National Immunization Awareness Month

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National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is a campaign held each August to raise awareness on the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.1 It is especially important for patients with chronic health conditions to be up to date on recommended vaccinations, since they are at increased risk for complications from certain vaccine-preventable diseases.8

Importance and Safety of Immunizations

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines immunization as a process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination.2 Immunizations save lives as they offer protection against numerous diseases. Without vaccines, people with weakened immune systems are more at risk.4

If you are concerned about the safety of vaccinations, know that they are thoroughly tested before being released to the public.4 Both the CDC and FDA continue to track the safety of all licensed vaccines.5 The CDC tracks the safety of vaccinations through The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS was created in 1990 to detect any potential safety issues with U.S. vaccines. If anyone experiences problems after an immunization, they can submit a report to VAERS. This monitoring system makes it possible to spot any unusual side effects from vaccinations as well as identify any risks for health issues related to vaccinations. If you are ever concerned about the safety of immunizations, you can have peace of mind knowing they are constantly being monitored.6

Adult and Childhood Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Below are some serious adult and childhood diseases that can be prevented by vaccinations.2

  • Chickenpox
  • Diphtheria
  • Flu (Influenza)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Measles
  • Mumps

To discover more vaccine preventable diseases, check out: Diseases and the Vaccines That Prevent Them | CDC.

Effectiveness of Vaccinations

Facts and figures that show the effectiveness of vaccinations:

  • According to the World Health Organization, immunizations prevent 2-3 million deaths every year from vaccine-preventable diseases.7
  • It is estimated that vaccinations prevented 26 million cases of childhood disease in the U.S. in the past decade.7
  • The flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60%.5

What Vaccinations Do I Need?

The CDC produced a vaccination schedule for all to follow (the recommended schedule can be found here). Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about your vaccination history or what vaccine requirements you have.

How Pharmacists can Help

Pharmacists are also in a unique position to identify those patients who are in target groups for certain vaccinations.3 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.

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.

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. National Immunization Awareness Month (aap.org)
  2. Immunization Basics | CDC
  3. Adult Vaccination Rates Are Rising but Fall Short (pharmacytimes.com)
  4. Five important reasons to vaccinate your child – APIC
  5. Vaccine Effectiveness: How Well Do the Flu Vaccines Work? | CDC
  6. VAERS | Vaccine Safety | CDC
  7. VOM-Vaccines-Global-JUN2019.PDF (pfizer.com)
  8. NIAM Key Messages: Communicating with Parents and Patients | CDC

Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness

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Are you prepared to handle the heat this summer? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines extreme heat as summertime temperatures that are much hotter and humid than average. As a result, heat-related illnesses occur. Stay safe this summer by knowing how to prevent, recognize and cope with heat-related illnesses.1

What is Heat-Related Illness?

Heat-related illnesses happen when a person’s body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down.1 Certain factors may increase your risk of developing a heat-related illness:1

  • High levels of humidity
  • Obesity
  • Prescription drug use
  • Dehydration
  • Poor circulation

Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat-related illnesses are preventable. Know the signs and symptoms to protect you or a loved one:

  1. Heat Stroke: This is the most serious heat-related illness. When it occurs, the body temperature can rise to 105°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.2
    • What to look for: Body temperature of 103°F or higher, hot or damp skin, nausea, confusion and passing out.1
    • What to do: Call 911 immediately, do not give the person anything to drink, help lower body temperature with a cool bath or cloths.1
  2. Heat Exhaustion: This happens after the body loses an excessive amount of water and salt, typically through excessive sweating.2
    • What to look for: Cold and pale skin, weak pulse, muscle cramps, dizziness, headache and weakness.1
    • What to do: Move to a cool place, loosen your clothes, sip water. Get medical help if you are throwing up or your symptoms last longer than an hour.1
  3. Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are caused by sweating that depletes the body’s salt and moisture levels.2
    • What to look for: Muscle spasms, muscle pain and heavy sweating during intense exercise.1
    • What to do: Stop any physical activity and drink water. Seek medical help if cramps last longer than an hour or if you have heart problems.2
  4. Heat Rash: Heat rash is a skin irritation from excessive sweating during hot weather.1
    • What to look for: Red clusters of small blisters on the skin.1
    • What to do: Stay in a cool, dry place and use baby powder to soothe the rash.1

For more information on heat-related illnesses check out this infographic.

