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Health & Wellness: A FRESH New Start

A FRESH New StartA new year means a new beginning. This may be true for most people, but sometimes lack of motivation and worthless excuses play against your New Year’s resolution. Well, I am happy to announce that FRESH is here to help you start on the right track. January is Health Awareness Month, and throughout the whole month, FRESH has some exciting events that will lead to a new and improved you!

January 11, 2014
FRESH 15 Running Clinic at Racquet and Jog

Learn how to prepare for the FRESH 15 on March 1! Bob Hepler, track and field coach at UT Tyler, will provide tips on training for the 15k and will answer any additional questions you have. Admission is free and breakfast will be provided by FRESH.

January 16, 2014
Cooking Heart to Heart at FRESH

Beginning in January, FRESH is partnering with Trinity Mother Frances Heart Hospital for the launch of Cooking Heart to Heart. FRESH’s executive chef and TMF Heart Hospital’s executive chef will be cooking heart-healthy meals with heart-healthy ingredients in the Taste Kitchen on the third Thursday of each month.

January 25, 2014
FRESH Health Fair

Join us in the Pharmacy Department for free cholesterol and glucose screenings, blood pressure checks and body fat composition tests. Want to be more health-conscious? Specialists will be available to provide you further information on any health-related issues that you wish to know more about, including gluten-free and nutritional information.

Don’t let those Christmas pounds weigh you down in 2014. A new beginning can lead to great results, so set your goals high and start your New Year right.

Well and Good: The FRESH Pharmacy

Aside from our amazing products and prices, another great thing about FRESH is our wide variety of services that make the shopping experience more convenient.

Take, for example, our floral department.  Their award-winning designer, Shellie, is available to consult or create the perfect centerpiece or arrangement for you anytime.  Or in our seafood department, ask and they will steam your shrimp or crab for free while you shop.

Another exceptional service that we offer is our FRESH Pharmacy. We are fortunate to have a team of knowledgeable, friendly and helpful individuals who are excited to provide you the best experience in town.  We consistently receive guest feedback that our staff is truly like no other.

David McIntire is our Pharmacy Manager.  He was born and raised in Shreveport and has his Pharmacy degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.  He worked for Tom Thumb pharmacies in Dallas and spent 22 years at the Albertsons Pharmacy in Tyler before coming to FRESH.  He is married to Melissa and has three daughters.  His hobbies include travel, woodworking, photography, skiing and virtually all outdoor activities.

Larry Williams is the newest addition to the team as our Staff Pharmacist.  Larry is a native East Texan who grew up in Nacogdoches.  He attended Stephen F. Austin State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.  He was accepted to the Texas A&M Health Science Center Rangel College of Pharmacy where he earned Doctor of Pharmacy degree in May of 2012.  He is married to Jolyn and has a son, Micah.

Both of these leaders, along with their team of technicians, will provide you outstanding service, answers to any questions you may have, and help you with all types of screenings, vaccinations, etc.  Our pharmacy is located near the checkout stands on the southwest side of the store. For those looking to quickly drop off or pick up a prescription, we offer the added convenience of a drive-thru.

And here’s the best news!  Starting last week, we kicked off an exciting new promotion.  You can get a FREE $15 FRESH Gift Card for a new or transferred prescription to the FRESH Pharmacy*.

Click here to view contact information, hours of operation, and information about our offerings.

*Transfer not valid from Brookshire’s or Super 1 Foods pharmacies.  Gift card available for pickup in the FRESH Pharmacy.  Not valid on Medicare, Medicaid, or other federally funded insurance plans. Offer ends 1/8/13

Well and Good: Travel Time

Whether you are traveling south of the border or across the pond, you may need to do a little extra preparation before you travel abroad. Different countries have diseases that are known in a particular area. Protect yourself and your family by being prepared. Some vaccinations need to be given in a series or a certain amount of time ahead of your departure.

In the United States, we have routine vaccinations that we all need to stay current on.  Tetanus is a great example; you should have a tetanus booster every ten years.  Once you are current on all of your routine vaccinations, make sure that you have any area specific vaccines. There are some vaccines that are recommended and some that are required.  Stop by Brookshire’s Pharmacy at FRESH and ask our pharmacist which vaccines are right for you.

When packing for your adventure, make sure to include essential medications. If you take regular prescription medications, you need to pack them in their original container with label from pharmacy. These medications are best to pack on your carry-on bag to ensure they arrive with you. If you need smaller bottles to accommodate size restrictions, ask your pharmacist about reprinting labels for small bottles. Don’t forget important emergency medications, such as an Epi-pen® if you need it.  Plan ahead to ensure you have enough medication to get you through your entire trip.

