Ben Franklin Apothecary Blog

Spring Cleaning Your Health Habits

Between the urge to hibernate and going off the rails with holiday goodies—winter can wreak havoc with your health habits. But spring, yes, spring brings the promise of something new! Here are some ideas to help you spring clean your health. I’ll bet you can think of more.Female athlete getting ready for running in spring park. Fitness workout outdoor concept.

Start by adding, not subtracting. When you take stock of your health habits, do you focus on all the things you need to give up? It could be that nightly bowl of Rocky Road or binge watching your favorite TV series—every day. It’s tough to give up some of your favorite things. Will you feel less deprived if you first add some healthy habits? Try ideas like this:

  • Add a vegetable or fruit serving to every meal. To keep things interesting, try for a variety of colors, textures, and flavors. Choose local, organic, in-season produce whenever possible. Soon, local farmers’ markets will be overflowing with bounty…. Berries and broccoli and beans—oh my!
  • Add a new activity, something you really enjoy, like dancing. It’s easy, free, and available right in your own kitchen or living room. And the kids (or grandkids) can join in on the fun.
  • Add walking for 30 minutes to your normal daily routine.  Grab your sneakers, head out to a great park in Duncanville to enjoy a nice walk this month.  Get moving toward a healthier heart and remember to mark you calendar for Oct. 13th for the 5th Annual Heart of Duncanville 5K!
  • Add an educational show to your menu of viewing choices. Maybe it’s a documentary or something featured on PBS or the Discovery Channel, for example. Make it a weekly viewing party. You’ll create a social outlet and increase engaging conversation—great for your mind and emotional health.1

Now, you can take a look at that list of habits to axe! Maybe its too much sugar or hefty portions of food.2 Could you start by getting rid of sugary drinks or by using smaller plates to help manage portion sizes?3,4


Take it outside. It’s spring. Take advantage of nicer weather and get outside.

Researchers are increasingly finding health benefits of getting into nature—like lowering blood pressure and stress and boosting the immune system.1


Speaking of nature, spring is also a great time to plant a vegetable garden. When you harvest your own food and find creative ways to prepare it, you may find it easier and easier to eat enough veggies.

With extra time outside, it might also be a good time to replace your worn-out walking or running shoes. Over time, they lose their cushioning effect, which may increase the chance of chronic foot pain. Don’t rely on a glance at the treads to know when to pitch them. If you walk up to an hour, three times a week, get a new pair of walking shoes every five months—sooner if you walk more.1,5


Clean out your meds. As long as we’re on the subject of spring cleaning, why not do at least a little actual spring cleaning? April 28 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. It focuses on providing safe, responsible, and convenient ways to dispose of medicines. In fact, the Duncanville Police will be offering a pick-up at the station from 10am-2pm on this particular day.  The National Take Back Day coordinated by the DEA provides citizens the opportunity to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction. Intra-venous solutions, injectable items and syringes will not be accepted. CLICK HERE for event info.  If you have any questions about when and how to get rid of your medicines, you know can always talk it over with your friendly pharmacy team at Ben Franklin!

drug take back



1.   Prevention: “12 Simple Ways to Spring Clean Your Health.” Accessed 3-1-18.Available at:

2.     Self: “8 Small, Easy Ways to Spring Clean Your Eating Habits.” Accessed 3-1-18.Available at:

3.     U.S.News & World Report: “6 Ways to Spring Clean Your Health.” Accessed 3-1-18.  Available at:

4.     Best Health: “7 Smart Ways to Spring Clean Your Eating Habits.” Accessed 3-1-18. Available at:

5.     Prevention: “When to Get New Shoes.” Accessed 3-1-18. Available at:



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High Blood Pressure after Risk Redefined

If you’ve got high blood pressure (hypertension), you’re in good company. The American Heart Association estimates that nearly half of all adults in this country have high blood pressure—when blood presses too hard against your blood vessels. That’s not something you can afford to ignore. It doubles your risk of cardiovascular disease—stroke, heart disease, and a bunch of other not-so-fun stuff.1,2



