Rise and Shine: Sunscreen 101

Warmer weather has finally arrived, and outdoor activities are in full swing. Whether you’re having fun in the sun or trying to beat the heat, it’s easy to forget to protect your skin when spending more time outside. Want to know why sunscreen is important for skin protection? Let’s talk about what causes sun damage and how sunscreen can help:  

Rays of sunshine you want to avoid 

Getting fresh air and enjoying the outdoors is a great, easy way to stay active and relieve stress. While some sun exposure is beneficial as a natural source of vitamin D, it can also harm your skin if left without protection. Year-round, the sun emits ultraviolet (UV) radiation, also known as UV rays. These invisible rays are categorized into three groups based on energy amounts: the most familiar being UVA and UVB rays. These two UV ray types cause indirect damage to the DNA of our skin cells, which can have effects as mild as sunburn to more serious issues like skin cancer 

Sunscreen and Skin Protection 

You can do many things to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV radiation—sunscreen being one of the most important. Key minerals found in sunscreen, like titanium dioxide and zinc, obstruct and disperse UV rays before penetrating the skin. Other important ingredients are chemically derived, such as avobenzone and octisalate, which help to block rays from the skin by absorbing them. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by nearly 40 percent if used daily as directed and your risk of melanoma by 50 percent. The important thing to remember about sun protection is that no one method can provide complete protection, so incorporating as many as possible into your routine is essential.  

Practicing smart sun protection is one of many tools for maintaining a healthy life. Become a Community Cares Rx prescription discount cardholder today and access our online pharmacy locator, price comparison tools and more to help you stay up to date on daily medications. For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost saving on prescription medications, please visithttps://www.communitycaresrx.com.  

Why Words Matter: Things to Know for National Autism Acceptance Month

Since 1970, April has been known as National Autism Awareness Month. However, the American Autism Society (ASA) revised the name of the celebration to National Autism Acceptance Month in 2021. Here is why this small change is so important: 

What is Autism?  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism affects an estimated one in 44 children in the United States. Formally known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), autism is a developmental disability characterized by a broad range of cognitive and behavioral conditions. As a spectrum disorder, autism impacts people not only in different ways but to varying degrees. Each person with autism learns, thinks and communicates differently, manifesting in a distinct set of strengths and challenges. While some people with ASD can live independently, others require significant daily assistance.   

The Journey from Awareness to Acceptance 

As a widely varying disorder, conscious efforts have been made to include and celebrate people who differ from neurotypical individuals. This increased awareness has been a crucial step in sparking change in the way those with autism and their loved ones are perceived. "Awareness is knowing that somebody has autism," said Christopher Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America. "Acceptance is when you include (a person with autism) in your activities. Help (them) to develop in that community and get that sense of connection to other people." 

Embracing this shift in perspective is a necessary step toward igniting meaningful dialogue around autism. “While we will always work to spread awareness, words matter as we strive for autistic individuals to live fully in all areas of life,” said Banks. “As many individuals and families affected by autism know, acceptance is often one of the biggest barriers to finding and developing a strong support system.” 

Community Cares Rx cares about your health and well-being. Our prescription discount card makes it easy and affordable to access your prescription medications. Become a cardholder today to utilize our many online resources and manage your prescriptions with ease.   

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost saving on prescription medications, please visit https://www.communitycaresrx.com.   

Destress and Decompress: Why Pets are Positive for Mental Health

Did you know that 69 million households in the U.S. own at least one dog? Besides being cute and sweet, pets can have a positive impact on your mental health, a critical part of your overall well-being. Here are a few reasons why our pets can help our health: 

Stress Reduction 

Have you ever noticed a calming effect when simply cuddling with your pet? Pets help us reduce anxiety and relax thanks to a hormone that lowers when we interact with them called cortisol. The body’s main stress hormone, cortisol acts like our built-in alarm system and works with certain parts of our brains to control our mood, motivation and fear. As a result, when our cortisol levels are lower, we feel calmer. To take it a step further, the social interaction we have with our pets increases levels of another hormone, oxytocin. This feel-good hormone is the same hormone that bonds mothers to babies and is linked to positive emotional states. This combination of cortisol-lowering and oxytocin-boosting effects when interacting with your pet can also work to lower your blood pressure—amazing, right? 

