Opioids are a drugs that are used to for pain. Some examples include Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Morphine, and Hydromorphone. These drugs have become more and more popular. Use has increased with over 191 million Americans using them. Some side effects:
- Upset stomach, vomiting, dry mouth
A big risk in taking these drugs is becoming addicted. More than 11.5 million Americans are addicted to these drugs. Use of these drugs can lead to what is called “overdose (OD)”. An OD is when you stop breathing. These drugs can cause you to slow or stop your breathing which can cause you to die. This can be on purpose or accidental. These are some OD symptoms to look out for:
Narcan and Naloxone can help someone with an overdose. They undo the effects of opioids. Naloxone is given by injecting the person with a needle. Narcan is given by spraying a dose into the person’s nose. These drugs can save a person’s life. Missouri allows you to get these medications. You do not need a prescription.
Call 911 immediately if you believe you or someone you know is having an OD. The sooner you notice an OD, the better. It is always important to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the risks of taking opioids.
There is conflicting information on whether or not masks can help prevent COVID-19. Studies have shown that wearing a cloth mask lowers the risk of getting COVID. This is in comparison to not wearing a mask. Cloth masks are almost as good as medical masks in reducing the spread of infection.
You can use cloth masks, disposable paper masks, surgical masks, N95 masks, and other types of masks with filters. Do not use holiday masks, celebration masks, costume masks, skincare masks, sleep masks, or decorative masks. You can use cloth to make masks or bandanas. It is better to wear masks rated to filter out particles, such as N95 masks.
Masks work by blocking the spread of particles and germs when you breathe or speak. They can also slow the spread of germs when you breathe. Masks do not fully stop you from getting COVID-19. Germs can still flow up and through any gaps in between your skin and the mask. It is better to wear a mask than to not wear one. There will be fewer germs that can spread. Health professionals highly encourage that you wear a mask when you go outside or to a public place. Remember to wash or change your mask often.
-APPE Student Class of 2021
There are many types of tests for COVID-19. The two main types are a viral test and an antibody test. The viral test tells you if you have the virus. The antibody test tells you if you had a past or current infection. Antibodies are small proteins that your immune cells make. They bind to markers called antigens that are on germs or foreign objects.
The main kind of test is the nasal swab PCR test. This test involves swabbing a sample of the back inside of your nostrils. The PCR machine makes hundreds of thousands of copies of the DNA in the sample. The tester then checks the sample for viral DNA.
Other tests involve testing for a COVID antigen. In this test, the patient places a sample of blood onto a trip of paper that has antibodies. If the antibodies bind to the antigen, the paper strip changes colors. This color change means the sample is positive for the antigen. Antibody tests use a blood sample to see if there are antibodies to the virus. Quick testing uses a test strip to check for a color change. Many other tests involve blood or other fluids. Positive results will show a color change.
PCR tests are the most accurate and effective, but take a lot of time. Antigen and antibody tests are much faster and are almost as accurate. You should get the test that is the best fit for you. It is important that you get the test if you feel you have COVID symptoms or were exposed to someone with COVID.
-APPE Student Class of 2021
With COVID-19 still ongoing, any treatment that can prevent COVID helps. Vitamin D has a role in many health conditions. This includes bone health, lung diseases, and depression. There are reports that claim the lack of vitamin D leads to a higher risk for COVID.
The data is still not clear. Lack of vitamin D was found to increase risk of ARDS, a lung condition. It found a link between lower vitamin D, higher death rates, and chronic diseases. One review looked at stopping an overactive immune response to COVID. It suggests that vitamin D may stop the inflammation that leads to worse outcomes. Some studies suggest lack of vitamin D is linked to higher rates of COVID and lung disease. Some found the link was not strong enough to suggest a benefit. Others show no link after removing factors that can bias results.
Besides COVID, vitamin D also helps with bone health. Vitamin D can reduce the risk of bone fractures. Lack of vitamin D can lead to weak bones and falls. It can also lead to depression and higher rates of illness. With more people staying inside, it is important to get enough vitamin D. There is an overall benefit for vitamin D even if there is not enough proof that it helps with COVID.
