5 Ways to Protect your Eyes this Summer

Happy child in glasses with sunscreen on the faceExposure to ultraviolet (UV) light raises the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and eyelid skin cancer. Here are five things you can do to protect yourself and your family this summer:

1Wear large sunglasses that cover your eyes, eyelids and the skin around your eyes when you go outside, even if it’s cloudy. Clouds don’t block UV rays. Get sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection. The label should say ‘Uv400’.

2Wear a wide-brimmed hat, a bucket hat, or a baseball hat to protect your eyes from the sun. Ladies, a summer hat is not only stylish, it will add to the protection your sunglasses provide.

3Wear goggles when you swim to protect your eyes against chlorine in the pool, and from other contaminants that can harm your eyes if you are swimming in the ocean.

4Drink enough water so you don’t get dehydrated, which can cause dry eyes, an irritating condition where the eyes don’t make enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly.

5. Don’t gaze at the sun. The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns that staring directly at the sun can burn holes in the retina, a rare but irreversible condition.

SUN, SKIN & CANCER Staying healthy in the sun

Silhouettes of giant cactus at sunset in Saguaro National Park,What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is cancer that begins in the cells of the skin. It is the most common type of cancer in the United States. The most common types of skin cancer are melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma is the least common of the three, but it is the most dangerous. Only about 1 percent of skin cancers are melanomas but about 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma.

Does the sun cause skin cancer?
The sun is the main source of UV radiation, which leads to skin cancer, but UV radiation also comes from tanning booths or sunlamps.

What is UV radiation?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is radiation produced by the sun. It causes sunburn and skin damage, leading to skin cancer. Ironically, it is also the best natural source of vitamin D, which is made by your skin when it is exposed to the sun. Levels of UV radiation are measured on a scale from 0 (Low) to 11+ (Extreme). The use of sun protection measures is recommended when the UV levels are 3 (Moderate) or higher. In May the UV levels in Avondale will be at about 7.

What are the warning signs?
Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of whether their skin is light or dark. Regularly examine and be aware of the spots on your body. Look out for new spots or ones that have changed in size, shape or color, or that are itching or bleeding? Pay particular attention to your back, the most common site of melanoma.

Can skin cancer be cured?
The good news is that when skin cancer is found and treated early, it can almost always be cured.

What can I do to prevent skin cancer?
Use sunscreen: Research has shown that daily sunscreen use cuts the incidence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in half. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that is labeled ‘Broad Spectrum’ ‘SPF 30’ and ‘Water Resistant’ or ‘Very Water Resistant’.
Cover up: Wear a sun hat; one with a wide brim that shades your face, ears, neck and upper chest. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and sunglasses.
Avoid being out in the sun during the hottest times, from 10am to about 4pm.

 

Matcha Avocado Smoothie

Green smoothieEnjoy this delicious smoothie for a hot day that’s also great for your skin

Ingredients
Coconut or almond milk
2 tsp Matcha powder (Matcha powder contains caffeine so it’s a great coffee substitute for you but not a suitable ingredient for the kids)
1Avocado
2 Bananas (frozen is best)

Blend and enjoy!

Skin benefits
Matcha is a green tea rich in chlorophyll and antioxidants, including EGCG, which benefits the skin by reducing inflammation and free radicals that cause skin to age.
Avocados are rich in healthy fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that are great for skin health

Vitamin D: The Many Benefits of the Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D picture 1Vitamin D plays an important role in the proper functioning of the body. Here are some of the reasons why you want to be sure you’re getting enough of the sunshine vitamin:

Bone Health
Vitamin D enables our bodies to absorb more calcium and phosphorus from our diet. Both calcium and phosphorus are crucial for bone health. A Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone loss and an increased risk of bone fractures.

Heart Health
Vitamin D may help improve heart health and reduce the probability of having a heart attack.

Reduce Depression
One study found that a Vitamin D deficiency may increase the probability of suffering depression by up to 131%.

Reduce Cancer Risk
Research has shown that getting enough Vitamin D may help prevent cancer. In combination with Vitamin D, other supplements that can help reduce the risk of cancer are EGCG, Selenium, Curcumin, and Vitamin C.

Getting just 5 to 10 minutes of sun on your skin 2 or 3 times a week can enable your body to make the Vitamin D you need. At this time of the year you’ll want to get your sun in the early mornings or in the evening when it’s not too hot. Combine this with foods rich in Vitamin D such as salmon and fortified foods, and supplement in consultation with your healthcare provider if need be.

