Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s detected and treated early. And it’s not always women. Men can get breast cancer too.

Brady’s Sue Lubke not only participated in last year’s Hogtoberfest, her team won!

Proving that early detection and treatment of breast cancer can help you be just as happy and active as before detection and treatment, is Brady’s own Sue Lubke. Sue and her daughter have both survived breast cancer and last October we saw them participate in the Brady/McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce’s fun Hogtoberfest wild hog wrestling contest, sporting pink T-shirts to support our local Hope from the Heart organization that raises funds for McCulloch County cancer victims. The 3rd Annual Hogtoberfest will again be held at Brady’s G.Rollie White Complex October 28-29.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel is key because nobody knows your body as well as you do. But knowing what to look for does not take the place of having regular mammograms and other screening tests, which can help find breast cancer in its early stages, even before any symptoms appear.

According to the American Cancer Society site on breast cancer:

The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass.

A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancer, but breast cancers can also be tender, soft, or rounded and can even be painful. For this reason, it’s important to have any new breast mass or lump or breast change checked by a health care provider experienced in diagnosing breast diseases.

Other possible symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)

Sometimes a breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt. Swollen lymph nodes should also be checked.

SELF EXAMS

Learn this easy 5 step self-exam routine

All leading breast cancer awareness organizations highly recommend routine self-examination of your own breasts. www.BreastCancer.org has posted an easy to follow 5 step routine.

Some of it you can do in front of a mirror, some lying down, and some while in the shower.

Step 1: Checking in a mirror for any visible changes while standing straight, arms down

Step 2: Checking in a mirror for visible changes with arms raised

Step 3: Checking in a mirror for any signs of fluid discharge

Step 4: Checking for lumps while lying down

Step 5: Checking for lumps while showering

For more details on exactly how to do these 5 steps, and what to look for, you can visit: http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/self_exam/bse_steps.

If you detect any changes at all, see your doctor ASAP. We can’t stress enough the wisdom of early detection.

MAMMOGRAMS

Mammograms are advised for mature women at least every two years.

Mammograms are now the well-known tool for early detection and we’re fortunate to have a modern digital mammogram machine right here in Brady at the Heart of Texas Healthcare System’s hospital. The machine was purchased recently with financial help from Hope from the Heart. That wonderful local 501c3 organization is directly affiliated with the hospital.

The only question in the medical community is how often to be tested and at what age testing should begin. The American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network all have issued guidelines saying that:

All women should be eligible for screening mammograms starting at age 40.

Trust your primary care physician to order what he or she feels is best for you. You can also find more information at www.womenshealth.com.

GENETIC TESTING

Most cases of breast cancer are NOT associated with family history

We’re hearing more and more about “the gene.” Genetic counseling and testing can indeed help you understand your risk for cancer and genetic tests help doctors look for mutations (changes) in certain genes. Keep in mind, however, that the process of genetic testing to estimate your risk may prompt many emotional and psychological reactions. This Mayo Clinic link helps you sort through the questions of whether you should be tested for “the gene” or not: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/in-depth/genetic-testing/art-20047563?p=1

Breast cancer is unfortunately, a common disease. Each year, approximately 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer. However, hereditary breast cancer, which is caused by a mutant gene passed from parents to their children, is actually fairly rare.

If testing indicated that you have a mutation in the BRCA1 gene or the BRCA2 gene, you are, in fact, more likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer. Here’s the latest in gnome progress from the National Institute of Health: https://www.genome.gov/10000507/

Talk with your doctor about genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer if:

  • Two or more close family members (parents, siblings, or children) have had breast or ovarian cancer
  • A close family member had breast cancer before age 50
  • A close family member has had cancer in both breasts
  • A family member has had both breast and ovarian cancer
  • You are of a particular Eastern European heritage

If you decide to talk to your doctor about genetic testing, here are some excellent tips on questions to ask.

Founders of Hope From the Heart, Wendy Jones and Michelle Young, wrestle pigs on behalf of cancer awareness.

Local Help

If you or a loved one has already been diagnosed with breast cancer (or any cancer) and that person lives in McCulloch County, financial help is available if financial constraints for treatment are pressing on the pocket book, contact Hope from the Heart. Helping local cancer victims with financial aid is what they’re all about. All it takes is a note from the cancer patient’s doctor (even if it’s just on a prescription slip) that confirms that the cancer patient is actively fighting cancer. The contact is Michele Young Derrick at Young’s Jewelry, 325-597-0493 or 325-456-1126.

The Brady Fire Department is selling cool t-shirts to help raise fund for local cancer victims

You may notice that Brady, Texas is “turning pink” to help promote cancer awareness. The Brady/McCulloch County Fire Department is “Fired Up About Saving Lives.” They’re not only wearing pink helmets these days, they’re selling very cool pink t-shirts as a fundraiser for Hope from the Heart, which are available all over town. City Drug has been a supporter of Hope from the Heart since it’s inception.

If you have basic questions and concerns about breast cancer, come in and talk to Albert, or one of our other pharmacists who can steer you in the right direction. Be smart; stay aware; stay healthy.

 


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We hope you enjoy the City Drug Monthly Health Tips.
Leave us a comment on Facebook or stop by the pharmacy and share your thoughts.
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Getting Enough Sleep?

It’s school time again and for young families especially, tight schedules once again rule. Whether young, adult, or a senior, the age-old challenge is getting enough good sleep.

Young parents like Dustin and Stefanie Farris don’t get near enough sleep.