New numbers. You might think you’re in the clear when you’re not. Last fall new guidelines redefined high blood pressure as 130 over 80. Before, 140 over 90 was considered the threshold of high blood pressure.1

Do you know your numbers? Hmmm, I didn’t think so. Lots of people don’t. But it’s easy to find out. You can come into our store for a free blood pressure reading, or you can buy your own monitor to check it at home.  Of course, doctors and nurses also routinely check it when you come in for a visit. If they don’t tell you your reading, be sure to ask for it.

Signs to watch for. Most of the time, high blood pressure is silent—it doesn’t cause symptoms. But sometimes it does, especially if your numbers are very high. Signs to watch for include mild, long-lasting headaches or brain “fog.” A “hypertensive crisis” can cause a crushing headache. If you have one, don’t wait: get to the emergency room right away.

Other uncommon symptoms linked with high blood pressure include bloating, decreased urination, sudden vision loss, dizziness, or trouble keeping your balance. Granted, many things can cause these symptoms, so don’t panic.  When in doubt, though, see your doctor.2

                How to lower your risk. You can inherit high blood pressure, so find out if close relatives have had it. That includes your parents, siblings, or grandparents. It’s especially important to know if any of them had a heart attack at a young age.2

You can’t do a darn thing about your genes. But if you do have a genetic risk or your numbers are high, there’s a lot you can do to reduce your lifestyle risks. For example, your doctor may recommend increasing your exercise to 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.

The DASH diet is also a great place to start.1 The U.S. News and World Report rated it the best “overall” diet among nearly 40 diets it’s reviewed. DASH focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins, among other things. When combined with a diet low in salt, it can be very effective at managing blood pressure. Within just two weeks, it can lower blood pressure a few points—with a drop of eight to 14 points over time. DASH also gives you a two-for-one: It can also lower blood cholesterol.3

If you need medications. You might need to take medications for high blood pressure, especially If you have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Be sure to let your doctor and me know if side effects are a problem. We may be able to tweak your dose or have you try another medication. We want to help you succeed at seeing those numbers go down!





  1. MedicalXpress: “More than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, AHA says.” Available at: Accessed 2-1-18.
  2. Women’sHealth: “6 Signs of High Blood Pressure You Should Know About.” Available at: Accessed 2-1-18.
  3. NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “DASH ranked Best Diet Overall for eighth year in a row by U.S. News and World Report.” Available at: Accessed 2-1-18.


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Heart Disease: A Different Picture in Women?

Did you know that heart disease remains the number 1 killer of women in the U.S.? Responding to its signs and symptoms can help save your life. But first it helps to know that women may experience these signs and symptoms a little differently than men.1



Signs and symptoms in women. Heart disease often develops when fatty substances called plaque build up in large vessels of the heart (coronary arteries). Narrowed arteries may slow blood flow, which may temporarily cut off oxygen to the heart muscle. This may produce certain signs and symptoms of angina, such as chest tightness, pressure, or discomfort. Angina usually happens when you’re active or stressed—and goes away soon after you stop exercising or feeling stressed.1

In women, however, symptoms may occur during normal daily activities or times of stress and may include:

  • Sharp, severe chest pain
  • Chest pain that lasts longer than 10 minutes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sleep problems, fatigue, and lack of energy
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain1,2

If you have symptoms like these, call your doctor right away.

