Spring Flowers Bring Spring..... Allergies
Spring is a gloriously idyllic season with chirping birds, beautiful blooms, cool mornings and warm afternoons.  Its geniality distracts us from the barrage of allergens released by flowers, grasses and trees that seek to wreak havoc on perfectly content individuals like you and me.
 
Young girl holding a sunflower
 
Seasonal allergies affect millions across the U.S. resulting in lower productivity or even missed time at work or school, increased healthcare costs and just sheer misery for those affected.  Symptoms include sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, itchy nose and/or throat and nasal congestion.  Fortunately, seasonal allergy symptoms are fairly easy to self-diagnose and control—most of the time.
 
If you’re looking to avoid the throng of red-nosed, watery-eyed victims sneezing their way through spring, follow these simple tips for a truly enjoyable (and allergy-free) season.
 
1. Allergies or a Cold?  If you have fever, sore throat, a productive cough and/or body aches or chills you may be dealing with a cold, flu or other infection rather than allergies.  Consult your pharmacist on when to seek medical attention for symptoms of a cold. If cold or flu like symptoms are present, you can get a Physician 360 Rapid Flu Test at your Brookshire Brothers pharmacy.
 
Physicians 360 Flu Test
 
2. Antihistamines are Key.  If there is a medicinal silver bullet for preventing allergy symptoms, antihistamines are it.  Cetirizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Claritin) and fexofenadine (Allegra) are first-line over the counter treatments for many allergy symptoms.  They work by blocking histamine, the chemical that makes your body sneeze and itch in response to an allergen.  They are each taken once-daily, work rapidly and are labeled as non-drowsy.  Diphenhydramine or Benadryl, a first-generation antihistamine, works well for allergy sufferers but is not appropriate for everyone and causes a fair amount of drowsiness.
 
3. Use Nasal Steroids if Needed.  Once only available by prescription, steroid nasal sprays like Flonase and Nasacort are now available for purchase over the counter.  These products work by blocking a number of cells involved in the inflammatory process and can prevent or limit allergy symptoms quite effectively.  You can use them alone or in combination with the antihistamines listed above.
 
A graphic feature of TopCare allergy relief products on a background with a woman sitting on a park bench on a bright spring day.
 
4. Stock Up Before You’re Stuck.  We’ve all been there; runny nose and nary a tissue in site.  Before seasonal allergies attack, get ready!  Stock up on tissues, Aquaphor ointment (great for irritated skin on your nose and lips), cough drops for an irritated throat, hand sanitizer, and artificial tears for dry eyes.
 
Don’t let seasonal allergies ruin your spring.  Get outside and enjoy nature—birds, flowers and all!
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
 
 
               
 
 
2019 Resolution: Keep Your Home Healthy

Preparing for the New Year: Physician 360 Rapid Test Kits (Strep, Flu, UTI)

 
2019 is here and with a new year comes the opportunity for a fresh start! No matter if you’re an annual ‘resolutor’ or not, if you desire to make a change for the better in 2019 then I applaud that! Yes, reading more books, cooking more meals at home and giving more to charity are noble aspirations—do those things—but getting healthy and staying healthy should be a priority for everyone in 2019.
 
This is precisely why Brookshire Brothers has partnered with Physician 360 to offer convenient, easy-to-use, rapid test kits for strep throat, flu, and urinary tract infections. These quick, simple tests yield results in minutes and match the accuracy of longer lab tests performed at doctor’s offices.
 
Several Physician 360 Rapid Flu Test kits sitting on a counter.
 
Better yet, included in the purchase of the test kit is an online, face-to-face consultation with a physician who will evaluate your test results and issue a prescription if necessary. These tests are approved for ages 5 and older and they’re available for purchase at the pharmacy counter.
 
The doctors at Physician 360 are thoughtful, caring and compassionate. Their top priority is to provide fast and appropriate care when sickness strikes. Prescriptions, when necessary, are issued in minutes and can be filled by your friendly Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy while you wait. Even if your test results are negative, your Physician 360 doctor can issue a prescription for symptoms like urinary burning, nasal congestion, cough, etc.
 
Several Physician 360 Rapid Strep Test kits sitting on a counter.
 
Using a Physician 360 test kit is about as close to a doctor’s house call as you’re going to get in 2019. And while little black doctor bags are long extinct, video-chatting on your smartphone with a qualified physician who’s ready to treat what ails you is a major perk of being alive during this technological age. 
 
