Gardening Tips You May Not Have Considered

Gardening season is here! After the last few months we’ve had, spending time outside with our hands in the dirt is incredibly welcome. While gardening is a great hobby to have, it also helps to be prepared. Here are some gardening tips you may not have considered.

Prep for the Bugs

Bugs are inevitable when it comes to gardening, it comes with the territory. But with a couple of precautions, you can be ready for those creepy crawly gardening buddies. Your local drugstore or pharmacy will have all the insects sprays you need to keep protected, including kinds for sensitive skin. Be sure to look for calamine or aloe lotion to soothe itchy insect bites.

Protect Your Skin From the Sun

Even if you’re just spending a few minutes outside watering your plants, it’s essential to protect your skin from the sun. If your skin is on the pale side or you tend to burn easily, look for sunscreens at your nearby pharmacy with an SPF of at least 50.

Gardening activity

Be Prepared for Cuts and Scrapes

Weeding your garden can come with some drawbacks, like cuts and scrapes. Use good quality garden gloves to stay protected and keep a stash of first aid supplies nearby. Your local drug store will have bandaids, antibacterial cream, gauze and all the necessary things you need in the event you hurt yourself gardening.

Remove Dirt Stains

Grass and dirt stains aren’t easy to remove from clothing, so it’s best to designate some clothes specifically for gardening that you won’t mind if they get a little grungy. However, if you want to have your gardening clothes clean and stain-free, take them to the dry cleaners nearby. Be sure to tell your local Boston dry cleaner how your clothes were stains, so they can treat accordingly.

Consider Planting a Garden for a Loved One

Your elderly friends or family members may still enjoy gardens but can’t take care of them because of physical limitations or mobility issues. Planting and tending to a garden for someone else is an amazing gift, and can be so rewarding. Alternatively, a home care aide can provide great companionship by tending to the garden with your loved one.

Have fun gardening this season and take a few small precautions to stay safe and healthy in the summer sun!

Dealing with Skin Allergies

So many Americans are affected by skin allergies, so much so that skin allergy remedies are a lucrative industry. Different factors can make skin allergies worse like weather, pollen and common airborne allergens. Here are some tips for those dealing with skin allergies.

Check With Your Local Pharmacy

Skin allergies are sometimes tricky to treat since they vary so much from person to person. Check with a compounding pharmacy about medications specifically for your individual needs. Compounded medications for skin will be specially formulated for you by type and dosage, so you’ll get the quickest most reliable results.

fingers scooping moisturizing cream

Be Aware of What Fabrics Irritate Your Skin

You may be unaware that some of the clothing you wear regularly is irritating your sensitive skin. It could be the fabric itself, or the detergent you’ve been using to wash them. Always look for “free and clear” detergents that don’t contain any dyes or perfumes. Additionally, look for a local green dry cleaner nearby that tailors to those with sensitive skin. Ask for no fragrances and hypoallergenic products. 

Check With Your Doctor

Sometimes skin allergies could be pointing to a more serious health problem. If your skin suddenly becomes dry or irritated, its best to have it checked out by your doctor or dermatologist. Raised rashes, odd-shaped markings or irritation paired with fevers should always be checked by a medical professional right away.

Moisturize Frequently

Dry weather or heat can bring on skin allergies, especially if you’re already prone to dry skin. To avoid this, I always keep my skin moisturized with a natural, perfume-free lotion or oil. I like to buy lotions and creams specifically formulated for sensitive skin at a local drugstore near me, which also can fill prescriptions from my dermatologist. Older people also tend to have dry skin, so family caregivers or professional home health aides should also take care to keep their loved one or client’s skin moisturized.

Skin allergies are a pain, but they don’t have to be. Take care of your skin and take care of each other.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is right around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about gift ideas for all the special guys in your life. This year is undeniably different than previous Father’s Days, so it may require a little thinking outside the box. Some traditional stores aren’t yet fully open, and special outings and celebrations may not be possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not to worry! I’ve compiled some unique Father’s Day gift ideas that are perfect for our current situation.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are always a good idea for any holiday gift. But this year, consider a gift card from your Dad’s local dry cleaner. Once things get up and running again, he’ll want to freshen up his wardrobe and get out of those sweats and t-shirts. Or he may try shirt laundry service at his office so he can look his best always at work. If the dry cleaners won’t work for your guy, the local drugstore will have a large selection of gift cards for local restaurants and stores.