In women, symptoms of heart attack (heart damage) may be more subtle than they are in men. They may include:

  • Chest pressure, squeezing, or pain that lasts for a few minutes or comes and goes
  • Pain in your jaw, arm, neck, stomach, or back
  • Shortness of breath—this may happen without any chest discomfort
  • Sweating, nausea, dizziness or light-headedness

If you have symptoms of heart attack, call 911 right away. Do not drive yourself to the hospital. Even if you’re in doubt, get checked. Better safe than sorry? Well, that gets to the heart of the matter, doesn’t it?3,4

Why symptoms may be different in women. Researchers can’t completely explain these differences. However, in men, heart disease usually occurs from blockages in coronary arteries. In women, heart disease or damage may develop in the tiny arteries that branch out from the coronary arteries. Angina symptoms may be due to spasms within these small blood vessels. Called microvascular disease (MVD), this may occur more often in younger women.2,3

Broken heart syndrome is another heart condition that mainly affects women. Doctors don’t understand it well. With this syndrome, extreme emotional stress can cause severe heart muscle failure. Although the symptoms of this syndrome are similar to those of a heart attack, most people recover quickly and fully.5

Diagnosis. Your doctor may diagnose heart disease based on a combination of your medical history, physical exam, and test results. However, standard tests such as cardiac catheterization often won’t spot MVD or broken heart syndrome. That’s because they are designed to assess blockages in the heart’s larger vessels. Researchers are still looking for the best ways to diagnose heart disease in women.1,6

Reducing your risks. Even with these unanswered questions, you can still do something right now to reduce your risk of heart disease. For example, do you need to stop smoking, drop some pounds, or increase your activity level? Do you have high blood pressure or cholesterol? Talk with your doctor or your friendly, hometown pharmacist about ways to reduce these risks.7 If you need any high blood pressure or cholesterol medications, let’s work together to make sure you reap the most benefits with the fewest side effects.



  1. American Heart Association: “Angina in Women Can Be Different Than Men.” Available at: Accessed 12-29-17.
  2. American Heart Association: “Microvascular Angina.” Available at: Accessed 12-29-17.
  3. American Heart Association: “Heart Attack Symptoms in Women.” Available at: Accessed 12-29-17.
  4. UPMC: “Heart Attack Symptoms Are Different for Women.” Available at: Accessed 12-29-17.
  5. NIH: “Heart Disease in Women.” Available at: Accessed 12-29-17.
  6. NIH: “Coronary Microvascular Disease.” Available at: Accessed 12-29-17.
  7. American Heart Association: “Menopause and Heart Disease.” Available at: Accessed 12-29-17.

Are These 4 New Year’s Resolutions On Your List?

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If so, what’s at the top of your list—losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more?



If you’re making resolutions like these, we certainly hope you’re successful. Here are a few other resolutions you might not have considered.

  1. See your doctor. Many people—especially men—put doctors’ visits on the back burner. Men make 130 million fewer visits than women to the doctor each year.1 Whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s important to see your doctor at least once a year.

During your annual visit, you’ll have your blood pressure checked, follow up on any tests or vaccines you need, and discuss ways to stay healthier. Try scheduling your annual physical during the month of your birthday. This makes it easier to remember, and it can be your annual birthday gift to yourself.

Of course, if something comes up in between annual visits, don’t ignore it. Sprained wrist? Changing mole? Blood in your stool? Deep sadness lasting more than a couple of weeks? Don’t wait…. See your doctor.1,2

  1. Review your medications. While we’re on the topic of medical visits, why not resolve to come my way during the next month or two? We can review your list of medications, discuss any side effects you may be having, and come up with a game plan—along with your doctor—to improve how you’re feeling. I can also make suggestions for how to store medications and the safest ways to dispose of any expired medications you have on hand.
  2. Eat mindfully. You’ve no doubt received lots of advice on what to eat. What about how to eat? Eating mindfully means you pay attention to your food while you eat it. You might be surprised what a difference this makes. Truly savoring your food may help you be more emotionally satisfied by it. You may also be able to “hear” your body’s cues, likes the ones telling you what your body is craving or when it’s time to stop eating.3

Want to know more about how to do this?