Brookshire Brothers and Physician 360 understand that there is never a convenient time to be sick. We hope you will let us save you time and money this year by offering these little test kits that will keep you well when illness strikes. Here’s to your healthiest year yet! 
 
Several Physician 360 Rapid UTI Test kits sitting on a counter.
Talk with your local pharmacist to find out prices and more. Visit a Brookshire Brothers pharmacy near you today!
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
 
 
Together, we HOPE

While October is oft-celebrated with candy and creepy crawlies, don't forget to take time and reflect on this month's message of hope. Find out more below with Pharmacist Matt Baker's discussion of Breast Cancer Awareness.

Together we HOPE. Employee owners, Breast cancer survivors. Shop With Someone You Know
 
October has always been that charming time of year where your otherwise normal neighbors erect an 18-foot blow-up witch and fake tombstones across their yard. Large spiders adorn the hedges while the fake webs from whence they crept waft eerily in the breeze. Whatever in the world possesses such people to flaunt all their haunts, I will never know.
 
PS - Don't miss these Wicked Good Snacks from Catering Coordinator Kate Rudasill (perfect for Halloween!)
 
Thankfully, October means more than just a month of ghosts and ghouls these days. Halloween no longer defines October (blow-up scary things notwithstanding); instead, the month boasts something far more altruistic—Breast Cancer Awareness.
 
October also includes Hispanic Heritage Month! Celebrate with these two Cooking with Kate recipes: Bolivian-Style Empanadas and Spanish Chorizo-Filled Dates Wrapped in Bacon.
 
The rampant colors of candy corn now compete with pink ribbons pinned everywhere as a reminder to celebrate those who have survived the awful disease and to remember those who did not. Pink also serves as a signpost of the seriousness of this diagnosis and the benefits of screening and early detection.
 
 
As it stands, 1 in 8 women across the U.S. will be diagnosed with some type of invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. That’s 12.4% of our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters.  And while mortality rates have been declining since 1989, almost 41,000 women are expected to die in 2018—a figure more frightening than any front-yard Frankenstein.
 
Read more: Find out Pharmacist Kelly Kinney's four suggestions on how to "Fight Like A Girl" when it comes to breast cancer awareness
 
There’s good news though: women under age 50 have experienced an even larger decline in death rates due to advances in treatment and October’s message of awareness. While society is moving in the right direction, this small step is no reason to rest on our laurels; breast cancer is still dangerous and awareness remains a key weapon in the battle against this disease.
 
Group of smiling ladies with pink ribbons cheering and holding hands
 
As such, it is important to remember a few important points about breast cancer in order to fight it more effectively:
 
  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) who has/had the disease; however, 85% of breast cancers develop in women with no family history.
  • Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes result in a significantly higher lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
  • In women under age 45, African-American women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Among women of all ages, African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer.
  • All women should begin having mammograms at age 45 and can decrease to every other year at age 55.  Women who wish to start screening early can do so beginning at age 40.
  • An astounding 2,550 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in 2018. A man has about a 1 in 1,000 chance of developing breast cancer over his life.
Next time you see pink ribbons or pink socks (or even pink gloves on an NFL wide receiver), be hopeful.  As awareness increases among the population, we can hope for more frequent screenings, more early detection, and more survivors of this dreadful disease.
 
Talk with your local pharmacist to find out more. Visit a Brookshire Brothers pharmacy near you today!
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
 
 
 
 
Dear Salado...
We're thrilled to announce that our Salado Pharmacist Brady Shimek has accepted a promotion to Pharmacy District Director. True to our #ShopWithSomeoneYouKnow spirit though, Shimek's promotion is also a bittersweet parting from his beloved patients over the past six years. To that, Brady would like to leave his customers with this farewell note.
 
Pharmacist Brady Shimek helping a pharmacy customerTo My Valued Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy Customers,
 
It has been an honor to serve you the past 6 years. Upon taking over as the pharmacy manager in Salado, I could not have imagined how much of an impact this beautiful community would have on my life. Salado, in all of its uniqueness, soon became home to me. Sometimes we fall in love with an area because of the physical terrain and views it has to offer, sometimes the character and charisma it possess, and yet other times, the people that reside there. In Salado, you get blessed with all of these. 
 
I came to Salado looking to develop patient relationships, build trust within the pharmacy profession, and set a standard of care that pharmacy customers not only need but also deserve. All of you made these ambitions possible. Together, we have experienced illnesses, hardships, treatments, cures, highs and lows, but most importantly, we have experienced compassion and respect for one another. While I thank you all for your business and loyalty to Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy, I would be remorseful to not also thank you for your friendly smiles, your constant positivity, your continued encouragement, your faithful gratitude, and most importantly, your friendships. 
 
