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Convenient resource for recommendations: Tips to give to new parents and caregivers

BY DSN STAFF

As some of the most trusted healthcare professionals, community pharmacists and clinicians have a unique opportunity to assist and educate patients of all ages. New parents and caregivers often have questions about ailments that their new baby may experience and their appropriate treatments. They can take advantage of the extended hours, unique knowledge and collaborative care of the pharmacy and advanced practice clinician teams.

When making any medication recommendations, the pharmacist or clinician will want to know the baby’s weight. Weight can change significantly within the first months of life. This information is important to know in order to determine the safest, most accurate medication dose. Pain and fever medicine, cough-cold products and antibiotics doses are all based on the weight of the child and can vary depending on the ailment being treated and the size of the child.

Fever/pain
Fever is the body’s natural way of attempting to kill foreign agents that enter it, whether that is a bacteria, virus, fungus or antibody from an immunization.  Therefore, if the baby has a stomach bug, a cold, allergies or recently received some shots, he or she also may have a fever. Although a parent or caregiver’s first instinct may be to reduce the fever to a normal temperature, the primary goal should be to make the baby comfortable. Counsel the caregiver to try using a cold washcloth on the baby’s forehead and to maintain proper hydration.

Acetaminophen is the first-line agent for treating fever and/or pain. Often the first time children will take acetaminophen will be when they receive their immunizations at 2 months of age. It is used to reduce the fever caused by the immune system in response to the shot and any pain associated with the injection itself. Acetaminophen is available as a liquid or a suppository. Accurate dosing is important to ensure the baby receives the full dose of medication. The pharmacist and/or clinician should counsel caregivers on correct administration to prevent over or under dosing. Administration directions are included in the package, and the practitioner also should point parents and caregivers to the insert as a guide or reminder of correct administration.  Ibuprofen is another pain reliever and fever reducer option, but since this medication is similar to aspirin (which should never be used in children) and is therefore associated with increased risk of Reye’s Syndrome, it is not necessary to alternate dosing between drugs.

Cough-cold

Over-the-counter medications indicated to treat cough-and-cold symptoms could cause serious side effects in babies and infants. The cough-cold medications that are recommended for children and adults are often not effective in doses that are safe for babies or infants; therefore, only nonmedication therapies should be recommended. Saline nasal drops, humidifiers or a steamy bathroom are helpful for congestion for babies of any age. Warm, clear fluids also can be given to babies older than 3 months of age. Honey can be used in babies older than 1 year of age — avoid recommending if the child is younger than 1 year due to risk of infantile botulism — to thin secretions and loosen coughs.

Gas
If babies continue to cry after eating or having their diaper changed, spit up frequently or are kicking or pumping their legs, they may have gas. Babies can become gassy if they eat from improperly sized bottle nipples or by breast-feeding after the mom has eaten certain foods, such as broccoli, asparagus, carrots or beans. Remind caregivers and parents to burp infants after every 1 oz. or 2 oz. while feeding. If additional treatment is needed, simethicone is a medicine available over the counter that is safe for babies.

Diaper rash
Diaper rash is a common ailment that almost all babies experience. Counsel caregivers and patients to change soiled diapers as soon as possible so as to limit the amount of time the baby’s skin is exposed to the diaper’s contents. Over-the-counter topical skin protectants are used for treatment, such as zinc oxide, petroleum jelly or A&D ointment.
 
Measurements
Finally, counsel parents and caregivers about the importance of their baby receiving the correct dose of their medication. The best way to administer medications is to use a syringe or dropper to ensure accuracy. Regular spoons are not reliable medication delivery devices. If possible, the syringe or dropper that comes with the medication should be used, as they will have specific markings that are appropriate for that product.

Emily Hensley Shafer, PharmD, is a pharmacy manager at Dominick’s Pharmacy and an adjunct professor at Chicago State College of Pharmacy.

 

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Philips Sonicare unveils new FlexCare Platinum toothbrush

BY Antoinette Alexander

STAMFORD, Conn. — Philips Sonicare is looking to elevate the power toothbrush category with the introduction of its latest innovation, FlexCare Platinum.

With approximately half of American adults suffering from mild, moderate or severe gum disease, Sonicare FlexCare Platinum promises to remove up to seven times more plaque between teeth than a manual toothbrush and improve gum health in two weeks.

Equipped with sonic technology, the brush provides a cleaning action that gently and effectively reaches deep between teeth and along the gum line, the company stated.

Sonicare FlexCare Platinum’s plaque removal capabilities are thanks in part to the new InterCare Brush Head, which has bristles of different lengths to clean different parts of the teeth and gums. The extra-long bristles reach between teeth, while other bristles remove plaque from along the gum line, and polish and clean teeth for a whiter color. The American Dental Association recommends that users change brush heads approximately every three months for optimal plaque removal. So, the InterCare brush head also has reminder bristles that fade to indicate when it’s ready to be replaced.
 
To help guide the user experience and ensure optimal results, Sonicare FlexCare Platinum also addresses aggressive brushing, which can damage teeth and gums with an intuitive Pressure Sensor to guide proper brushing technique. The handle gently vibrates when too much pressure is applied, alerting the user that they are brushing too hard.

Just as dental professionals customize the treatment of their patients, users can customize their brushing experience with a total of nine possible brushing combinations. Users can choose from three individual brushing modes (clean, white and gum care) and three corresponding intensity settings (high, medium and low).

Sonicare FlexCare Platinum is available now at select retailers, with full retail availability by mid-September 2013, for a suggested retail price of $179.99. A model with a UV sanitizer that is designed to remove up to 99% of select bacteria from the InterCare brush head is also available for a suggested retail price of $199.99.
 


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Mintel: Hair relaxer sales down double-digits over past five years

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO — Natural may just be the new normal in the African-American hair care market as sales of relaxers continue to decline, according to new research from Mintel.

According to Mintel, relaxers account for just 21% of African-American hair care sales and the sector has declined 26% since 2008 and 15% since 2011 when sales reached $179 million — the only category not to see growth.

Mintel’s research estimates the relaxer segment will reach $152 million this year, down from $206 million in 2008. Furthermore, in the past 12 months, 70% of African-American women say they currently wear or have worn their hair natural (no relaxer or perm), more than half have worn braids, and 41% have worn locks.

“The natural hair trend is driving an increase in sales of styling products such as styling moisturizers, setting lotions, curl creams, pomades, etc., but the increase has caused the relaxer segment to decline in sales,” stated Tonya Roberts, multicultural analyst at Mintel. “A look at expenditures from 2008-2013 shows steady growth in the Black hair care category for all categories except relaxers/perms.”

Shampoo and conditioner formulated for African-American hair is estimated to reach $257 million in 2013, up from $211 million in 2008. The styling products segment has also increased from $220 million in 2008 to an estimated $268 million in 2013. Meanwhile, the hair color market is forecast to see sales of $36 million in 2013, compared with $32 million in 2008.

However, when it comes to achieving the perfect look, it seems African-American women are willing to shell out top dollar to change up their hair. More than half (51%) agree that it’s worth spending more on hair care products to achieve the best results while 39% say they like to experiment with new hair care products.

“Given their passion and love of hair, Black consumers represent a lucrative market for companies. Black consumers are always looking for new products to try and seeking information about hair care products,” noted Roberts. “Social networking is one avenue that has helped to garner trust, empowerment, individuality, and pride as it relates to hair care. Brands have been born and re-born using social networks.”

 So what’s the appeal of the natural style? Forty-eight percent of women believe natural or curly hairstyles exude confidence and the same percentage consider them daring. Meanwhile, 45% of African-American women think natural coifs are trendy.
 


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