Young moms and dads face the biggest challenge. We asked one experienced local mom who’s also a nurse, Stefanie Crawford Farris, how she and her husband Dustin assure that their four children, Peyton, age 3, Talin 9, Aliva 10 and Keegan age 12, stick to a reasonable schedule.

“On school nights at our house, we start our nighttime routine of shower, brushing teeth, getting clothes out for the next day, etc. around 8pm and try to get them all to bed by 8:30. Because of sports practices or games lasting until 8pm some nights, we just rush home and do the best we can. Unfortunately, Peyton being 3, is pretty much on the same schedule because of sports practices that keep us away from the house most evenings.”

Stefanie’s older children are up again at 6:30, allowing the grumpy three year old to sleep until they’re out the door by 7:25 to school, work, and the little one going to grandma’s. That’s a good eight to ten hours if all goes well.

Between school, sports and friends, it’s hard for these three Farris kids to squeeze in enough sleep time.

Kids Need More Sleep

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, even for your older children, getting eight hours of sleep is probably not adequate. The younger your child is, the more sleep they need. Infants may spend more than half their day asleep (including naps) — a welcome respite for tired parents and much needed time for the infants’ mental and physical development.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  • Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
  • Kids 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
  • Kids 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
  • Kids 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
  • Teens: 8 to 10 hours

Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development. When children meet the adequate number of sleep hours for their age on a regular basis, they’re likely to see benefits; including better behavior, attention span, learning, memory, emotional regulation, and overall quality of life.

When you have 3 older siblings, it’s hard for the little ones to get their needed hours of sleep.

Different Types of Sleep

Not all sleep is the same! While sleeping we drift between REM and Non-REM sleep throughout the night.

1) Rapid Eye Movement (REM) or “active” sleep. During REM sleep, our brains are active and dreaming occurs. Our bodies become immobile, breathing and heart rates are irregular.

2) Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) or “quiet” sleep. During the deep states of NREM sleep, blood supply to the muscles is increased, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur, and important hormones are released for growth and development.

And throughout the day, our internal circadian biological clocks regulate the timing of periods of sleepiness and wakefulness. The circadian rhythm dips and rises at different times of the day, so adults’ strongest sleep drive generally occurs between 2:00-4:00 am and in the afternoon between 1:00-3:00 pm, although there is some variation depending on whether you are a morning person or evening person.

The circadian rhythm also causes us to feel more alert at certain points of the day. Knowing your circadian rhythm can help help you plan your day around when you are most alert, and sleepiest. The sleepiness we experience during these circadian dips will be more intense when our sleep bank is empty.

More information about keeping your sleep bank full: https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/repaying-your-sleep-debt

Do You Need Extra Sleep?

A good night’s sleep can make a big difference in how you feel during the day. Here are the signs that you might need more sleep:

  • Need a stimulant like coffee to wake up or get going
  • Feel down, irritable, or tense after not getting enough sleep
  • Have poor short-term memory
  • Have a hard time staying focused and productive after sitting for awhile

If you’re able to get enough sleep but still don’t feel refreshed in the morning, discuss the problem with your doctor or with our pharmacists. Many common medical conditions, from depression to sleep apnea (the condition in which breathing pauses during sleep), could be responsible, or some medications might be interfering.

Tips for Better Sleep

  • Create a sleep sanctuary. Reserve it for sleep and other restful activities, like pleasure reading and meditation. Keep it on the cool side. Banish electronics from that space.
  • Nap only if necessary. Napping an hour or two at the peak of sleepiness in the afternoon can help to supplement hours missed at night, but naps can also interfere with your ability to sleep at night and throw your sleep schedule off.
  • Get plenty of natural light during the day.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon, and go light on alcohol.
  • Get regular exercise, but not within three hours of bedtime.
  • Develop a bedtime routine to remind your body it’s time to wind down. This can include making some decaf tea, reading, and staying off your phone, TV, or other bright electronic screens.

If you are truly not getting enough sleep, but aren’t sure why, see your doctor or a sleep disorders specialist. We’re fortunate to have a local sleep lab right here at the hospital in Brady. The Heart of Texas Healthcare System operates a sleep lab for the diagnosis and management of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia and restless leg syndrome.

For details on how their sleep lab works, visit: https://www.heartoftexashealthcare.org/services/sleeplab.php

Any cool place is great for a catnap

Every Living Creature Needs Sleep

Each adult, child, and animal needs to find what works best for their dynamic and overall function — there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to sleep. Even “a decent hour” is defined differently in different families, cultures, and situations. We could all be better at prioritizing sleep health for our children, and that starts with prioritizing it for the entire family, especially the grown-ups, whose behavior provides a life-long model for their children.

 


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Leave us a comment on Facebook or stop by the pharmacy and share your thoughts.
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Making Summer More Refreshing

Here, deep in the true Heart of Texas in August, it’s downright hot. The trick to making it through our long hot summers is to eat light, drink right, and exercise sensibly.

Eat Light

By preparing nutritious salads and cold plates, you don’t have to turn on the oven or microwave! Most summer salads last for days so you can prepare them ahead of time in large batches, adding beds of greens and tasty dressings upon serving.

Here are some tips to making delicious salads and cold plates that are full of nutrition:

Add chopped celery, bell peppers and red onions to boost the nutrition in vegetable-based salads and cold plates, especially to potato and pasta salads.

Add fresh, chopped veggies to traditional potato salad for added nutrition.

Other good veggies to add include are broccoli, carrots, cucumber, and avocado. Chilled hardboiled eggs, lightly steamed red potatoes and light cheeses add some heft.