Pharmacist Brady ShimekAs I move on to my new position of Pharmacy District Director, I want to reassure you that the high level of care and customer service that Brookshire Brothers offers will not change. Our pharmacy team is strong and reliable. I have complete trust that they will continue to go above and beyond to exceed your expectations. I will continue to have confidence in our local Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy, and you should too.
 
Your pharmacist,
Brady Shimek, PharmD.
 
 
 
POSTED BY brookshire-blog
CATEGORIES: News Release
No Brainer: Back To School Immunizations
Parents, grandparents, guardians and babysitters, we’ve made it: the start of the school year is officially just around the corner!  Pardon my jubilation but as my daughters recently paraded around the house in new back-to-school clothes, I couldn’t help but click my heels in anticipation (of course I waited until they left the room like any good dad would).
 
Look, August is the point in summer when the nuance of the season has long faded away. It’s hot, the kids are restless, and most importantly, parents are exhausted.  Our kids need to go back to school—whether they’ll admit it or not—and it’s our job as parents to get them ready.
 
So yes, get the new clothes, new shoes and haircuts.  Download the school supply list and head to Brookshire Brothers to grab pencils, spirals, folders and erasers.  But sending our young pupils into the world of academe fully stocked with loose leaf paper is only part of our job as parents. Making sure our children are up to date on all required and recommended vaccines is a far greater responsibility to ensure the health of our kids and our communities.
 
Little boy in math class overwhelmed by the math formula.
Another no brainer—healthy lunches! Read Angela Larson (RD)'s 9 Suggestions for School Lunches
 
Depending on the state and even the school district, different vaccines are required for children prior to entering Kindergarten.  By this age (4 to 6 years-old), kids should receive booster doses for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
 
At age 11, the CDC recommends vaccines for meningitis (MCV4), human papillomavirus and again for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.  Additional vaccines against another type of meningitis (serogroup B) are recommended in certain adolescents and teens who may be at higher risk of infection.  Let me also remind you that every child older than 6 months of age should receive an annual influenza vaccine on top of everything else.
 
Many of these required immunizations are not one-time vaccines but require several vaccines in a series to get full immunity.  This can equate to multiple trips to the pediatrician’s office or local health clinic which can be hard to schedule for busy or working parents.
 
Why not let your local Brookshire Brothers pharmacist help? Pharmacists in Texas (some states differ) can vaccinate adults against a myriad of ailments including influenza, pneumococcal disease, shingles, tetanus, pertussis and hepatitis just to name a few.  Did you also know that your pharmacist can immunize your child against many of the required or recommended vaccines he or she needs?
 
Pharmacist applying bandaid after giving a shot
In sickness and in health—we're your pharmacy! View our complete list of immunizations here
 
In Texas, pharmacists can administer vaccines to teens over 14 years of age without a prescription (over 7 years old without a prescription for flu) and adolescents age 7 to 13 with a prescription.  Simply have your child’s physician issue a prescription (to be given to you or sent directly to the pharmacy electronically) for any needed vaccines.
 
Your pharmacist will report what vaccines were given and when to your child’s doctor and your state immunization registry.  Many insurance plans pay for vaccines given at the pharmacy, but a quick phone call to your plan can clear up any questions you may have about coverage.
 
Letting your Brookshire Brothers pharmacist help in keeping your child or teen up to date on immunizations is a win for both your child and you!  Talk to your pharmacist today about how we can be a part of getting your kiddo ready for school and keeping them healthy all year long.
 
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
The Right Prescription for Summer Traveling with Meds
Summer is here! Oh, how the smell of sunscreen and chlorine brings back memories of childhood and that uplifting, amazing feeling of freedom as the last bell rang for the school year. Man, did I love summer. It was the time for playing with friends, sleeping in, staying up late and—most importantly—vacations!
 
Our family retreats were not extravagant or expensive by any means, yet they were meaningful, fun-filled times I will always remember.  Mom and Dad would load up the car and stop for donuts on the way out of town as we kids longed for just a glimpse of our intended destination.
 
Now that I have children of my own, I can appreciate all that my parents were surely feeling.  As my lovely wife and I pack up the car each summer in anticipation of a lengthy road trip, we knowingly look at each other and say—“Can you remind me why we’re doing this?”
 
