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340B Care Makes Medication More Affordable

340B Care Makes Medication More Affordable

We hear a lot from our patients and on the news about how expensive medication is. Some of our patients must make a choice each month of whether to purchase groceries or medication. It’s a no-win situation that leaves us and you feeling frustrated. We offer all our patients the 340B card as a way to help manage the costs of medications. 

The 340B card has been around for almost thirty years. Congress enacted the card in 1992 as part of the Public Health Service Act to assist covered entities by “stretching scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.”

When you can afford your medications, we know you’re more likely to be compliant with your health management plan. That means, you’re less likely to need emergency care or hospital admissions. 

Other prescription assistance options

The 340B card makes a big difference for a lot of our patients, but what and how much it covers varies based on whether you have insurance and what it covers. Other patients rely on pharmaceutical company’s direct patient assistance programs to help pay out of pocket costs for medications.

Not every drug company offers a patient assistance program, and how much those programs cover varies. Some programs help patients cover large co-pays while others may cover the entire cost of the drug for uninsured patients.

Here’s the bottom line. If you’re struggling to pay for expensive medications, you are not alone. Medications for chronic illnesses can be expensive. Don’t let the expense keep you from taking care of your health. The longer you put off diagnosis and treatment of problems, the harder it will be to get your health under control. And the more long term damage your body will suffer. 

We can help you find ways to afford the medications you need. Whether it’s through the 340B program our clinic offers or assisting you with finding a patient assistance program to help cover the costs. If you are one of our patients, be honest with your provider about the hardship of paying for your medication. If you aren’t one of our patients, it’s easy to fix that. Call us at 662-282-4226 for your first appointment. 

4 Dangers to Skipping Your Child’s Wellness Check-Up

4 Dangers to Skipping Your Child's Wellness Check-Up

In the midst of COVID-19 quarantine, healthcare providers noticed a worrying trend. Parents, concerned about their children’s health, postponed their child’s wellness check-ups. Was that vaccination or height and weight check really worth exposing their family to a deadly virus? 

Thankfully in Mississippi, the virus has not been as rampant as in other parts of the country. As we slowly return to a new normal, it’s time for parents to reschedule those wellness check-ups. Here’s what happens if they don’t.

Resurgence of eradicated diseases

We were already seeing higher instances of measles and other diseases for which we have vaccines. Some parents chose not to vaccinate their children and others chose to alter the schedule of vaccines. We’ve written about the dangers of those practices before. What we’re seeing now is parents who would ordinarily have their child vaccinated on a schedule have skipped or pushed back those vaccinations. The last thing we want is measles or other diseases compounding the threat of the Coronavirus our healthcare system is fighting.

Vaccination schedules are based on the ages when children are most vulnerable to specific diseases. By skipping those vaccines, children are wide open for infection. If your child was scheduled for vaccinations that were postponed during the height of the Coronavirus, it’s time to schedule those vaccines and wellness check-ups now.

Delayed intervention for developmental delays

First-time parents are less likely to notice developmental delays because they have nothing for comparison. If Baby Tim isn’t crawling when he should or Little Jane isn’t starting to speak on time, your child’s pediatrician can help you decide if it’s time to sound the alarm or wait it out. 

Your pediatrician is your partner in your child’s health and growth. They’ve monitored hundreds (often thousands) of children over their career. In addition, they and their staff know the community resources available to you. If your child needs early intervention, they can help. Any parent of a child with developmental delays will tell you that early intervention is key to helping your child live their best life.

Unseen medical problems

Once a child reached school-age years, many parents forgot about yearly wellness exams even before the pandemic. Wellness exams for school-aged children include vision and hearing checks. These senses greatly affect your child’s quality of life, but you may not notice small difficulties. The wellness exams also include blood pressure checks along with height, weight, and BMI measurements.

Lack of partnership

As we mentioned earlier, your pediatrician is your partner in your child’s health. Their input during the early years of your child’s life is invaluable, but so is their contribution as your child gets older. They can help with difficult conversations around puberty, drug and alcohol use, and sex. No doctor is a substitute for parental involvement, but they can also help you find your way through these conversations. They can be another adult resource for your child as they age. Eventually, they will become an adult. By establishing healthy habits of yearly wellness visits and trust in their medical doctor, you’ll help your child continue a healthy life long after they’ve flown the nest.

If it’s time for your child’s wellness check-up or if you missed a check-up over the last few months, now’s the time to schedule your appointment. We’re keeping our offices sanitized and following the CDC’s best practices to protect you, your family, and our staff.

