Tag: medical

Medication Safety Tips for Children and Adults

Prescription and over-the-counter medications can save lives and help people of all ages manage certain conditions. When used correctly and under the guidance of a physician, medications are largely safe. It’s when medicines are used off-label, shared or taken in error that reactions and injury can occur. The American Academy of Pediatrics and their Healthy Children Organization warns that more than 7,000 children visit hospital emergency rooms every year for problems related to medication errors. Children are not the only ones in danger. Adults can make mistakes with their medications as well. For example, seniors who may be managing several different types of medications can inadvertently cause dangerous drug interactions by mixing the wrong pills. Pharmacists work diligently to help prevent medication errors. However, the general public can also do their part. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy offer these medication safety tips.

• When a new medication is prescribed, ask the doctor to explain more about it, including its intended purpose and any common side effects to be expected.

• Make sure your doctor knows about all the medications you are taking, including non-prescription products, herbal remedies, dietary supplements, and vitamins. Some medications do not mix with seemingly innocent ingredients. Keep a running list of any medicines you take so you can easily and accurately share this information with your physician. • Question anything that you do not understand. Check the prescription for dosing information. For refills, make sure the refill information conforms to the original prescription strength.

• Fill all prescriptions at the same pharmacy and develop a rapport with the pharmacist so that potential drug interactions will be flagged. Pharmacists are well versed in medications and may be able to inform you as to the safety or risk involved in taking an over-the-counter product at the same time that you are on a prescription.

• Many pills look the same. If you are confused and taking multiple medications, keep medications in the original packaging and double-check the labels before taking any medications.

• Use the right dosing tools. A spoon from the kitchen is not accurate for measuring out a teaspoon of medication. • If you take multiple medications, use a pillbox to keep pills organized. The box makes it easier to manage medications and serves as a reminder if you have or have not taken a medication on a given day.

• Store medications as instructed on the label. The bathroom medicine cabinet may not be an ideal place to store medications, as bathrooms get damp, and that can compromise the integrity of the pills. Also, bathroom cabinets are readily accessible by all, including kids. It’s better to store drugs out of sight and reach of children. Keep dangerous medications locked away.

• Routinely discard expired or unneeded medications. Medicine take-back programs for disposal are a good way to remove medicines from the home and reduce the chance that others may accidentally take the medicine.

• Consult with a doctor before beginning or ending medication. Medicines play important roles in personal health. When used correctly, medications are assets, but caution should always be taken to ensure safe usage and storage of any medications.

Understanding Health Savings Accounts

Navigating health insurance plans can be confusing. One health insurance product that’s relatively easy to understand is a health savings account, or HSA. This type of account can help account holders save money on the costs associated with their healthcare.

What is an HSA?

HSAs are like any other savings account, except they can be used for medical, vision and dental expenses. HSAs are tax-advantaged, meaning that income can be deposited into an HSA before it is taxed. HSAs can only be opened and used in conjunction with a high-deductible health insurance plan, or those with a deductible of at least $1,300 for an individual or $2,600 for a family.

HSA details and eligibility requirements

Although HSAs have contribution limits, they’re advantageous in that the savings accumulated can be used to pay for noncovered, qualified medical expenses, such as copays, vision and dental care and even deductibles.

HSAs may be established through an employer-sponsored insurance plan or through a bank or other financial institution. To qualify, a person must be under the age of 65 and have a high-deducible health insurance plan.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of HSAs?

There are advantages and disadvantages to HSAs. HSA account holders can control how their saved money is spent, and there’s no risk of losing the money at the end of the year because it rolls over. Taxes are not paid on money going into the HSA. In addition, employers can contribute to HSAs, and account holders do not lose their balances when they change jobs.

Disadvantages include the challenge of setting aside money to put into the HSA, especially if finances are tight. One who has certain medical situations that are urgent may find that budgeting for an HSA is impractical.

A retirement saving vehicle

In addition to the other benefits mentioned, HSAs can be used as a way to invest in retirement. The resource NerdWallet, which offers financial tools and objective advice to help people understand their options and make the best possible decisions, says an HSA is a good retirement savings option, especially for high-income earners who can’t make deductible contributions to a traditional IRA or any contributions to a Roth IRA. HSAs can help offset healthcare costs and even help with long-term financial planning.

This article sponsored by:

Improve Quality Of Life in 2017

Legend states that on April 2, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León was the first European to discover modern-day Florida when he traveled on a quest for the mythical “Fountain of Youth.” While modern science has proven that there is no mystical fountain or body of water that can reverse or slow down the aging process, there are many steps people can take to age well and prolong their lives.

Eating the right foods is one way to age well. According to Ralph Felder, M.D., Ph.D., coauthor of “The Bonus Years Diet,” reversing the aging process internally is more difficult than outward cosmetic changes. But the right foods can go a long way toward increasing both life expectancy and quality of life. Those who want to employ diet to increase their life expectancy may want to start adding more of the following foods to their breakfast, lunch and dinner plates.

· Broccoli, grapes and salad: According to Health magazine, researchers have found that compounds in these three foods boast extra life-extending benefits.

· Berries: In addition to their abundance of antioxidants, berries have other benefits. A 2012 study from Harvard University found that at least one serving of blueberries or two servings of strawberries each week may reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults.

· Fruits and vegetables: Produce is good for the body because it’s low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. Numerous studies have indicated that diets plentiful in fruits and vegetables help people maintain a healthy weight and protect against cardiovascular disease.

· Whole grains: Whole grains pack a lot of nutrition into a low-calorie food. Whole grains help protect against type 2 diabetes, and researchers at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center found study participants whose diets included plenty of whole grains and fruit cut their heart disease risk by almost half compared to those whose diets favored meat and fatty foods.

· Red wine: A glass a day for women and no more than two glasses daily for men can be beneficial. Moderate consumption of red wine has been shown to slow age-related declines in cardiovascular function, according to the American Heart Association.

· Fiber: Increase your fiber intake for a longer life. Research from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that the more fiber you include in your diet, the lower your risk of coronary heart disease. The daily recommendation is 25 to 35 grams.

While there may be no such thing as the fountain of youth, a healthy diet can help men and women prolong their lives.

This article sponsored by: