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Living Well

How do steam inhalers work?

Fall is just around the corner. Alongside the season of pumpkin spice, beautiful foliage and comfort food, autumn brings health challenges. Seasonal allergens like ragweed begin to emerge, and the arrival of cold and flu season means possiblenasal congestion!

If you have aflexible spending account (FSA), itwill covers cold, allergy, and flu treatments. Steam inhalers are simply a good drug-free alternativetoover-the-counter medicines.

How Do I Use a Steam Inhaler?

Do you ever notice how much better you feel and how clear your nasal passages are after taking a long, hot shower? Steam inhalers, also known as vaporizers, can provide a similar level of relief for nasal congestion associated with colds or the flu.

How do they work?

Steam inhalers are small, hand-held devices that deliver a fine, humid mist to the nasal passages. They deliver a mistthrough a mask placed over the nose and mouth.

Steam inhalers are valuable treatments for issues including:

  • Cold, Flu and Cough Symptoms.Steam inhalers can thin mucus in the nasal passagestoreduce any nasal congestion. These special types of inhalerscan provide soothing relief to an irritated throat and breathing passages.
  • Dryness. Antihistamines and medical nasal sprays can dry out nasal passages as part of themedicines within them. Steam inhalers can combatdryness in the nasal passagesby moisturizing the sinuses, nose and throat.
  • Sinus Congestion.In the event of a sinus infection, expectorants are the go-to over-the-counter medicines to thin mucous and expel it from the body. Steam inhalers function as natural, medicine-free expectorant. Through steam inhalers humidity penetrates deep into the nasal passages and loosens mucous.
  • Allergies. Steam inhalers are a reliable treatment for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. Pollen grains and other allergens can linger in your nasal passageways long after you come indoors. Allergy symptoms can trigger whetherallergens linger indoors or outdoors.Steam inhalers can washaway allergens and environmental pollutants that causepersistent nasal congestion.

As fall gets underway, make sure you have everything you need to keep your family healthy by shopping at FSAstore.com! We take all FSA cards/major credit cards as you shop for FSA eligible items.

Mabis Personal Steam Inhaler

This stylish steam inhaler helps you take control of your cold, flu or allergy symptoms while adding a sleek touch to any room.

MyPurMist Free Cordless Ultrapure Steam Inhaler

Get a therapeutic warm mist for instant relief with this steam inhaler, no cords attached.


Shop for Cold & Flu products with your FSA at FSAstore.com

Living Well

What's in a cough? How to stop one with an FSA

What exactly happens when we cough? How do coughs occur and how can we stop them? Learn more on the blog and shop with your FSA to prevent them.

A cough is one of the body's primary physiological functions, but as you clear your throat regularly throughout the day or contend with coughing fits during the onset of a common cold, do you ever wonder how this bodily response takes place?

What happens each time I cough?

The cough is the body's immune response to the presence of mucous and other irritants in the respiratory system. If there is a substance in your throat or airways that your body considers a threat, the brain will send signals to the muscles in your abdomen and chest wall. This will induce a strong push of air to the lungs in an effort to try and expel the irritant.

Coughing fits can vary greatly in their severity, and there is great force behind this bodily response that can lead to more advanced symptoms like headaches, sleeplessness and even broken ribs in some cases if it is allowed to continue unabated. In fact, during severe coughing fits, the velocity of the air through the nearly closed vocal cords can hit nearly 500 miles per hour.

What are the primary causes of coughs?

While most coughs are caused by outside stimuli like inhaled food, dirt and other particulates, coughs are typically a primary symptom associated with the following conditions:

  • Allergies/Asthma: When inhaling an allergen, such as pollen, mold or other substances, the cough is the body's response to expel this particulate from the body before it can cause lasting symptoms. Shop for allergy products with your FSA.
  • Viruses/Colds: While they it may be unwelcome and uncomfortable, coughing during a cold or flu is the body's effort to remove germy mucous and post-nasal drip from the body so the healing process can continue. These coughs will typically only last as long as the illness, but lung irritation from continued coughing could lead to a "dry" cough that will persist for days or weeks afterward. Shop for products to treat your cold with an FSA
  • Irritants: Many non-medical or non-allergic substances can bring about a coughing fit, such as being exposed to cigarette smoke, cleaning supplies, strong perfumes and other harsh materials.
  • Other medical conditions: Coughs can also arise from a number of potential medical conditions, such as acid reflux, lung inflammation, sleep apnea, long-term illnesses associated with smoking and side effects from taking specific medications.

