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RefillWise Blog

Read about member success stories, tips on saving on your prescriptions, and other exciting healthcare news.

How to Keep Your Mouth Healthy When Medications Make It Tough

by Jen Simpson October 11, 2017 Healthy Living

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If you’re looking for a good excuse to chat about your teeth, you get a free pass this October. Known officially as National Dental Hygiene Month, the month-long celebration offers the opportunity to behave like a dentist or let someone know just how important it is to floss. However, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffer from dry mouth, clinically referred to as xerostomia, the simple act of talking or extending your tongue can range from mildly unpleasant to downright uncomfortable. The good news is, xerostomia symptoms are fairly easily treated.

What Causes Xerostomia

Occasionally, excessive dry mouth has no known cause, but there are many things that can stop the production of saliva and result in it. The condition is seen most often in certain demographic groups, such as seniors. Specific medications are linked to it, as well as several other medical conditions.

Common Medications Linked to Xerostomia

  • Antibiotics

  • Antidepressants

  • Antihistamines

  • Anxiety Medications

  • Blood Pressure Medications

  • Decongestants

  • Diuretics

  • Overactive Bladder Medications

  • Parkinson’s Disease Medications

  • Muscle Relaxers

  • Pain Medications

Common Medical Conditions Linked to Xerostomia

  • Alzheimer's Disease

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Diabetes

  • Head or Neck Cancer (while receiving radiation therapy)

  • Lupus

  • Parkinson’s Disease

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Sjögren Disease

  • Stress

  • Stroke

Why Treatment is Essential

Naturally, those who suffer from xerostomia generally want to correct the problem because their mouth feels uncomfortable or because they want to eliminate some of the other symptoms associated with it. However, the condition can lead to much bigger problems, such as oral infections and tooth decay. This is because saliva keeps the mouth healthy. It regulates pH and helps move food particles away from the teeth, and, perhaps most importantly, it bathes teeth and oral tissue in minerals and good bacteria. Without saliva, the bad bacteria that causes tooth decay can sometimes thrive, the minerals that teeth soak up to stay strong deplete, and tissues lose their protective coating, creating the perfect environment for decay, tissue damage, and infections.

Treatment for Xerostomia

  1. Talk to your doctor. It’s important for a medical professional to evaluate your condition, identify its cause, and determine the best possible treatment for your needs. Your physician may recommend that you switch medications or recommend an alternate treatment. For example, if your condition is worsened by mouth breathing, your doctor may investigate causes like allergies or sleep apnea.

  2. See your dentist twice a year or more. Regular dental care is absolutely necessary if you’re in a high-risk category for decay. Most people should visit twice per year, but your dentist may suggest you visit three or four times if you have specific medical conditions or have a high decay rate. Moreover, your dentist may recommend fluoride to help prevent cavities or another type of mineralizing agent to strengthen your teeth if you’re at risk for decay, in addition to treating the xerostomia.

  3. Use alcohol-free oral hygiene products. If you’re a fan of mouthwash, select an alcohol-free variety. There are many over the counter dry mouth products, such as mouthwash, gel, lozenges and spray that moisturize and protect your mouth.

  4. Suck on sugar-free candy and mints. This increases the production of saliva. Look for something containing the sugar substitute xylitol for its added cavity-fighting benefits, but use it in moderation because it can cause diarrhea in some people with sensitivities.

  5. Cut out tobacco and spicy foods. These can worsen xerostomia.

  6. Drink lots of water. Naturally, staying hydrated will reduce the symptoms associated with dry mouth.

  7. Practice good oral hygiene. To stave off cavities, be sure to brush and floss after every meal.

  8. Run a humidifier. Adding moisture to the air will help keep your oral tissues moist.

RefillWise is Your Partner in Fighting Xerostomia

When consulting with your healthcare provider, know that RefillWise can make prescription options needed to treat conditions and symptoms commonly linked with xerostomia more affordable. Our free card saves 40% on average at all chain and most independent pharmacies. Stick your tongue out at xerostomia. Sign up for your free RefillWise pharmacy discount card or text JOIN to 22822 to instantly save on prescriptions while earning cash rewards for over the counter remedies and other necessities right away.