Previously barbequed or grilled meats like chicken, lean pork, or fish can add extra protein.

Add BBQed chicken breasts to a cold plate for additional protein.

For a special treat, quick-steam large raw shrimp and asparagus and make a red sauce dip for the shrimp and lemon-mayo for the asparagus.

Steamed, chilled shrimp and asparagus make great “finger food.”

Seasonal fruits add much needed water to your diet, especially watermelons and other melons, grapes and pineapple. Add yogurt or cottage cheese to put fruit salads over the top. 

Drink Right

It’s easy to get dehydrated in deep summer so drink lots of water throughout the day. Add lemon, lime or mint to a glass of ice water, iced tea, or club soda to turn water into a special, more refreshing treat. And be aware of your source for drinking water. RO water (treated by reverse osmosis) is a healthy option in our area.

Two misconceptions:

Caffeine dehydrates you.”

FALSE. In times past, we were cautioned that caffeine-containing beverages cause dehydration. That turns out not to be true. According to the Mayo Clinic and in many recent studies have shown that drinking caffeinated beverages, in moderation, as part of a normal lifestyle does not cause fluid loss in excess of the volume ingested. Caffeine can still be harmful though if you’re a heart patient, so mind your doctor’s orders.

Beer is like drinking water.”

FALSE. Drinking beer actually promotes dehydration, as does any alcohol. Because alcohol increases urine production, your body begins to eliminate more liquid than you’re taking in. Drink alcohol in moderation, especially in deep summer.

Exercise Sensibly

  1. Drink plenty of water before, during and after engaging in vigorous or even mild exercise or physical chores.
  2. Encourage children in your care to drink extra fluids throughout the day too and especially during play time.
  3. Schedule your outdoor exercises early in the morning or near sundown to avoid the Texas summer heat.
  4. Take salt tablets if a doctor recommends it. Otherwise there’s already plenty of salt in a normal diet.
  5. Stop working, playing or exercising outdoors if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or fatigued. Seek shade or air-conditioning, relax, and take in fluids.

Swimming is the best all-round summer exercise

Cardiologists and primary care physicians agree that swimming is an excellent exercise for all muscle groups (especially the heart), for flexibility, and for stress management. Playing and dabbling in a pool or at the lake is refreshing, but swimming laps for 30 minutes or more is even better.

Note the featured image at the start of this August blog. That’s our beautiful Brady Lake. Swimming in Brady Lake just under the damn is what summer’s all about. And free! And there’s the new pool at Richard’s Park, plus we have a number of private pools in the area, so check around for pool parties.

Whether in a lake or pool, a recommended swim routine for all ages is mixed laps, concentrating on efficient strokes and full rhythmic breathing. As a metric to get you started, here’s a routine that takes an average of 10 minutes per set in a 50 foot long pool:

  • 1 length down doing the breast stroke
  • Turn on your back and return with elementary backstroke
  • 1 length left side down sidestroke
  • Return, sidestroke, right side down
  • Repeat the breaststroke/backstroke sequence
  • 1 length front crawl
  • Return doing the back crawl
  • Repeat sidestroke sequence, facing the opposite direction

That’s 10 lengths per set. Three sets is a minimum goal; five or more is ideal.

There’s nothing as refreshing as evening swim in August.

The best time to swim during deep summer is in the morning when pools and lakes are cooler and the sun is more forgiving. But there’s nothing like an evening swim at the end of a hot day, or during a full moon night.

From all of us at City Drug, have a healthy, happy and fun August and… stay cool!

 


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We hope you enjoy the City Drug Monthly Health Tips.
Leave us a comment on Facebook or stop by the pharmacy and share your thoughts.
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Summer Fun in the Sun

It’s July and that means lots of outdoor fun… and way too much hot Texas sun! Fortunately, we have lots of ways to beat the heat here in and around McCulloch County.

  • Shady public parks with protective oaks
  • Brady’s Aquatic Complex at Richard’s Park
  • Our beautiful Brady Lake
  • Friends with inviting private pools
New play equipment at Willie Washington Park

Our historic Willie Washington Park is sporting new play equipment, thanks to a generous grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

The best times to visit any of our parks in the hot, hot summer is in the morning and early evening. In between, take cover in the shade of those beautiful big oaks! Or head for home and the AC and have a nice long siesta.

Why is it so important to avoid the direct sun?

Exposure to our warm, welcoming Mr. Sunshine is the greatest cause of skin cancer, although exposure to environmental hazards, radiation treatment and what’s simply in your DNA can play a role.

Ask anyone over 60 years of age who spent most of their youth out in the sunshine, and they’ll tell you that sunscreen wasn’t a big deal when they were a kid. It was all about getting a tan. “Alas, if we had only known…” That’s why dermatologists see so much skin cancer and pre-cancers on them now. The rich varieties of sunscreens at high SPF numbers we see today simply weren’t available.

The risk of getting skin cancer is greatest for people who have:

  • Fair skin or light-colored eyes
  • An abundance of large and irregularly-shaped moles
  • A family history of skin cancer
  • A history of excessive sun exposure or blistering sunburns
  • Lived at high altitudes or places with year-round sunshine
  • Received radiation treatments

Sun Safety Check-List

  • Limit your exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when those rays are strongest.
  • While outdoors, liberally apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher (don’t forget the lips and ears!)
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses, and cover up with light clothing.
  • And remember, if you notice changes to your skin such as a new growth, a mole changing appearance, or a sore that won’t heal, see a doctor right way.
Brady Lake is looking especially sunny

As you age, it becomes progressively important to check yourself and loved ones routinely for changes in the skin. Start visiting a qualified dermatologist as soon as noticeable changes occur because most cancers can be cured if they are detected and removed early.