Light Up the Night: Fireworks Safety

Light Up the Night: Fireworks Safety

Something about fireworks in the summertime brings a community together. Every year thousands of people light up their own yards and streets with fireworks. In Mississippi, the stands are on every corner in the weeks leading up to the Fourth of July. We want your family to remember summer fireworks as a fun time, not that time dad or sister had to go to the ER. So before you light the fuse on your first Roman candle take a look at these fireworks safety standards.

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Pay attention to others lighting fireworks and steer clear of them
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person even as a joke
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket, the friction could set them off
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a glass or metal container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
  • Never use illegal fireworks (legal fireworks have the manufacturer’s name and direction on them; illegal fireworks do not)
  • Never try to make your own fireworks
  • Keep pets indoors to reduce the risk they will run away or injure themselves trying to escape the noise
  • Keep 500 feet from the launching pad
  • Don’t pick up the debris immediately after shooting fireworks. The debris may still be hot or may reignite or explode at any time.
  • Teach your children to stop, drop, and roll if they are hit by a firework and their clothing catches fire.

In case of injuries

For eye injuries:

  • Don’t rub or touch the eye
  • Don’t try to wash the eye or apply ointment
  • Seek medical attentional immediately

For burns:

  • Carefully clip any clothing away from the burn.
  • Make sure the burn is clean and dry.
  • If the burn is larger than the palm of your hand or affects the face, ears, toes or fingers, seek medical attention. 
  • Apply cool water but avoid soaking the burn in ice. 
  • Over-the-counter pain medications can be used to treat pain from the burn. 
  • Small burns can be treated at home with antibiotic ointment or aloe. 
  • Seek medical attention if the burns don’t heal.

Herb Garden Yields Multiple Health Benefits

Herb Garden Yields Multiple Health Benefits

In the South, everyone knows someone who has a garden, even if they don’t have one themselves. Getting started with a vegetable garden can be a daunting task, especially if you have a small yard or pets who like to dig. If you’re looking for an easy way to start gardening with optimal results consider starting with an herb garden.

Health Benefits

Herbs themselves offer health benefits. Sage may improve memory. Peppermint is known to relieve IBS symptoms. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory. And basil can improve your immunity. 

In addition to the direct benefits of herbs, gardening provides its own benefits. The physical work of gardening counts toward your exercise quota for the day. It also improves mental well-being and relieves stress.

Saves Money

Have you bought herbs at the grocery store lately? Whether you purchase herbs dried or fresh, they can cost a pretty penny. Having fresh herbs right outside your door allows you the benefit without the cost. Herbs may be grown easily through seeds, which are generally inexpensive. Many herbs grow in plentiful amounts which allows you to share with neighbors and friends.

Easy to grow in small spaces

Herbs look as pretty as some shrubs and greenery. You can plant them in front or side flower beds even if you don’t have room for a garden in the back. Apartment dwellers can plant in pretty pots, which take up much less space than a truck patch garden.

Learn something

Growing plants from seeds teaches us all something. We can learn about different varieties of plants and how they grow best. Some herbs like well-drained soil while others prefer to keep it wet. Researching different varieties of herbs and how they grow best is a great exercise for the entire family.

You can also learn new recipes and which herbs go best with certain dishes. Being able to grow your own food gives you some independence regardless of how the shelves at the grocery store look. 

A starting point

The most common and easiest herbs to grow in pots include:

  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Bay
  • Parsley

Don’t stop here. Research different varieties of herbs or which herbs go best with your favorite dishes. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try growing something different. You might find a new favorite.

Boost Your Immune System this Summer

Boost Your Immune System This Summer

The sun’s shining and businesses are starting to reopen. While we’re relieved our numbers of COVID19 patients hasn’t overwhelmed our hospitals and medical system, we continue to be concerned about the threat of the virus. The majority of the most serious cases have happened in older adults with pre-existing conditions. This means keeping ourselves healthy has never been more important.

The best way to protect ourselves from any germs is to wash your hands using soap and water for twenty minutes and stay away from people who are sick. We can also protect others by wearing a mask when we go in public in case we’re the ones who are sick and don’t know it.

In addition to those important steps, we can boost our immune system with some pretty basic steps.

Eat Well

Our immune system comes from our gut. So, it is especially important during these times of reopening our world that we incorporate foods that boost our immune system. These foods and vitamins include:

  1. Protein – this helps with healing and recovery so make sure each meal or snack has a good source such as lean meats, eggs, seafood, poultry, nuts, seeds, soy products, etc
  2. Vitamin A – prevents infection. Foods that contain Vit A are sweet potatoes, broccoli, and carrots.
  3. Vitamin C – fruits like oranges, red bell pepper, etc contain vitamin c which helps build up the immune system.
  4. Vitamin E – foods such as cereal, almonds, and peanut butter contain this vitamin and is good to help with building immunity
  5. Zinc – helps with would healing. Foods such as milk, lean meats, and whole grains contain zinc.
  6. Other vitamins to help with immunity are B6, B12, Copper, Folate, Selinium, and Iron. These come in a variety of different foods. This is why it is so important to strive for a balanced plate of whole grain, vegetables, and lean proteins with each meal and snack. 

Sleep Soundly

A National Institutes of Health study shows adults who sleep fewer than 6 hours every night are more prone to illness. Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Teens need 8-10 hours of sleep and children up to 14 hours of sleep. So these long days with no school where your teen sleeps in until almost noon may be helping him stay healthy.

Some environmental factors which we can control that affect sleep include:

  1. Alcohol (which may help you fall asleep initially but is more likely to disrupt your sleep later and keep you from getting in the hours you need)
  2. Heavy meals
  3. Nicotine
  4. Caffeine
  5. Blue lights from electronics

We can’t control all the factors that lead to a poor night’s sleep. Stress, tension, anxiety, and depression can all interrupt our sleep. And we can agree there’s plenty of all those emotions to go around right now. If you’re struggling with these issues talk to a counselor. Finding strategies to cope with stress and depression will not only help you sleep more soundly but it can boost your immune system as well.

Some illnesses such as acid reflux or allergies and sinus problems may also inhibit sound sleep. You’ll want to talk to your medical provider about treatment not only for your sleep but for your long term health.

Water it down

Water is important to our overall health which is important for our immune system. See how that works? We all need to drink enough to make our urine pale yellow. Let your body be your guide. When you’re thirsty drink until you aren’t thirsty anymore. 

Exercise, especially outside in warm weather, will use up our water stores more quickly. Keeping a bottle of water on hand during and after exercise is an important part of staying hydrated.

The internet has plenty of suggestions on how much water you need to drink every day. As long as you are staying hydrated–the pale yellow urine will let you know if you are–you’re doing great. 

Move it, Move it

Our body systems weren’t built to be sedentary. We’re made to work and exercise regularly. Especially for those of us who are used to working hard but have been laid off this sudden shift can be hard on our bodies. Plan some time to exercise. Walk around the neighborhood. Hike where you can observe social distancing rules. Ride your bike. Plant a garden. We can do a lot without fancy gym equipment.

Many exercise gurus and gyms are offering virtual workouts. Find one and join in. 

In addition to making our bodies healthier, exercise can help alleviate stress.

We can’t offer a fool-proof way to protect yourselves against the Coronavirus. If we could we’d all be back at work with no concerns by now. We can help you create a healthier body so you can fight back against all types of illnesses including the current COVID-19 crisis.

No Need to Blush: Rosacea Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

No Need to Blush: Rosacea Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Nobody likes to talk about rashes, but when the breakout affects your face it’s hard to hide. Rosacea, a skin condition that involves red, pus-filled bumps on the face, can strike at any age, but it’s more common to affect light-skinned women over the age of 30. Because the condition is usually limited to the face, it can affect a person’s self-confidence, lead to embarrassment, isolation, and depression.

How does Rosacea start?

Rosacea often begins with easy flushing or blushing of the face before bumps appear. The condition includes three subtypes, each with a unique set of symptoms. Although no one knows the exact cause of rosacea, patients who have a family history of it are at a higher risk. Some doctors believe environmental factors like the following could contribute to a flare:

  • eating spicy foods
  • eating items that contain the compound cinnamaldehyde, such as cinnamon, chocolate, tomatoes, and citrus
  • drinking hot coffee or tea
  • having the intestinal bacteria Helicobacter pylori
  • a skin mite called demodex and the bacterium it carries, Bacillus oleronius
  • the presence of cathelicidin (a protein that protects the skin from infection)

Types of Rosacea

Sub-type1

Includes facial redness and blushing on the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin

Visibly broken blood vessels

Skin may be sensitive and swollen or it may itch and burn

Dry, rough or scaly skin

Sub-type 2

Acne-like breakouts that tend to come and go

Oily skin

Sensitive skin that may burn and sting

Visibly broken blood vessels

Raised patches of skin

Sub-type 3

A person usually exhibits symptoms of one of the other sub-types before this sub-type appears. It’s rare and happens more often in men than in women.