Mental Health Awareness: How to Overcome Stigma and Get Help

by Jen Simpson October 2, 2017 Healthy Living

Did you know that one-in-five Americans suffers from a mental illness? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), more than 18% of the population (or about 42 million people) live with an anxiety disorder and nearly 7% (or 16 million people) suffer from major depression. This is much more than a case of the blues or simply feeling down, and it has a massive impact on the lives of the people it touches, as well as on their loved ones.

October 2 - October 8 is Mental Illness Awareness Week

If you or someone you care about is struggling with a mental health condition, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Chances are, there is someone in your office, your classroom, or on your street who is coping too, though there is also a good chance one of you isn’t getting treatment. Only about 40% of adults and 50% of children receive the help they need. You deserve to live a healthy and full life. It’s time to get help.

Shake Off the Stigma

You are not your illness. Many people feel as if their illness is their identity. It’s important to remember that this is a medical condition you didn’t ask for; the same as diabetes, a broken limb, or even cancer. It does not define you.

Your illness is not a reflection of your character or worth. Several conditions, especially depression, can make people feel as if they’re not worthy or fill them with self-doubt. Recognize that this is a symptom and that it will fade when you get treatment.

Join a support group. Surrounding yourself with people who understand your condition can help you navigate the waters of treatment and remind you that you’re not alone.

Talk openly about mental health. We’ve come a long way as a society in terms of how we view and treat mental illness, but firsthand accounts and openness will further reduce the stigma.

Get Help

Find a mental health professional who will work with you. Some help is better than none, but general practitioners do not have the same training as psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors. Whenever possible, seek out a specialist who truly understands your condition so that you get the best possible care.

Take your medications as prescribed. Most mental health medications require regular doses at specific intervals and they take time to build up to full efficiency. Always take your medications as directed, and talk to your doctor if you have side effects or don’t feel like it’s working. You may need a different dose or type of medication. If you can’t afford the medication you’ve been prescribed, consider signing up for a free RefillWise pharmacy discount card.

Talk to your boss or school counselor. Just having people know what you’re dealing with can be a huge relief. However, school counselors can put you in touch with resources and support groups as well, and your boss may be able to provide accommodations.

Take advantage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, if need be. People with mental illnesses are protected under the ADA, and you have a right to reasonable accommodations from your employer in most cases. If those accommodations allow you to live a more normal life or make it possible to get treatment, make use of them – it’s your legal right to do so.

Mental health issues cannot be cured overnight and, in some cases, require a lifetime of treatment. However, you are worth the time and investment. Get the help you need to live a full and happy life.

Sign Up for RefillWise

The RefillWise card offers a wealth of benefits, including discounts on common medications, such as antidepressants and those used to treat addictions. If the cost of prescriptions is preventing you from getting the help you need, sign up to receive your free RefillWise card today.

How RefillWise can help you make the most of your HSA

by Catherine Cuellar September 25, 2017 How to Use

The future of health coverage in the U.S. is uncertain, but the likelihood that Health Savings Accounts will play a more prominent role in the future seems likely. As our friends at freshbenies report, you don't have to know whether or not the ACA may go away to prepare for life with an HSA.

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One of the biggest advantages to using a free RefillWise card is that, in addition to being free, it does not drive up insurance premiums. If you don't have insurance, it guarantees a lower price for prescription medicine and durable medical equipment, like nebulizers, diabetes test strips, and crutches. In some cases, the price you pay for prescriptions using RefillWise may be less expensive than a copay with insurance. RefillWise works at all major chain pharmacies and most independent pharmacies, and we're the only pharmacy discount provider sharing our profits with our members by offering you cash rewards — $5 the first time you use your free membership card to fill a prescription, then $5 after every 10th prescription.

