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PlanetRx.com Summer School: ABCs of Sun Protection

ABCs
Apply Liberally
Fifteen to 30 minutes before going out in the sun, apply a handful of sunscreen over your entire body. It takes this long for the cream or lotion to absorb into the skin. Apply some to your face as well, or use sunscreen made especially for the face, such as Physician's Formula Sun Shield.

Body Parts
Hands, nose, fingers, toes -- go for complete coverage. Smooth lip balm or lipstick with sunscreen on your lips. Make sure the tops of your ears are covered (hats with a three- or four-inch brim are best for your face and scalp). For thinning hair, try sunblock products made for your head and scalp, such as Sun Splash Scalp Screen or Banana Boat Hair & Scalp Protector Spray.

Continuous Coverage
Reapply sunscreen every two hours, more often if you're swimming or sweating. Check the label -- some water-resistant formulas last only 40 minutes (waterproof formulas generally last up to 80 minutes).

MATH
The SPF (sun protection factor) number tells you how long you can stay in the sun before you may need to re-apply.

If you usually start to burn in 20 minutes and your product has an SPF factor of 15, you can stay in the sun for five hours.

Here's the formula:

20 (minutes) X (SPF) 15 = 300 (minutes) or 5 hours

Need help with the math? Check out the chart below to help you choose the right SPF for all your "fun in the sun" activities.

Remember, you need to apply an ounce of sunscreen every two hours, which means a 4-oz. tube will only last eight hours. So if you're heading to the beach for a week, stock up. Buy more than one tube at a time to make sure you're covered.

See our SPF Chart and find out what SPF is right for you.

SCIENCE
Just because it's cloudy doesn't mean you're protected from the sun. The rays also reflect off the sand and water (and snow).

UVR: the ultraviolet rays of the sun. UVB rays cause the burn; UVA rays are the ones that can cause skin cancer.

What's in a name? A sunscreen penetrates the skin layer and screens out the sun's rays. A sunblock is opaque and forms a physical barrier between your skin and the sun.

Avobenzone, (trade name Parsol 1789), is considered the most effective UVA screen. A broad-spectrum product is one that also contains UVB filters.

To shop for Sunscreens, please visit the PlanetRx.com store.

This article is the copyright of PlanetRx.com and is reprinted with their permission. PlanetRx.com is a registered trademark of PlanetRx.com, Inc. All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Information provided by PlanetRx.com is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Only your healthcare provider should diagnose your healthcare problems and prescribe treatment.

Please consult your healthcare provider before starting any course of supplementation or treatment, particularly if you are currently under medical care. Make sure you carefully read all product packaging prior to use. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your healthcare provider.
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Treating Kids' Allergies
from PlanetRx.com, your online pharmacy & more

Adults with allergies sometimes tough it out, if they know their allergy season is limited or if they feel they can handle the sniffles and runny eyes. But you can't take that same attitude with a child.

Respiratory allergies can lead to chronic conditions, which for kids can mean ear infections, asthma, or altered facial structure caused by constant mouth-breathing. Allergies can also make it hard for your child to concentrate, to perform well academically and athletically, and to socialize.

If avoiding the allergen doesn't reduce your child's symptoms enough for her to be comfortable, discuss with your doctor how the following medications might help her cope.

  • Antihistamines and decongestants. Your pediatrician or allergist may start with an over-the-counter medication combining an antihistamine (which blocks the release of misery-inducing histamine) and a decongestant (which shrinks nasal tissues to reduce congestion).

    Many antihistamines cause drowsiness -- which could affect your child's schoolwork and social life -- as well as dry mouth or constipation. Nondrowsy prescription antihistamines are available for older children.

  • Nasal sprays. Simple over-the-counter saline solutions can work fine as decongestants and have no side effects. Sprays with cromolyn sodium (such as Nasalcrom for Children) relieve inflammation without the drowsy side effects of antihistamines. These must be used at least three times a day for several months prior to your child's allergy season.