Father's Day card

Private Home Care

This gift could work for grandpas as well as Dads. If your dad is caring for his elderly father, or could just use some help himself, contacting a private home care agency may be the perfect gift idea. A caregiver or home health aide could be a lifesaver, and something they may not always feel comfortable asking for themselves.

Last-Minute Gifts

Because of COVID-19, it’s hard to follow our usual gift-giving routines. If you haven’t been able to go to a department store or find what you need online, you may need to run out and grab something locally. Luckily, pharmacies are considered essential right now and almost all are offering special extended hours. The local pharmacy near me, for example, turns out to be a treasure trove of Father’s Day gifts. Cologne, coffee mugs, fancy chocolate – you’d probably be surprised what you can find at the drug store. The community pharmacy probably carries Father’s Day gift sets as well to make it even easier.

Don’t let the global pandemic stop you from treating those special Dads in your life to the perfect gift they deserve.

Photo by Mockaroon on Unsplash

Preparing for Memorial Day

With everything going on in the world right now, prepping for a holiday celebration is a welcome distraction. Memorial Day is coming up, and although we may have to tweak our traditions a bit, it’s still entirely possible to have a good old’ fashioned American BBQ. Here are some things to consider as you’re preparing for Memorial Day.

Get Those Flags Ready

I know you don’t need a reason to proudly display your American flag, but Memorial Day is a perfect reason to freshen it up a bit. Did you know that some dry cleaners will clean flags for free? Call your local dry cleaners and ask about their flag policies. An old crumpled flag can accumulate a lot of grime and even mold, so getting it cleaned once a year is a good idea.

Prep the Picnic Linens

Whether you’re planning a social distancing gathering with the neighbors, or a family backyard barbecue, it’s still important to make sure your table linens are ready to go. Most linens can be machine washed in cold water on a gentle cycle. However, sending your linens to a local dry cleaner with laundry delivery service will not only ensure they’re washed properly, but also save a lot of time and effort. For anyone attending your gatherings that may want some extra protection, consider washing some bandanas or small cloth squares that can be used as face masks.

Prepare for Outdoor Gatherings

We’ve all been cooped up inside for months, so it’s easy to forget about the necessary outside preparations. Your local pharmacy will have everything you need to stock up on like allergy meds for high pollen counts, insect spray for those pesky mosquitos and even last-minute paper products like napkins and paper cups. 

Once you’ve made these simple Memorial Day preparations, you’re ready to enjoy the start of the summer with your family! Enjoy!

Photo by Michael Skok on Unsplash

Celebrating Mother’s Day During COVID-19

We usually celebrate Mother’s Day with flowers and gifts for mom, taking her out to dinner and may be a shopping spree or a trip to the spa or salon. While our city is still in lockdown, with restaurants, salons and shops closed, how are you celebrating Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day Gifts

For the most part, we can order gifts online and get them ready by Mother’s Day. If you cannot get a gift delivered in time, don’t forget that your local drugstore is still open and carries a variety of health and beauty products that your mom would love – from age-defying skin care, hair coloring and styling to perfumes and manicure products. Your community pharmacy may provide curbside service so you can stay safe.

Happy Mother's Day card

Take a load off

Mom is always busy caring for her family. The list of household chores is never ending. During the quarantine, the amount of cleaning and disinfecting has probably quadrupled. So a great gift would be to take over some of her work. How about letting the local dry cleaner nearby do the laundry? Schedule a laundry pickup before Mother’s Day, so that she is relaxed and not worried about doing the laundry.

If mom’s work includes caring for grandpa and or grandma, which is not unusual in this age of the “Caregiving Crunch,” you can take a load off her by hiring respite care providers from the local home care agency. A home health aide can provide respectful professional care and companionship for a senior loved one while the family caregiver takes a break.

Fun activity together

Do something fun with your mom at home, such as watch a movie on tv, take a trip down memory lane by viewing old photos together, make handicrafts or artwork, give mom a manicure, and so on.

Dinner

If your mother is living in the same house, you can perhaps cook a nice dinner or if you are not a good cook, you can order a big meal online and get it delivered to the house. But if your mother is not under the same roof, you can try sharing a virtual dinner on Zoom. That way, you can still see and chat with each other during dinner.

With a little creativity and preparation, we can still give mom a memorable Mother’s Day during these unprecedented times. Stay safe and have fun with your mom on Mother’s Day!

