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August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Most of us think immunizations are things we get as kids. By the time we are in high school, we’re done, right? However, it’s important to stay up to date with our vaccinations even throughout our adult lives.

To keep our community safe, Village Pharmacy and Rocky Point Pavilion Pharmacy are proudly participating in National Immunization Awareness Month. Shots can prevent serious diseases like the flu, measles, and pneumonia.  According to a recent report, vaccines will prevent about 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths among U.S. children born over the last 20 years, according to a recent report.

Over time, protection from vaccines can wear off and depending on your age, lifestyle, health and travel, you may be at risk for many preventable diseases, if you are not current with your immunizations.

All adults need the seasonal flu vaccine every year. We normally have the shots available at both of our stores starting in September. No appointment is necessary, so you can just walk in when it’s convenient and we can take care of you. The flu vaccine is especially important for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, and older adults. Everyone age 6 months and older needs to get a flu vaccine every year.

If you did not receive a Tdap vaccine as a child, it’s important to get one as an adult.This vaccine will protect you against pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus and diptheria (Td) . You should repeat the Td vaccine every 10 years. Pregnant women should get a Tdap vaccine with each pregnancy, preferably at 27-36 weeks.

Not only are vaccines important to keep you healthy and prevent missed work, they also save you money on medical bills. If you are a caregiver, or healthcare worker and work directly with patients you should stay up-to-date with your own vaccines, to help prevent spreading illnesses to those with a weaker immune system.

Healthcare workers should also get the Hepatitis B vaccine. If you don’t have documented evidence of a complete hepB vaccine series, or if you don’t have an up-to-date blood test that shows you are immune to hepatitis B, then you should get the 3-dose series (dose #1 now, #2 in 1 month, #3 approximately 5 months after #2). Get anti-HBs serologic tested 1–2 months after dose #3.

Were you born in 1957 or later?
If so, and you have not had the MMR (Measles, Mumps, & Rubella) vaccine, you should see your doctor and get two doses of MMR, four weeks apart

Have you ever had Chickenpox?
If you have not had chickenpox (Varicella), or haven’t had the vaccine for it, you should get two doses of varicella, four weeks apart.

Do you have a student heading off to college?
If you have a student heading off to college, and received the Meningococcal vaccine before their 16th birthday, then they should get a booster shot before leaving home and moving into a dorm. This is required by some colleges and varies by state.

Are you planning on traveling or living abroad?

If so, certain vaccinations are recommended at least 4-6 weeks before your trip. Planning ahead will give you enough time to build up immunity and give you the best protection from preventable diseases. Visit the CDC Travel Health site for information, recommendations and requirement for your specific location before traveling.

Not sure if you’re up-to-date with your immunizations?

The CDC has an online quiz to help you determine which vaccines you need as an adult. You can print out the results and take it to your doctor or healthcare professional and get the vaccines you may have missed or need.

All of our pharmacists are certified to administer vaccines.  We offer pneumonia and shingles vaccines daily and flu shots seasonally, and without a prescription.  We can administer any other vaccine with a prescription upon request.

All of our pharmacists are certified to give immunizations including:

  • Zostavax (shingles vaccine)
  • Pneumovax (pneumonia vaccine)
  • Prevnar 13 (pneumonia vaccine)
  • Influenza (flu vaccine)
  • Td (tetanus and diptheria vaccine)

July 28 is World Hepatitis Day

Hepatitis is often misunderstood as only associated with people who have HIV/AIDs or engage in risky behavior. This viral killer claims the lives of 1.4 million people worldwide every year — that’s 4,000 people per day.

Luckily, and unlike other illnesses, there are treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C.

However, 95% of people living with viral hepatitis aren’t aware they have the disease. What’s worse, is that only 1% of those living with it receive treatment.

The goal of World Hepatitis Day is to increase awareness and save 7.1 million lives by 2030.

So, what exactly is the difference in Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). For some people, hepatitis B infection becomes chronic, meaning it lasts more than six months.