    Other prescription sprays containing corticosteroids (such as Vancenase and Beconase) also reduce inflammation in the nose. But some experts caution that long-term use of inhaled corticosteroids can cause growth retardation in some children.

  • Allergy shots. If medicines and staying clear of allergens are not enough, immunotherapy regimes exist for ragweed, grass pollens, dust mites, some molds, and cat and dog dander.

    As with common childhood-disease vaccines, an allergist injects minute quantities of the allergen your child is sensitive to under his skin, which helps the immune system become desensitized to it. Your child will have to go to the allergist at least once a week in the beginning, and then once a month for several years after that.

    Children younger than age 5 generally don't get allergy shots, since many allergists fear their immune systems aren't strong enough to withstand the introduction of an allergen. But older children are good candidates for the treatment, and the best results for allergy shots are generally in the age 5 to 25 age group.

Read more about kids and allergies in the PlanetRx.com Health eCenter for Allergies.

This article is the copyright of PlanetRx.com and is reprinted with their permission. PlanetRx.com is a registered trademark of PlanetRx.com, Inc. All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Information provided by PlanetRx.com is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Only your healthcare provider should diagnose your healthcare problems and prescribe treatment.

Please consult your healthcare provider before starting any course of supplementation or treatment, particularly if you are currently under medical care. Make sure you carefully read all product packaging prior to use. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your healthcare provider.
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SAM-e: From Europe, with Love
from PlanetRx.com, your online pharmacy & more

An antidepressant that also eases arthritis and detoxifies the body? That's what some researchers are saying about SAM-e, a substance which recently gained public attention in the United States because of its use abroad and many positive studies.

SAM-e is perhaps best known for its use as an antidepressant. Studies have shown that it may work as well as the traditional tricyclic class of antidepressants, but it also works faster and possibly with fewer side effects.

Italian researchers have shown that SAM-e may be as effective for treating osteoarthritis as the popular anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve). And because it's a naturally occurring molecule found in virtually all body tissues and fluids, it tends to cause fewer side effects than synthesized drugs. It may also inhibit leukotrienes, a substance that regulates inflammation.

SAM-e also has been shown to improve the condition of people with liver-function problems such as stoppage of bile flow (also known as cholestasis). Bile helps the liver break down poisonous chemicals. SAM-e is believed to promote liver-cell secretion, which in turn increases bile production. It may also prevent or reverse liver damage due to alcohol, acetaminophen, steroid drugs, and lead. And in August 1998, SAM-e was designated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an "orphan drug" for the treatment of AIDS-related myelopathy (a disease of the spinal cord).

Produced primarily by the liver, SAM-e plays an important role in the building of brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Low levels of these neurotransmitters are linked to depression. SAM-e also is a building block for cysteine, glutathione, and taurine -- potent natural antioxidants produced within the body. It also promotes the creation of compounds essential for proper cell growth. From these varied functions come SAM-e's many different uses.

Potential uses of SAM-e include the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, migraine headaches, sleep irregularities, alcoholism, fibromyalgia, Parkinson's disease, peripheral neuropathy, and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

Learn more about SAM-e at PlanetRx.com.

This article is the copyright of PlanetRx.com and is reprinted with their permission. PlanetRx.com is a registered trademark of PlanetRx.com, Inc. All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Information provided by PlanetRx.com is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Only your healthcare provider should diagnose your healthcare problems and prescribe treatment.

Statements regarding dietary supplements are provided solely to offer our customers additional information about alternative medicine. No health claims for these products have been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor has the FDA approved these products to diagnose, cure or prevent disease. Please consult your healthcare provider before starting any course of supplementation or treatment, particularly if you are currently under medical care. Make sure you carefully read all product packaging prior to use. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your healthcare provider.
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Beat the Bug: Your Guide to Colds & Flus
from PlanetRx.com, your online pharmacy & more

How do you know it's cold and flu season? One word: ah-choo!