Depending on your travel plans, pack over-the-counter medications to suit your needs. Simple first aid items should be included in everyone’s bag. You should also consider taking allergy medications, analgesics, and anti-diarrheal medication. If you are going to be outside much, don’t forget your sunscreen and insect repellant.

The pharmacists at FRESH will be happy to help you decide what vaccinations and medications you will need to have safe and healthy vacation.

Well and Good: Gluten-free at FRESH

Eating gluten-free is so much easier today.  A diverse selection of fine ready-made products from breads and pastries to soups and frozen entrees are available now on grocery shelves.  In these selections the gluten-containing ingredients such as wheat, barley and rye have been replaced with blends of safe substitute grains in proportions that mimic the great flavor and texture of the original items.

A great loaf of bread is the dream of most wheat-intolerant shoppers and fortunately a wide selection of gluten-free breads, both fresh frozen and ready to serve, are available at FRESH.  But sometimes the wonderful flavor of homemade is what we need!  A friend of FRESH shared this great French bread recipe with us and we pass it along to you:

French Bread
3/4 cup white rice flour
1 Tbs sugar
2/3 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups warm water (110° F)
2/3 cup tapioca flour
1 Tbs dry yeast granules
2 tsp potato flour
1 tsp dough enhancer or vinegar
2 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 egg whites
2 tsp egg replacer
1 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup dry milk powder

Grease two 14” French loaf pans or one cookie sheet. Dust with cornmeal (if desired).

In the bowl of your heavy-duty mixer, place the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, potato flour, xanthan gum, egg replacer, salt, unflavored gelatin, and milk powder.

Place the sugar in the warm water and stir in the yeast.  Set aside to foam.

Add to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl: the dough enhancer, egg whites, and vegetable oil.  When the foam on the yeast is about 1/2-inch, pour this into the dry mix. Beat on high for 3 minutes. Spoon into the prepared loaf pans or onto the prepared cookie sheet in two French bread loaf shapes.  Brush lightly with wet fingers to smooth the tops and then slash diagonally every few inches. Cover the loaves and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (about 35 minutes for rapid-rise yeast; 1 hour for regular yeast).

Bake in a preheated 400° F oven for 15 minutes. Then turn oven to 350° F and bake 30 minutes more. Makes two 10-inch loaves.

Need help choosing from our largest gluten-free inventory in the East Texas area? Stop by the Pharmacy at FRESH and pick up our Gluten-Free Shopping Guide.

Well and Good: Know Your Numbers

Hypertension, High Blood Pressure: It’s called the silent killer for good reason. For while hypertension is the most prevalent risk factor for premature death worldwide, and 1 out of 4 Americans has this condition, more than 50% of the hypertensive population are unaware of their condition.  It is because they have no noticeable symptoms.

Hypertension is rarely accompanied by any symptoms: Its identification is usually through screening, or when seeking healthcare for an unrelated problem. While some people with high blood pressure report headaches, as well as lightheadedness, vertigo, tinnitus (buzzing or hissing in the ears), altered vision or fainting episodes, most feel “normal”.

What do those numbers mean? Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and diastolic, which depend on whether the heart muscle is contracting (systole) or relaxed between beats (diastole).  Normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100-140mmHg systolic (top reading) and 60-90mmHg diastolic (bottom reading).  High blood pressure is said to be present if it is persistently at or above 140/90 mmHg.

What Is the Treatment for High Blood Pressure? High blood pressure treatment usually involves making lifestyle changes and, if necessary, drug therapy.  Lifestyle changes for high blood pressure include:  Losing weight, quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet (such as the DASH diet), regular aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking), and limiting alcohol intake.

Get Screened: Hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke, myocardial infarction , heart failure, aneurysms of the arteries (e.g. aortic aneurysm), peripheral artery disease and is a cause of chronic kidney disease.  Even moderate elevation of arterial blood pressure is associated with a shortened life expectancy.

On the menu of health screenings offered at FRESH, our pharmacists provide free blood pressure testing during all open hours.

Well and Good: Shots Against Shingles

Shingles is a painful disease, so it was good news when a shingles vaccine was introduced in 2006. But now there’s more good news – the vaccine is even more effective than originally thought, and it has now been approved for younger people.

We already administer the shingles vaccine, Zostavax, in our pharmacy as a convenience to our customers. The vaccine has been available for people 60 and over since its introduction. It protects against the rash known as shingles, which is related to the chickenpox but is more painful and long-lasting. Older people are much more likely to get shingles, and the severity of the condition also often increases with age.

However, the sharp increase in shingles rates actually rises earlier than age 60. Among people age 50 and over, about six in a thousand get shingles. That’s three times the rate of people under 50.

So, in 2011, the Food and Drug Administration approved use of the shingles vaccine in people 50 and older. The lower age limit was put in place after the vaccine maker, Merck, completed clinical trials that showed the vaccine was effective in preventing shingles in younger people, and lessened the symptoms of vaccinated younger people who did get the disease.