Vitamin D-3

NewSpring Pharmacy’s Vitamin D-3 softgels supply 5,000 I.U. of natural Vitamin D3. Come into the pharmacy to purchase or order online

 

Get More Vitamin D

Get it in your food: egg yolks, beef liver, and fatty fish such as herring and salmon are good sources. Cod liver oil is a great source.

Choose fortified foods: Some milk, cereals and orange juice are fortified with Vitamin D

Get some sun: Exposure to the sun is the best natural source of vitamin D, but in moderation and with precautions to avoid the risk of skin cancer

Exercise: Exercise helps with the production of vitamin D

Supplement: Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about whether you should take supplements

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PETS IN THE SUN Are they safe?

Chinese Crested Dogs, 10 and 18 months old, sitting against white backgroundDoes your pet love the sunshine. Is their favorite summer pastime catching some zzzs on the sunny front porch or under the shade of a tree to the envy of all the family who must work or do their chores? They may love the sunshine, but pets too are vulnerable to sunburn, as well as to skin cancer.

Which pets are most at risk?
Prolonged sun exposure is risky for any pet, but hairless pets, those with short or sparse hair, and those with white fur are most at risk.

What to look out for
Areas that are not covered with fur and areas with thin or light skin are easily sunburned. Look out for skin that has turned pink or red. Pay attention to ears, nose, eyelids, and belly. See your pet’s doctor if you notice sunburn, a sore that doesn’t heal, or any kind of growth.

Prevention is better than cure
Provide a shade on the patio or in the yard where they like to sunbathe; perhaps a large umbrella. Protective clothing helps as well in the summer, including Doggles (sunglasses for dogs), cooling vests, and t-shirts.

Pharmacogenomics: Is your chemotherapy prescription customized to your genetic make-up?

NewSpring Pharmacy Pharmacogenomics MTHFR VariantPharmacogenomics is a kind of genetic testing. It looks for small variations within genes which may affect how a person’s body can activate or deactivate specific drugs. These test results can help the doctor choose the safest and most effective drug and dose.

Many drugs that treat cancer are not fully active. They need to be ‘turned on’ by enzymes that speed up chemical reactions in the body. Depending on a person’s enzymes, they may break down the drugs at a different rate. For people who break down drugs slowly, standard doses of treatment may not work as well.

Drugs also need to be ‘turned off’ to limit the drug’s exposure to healthy tissues. If a person has slower enzymes, high levels of the drug may remain in their body for a long time, causing more side effects from the drug.

Besides pharmacogenomics, other factors — like age, gender, cancer stage, other diseases and medications — may influence a person’s reaction to a drug.

If you have any questions about Pharmacogenomic testing, Come into the pharmacy or call us on 623-932-9800

Special Meds for Special Pets

NewSpring Pharmacy sharpei puppy dog Zeus, the Guinness World Record holder for the tallest dog ever, was a Great Dane who was 7 feet 4 inches tall when he stood on his hind legs, and weighed 155 pounds. Zeus was the size of an average donkey! He died at the age of 5 in 2014. In contrast, Milly, the world’s shortest dog, is a Chihuahua who is just 3.8 inches tall. Tinker Toy, the smallest cat ever, was just 2.75 inches tall.
Pets are more varied than we can imagine. Take the Shar Pei dog in the picure, for instance, who is naturally wrinkled.

Some pets are just downright peculiar! You may know someone who owns a ferret or a lizard, but how about a pet Capybara, a hedgehog, or even a skunk?

Because our pets are so unique, one size does not fit all when it comes to prescriptions. Can you imagine how different a prescription would be for a 7ft dog, compared to one for a 4 inch tall dog, for instance? Compounding medication takes into account individual needs and differences. A compounding pharmacy customizes a medication for your pet in consultation with your vet, who writes a suitable prescription.

Why customize your pet’s meds?

Perhaps the strength or size of medication that your pet needs varies from the standard. If your pet is much bigger or much smaller than average, it might be necessary or more convenient to get a different strength of medication compounded. For instance, a bigger pet may need a pill compounded to avoid having to take many pills to get the prescribed strength of medication. A smaller pet may need a pill compounded that provides the right strength, if the standard available pills are too strong.