Skin takes on a bumpy texture

Skin thickens most commonly on the nose but may also thicken on forehead and cheeks

Oily skin

Pores look large

Visibly broken blood vessels

Sub-type 4

Rosacea can affect the eyes. When it does a person will have one or more of these symptoms:

Eyes feel gritty, burn or sting, may be very dry or itch

Eyes are sensitive to light

Visibly broken blood vessel in eye

Cysts form on the eyelid

Vision impairment

Why should I seek treatment?

Untreated rosacea can lead to permanent redness and other skin changes. Your doctor or dermatologist can help you reduce and clear the signs of a flare-up and reduce the chances you’ll experience another flare. You’ll probably talk about triggers that cause your rosacea to become worse and how to protect your skin from sun damage which can make rosacea worse.

If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider or a dermatologist. And if you want to learn more about rosacea, the American Academy of Dermatology has a great section dedicated just to this issue.

Delayed Vaccine Schedule Contributes to Resurgence of Preventable Illnesses

Delayed Vaccine Schedule Contributes to Resurgence of Preventable Illnesses

In 2018, the U.S. began to see a resurgence fo once eradicated illnesses like chicken-pox and measles. These vaccine-preventable diseases cropped up more commonly in areas with fewer immunized children. Parents who choose not to immunize their children may be in the minority, however, another one-third of parents are choosing to delay vaccination. Instead, they are following their own timeline.

A study published in Pediatrics magazine found parents based their decision to delay vaccination on their own research versus their doctor’s recommendations. As a result, the United States is seeing a return of diseases that had once been eradicated in this country. 

Delaying vaccination opens children to preventable diseases when they are most susceptible to the negative impact of those diseases. 

We encourage open communication with our doctor and nurse practitioners about your concerns around the recommended vaccine schedule. Your provider can guide you to additional reputable resources and help you make the best choices to protect your child and your family. We support childhood vaccinations and the recommended schedule, but medicine should always be a two-way conversation. Your concerns are important to us. 

Our clinic offers the full schedule of childhood vaccines for children covered by Medicaid including kindergarten vaccines. Please call us for an appointment for your child’s well-child visit, concerns about your child’s health, and to schedule vaccines.

Managing Diabetes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Managing Diabetes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

As if our patients with Type 2 Diabetes didn’t have enough to worry about, they’re now listed in the category at the highest risk of complications from the current Coronavirus pandemic. Following the CDC guidelines to wash your hands frequently, maintain a six-foot distance from people when you must go out, and staying home as much as possible is even more important for these patients. We’re working with our diabetes patients to ensure they maintain a great quality of care while protecting their health during these difficult days.

Resources

The American Diabetes Association put together some great resources on preparing to stay home long-term during the Coronavirus pandemic. They also offer guidance on how to take action if you do become sick. You can access that information here.

Reassurances

One of the ADA’s recommendations is to have extra refills on your insulin and to always have enough insulin on hand for the week ahead. These instructions can cause financial hardship. Some people also worry it will cause a shortage of insulin supplies. Three of the largest insulin providers in the US made statements earlier this month that their supply is stable. If for some reason your pharmacy doesn’t have enough of your insulin on hand, ask them to check with other area pharmacies if you can’t wait.

Refills

Eli Lilly announced earlier this month that they would cap costs for most monthly insulin refills for commercially insured or uninsured patients at $35. We aren’t sure at this time if other insulin companies will follow suit. Buying insulin and other diabetic supplies and medication isn’t cheap. Patients of Mantachie Rural Health Care can request a 340B pharmacy card from our office at the time of their next appointment. If you’re an established patient, you can call our office to learn more. This card reduces prescription costs for thousands of medications. How much your cost is reduced depends on your insurance coverage and the medication.

We want to keep all our patients healthy and thriving during these uncertain times. We’re passing along as much information as possible to keep you updated. If you have questions about your diabetes treatment or management of other chronic illnesses, call our office for an appointment.

Are Homemade Face Masks Effective Against Coronavirus?

Are Homemade Face Masks Effective Against Coronavirus

When the Coronavirus emerged in the United States earlier this year and even as cases soared in March, the CDC did not recommend average Americans wear a face mask. They made this recommendation due to a short supply of N95 and surgical face masks which were needed by medical personnel on the frontlines of the pandemic. In early April, however, the CDC did an about-face and suggested all Americans wear a face mask when in public.