Should you get the shot – and when?

The Centers for Disease Control already recommends the use of Zostavax in most people 60 and over.

But those between 50 and 59 should consider that their risk goes up with age –so why wait? Zostavax is also a one-time shot. You do not need a booster for additional protection.

Also, even if you have already suffered through shingles, you can get it again. The vaccination also works on people who have already had a case of shingles.

Finally, this is definitely one of those situations where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Once you get shingles, there really aren’t many treatments available – and the pain and side effects can last for a year or more.

A prescription is needed, so consult your physician. The shot costs $200, which may be covered or partially covered by your insurance. Our professional pharmacists can administer the shots during normal pharmacy hours, but for your convenience, we recommend calling ahead to make sure the vaccination is available the day you plan to arrive.

Well and Good: 5 Pharmacy Facts

At the FRESH pharmacy, we don’t want to just be the place where you pick up prescriptions – although, yes, we want to make it as convenient as possible for you to do just that.

What we really want is to be your hometown pharmacy, the place you turn to for advice, where you get health and wellness help, and where we all know your name (and any special medical needs.)

When you come in, you can almost always speak with either me or David McIntire, the other full-time FRESH pharmacist. And as we celebrate our first birthday, let me remind you of some other special services we offer:

Health screenings:  To help keep you healthy and on track, we offer screenings for cholesterol, glucose and body fat composition. Fast and convenient!

Vaccination program: We go way beyond the flu shot. Our vaccination program includes tetanus, pneumonia, hepatitis A and B, meningococcal and shingles. No appointment necessary! (Though, it’s best to call first to make sure the vaccination you need will be available.)

Help the medicine go down: We’ll flavor children’s liquid medications, no extra charge, to make it easier for kids to swallow. Our special flavoring agents are sugar-free and include more than 10 kid-friendly flavors like grape, banana and bubblegum; just ask for it when dropping off your prescription.

Prescription plan: Save money on the medicines you use most, with our FRESH Prescription plan. Under the plan, more than 200 popular generic and brand-name drugs are just $3.99 to $9.99 per prescription – a great savings, especially if you aren’t carrying insurance or your insurance does not cover all prescription drugs. Many popular medications, including antibiotics, blood-pressure meds, antidepressants and thyroid medications, are included. There’s a $10 fee to join the program, but under our current promotion, you’ll get a $10 gift card just for signing up!

Transfer promotion: Still haven’t made the switch? Here’s your chance. Through March 13, we’re offering a $15 gift card for a new or transferred prescription from another pharmacy. (This offer does not include Brookshire’s or Super1 pharmacies, and other restrictions may apply; visit us at the FRESH pharmacy to find out more!)

Well and Good: Diabetes Workshop

Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing health problems in America. About 1 in 10 American adults currently are living with this disease, and some experts predict that number could easily double within a generation.

However, for many, many people living with Type 2 diabetes, some pretty simple changes in diet and exercise can help control most symptoms. Lifestyle changes can even decrease the likelihood of developing more serious complications.

But where to start? That’s the confusing part. So let us help, with a FREE workshop from 2-3 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 28, on managing diabetes through diet, exercise and medicine.

I’ll be leading this workshop at the FRESH pharmacy, near the main check-out area. If you, a family member or a friend are already dealing with diabetes, or if you just want to learn how to lower your risk of ever developing this disease, this workshop ought to offer you plenty of practical, usable tips.

We’ll give you an overview of the disease and stress the importance of regularly checking your blood sugar, taking any diabetes medicines prescribed, and seeing your medical providers regularly. But we’ll also get into specifics on controlling carbs, eating right, and getting in a good workout. For instance, did you know:

Controlling your diet means more than cutting carbs: Yes, you need to count carbs, but don’t just get caught up in the numbers. Your body still needs some carbohydrates, just the right kind; oatmeal, for instance, is much better than a potato. And, you need to watch your fat intake. Meats and cheeses may not count against your carb limit, but the excess fat in these items means you can’t merely substitute bacon and steaks for bread and pasta.

Slow and steady wins the race: Especially for patients who have not been exercising regularly, the idea of going to a gym or running a mile may seem daunting. But I often suggest a much more natural approach to fitness, especially for those beginning an exercise program: Get up and vacuum, mow the lawn yourself, walk the dog a few extra blocks, or commit to taking the stairs a few times every day. The key is to be consistent and work more movement into your daily routine, every day.

If you’re living with diabetes, you’ll be amazed at how a few simple changes can make you feel so much better! Join us Saturday to find out more.

Well and Good: Holiday Depression

The holidays are supposed to be a time of family, friends and fun. But for many people who struggle with depression, this is a particularly tough time of year.

