It's the holiday edition of FSA Friday, and we hope you're reading this while preparing for a wonderful, safe, healthy weekend with friends and family!
With the excitement of the holiday season in full swing, it's important to remember there is another big shopping rush coming, as FSA users spend down their remaining funds before the end of the year.
Instead of a news roundup this week, we're putting the spotlight on a few FSA-eligible products we've fallen in love with in 2017, in case you want some buying inspiration before for the 12/31 deadline!
You know how you're really not supposed to use cotton swabs to clean your ears? Here's the perfect alternative. The Eustachi Ear Unclogger is an amazing device that uses the body's natural movements to clear your ears of wax. You simply place the device under a nostril and it will lightly blow air through your nasal passages, and while swallowing and yawning normally, this will expel wax from your ears. It sounds like magic, but it works!
Every home should have an ice pack at the ready for joint sprains, bruises and pulled muscles, so if you're looking for a new one this year, go with our favorite option, Caring Mill! This ice pack comes with straps and Velcro closures, so it can be applied long-term to sensitive areas. Plus, each purchase of Caring Mill products will result in a donation to Save the Children. Talk about win-win!
Have you ever wanted a first aid kit that could do more than just sit on the shelf and collect dust? One of our favorite vendors is Adventure Medical Kits. Whether you need something for world travel, something waterproof for camping or boating, or something small to put in your hiking pack, these kits are the perfect choice.
This was a lifesaver during the early fall when our whole office came down with colds, and it has become one of our most popular drug-free nasal relief devices. Like breathing easy after a hot shower, steam inhalers deliver humidity to dry, inflamed nasal passages to reduce pain, clear mucus, and help you breathe easier during the worst days of cold and flu season.
But, let's not end this post talking about mucus. From all of us at FSAstore.com/HSAstore.com, thank you for a fantastic year, and best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday!
(And to read the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow our Learning Center, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages … hopefully on that new laptop, smartphone or iPad.)
While most of us associate the summer weather with vacations and beach excursions, the season is an entirely different experience for those of us who are susceptible to skin conditions. The hot, humid air, stronger sun and other seasonal environmental factors can cause summer skin conditions to pop up unexpectedly, so it's vital to keep the most common ailments on your radar so you can respond quickly to clear them up.
Luckily, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), you can cover a wide range of treatments for common skin conditions with your pre-tax funds! Let's explore what you and your family should be on the lookout for this summer.
Most of us have experienced sunburn at some point, which is the body's response to excessive ultraviolet light exposure that results in hot, reddened skin, itching and peeling of the top skin layers, according to The International Dermal Institute.
Treatment and Prevention: FSA-eligible sunscreen, avoiding direct sunlight for long periods of time and sun protective clothing can play a role in preventing sunburns. If they do occur, you should first make an effort to drink plenty of water as sunburn can dehydrate the body. Avoid greasy creams and lotions, and instead treat the affected areas with cold packs to curb swelling and soothing after-sun gels to ease burning and discomfort.
- Dry Skin
With all the humidity in the air each summer, dry skin may seem improbable, but seasonal factors and activities like sun exposure, swimming in chlorinated pools and being in air conditioning can cause dry skin issues nonetheless.
Treatment and Prevention: The American Academy of Dermatology suggests showering soon after swimming in a pool to remove any chemicals that may be present on the skin. Regular sunscreen use can prevent skin drying issues by protecting the upper skin layers, while using dedicated skin-nourishing sunscreen moisturizers throughout the season can prevent dry skin before it forms.
- Poison Ivy, Sumac and Oak
While they are harmless to some, if you are allergic to poison ivy, sumac or oak, a substance called urushiol, found in each of these plants causes the painful rash on contact with the skin, reports The Mayo Clinic.
Treatment and Prevention: Being mindful of what these plants look like and avoiding them while spending time in heavily wooded areas can limit your exposure, as well as wearing long clothing to prevent skin exposure to plant oils. If a skin reaction does occur, the rash will usually dissipate after 2-3 weeks on its own. In more severe cases, WebMD suggests treating the discomfort with cold packs, calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream.
Folliculitis is a common condition among athletes during the summer months that occurs when the inside of a hair follicle becomes infected from excessive bacteria growth, reports WebMD. Bacteria thrives in hot, moist environments like sweaty clothing, and folliculitis can result in small raised bumps on the skin that resemble pimples.
Treatment and Prevention: According to WebMD, folliculitis will usually clear up on its own in 1-2 weeks, but recovery can be aided with hot packs and other heat therapy deliver methods to ease itching and promote the healing process.
