HEALTH

ACAAI: Five factors that can help delay allergy relief this spring

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — In preparation for spring, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology on Friday noted that avoiding certain fruits and vegetables, installing the proper air filters, closing the windows, filling any allergy prescriptions and consulting with an allergist can all prevent the delay of allergy symptom relief for more than 35 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies.

“People with spring allergies often don’t realize how many things can aggravate their allergy symptoms so they just muddle along and hope for an early end to the season,” stated Myron Zitt, past president of the ACAAI. “But there’s no reason to suffer. A few simple adjustments in habits and treatment can make springtime much more enjoyable.”

Following are the five factors ACAAI identified that can aggravate suffering:

  1. Fruits and vegetables — Many people with seasonal allergies also suffer from pollen food allergy syndrome (also called oral allergy syndrome), a cross-reaction between the similar proteins in certain types of fruits, vegetables (and some nuts) and the allergy-causing pollen. One-in-5 people with grass allergies and as many as 70% of people with birch tree allergies suffer from the condition, which can make the lips tingle and swell and the mouth itch. The trick is to determine which problematic produce is causing the symptoms and then avoid eating it, although that fruit or vegetable might be able to be eaten if it’s peeled, cooked or canned. If the allergen is either a birch or alder tree, the reaction might come out of consuming celery, cherries or apples. If it’s grass allergies, then tomatoes, potatoes or peaches may be the trigger. Up to 9% of people have reactions that affect a part of their body beyond their mouth, and 1.7% can suffer a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock;

  2. Using the wrong air filter — Using an air filter to keep the home pollen-free is a good idea, but be sure it’s the right kind. Studies show inexpensive central furnace/air conditioning filters and ionic electrostatic room cleaners aren’t helpful — and in fact, the latter releases ions, which can be an irritant. Whole-house filtration systems do work, but only if the filters are changed regularly;

  3. Opening windows — When windows are open, the pollen can drift inside, settle into the carpet, furniture and car upholstery, and continue to torture the allergy sufferer. So keep the house and car windows shut during allergy season;

  4. Procrastinating — Don’t put off or do without medication this spring. Instead, get the jump on allergies by taking any allergy medication before the season gets under way; and

  5. Avoiding the allergist — Seeing an allergist can help determine just what’s triggering symptoms, and that can lead to a more effective treatment protocol.

 


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HEALTH

Church & Dwight releases pair of videos as part of National Condom Month

BY Michael Johnsen

PRINCETON, N.J. — Church & Dwight on Thursday launched content aimed at giving Americans the facts about condoms as part of the National Condom Month designation for February.

Featuring Trojan condoms, C&D has partnered with sexual health experts and organizations, including the American Social Health Association, to develop a pair of videos that provide consumers with the accurate information they need to make responsible decisions.

In "Unrolled: ‘How Trojan Brand Condoms Are Made,’" the video provides an inside look at what goes into the creation and testing of condoms in the manufacturing process. The other video features a tutorial on how to best use a condom.


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Health Mart introduces private-label supplements, Internet research tool

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — Health Mart, a network of more than 2,900 independently owned pharmacies, on Wednesday announced the introduction of Health Mart-branded vitamins and nutritional supplements, the latest addition to its line of private-label, over-the-counter healthcare products.

Health Mart also is launching the 2012 Vitamin Finder — available at Healthmart.com — in conjunction with the Health Mart-branded vitamins. The Vitamin Finder is an Internet based, personalized wellness-driven vitamin-recommendation tool that leverages the fact that 79% of consumers use the Internet to research nutrition products. This new tool will provide consumers with accessibility to make smart choices on quality Health Mart items, and strengthen their relationship with their Health Mart pharmacist.

“As more and more Americans choose to take control of their health, vitamins are becoming an increasingly important part of their daily routines,” said Matt Lowe, VP retail marketing at McKesson, which operates the Health Mart chain. “Vitamin consumers are savvy shoppers that read and compare labels. We are excited to offer a full line of high-quality vitamins and supplements and expect the new Vitamin Finder to be a valuable tool to help Health Mart customers find the vitamin products that most closely meet their needs in terms of formula, count size and dosage form.”

Health Mart launched the private label with diabetes care products in November 2011 and recently added smoking-cessation and analgesics products. The distinctive Health Mart private-label package design features a white lab coat combined with the iconic mortar and pestle to reinforce the personalized patient care that Health Mart customers already receive from their trusted local Health Mart pharmacist. To help community pharmacies build closer customer relationships and enhance the pharmacist’s image as a healthcare provider, additional healthcare categories will be added throughout 2012.

Citing SymphonyIRI Group, Health Mart defined vitamins as a $3.3 billion category that has grown nearly 5% over the past year. Store-brand vitamins have reached $0.9 billion in sales, approximately 26% of category sales. The largest segments in the category and for store brands are multivitamins, bone/joint, letters and h


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