Spring Clean Your Medicine Cabinet

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The sun is shining, the birds are chirping but unfortunately a lot of homes are still covered with the dust and clutter from winter. Spring cleaning is a tradition that allows us to freshen up our homes and get prepped for spring and summer fun! While you’re spring cleaning this year, be sure to take the time to go through your medicine cabinet and remove any unnecessary or expired medications.

What Should You Look For?

  • Check Expiration Dates: Taking a medication that is slightly expired is unlikely to cause harm, but it is possible that it may not work as well. In general, it is best to acquire a new prescription if your medication is expired. In addition, if the appearance of the medication has changed this may be an indication of an expired product. If you have an injectable solution or oral suspension that has changed colors or consistency this might indicate a new prescription is needed.
  • Find Leftover Prescriptions: Leftover antibiotics and other prescription medications from a previous condition should be discarded. You should never attempt to treat yourself or anyone else with a prescription medicine. Although your symptoms might seem similar to an illness you had before, the cause could be different, or the medicine may not be the right one to use this time around.1

Where to Dispose of Medications

Many people will try to flush their medications down the toilet or crush their medicines before throwing them in the trash to try and be safe. However, this can be dangerous. Flushing can end up polluting our waters and crushing medicines can put trash handlers at risk of exposure if the drug were to encounter their skin or if they were to breathe in the dust. Medicine take back programs are the best way to dispose of unwanted medicine. Click here to locate a year-round authorized collector in your area.

How can Tria Health Help?

As a member of Tria Health, if you have questions about whether or not you should dispose of your existing medications, call us and one of our pharmacists can give you the professional guidance you need. in addition, if you take multiple medications or have a chronic condition, Tria provides one-on-one consultations with a clinical pharmacist who can assist you with your medication management.

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Source:

  1. http://www.healthcommunities.com/medications/spring-clean-your-medicine-cabinet.shtml

Tips for Allergy Season

Flowers blowing in the wind
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It’s official, spring is here! While many of us are excited about the rise in temperature, if you’re one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies, you may be dreading what’s to come. Seasonal allergies can mean sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and other unpleasant symptoms. Luckily, there are many steps you can take to minimize the effects and keep allergies under control.

Reduce Your Triggers1

Limiting your exposure to allergens can help reduce your overall symptoms. A few ways you can do so are:

  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
  • Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.

Keep Your Home Clean

While some allergens may still get into your home, there are many ways you can lessen their impact.

  • Limit the number of rugs in your home and wash any that are washable
  • Use air conditioning and utilize high-efficiency filters
  • Keep your indoor air dry with a dehumidifier

Explore Over-The-Counter Options

  • Oral antihistamines: Can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes.
    • Examples include: Claritin, Alavert, Zyrtec Allergy and Allegra Allergy
  • Decongestants: Provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Only use nasal decongestants for a few days in a row. Longer-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms (rebound congestion).
    • Examples Include: Sudafed, Neo-Synephrine and Afrinol
  • Nasal Spray: Most effective when used before symptoms start and can ease most allergy symptoms.
  • Combination Medications: A combination of an antihistamine with a decongestant.
    • Examples Include: Claritin-D and Allegra-D

Tria Health Can Answer Your Medication Questions

If Tria Health is offered through your benefits plan, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one, private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. If you’re interested in exploring medication treatments for allergies, Tria’s pharmacist will be able to provide you with recommendations.

Source:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/in-depth/seasonal-allergies/art-20048343

National Nutrition Month

Bowls of fruit and oatmeal
Image Source: Melissa Belanger/Unsplash

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

How can you get involved?1

  • Choose foods and drinks that are good for your health.
  • Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
  • Select healthier options when eating away from home.
  • Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you.
  • Keep it simple. Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated.
  • Make food safety part of your everyday routine.
  • Help to reduce food waste by considering the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
  • Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.

Looking for healthy recipes?

In honor of National Nutrition Month, Tria Health has assembled some of our favorite nutritional recipes:

Chronic Conditions and Nutrition

If you have a chronic condition, a carefully planned diet can make a difference. With certain diseases, what you eat may reduce symptoms. In other cases, diet can improve health. Although your diet might differ depending on your condition and lifestyle, there are three keys to a healthy eating plan that will work for diabetes, heart health, cancer prevention and weight management:

  • Eat meals and snacks regularly (at planned times).
  • Eat about the same amount of food at each meal or snack.
  • Choose healthful foods to support a healthy weight and heart.

Have any questions? Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742.

Source:

  1. https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month/national-nutrition-month-celebration-toolkit

National Sleep Awareness Week

Sleeping cat
Image Source: Sabri Tuzcu/Unsplash

National Sleep Awareness Week is from March 10 to 16, 2019. The goal of this week-long campaign is to promote the benefits of optimal sleep and how sleep affects health, well-being and safety. Sleep can be especially important when it comes to the development and management of several chronic diseases and conditions.

