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.

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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.

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

TREATMENTS
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

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

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

DECONGESTANTS
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.

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.