The most common of these are pre-cancerous lesions called Actinic Keratosis, or solar keratosis, or “AKs” for short. They are not yet cancer, but could become serious over time and are easily removed by a dermatologist, or your primary care physician. Senior adults often develop AKs, which are small, scaly patches that usually occur on the head, neck, or hands, but can be found elsewhere. They’re often an early warning sign of skin cancer. Don’t worry, most AKs do not become cancerous, but doctors recommend early treatment to prevent the development of squamous cell skin cancer. Removal is normally covered by Medicare and most other insurance plans.

The most dangerous skin cancers include melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Pictures and descriptions of these various cancers can be found on two notable websites. Check them out so you know what to look for:

Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/skin-cancer/basics/definition/con-20031606
Slide show on WebMD’s site: http://www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/ss/slideshow-skin-lesions-and-cancer

On the look out for moles

Moles are the other thing to keep a close eye on. Unlike AKs, most moles develop in youth or young adulthood. It’s unusual to acquire a mole in the adult years, so if you see a new one, it should probably be looked at.

A mole (nevus) is a benign growth of melanocytes, which are cells that gives skin its color. Although very few moles become cancer, abnormal or atypical moles can develop into melanoma over time. “Normal” moles can appear flat or raised or may begin flat and become raised over time. The surface is typically smooth. Moles that may have changed into skin cancer are often irregularly shaped, contain many colors, and are larger than the size of a pencil eraser.

When in doubt, it’s always good to have your doctor look at it.

Heat Rash

Good old heat rash is one thing you don’t have to worry about. It’s quite normal and unless it gets severe, you don’t even have to go see the doctor. Here in Texas, we all know what heat rash is, otherwise known as prickly rash. It’s when our moist heat blocks your pores.

Here are some summertime tips to help your heat rash heal and make you more comfortable:

  • Dress in loose, lightweight clothing that helps keep moisture away from your skin
  • Spend as much time as possible in air-conditioned buildings
  • Bathe or shower in cool water with nondrying soap, then let your skin air-dry instead of toweling off
  • Use calamine lotion or cool compresses to calm itchy, irritated skin
  • Avoid using creams and ointments that contain petroleum or mineral oil, which can block pores further

Enjoy the summer!

Amelia Jane Huffman and her Dad enjoying Brady’s Aquatic Complex at Richard’s Park

Most of all… have fun out there! What’s the point of worrying about sun safety, if you’re not enjoying yourself. So remember to safely soak up what you can during these summer months and use good sense when it comes to having fun in the sun and heat.

And next time you’re headed to the pool, stop by City Drug for some waterproof sunscreen. Or just a break from the heat.

 

 

 


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We hope you enjoy the City Drug Monthly Health Tips.
Leave us a comment on Facebook or stop by the pharmacy and share your thoughts.
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The Truth about Texas Ticks

June could be thought of as the beginning of tick season, but that’s only because they’re in their tiny ‘hard to spot’ nymph stage, and June is when we humans are out in our gardens and the woods… looking very tasty to a tick.

Check Yourself

Brady EMS Toby Smith and Priscilla Campbell demonstrate the correct way to remove a tick.

This time of the year it’s important to do a routine “Tick Check” on yourself and any children in your care after being in a possible tick-laden habitat. If you spot one that’s gotten “lock on” use tweezers to carefully remove it, tweezing as close to the skin as possible, slowly pulling the tiny tick straight out. Then you can crush it or flush the tick down the toilet.

Ignore folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with liquid or gel or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible, not wait for it to detach. Heat may actually stimulate the tick to salivate, which is how it could transmit any disease it may have into your bloodstream. Put exposed clothes in a dryer in high heat to kill undiscovered ticks.

Wait, Did You Say Disease?

The latest official updates on tick-borne infectious diseases and diseases of animals that can be transmitted to humans, by way of a tick vector (e.g. zoonoses) can be found on a highly informative website run by the US government’s Center for Disease Control. Specifically on their latest “Grand Rounds” program featuring four notable tick disease experts. The webcast (with continuing education credits) is recommended for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, other healthcare providers and teachers… and for those who just want to be really well-informed.
https://www.cdc.gov/cdcgrandrounds/archives/2017/March2017.htm

First, here are three helpful definitions for those new to the field:

    1. Zoonoses: a disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals.
    2. Vector: In medicine, a carrier of disease or of medication. For example, in malaria a mosquito is the vector that carries and transfers the infectious agent. In molecular biology, a vector may be a virus or a plasmid that carries a piece of foreign DNA to a host cell. But let’s stick with ticks for now.
    3. Ticks: Not insects. They, like mites, are small arachnids (like spiders). Ticks live by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Scientists know the most about the oldest known tick-borne diseases:

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
  • Lyme disease

…But relatively newer ones they’re watching closely include:

  • Powassan virus (deer tick virus) widespread in our Northern and NE states
  • Heartland virus and Bourbon virus widespread in Southern and SE states

The CDC recommends the antibiotic DOXYCYLINE for treating all tick-borne rickettsioses in humans of all ages, including children. If administered within the first five days of infection, tick-borne diseases are curable with doxycycline. The CDC has advocated this specific tetracycline for two generations.