-APPE Student Class of 2021
There’s a bigger push to get the flu shot this year. Some patients may want to know when is the best time to get flu shots. Flu season doesn’t start until much later in the year. It may help to know if there are any reasons to get it earlier.
When is flu season?
The most common time for flu season to start is December or early January. It can start as early as October. Peak flu was in January or later for 3/4 flu seasons from 1982–2018. In the Saint Louis area, peak flu for 2016–2017 and 2019–2020 was in early February. It started around the last week of December or 1st week of January. The 2017–2018 season started in the 1st week of December. It peaked around the 1st week of January.
How well do flu shots work?
Early flu shots in July and early August work less well. From 2011–2015, the H3N2 flu shot did not work as well by 7% for each month after its peak. The H1N1 flu shot worked less well by 6-11% every month. A study found that each 28 days after getting the shot, patients were 16% more likely to still get the flu. For example, some patients may get the flu shot 21 weeks before flu season. This means they are more than twice as likely to still get the flu. This is compared to patients who get the flu shot 6 weeks before flu season. Another study looked at the 2011–2012 flu shot. In patients over 65, it worked only 85% as well after 3 months. It mostly did not work after more than 4 months.
Most people 6 months and older should get the flu shot. The CDC says you should get it in September or October before flu season. July or August is too early. There is a chance that it will not work later. Kids from 6 months to 8 years who are getting it for the 1st time should get it when it is ready. They need to get 2 flu shots. They should get the 2nd shot 4 weeks after the 1st. It is better to get the shot than to not get it. With COVID-19 this year, it is more important than ever to get the flu shot. It will lower the chance of going to the hospital or getting sick.
-APPE Student Class of 2021
There have been few studies on supplements to prevent or treat COVID-19. Zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) may be helpful. Studies are ongoing to study their benefits. Zinc helps the immune system. It helps the body make antibodies and white blood cells. High dose zinc may reduce the length of common cold symptoms. Vitamin D helps people who lack it. Lack of vitamin D may be linked to higher rates of lung infections and flu. It lowers acute lung infection rates. Some articles suggest taking it each day to lower risk. Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is an antioxidant. It boosts the immune system. It may guard against bird coronavirus. It may reduce weakness to viral lung infections and pneumonia. NAC helps with inflammation. It is changed to the antioxidant glutathione in the body. Glutathione can be used up from stress or inflammation. NAC helps for many lung diseases. This includes viral pneumonia.
-APPE Student Class of 2021
- Get a flu vaccine. When more people get the flu vaccine, it lowers the spread of virus for everyone.
- Wash your hands at least 20 seconds regularly. Wash hand before and after every meal and snack. You can use sanitizer. Sanitizer can kill germs. But, wash your hand is the best. It gets things truly clean.
- Do not touch your face: Virus go to eyes, noses, and mouth. Avoid to touch your face will lower the spread of virus.
- Cough into your elbow. When you cough into your hands, the virus can be passed to other person’s hand. Cough into your elbow to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Eat fruits are rich in vitamin C. They are strawberry, blackberry, orange, cantaloupe. They improve your immune system.
- Drink hot tea to keep your body warm and fight again the infection.
- Get enough sleep will help the body fight infection. Recommend minimum of 8 hours each night over a 2 weeks period shows a greater protection against the cold, and the flu.
- Practice social distancing: if you do not feel well, stay inside.
- Take medication if prescribed by your doctors.
It is important to protect yourself and your beloved one from the cold and the flu.
Talk to your doctor or your pharmacist if you have any questions.
-APPE Student Class of 2021
As COVID19 continues spreading throughout the world. It is important to protect yourself and your beloved one from getting sick. We haven’t found vaccine for COVID19 yet, but we have flu shot. Flu season is coming. Flu shot will be very important to reduce flu infections. It can help reduce how bad you get the flu.
