Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2021

In 2020, mental health awareness and virtual care topped the list of emerging healthcare industry trends. What can patients expect in 2021? Forbes previewed the top healthcare trends to keep an eye out for in the new year:

  • The race for COVID-19 therapies and vaccines will dominate the first part of the year. It is estimated that healthy adults under 65 and children may not receive the vaccine until late spring or early summer 2021.
  • There will be an influx of individuals look to reestablish routine care who were unable to receive care at the height of the pandemic.
  • Virtual healthcare will become more balanced and widely used. As soon as it was safe to do so, we’ll move back into in-person visits in addition to virtual visits.
  • Prescription prices will continue to rise as more high-cost procedures and medicines hit the market in 2021.

The past year has given us time to reflect and reset our priorities when it comes to health and wellness. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced our resilient healthcare systems and workers to rapidly adopt new healthcare solutions around the world. As modern medicine and technology continue to evolve in 2021, we will continue to adopt new approaches to improve care quality.

Paramount Rx is working to help ease the burden of rising prescription costs, with programs like Community Cares Rx that could help you save an average of 50 percent on your prescriptions. Online tools are also available to help you find the best possible price on your medications. Print out a free prescription discount card at www.communitycaresrx.com. A digital version of the card is also available via text or email.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

 

Set up for Success: Start the New Year with these Healthy Habits

With the new year right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about your 2021 resolutions. But who says we can’t start the healthy habits now? After all, cold turkey methods are one of the main reasons people struggle to keep their resolutions.

By incorporating small steps now, we can gradually transition into healthier versions of ourselves before we flip the calendar to 2021. Here are a few simple habits to help kickstart your New Year’s resolution success:

  1. Drink more water – The average body is 60% water. That’s why it’s crucial to stay hydrated and drink water throughout the day. In general, health experts recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, but this can vary depending on your height, age and health history. Hydration is key for improving your memory and mood, reducing headaches and flushing waste out of the body. If increasing your daily intake seems like a struggle, try filling a smart water bottle that tracks intake before you go to bed, that way you’ll have it first thing in the morning!
  1. Create a daily routine – Humans are creatures of habit, so routines are the perfect way to promote health and wellness in an organized and structured manner. From eating times to exercise, having a daily routine reduces stress levels and allows us to prioritize important tasks like rest, relaxation and fun. According to the National Sleep Foundation, going to bed at the same time every night can help regulate the body’s internal clock. With a solid sleep schedule, it should be easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
  1. Add up the small savings – Money continues to be a top cause of stress for Americans, and stress negatively impacts our overall health. There are plenty of ways to save on the things you frequently buy, like gas, groceries, clothes and prescriptions. If you’re taking prescription drugs for common ailments like blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease, participating in a program like Community Cares Rx could help you keep costs down on medications. The program allows you to print a free, pre-activated discount card and use it at your local pharmacy to save up to 70 percent off generic drugs and 20 percent off brand-name medications.

These resolution tips will keep your mind, body and wallet fit all year long. For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

 

Ask a Pharmacist: Flu Season and COVID-19

Ronald Richmond, R.Ph., MPH, Senior Vice President of Provider Relations, Paramount Rx

Why is getting a flu vaccine more important than ever this year?

Getting a flu shot this year is very important as we struggle through the current COVID-19 pandemic. Both Flu and COVID-19 are viruses that attack the respiratory tract. While we don’t currently have a lot of experience with co-infections of these viruses, we do know it is possible to contract both at the same time. Having Flu and COVID-19 simultaneously could result in much more severe illness, especially for those with underlying diseases or vulnerable populations, like the elderly.

Is the pharmacy industry preparing for flu season differently this year? If so, how?
Pharmacies in general have anticipated an increased demand for flu shots this year. The benefits of immunizations have been highlighted much more this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coupled with the potential for Flu co-infection with COVID-19 and more severe illness, it is thought that many people may seek out a flu shot this year, even if they haven’t routinely done so in the past. Pharmacies have been preparing for this increased demand by ensuring they have adequate supplies of flu vaccine on hand.

Are there special precautions pharmacists are taking this flu season to safely administer vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Pharmacists are keenly aware of the importance of social distancing. However, the administration of the vaccines does require close contact between the patient and the pharmacist. To minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread during immunizations, the pharmacist wears a mask and gloves, and the patient is required to wear a mask. Social distancing is maintained while the pharmacist is not administering the vaccine.

What would you tell an at-risk person about getting a flu vaccine this season?