An excellent CDC Primer on Lyme disease can be found on: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/transmission/index.html, which includes a relevant fact important to those who hunt deer and prepare venison: You will NOT get Lyme disease from eating venison that may have been bitten.

Specific to Central Texas, an excellent tick update from Texas A&M can be found on: http://citybugs.tamu.edu/2016/01/27/lyme-disease-ticks-in-texas/

What’s The Risk?

This is optimum tick habit. They’re patiently waiting in the brush and tall grass for their next victim to wander by, so check clothing and skin for ticks, preferably before going indoors.

Note that McCulloch County is not a designated vulnerable blue zone, but some of our neighbor counties are, and sometimes that’s only because cases haven’t been reported.

Not all tick bites carry disease. If you develop a fever or experience flu-like symptoms soon after having been bitten, that’s when to hightail it to the doctor!

Ticks acquire the diseases by first feeding on infected small critters like mice, squirrels, birds, amphibians and reptiles. From there they feed greedily on larger animals, especially deer, other wildlife, dogs and livestock. In the winter, when horses and cattle provide thick fur coats, the adult ticks can easily be detected, removed and disposed of.

Our Hometown Ticks

Here in Central Texas we have all the primary species of ticks that cause the majority of diseases:

  • Blacklegged (deer) tick
  • Lone Star tick
  • American dog tick
  • Brown dog tick

Click on the above CDC and Texas A&M websites for identifying pictures and details. Ticks can’t fly or jump, but simply lie in wait, clinging to leaves and grasses by their third and fourth pairs of legs, using the front pair to grasp and climb on any passing host. In the small nymph stage, they’re close to the ground, while adults can climb higher into vegetation. They choose their victims by detecting animal breath and body odors, or by sensing body heat, moisture and vibrations.

You usually don’t feel a tick bite. The first sign is often redness around the site of the bite. Other symptoms that follow may include itchiness and burning, but some people don’t even experience that. If a “bulls-eye” redness appears around the bite area, it was probably a deer tick. Again, if fever and flu-like symptoms begin, that’s when to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

A Tick’s Enemy is a Friend of Yours

Peafowl, guineafowl, and good old barnyard chickens are excellent tick hunters.

Few cases of tick-borne disease have been reported in Brady, McCulloch County and our surrounding areas but we’re just as likely to get Lyme disease or other viruses or harmful bacteria from ticks as anywhere else. One of the reasons we’re fortunate in not yet having a tick epidemic is our abundance of their natural enemies, which can easily spot a tick:

  • Wild turkey
  • Peafowl
  • Chickens
  • Roadrunners
  • Quail
  • Guinafowl
  • Other bug-eating ground birds

Be sure to thank any of these tick-hungry birds when you see them out hunting!

Our native wild turkeys are great tick eaters with their excellent “bug sight” and June is the month when the mothers show off their little ones.

Repellent Options

We carry a variety of repellants to help keep you tick-free this summer.

Repellent dog collars are a must on dogs that go outdoors. Humans need to spray with 20-30% DEET repellent when taking those walks in the woods… or even just gardening. Spraying outdoor clothing with permethrin helps too. Permethrin is the active ingredient in many commercial sprays and is used extensively on livestock to repel and kill ticks and flies and will not stain clothes. It can be found in concentrate form at our local feed stores.

 

Be safe; Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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We hope you enjoy the City Drug Monthly Health Tips.
Leave us a comment on Facebook or stop by the pharmacy and share your thoughts.
We always look forward to hearing from our neighbors!

Women’s Health and Fitness

May is a wonderful time to focus on women’s health and fitness. The weather in McCulloch County, Brady and our surrounding Central Texas towns and villages is at its springtime best. Not too hot; not too cold. Just right!

It’s a great time to get involved in sports of all kinds and undertake physical activities that accomplish something outdoors while helping keep you fit, like gardening and tackling energetic cleanup or building projects.

May also means a celebration of Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 14th. We salute all moms and we’re proud to share with you the first lady of City Drug, Albert and Amy Pearson’s mother, Carrie Pearson. She’s the heart and soul of our business as well as being one of the best mom’s in the world! Carrie is usually working in the back of the store, but here she is pictured with Albert and Amy.

Also in May (14-20) it’s National Women’s Health Week, which is a nation-wide effort by an alliance of various government organizations dedicated to raising awareness about manageable steps women can take to improve their health.

Schedule your Check-ups

During National Women’s Health Week, it’s important for women to:

  1. Discuss with their doctor which health tests are right for them
  2. Determine when to have those discussions, and how often

Women are special (of course), and each individual is different. Fortunately, much can be determined now by the simple blood and urine tests your doctor orders prior to your routine yearly (or bi-yearly) exam. These tests can be performed right here in Brady at the hospital, after which your regular checkups become a breeze. Early detection of any possible problems is amazingly easy… provided you keep those appointments.

Self Check & Self Care

One of the most important routine examination is the one you can do yourself in the privacy of your home: self-exams to determine if there might be possible lumps forming in the breast. Here’s an excellent online step-by-step guide for undertaking this simple but very important private checkup: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam

Maintaining regular check-ups is one of five primary health habits that can significantly improve a woman’s health. The other four are:

  • Undertake regular physical activity
  • Adopt and enjoy a healthy diet
  • Continue to not smoke tobacco and if you do, consider quitting
  • Follow general safety rules to avoid injury

We’ve discussed each of these areas in past blogs, so we encourage you to whisk through the various topics in past months and focus on the ones most appropriate for you.