Common ways HBV is transmitted include:

  • Sexual contact. You may become infected if you have unprotected sex with an infected partner whose blood, saliva, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body.
  • Sharing of needles. HBV is easily transmitted through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood.
  • Accidental needle sticks. Hepatitis B is a concern for health care workers and anyone else who comes in contact with human blood.
  • Mother to child. Pregnant women infected with HBV can pass the virus to their babies during childbirth. However, the newborn can be vaccinated to avoid getting infected in almost all cases. Talk to your doctor about being tested for hepatitis B if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant.

Having chronic hepatitis B increases your risk of developing liver failure, liver cancer or cirrhosis — a condition that causes permanent scarring of the liver. You are also at greater risk of contracting Hepatitis D once you have HBV, though it’s extremely rare in the United States.

Most people infected with hepatitis B as adults do make a full recovery within the first six months. However, infants and children are more likely to develop chronic hepatitis B once infected. You can prevent getting hepatitis B with a vaccine, but there’s no cure if you have it. If you are infected, you should use precautions to help prevent spreading HBV to others.

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B range from mild to severe and usually appear about one to four months after you’ve been infected. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)

Hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. Most people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have no symptoms. In fact, most people don’t know they have the hepatitis C infection until liver damage shows up, sometimes decades later, during routine medical tests.

Hepatitis C is generally considered to be among the most serious of hepatitis viruses. HCV is passed through contact with contaminated blood — most commonly through needles shared during illegal drug use.

Most people do not show signs or symptoms of Hepatitis C until later in the course of virus. However, early symptoms (those showing in the first three months of the illness) may see the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or poor appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Yellow discoloration in the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Fever
  • Muscle and joint pains

Over time, and after years of not being treated, signs of liver damage caused by the virus may include:

  • Bleeding easily
  • Bruising easily
  • Itchy skin
  • Fluid accumulation in your abdomen (ascites)
  • Swelling in your legs
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy)
  • Spider-like blood vessels on your skin (spider angiomas)

There are two other hepatitis viruses to be aware of.

Hepatitis A is is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person. Almost everyone who contracts hepatitis A makes a full recovery.

Medicine induced hepatitis is also important to note. This is caused when patients take more than the recommended dose of certain medications – particularly those containing acetaminophen. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen, may also cause drug-induced hepatitis.

These types have of hepatitis have  many of the same symptoms as those listed above for HBV and HCV.

If you are experience any of the above symptoms, please seek medical help. There are many medications available to help you make a full recovery if caught in time. It’s also important to note that if you are traveling overseas, make sure you are adequately vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

Our pharmacies are doing our part to curb diseases like hepatitis by selling needles. A lot of pharmacies don’t do this, but we are trying to help prevent the sharing of needles, thereby reducing the spread of disease.

 

Village Pharmacy Celebrates 15 Years of Serving Hampstead

July 16, 2016 marked the 15th anniversary of Village Pharmacy of Hampstead.

When we opened our doors all those years ago, our goal was to serve the small underserved village of Hampstead, NC. Our first site was located just North of the Beacon, inside the same building as my husband’s medical practice. With just two employees, plus myself, our business started growing as customers liked the convenience of the location, and the personal service they received.

We moved to our current location at the Beacon about eight years ago and today we are even more ingrained in the community. We have grown to two locations (with our sister store in Rocky Point) and 20 employees.

Most of our staff lives in either Wilmington or Pender County, and many of them were born and raised here. A lot of our employees have children in the public schools (mine both graduated from Laney High). We volunteer in the classroom and in churches. We also volunteer for the Humane Society, Kiwanis Club, and the Knights of Columbus.

When we can, we like to hire local high school students so they can gain experience of working with the general public, and in a professional environment. It helps them gain confidence, teaches work ethic, and helps in the college application process.

Over the years we’ve had customers bring us flowers and homemade treats. We’ve watched kids grow up, and unfortunately, witnessed patients grow old and pass away. It’s an honor to be able to serve you all and we’re thankful for the opportunity to provide you with the best experience possible.

We try very hard as a pharmacy family to give back to our community that has given so much to us. And as a way to say thank you, we celebrated with pizza, cake and cookies for our customers. We had several dozen families stop by to help us celebrate our anniversary.

It was just a small token of appreciation, but it meant a lot to all of us to have so many of you stop by and say hello! We really do appreciate all of you who have supported us, and told your friends and family about us. Next year we’ll celebrate 10 years at our Rocky Point store. We wouldn’t be here without you!