The Right Prescription for Summer Traveling with Meds
 
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids but traveling with them is hard.  Rules that you didn’t even know your family had start to come into play: how many times you can poke your sister before she’s allowed to tattle, how many centimeters of a cheese stick must be allocated for sharing, how the rear-AC in the car can be adjusted so long as there is a two-thirds majority amongst siblings.  A vacation that is meant to be simple and relaxing can quickly get complicated to the point of ruining the fun.
 
Adding to these complications, traveling with medications (for a person of any age) can be really challenging. There’s a lot to think about regarding medication supply, storage, timing of doses while en route, etc.  Even the simple process of ingesting a pill each morning can easily be disrupted by vacation agendas.
 
The bottom line is this: whether you are young or old, we all have medication needs that cannot be ignored while on holiday.  Here are a few tips to make sure you are all set with your medications before you hit the road this summer.
 The Right Prescription for Summer Traveling with Meds
 
Tip #1 – If you don’t have it, you can’t take it. Make sure you have enough medication on hand (plus one or two days in case of a travel delay) for your entire trip. If you happen to be going on an extended vacation and your insurance company won’t quite cover a refill of your medication just yet, ask your pharmacist to call the insurance company to request a vacation supply.  Most insurance companies will accommodate this request and you’ll be on the road in no time.
 
Tip #2 –“Honey did you pack the…”Ever been on vacation and experienced heartburn or a headache but your medicine cabinet was 500 miles away?  Planning for all your over-the-counter medication needs can be easily overlooked.  At minimum, be sure to pack Tylenol for headache or fever, Zantac or Pepcid for acid indigestion, a first aid kit for minor cuts and scrapes, and an OTC sleep aid for any hotel room insomnia.
 
Tip #3 – What about my insulin?  Insulin is kept under refrigeration prior to use which presents a problem when traveling.  However, did you know that vials and pens of insulin, once in use, can be kept at room temperature for up to 28 days, some up to 42 days?  Some eye drops, suppositories and even oral medications are also stored in the fridge so consult your pharmacist about options for traveling with those.
 
Tip #4 – Keeping regular.  Traveling can disrupt day-to-day bathroom activities adding an uncomfortable wrinkle in vacation plans.  Taking fiber supplements or a stool softener (Colace) once daily while traveling can certainly help persuade a stubborn digestive system while on the road.  Be sure to stay hydrated and eat lots of fruits and vegetables too in order to ease things along.
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
Spring Cleaning: How to Dispose of Your Medicines
Last summer I decided that instead of paying someone a reasonable amount of money and waiting ten minutes in the air conditioning for the oil in my truck to be changed, I would do it myself.  Frugality—hmmmpf!
 
So I purchased the necessary supplies, realized I bought the wrong filter wrench and not enough oil and headed back to the auto store.  Finally half a day later and after spending $20 more than what I planned, I was all set—except for a gigantic basin full of used motor oil that can’t just be thrown in the trash (according to Google).
 
Apparently there are very specific ways to dispose of used oil making my DIY attempt even more annoying. So I called the auto store this time and asked a question similar to one that I hear from folks at the pharmacy all the time.
 
“How do I get rid of all the unused and expired drugs in my medicine cabinet?”
 
Like motor oil, there are certain procedures that should be followed when discarding old medications to ensure safe disposal.
 Brookshire Brothers Pharmacist Filling a Prescription
 
FDA’S GENERAL RECOMMENDATION
The general recommendation from the FDA for disposing of old or unused medications at home is to mix the tablets or capsules with coffee grounds, cat litter or something otherwise undesirable in a sealable bag and discard in the trash. This process makes the pills unattractive to naïve children or pets and unrecognizable to someone rummaging through the garbage in search of medications.
 
CAN I FLUSH IT?
While it is mostly true that you should never flush medications down the toilet or sink, there are some drugs that require this method due to their inherent danger. Fentanyl is a drug that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl patches, used in opioid-tolerant chronic pain, are worn for 3 days at a time, but even after 72 hours there is still some drug left in the patch.  If a child or pet were to retrieve a fentanyl patch from the garbage, the results could be fatal. While fentanyl is one of the more common medications that should be disposed of via flushing—in addition to hydromorphone, oxycodone, and morphine-containing products—a full list is available on the FDA website.
 
CAN I GIVE IT AWAY?
Never give unused medication to a family member or friend.  Just because your prescription was safe for you when prescribed does not mean it will be safe for someone else.
 
WHAT ABOUT “TAKE BACK” DAYS?
Another great option for disposal is the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.  These events are held twice a year in April and October at local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, etc.  For questions about the next take back day and a nearby collection site, visit www.dea.gov or call 800-822-9539.
 