While everyone should get a flu shot this year to lower their risk of co-infection with COVID-19, getting a flu shot is even more critical for those with underlying disease states and the elderly. These individuals are already at greater risk for more severe illness with a flu infection. Flu vaccines for the current year usually become available well in advance of flu season, and flu shots are readily available at most retail pharmacies and doctor’s offices. In short, lack of access is really not an excuse for not getting your flu shot. For those aged 65 and above, who have poorer immune responses to flu vaccines than younger people, a “high dose” or “adjuvanted” version of the flu shot may be used to achieve a better immune response, and better protection against flu.

What about children? Can they get a flu shot at the Pharmacy? How about a COVID-19 shot when the vaccine becomes available?

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) issued an amendment under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) that allows licensed pharmacists meeting specific requirements to order and administer approved or licensed vaccines to children ages three and above. Further guidance under the amendment expands the authorization to administer these vaccines to qualified pharmacy technicians and interns working under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. The amendment was considered an important step in ensuring adequate access to immunizations for children during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many pharmacies have moved ahead with the training programs required for their staff to administer flu and other approved vaccines to children ages three and above. Check with your local pharmacy to verify they can provide flu immunizations to your children.

When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, your local pharmacy may provide the most convenient access to receive this immunization. However, current vaccine trials in the United States do not include children under the age of 12. Therefore, additional information is needed before we can further discuss COVID-19 immunizations in children. Nonetheless, once an approved COVID-19 vaccine is determined to be safe in children, it will likely become available for the immunization of children at pharmacies whose qualified staff meet the requirements established by the amendment to the PREP Act.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide cost savings on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

 

How to Safely Celebrate the Holidays: Tips from Health Experts

The holiday season is usually a time to reconnect with friends and family, but with the ongoing pandemic, celebrating the holidays may look a little different this year. However, you can still safely enjoy the company of your loved ones this holiday season.

Here are a few tips to celebrate safely!

Tip #1: Gather outdoors

While the winter months are bringing cooler temperatures around the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommend trying to host gatherings outdoors rather than indoors. Setting up tents with properly ventilated sidewalls can help protect you from the elements. Going for a stroll to look at festive decorations or organizing a distanced neighborhood caroling night will get everyone in the holiday spirit! If you have to host an event indoors, the CDC has outlined ways to best prepare your home for socially distant gatherings.

Tip #2: Keep your company small

Holiday dinner is not off the table – health experts are simply recommending that you host a meal for those that live in your immediate household. Keeping your gatherings small helps to limit direct contact with those who do not live in your home. If you’re hosting, stock up on supplies to keep everyone healthy, like extra masks, hand sanitizer and disposable hand towels in the bathroom. Using single-use dishware, encouraging guests to bring their own food and setting up designated spaces are among the CDC’s recommendations for gatherings.

Tip #3: Get creative

There are plenty of new and creative ways to celebrate the holidays that do not necessarily involve face-to-face interaction. Activities like shopping online can replace the traditional Black Friday rush. You can host virtual watch parties for Thanksgiving football and holiday parades. Try dropping off a home cooked meal to a neighbor or relative – that way you can continue to safely share your favorite family recipes this holiday season!

Staying up to date on your medications is important this holiday season, and prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx can help you find the best prices. For more information on Community Cares Rx and other cost-saving programs, please visit www.communitycaresrx.com. 

Brush up on the Basics of Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene Awareness Month is the perfect reminder to prioritize your dental health. Practicing good dental care from infancy to adulthood has benefits beyond keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Research has shown that there’s an association between a person’s dental health and their overall health. Check out these tips to keep your smile healthy and bright:

Tip #1 Brush, Floss, Rinse, Repeat!

Brushing is one of the most important steps in your daily dental routine. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day, with a soft-bristled brush. Timed toothbrushes make it easy to brush for the recommended amount of time, and you can also listen to your favorite song while brushing!

Did you know your teeth make up less than half of your mouth? It’s easy to miss hard-to-reach areas, which can allow harmful bacteria to build up on your gums and tongue. That’s why flossing is a great addition to your daily routine. Flossing removes plaque and bacteria from between the teeth, where a toothbrush is unable to reach. It can also help prevent bad breath by removing debris and trapped food.

Tip #2: Consider the Effects of your Diet

When possible, limit your consumption of sugary and acidic foods like sour candies, carbonated drinks and crunchy snacks. Sugar breaks down into acid inside your mouth, which can erode the enamel on your teeth and cause cavities. And after indulging in these foods, be sure to drink water to help offset some of the negative effects in between brushes. The ADA also recommends eating plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy products without added sugar.