Once you sign up via email or text or register online, you immediately receive cash rewards. You also have access to your prescription history, regardless of which pharmacies you used to fill them. We encourage our members to use one card for all the family members they care for so rewards will rack up even faster. But when it comes time to determine how much to contribute to your Health Savings Account, RefillWise offers another nifty advantage: a record of how much your family spends on prescriptions. If you have the option to contribute to an HSA pre-tax, this will help you calculate how much to chip in so your tax burden is as low as possible, all the while maximizing your take home pay and savings. Use your RefillWise account history to determine if the amount of money you put into your HSA is enough to allow you to afford needed prescriptions.

5 Funny Ways Your Parents Change as They Age

by Jen Simpson September 7, 2017 Senior Living

“You can't help getting older,” George Burns once remarked, “but you don't have to get old.” Indeed, aging is not an option, and with it comes a slew of new adventures. If you’re an adult child of someone in or nearing their golden years, you can expect some awkward, funny, and downright silly moments brought on by the changes that come with age.

1) They Can’t Hear You in a Restaurant

(But They’ll Still Hear Your Private Phone Conversations from the Next Room)

Hearing diminishes with age, but perhaps not in the ways one would expect. It has to do with the fine hair cells inside the ear that help translate sound waves into sound. When those die off or diminish, hearing starts to go. It’s very common for seniors to have trouble hearing when there’s background noise because they can’t isolate the sound of your voice, even if you’re sitting at the same table as them in a restaurant. However, it’s almost a guarantee they’ll hear every single word of your phone call whether you step outside or into the next room. Don’t rely on the distance to save you from questions about your love life, job, or anything else you want to keep quiet. If there’s no background noise, they’ll hear your conversation just fine.

2) They Can’t Remember How to Set the DVR

(But They Remember All Your Embarrassing Childhood Moments)

Sir Norman Wisdom once explained, “As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can't remember the other two…” It’s not all memories that go, though. It’s the short-term memory loss that gets most people. That’s why you can show Mom or Dad how to set the DVR one day and have them ask you how to do it again the next. The same is true for things like scheduling appointments, remembering where they put their keys, or something really important they called to tell you. On the flip side, long-term memory stays intact, so they will remember the time you tripped over your own feet on stage and how red you turned every time they mentioned your first crush.

3) They Have Strict Rules You Need to Follow

(But Their Grandkids Can Do No Wrong)

Raising you was a chore. They knew they needed to produce a child who was ready to take on the world and be successful, so there were rules...and lots of them. Those rules made you what you are today. They still have lofty expectations for you, but their relationship with their grandkids is different. Candy before dinner? Sure thing! Running and playing baseball inside the house? Sounds like fun! Don’t question this one; you won’t win. Just be glad they’re enjoying their grandkids.

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4) They Won’t Laugh at the Same Things You Do

(But They’ll Laugh Even More at the Little Things)

Researchers aren’t quite sure why, but our sense of humor changes as we age. There’s a good chance you’ll still snicker at someone’s misfortune, crude jokes that target someone, or at self-depreciating humor, but your folks probably don’t. Seniors tend to laugh more at silly things, inconsistency, and wit.

5) They’ll Be Incredibly Open About the Things You Don’t Want to Hear

(But Mum’s the Word When They Need Help)

You will hear about their medical ailments and bathroom behaviors in great detail, often around the dinner table. Considering their hearing is going too, the people at the next table will hear as well. (It’s ok, they probably have aging parents as well, or will someday.) At the same time, autonomy tends to diminish with age, and the more you pick up the slack, the more likely they are to avoid tipping you off when they need help with something because they’ll want to try to manage it alone. It’s a lot like the inverse of your teenage years. Take heed with this one and do your best to create a balance that preserves their ability to make decisions and tackle tasks on their own as much as possible. It’ll help ensure they do come to you when they need assistance.