Photo by Karolina Bobek ✌ on Unsplash

Personal Hygiene During COVID-19

Everyday household tasks can become a source of anxiety in these times. Do you start worrying about how to get the basics done while keeping yourself and loved ones safe and healthy? Simple hygiene measures can help.

washing hands

Personal Hygiene

A piece of advice that is repeatedly stated by the authorities as a top precaution is to wash our hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Make sure the soap or sanitizer fully covers your hands, then rub hands together for 20-30 seconds. For hand sanitizers, use those that contain at least 60 per cent alcohol.  Having trouble finding hand sanitizers in the grocery store? Try your community pharmacy. If they have the ability to provide compounded medications, they may be able to produce sanitizers themselves.

Remember to avoid touching your face because the virus is spread through droplets that may cling to surfaces that you touched.

Cleaning Clothes

There’s no research as yet on how long the COVID-19 virus can survive on clothes or other fabrics, but it’s still a good idea to change and wash your clothes regularly — especially if you’ve just come home from the grocery store (or the office if you aren’t working from home).  If you are doing the laundry at home, wash your clothes using the warmest appropriate water setting in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you dry the items completely. 

Consider using a laundry delivery service instead of making trips to the laundromat to avoid too much people contact and save time for other chores. Dry cleaning can help to disinfect clothing and other household items like towels and bedding because it uses high heat. Some Boston dry cleaners provide germ-free laundry services, too.

When handling dirty laundry from a person who has symptoms, wear disposable gloves. If you are using a drycleaning pickup service, you should tell the dry cleaner that the laundry may be infected.

Housecleaning

It is also important to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces or objects including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, desks, phones, keyboards, sinks, and faucets at least daily. Clean dirty surfaces with a regular household detergent first, then disinfect with any EPA-registered household disinfectant.

Let’s all stay safe and healthy during these unusual times!

Photo by Irina Ba on Unsplash

Helping Your Aging Parent Stay At Home

Newton has the fifth largest senior population in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and older people are known to be at higher risk from COVID-19. Although the city is working to make sure seniors are safe, you may be wondering if your parent or senior loved one who lives alone needs extra support during this pandemic. The best thing you can do is encourage them to stay home and practice social distancing to avoid exposure. Here are a few things to make staying home easier.

old woman on a phone call with a loved one

Before you talk with your loved one about the need for COVID-19 precautions, get up to speed on facts and information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or from the state or local health department. This will help you be better able to correct any misinformation they may have. If there is a home health aide, some precautions are needed. Discuss with the home care agency what protocols they have in place to reduce risk. In addition to helping with activities of daily living, the home caregiver can help your loved one follow the CDC’s risk-reducing recommendations and also monitor for symptoms so they can alert you.

To make sure they have enough of the daily essentials like food and medicine, you may want to stock a couple of weeks’ worth of groceries including food, pet supplies, cleaning supplies, etc. and to gather a one to three month supply of medications. Use a prescription pharmacy in Newton that provides prescription delivery service and/or curbside pickup to keep up with the medications. For groceries, remember to check the availability of time slots for delivery. Laundry pickup service can help avoid trips to the nearest dry cleaner in Newton or laundromat where social distancing is hard to maintain.

Check in frequently by phone, FaceTime, or Zoom to stay connected. Companionship and social relationships are important to the mental health of an aging adult. Social distancing makes it difficult for us to communicate effectively and intimately with our senior loved ones, but digital communications can help quite a bit during these unprecedented times.

photo credit: Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay ​

Using Delivery Services During the Coronavirus Outbreak

We heard from Governor Charlie Baker yesterday that the number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts will begin to surge sometime between April 7 and 17. With the stay-at-home advisory and social distancing guidance still in place until April 30, we’ll need to find new ways to manage our daily lives.  Fortunately, we have the Internet, various online tools to help us work remotely and entertain ourselves. And for the physical stuff, we can take advantage of delivery service.

Laundry Delivery

Cleanliness is key during this time. Other than washing our hands and disinfecting frequently used surfaces, we need to keep our clothing and bed linens clean. Using a germ-free laundry service can be extra beneficial. If you usually take your laundry to a dry cleaner or a laundromat, this would be a good time to switch to a free laundry delivery service. Even though dry cleaners are considered an essential service by the state, they usually reduce hours and avoid having you in the store as much as possible.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Prescription Delivery

Medical supplies are critical too, especially prescriptions. Pharmacies are also an essential service and will stay open, but they, too, may reduce hours. In the suburbs, curbside service is often available – you drive up to the curb, call the store and they will bring the prescriptions or other medical supplies to you. Many drugstores also offer prescription delivery service within their neighborhoods. You should call your local drugstore to find out if they offer this service.

