Stress-Free Summer

 

Summer isn’t only about swimming and vacations — it can be a stressful time for many people. If you are stressed this summer, try these five tips.

Stress is part of everyday life. In fact, sometimes it’s normal and not all bad. It can actually motivate people to prepare or perform. For example, stress may boost your performance when you take a test. It can even save lives in some situations.

However, stress can negatively affect your health. It can take a toll on your physical and mental well-being. If stress becomes chronic — meaning it lasts for too long — it starts to affect many systems in your body, such as your immune system. People under chronic stress tend to be more vulnerable to illnesses like the flu or common cold.

Over time, continued strain on your body from routine stress may lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Because no one’s life is completely stress-free, it is important to know how to manage stress this summer and all year long.

1) Learn Your Stressors

Learn your triggers, or stressors. Stressors may include family, work and relationships.

If you cannot pinpoint your stress, try writing in a journal when you are feeling stressed and then looking for a pattern. This can help you avoid stressors in the future. For example, if you know a health problem is stressing you out, speak with your health care provider. He or she can help you better manage your health and, as a result, reduce your stress.

By reducing your stress, you are, in turn, helping to prevent the negative toll stress can have on your health — a win-win.

2) Take Care of Your Body

Make sure you are eating well-balanced meals, getting enough sleep and exercising daily. Hunger can worsen stressful situations. Do not skip meals, and always have healthy, energy-boosting snacks on hand. In addition, avoid high-sugar snack foods. Instead, opt for vegetables, lean proteins, fruits and whole grains.

A lack of sleep can also compound stress. Try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night so your body and mind are well-rested. Also, try to limit alcohol and caffeine intake. These substances may aggravate stress or anxiety. Instead, try drinking more water.

Staying active is also an important part of reducing stress. When you exercise, the brain releases chemicals that make you feel good. Did you know dancing and golfing count as exercise? Find something you enjoy and aim for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Find an exercise partner to keep you motivated.

Be sure to ask your health care provider before starting an exercise program, as not all exercise programs are safe for everyone.

3) Do Something You Like

When you are feeling stressed, do something you enjoy, such as baking, gardening or dancing. This can help you relax and take your mind off of what’s stressing you out.

4) Relax

Meditation, yoga, tai chi and other gentle exercises are all relaxing activities that can reduce stress. Try to schedule regular times for these activities.

Also, try taking slow, deep breaths or slowly counting to 10. The best part about deep breathing is that you can practice this technique almost anywhere and at any time. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Sit still or lie down. Next, place one hand on your stomach and place your other hand over your heart.
  • Inhale slowly until you feel your stomach rise. Hold your breath for a moment.
  • Exhale slowly. Feel your stomach fall. Repeat.

If this doesn’t help, try taking a quick timeout to meditate or listen to music. Stepping back from problems and performing these relaxation techniques may clear your head.

5) Ask for Help

Stay connected with people you can count on for support. Ask friends and family members for help. Speak with a health care professional like a physician or therapist if you need professional help.

Everyone faces stress occasionally, but it can be managed. For more tips on how to manage stress, speak with your local pharmacist.

Do You Drink Enough Water?

Are you drinking enough water? Sometimes, it can be hard to tell whether you’re getting enough water to stay healthy.

People tend to forget the health benefits of water, but it’s important to remember that water benefits your body in many ways.

Drinking water gets rid of waste through urination, sweating and bowel movements. Water protects joints and keeps the body’s temperature normal. It also protects the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues in the body.

Drinking too little water can lead to dehydration. Dehydration symptoms include the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry mouth
  • Fast heartbeat

Dehydration can become severe. If you experience the following symptoms of severe dehydration, seek emergency medical attention immediately:

  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Loss of consciousness

If your body is dehydrated and can’t cool itself properly, you can experience heat illness. This involves three stages: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

On average, the recommended daily fluid intake for men is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women.

However, the recommended daily water intake is different for everyone — water consumption is not one size fits all. Factors like how hot and humid it is outside, how much you exercise, your sweat rate, how active you are and pregnancy will determine how much water you should drink.

That’s why it’s important to speak with your health care provider about the amount of water you should drink every day.

When you’re determining how much water to drink every day, remember that fluids can come from sources other than water. An estimated 20 percent of daily fluid intake actually comes from the foods you eat. In fact, some foods can provide a significant amount of fluid. Some vegetables and fruits, such as watermelon, are almost 100 percent water by weight.