Tip #3: Visit the Dentist Regularly  

Although you’re keeping up with your daily dental habits, be sure to visit the dentist at least every six months for routine cleanings and checkups. Not only will your dentist give you a deep clean, but they’ll also be able to spot potential issues like cavities, gum disease and gingivitis and offer treatment solutions. If you’ve noticed any potential concerns, like bleeding gums, sensitivity or jaw pain come prepared with questions you'd like to ask your dentist or hygienist. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some dentists are able to provide teledentistry appointments for certain issues.

Making the best health decisions also includes finding the best deals on medications. Participating in prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx can help you get the best prices. For more information on Community Cares Rx and other programs that can help you save money, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

Celebrating Health Literacy Month: How to Stay Informed About Your Health Decisions

The world of medicine is complicated, and healthcare literacy is a stressful issue for most Americans. It is important for your doctor to help make healthcare easier to understand, and for you to take a proactive role in your care. Here are some tips to keep in mind during Health Literacy Month:  

Tip #1 Find the Right Doctor for You

Establishing a strong relationship with your doctor is a key step in making smart decisions about your health, but it can be challenging to find the right fit. Communication plays a key role – you should feel comfortable speaking freely, and find an active listener who makes you feel heard. If you find yourself leaving an appointment with questions, or are unsure about the next steps to take, getting a second opinion can help guide you toward an more informed health decision.

Tip #2: Take an Active Role in Your Health Care

By taking an active role in your own health care, you are setting yourself up for success. Being open with your physician, asking questions proactively at check-ups and scheduling regular appointments are all ways to take charge. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification in conversations that confuse you – HealthLink says this is one of the best ways to make the most of your appointments! Being active in your health care goes beyond conversations in the doctor’s office. A simple task like organizing your medical records at home is a smart way to stay prepared when the time comes to make a health decision.

Tip #3: Use Reliable Outlets for Online Health Information

Searching the Internet for health information can be a quick and easy way to educate yourself, but it is easy to go down a rabbit hole of misinformation if you are not looking in the right places. Start with The National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s website or health websites sponsored by government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Remember, your pharmacist is also a trusted resource for questions on alternative medications, immunizations and healthscreenings.

Making the best health decisions also includes finding the best deals on medications. Participating in prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx can help you get the best prices. For more information on Community Cares Rx and other programs that can help you save money, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

Preparing for a Second Wave of COVID-19

With the first day of fall officially in the books, health experts across the nation are discussing the possibility of a COVID-19 resurgence in the coming weeks. Countries in Europe and Asia have already started to fend off a second wave of the disease, and as the weather starts to get cooler, it’s important to be prepared and stay vigilant about your health.  

Wondering what you can do to stay a step ahead and remain healthy this season? Here are a few tips:

  1. Get a flu shot
    Vaccination season is underway, and the CDC says it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot. In addition to staying healthy, getting your flu shot is a simple way for everyone to help alleviate the strain on the healthcare system, and allow them to focus time and resources on treating COVID-19 patients. To get your flu shot, contact or visit your local pharmacy – many accept walk-in appointments!
  2. Know your local COVID-19 guidelines
    Many parts of the country have seen schools and businesses reopen, or attempt to reopen, in recent weeks. States, cities and counties may have different regulations in place, so it’s helpful to know what precautions your community is taking. While some communities are easing restrictions, others are increasing them – and this is likely to keep changing as our knowledge of the pandemic evolves throughout the fall. Local regulations are designed to keep you safe and are following the latest data available. Remember, just because a restaurant or store has re-opened, they could close back up again. Find the latest restrictions your state’s Department of Health website to keep yourself up to date.
  3. Keep up the recommended prevention techniques
    During the summer, spending time outside was a great way to stay active and relatively safe, as COVID-19 is less transmittable in the open air. With cooler temperatures on the horizon, we will soon find ourselves back indoors, but it’s still as important to continue the same recommended prevention techniques. Make sure to keep washing your hands, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Out in public, maintain six feet apart from other people and wear a face covering at all times – and don’t forget to wash your cloth mask after each use!

