Steps to Ensure Medication Safety

Taking prescription and over-the-counter medications can be confusing and even dangerous if you are already taking supplements or other prescription drugs or supplements without your physician’s knowledge. Compliance with directions for taking each medication is critical, and following these simple steps and procedures can help prevent mistakes, potential overdoses or negative drug interactions.

  • Always accept the offer to speak to a pharmacist on each new prescription (Pharmacists are required to provide counseling upon request by the patient and are required to make an offer to counsel on each new prescription).
  • Look at the label
    • Is this your medication?
    • Does your name appear on the label?
    • Is it the right medication?
  • Open the bottle
    • If it looks different ask the pharmacist why
    • Be familiar with both brand and generic names of your medication
    • Know the size, shape and color of your medication
  • Be sure you know the purpose and dose of your medication, how often you should be taking it and whether you should take it with or without food.
  • Ask if there are any side effects, or whether you should avoid any activities, foods or other medications (like supplements or over-the-counter remedies).
  • Ask what you should do if you miss a dose (don’t double up). Pill reminders are often helpful.
  • Try to get all your medications at the same pharmacy to enable the pharmacist to cross-check your records for medication interactions.
  • Tell your pharmacist what other medications you are taking, including herbal remedies.

What should patients do if they think there has been an error in their medication?

  • Never take any medication if you suspect an error has been made
  • Immediately contact the pharmacy and ask to speak to the pharmacist alerting them that you believe there may be an error with your medication
  • After speaking with the pharmacist, if you believe a mistake has been made, call your physician right away.

Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!

A Pile of Snow Shoveling Tips

Be heart healthy and back friendly while shoveling this winter by following these tips:

– If you are inactive and have a history of heart trouble, talk to your doctor before you take on the task of shoveling snow.

– Avoid caffeine or nicotine before beginning. These are stimulants, which may increase your heart rate and cause your blood vessels to constrict. This places extra stress on the heart.

– Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in cold winter months as it is in the summer.

– Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as needed.

– Warm up your muscles before shoveling, by walking for a few minutes or marching in place. Stretch the muscles in your arms and legs, because warm muscles will work more efficiently and be less likely to be injured.

– Pick the right shovel for you. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body.

– Begin shoveling slowly to avoid placing a sudden demand on your heart. Pace yourself and take breaks as needed.

– Protect your back from injury by lifting correctly.

– Stand with your feet about hip width for balance and keep the shovel close to your body. Bend from the knees (not the back) and tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the snow. Avoid twisting movements. If you need to move the snow to one side, reposition your feet to face the direction the snow will be going.

– Most importantly — listen to your body. Stop if you feel pain!

Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!

Keeping Your Heart Healthy

February is National Heart Disease Awareness Month, and a perfect time to take stock of your heart health. Two important elements in maintaining a healthy lifestyle include being aware of the dangers of high cholesterol, and understanding high blood pressure. Both can be inherited risks, but aggravated – or controlled effectively – through diet, exercise and medications.

Prevention and treatment of high cholesterol

Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease.  Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. The good news is, you can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Take responsibility for managing your cholesterol levels. Whether you’ve been prescribed medication or advised to make diet and lifestyle changes to help manage your cholesterol, carefully follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Lifestyle changes

Your diet, weight, physical activity, and exposure to tobacco smoke all affect your cholesterol level — and these factors may be controlled by:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet
  • Enjoying regular physical activity
  • Avoiding tobacco smoke

Know your fats

Knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol and which ones don’t is the first step in lowering your risk of heart disease.

Cooking for lower cholesterol

It’s not hard to whip up recipes that fit with the low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol eating plan recommended by scientists to help you manage your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Understand drug therapy options

For some people, lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to reach healthy cholesterol levels. Your doctor may prescribe medication. Learn about:

  • Types of cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Tips for taking medications

Work with your doctor

It takes a team to develop and maintain a successful health program. You and your healthcare professionals each play an important role in maintaining and improving your heart health. Know how to talk with your doctor about your cholesterol levels and be sure you understand all instructions. Follow your plan carefully, especially when it comes to medication — it won’t work if you don’t take it as directed. And learn how to make diet and lifestyle changes easy and lasting.

Be sure to check out the CBIA Healthy Connections wellness program at your company’s next renewal. Employees in this program have access to tools and information that can help improve their overall physical and mental well-being. The program is free to both you and your employees as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!

Obesity Prevention at the Workplace

In 2008, the annual healthcare cost of obesity in the U.S. was estimated to be as high as 147 billion dollars a year. The annual medical burden of obesity increased to 9.1 percent in 2006 compared to 6.5 percent in 1998. Medical expenses for obese employees are estimated to be 42 percent higher than for a person with a healthy weight. Workplace obesity-prevention programs can be an effective way for employers to reduce obesity and lower their health care costs, reduce absenteeism and increase employee productivity.

Obesity and the health conditions associated with it; such as, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, and certain types of cancer are responsible for much of the increase in health care spending by employers. Obese persons spend 77% more than non-obese persons for necessary medications.

Obesity affects more than health care costs, it also has a significant impact on worker productivity because the more chronic medical conditions an employee has, the higher the probability of absenteeism or presenteeism.

Organizations can benefit directly by improving employee health through an obesity-prevention program. A survey of CEOs found that “healthier employees” is the number one reason why companies choose to implement health promotion programs. Additionally, well-designed programs have the potential to extend beyond the worksite and positively influence dependents (spouses and children), and thereby reduce an organization’s health care costs.

Although it may seem that only large organizations can implement obesity prevention and control programs, organizations of all sizes have done so successfully. Many types of organizations, including those with few employees and resources, are implementing successful obesity prevention programs.

Why Should Employers Get Involved

Potential benefits to employers:

  • Reduces cost for chronic diseases
  • Decreases absenteeism
  • Reduces employee turnover
  • Improves worker satisfaction
  • Demonstrates concern for your employees
  • Improves morale

Potential benefits to your employees:

  • Ensures greater productivity
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Improves fitness and health
  • Provides social opportunity and source of support within the workplace

CDC offers free obesity-reduction resource

Leading Employees to Activity and Nutrition” (LEAN) is a free web-based resource offered by The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that offers interactive tools and evidence-based resources to design effective worksite obesity prevention and control programs. You will be able to calculate your company’s ROI using CDC’s Obesity Cost Calculator, [http://www.cdc.gov/leanworks/costcalculator/index.html] a tool designed to allow employers to create scenarios to estimate the financial impact of specific obesity interventions, including the costs, benefits, and time required to break even.

To reap the benefits of a wellness program at your company, join CBIA Healthy Connections at your company’s next renewal. It’s free as part of your participation in CBIA Health Connections!