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Top Health Issues for Men

Men are at a higher risk of dying from certain diseases than women and one reason for this is lack of awareness. Combine that with unhealthy work and personal lifestyles, men’s health has declined. Men are also less likely than women to have an annual physical with their doctor. Read more here about the top health issues for men and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Heart disease

More than one in three men have heart disease and it’s the leading cause of death for men across most racial and ethnic groups. Half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if they have no symptoms, they may still be at risk for heart disease.

Key risk factors for heart disease are:

High blood pressure
High LDL cholesterol
Smoking are key risk factors for heart disease

Other risk factors that can contribute to heart disease are diabetes, poor diet, lack of physical activity and excessive alcohol use.

Stroke

Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in men. Certain heart conditions — such as atrial fibrillation, which causes the heart to pump less efficiently than it should, can also cause clots that lead to strokes. Other contributing factors in stroke include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol

Preventative measures include:

  • Exercising for at least half an hour on most days of the week
  • Eating right — preferably a diet low in saturated fat (such as that in processed meats) and high in fruits and vegetables
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Not smoking — smokers are twice as likely to have a stroke

COPD and other respiratory diseases

About 85 to 90 percent of all COPD cases are caused by cigarette smoking. What you breathe every day at work, home and outside can play a role in developing COPD. Long-term exposure to air pollution, secondhand smoke and dust, fumes and chemicals (which are often work-related) can cause COPD.

Stopping smoking can help prevent COPD and also slow the progression of the disease if you’ve already been diagnosed. If diagnosed early enough, you can save most of the lung function you have left.

Alcohol Consumption

Men consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women.

  • Among drivers in fatal motor-vehicle traffic crashes, men are almost twice as likely as women to have been intoxicated (i.e., a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater).
  • Excessive alcohol consumption increases aggression and, as a result, can increase the risk of physically assaulting another person.
  • Men are more likely than women to commit suicide, and more likely to have been drinking prior to committing suicide
  • Excessive alcohol use can lead to impotence, infertility, and the reduction of facial and chest hair. Alcohol consumption also increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon in men.

Alcohol abuse is the most common cause of liver disease in North America. In chronic alcohol abuse, fat accumulation occurs in liver cells affecting their ability to function.

Cirrhosis is a late-stage of liver disease where the scarring of the liver and loss of functioning liver cells cause the liver to fail.

Depression

Both men and women get depression. But men can experience it differently than women. Men may be more likely to feel very tired and irritable, but have difficulty sleeping. Men also tend to lose interest in their work, family, or hobbies. Though women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide.

Because many men are less likely to talk about how they are feeling, they rarely acknowledge their depression, let alone seek help for it. Depression is treatable and most men can overcome it and get back to their regular way of life with work, family and hobbies.

Contributing factors in depression usually include a combination of these factors:

  • Genetics
  • Brain chemistry and hormones
  • Stress

Diabetes

90% of cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented simply through a healthier diet and plenty of physical activity.

Symptoms may include:

  • increased thirst
  • increased hunger
  • fatigue
  • frequent urination, especially at night
  • unexplained weight loss
  • blurred vision
  • sores that don’t heal

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor to get tested.

Skin Cancer

In a recent survey, just 51% of US men reported using sunscreen in the past 12 months, and an alarming 70% did not know the warning signs of skin cancer. In 2012, twice as many men died of melanoma than women. Family history also plays a role in your chances of developing skin cancer.

Using sunscreen, wearing proper clothing, and avoiding the sun during peak daylight hours are keys to prevention.

Only 30% of men are aware of the signs of skin cancer. Monthly self-screening is important to prevention, so it’s important to know what to look for.

Follow the ABCD rule to recognize abnormal growths:

  • A is for Asymmetry: A mole that has an irregular shape, or two different looking halves.
  • B is for Border: Irregular, blurred, rough or notched edges may be signs of skin cancer.
  • C is for Color: Most moles are an even color – brown, black, tan or even pink – but changes in the shade or distribution of color throughout the mole can signal melanoma.
  • D is for Diameter: Moles larger than ¼ inch (6 mm, the size of a pencil eraser) across may be suspect, although some melanomas may be smaller than this.