Exercising all four limbs… and your heart

Examples of the very best lifetime sports for women which exercise the entire body are swimming, tennis, volleyball, basketball, cycling, running and dancing where you give all muscles a workout, plus the cardio for the most important muscle of all, your heart.

If you include golf, you’ll have to walk and carry your clubs to get a good workout. Golfing via golf carts, horseback riding, motorcycle or ATV riding and riding lawnmowers are mainly just exercise for the carts, horses and vehicles, but at least you’re outdoors getting fresh air.

If you prefer workouts indoors at a gym, be sure you engage a qualified trainer to help make sure you perfect the right, safe workout that suits your individual needs. And if you undergo strength training in the privacy of your home, be sure the source of your exercises is equally reputable.

Physical contests for good causes

Last October, Brady held its second annual wild hog wrestling contest in which many local girls and women took part. A few teams  participated as a way of raising funds for Hope from the Heart that assists local cancer patients. Sue Lubke and her daughter did an especially admirable job (both women conquered breast cancer).

Whatever your choice of activities, the most important thing is to keep your weight in check, exercise routinely, sensibly and safely, and most of all… have fun!

 

 

 


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We hope you enjoy the City Drug Monthly Health Tips.
Leave us a comment on Facebook or stop by the pharmacy and share your thoughts.
We always look forward to hearing from our neighbors!

It’s Raining Oak Pollen!

Butterflies, bees, humming birds and every possible wildflower makes its debut in and around McCulloch County in April. Spring is the most beautiful time of the year in Central Texas.

Remember the old song “April Showers?” Well, around our parts, that often means a continual shower of yellow oak pollen, some of which gets mercifully mitigated by our springtime rainstorms.

We’re noted for our beautiful big oak trees, some of which have lived here for hundreds of years. Many varieties of oaks keep their green leaves all winter long. They provide expansive shade through our very hot summers and produce abundant plump acorns in the fall that feed our wildlife. Unfortunately, in the springtime, some of our more prolific varieties also produce a great deal of yellow pollen to start their cycle all over again.

 

Parked vehicles are especially susceptible to pollen attacks.

We talked in detail about treating allergies and asthma last May and explained the difference between various antihistamines, decongestants and mucus thinners. If you’re an allergy-sufferer, that blog is worth a re-read. But let’s talk specifically about oak pollen, to which most people in and around Brady find ranks high on their allergy list.

The tell-tale powdery yellow pollen gets everywhere. No wonder it finds its way to our tender noses and delicate eyes. It’s most noticeable on our vehicles.

With our strong spring winds, the pollen can travel up to 100 miles, so there’s almost no escaping it.

 

Avoiding The Pollen

If oak pollen is getting to you, here are a few preventive tricks to help minimize the effects:

  • Wash (or at least rinse) vehicles often that get covered in pollen
  • Rinse your hands, face and eyes more often in clear water
  • Don’t rub your eyes when they get irritated; it makes it worse
  • Keep windows closed when the pollen drifts get heavy
  • Gently spray water on garden plants daily to wash down undesirable pollen
  • Vacuum indoors often using bags featuring allergen filtration
  • Shake and wash pollen-laden clothes frequently
  • “Dust” your pets off frequently (they love it!)

Over-The-Counter Newcomers

There are a number of relatively new over-the-counter remedies you can use if pollen and grass allergies strike you. Two of which are nasal sprays that were formerly available by prescription only. They are Flonase and Nasacort.

These nasal sprays are both corticosteroids that help to prevent nasal allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose and itchy or watery eyes caused by seasonal or year-round allergies.

Flonase and nasacort both have once a day dosing and they both come in an adult or children’s dosed bottle. They are also safe in the sense that either can be combined with many other over the counter medicines also used to treat allergies without the risk of duplicating ingredients or drug-drug  interactions.  With that being said, it is still very important to talk to your doctor before starting either Flonase or Nasacort.   We can also help by going over any other medications you’re taking just to be sure there are no conflicts.

 

And when it’s all over, put up that hammock again, under the oaks, kick back, and enjoy our lovely springtime weather.


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We hope you enjoy the City Drug Monthly Health Tips.
Leave us a comment on Facebook or stop by the pharmacy and share your thoughts.
We always look forward to hearing from our neighbors!

Prepare Yourself For Nutrition

Springtime is here again! March is one of our prettiest months in Central Texas and with our unusually warm winter, the redbuds are in bloom and the bluebonnets should be by the end of the month. March is also National Nutrition Month. We wrote about some great nutrition tips last year, and this year, the secret to delicious nutritious meals is… Preparation.

Good health begins with good eating habits and preparing delicious, nutritious food for you and your family at home is easier than you may think. Your body will appreciate the fresh ingredients and your bank account will appreciate the value of home cooked meals.

BBQ – A Family Tradition

Combining our fine art of Central Texas barbecue with the goal of saving time and money makes healthy eating a lot easier. On a family day, gather your wood, your favorite meats, and also some slow-cook vegetables like potatoes, beans, and carrots… and have yourself a big healthy family barbecue.

Closed pits and smokers are wonderful for slow-cooking massive amounts of meat, like:

  • salmon
  • catfish
  • chicken or turkey breasts
  • pork tenderloins
  • ribs
  • small meat loaves and batches of meatballs (made from the same meatloaf mix)
  • ham (by putting one of those big shank or butt hams on the barbecue, the artificial added moisture goes out and the wood flavor goes in.)
  • burgers
  • sausages
  • steaks
  • roasts
  • whatever else you want to feast on, fresh off the grill.