  • First of all, slow down. Really smell, taste, and chew your food before swallowing it.
  • Don’t try to do anything else while eating, such as reading the newspaper or checking your email.
  • Use smaller plates to help with portion control.
  • Keep serving bowls a step or two away so you have to think twice before going back for seconds.
  • To help you slow down, put your fork or spoon down in between bites.4
  1. Reconnect with nature, others—and yourself. These days, many people are constantly wired. Give it a break, and try this resolution. Free yourself one day a week from all electronics: television, smartphone, computer, and tablet. Use this time to go for a walk in the park, play some music, read a novel, try a new recipe, or reconnect with a neighbor. Many people find that taking a break from electronics helps ease their anxiety and stress.5 What a great way to ring in the new year—more relaxed and present for yourself and those around you!

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.



  1. WebMD: “5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Men.” Available at: Accessed 12-4-17.
  2. Drexel Medicine: “How to Realistically Achieve 5 Common New Year’s Resolutions.” Available at: Accessed 12-4-17.
  3. Self: “5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions That Are Easy To Keep.” Available at: Accessed 12-4-17.
  4. Self: “12 Mindful Eating Tips That Will Change Your Relationship With Food.” Available at: Accessed 12-4-17.
  5. Forbes: “10 Health-Related New Year’s Resolutions To Try.” Available at: Accessed 12-4-17.



4 Ways to Have a Healthier and Happier Holiday

‘Tis the season to overeat, overspend, and overcommit—sound familiar? Although it’s often easier said than done, there are ways to buck these trends. Focus on health and happiness—rather than the number of gifts exchanged. That can bring priceless payoffs to you and your family. Here are a few simple ideas to consider.



  1. Eat well, but don’t deprive yourself. Do you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or another health condition that requires healthy eating choices? Or are you simply among the crowd that packs on extra pounds during the holidays? If so, plan ahead.

Have one or two strategies that make it possible to enjoy yourself without hurting your health. Here are a few examples: Bring a healthy dish to share at potlucks. Go easy on the liquid calories, especially alcohol. Treat yourself, but set limits—maybe limit sweet treats to once a week.1

  1. Do some healthcare “housekeeping.” The flu or other illness is sure to put a big damper on anyone’s holiday. Take steps to make this less likely for you and those around you. Wash your hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. Get your annual vaccines, if you haven’t already.

The end of the year is also a good time to check if you need any exams and to sign up for insurance, unless you’ve done so already. Also, take advantage of family time to flesh out your family’s medical history.2,3 If you or someone you know is making multiple trips a month to pickup medication talk to our pharmacist about consolidating those trips and even set up automatic refills so your medication is always ready.

  1. Focus on experiences, not things. Studies have shown that helping others can increase your own levels of happiness. This could be anything from volunteering at a local food bank to simply picking up prescriptions for a neighbor. There is no shortage of ways to get involved during the holidays—and all year long.

Here’s another way to focus on experiences: Create your own holiday traditions. Try some caroling with your family or friends. So what if your Uncle Charles is tone deaf? Just have some fun. And there’s another bonus: singing lowers stress.4

Or maybe you’d enjoy cutting down your own tree, taking in a high school performance of the Nutcracker, or turning your holiday cards into gratitude cards. By adding personal notes that express your appreciation, you can boost your own happiness as well.4

  1. Turn down the “doer dial.” Does it feel as though everything speeds up during the holidays? That can be really stressful. This is not a race. And no matter the messages you’re receiving, you don’t need to do it all. Take breaks when you need them. (Introverts, this especially applies to you!) Put another log on the fire, take a bubble bath, snuggle up with your sweetie, or sleep in—guilt free. Remember: if you take good care of yourself, you can be more present for the people you love. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?



Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.




  1. Huffington Post: 8 Tips for Staying Healthy and Happy During the Holidays. Available at: Accessed 11-3-17.
  1. CDC: 12 Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday Season. Available at: Accessed 11-3-17.
  1. Consumer Reports: 40 Tips for healthy holidays: 40 ways to get the most out of the season. Available at Accessed 11-3-17.
  1. Prevention: How To Have 31 Days of Healthy, Happy Holidays. Available at: Accessed 11-3-17.