How are coughs treated?

First and foremost, it's important to classify what type of cough you are suffering from to pursue the best course of treatment. A cough that lasts less than three weeks is an acute cough, one that lasts between 3-8 weeks is a sub-acute cough and one that lasts more than 8 weeks is a chronic cough. While a doctor will check to see if this is a sign of an underlying condition, you can also pursue the following treatment methods on your own:

  • Home remedies: Before visiting the doctor's office, there are a number of helpful treatments you can pursue that can treat your cough/reduce its frequency. A diet heavy in hot fluids like healthy soup/stews or hot beverages with honey that can coat the throat are extremely beneficial. Additionally, using a nebulizer to inhale warm, moist air can also soothe respiratory passages.
  • Cough medicines: Over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines like cough drops and syrup are suppressants that can cause temporary relief, but they do not treat the underlying source of the issue. What may be more effective are cough expectorants (e.g. Mucinex), which thin mucous in the nasal passages to make it easier to expel from the body.
  • Remove cough triggers: Individuals who suffer from allergies/asthma contend with cough symptoms brought on by environmental triggers, such as pollen, pet dander, dust and other particulates. Creating a sterile environment at home is the first step (read how on our blog), as well as steering clear of these allergens in everyday life to control symptoms.

Shop for FSA Rx items (simply submit a prescription to us to help you buy the items you need)

As winter comes to a close and spring allergy kicks off, make sure you have everything you need to stay healthy year-round at FSAstore.com. We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you make the most of your healthcare benefits!

Eligibility

Preventing college colds with an FSA

Is your son or daughter in college and dealing with a cold? Share an FSA eligible care package and keep them healthy year round!

Share an FSA eligible product care package!

With winter just around the corner and midterms following shortly after, the last thing your overworked and stressed out college student needs is to contend with the common cold. It's easy to feel helpless with your child miles away at school without you to care for them, but if you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can easily put together a care package to safeguard your young scholar throughout cold season.

Here are a few FSA eligible products that can play a major role in keeping your son or daughter healthy in the coming months.

Hot or Cold Therapy Eye Mask

This eye mask is the perfect solution for sinus pain, headaches and dry, puffy eyes. This easy-to-use eye mask can take away stinging or swelling.

Check out: TheraPearl Hot or Cold Therapy Eye Mask

Neti Pots, Handheld Steam Inhalers or Warm Steam Vaporizers

A Neti pot is an invaluable tool to ward off the symptoms of fall allergies, sinus infections and common colds. Saline irrigation is a proven therapy for nasal congestion, which uses a salt and water solution to flush out nasal passages. A Neti pot is an effective means of thinning out mucous in the nose and throat, which can help your college student sleep better, reduce discomfort and bounce back quickly from a cold.

If your son or daughter would rather warm steam, the handheld steam inhaler or the warm steam vaporizer will not only add relief but also provide soothing air to alleviate symptoms.

Check Out: NeilMed NasaFlo Neti Pot, 8 oz

Check Out: MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler

Check out: Vicks Warm Steam Vaporizer

Effervescent Tablets

Effervescent tablets typically contain a cocktail of medications, including aspirin, citric acid and anti-inflammatory agents that can treat a variety of cold symptoms. The foaming action of these tablets can also soothe sore throats and combat nasal congestion. Please note: These items require a prescription for FSA reimbursement.

Check Out: Alka-Seltzer Plus Day & Night, Effervescent Tablets, 10 ea

Saline Spray

Your college student is constantly on the go, and a runny nose is a heavy burden to overcome. Luckily, saline spray can fit into a purse or backpack with ease to provide nasal irrigation therapy that can tackle one of the most debilitating symptoms of sinus infections and colds.

Check Out: Simply Saline Sterile Saline Nasal Mist, Super Size 3 fl oz.

Complete your care package with soups, slippers, warm socks or a few of your son/daughter's favorite DVDs that will give them a taste of home while they recover from an illness. Visit FSAstore.com today to explore the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products that can keep your scholar in great shape all winter long!