Food and Grocery Delivery

We all need food. While all the restaurants have closed, we can still order food online and then either pickup or get it delivered.  Many supermarkets also offer grocery delivery service and even meals to go. These days, we may find empty shelves for certain food items. Rather than making several trips to get all the food items that you need, it is better to stay safe and order online instead.

When taking advantage of delivery service, make sure that it is contactless. Ask the driver to leave the delivery items on your doorstep and then pick them up after they left.

Let’s all be careful and stay healthy!  

Prescription Drugs that Treat Acne

Acne is a troublesome skin issue that can affect people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Pimples certainly don’t discriminate. And when it comes to treating acne, some look to prescription drugs when over the counter creams and washes fail to work. Some even go further and get compounded medications for skin conditions from certified compounding pharmacies. Let’s take a closer look at the prescription medications commonly prescribed by dermatologists.

Antibiotics

Before a doctor prescribes a strong medication, they usually like to start with antibiotics. When someone suffers from chronic acne, there’s a lot of inflammation under the skin. Unfortunately, antibiotics tend to only treat this symptom and not the underlying cause. Also, being on antibiotics long term can mess with your immune system, so keep that in mind before getting that prescription refill.

woman touching her face with acne

Retin-A

This medicine, only available at a prescription pharmacy, has been shown to have virtually no side effects when used topically. However, if you’re using it to treat acne, it can be clogging to the pores, and even make your acne worse.

Accutane 

Accutane is an extremely strong prescription drug prescribed for severe cases of acne. The side effects are certainly serious enough to make you second guess that prescription delivery. Accutane has been linked to depression, Chron’s Disease, and even birth defects.

Acne Treatment Without Prescription Drugs

Before you run out to the local pharmacy to pick up that acne prescription refill, consider the underlying cause of your breakouts. The actual cause of acne is retention hyperkeratosis, which is when your pores tend to shed skin cells more quickly than usual. So if you get breakouts regularly, it’s essential to keep your pores clear from excessive buildups. Finding the right products to do this can be tricky, but a good rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients in your products, the better. You don’t want to contribute to the buildup in your pores by adding more pore-clogging products to your skin.

Keep It Simple

Look for products with clean, simple ingredients. A simple cleanser and light moisturizer is really all you need, so don’t be tricked into multiple products that are marketed towards acne sufferers. Adding more junk to your pores is not going to clear your breakouts.

So before you run out to your local pharmacy for a prescription refill, consider the real cause of your acne and try a simpler approach.

Are Essential Oils Safe?

Essential oils have become very popular in the last few years. These aromatic oils are used to freshen the air in homes, rubbed on the skin to brighten moods and boost the immune system, and even used in diffusers at night to help bring on a restful night’s sleep. So, are essential oils safe? And if so, what are the best ways to use them?

Essential oils - pine and lavender
Photo by Cosiela B. on Unsplash

Essential Oils are Safe if Used With Caution

Essential oils like lemon, eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint are all safe to use topically and diffused in the air. Studies have shown that the scents of these oils, and many others, can be soothing to the brain and can help with anxiety and depression. However, it is NEVER safe to ingest essential oils. Many oils are not regulated by the FDA, and you never know what else may be in that bottle, so save your oils for home use only.

Keep Away from Pets

Animals are very sensitive to essential oils. Since oils are in a concentrated form, they can be extremely potent to cats and dogs. Most of the time the smell alone will keep your pets away, but always make sure they’re kept out of reach and never put them in your pet’s food or water. You wouldn’t want your pet to get sick and have to see a veterinary doctor and take medications.

Be Careful With Fabrics

If you plan to use essential oils topically, like rubbed on the wrists, for example, be aware that they can stain clothing. While some oils will easily wash out in the laundry, some may cause stains if allowed to dry and set. But not to worry, it’s nothing that can’t be solved with a trip to the local dry cleaner.

Use a Steam Diffuser

Steam diffusers are a great way to safely enjoy the benefits of essential oils. Diffusers are generally inexpensive and use water and heat to spread your favorite scents into the air. You only need a few drops of oil to enjoy the effects for hours.

So remember, essential oils are safe when used with caution. Enjoy!