Healthy Routines 

Though it can feel like a lot having an animal depend on you, having a responsibility that requires your time and attention every day can have its benefits. The routine that tending to your pets’ daily needs creates can help build a sense of responsibility, promote stability and restore a feeling of control. Maintaining a consistent schedule of grooming and exercise is not only important for your pet, but is also a simple, fun way to stay active and focused on your daily tasks. If you’re unsure of where to start when building a routine for you and your pet, taking a morning walk is an easy first step that you and your pet can enjoy together.   

Community Cares Rx cares about your health. Our prescription discount card takes away the added stress of finding easy and affordable access to your prescription medications in between all your other responsibilities. Become a cardholder today to utilize our many online resources and manage your prescriptions with ease.   

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit https://www.communitycaresrx.com.   

March is National Nutrition Month: Here are 3 easy ways to celebrate

If the phrase “I’ll start tomorrow” sounds familiar to you, then listen up! March is National Nutrition Month, making it the perfect time to embark on your journey to healthier eating. Whether you're just starting or looking for new ideas, here are some fast and simple tips for better nutrition: 

Varying Your Diet:  

Understanding what your current diet looks like is an important first step to eating healthier. What foods do you regularly reach for? Do you eat the same foods consistently, or do you follow your cravings? When thinking about each meal, Harvard’s School of Public Health recommends that you fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter of your plate with proteins and the final quarter with carbohydrates, adding healthy oils in moderation. Beyond including key food groups in your daily diet, varying what you eat is an easy step towards better eating. Rotating your go-to veggies and fruits will not only make eating healthy more enjoyable, but it will give you the opportunity to try new foods and ensure that you receive a mix of different nutrients. Next time you sit down for dinner, think of what foods you’d like to try to change up the colors on your plate.  

Meal Planning 

Consistency is key when it comes to keeping up with good nutrition. Eating well does not mean eliminating the foods you like; it’s about maintaining a balanced diet. If you have a sweet tooth, it’s okay to incorporate your cravings into your diet in moderation, especially if indulging every now and then will help you stick to your overall nutrition goals. A great way to understand where you can fit in a snack or two is by planning out your meals ahead of time. By planning out what you’re going to eat for the week, you can take stress out of your grocery shopping and make sure that you’re including an appropriate amount of each food group daily. Knowing what you’re eating and how much you’re eating can also help relieve anxiety and guilt around snacking because you can adjust to include it in the context of what you’re eating that day.  

Getting Creative 

Eating healthy food doesn’t have to be boring!  It’s very common to approach weight loss healthy eating as a temporary diet or solution to help reach your goals. However, the true benefits of reaching your nutrition goals come with consistency and making a lifestyle change. If you don’t like what you are eating, it’s easy to go off course and indulge in less nutritious snacks. Adding some simple cooking skills to your arsenal can help you enhance the flavor of your healthy foods. For example, high heat cooking techniques such as pan-searing, grilling or broiling can help brown and add flavor to your proteins. And for those who aren’t big vegetable fans, dressing your veggies up with some olive oil and herbs and roasting them in the oven or grill can add sweet, smoky flavors, making them fun and easier to eat. 

Healthier eating is one of many tools to maintaining a healthy life. Become a Community Cares Rx prescription discount cardholder today and get access to our online pharmacy locator, price comparison tools and more to help you stay up-to-date on daily medications. For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit https://www.communitycaresrx.com.   

Opening Your Eyes: How to Protect Your Vision with Increasing Screentime

With so much constantly happening in the world, it is easy to stay glued to your computer or phone with round-the-clock updates on the latest news and trends. When you combine this time with social media use and screen time during working hours, it should not come as a surprise that we are in front of our screens now more than ever before. 