The object obviously isn’t to eat it all in one sitting. Quite the contrary. Your goal is to capture much of that freshly barbecued food in heavy foil and/or zip bags, labeling and freezing the packs for later.

Build Your Deli

At the same time, make a few salads like potato, macaroni, or carrot and raisin, which can last all week if properly stored. Put as much fresh fruit and vegetables in your salads as possible, like adding pineapple tidbits to a carrot and raisin salad or bell peppers, celery, sweet red peppers and red onions to potato and macaroni salads.

See what’s happening? You’re turning your refrigerator into a deli! A delicious, nutritious deli. Now it’s all there, and ready, for whoever wants a nutritious meal at any time. It’s also a great excuse to bring out some of those favorite recipes. Here are a few ideas for healthy dishes to keep around:

Waldorf salad is a typical treat that stores well and is easy to make. Simply chop up fresh green celery and apples (galas work well, leaving the skins on), mix with a bit of mayo, lemon juice and sweetener such as agave nectar, and throw in a handful of our delicious native pecans. Add a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon, and you have a healthy salad that can almost pass as a dessert.

A pot of good old fashioned “Irish Sticky Beans” is one of the best side dishes you could have on hand for all-round good health. Just slow cook your favorite beans with chopped bell peppers and onions,  your favorite seasonings, and dark brown sugar mixed with a bit of barbecue sauce. Whether baked in the pit, smoker or oven, cook the beans slowly until they’re bubbling and… sticky! Toward the end, you can even add barbecued meat chunks for extra protein. These beans go well with cornbread or by themselves. An old Irish custom is to even have them for breakfast (hot in the winter, cold in the summer).

Our area is also noted for Breakfast Tacos. There’s nothing like the speed and ease of preparing great breakfast tacos if you have the right ingredients on hand. You can pre-make your “mix” that lasts for days. 

A typical mix might include:

  • Some of that delicious barbecued ground beef, finely diced pork tenderloin or chicken
  • Diced previously barbecued/baked potatoes
  • Chopped peppers and onions

Add freshly scrambled eggs and chopped spinach to the frying pan and wrap it all in a warm whole wheat tortilla with shredded cheese for a quick and healthy breakfast. 

Planning For Health

The trick is in the pre-planning and buying of really good ingredients. A little planning can make home cooked meals the easiest (and healthiest) option. Cook what you can in bulk and it will make the rest of the week’s meals easy to throw together. When your refrigerator is stocked with prepared foods, like a deli, you’ll always be ready to serve yourself and any of your hungry customers.

There’s also some wonderful information on http://www.EatRight.org.

 


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We hope you enjoy the City Drug Monthly Health Tips.
Leave us a comment on Facebook or stop by the pharmacy and share your thoughts.
We always look forward to hearing from our neighbors!

Heart Health

It’s February, and while you and your friends, and especially your children, are sending Valentine greetings full of cute red hearts, let’s also take a look at the real heart. The one that so cleverly keeps you alive.

Here’s an excellent, short and easy to understand video of how a healthy heart functions. It will help you understand why it’s so important to take good care of your own heart.

It’s amazing, when you think about it, how efficiently this pump and electrical system work together, day in and day out, throughout your entire life. Cardiovascular experts enjoy joking about their specialty. They’re either plumbers or electricians because the heart itself and its valves are a pump, powered by your internal electrical signals. Some cardiologists do both, like the team from Shannon that comes to the Brady hospital routinely, so those of us who are heart patients don’t have to drive all the way to San Angelo.

Heart disease can be prevented by sticking to a healthy diet, by not smoking tobacco, and by keeping your weight in check. Negative stress is also a major culprit.

Dennis Hill, Interim Superintendent of Brady ISD takes a noontime walk

Don’t Stress

Some stress can’t be avoided, but stress reducing practices can help tremendously if practiced routinely, like yoga, mediation, and long relaxed walks in the woods. We’re fortunate in McCulloch County and in our neighboring communities to have plenty of places to take a good long walk, and our weather permits you to get out often, even throughout the winter because of the number of lovely “bonus days” full of sunshine and fresh air.

Routine exercise, such as workouts at the gym and jogging help prevent heart disease too, but before you undergo vigorous exercise, check with your doctor.

Stop by and check your blood pressure

Keep Your Heart in Check

Keeping tabs on your blood pressure is extremely important, and you can start that process by coming in to City Drug routinely and spending a few minutes visiting our blood pressure machine. The machine does all the work and it won’t hurt, even a little bit.

Since most heart attacks and strokes happen to those who don’t even realize they have a problem, it’s especially important to have your heart checked by your primary care physician periodically.

If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, also called “cardiovascular” disease, you’ll want to pay close attention to what your doctors prescribe as heart medications.  The most important things you can do for yourself are to cut down on salt (sodium bad; potassium good), caffeine and sugary drinks… and drink plenty of good, pure water throughout the day.

The Variety of Heart Medications

If there is a minor problem, or if you’re simply “at risk,” most doctors will want you to take a low-dose aspirin daily to help thin your blood and keep things moving along correctly. Your doctor may also put you on a diuretic to move water in your system more efficiently. Another typical preventative is cholesterol medication, such as a statin, to prevent thickening of your arteries. These are most people’s basic heart-related medications, especially those over 50 years old.