About 25 million to 50 million people in the United States will get the flu this year, and more than 60 million people will catch a cold. Will you be one of them? Here are PlanetRx.com recommendations for beating these pesky seasonal sicknesses.

An Ounce of Prevention

There is no cure for colds and flu, so it's best to avoid getting sick in the first place. A strong immune system may help prevent the common cold or flu. Proper nutrition, hygiene, rest, and stress management can strengthen the immune system.

Since both colds and the flu are highly contagious, good hygiene is important. Wash your hands often and keep your hands away from your face. Keep common surfaces in homes and offices clean to prevent spreading the cold & flu viruses. If possible, steer clear of those who have the flu. Adults are contagious for three to five days, but kids can remain contagious for up to 10 days.

Over-the-Counter Remedies

One look at all of the available cold and flu products and it's easy to see why some people don't know which product to choose. Many cold and flu remedies contain several ingredients to treat a variety of possible symptoms. What do PlanetRx.com pharmacists recommend? Buy products that contain only the active ingredients you need. This will save you money and prevent unnecessary side effects and drug interactions. Here's a rundown of the main ingredients in cold and flu formulas:
  • Decongestants break down congestion and promote drainage
  • Antihistamines reduce sneezing, dry out mucus, and promote rest
  • Cough suppressants subdue coughs and calm prickly throats
  • Expectorants help bring up mucus from the lungs
  • Analgesics reduce pain and fever
Cold and flu remedies cannot cure or even shorten your sickness, but most can help ease your symptoms. When looking for cold and flu products, it's really about choosing what makes you feel the best.

Antibiotics are effective against bacteria but not against colds or the flu, which are caused by viruses. Antibiotic overuse has produced bacteria that are resistant to all known antibiotics, a serious public health threat.

Cutting-Edge Alternative Treatments

The next big thing: zinc nasal sprays. A study to be published in February 2000 found that Zicam zinc nasal spray shortened cold symptoms from almost 10 days to about three days. Zinc lozenges are also thought to shorten cold symptoms, but be careful: Large doses of zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Try zinc lozenges after eating.

Many herbalists recommend goldenseal for flu. Best known as an antibiotic (antibacterial) herb, goldenseal also has antiviral and immune-stimulating actions. Echinacea is also said to shorten symptoms when taken at the start of a cold or flu. But echinacea probably won't help if taken constantly over a long period of time.

What about vitamin C? Doses of 500 mg four times a day may shorten cold symptoms by about a day or so. The jury is still out on whether vitamin C works as well for the flu as it does for colds.

Hot Fluids and Rest (ahh…)

Mom was right: drink a lot of fluids. Flu can cause fever, and fever is dehydrating. Sip herbal tea, juices, soups (notably chicken soup), water, and other nonalcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids throughout the day. Drinking a lot of fluids will help move the virus out of your system. Hot fluids also relieve sore throat, nasal congestion, and cough.

No matter what your favorite remedy is, a cold or flu will still have to run its course. Save your body's energy for your immune system. Grab that book you've been meaning to read, snuggle in comfortably, and get plenty of rest. It's the best you can do.

Learn more about caring for a cold in the PlanetRx.com Cold & Flu eCenter. Shop for cold-relief products in the PlanetRx.com Store, or use our new Cough & Cold Advisor to find exactly the right products for you.

This article is the copyright of PlanetRx.com and is reprinted with their permission. PlanetRx.com is a registered trademark of PlanetRx.com, Inc. All other names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Information provided by PlanetRx.com is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Only your healthcare provider should diagnose your healthcare problems and prescribe treatment.

Statements regarding dietary supplements are provided solely to offer our customers additional information about alternative medicine. No health claims for these products have been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor has the FDA approved these products to diagnose, cure or prevent disease. Please consult your healthcare provider before starting any course of supplementation or treatment, particularly if you are currently under medical care. Make sure you carefully read all product packaging prior to use. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your healthcare provider.