How much is too much?  

In 2021, on average, people worldwide spent a total of six hours and 55 minutes in front of a screen every day. Americans slightly eclipsed this worldwide average, spending close to seven hours and eleven minutes of daily screen time. Remember telling your kids not to sit too close to the TV? A  study of 5,412 adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14, conducted by JAMA Pediatrics, found that the average daily time children spend in front of screens nearly doubled pre-pandemic estimates from 3.8 hours per day to 7.7 hours per day. According to the study’s lead author Dr. Jason Nagata, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California in San Francisco, “Adolescents who reported more screen time also reported suffering in other areas of their lives [with poorer mental health and greater stress].” 

How does screen time affect the eye? 

Though relatively small, the eye is complex. Here is a quick rundown of the parts of the eye 

  • On the outside of the eyeball are muscles that move the eye called extraocular muscles.  
  • The surface of the eye stays lubricated by a clear membrane called the conjunctiva along with three layers of tear film.  
  • On the front of the eye, there is the cornea, which is where the eye focuses light. Behind the cornea is the pupil (allowing light into the eye), which sits directly in front of the lens that focuses light toward the back of the eye. 
  • In the back of the eye is the retina, the light-sensitive tissue that sends electrical impulses through the optic nerve to the brain.  

Now that we know its anatomy, here are some of the negative effects excessive screen time can have on the eye: 

  • Overuse of the eye can cause asthenopia or eye fatigue, which can lead to eye discomfort and pain, dimness of vision, tiredness and headache.  
  • When we are in front of screens, we blink less than normal, causing the eye to dry out. Dry and irritated eyes are not only uncomfortable but also affect the tear film, which is crucial for clear vision. 
  • Focusing up close for extended periods of time can lead to short-term loss of focus flexibility, making it more difficult to readjust to distance vision.  

Keeping a “close eye” on protecting your vision: 

The answer is clear: less screen time is better for our eyes. However, making this a reality in a highly digitized world can be challenging. Scheduling a routine “digital detox” can help provide some time away from devices. Though a multi-day break is the most effective kind of detox, starting with a more manageable goal of taking a few hours off at a time and building to more time off from your devices is a good way to build consistency. Another easy way to ditch your devices is by creating library hours for yourself, creating a timeframe every night where you can be screen-free. Setting these time limits, from 7 p.m. through 7 a.m., for example, can help you wind down and disconnect before bed, allowing you to wake up refreshed and in a good mood while also caring for the health of your eyes. 

At CommunityCaresRx, we pride ourselves on the ability to stay ahead of the industry curve and provide easy and affordable access to the prescription medications you need for the betterment of your health. For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit https://www.communitycaresrx.com.    

Heart Health Month: Taking Time to Focus on Your Heart

With Valentine’s Day taking center stage, it is no wonder that February has been dubbed National Heart Health month. During the entire month, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is implementing various initiatives, like its #OurHearts campaign, to open a dialogue on the importance of heart health and lifestyle habits which can help prevent heart disease. 

 

The Heart Truth 

Every day, we remember to do things like  buckle our seat belts and look both ways before we cross the street. We don’t really think about taking care of our heart every day, but maybe we should be. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. About 659,000 American die from heart disease each year, accounting for nearly one in every four deaths. Damage caused by heart disease is not always obvious. One out of five heart attacks is silent, so paying attention to heart health is vital.  

 

How COVID-19 Can Impact the Heart 

Along with direct consequences, like heart disease, poor cardiovascular health also puts you at an increased risk of severe illnesses from COVID-19. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen that the virus can lead to long-term damage to the lungs. Lung damage can prevent oxygen from reaching the heart muscle, ultimately impairing heart tissue. Furthermore, when fighting the virus, the body creates inflammation. If the inflammation goes into overdrive, it can disrupt heartbeats, reduce pumping ability and lead to or worsen arrhythmia. So, no matter your age or current health status, it is always smart to prioritize your heart.  