WHAT ABOUT THE LABEL?
Don’t forget to conceal personal information on empty pill bottle labels before throwing them away. Protect your health information by removing the label entirely and shredding it, or by scratching out your name and prescription number.
 
If you are still in doubt about how to get rid of old medications, ask your Brookshire Brothers pharmacist!  We will help you figure out a solution that won’t leave you with seven quarts of used oil in your garage—so to speak.
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
 
Recommended Winter Remedies

Top 10 Items for Your Medicine Cabinet this Cold & Flu Season

When the common cold and the associated runny nose, congestion, and cough attacks, the best medicine is usually rest, hot chicken noodle soup, and a favorite movie. The last thing anyone wants to do while under the weather is slog up and down aisles of medicines looking for relief.
 
Take the opportunity now to stock your medicine cabinet with some valuable over-the-counter products that will ease your suffering from typical cold and flu symptoms. It’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor or pharmacist before treating yourself just to rule out a more serious bacterial infection that may require antibiotics. Most cases of sore throat, cough, and congestion are viral though and can be treated safely over the counter. Here are my Top 10 items for beating the cold this season:
 
Top 10 Items for Your Medicine Cabinet this Cold & Flu Season
 
  1. Antihistamine plus Pseudoephedrine.  There are a multitude of brands—Zyrtec-D, Claritin-D, Allegra-D, and their respective generics—that can help reduce nasal congestion, runny nose, and drainage. If you have high blood pressure or a heart condition, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking these.  They are kept behind the counter at a pharmacy so be prepared to show a driver’s license or state identification before you purchase.
  2. Nasal steroid spray. When Nasacort and Flonase (both formerly presciption-only) moved to being offered over the counter, the options for people seeking relief from nasal allergies and congestion expanded greatly. Use two sprays in each nostril once per day for at least two weeks. These sprays are a great option for individuals who cannot tolerate or take decongestants due to other health conditions.
  3. Cepacol Sore Throat Lozenges. These cough drops are no ordinary cough drops! They contain benzocaine which actually numbs the throat providing relief from irritation and soreness.
  4. Mucinex. The active ingredient in Mucinex is guaifenesin, an expectorant that helps the body clear mucus trapped in the lungs. Take guaifenesin to help make your cough more productive and rid yourself of stubborn phlegm. 
  5. Children’s Dimetapp. With several different formulations, make sure you at least have the Cold & Allergy product containing an antihistamine and a decongestant. It’s approved for use in kids older than six years and may cause a little drowsiness.
  6. Breathe Right Nasal Strips. For a non-medication option to ease nasal congestion, these nasal strips fit over the bridge of the nose and increase airflow into the nasal passages. They are a great option for folks with chronic nasal congestion, but also work well for congestion related to the cold or flu.
  7. Afrin Nasal Spray. Oxymetazoline, the active ingredient in Afrin, is a powerful nasal decongestant that relieves even the toughest sinus congestion. Its effects are noticeable in a matter of minutes and last for up to 12 hours. The problem with Afrin is that its use is limited to no more than 3 days due to rebound congestion that can occur. Use Afrin sparingly and for severe congestion only.
  8. Saline Nasal Spray. Use to help moisten nasal passages when they become dried out due to decongestant use. Saline spray is non-medicated and can be used as much as needed.
  9. Nyquil Severe Cold & Flu. Use at bedtime when your cold symptoms are preventing you from sleeping well. This product contains a decongestant, a sedating antihistamine, a cough suppressant, and acetaminophen (Tylenol) to cover all the bases for a good night’s sleep.
  10. Plenty of Tissues. You will likely still be blowing and wiping your nose long after the worst of your symptoms are gone. Stock up on tissues now both at home and at work. It’s also not a bad idea to keep a couple of travel tissue packs in your car for yourself or a sniffling friend.

 Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy today to stock up your medicine cabinet and talk to a pharmacist about any other needs.

 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.

 

How Brookshire Brothers Pharmacies Offer Personalized Service & More
A panicky voice began with “I’m in trouble,” as I lifted the ringing phone to my ear a Wednesday evening or two ago.
 
I knew the customer (let’s call her Mrs. Smith) and was familiar with her medications.  Mrs. Smith takes a few medications that control the rate and rhythm of the heart, but the computer indicated that it had been a few months since my pharmacy had filled her blood thinner that went along with her condition.
 
She went on to explain that she filled most of her medications locally but that her insurance had urged her to begin filling this particular medication through their mail order system.  It would be a little cheaper for her and them that way, they reasoned.
 