You can catch the flu anytime around the year, but the peak is in the fall and winter. You should watch for symptoms, such as: fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, etc. They are similar to the common cold. Body aches and high fever are not common in colds. It is also important to know that not everyone with flu has a fever. The flu can become a serious infection and many people die each year from it.
There are misconceptions about flu shots. Some people believe flu shots can cause flu. The flu shot cannot give you flu. It contains virus parts that were killed. You might feel achy or slightly feverish. It is a normal reaction to the vaccine. It should only last a day or two. There are flu shots for people who are allergic to eggs.
Get a flu shot this year to lower your chances of getting the flu and passing it on to others.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about the flu vaccine.
APPE Student – Class of 2021
It is easy to get confused when it comes to pick up an over the counter drugs at the drug store. You might hear about generic and brand name. Generic name is a name of the active ingredient. Brand name is the name given by the company that made the drugs.
You might ask yourself which one is better? Generic drugs work the same as brand name drugs.
The difference is the non-drug ingredients. They are used form into a pill, capsule, liquid, cream, etc. They are used to make the drugs taste better. They can add color to the drugs. They can help the body absorb the drugs. They can help you swallow the drugs easily.
These ingredients do not change how the drugs work on your body. Some people need to take brand name or certain generic. This could be because of an allergy to an ingredient.
Your friends and family might tell you to get the generic because it is cheaper. You might be worried the generic is cheaper because it is bad quality or will not work as good as the brand name. Generic drugs are safe to take and cheaper than brand name. The brand name drug is more expensive because it takes a long time to make. It also costs a lot of money to make the drugs for the first time.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
-APPE Class of 2021 Student.
Diabetic patients may have heard their doctor talk about their A1C test results. The patient may not understand what an A1C test is. And they may not know what lifestyle changes they can make to bring their A1C results into goal range.
What does an A1C tell me?
An A1C test helps tell you what your blood sugar levels have been like for the last 3 months. Blood sugar and blood glucose are often used to mean the same thing when talking about diabetes. An A1C test can help you and your doctor understand what your blood sugar levels are over a larger period of time. That larger period of time gives more information. That extra information allows the doctor to create a treatment plan that is better made for you.
How often do you need an A1C test?
When you are first found to have diabetes, your doctor will ask you to have an A1C test at least every 3 months until your A1C levels are within goal range. Once you and your doctor work together and reach the desired goal range you will be asked to have an A1C test at least every 6 months. For diabetic patients, the goal range for an A1C test is for it to be less than 6.5%, but this goal can be different based on other reasons your doctor may check for.
What does that goal of less than 6.5% mean?
That less than 6.5% goal is the amount of sugar present on your blood cells upon running the A1C test. The blood sample is looked at to see what number of blood cells are coated in glucose (sugar). If less than 6.5% of your blood cells are coated in sugar you have reached your A1C goal.
How do you reach an A1C goal of less than 6.5%?
One option is known as carb counting. Carb counting, carb is short for carbohydrate which is just the scientific category for sugar. Carbs are found in all types of food and drinks, even those you would not normally think to be sweet or have sugar in them like rice, bread, and potatoes. For example, when you eat potatoes, they don’t taste sweet, but when you eat them and they go into your stomach. From your stomach the pieces of potato get made smaller and smaller in your body until they are so small, they become sugar. That sugar can be found in your blood and be counted by the A1C test.
What is carb/sugar counting?
Carb counting sounds just as it is, counting carbs/sugars. You can look at food labels to see how many carbs/sugars there in your prepared foods. But for food like potatoes there’s no nutrition label. How do you find out how many carbs/sugars potatoes have? Well, you can look it up online. You can also ask your doctor for help. Find out how many carbs/sugars there are in the food you eat. Then you can keep a food diary of all the foods you ate that have carbs/sugars. At your next A1C test you and your doctor can look at your food diary. Your diary will help you see how the carbs/sugars you eat work with your A1C test. Changes to your diet or medicine can be made to help you reach your A1C goal.