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Diabetes: What You Need To Know

It’s a startling number: More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or high blood sugar levels, a condition called prediabetes. But a quarter of adults with diabetes don’t know they have it. And only about one in 10 know they have prediabetes.1

Diabetes word cloud concept

Could you be among this crowd of people?

Heed the warning signs. Diabetes may be “silent” and not cause any signs or symptoms. However, these are common warning signs:

  • Increased thirst or hunger
  • Frequent peeing or urine infections
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss you can’t explain
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches2

Know your risks. Discuss any warning signs you have, and ask your doctor about your risk of developing diabetes. For example, even a few extra pounds can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, which goes up 30 percent for every 11 pounds gained. Big weight gains—44 pounds or more—make you 10 times more likely to develop the disease.3

You may need a special blood test to confirm whether or not you have diabetes. And this could save your life. In the U.S., diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death, usually from heart problems.1,4 In addition to your heart, diabetes may lead to complications that affect everything from your brain and eyes to your kidneys and nerves. 2 And did you know that the dementia risk linked to diabetes is nearly as high as that of a gene that’s a risk factor for Alzheimer’s?5

Prevent or manage diabetes. It’s critical to do your best to prevent or manage diabetes. But most American adults with diabetes aren’t meeting recommended guidelines, which may include a combination of lifestyle changes and medication such as statins, aspirin, and drugs that lower blood sugar.4

I’m not saying it’s always easy, but you can do it.

If you have prediabetes, you can cut your risk of diabetes in half with exercise and a healthy diet.1 Here are a few lifestyle changes that can go a long way toward preventing or controlling diabetes.

  • Eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and nonfat dairy. Limit foods high in fat and sugar.
  • Shoot for 30 minutes of activity most days of the week—do something that makes you sweat and breathe a bit harder.
  • Manage your stress, which can raise blood sugar levels. You know what relaxes you. It may be anything from yoga or meditation to gardening or petting a cat.
  • Pitch the cigarettes. If you have diabetes, smoking is like throwing coals on a fire. It increases all the risks you may already have, such as heart and eye disease.
  • Go easy on the alcohol. It can tweak your blood sugar level—making it go either too high or too low. If you’re a woman, have no more than a drink a day. If you’re a man, have no more than two.6
  • And finally, partner with your doctor and your friendly hometown pharmacy team. Whether you have questions about your risks, need tips about lifestyle changes, or want guidance about diabetes medications, you don’t have to go it alone.  At Ben Franklin Apothecary, we’re here to help.


Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.




      1.      HealthDay: More than 100 Million Americans Have Diabetes of Prediabetes: CDC. Available at:  Accessed 10-3-17.

      2.      WebMD: Diabetes Warning Signs. Available at: Accessed 10-3-17.

      3.      HealthDay: More Evidence that Midlife Weight Gain Harms Your Health. Available at: Accessed 10-3-17.

      4.      HealthDay: Heart Health Ignored by Many With Type 2 Diabetes. Available at: Accessed 10-3-17.

      5.      HealthDay: Midlife Behaviors May Affect Your Dementia Risk. Available at: Accessed 10-3-17.

      6.      WebMD: 6 Lifestyle Changes to Control Your Diabetes. Available at: Accessed 10-3-17.


What To Do If You Get the Flu

I’m guessing that the flu isn’t on your top-10 wish list, right? But just in case you get sick this flu season, here’s a list of 10 things you can do to help ease your symptoms—and to stop the flu in its tracks and protect others.