Even if you don’t like the taste of water, there are many ways to get your recommended daily fluid intake. Here are some ideas to increase your intake:

  • Add lemon or cucumber slices to water to make the taste more appealing.
  • Add electrolyte drink mixes to water.
  • Drink flavored sparkling water.
  • Drink low-fat milk, teas or low-sugar juices.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water, such as watermelon, spinach and celery.

How to prepare your children for a healthy school year

Summer is more than halfway over, and that means another school year is approaching. How should you prepare your kids for school?

Here are some important health issues to be aware of as you get your children school-ready.

Head Lice

These parasitic insects are mostly found among human hairs. They feed on blood from the scalp. They are highly contagious and spread through head-to-head contact. Classic symptoms include constant scratching of the head that does not subside, small red bumps and a rash. If you notice any of these symptoms, inspect the scalp for any tiny yellow or brown lice eggs or for grayish-white, sesame seed-sized lice.

Talk to your health care provider to come up with a plan to best treat your child and household. Treatment can vary, depending on your child’s age and what you have previously tried.

Before school starts, tell your child to avoid head-to-head contact, not to share personal items that touch the hair, and not to lie on things or places used by someone with lice. Finally, check the school’s return policy, which in most cases only requires one topical treatment before returning to school.

Back Problems

Even with lockers at school, increasing school loads are forcing children to carry heavier bags. If your children’s bags look too heavy, there may be cause for concern.

When carrying heavy shoulder bags, there is uneven weight on the shoulders. While the short-term effects of soreness may be nothing unusual, in the long term, a heavy shoulder bag can contribute to the spine curving sideways, a condition known as scoliosis.

On the other hand, backpacks pull you backward instead of sideways. This can contribute to a condition called kyphosis, also known as a hunchback, due to the effort to hunch forward while carrying the backpack.

Bags should be less than 10 percent of the carrier’s body weight. If a heavier bag is unavoidable, try using larger straps or carrying shoulder bags closer to the body and alternating sides.

Vision Problems

Vision change happens frequently in children and can lead to problems with behavior and attention in the classroom. Because simple vision screenings at school cannot detect the actual health of the eyes, you may want to have your kids take a complete eye exam before school starts.

For sports and outdoor activities, make sure your child wears proper, well-fitting eye protection. Also, teach your child to follow the 20-20-20 rule when using digital devices. This means taking 20-second breaks every 20 minutes and looking at something 20 feet away during the breaks.

Most health insurance policies cover pediatric eye exams. If you notice any vision problems in your child, such as squinting, headaches, holding books close to the face or a short attention span, schedule an appointment with an optometrist.

Stress is part of everyday life. In fact, sometimes it's normal and not all bad. It can actually motivate people to prepare or perform. For example, stress may boost performance when you take a test. It can even be life-saving in some situations.

However, stress can negatively affect your health. It can take a toll on your physical and mental well-being. If stress becomes chronic — meaning it lasts for too long — it starts to affect many systems in your body, such as your immune system. People under chronic stress tend to be more vulnerable to illnesses like the flu or common cold.

Over time, continued strain on your body from routine stress may lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Because no one’s life is completely stress-free, it is important to know how to manage stress. Read the following tips to learn how to cope with stress.

1) Focus on Positive Thoughts
One way to manage stress is to change your mindset. Try to maintain a positive attitude by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, instead of thinking, “I can’t do this,” try thinking, “I will do the best I can.” Try to accept that you cannot control everything. Instead, decide what must get done versus what can wait. Although it may be difficult, learn to say no to new tasks, especially if they will make you feel overwhelmed.

2) Learn Your Stress Triggers
Learn what triggers your stress. Try writing in a journal when you are feeling stressed and then looking for a pattern. This can help you avoid stressors in the future. For example, if you have determined that a health problem is stressing you out, speak with your health care provider. He or she can help you better manage your health and, as a result, reduce your stress. By reducing your stress, you are, in turn, helping to prevent the negative toll stress can have on your health — a win-win.

3) Take Care of Your Body
Make sure you are eating well-balanced meals, getting enough sleep and exercising daily. Hunger can worsen stressful situations. Do not skip meals, and always have healthy, energy-boosting snacks on hand. A lack of sleep can also compound stress. Try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night so your body and mind are well-rested. Also, try to limit alcohol and caffeine intake. These substances may aggravate stress or anxiety. Instead, try drinking more water.