Medical grade face masks continue to be in short supply, and we encourage our patients and community members to reserve those masks for medical personnel. While homemade face masks aren’t ideal, they are a better option than heading to the grocery store without a face mask at all. We want our patients to be safe and healthy, which starts with having good information. Here’s how you can protect yourself best from the spread of COVID-19.

  • Stay home except for essential travel to pick up groceries or prescriptions, attend a doctor’s appointment, or go to work at an essential business. 
  • Keep six-feet from other people when you must go out. Social distancing reduces the risks you’ll be hit by virus-infected spray if someone near you coughs or sneezes or talks to you.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash with soap and water frequently, especially if you must go out. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not convenient. 
  • Don’t touch your face. The virus spreads when it enters your body through your mouth or nose. If you have the virus on your hands, you’ll ingest it when you touch your face.
  • Wear a mask if you must go out in public.

How Masks Protect You

They don’t. Masks you wear aren’t for your protection they are for the protection of those around you. Research shows that some people may spread the virus up to 48 hours (2 days) before they show symptoms. Another 25% of people who have the virus show no symptoms at all. Wearing a mask keeps you from spreading a virus you don’t know you have to other people by catching the droplets of virus-laden spit as it escapes your mouth when you talk or cough.

Masks protect you when everyone else wears one.

They may also protect all us by becoming an ever-present reminder of our current pandemic. Seeing others wearing a mask reminds us to keep six feet away from others and to be aware of our personal hygiene.

Best Material for Your Homemade Face Masks

Nothing protects as well as medical-grade masks, but the average American doesn’t need a medical-grade mask, so we’re looking for suitable alternatives. After all, some protection is better than no protection at all. Research testing the best materials for homemade face masks studied breathability and filtration of multiple materials. The test found cotton material like bedsheets or T-shirts made the best masks.

Not all material is made equal. Researchers suggest holding material up to a bright light. If you can see through the material it’s not thick enough. You may also want to double up the material and/or add a coffee filter to the inside. 

The CDC offers several mask patterns for both seamstresses and those of us who can barely thread a needle. Other mask patterns may be found across the internet. 

Dangers of Homemade Face Masks

Masks only catch a certain amount of virus particles. They aren’t a fail-safe option. If we cling to our mask as our only protection and relax other measures we risk a rise in infection rates. We must continue to stay home as much as possible, especially if we are sick. And we have to keep washing our hands, stop touching our faces, and keep maintaining our distance from other people. 

Homemade masks can become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, including the Coronavirus. If your mask catches the virus spray, then you touch the outside of the mask, the virus is now on your hands. To make cloth masks more effective, they need to be washed after every use and changed out if they become wet during use. Remove the mask from your face by the ear bands or strings. Throw disposable masks away after one use and put reusable masks in the wash.

Have you made homemade masks? Show us a picture in the comments.

Under Control Asthma Best Defense Against Coronavirus Complications

Under Control Asthma Best Defense Against Coronavirus Complications

Both the CDC and American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology list asthma sufferers at high risk of experiencing the most severe effects of the coronavirus. While no studies have shown asthma patients are at an increased risk of contracting the virus, the illness affects the lungs making it hard to breathe. Without available research, doctors have placed patients with mild or moderate asthma in the “at risk” group and those with severe asthma in the “extremely vulnerable” group.

The best way to prevent severe effects from the virus is to avoid contracting the virus. Stay home if at all possible

If you must go out for groceries or medications stay at least six feet from other people.

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue, then throw it away.

For asthma patients, now is not the time to slack up on daily medications. Controlled asthma reduces the chances of asthma attacks and complications. Continue taking medication as prescribed by your doctor and avoid asthma triggers.

Patients also need to ensure their rescue inhaler is not expired. If needed, your provider can work with your pharmacy and insurance company to ensure you have on hand the medication needed for prolonged shelter-in-place orders. Keep 30 days of over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen, in stock as well.

In addition to having a supply of your asthma medication, you’ll need to ensure your asthma action plan is updated. This plan includes your peak flow numbers when you are well for comparison should you become ill. Your asthma action plan includes steps to take should your asthma become worse due to exposure to asthma triggers, coronavirus or other viruses.

Staying well and boosting a strong immune system is our best defense against complications from the coronavirus.


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