Preventing Heat-Related Illness

Here are three things to remember to help prevent heat-related illnesses:

  1. Stay Cool: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. Additionally, try and limit your outdoor activity when it is extremely hot outside.3
  2. Stay Hydrated: Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink something. Even if you are not active, drink plenty of fluids.3
  3. Stay Informed: Check out your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.html
  2. Heat Stress Related Illness | NIOSH | CDC
  3. Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness | Natural Disasters and Severe Weather | CDC

UV Safety Awareness Month

Image Source: Ethan Roberson/Unsplash

Do you know the risks associated with too much sun exposure? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide. In honor of UV Safety Awareness Month, learn more about the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays.

UV Rays

The sun produces ultraviolet (UV) radiation which can lead to sunburn, skin aging, and skin cancer. There are two types of rays that can damage the DNA in your skin cells and lead to cancer.

  1. UVB rays: These rays cause sunburn and play a key role in developing skin cancer. A sunscreen’s sun protection factor (SPF) number refers to the amount of UVB protection it provides.2 UVB rays have short wavelengths that reach the outer layer of your skin.1
  2. UVA rays: These rays cause skin damage that leads to skin aging and wrinkles. When choosing sunscreen, look for the words “broad spectrum” on the product label. This means that the product has ingredients that can protect you from UVA and UVB rays.2 UVA rays have longer wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin.1

Minimize Your Risk

If you want to minimize the risk that comes with sun exposure, follow these tips:

  • Cover Up: Clothing like wide brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts and sunglasses for eye protection, can partly shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV ray exposure.1
  • Shade: Try and stay in the shade when the sun’s glare is most intense at midday. It is important to remember that even on cloudy days the sun can still damage your skin.1
  • Sunscreen: Make sure that you choose the right sunscreen.1 The American Academy of Dermatology recommends choosing a sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Amount of Sunscreen: Apply at least one ounce (a palmful) of sunscreen every two hours. If you are swimming, you should apply more often even if the sunscreen is waterproof.
  • Avoid Tanning Beds: Lamps in tanning beds emit harmful UV rays that can cause skin cell damage.3

Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics

For general facts about skin cancer and tips for protecting your skin, check out this infographic on the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website.

  • At least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.4
  • More than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day in the United States.4
  • In the United States, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined.
  • Having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.4 Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer.5

Sources:

  1. UV Safety Awareness Month – Quality of Care (va.gov)
  2. Ask the Expert: Does a High SPF Protect My Skin Better? – The Skin Cancer Foundation
  3. Summer Tips for UV Safety Awareness in July – Affiliated Dermatology (affderm.com)
  4. Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics – The Skin Cancer Foundation
  5. Melanoma – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

The Benefits of Using a Stress Ball

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Feeling stressed? A stress ball can help alleviate some of your tension and provide you with many emotional, physiological and psychological benefits.1

How to Use a Stress Ball2

Using a stress ball is easy! All you have to do is:

  • Squeeze the ball in your left hand for 30 seconds.
  • Pulse the stress ball for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat with the right hand.

Emotional Benefits

  • Stimulation of Nerves: Using a stress ball can stimulate the nerves that are in your hand. These nerves are connected to parts of your brain that are associated with your emotions. The stimulation works like acupressure where stimulation of one area affects other parts of your body.1
  • Diversion of Attention: When using a stress ball, you can focus solely on it. This allows you to stop thinking about the source of your stress.1
  • Mood Enhancement: You can boost your mood! The brain stimulation that is associated with stress ball use can also release endorphins which act as pain relievers and sedatives.1
  • Tension Release: Squeezing a stress ball tightens the muscles in your hand and wrist. When you release the ball, your muscles relax and you release tension and stress.1

Physical Benefits

  • Lower Risk of Stress Injuries: Regular use of a stress ball can strengthen finger and hand muscles. Some exercises that you can try:1
  • To improve wrist strength, you can squeeze for a count of three and release. Repeat 20 times.1
  • To improve finger strength, you can pinch the ball between your thumb and each finger one at a time.
  • As a hand strengthening exercise, you can twist the stress ball in both hands. Alternate the direction of twisting to get the full benefit.1
  • Treatment of Hand Conditions: A stress ball helps with conditions like arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis because it can exercise the fingers and hands. Also, they may prevent the development of these conditions.1
  • Improve Circulation: Moving your finger and hand muscles enhance the blood flow to the hand and wrist area. This helps remove toxins and other waste products and strengthens function.1