Like some people do, many pets struggle with swallowing pills. Did you ever have a pill that was just too big? Or one that was so bitter it made you gag? Your pet may need customized medication that is easier to take. For instance, if your cat’s medication only comes as a pill and she just won’t take it, you may need to have it re-formulated into a liquid that she can take. Or perhaps your pet’s medication has a really unpleasant taste, and your best efforts to hide it in your pet’s food have failed. You could have the medication flavored so that it has a pleasant taste, such as tuna flavor for your cat, a beef flavor for your dog, or a fruit flavor for your parakeet.

Customizing your pets meds acknowledges that they are special individuals who need special attention. Helping your pets get the right dose of medication and take it more easily is a great way to show them your love this holiday season and always.

 

Meds time for pets can be stressful …

But it doesn’t have to be…

NewSpring Pharmacy stress-free meds for petsHas your pet had a drug prescription recently? How did that go? Was it a simple affair sneaking a pill or liquid into a meal, or was it more complicated? Giving a pet medication can be very challenging for you and traumatic for your pet.

One concern with trying to force medication into your pet’s mouth is the danger that your pet will injure you. A dog could bite you, or a cat might bite or scratch you, because besides being unwell, they too are traumatized by the forceful treatment. A bite wound generally requires medical treatment because of the danger of infection.

Sometimes you get the medication into the pet’s mouth but they may spit out part of it, leaving you wondering how much has dissolved and whether to give more or wait. Besides, once your pet has tasted the medication, they are on to you!

NewSpring Pharmacy has some non-traumatic ways to help pet owners administer meds. Giving your pet meds really doesn’t have to be complicated. Call us on 623-932-9800 to inquire about the non-traumatic ways we help pet owners administer meds. Or come into the pharmacy and talk to us; we’re always happy to see you.

PHARMACOGENOMICS CORNER: MTHFR VARIANT

NewSpring Pharmacy Pharmacogenomics MTHFR Variant

How this Genetic mutation can affect Women’s health

The MTHFR gene is one that ought to be of particular interest to pregnant women and women who are planning for pregnancy. One in every two people, about half the population, may have a variance in this gene. A MTHFR variant can affect your body’s ability to process folic acid. A lack of folate can cause a developing fetus to develop defects like spina bifida or anencephaly. A MTHFR variant can also contribute to elevated homocysteine levels and can lead to pregnancy complications such as miscarriage and preeclampsia. Pregnant women, and indeed all people suffering from folate deficiency, can experience lethargy, impaired cognitive function, and mood disorders.

A simple DNA test can determine whether you have a variance in the MTHFR gene. This knowledge will empower you to make important health decisions in collaboration with your healthcare provider, regarding appropriate supplementation and diet. Come into the pharmacy for a simple cheek swab, which will be sent to the lab for analysis. In 2 weeks you will meet with our lead pharmacist who will explain the results, review your medication against the analysis, and provide recommendations. Call us on 623-932-9800 with any questions you might have.

Safe to snuggle with pets while home with a cold or flu, Vanderbilt infectious disease expert says

NewSpring Pharmacy newsletter pets fluby Wayne Wood |

When you are home sick, snuggling up with your dog or cat may feel like just what the doctor ordered.

And a Vanderbilt infectious disease doctor, while stopping short of actually prescribing in-home “pet therapy” for colds or flu, says that if having your companion by your side makes you feel better, go right ahead. Pets won’t catch or spread human viruses.

“The pet is a comfort, not a hazard,” said William Schaffner, M.D., professor of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Even somebody who pets the dog or cat after you is unlikely to catch your virus that way, and “you can’t get a cold or the flu from your dog or cat,” Schaffner said.

But while pets are pretty much off the hook, Schaffner says the true hazard in catching a virus comes from our fellow two-legged creatures.

“Flu is transmitted person-to-person through close personal contact. If you get within my breathing zone, within three feet, I can transfer that influenza virus to you. I breathe it out, you breathe it in, and you can be infected,” Schaffner said.

Colds and flu can also be transmitted by hand—handshaking extroverts take note—or via some surfaces, such as when a sick person touches a doorknob, for example, and somebody else touches the same surface, and then touches his or her face.

“People should wash their hands often and use hand sanitizer,” Schaffner said. “Also, when flu is rampant in the community, greet friends with an elbow bump rather than a handshake.”

And people and their pets have this in common: the best way to avoid getting sick is to be immunized—with pets it’s their annual vaccinations, and with people it’s a flu shot.

The difference is, Schaffner noted, people don’t get a shiny tag to wear showing that they are up-to-date on immunizations.

Story Source: Vanderbilt University Medical Center