How Does Sleep Impact Chronic Disease?1

Insufficient sleep has been linked to multiple chronic diseases:

  • Diabetes: Research has found that insufficient sleep is linked to an increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes. Specifically, sleep duration and quality have emerged as predictors of levels of Hemoglobin A1c, an important marker of blood sugar control.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Persons with sleep apnea have been found to be at increased risk for a number of cardiovascular diseases. Notably, hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease and irregular heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmias) have been found to be more common among those with disordered sleep than their peers without sleep abnormalities.
  • Obesity: Laboratory research has found that short sleep duration results in metabolic changes that may be linked to obesity. Epidemiologic studies conducted in the community have also revealed an association between short sleep duration and excess body weight.

Benefits of Getting More Sleep2

  • Improved Mood: Every night while you’re asleep, your brain is working to process your emotions. Your mind needs this time in order to recognize and react the right way. When you cut that short, you tend to have more negative emotional reactions and fewer positive ones.
  • Healthier Heart: Sleep helps to lower your blood pressure and help in preventing heart disease.
  • More Energy: A good nights sleep can make a world of difference for your energy levels. It can also help improve your motivation and allow time for your muscles to repair.
  • Improved Brain Function: Sleep plays a big part in both learning and memory. Without enough sleep, it’s tough to focus and take in new information.
  • Strong Immune System: Ongoing lack of sleep changes the way your immune cells work. They may not attack as quickly, and you could get sick more often.

Click here if you’re interested in seeing the steps you can take to improve your sleep.

Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program

Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and are their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle, including their sleep habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/chronic_disease.html
  2. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/benefits-sleep-more#2

Pharmacists and Vaccinations: A Perfect Match

Syringe surrounded by three bottles
Image Source: qimono/pixabay.com

The CDC considers vaccinations to be one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.1-3 Thanks to vaccines, the incidence, morbidity, mortality, and prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases have considerably diminished since vaccinations became available. Unfortunately, while vaccines are considered safe and effective in preventing illness, an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 US adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases every year.4-5 In order to improve the overall vaccination rate, it’s important we utilize all our resources. Pharmacists are easily accessible and can be instrumental in providing patients with pertinent information to help them make informed choices regarding immunizations.

Why Vaccines are Important

There are two main benefits for vaccination:

  1. You can help lower your chance of getting certain disease
    • Hepatitis B vaccine lowers your risk of liver cancer.
    • HPV vaccine lowers your risk of cervical cancer.
    • Flu vaccine lowers your risk of flu-related heart attacks or other flu-related complications from existing health conditions like diabetes and chronic lung disease.
  2. You can lower your chance of spreading disease.
    • Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines due to their age or health condition. They rely on you to help prevent the spread of disease.
    • Infants, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious disease.

Vaccines are both effective and safe. They go through years of testing before the FDA licenses them for use. Both the CDC and FDA continue to track the safety of all licensed vaccines.6

Recommended Immunization Schedules

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the following vaccination schedules:

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/

How Pharmacists can Help

Pharmacists are also in a unique position to identify those patients who are in target groups for certain vaccinations. They may also be able to ease the fears of many patients by providing them with facts such as clinical data and by dispelling common misconceptions and myths about vaccinations; they can also stress the significant risks associated with not being vaccinated.7

Tria Health was founded on the belief that pharmacists play a vital role in the management of high-risk patients. With Tria, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins, supplements and lifestyle habits. Your pharmacist will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding vaccinations.

Sources:

  1. Oldfield BJ, Stewart RW. Common misconceptions, advancements, and updates in pediatric vaccine administration. South Med J. 2016;109(1):38-41. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000000399.
  2. Ventola CL. Immunization in the United States: recommendations, barriers, and measures to improve compliance: part 2: adult vaccinations. P T. 2016;41(8):492-506.
  3. Temoka E. Becoming a vaccine champion: evidence-based interventions to address the challenges of vaccination. S D Med. 2013;(theme issue): 68-72.
  4. Bach AT, Goad JA. The role of community pharmacy-based vaccination in the USA: current practice and future directions. Integr Pharm Res Pract. 2015;4:67-77. doi: 10.2147/IPRP.S63822.
  5. Poland GA, Schaffner W, Hopkins RH Jr, US Department of Health & Human Services. Immunization guidelines in the United States: new vaccines and new recommendations for children, adolescents, and adults. Vaccine. 2013;31(42):4689-4693. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.03.031.
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/reasons-to-vaccinate.html
  7. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2019/january2019/adult-vaccination-rates-are-rising-but-fall-short