Get Help When You Need It

Although some of the things associated with aging can be humorous to seniors and their family, there are times when things like memory loss and medical issues are a genuine concern, and these should be addressed by a physician. With the help of prescription medicines and medical equipment, people are living richer, fuller lives, and living longer than ever before. RefillWise celebrates this, and helps make it easier for people to afford the things that enhance their lives. With our prescription discount card, members save an average of 40%, and can also receive discounts on medical equipment like canes which allows them to remain mobile and autonomous longer. Moreover, those who obtain a RefillWise card are automatically enrolled in our rewards program, providing gift cards that can be used on anything from groceries to medicine, personal care items, and even entertainment. If you use your RefillWise card to pick up prescriptions for them or other family members in your household, you will earn cash rewards even faster. Your parents can text JOIN to 22822 or you can use your email to sign your parents up on our site for their free RefillWise pharmacy discount card today.

7 Essential Tips for Staying Healthy this Summer

by Jen Simpson July 12, 2017 Healthy Living

Summer is here, and with it comes fun, such as barbecues and swimming. As you gear up for the season, don’t forget to include these healthy tips.

1) Hydrate

You’ve probably heard that you need to drink eight glasses of water per day in order to be fully hydrated. That’s not really true. Oddly enough, it’s a statistic created with no medical basis, but we do know people need water – and lots of it. If it helps, you can aim for eight glasses, but really all you need to do is drink when you’re thirsty or hungry. People often forget, don’t listen to their bodies, sweat more during summer months, or drink caffeinated beverages, which can cause dehydration — and that’s where the trouble starts. Your skin, brain, digestive system, muscles, bones, and just about every part of you works best when you keep up the fluids. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times to sip throughout the day. If you’re not a fan of water by itself, try adding a slice of citrus fruit or drinking it chilled with ice.

2) Block Out the Sun

It may seem counter-intuitive to add more layers when it’s warm out, but your skin needs protection. Lightweight clothing and sunblock are important, even if you aren’t planning to spend much time outside. Wide-brimmed hats can help keep you cool and protect your face as well. You’ll also want to keep your eyes protected, as UV rays are known to cause cataracts. Throw on some sunglasses, too!

3) Stay Indoors if You’re Heat or Photo Sensitive

Children, the elderly, and pets can be particularly vulnerable to the heat. There are medical conditions and medications that may make you sensitive to heat or sun exposure. If you fit into one of these categories or care for someone who does, stay inside as much as possible. The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. tend to be most grueling, so try to plan your activities around the hottest part of the day.

4) Bring Color to Your Dinner Plate

Some of the best produce found all year is available during summer months. This is a great time to stock up on berries and other colorful items from your local farmer’s market. Keep in mind that color is usually associated with different health benefits. For example, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are generally known for having lots of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Purple produce tends to be high in Vitamin C and Vitamin K. You can also gobble up lots of Vitamin K, Vitamin B, and Vitamin E when you go green. Check out “Eat a Colorful Variety Every Day” for fun ways to add variety to your plate.

5) Practice Water Safety

Watch kids around water, even if they aren’t planning to take a dip, and be sure to have life jackets on hand for the little ones. If you haven’t been certified in CPR lately, take a refresher class. Better yet, enroll the whole family, so everyone will be protected.

6) Exercise Cautiously

You shouldn’t give up fitness during the summer months, but it is a good idea to reschedule your outdoor activities for early morning or evening. You can also exercise indoors by enrolling in a gym or participating in wellness activities like Wii Fit or table tennis.

7) Travel with Care

If you’re leaving the country, you may require vaccinations to go to specific destinations. Vaccines may be required weeks or months before your trip, and the CDC recommends taking prescription medication with you to some places. During summer months, the risk of exposure to ticks and mosquitos goes up, too. Both carry diseases, so wear bug repellent, drain stagnant water, and avoid areas where pests are active.

Stay Well with Help from RefillWise

Our prescription discount cards can make purchasing prescriptions and medical equipment you may need to pack for your next vacation more affordable. Sign up for your free RefillWise prescription discount card or text JOIN to 22822 to start saving an average of 40% at the pharmacy today.

Read about member success stories, tips on saving on your prescriptions, and other exciting healthcare news.

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