 

Listen To Your Heart  

Knowing how and what numbers to look for and record is a great first step towards better heart health. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly are tried and true ways of practicing an overall healthy lifestyle.  However, it can be difficult to know what that looks like, specifically, for each individual. Keeping a record of what you eat and logging your activity can help you map out a plan to achieve your health goals. Furthermore, a blood test can show you your cholesterol levels, which can give insight into your overall heart health. And finally, getting your blood pressure checked at least once a year is another number to keep track of for heart health. Consider asking your doctor what your target numbers should be and how often you should check it yourself.  

At Community Cares Rx, we understand that an important element of public health includes access to affordable medications. Learn more at https://www.communitycaresrx.com/. 

 

Three Ways to Stay Healthy with a Busy Lifestyle

It isn’t easy to factor in cooking, cleaning, exercising and other daily activities into the week when you are being pulled in different directions by varying schedules. The absence of a consistent routine creates many unhealthy habits that can lead to burnout, increased likelihood of getting sick and overall unhappiness. Here are three tips to help you manage your health on a tight schedule:   

Find Opportunities to Move  

Our bodies are not built to sit at a desk all day. Research shows that staying stationary for long periods is bad for your physical and mental health. One option is to step away from your work and go for a quick walk outside. Alternately, taking a stretch break at your desk can also be beneficial. Exercise can help clear your mind and improve your mood and posture. If you cannot take an exercise break, taking the stairs at your office or walking to the copy machine can add some movement to your day. These small changes can help you feel more energized and productive at work.  

Prepare Meals Ahead of Time 

Meal prepping is great for people with a busy schedule who want to eat healthier. It eliminates the stress of navigating the to-go lunchtime rush and helps you establish a consistent routine.  You can begin building a meal prepping routine by purchasing reusable containers, selecting recipes for the week and creating a grocery list." 

Find Moments to Pause 

While feeling busy can be rewarding, over-scheduling yourself can have some negative side effects on your lifestyle. When feeling overwhelmed, taking a mental health day is an excellent option for relieving stress. Don’t be afraid to take a mental health day if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Remembering to  take moments to pause and spend time with loved ones and experience aspects of your community that bring you joy is important for a balanced lifestyle. If work trickles into your personal time, silencing your notifications and closing your computer is a great way to practice self-care. Practicing mindfulness can is an effective strategy to help you connect with yourself and calm racing thoughts.  

Community Cares Rx cares about your health. Our prescription discount card takes away the added stress of finding easy and affordable access to your prescription medications in between all your other responsibilities. Become a cardholder today to utilize our many online resources and manage your prescriptions with ease.  

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit https://www.communitycaresrx.com 

National Pharmacist Day: Celebrating the Backbone of the Healthcare Industry

Where would healthcare be without pharmacists? In celebration of National Pharmacist Day, which was on January 12, it’s important that we highlight the great work pharmacists are doing to help advance the industry and provide quality care for the general population:

Improvement in population health

Over the years, pharmacists have played an integral role in helping manage the outcomes of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. Most chronic diseases require long-term medications and high levels of adherence, making pharmacists a key contributor to the successful management of these diseases. To resolve the healthcare workforce shortages taking place across the country, pharmacists have stepped up to fill the gap and provide team-based care.

Combatting the rising cost of drug therapy

Drug prices have been on the rise since 2013 due to new FDA approvals, medication shortages and specialty therapies. The cost-effectiveness of pharmacists coupled with their impact on inpatient healthcare outcomes have helped healthcare teams reduce the average price and length of individuals’ hospital stay. As COVID-19 continues to have a massive impact on hospital pharmacy revenues, pharmacists can help contain costs while performing pharmacotherapeutic consultive services. 

Leading vaccination programming

Since the American Public Health Association identified pharmacists as an underutilized resource in 1981, community pharmacists have been working to administer vaccinations and assist in addressing other public health needs. Each state has expanded the pharmacy scope of practice to include vaccine administration, although details vary from state to state. In addition to administering FDA-approved COVID-19 tests, pharmacists are now allowed to order vaccine

supplies directly from the federal government and provide vaccinations to children above the age of three.