“But my medicine’s not here and I am totally and completely out of pills,” Mrs. Smith sighed.  “What do I do?”
 
Ask any community pharmacist and they can validate the ubiquity of this refrain.  When there are delays in the mail or when prescriptions are delayed in arriving at the mail order pharmacy, patients are often forced to just wait—with little or possibly no remaining medication on hand.
 
In the end, we called the insurance company to obtain an override for delayed medication.  This allowed our pharmacy to fill a seven day supply of her blood thinner after her physician sent us a new prescription.  Without this override the patient would have been forced to pay $115 for seven pills while she waited for her full prescription to arrive.
 
 
Now my aim is not to bash mail order pharmacies as they are a great option and work well for some individuals who may be on two or three regular, very predictable prescription drugs. My larger point is that a customer of a mail order pharmacy (especially someone with a complicated health condition) should not expect the flexibility, accessibility, and personal familiarity that you would have at your local pharmacy—especially when it comes to questions about your prescription(s).
 
Community pharmacies and mail order facilities are apples and oranges; they exist for different purposes. Mail order facilities are tasked with filling thousands of prescriptions daily, verifying they were filled correctly, and then preparing them for shipment.  Cost and convenience—that’s about it.
 
There is no way that one of their many pharmacists can remember idiosyncrasies regarding individual patients and their medications. They can’t help you select an over-the-counter medication while considering the many prescription products you are taking. They won’t call your physician’s office to clarify instructions you may have been given at your visit that seem confusing now. Those “longer than expected wait times” may discourage patients from calling the mail order pharmacy to ask a simple question about their prescription, if only to put their mind at ease.    
 
Customers who utilize a mail order pharmacy will obviously fill antibiotics or urgent prescriptions locally.  However, it is impossible for your community pharmacist to fully judge whether or not a potential drug interaction may occur because he/she can’t see your whole medication picture.
 
Rectifying Mrs. Smith's situation took my pharmacy staff and me less than an hour.  Before we closed she picked up her life sustaining medication and her worry ended. Moreover, in the process she was treated kindly, her phone calls were answered promptly and her medication, once filled, was immediately available for her to pick up.
 
Sometimes, even in 2017, the important things in life come down to a little more than cost and convenience.
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.

 

Love Your Heart: National Heart Month

Who doesn't love February? After all, this oddly spelled month is synonymous with romance, flowers, butterflies in the stomach - and a groundhog for some reason. I would venture to guess that more couples get engaged or married in February than any other time of year. And although I can't back that up with real statistics, we all know that February and our hearts are forever linked.    

   In fact February, the month of love, is also National    Heart Month and as such is dedicated to raising
   awareness about heart disease and prevention.
   According to the American Heart Association, heart
   disease claims more than 17 million lives annually
   making it the number one cause of death not only
   in America but in the world.  Currently, 85.6 million
   Americans are battling cardiovascular disease in
   some form and more than 370,000 will die this
   year as a result.

Heart disease (cardiovascular disease) is conglomeration of ailments and conditions affecting the heart and vascular system and includes coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. While it is true that some individuals are predisposed to heart disease due to genetics or congenital abnormalities of the heart, most heart disease can be attributed to deleterious behaviors like smoking or having a sedentary lifestyle.

Smoking increases blood pressure and is a major risk factor for heart disease. In fact, smokers have a significantly higher risk of heart attack versus non-smokers. Over time, smoking can compromise the lining of the arteries, which can allow for plaque to accumulate along your artery walls. When blood cannot reach your heart, chest pain and heart attack can result.

Another contributing factor to heart disease can be a diet high in saturated fats and salt. This can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease by way of raising blood pressure and increasing triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Instead of fast or artificial food, be sure to incorporate fish, lean meats, vegetables, fruit and whole grains into your meals. Find more on heart healthy nutrition here.  

Finally, don’t only rely on your significant other to keep your heart pumping this February. Exercise is a vital component of good heart health. Building beneficial habits like engaging in thirty minutes of exercise a day, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking at the back of the lot instead of by the entrance to the grocery store can all go a long way toward better cardiovascular health.

But before you throw your hands in the air, read this: don’t forget to occasionally indulge in dark chocolate which helps to lower blood pressure and alleviate stress. So, you can get your chocolate-fix this Valentine’s Day.

February is the month of love. Love your wife or husband, love those around you and most of all, love your heart.  


  

Matt Baker, PharmD
Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy – Lufkin, TX

 

 

 

 

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