4) Relax
Try a relaxing activity like meditation, yoga, tai chi or another gentle exercise. Try to schedule regular times for these activities. When you feel stressed, try taking slow, deep breaths or slowly counting to 10. If this does not help, try taking a quick timeout to meditate or listen to music. Stepping back from problems and performing these relaxation techniques may clear your head.

5) Ask for Help
Stay connected with people you can count on for support. Ask friends and family members for help. Speak with a health care professional like a physician or therapist if you need professional help.

Everyone faces stress occasionally, but it can be managed. For more tips on how to manage stress, speak with your local pharmacist.

Citation:
National Institute of Mental Health, "5 Things You Should Know About Stress"
Anxiety and Depression Association of America, "Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress"
American Heart Association, "3 Tips to Manage Stress"
Image Courtesy of Juan Moyano | Dreamstime
 

Three Steps to Dealing with Infertility in New York City

New York City is a big place with fast-movers, quick-talkers, and a lot of movement. And when it comes to an issue as personal as infertility, sometimes we need someone to slow the pace and have our hands held ever-so-slightly as we make our way through the process. So, here’s our quick guide to dealing with infertility in a city that moves probably way too fast.

  1. Step one: Research. It may seem like an obvious first step in dealing with infertility, but to many, it’s not. You’ll want to do some of your own research to find out why you’re not able to conceive. Get your computer out, talk to fertility experts, etc.
  2. Step two: Seek advice on where to get the best treatment in New York City. You’d be surprised if you open up about the topic how many friends of friends you may know who have dealt with infertility and can share advice. Having someone you know who is familiar with the New York infertility pharmacies and doctors will help you a lot.
  3. Step three: Prepare yourself. There’s always risks associated with infertility treatment and no matter what happens at the end of the tunnel, you should be ready to embrace the results at the of your fertility journey.
  4. Bonus Step: Fertility problems can be one the most difficult medical challenges on an emotional level. Keeping a positive attitude is helpful in getting through the emotional challenges of infertility. Some some that means stepping outside the city to get some fresh air and a more zen state of mind.

New York has dozens of qualified fertility clinics, with some being the best fertility clinics in the world. That doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a treatment that works, but there is one thing certain every fertility treatments are a major investment financially and emotionally. Always remember that you can only do so much, so prepare yourself emotionally for any chance of unsuccessful fertility treatments that may be coming your way. For some, that means knowing in advance how much you are willing to invest in your fertility journey, and what kinds of treatments you’re willing to do.

Thanks to advances in science we have created a solution to every family out there who can’t have their own family; there’s meditation, In Vitro, surrogacy, and adoption. Each of those processes could be tedious and require extreme patience. If you chose the IVF route, and you’re lucky if on your first treatment, everything goes perfectly. But for some, there are health risks and even more unsuccessful treatments sorting out to adoption.

Don’t rely solely on fertility treatments — you also have to do your part by keeping a good physical and emotional health. Patients who have generally good health and take care of themselves before and after their treatment are more likely to succeed in the treatment. And, obviously, those who don’t take care of their bodies before and after the treatments can’t expect the same results.

A final tip: Reach out and seek support from fertility support groups like:

  • Women’s Infertility Support Group
    Surviving and Thriving with Infertility
    RESOLVE Fertility/ART support group
    Mind/Body for Infertility

Being a part of these kinds of groups will help you along the way of accepting and understanding and maybe this time start figuring out how to live a healthy life, they are the ones who will pave you the way of understanding that there maybe other good healthy options other than trying out the treatment 27 times. It doesn’t hurt to talk about what you are going through to the people who are also going through the same thing.

How Specialty Pharmacy Services in NY Are Changing

Specialty Pharmacies focus on specialty and rare medications that treat infertility, Chrons disease, HIV, HEP C, and other illnesses. In 2016, pharmacies dispensed about $115 billion in specialty drugs, according to industry expert Adam Fein, PhD, President of Pembroke Consulting, Inc. and CEO of the Drug Channels Institute, a blog that provides analysis of pharmaceutical economics and distribution trends.

And while the specialty pharmacy industry is rising, with some estimates targeted to $240 by the end of 2017, the industry is shrinking, with fewer and fewer specialty pharmacies to chose from outside of the big box chains.