Pharmacists are among the most trusted healthcare professionals and are often accessible when other physician offices are closed. Like your community pharmacists, our team at Community Cares Rx takes your health seriously and wants to make the process of receiving access to your prescription medications easily and affordably. Sign up to receive a prescription discount card today and unlock a number of resources including online price comparison tools and pharmacy locators.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit www.communitycaresrx.com.

Be the Healthiest Version of You in 2022

2022 is not just a new yearbut a chance to start fresh. Whetheryou want toeat healthier, exercisemorefrequentlyor spendextratime with family and friends, now is the time to startimplementingproactive health measures and makingthis next year your bestoneyet. Here are fourpractices to help ensure you have a happy and healthy 2022:  

Prioritizeself-care 

Allow2022to bethe year that youput yourself first.Read a new book. Meditate more often. Get outside.Self-carehelpsyoucope with dailystressors;it isimportant tofind methods that work for youtoguarantee long-term physical and emotional health.  

Schedule your doctor’s visits 

You should be visiting your primary care provider each yearto receive a physical exam.Beproactive andschedule appointmentswith your dermatologist, eye doctor and dentist. Females shouldalsomeet with their gynecologiston a yearly basis. Getahead of the game andon your doctors’calendar now! 

Make an anti-resolution 

Instead of focusing on what you should be doing in the new year, try identifying what you shouldn’tbe doing.Anti-resolutionssingle outthe self-destructive behaviorsthatmakeyour life more difficult,helping youto becomespecific and smart about howtowork towardsbeingthe best version of yourselfin the future.  

Set your nutrition goals 

Ifyouwant topractice better nutrition and exercise more, tryimplementingsmall changesinto your daily routine to help youbuild and retain consistencyin your health journey.Followinga daily schedule is a greatfirst stepto makingsureyoueat balanced meals every four to five hours, includinghealthy carbohydrates,fatsand lean proteins. In addition,a schedule willencourageyou tofindoptimalperiods in the day for a quick walk, trip to the gym or a stretch break.  

Become a Community Cares Rx prescription discount cardholder today and get access to our online pharmacy locator, price comparison toolsand more in the new year.For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visithttps://www.communitycaresrx.com.

A Year in Recap: Health Advances Paving the Way Toward a Bright Future

The medical industry is continuously evolving, working to perfect the next new treatment or technological innovation that will transform the future of healthcare. While the world was consumed with the latest COVID-19 vaccine and treatment updates, the medical industry has been continuing to break boundaries in other areas. Here are three breakthroughs discovered this year that will continue to change the game in 2022: 

Advancement in Obesity Medication 

Semaglutide, the new obesity medication hitting shelves following the FDA’s approval in June, offers treatment to the 78 million Americans facing the risks of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions as a result of carrying excess weight. Semaglutide recipients lost nearly 15% of their body weight on average, proving this new medication is significantly more powerful than other obesity medications.  

 Smarter Pacemakers 

Pacemakers, technology that delivers electrical impulses to heart muscle chambers to prevent heart arrhythmias, are used by over 1 million patients. These devices are remotely monitored using Bluetooth technology. Now, patients are able to use this technology to link their pacemaker to smartphone-based apps that will help them better understand and utilize the devices. In addition, pacemakers have shrunk in size.  

 Universal Hepatitis C Treatment 

Individuals who face hepatitis C, also known as the “silent epidemic,” face a number of serious risks including cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. While there are drugs available to treat the condition, they have been proven to be ineffective for certain genotypes or come with undesirable side effects. The FDA has approved a fixed-dose combination of drugs that is more than 90% effective in treating hepatitis C genotypes 1 to 6.  

At CommunityCaresRx, we pride ourselves on our ability to stay ahead of the industry curve and provide easy and affordable access to the prescription medications you need for the betterment of your health. For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit https://www.communitycaresrx.com