, use the restroom, work on the computer, and before you put anything in your mouth.

Strengthen your immune system – One of the best ways to keep your immunity working well is to get plenty of rest. This time allows the body to repair and rejuvenate itself as it builds T-cells. Regular exercise is another method to help promote a healthy immune system. Consuming fresh citrus fruits or taking vitamin C supplements help to boost the immune system, too.

Stay home if you get sick – Your body not only needs to rest to get better, but going to work or anywhere outside the home only helps to spread a flu outbreak. Avoid public areas as much as possible as a courtesy to others.

Sneeze into your elbow – Most were taught as children to sneeze into a closed hand or the palm of their hand. Now researches know that the best way to keep droplets of fluids from spraying in every direction is to sneeze into the inside of your elbow.

Snuggle later – Whether you are sick or someone else is, make sure you avoid close contact to keep from spreading the flu “love” to each other.

Ask our pharmacist for more information about the flu virus and our available vaccines.

Five Tips to Healthy Aging

The key to healthy aging is contributed to a balanced diet, regular exercise, and cognitive care. Growing old doesn’t always have to be met with a sense of apprehension or despair. There are several tips that can help our elders age with the type of grace that can provide them a lifestyle that is not as  limited as traditional aging.

Need answers now? At Webster’s you can count on your local pharmacist to help guide you in your pursuit to healthy aging.

5 Tips to Healthy Aging:

  1. Exercise – Routine exercise helps retain muscle, healthy bones, and aides in easing bowel movements. It’s recommended to walk briskly at least 30 minutes each day or at least 3 times a week. Water aerobics is another low impact form of exercise for those with knee injuries or limited mobility. Yoga, elliptical machines, and hiking are some other great ways to get your blood flowing.
  2. Diet – A balanced diet is not only good for weight management, but it’s also good for controlling certain diseases such as hypertension.
  3. Memory – There are games that challenge the mind: bingo, saduko, crossword puzzles, word games such as scrabble, and chess are among the few that help build your cognitive thinking. Believe it or not, but a good night’s rest also helps.
  4. Vision – As you age your vision changes and by the time you reach 65, 1 in 3 people may experience some form of vision impairment.
  5. Teeth – Keep your pearly whites with semi-anual visits to the dentist in addition to daily brushing and flossing. If you have dentures, ask your pharmacist to recommend products that can help keep them clean.
*This post is merely intended to share information about healthy aging. We highly recommend that you speak with your local pharmacist or personal physician for thorough information and diagnosis.
*Photos in this post are from Microsoft Free Images.

Living With Hypertension and Not Even Knowing It

Are you suffering from hypertension, (also known as high blood pressure)? It’s often called the silent killer because the symptoms are not always prevalent. A person could be living with it for many years and not even know it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hypertension affects about 30% of adults aged 18 and over across our nation.

Hypertension causes the heart to overwork by pumping blood with excessive force against the narrowed walls of the arteries. This contributes to the hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis which can cause heart failure.


Causes of this deadly disease are hard to pinpoint. Smoking, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, too much salt in the diet have all been linked to increasing your blood pressure. Chronic kidney disease and adrenal and thyroid disorders have also been reported as causes of high blood pressure. Regular check-ups with your physician are highly recommended.

What do the numbers mean?

When you have your blood pressure checked, two numbers are measured:

Systolic- The top or larger number measures the pressure in your arteries while your heart beats.

Dialostic- The bottom or smaller number measures the pressurewhile your heart rests between beats.

These numbers are used together to represent your blood pressure reading. A normal reading would about 120/80 while a stage 1 high blood pressure reading would be about 140-159/90-99. People with prehypertension would typically see a reading at about 120-139/80-89.

Taking Control

As with many other disease preventions, taking back control of your blood pressure is a matter of changing some habits. If you are a smoker- stop it! It’s not only bad for your lungs, but it also bad for your heart. Eating a healthy diet and regular physical activity have also been proven to reduce, and in some cases eliminate high blood pressure.

Additional tips:  Make sure to consult with your physician before starting any diet and exercise regime.

  • Curb the need to sprinkle extra amounts of salt on your meals. This is a time when you can get creative with spices and herbs to season your foods.
  • Fatty laden foods may be tasty, but they will clog arteries and increase your chances for a heart attack.
  • Feeling grumpy? Irritable people tend to have high blood pressure. Just by practicing relaxation exercises through yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises can help reduce your blood pressure.
*This post is merely intended to share information about hypertension. We highly recommend you speak with your physician for thorough information and diagnosis.
*Photos in this post are from Microsoft Free Images.