- Heat Rash
Heat rash, also known as prickly heat, occurs when the body's sweat glands are blocked and sweat is not allowed to permeate to the skin level where it will evaporate. This can result in red bumps underneath the skin that can itch and produce a tingly, prickling sensation, reports Medicine Net.
Treatment and Prevention: Heat rash is more common in some individuals than it is in others, but the vast majority of cases are caused by excessive sweating, tight clothing that prevents sweat evaporation, and heavy lotions or creams that could block sweat ducts.
The condition will typically clear up on its own, and it can be avoided in the future by avoiding exercising in excessively hot/humid environments, drinking plenty of water, and wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
Stay on top of your loved ones' health and buy the products they need most at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you support the health and wellness of your family year-round.
When you're experiencing the worst of your seasonal allergy symptoms this spring, just imagine how much worse it could be if you were wearing contact lenses! This time of year is especially trying for contact lens wearers, as the American Optometric Association claims more than 75% of contact lens wearers complain of allergen-caused eye pain and irritation.
Allergy season calls for special tactics that contact lens wearers should practice throughout spring to control their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Before your local pollen count peaks, keep the following tips in mind.
- Switch to eyeglasses
During allergy season, contact lenses provide an additional surface for pollen, dust and other allergens to stick to, and they can be like sponges for these particles throughout the spring, reports VeryWell.com. Wearing eyeglasses, even on a part-time basis, can dramatically limit how many allergens your eyes come into contact with and can reduce irritation over the course of allergy season.
- Invest in rewetting drops
If you're sticking with your contacts throughout allergy season, investing in rewetting drops or artificial tears is a must. Not only will this help your eyes feel better, but they can also wash out allergens that may be present on the surface of your lenses. Best of all, if you are enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA), rewetting drops and other contact lens care products are FSA-eligible!
- Boost your cleaning regimen
Allergy season calls for a more rigorous cleaning routine, so make an effort to clean your lenses more often during the spring months to remove any lingering traces of allergens that may be present on the surface of the lenses. Consider full-scale disinfecting solutions for this time of year, and if you wear disposable lenses, replace them more often during the spring months to avoid irritation.
- Utilize cold compresses
One of the worst things you can do when experiencing eye irritation is to rub your eyes, as this will make the inflammation worse by spreading the allergens around your eyes. Instead, utilize cold compresses. A cool, damp towel or washcloth can work in a pinch, as well as FSA-eligible eye therapy masks that can be placed in the refrigerator and worn over the eyes when you're experiencing your worst symptoms.
This allergy season, make sure you're prepared by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits!
As the last few weeks of winter are among us, you're probably thinking of making a trip to a nearby ski resort before the snow melts. Whether you're planning on making it a day trip or a weekend excursion with the family, it never hurts to be extra prepared. Aside from dressing warm and layering extensively, be prepared to handle anything from getting sick to soreness and bruising from falls and potential accidents.
If you typically have a bad knee, don't let that stop you from having fun out there on the slopes. Bring along some KT Tape to support your joints and get you through harsh cold conditions. KT Tape are adhesives that will help to provide strength and support as you go about your activities.
Knee and back braces supports are great at preventing injuries, as well as stabilizing areas post-injury so they can heal more effectively. Knee braces are particularly important for skiiers and snowboarders, as these joints see an inordinate amount of strain and can be the first areas that can be injured in an accident, so if you have a history of joint issues, additional reinforcement from a brace is a good idea for your ski outing!
Treat all sorts of bruises and pain points after a long day of skiing with a hot or cold pack that's FSA eligible. To treat swelling and pain, apply ice for about 15 minutes at a time, then put the cold pack on your skin for 15 minute intervals as well. If possible, make sure to elevate the injured area to promote improved blood flow and overall healing.
Injuries aren't the only thing to watch for out on the slopes. Keep your skin protected in the dry and often windy mountains. Moisturizing before and after spending a whole day out in the cold is important to keep your skin healthy and to prevent it from cracking and causing pain. If you have a medical condition, you can even use your FSA for prescribed moisturizing products like those used for eczema relief.
While it may not feel like it in the midst of freezing temperatures, the sun's rays are still just as dangerous during the winter as they are during the summer months. UVA and UVB rays are still a factor even on cloudy days, so make sure you protect your skin before you hit the slopes. Mineral sunscreen is the best choice for skiing, as it stays active after being exposed to snow and sweat and provides broad spectrum protection from UVA/UVB rays. Also remember that sunscreen SPF 15+ lip balms are FSA eligible, too.
For everything you need to keep your family healthy this winter, shop at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible items to keep your family healthy year-round and maximize the potential of your employee benefits!