Stress balls are inexpensive and have many benefits. If you are using a stress ball to help with a specific condition, discuss with your physician. Your physician may have information about your treatment regimen or whether you should be using a stress ball.1

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://stress.lovetoknow.com/stress-ball-benefits
  2. 7 Awesome Things You can Do with Stress Balls | National Pen (pens.com)

Introducing Tria Health’s NEW Mobile App

Are you looking for a better way to manage your medications? With Tria Health’s new mobile app, members can receive a personalized care plan, medication list, and medication schedule. Never miss a pill again!

About Tria Health:

Tria Health reduces health care costs for employers by improving health outcomes for employees with chronic conditions. Our company is driven by an understanding that pharmacists make a difference in helping patients manage their chronic conditions. Rising health care costs are a concern for employers and health plans. Chronic conditions have a big impact on these costs because they represent 86% of total health care spend. Medication management is key to effectively managing these conditions, yet 50% of people do not take medications as prescribed increasing health risks and costs. Sixteen percent of U.S. health care spend is due to non-optimized medication use.

Since the beginning, Tria Health has provided personalized pharmacy care to members of self-insured employers and health plans. This innovative, patient-focused approach reduces costs and improves the health of their members and their bottom line.

Tria Health’s new mobile app enhances patient’s ability to interact with Tria Health and empowers them when it comes to managing their health. To access the app, members will need to enroll and complete an initial consultation with their Tria Health pharmacist. This is a requirement only because the app does not truly become beneficial until we connect it with their personalized care plan. Some features of our mobile app include a personalized care plan, medication schedule, and medication list.

Personalized Care Plan

Doctor’s appointments can leave many people feeling hurried and confused. At a doctor’s visit it is a struggle to recall everything that needs to be discussed. People must remember their medication list, the dosages of their medications, and the brand if possible. With Tria Health’s new mobile app, members can make the most of their visits by accessing their own personalized care plan. The personalized care plan contains an easily accessible medication list and pharmacist recommendations. To receive the best care possible at a doctor’s appointment, it is crucial to have an updated medication list. This feature streamlines member’s checkups, making their doctor’s visits easier than ever.

Medication Schedule

Medications play a key role in treatment, which is why medication adherence and compliance is so important. When a patient is medication adherent and compliant, they save money, healthcare resources, and have better health outcomes. However, it is difficult for patients to follow a provider’s recommended treatment plan when trying to manage multiple chronic conditions. When managing multiple conditions, forgetting to take medication is common. Tria Health’s mobile app has a medication schedule feature. This feature includes a pre-populated list of member’s current medications, allowing them to create their own personal schedule. This feature provides a place for medication-specific information creating a more efficient process so members will never forget to take their medication.

Mobile App FAQ’s

  • Question: Is my information secure?

Answer: Yes. Tria upholds all HIPAA standards and does not share your personal information. In addition, Tria does not store any of your personal information directly on your phone to protect your privacy. As a result, every time you log in we are requesting the information from our system, which takes a little longer, but we do this to protect your privacy.

  • Question: Why can’t I log in?

Answer: You cannot log in until after your first appointment with a Tria Health pharmacist. If you have already had your appointment and are still experiencing errors, check to see if you have completed all of the following steps:

  • Step 1: Have you registered on the patient portal?
    • Step 2: Have you entered the correct user ID and password on the login screen? 
    • Step 3: If you don’t remember your password, click “forgot password”.
  • Question: I see a Chat feature on the app – can I chat with my pharmacist that way?

Answer: Your pharmacist may not have availability at the time you want to chat, but you can chat with a Member Advocate who can schedule some time with your pharmacist and/or put you in touch with someone who can answer your question.

  • Question: Does the app cost money?

Answer: No. Tria Health’s mobile app is free for all active members.

Where to Download

Tria Health’s new mobile app is now available for download on Google Play and the Apple Store. We will be continuing to expand and add new features on our app to help our patients. Members will have the opportunity to leave feedback and help us continually improve the way we support them and other patients.

Have any questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742