There are many reasons depression seems to strike right before and after Christmas and other winter holidays: Stress and fatigue from trying to “do it all.” High expectations that set you up for disappointment.  Financial worries. Even the lack of sunshine in a typical winter may contribute – some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, brought on by the lack of exposure to sunlight during colder months.

If you find yourself struggling with overwhelming sadness, always consult your doctor. If you know you’re already pre-disposed to depression, keep these thoughts in mind during this season:

Stay the course on anti-depressants: if you regularly take an anti-depressant, do not allow a disrupted schedule to interfere with your medication schedule. Do not skip doses; if you forget one or more, follow your doctor’s advice on catching up. Likewise, do not take more than the recommended dosage if you’re feeling especially blue or feel the medications are not having the usual effect. Consult your doctor instead. Finally, monitor your prescription so you don’t run out while pharmacies are closed for the holiday break, or while you are traveling and can’t get a refill easily.

Watch alcohol consumption:  If you are taking an anti-depressant, your physician has probably set strict guidelines around alcohol. Don’t be tempted by frequent parties to break the rules. But even if you aren’t currently on medication, limiting alcohol is probably a good idea. Alcohol is a depressant, and even though a few extra drinks here or there may seem like no big deal, or a fun way to celebrate, over-imbibing can quickly send depression symptoms spiraling. Too much alcohol consumption, especially if you rarely drink, can also interfere with sleep, which can again contribute to depression.

Get some exercise: Get out and take a walk or run, take a spin class, do some yoga. There’s a growing body of evidence that exercise can help alleviate depression, apparently by releasing endorphins that produce positive, happy feelings. Especially if you rely on exercise to lift your mood, make sure you make time for it, even in the busy holiday season. If you can’t get to the gym or fit in your 90-minute run, just do whatever you can find time for, even if it’s just a few trips around the block with your dog.

Sleep, eat, pray: Again, keeping to as normal routine as possible may help stave off feelings of depression. Fatigue and poor nutrition will only heighten symptoms. Do not skimp on sleep, or skip meals because you ate too many Christmas cookies; if church services give you peace, make time to attend them, or to find quiet time for reflection and prayer.

Well and Good: New Rules for Acetaminophen

Many of us rely on Tylenol and other over-the-counter acetaminophen products for headaches, pain, fever and other aches of daily living. But are you taking this popular pain medication safely? The recommendations are changing, starting this fall.

For most adults, acetaminophen is a safe drug as long as it’s taken at the correct dose. But if you take too much, you may get sick to your stomach or vomit. After an extended period of use, excessive acetaminophen may even lead to acute liver failure.

So it’s important to review the new recommendations, as well as overall safety rules:

Tylenol, the leading manufacturer, is changing its recommended maximum doses for adults starting this fall:

  • Extra-strength Tylenol labels will recommend no more than six 500-mg tablets per day, or a total of 3,000 mg per day. This is down from 8 tablets and 4,000 milligrams per day.
  • Regular-strength Tylenol products will recommend adults consume no more than 10 325-mg tablets per days, or 3,250 mg in total. This advice begins next year.
  • If you take extended-release Tylenol, dosing will not change. You can still take up to six 650-mg caplets, or 3,900 mg per day.

Never take more than one product containing acetaminophen at the same time: In addition to pain relievers like Tylenol, acetaminophen is an ingredient in many multi-symptom cold and allergy medicines you can buy without a prescription. It’s also included in some prescription pain relievers. Always read labels carefully; “acetaminophen” should be listed on the front of the label for over-the-counter meds, and should also be listed as one of the “active ingredients.”

In prescription medications, acetaminophen may be abbreviated as APAP. Ask your pharmacist if you are not sure!

Control alcohol consumption: If you drink more than three drinks containing alcohol daily, acetaminophen may not be safe for you. Ask your pharmacist or physician for guidance.

Watch children’s usage carefully:  Infants and children take a liquid form of acetaminophen. New dosing recommendations for children will be based on age and weight, starting this fall. For children ages 4 months to 23 months, the recommendation is 10 to 15 mg every 4 to 6 hours, with up to 5 doses per day. Keep a written log of when you give children the medicine, to avoid getting confused and giving them too many doses in a 24-hour period.

Also, always use the measurement dropper or spoon that comes with the medication; it can be dangerous to use a regular spoon, because it will not give you a precise, accurate measurement. Finally, read the label carefully before giving children this mediation. Older concentrated liquids are being phased out, and if you do not carefully follow directions on the product you’re using, you could easily give children two to three times as much as recommended.

If in doubt of overdose, get help immediately: If you think you or your child has taken too much acetaminophen, call a poison control center. The toll-free number is 1-800-222-1222. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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