While preparing for a safe and healthy season, it can be helpful to find ways to save on your everyday medications by participating in prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx. For information on Community Cares Rx and other cost-saving programs that can help you find discounts on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

Prioritize Your Wellbeing During Pain Awareness Month

100 million Americans live with chronic pain - that’s more than those with heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined. Understanding the underlying causes of your pain can help improve other areas of your health. That’s why Pain Awareness Month is the perfect time to assess your physical health and take steps to prioritize your overall wellbeing. Here are three tips to keep in mind this month that will help you feel your best:  

Tip #1: Put Your Health First  

In our fast-paced world, it can be easy to ignore the signs our bodies send, telling us that something is wrong. Concealing minor pain can often lead to more serious problems down the line. Scheduling regular checkups with a physician can help you treat minor problems before they become more serious.

Tip #2: Understand Treatment Options

We all experience pain differently, and our regimen to treat and manage that pain should be just as personalized. The U.S. Pain Foundation’s “My Pain Plan” allow people with chronic pain to create a unique, personalized treatment plan. This great resource can help you start a dialogue with your healthcare provider and chart a course for an effective treatment plan.

Tip #3: Manage Your Pain and Maximize Your Savings

An effective pain management strategy shouldn’t break the bank. By participating in prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx, you’ll have free unlimited access to resources to help you save money. Online tools allow you to locate a pharmacy and research drug pricing and availability, helping to make your prescriptions more affordable.

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

 

Preparing for a Second Wave of COVID-19

With the first day of fall officially in the books, health experts across the nation are discussing the possibility of a COVID-19 resurgence in the coming weeks. Countries in Europe and Asia have already started to fend off a second wave of the disease, and as the weather starts to get cooler, it’s important to be prepared and stay vigilant about your health.  

Wondering what you can do to stay a step ahead and remain healthy this season? Here are a few tips:

  1. Get a flu shot
    Vaccination season is underway, and the CDC says it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot. In addition to staying healthy, getting your flu shot is a simple way for everyone to help alleviate the strain on the healthcare system, and allow them to focus time and resources on treating COVID-19 patients. To get your flu shot, contact or visit your local pharmacy – many accept walk-in appointments!
  2. Know your local COVID-19 guidelines
    Many parts of the country have seen schools and businesses reopen, or attempt to reopen, in recent weeks. States, cities and counties may have different regulations in place, so it’s helpful to know what precautions your community is taking. While some communities are easing restrictions, others are increasing them – and this is likely to keep changing as our knowledge of the pandemic evolves throughout the fall. Local regulations are designed to keep you safe and are following the latest data available. Remember, just because a restaurant or store has re-opened, they could close back up again. Find the latest restrictions your state’s Department of Health website to keep yourself up to date.
  3. Keep up the recommended prevention techniques
    During the summer, spending time outside was a great way to stay active and relatively safe, as COVID-19 is less transmittable in the open air. With cooler temperatures on the horizon, we will soon find ourselves back indoors, but it’s still as important to continue the same recommended prevention techniques. Make sure to keep washing your hands, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Out in public, maintain six feet apart from other people and wear a face covering at all times – and don’t forget to wash your cloth mask after each use!

While preparing for a safe and healthy season, it can be helpful to find ways to save on your everyday medications by participating in prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx. For information on Community Cares Rx and other cost-saving programs that can help you find discounts on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.

Are You Up-To-Date On Your Vaccines? Find Out During National Immunization Month

 

Do you know if you’re up to date on your vaccinations? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), thousands of American adults get sick each year from diseases that vaccines can prevent. That’s why August is the perfect time to prioritize your health and update your immunizations.  In honor of National Immunization Month, check out the tips below to help keep you and your family healthy all year long.

Tip #1: Utilize Free Resources

Different vaccines are recommended based on your age, occupation, or health conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or heart disease. Keeping up with boosters and seasonal vaccines can be overwhelming and difficult to track. The CDC’s Interactive Vaccine Guide is a comprehensive resource that leads you through every vaccine – from pregnancy to adulthood! Pay close attention to this guide, as immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off over time.

Tip #2: Community Immunity 

When you get vaccinated, you’re protecting yourself and your community. Community immunity protects everyone, but it’s especially important for vulnerable populations that can’t get vaccinated for certain diseases. For example, some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination, others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies or weakened immune systems. Opting in to annual vaccines help you protect your loved ones and community!

Tip #3: Don’t Break the Bank

Doctor visits, prescriptions and hospital bills can add up to thousands of dollars. In addition to getting annual vaccinations, doing a little research can help you maximize your health care savings. By participating in prescription discount programs like Community Cares Rx, you’ll have free unlimited access to resources to help you save money. Online tools allow you to locate a pharmacy and research drug pricing and availability, helping to make your prescriptions more affordable.

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