Monday, September 29, 2014

Enterovirus EV-D68

Did you know that the respiratory virus Enterovirus EV-D68 has now been confirmed in Indiana? A total of 19 cases have been confirmed, and more are awaiting confirmation. The virus tends to attack children rather than adults.

Enteroviris infections can be mild and self- limiting, but children with asthma are at risk for severe
respiratory illness and may require hospitalization. Patients with asthma should carefully maintain their current medical management and follow their asthma action plan to monitor for early signs of exacerbation. People who smoke are also at greater risk.

These viruses are transmitted through contact with secretions from eyes, nose, and mouth (saliva, mucus, sputum) of the infected person; having close contact with an infected person, such as touching or shaking hands; and touching objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with infectious secretions.

No vaccine is available to prevent these infections, and no antiviral medication is available.
We recommend the following:
. Clean: wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
. Cover: cover sneezes and coughs with your sleeve or a tissue
. Contain: prevent spreading illness to others by staying home if you are sick
. Avoid close contact and sharing cups or eating utensils with those who are ill
. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces
. Avoid smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke

For more information on enteroviruses, please visit the following websites:
Indiana State Department of Health website at

Centers for Didease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at

This information was obtained from the State Health Commissioner, William C VanNess ll.MD
Morag Miller, RPh.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Avoiding the Flu Bug

As the weather starts to cool down, we start to think about the flu. The "flu" (influenza) is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every winter, usually between October and May.

Flu is caused by influenza viruses and is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing and close contact.
Anyone can get the flu, but the risk is highest among children. Symptoms come on suddenly and may last for several days.

Common Symptoms
. fever/chills
. sore throat
. muscle aches
. fatigue
. cough
. headache
. runny or stuffy nose

Some people get sicker than others. Young children, people over 65, pregnant women and others that have certain health conditions such as heart, lung, kidney disease, weakened immune systems and diabetes are at the highest risk of complications.  Flu can also lead to pneumonia which is one of the most common causes of death.

Each year thousands of people in the United States die from the flu, and many more end up in the hospital.

To prevent the flu from affecting you, wash your hands  frequently and  get vaccinated yearly. Hand sanitizers  may be helpful but they do not replace hand washing. Washing hands actually removes the germs and sends them down the drain. Wash with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Singing happy birthday twice takes about 20 seconds. Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes. Get enough rest and eat a healthy diet to promote your overall health. If you can, stay away from people who have the flu and try to avoid exposing yourself if you think you are a little sick.

Taking these easy precautions can prevent the spread of flu this season.  Have a healthy fall and winter!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Helping Children Eat Better


By Connie Lehman, RD, CDE, Topeka Pharmacy Wellness Program

Would you say your child is a healthy eater? Although children go through stages of likes and dislikes, for the most part they “catch” the eating habits of their family. The following are 5 healthy habits that children might “catch” if the family practices them together.

1.   Make healthy foods easy.  A couple examples of simple yet healthy habits is to keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter and empty a bag of baby carrots into a bowl on the kitchen table.  Both will encourage those who pass by to eat well.  

2.      Let children help. Ask children to help you plan meals and snacks that include vegetables and fruits. Depending on their ages, let them help you prep, stir, and cook food.  Talk about why healthy eating is important during this time.

     3.      Learn about & choose healthy portions.  In the 60s, a healthy portion for an adult at McDonald’s was a small fry, a small hamburger and a small drink.  In other words, a healthy portion for an adult was a Happy Meal.  It still is a healthy portion for an adult!  Only our perceptions have changed.  A healthy portion at any restaurant is about half of what is typically served. What a difference it would make if your child grew up in a family that practiced ordering healthy portions when eating out!

4.      Look carefully at the foods in your cupboards, your refrigerator and on the counter.  What is actually there?  If you see pop, sweet cereals, chips, cookies, donuts and other baked goods, then your family may fit into the averages that show Americans eat almost 800 calories of “junk foods” every day.  You could save a lot of money by buying much less of these foods.  What a great healthy habit to pass on to your kids!

5.      Try the Tasting Game. Pick a vegetable you want your child to like better and pick some stickers they would like.  Every day for 2 weeks, offer the child a taste of the food.  Make the food as desirable as possible, adding grated cheese to broccoli or ranch dip with cucumbers.  If the child tastes the food, they get to put a sticker on a chart.  If they earn 14 stickers, let them pick a small prize.  Many children will go from dislike to neutral to liking a food after several times of tasting it.

At Topeka Pharmacy, we wish you healthy eating & healthy families!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Heads Up for Head Lice

Thousands have been eagerly awaiting the return of your children to school, and I don't mean the teachers.

Hungry blood sucking head lice love nothing more than the first day of school. Infestations of head lice usually result from the direct transfer of the tiny insects from the hair of one person to the hair of another. (Are you itchy yet?)

There is no reason to be embarrassed about having head lice. Head lice are not a sign of poor personal hygiene or a dirty home. They do not carry disease, and they will live on any head available to them.

Symptoms of a lice infestation include: itching of the scalp, neck, or ears, the presence of live lice, or lice eggs (nits) on hair shafts. Both the lice and the nits can be difficult to spot. Nits are small and attached to the hair. They do not brush off easily like dandruff or dry skin. Nits and lice are easiest to spot around the ears and the hairline of the neck. Nits more than 1/4 inch from the scalp have likely already hatched. If you are not sure, ask the school nurse, your doctor or a pharmacist to take a look.

Transmission of head lice is usually within a family or among children who have close contact at school or play. Indirect transmission is not as common but can happen when lice spread from one person.

Items Contributing to Indirect Transmission
Hats and scarves (clock rooms)
Brushes and combs
Hair accessories
Pillows Upholstery
Towels or bedding

Your doctor will likely recommend an over-the-counter medication that kills lice and their eggs. A second treatment may be needed 9 days after the first to kill newly hatched lice. Follow the directions on the package carefully. Rinsing the hair with white vinegar before treating the hair may help loosen the nits from the hair shafts.Removing the lice and nits from the hair with a special fine tooth comb is the most important part of treatment. Some lice are becoming immune to some of the chemicals in lice treatments. Prevention and removal are the best practices.

OTC Medication
Permethrin (Nix)
Pyrethrin with additives (Rid, A-200 Lice Killing)
Licefreee Gel with Natrum muriaticum2X (Sodium Chloride, USP)
If OTC medications fail, there are prescription drugs that your doctor may prescribe.These are more expensive and require a prescription.

There are some home remedies if you prefer not to use medications.

Other Remedies
Wet-combing with a fine tooth comb by dividing the hair into small sections and comb through all the hair twice.  Electronic Lice Combs are now available to assist with this process.
Conditioners or white vinegar may aid in the combing and removal. This process needs to be repeated every 3 to 4 days to capture all the lice and should be continued for at least 2 weeks after no lice are found.
Essential Oils such as Tea tree oil, Anise oil, and Ylang Ylang oil.
Smother Lice with household products such as: Mayonnaise, Olive oil, and Vaseline.
Do not use: flammable products such as kerosene. They don't work any better than olive oil and can result in serious injury.

Household cleaning should be thoroughly completed to eliminate as many lice as possible from the home environment.
Wash items such as bedding in hot water and dry at high heat.
Clean all hair care items such as brushes and combs.
Seal items that can't be washed in a plastic bag for two weeks.
Vacuum the floors and especially upholstered furniture.

Most people would be surprised to know how many families have a head lice infestation while they have children in grade school. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help.