Regular check-ups are important so your doctor can stay in-tune with you and your health. But an even-bigger key to good health is taking care of yourself by eating right, exercising, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake.

New FDA approvals in the second quarter of 2016

Several new medications were approved in the second quarter of 2016 for certain cancers, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, and COPD.

Byvalson was just approved in June for the treatment of hypertension to lower blood pressure. The positive effects of this oral medication are normally seen within the first two to four weeks of taking it.

Adverse effects may include:

  • skull hypoplasia
  • Anuria
  • Hypotension
  • renal failure
  • death

Those diagnosed with plaque psoriasis have an new treatment option in Taltz.

Taltz is administered by injection and is specifically indicated for the treatment of adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy.

Adverse effects may include:

  • injection site reactions
  • upper respiratory tract infections
  • nausea
  • tinea infections

Serious infections have occurred with the use of Taltz. If signs or symptoms of clinically important chronic or acute infection occur, or if a serious infection develops, discontinue Taltz until the infection resolves.

Opdivo was approved in May and targets the cellular pathway known as PD-1/PD-L1, proteins found on the body’s immune cells and some cancer cells. By blocking this pathway, Opdivo may help the body’s immune system fight cancer cells.

Opdivo is specifically indicated for the treatment of patients with classical Hodgkin lymphoma that has relapsed or progressed after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and post-transplantation brentuximab vedotin.

Adverse effects may include:

  • fatigue
  • upper respiratory tract infection
  • cough
  • pyrexia
  • diarrhea
  • rash
  • pruritus
  • musculoskeletal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • headache
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • arthralgia
  • dyspnea
  • infusion-related reactions
  • hypothyroidism or thyroiditis

Venclexta was approved in April for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with 17p deletion, as detected by an FDA approved test, who have received at least one prior therapy. The tablet should be taken orally once per day with a meal and water.

Adverse effects may include:

  • neutropenia
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • anemia
  • upper respiratory tract infection
  • thrombocytopenia
  • fatigue

Those suffering from renal cell car carcinoma and who have received prior antiangiogenic therapy have a new treatment. Cabometyx is supplied as tablets for oral administration and patients should not to eat for at least 2 hours before and at least 1 hour after taking Cabometyx. Do not substitute Cabometyx tablets with cabozantinib capsules.

Adverse effects may include

  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • decreased appetite
  • palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome
  • hypertension
  • vomiting
  • weight decreased
  • constipation

Lenvima was approved in May for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma. Lenvima is specifically indicated for use in combination with everolimus for the treatment of patients with advanced RCC following one prior anti-angiogenic therapy. Lenvima is supplied as a capsule for oral administration once daily with or without food, and in combination with 5 mg everolimus. 

Adverse effects associated with the use of  Lenvima + everolimus may include:

  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • arthralgia/myalgia
  • decreased appetite
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • stomatitis/oral inflammation
  • hypertension
  • peripheral edema
  • cough
  • abdominal pain
  • dyspnea
  • rash
  • weight decreased
  • hemorrhagic events
  • proteinuria

Nuplazid was approved in May for the treatment of hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis. Nuplazid is supplied as a tablet for oral administration and can be taken with or without food.

Adverse effects may include:

  • peripheral edema
  • confusional state

Nuplazid comes with the following Black Box warning: Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Nuplazid is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis unrelated to the hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis.


Those suffering from COPD have a new treatment option.
Bevespi Aerosphere is specifically indicated for the long-term, maintenance treatment of airflow obstruction in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema.

Bevespi Aerosphere is supplied as an aerosol for oral inhalation. The recommended dose for the maintenance treatment of COPD is two inhalations twice daily in the morning and in the evening. Two inhalations equal one dose.

Adverse effects may include:

  • urinary tract infection
  • cough

Bevespi Aerosphere comes with the following Black Box warning: Long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonists (LABAs), such as formoterol fumarate, one of the active ingredients in Bevespi Aerosphere, increase the risk of asthma-related death. The safety and efficacy of Bevespi Aerosphere in patients with asthma have not been established. Bevespi Aerosphere is not indicated for the treatment of asthma.

Talk to you doctor to see if any of these new medications are right for you. Also ask your pharmacist about any potential negative drug interactions before beginning new medications.

 

Source: Center Watch