If you have more serious problems, (arrhythmia, leaky valves, enlargement of the heart, high blood pressure, etc.) typical medications are: Diuretics, Beta Blockers, Ace Inhibitors, and Calcium Channel Blocker. Each individual person is unique, and once you’ve been given your prescribed regime, it’s easy to simply go online to learn more about what each of your medications do for you. You can also ask Albert or any of our pharmacists for detailed explanations.

Once diagnosed, it’s imperative that you take your heart meds daily. Some people may need to take them twice a day. One way to be sure to do that is to use handy pill dispensers. Our little “turtle” packs, for example are small and come in different colors. For example, the morning turtle houses your aspirin, beta blocker and blood pressure pill, and an evening turtle for the second dose along with your statin.

Keep On Learning

Heart disease can be scary if you don’t know your facts. And heart-related procedures such as a by-pass or heart ablation can be intimating for the same reason. But those concerns can be eased by simply learning all you can about your individual situation. Having more and better knowledge actually relieves stress, and helps allay the concerns of your family and friends. Comprehensive, in-depth,  information on all heart-related topics can be found on the American Heart Association (AHA) website. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

And easy-to-understand basic information can be found on: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/basics/causes/con-20034056

Also, scroll through past issues of this health blog and what you need to know will likely pop up because we’ve been doing this now for many months. Like how to eat more healthy foods, how to quit smoking, and when to have checkups.

We here at City Drug want to keep you healthy. We live in the true (geographical) heart of Texas and that in itself should be a good reminder to do everything you can to keep your heart healthy and the hearts of those you love and care for.

 


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We hope you enjoy the City Drug Monthly Health Tips.
Leave us a comment on Facebook or stop by the pharmacy and share your thoughts.
We always look forward to hearing from our neighbors!

New Year’s Resolutions

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Kick off 2017 with some new healthy habits

The start of a new year is traditionally a time when you resolve, to yourself, to tackle all sorts of things you’ve been putting off. It’s a time to reflect on your accomplishments and set your sights on what you want to achieve next. With 2016 behind us, this is a time to step back and decide what we really want to do in 2017.

Some popular resolutions include:

  • Get more organized at home
  • Learn a new skill or hobby
  • Make more money
  • Improve the relationships in your life
  • Get more satisfaction out of your work

And our personal favorite:

  • Improve your health

Health Resolutions

Take a minute to include a few health resolutions for yourself and, more importantly, think about how you can achieve them. Adding specific steps sets a path that you can stick to throughout the year. Big goals can be intimidating until they’re broken down into smaller achievable ones.

Some popular health resolutions include:

  • Take off that extra weight
  • Get more exercise
  • Stop (or at least cut down) smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Eat more leafy greens and whole grains

How do YOU want to improve your health this year? Once you pick your 2017 health goals, it’s time to set your strategy for achieving them.

Quitting Smoking

20161227_133331Resolving to quit smoking addictive tobacco? In addition to the health risks involved, smoking can be a costly habit. While some smokers trying to quit might think that wearing a patch is enough, recent studies have shown that using a combination of treatments raises the probability of success. Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) like bupropion prescription and OTC nicotine patches, plus nasal sprays or inhalers can all help with the withdrawal cravings. At City Drug, we can help find the right combination for you. It has been shown that patients can be more successful if these therapies are combined with counseling, either by their pharmacist or other health professionals.

The Great American Smokeout just passed, but you can still use these resources to quit any time of the year: https://www.cdc.gov/features/greatamericansmokeout/

Losing Weight

blood-pressure
Stop by and check your blood pressure any time.

Resolving to lose weight and exercise more? Almost 70% of U.S. adults age 20 and older are overweight, and more than one in three are actually obese. That’s more than 78 million obese adults. Obesity is a major health issue and increases the risk of other chronic conditions, including hypertension and type 2 diabetes, among others. So if you need to take off that weight and start walking/running/cycling etc. you’re in good, and determined company. Even if it’s just 10 pounds of fat (muscles weigh more than fat), you’ll feel a whole lot better.

If you’re in the seriously obese category, it’s mandatory that you stick with a good prescribed diet and exercise program. Join a group. Misery loves company, and together, you’ll soon turn it into fun. There are a number of fitness centers, classes, programs and informal groups in and around Brady so join in, lose that excess weight and get fit!

Among other things, losing weight is known to lower your blood pressure. To track your progress, stop by City Drug every now and then to check your blood pressure and ask our staff any health questions you may have.

First Steps

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Bring in all of your medications and vitamins and we’ll check for conflicts AND savings

All it takes is a few first steps in the right direction to get yourself going. Here are some things you can do TODAY that can add a great deal to your health and well-being and get you started towards your 2017 health goals.

  • Schedule that annual (or semi-annual) checkup with your primary care physician for yourself and those in your care
  • Schedule the same with your dentist
  • Drop by City Drug and check your blood pressure

While you’re checking your blood pressure, here’s an important one that we here at City Drug can really help you with.

  • Gather up all your prescriptions and primary over-the-counter medicines, wherever they were purchased, and bring them in for a free inventory (or, as they say in England, “a good sort!”)

Some drugs might not be compatible with others. Let Albert or one of our other pharmacists go through the pile. You may even find that you’re paying too much elsewhere.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to each and every one of our loyal customers. If you haven’t gotten to know us here at City Drug, resolve to come in and get acquainted. We’ve been serving Brady for over 75 years and always look forward to seeing new faces. Stop by, check your blood pressure, and get 2017 started on a healthy note.

 

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We hope you enjoy the City Drug Monthly Health Tips.
Leave us a comment on Facebook or stop by the pharmacy and share your thoughts.
We always look forward to hearing from our neighbors!