Cartoon child has got flu and is sneezing

  1. Stock up. A few supplies may make it a bit easier to manage the flu. It’s best to have these on hand before you get sick. Otherwise, send a healthy member of your family out on an errand, if you can.
  • Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen for reducing fevers and easing achiness
  • A thermometer
  • Cough syrup or cough drops
  • Saline nose drops or sprays
  • Drinks such as fruit juices or tea (avoid caffeine)
  • Easy-to-eat foods such as clear soups, crackers, or applesauce1,2
  1. Stay home! The first day you have symptoms, you may be tempted to venture out to work or school. Please don’t! Not only do you need the rest, but this is also when you’re most contagious.1 Try to nap—and read or binge-watch your favorite television episodes.
  2. Prevent the spread. In addition to staying home, wash your hands often and cover your cough and sneeze into your sleeve.2
  3. Drink fluids, breathe steam. This is a great way to thin your mucus, making it easier to cough up. This may help prevent a lung infection. Using a humidifier (a cool mist) or breathing in steam from a hot shower may also help ease congestion.1
  4. Calm your cough. It can be exhausting, I know. Try over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines—an expectorant helps thin mucus. Do not give a child under age 4 any type of cough medicine. Sucking on lozenges may also help your cough or scratchy throat.
  5. Ease nose woes. You—or your kids—can try saline nose drops or sprays to ease nasal congestion. First, put a few drops into one nostril. Then gently blow the mucus and saline out. Repeat on the other side.1
  6. Treat other symptoms. Sure, a fever—along with chills and achiness—is a sign your body is fighting off the virus. But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer in silence. Ask me if you have any questions about which fever reducer to take. But don’t forget: Never give aspirin to someone younger than 19—it can lead to a serious illness.1
  7. Ask about antivirals. Your health care provider may advise you to take one. If you do this within 48 hours of when symptoms begin, you have a fighting chance of reducing their impact.1,2
  8. Know when to seek medical help. If you or a loved one has any of these symptoms, call the doctor:
  • Dark urine
  • Dizziness
  • Fever of 100 degrees F for 3 or more days
  • Returning fever or sore throat after feeling better

More serious symptoms require immediate medical care:

  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Balance problems or confusion2
  1. Talk to me! And of course it goes without saying: If you need guidance about any products—or           any questions whatsoever—let us know, and our pharmacist will help steer you in the right direction.


Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.



1.     WebMD: “10 Tips to Ease Flu Symptoms.” Available at: Accessed 8-31-17.

2.      Public Health: “Treatment of Flu.” Available at: Accessed 8-31-17.


Overweight? All Is Not Lost!

Need to shed 15 or 25 pounds? Try this trick: Pick up a 15- or 25-pound turkey in the grocery store (or a bag of soil at the nursery). Then carry it around for a few minutes. Did you find it tough to do? Extra pounds take a toll, don’t they? But weight gain is often such a gradual process that you might not even realize it’s happening.1

Sadly, more and more people are dying from weight-related health problems. This includes high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other conditions. In 2015, 40 percent of 4 million deaths linked to weight were in people who weren’t even considered obese, just overweight.2 And for those who gain more, the risks are even greater. For example, 44 extra pounds in midlife increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 10 times.1 There’s an emotional toll as well. A recent study found that heavy kids faced three times the risk of depression in adulthood.3


Digital Bathroom Scale Displaying OMG Message

Okay, enough of the scary statistics. I’m here to also say that even small changes can make a big difference. For example, did you know that losing just 7 percent of your body weight can cut your risk of diabetes by 60 percent?4

  So what can you do? As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s no shortage of weight-loss tips out there. Here are a few backed by recent research:

  • Weigh yourself regularly, especially during times of life transition, such as pregnancy or marriage. See the number going up? Nip that trend in the bud before it gets even harder to do.1
  • Down water instead of other drinks. Following 16,000 adults, researchers found that drinking a glass of water instead of a beer every day reduced the risk of obesity by 20 percent. Substituting water for sugar-sweetened drinks lowered the risk by 15 percent.5
  • Be wary of artificially sweetened drinks, though. Among 1,000 subjects in seven clinical trials, aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose showed no major weight-loss benefits. In fact, data from 30 observational studies involving 400,000 people showed a link between artificial sweeteners and obesity. These kinds of studies, however, can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.6
  • “Keep on walking, keep on walking,” to paraphrase Dory from Finding Nemo. A global study looked at “activity gaps” and found that waistlines have widened in places where walking rates have declined.7 The great thing about this activity is that nearly everyone can do it. And it doesn’t cost much, just the price of a good pair of shoes. On your walks, you can also try a few quick bursts of fast walking or running to burn extra calories.8
  • Get enough sleep. This link might be something you don’t think much about. But studies have shown a lack of sleep may contribute to obesity.

Of course, it goes without saying that you need to focus on healthy food choices, too. Eat more vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, and nonfat dairy products. And don’t tempt fate. Keep sugary, starchy foods out of your house, if you can.8

If lifestyle changes aren’t quite enough to be effective, your doctor may prescribe a medication or other measures. As you know...... our friendly pharmacy team will be glad to share our insights & encourage an active, healthy lifestyle. Good luck!


Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.



  1. HealthDay: “More Evidence That Midlife Weight Gain Harms Your Health.” Available at: Accessed 8-2-17.
  2. HealthDay: “2 Billion Worldwide Are Obese or Overweight.” Available at: Accessed 8-2-17.
  3. HealthDay: “Heavy Kids Face Triple the Odds for Depression in Adulthood.” Available at: Accessed 8-2-17.
  4. WebMD: “Weight and Diabetes: Lose Pounds to Lower Your Risk.” Available at: Accessed 8-2-17.
  5. HealthDay: “Drink Water, Fight Fat?” Available at: Accessed 8-2-17.
  6. HealthDay: “Could Artificial Sweeteners Raise Your Odds for Obesity?” Available at: Accessed 8-2-17
  7. NHLBI: “Treatment.” Available at: Accessed 8-2-17.
  8. WebMD: “Lose Weight Fast: How to Do It Safely.” Available at: Accessed 8-2-17.

Kids and Sleep: How Much Is Enough?

What happens when your kid doesn’t get enough sleep? Does he turn into Oscar the Grouch? Not a surprise, really. But moodiness isn’t the only downside of a lack of shuteye.

Sleep is critical for mental and physical development. In fact, a lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, injuries, diabetes, and obesity in kids, as well as depression in teens (and adults).1,2


Sleep guidelines for kids. About a year ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with new sleep guidelines for kids. In case you missed it, here’s what they now recommend:

  • Infants 4 to 12 months: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
  • Kids 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
  • Kids 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
  • Kids 6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
  • Teens: 8 to 10 hours1

Guidelines are more challenging to devise for infants younger than four months. That’s because there is so much variation among young infants as they begin to develop regular sleep-wake cycles. 1,2

Signs of sleeplessness. How can you tell if your child isn’t getting enough sleep? Here are some telltale signs. Your child may:

  • Have trouble waking up and getting moving within 15 minutes.
  • Sleep at least two hours longer during weekends or vacations than during the school week.
  • Fall asleep during short car trips or at school.
  • Have trouble remembering, paying attention, and learning.
  • Be irritable or hyperactive.1,3

About that hyperactivity—that’s counterintuitive and can really throw parents. When you’re tired, you probably slow down. But kids can really wind up when they haven’t gotten enough sleep, and will resist going bedtime, even if they’re bone-tired. This sign can look a lot like attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.4

What you can do. Yes, I know: Getting kids to bed at night is easier said than done. But it’s worth the effort, because quality sleep is not a luxury. You can make a difference in a number of ways.

For example, help your child learn how to prioritize and focus on the activities he or she really enjoys—maybe not three sports all at the same time! Limit your child’s access to caffeine—remember it’s in chocolate, too. Make sure the bedroom is cool and dark. Set a regular, relaxing nighttime routine. Most important, keep TV and computers out of the bedroom, and turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Whether it comes from a bulb or a smartphone, light promotes wakefulness.1,2

If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, it’s also important to rule out a sleep disorder or other medical condition. Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea in kids, not just in adults.4 I’d be glad to talk over your concerns or maybe its time to make an appointment with the pediatrician.



Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.



  1. CBSNews: “New sleep guidelines for babies, kids and teens.” Available at: Accessed: 7-1-17.
  2. National Sleep Foundation: “Children and Sleep.” Available at: Accessed 7-1-17.
  3. HealthDay: “Health Tip: Is Your Child Sleeping Enough?” Available at: Accessed 7-1-17.
  4. National Sleep Foundation: “How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need?” Available at: Accessed 7-1-17.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

Did you know that skin cancer rates are on the rise in the U.S., where it is the most common type of cancer?1 It’s no wonder. Just in the past year alone, one-third of the adult population has been sunburned at least once. And that lobster-red look is a clear sign of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays—a known cause of skin cancer, which can impact any age, gender, or race.1,2



Risks of tanning. But you’re not off the hook if you stop at tanning. That’s your body’s response to sun injury.1 When you tan—either outdoors or indoors—you increase your risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer. You also increase your risk of:

  • Premature skin aging—wrinkles and age spots
  • Damaged skin texture
  • Potentially blinding eye diseases1

Here’s the silver lining in this gloomy cloud: Avoiding the sun’s UV rays is one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer.1

General guidelines. You probably know the drill, but it bears repeating:

  1. Seek shade and stay out of the sun, if you can, when UV rays are strongest—from 10 am to 4 pm.
  2. Be extra careful at higher altitudes where skin burns faster.
  3. Limit exposure to water, sand, snow, and concrete—surfaces that reflect light.
  4. Use sun protection even on cloudy days, when certain types of UV rays can be stronger.
  5. Rely on diet and supplements to get your vitamin D, not the sun.2,3

Sunscreen. Don’t use a product that combines sunscreen and insect repellant. Reapplying it will expose you to too much of the repellent’s ingredients. Also, avoid spray tans and bronzers—they won’t protect your skin from UV rays.4

Do choose sunscreens that:

  • Block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Are labeled with sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher.
  • Are water resistant—they’re more protective when you sweat.
  • Are products you will use consistently. Generally, creams are best for dry skin and the face, gels work well for hairy areas, and sticks are easier to apply near eyes. Mineral-based sunscreens—such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide—work well if you have sensitive skin.2,3

Wear sunscreen every day, even if you plan to be outside a short time. For best results, apply it generously 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside to all exposed areas—don’t forget your feet and ears. (A lip balm works best for your lips.) Always reapply after swimming or sweating and about every two hours or as often as the package suggests.2,3

Sun-protective clothing. In addition to sunscreen, wear clothing that can better protect you such as:

  • A hat with a wide brim. This works better than a baseball cap or visor for shielding your whole face from the sun.
  • Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Loose-fitting, unbleached, tightly woven fabrics.
  • Special clothing that absorbs UV rays.3

Don’t forget to protect those parts of your body that may be in constant sunlight--- your nose, forehead, and eyes.  Questions about sun-protection products or other ways to protect your family in the sun? Remember, talk to your friendly pharmacy team—your ready resource.




Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.



  1. CDC: “The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer.” Available at: Accessed 6-6-17.
  2. American Academy of Dermatology: “Sunscreen FAQs.” Available at: Accessed 6-6-17.
  3. MedlinePlus: “Sun Protection.” Available at: Accessed 6-6-17.
  4. FDA: “5 Tips for a Healthy Vacation.” Available at: Accessed 6-6-17.
Ben Franklin Apothecary
302 N. Main Street
Duncanville, Texas 75116
Pharmacy: (972) 298-4936
Ben Franklin Apothecary
302 N. Main Street
Duncanville, Texas 75116
Pharmacy: (972) 298-4936