“In New York especially, we’re seeing many specialty pharmacies in NYC disappear,” says owner Ron DelGaudio. “With fewer savings programs from the pharma companies, it’s harder to compete with the big box chains.” In addition, some drug manufacturers are launching specialty drugs with narrow distribution networks, often to fewer than 25 pharmacies. Those pharmacies are usually larger ones, making it increasingly difficult for low-cost pharmacies to compete.

In the past, specialty pharmacies in NY could apply for “loyalty” programs from companies like Merck and Phizer. Now those cost-savings opportunities are also fewer and further between.

Local pharmacies are having to invest more time and money in studying the industry, healthcare trends, pharmaceutical trends, and trends in illnesses, to navigate which medications are most important for to keep on the shelves and reduce operational costs like relocating outside of New York City to the Brooklyn and Bronx areas.

“Over the next years you’ll find fewer fertility pharmacies in NYC,” says DelGaudio. “The box chains will stay, but for special savings, customers will have to look for pharmacies outside of the city.” The other option is mail and central-fill pharmacies, which today account for upwards of 70% of specialty medication fulfillment. That number is increasing yearly. “The difficult thing is that with many of these complex specialty medications, customer care is extremely important — you want to make sure you have a pharmacist who makes sure the drug works alongside your other medications, that you’re storing and handling it correctly, that you’re injecting it correctly — these are services a mail pharmacy will find more difficult to provide,” says Ronda Lopez, a pharmacist at Kings.

Our main focuses are continuing to improve patient care and keep down healthcare costs. Second to that, we’re constantly embracing and re-embracing the shifts in the market. For those of us in the industry we know that specialty drugs are usually all of the three H’s: High Cost, High Complexity, High Touch. We joke that staying afloat in the pharmacy industry requires the same – High Cost, High Complexity, and High Touch.

Kings Pharmacy supports Hemophilia Walk in Riverside Park – June 3, 2017

For years Kings Pharmacy has been a proud supporter of the New York City Hemophilia Walk, one of the largest Hemophilia Walks in the country!

We want to thank the New York City Hemophilia Chapter and the National Hemophilia Foundation for helping people affected by bleeding disorders in the New York City area.

Hemophilia Walk

We’re proud to be a sponsor!

The Kings Pharmacy team at the finish line!

 

Ron DelGaudio

Our owner, Ron DelGaudio proudly walking in NY’s Hemophilia Walk.

Are Male’s Lack of Knowlege Leading to Higher Infertility Rates?

infertility amongst men

Male infertility is on the rise, and doctors may finally have a first step at combatting it. A new study suggests that it’s the men’s lack of information (or, you could call it ignorance) that may be the culprit here. While women are researching the causes of infertiliy from the first signs of infertility, men have taken a back seat to self-education.

It’s widely known that half of infertile couples are due to male infertility, yet most men have little knowledge of the risk factors that contribute to the inability to conceive naturally.

In a study published in the November issue of the journal Human Reproduction, men could identify only about 50% of the potential risks and health conditions that could significantly affect their sperm count and fertility.

The Journal of Human Reproduction’s survey studied more than 700 Canadian men aged 18 to 50 with a range of ethnic backgrounds, income, and education, and asked them to identify factors associated with male infertility. Most of the men were able to identify the more common or well-known infertility risk factors such as cancer, smoking, and steroid use, but very few were able to identify lesser-known causes like obesity, frequent bicycling, and using portable computers on their lap.

According to Dr. Phyllis Zelkowitz, a professor and researcher of psychiatry at McGill University and the Jewish General Hospital, “Men tend to ask fewer questions about their health when they go to the doctor.”

So the solution? Besides the obvious solution of encouraging men to do their own online research, men should look up male education programs, online groups geared towards male infertility, and group meetups that allow men to share their experiences together, and utilize their time with their doctors to inquire about infertility risk factors.

What are good questions to ask during an IVF consult?

For those experiencing infertility for the first time, the initial consult with the doctor can be scary and overwhelming! What do you ask, how many questions should you ask, and how do you even know where to start?! The initial consultation is a great opportunity to learn as much as you can about both infertility in general, and your specific case in a short time, and you’ll want to take advantage of it.

If you are seeing a good doctor (which, hopefully you are as fertility is not something to skimp on), he or she should guide you through the process and be prepared with the answers to the questions you should be asking, without you having to ask them. Sometimes letting the doctor provide a lot of the initial information in a systematic way can be very helpful and make it easier to understand.

If you have reached the point of having an IVF consult, you have likely have eliminated most, if not all, other options of conceiving naturally, so a list of questions might have already started brewing in your mind. When you sit down to discuss this with your IVF doctor, its important that you bring every one of your thoughts, concerns, and questions to the table to ensure that your clinic is the right one for you.

A great place to start before going into your initial fertility consultation appointment, is to check as many online resources as possible to gain as much knowledge on your own as you can. A few trusted fertility resources include: SART, and Resolve.org.

Next, the questions. Here is a list that make a great starting point for your fertility consultation:

Clinic Procedural Questions:

  • Do they offer a shared risk program? (Some clinics offer a flat rate, 3 fresh, 3 frozen cycles package)
  • What is their policy on embryo transfers? 1 or 2? (Some people feel that clinics that are willing to transfer more than 2 are in it more for the positive ratings of pregnancy then the health and wellness of baby and mom. In the 20’s-30’s age bracket 2 transfers is the norm, while in the 40’s age bracket, 3 transfers is acceptable.)
  • What does a cycle look like with their clinic? What type of timeline do they use, from start to finish?
  • Who would you be working with? The nurse or the doctor? (You can also request to meet this nurse or any other person who will be directly supporting you in your fertility journey.)
  • Is the clinic open for retrievals and transfers on weekends?
Clinic Success Questions:
  • Request information about the clinic’s past success rates: ask for the number of cycles they have done and their successes/failures.
  • What is the clinics pregnancy success rate with people in your age bracket with similar infertility issues?
  • How often does the clinic see OHSS cases (hyperstimulation – this typically this happens when the doctor overstimulates – we’re looking for low numbers here).
Personal Success Questions:
  • Based on your medical history, what specific challenges do they foresee?
  • Given your medical history, what percentage of success rate do they foresee for you to get pregnant with one fresh cycle?
  • Clinics have a “base” medical IVF standard they use when starting patients on a med program. One thing you will want to know is based on your medical and fertility history, how will they adjust the medications specifically for you? (For example, if you have low progesterone, your doctor might determine you’d be at an advantage to start you higher than they typically do.)
  • What kinds of fertility medications do they recommend for your particular kind of infertility, which are the cheapest fertility meds, which are the most trusted fertility medications, and which meds have they personally seen the most success with, for similar cases as yours?

 

Ask as many follow-up questions as you need to to feel comfortable, and don’t leave with any left hanging. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers that you are given. If they start using medical jargon, abbreviations, or fertility medication or procedure terms you’re not familiar with, stop them to ask them what certain medications or abbreviations mean. Your goal is to walk out of this appointment knowing that you understand the journey ahead of you, and have a firm understanding of what that specific fertility clinic or doctor can do for you and your specific case.

With a huge influx of facts and figures thrown at you, you may feel a bit overwhelmed when you leave. It’s okay to take time to decompress. Use your support units, partner, trusted friends or family members. If you still have questions, call the clinic back. And remember that you are a customer, paying them to provide a service, so you have absolutely every right to feel comfortable, satisfied, and safe during the entire fertility process.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): The Five Most Important Things to Know

If you’re reading this article you likely already know that Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is when a woman’s estrogen and progesterone hormone levels are out of balance. This results in growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries), which cause problems with a women’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance. Now, for some thing you might not already know about PCOS:

  1. Women with PCOS may experience many things including gaining weight easier, have more hair growth, mood swings, irregular periods, or have difficulty getting pregnant.
  2. Diet and exercise may not be enough to keep you healthy. Speak with your doctor about the necessity of specialty medications to help manage your PCOS.
  3. The cysts in your ovaries may not be actual cysts, but may be eggs that were unable to grow enough to reach ovulation.
  4. There is not 1 test to diagnose PCOS. Usually, your physician will order an ultrasound and/or do blood work to determine if you actually have PCOS. For this reason, it is important to talk to your doctor if you experience any symptoms stated earlier so that you can be diagnosed early.
  5. PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in women, however it can be treated.

Kings Pharmacy located in Brooklyn, NY has the lowest possible prices for infertility medications. We are able to help women in many different states to get their medications quickly and our friendly staff is always available to help answer any of your pharmaceutical questions. Call 1-800-795-4647 today for more information!