Summer's here, and that means long days, plenty of sunshine and the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors with your loved ones. As you prep for the many adventures ahead, sun protection should be at the top of your list of priorities. But before you reach for that dusty bottle of sunscreen you stored last fall, it may be wise to check the expiration date first!
Is last year's sunscreen still effective?
First and foremost, the best indicator of the current state of your old sunscreen is to look at the expiration date. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, to test shelf life, manufacturers store a product at 40°C with 75 percent humidity; then at 40°C with 25 percent humidity; and then test it at 0, 1, 2 and 3 months.
Stability for three months in these laboratory conditions is comparable to three years in normal environments. In the vast majority of cases, you can reliably expect your sunscreen to last at least 3 years from the date you purchased it and the expiration date is a reliable indicator of its effectiveness.
In addition to the importance of the expiration date, you should also be mindful of the look and feel of the sunscreen to ensure that it hasn't broken down from one season to the next. The Mayo Clinic advises individuals and families to avoid previously-used sunscreens that may have obvious changes in color or consistency, as they may have lost their efficacy over time.
Where should I store my sunscreen?
At the end of each summer, most sunscreen is tucked away underneath the bathroom sink or stored in a closet, which may not be the best location for extending their shelf life. According to Drugs.com, sunscreen should be stored at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, it should be kept in a dark space to prevent light from causing the ingredients to separate.
So, in most cases, the fluctuating temperature and humidity levels of bathrooms are not the ideal spots for storing sunscreen, so stick with the dark, room temperature closet, instead.
Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen
Protect yourself from harmful UVA/UVB rays in the water and the sun with this sunscreen spray.
Coppertone Kids Sunscreen
This sunscreen has 80 minutes of water resistance, and stays on strong when kids play.
If you're active in the outdoors, or even just like hanging out in the backyard, you've probably comes across some poisonous plants or shrubs. And you also know that the itching, burning and all-around discomfort that comes from the reaction is something you can do without! While these plants are harmless to some, if you're allergic to poison ivy, sumac or oak, you should know how to treat the itch before it gets unbearable.
Poison ivy is found in throughout the U.S. and is known for its three pointed leaves that grow in shrubs or vines. On some plants, poison ivy leaves may be shiny, while others may have notched edges, but it follows the same life cycle of red leaves in the spring, green during the summer and yellow/orange/red leaves in the fall months. It's found in open fields, heavily wooded areas and along riverbanks, and is so resilient it can even grow in parks and backyards.
Poison oak has the same three-leaf pattern as poison ivy, but also has a curved shape that resembles the leaves of the oak tree. Poison oak can grow all over the U.S., as low shrubs in the eastern U.S. and as vines along the Pacific coast. The top sides of the leaves usually have a glossy quality, and the undersides of the leaves have an almost velvety appearance with stems covered in thorns or tiny hairs. It also has yellow-green flowers in the spring, and light green berries from summer into the fall.
Chances are you've seen them. Or worse, rolled around in a pile of them without knowing it. And if so, you probably want to know how to treat it, so you never experience the same feeling again.
Treating poison ivy
Let's get a little technical for a minute. Poison ivy and oak each contain the same oily substance, urushiol, that causes painful rashes known for their redness, itching and swelling. Over time, these rashes can turn into blisters that can be spread further if the oil is allowed to remain on the skin, and even transferred to other parts of the body through the fingers.
While there are no treatments for poison ivy and oak that will clear up the rash directly, in most cases the rashes will clear on their own in a few weeks. But who wants to wait that long? Controlling the symptoms and spread of the rash is key, so doctors suggest first washing the affected area with soap and warm water as soon as possible (ideally within 30 minutes of contact), as well as any clothing or tools that may have been exposed to the plant.
(Of course, we're not doctors, so if you think you have a rash coming, check with a doctor about the right treatment for you.)
We've had success with FSA-eligible first aid treatments like calamine lotion can help to control the itching and burning, while topical steroids like hydrocortisone creams and antihistamines can reduce inflammation and recurring symptoms.
Don't like creams and lotions? Cold therapy with ice and cold packs can also be helpful in reducing swelling and discomfort, but be sure to wrap these in a disposable towel or wash them immediately after use to avoid spreading the rash any further.
Don't waste time hunting for ways to spend your tax-free funds. In That's Eligible?!, we'll bring you these updates every Monday, so you don't have to. And for all things flex spending, be sure to check out the rest of our Learning Center, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Caring Mill™ Essential First Aid Kit
A great every day first-aid kit that offers a variety of bandages and medical supplies.
It's been a beautiful fall season in many parts of the U.S., but the lack of cold weather doesn't mean you shouldn't already have flu shots on your mind!
It's been a beautiful fall season in many parts of the U.S., so you can certainly forgive most people for putting off their concern for cold and flu season! But according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lack of cold weather doesn't mean you shouldn't already have flu shots on your mind!
The CDC warns that individuals and families should be vaccinated by the end of October before the flu starts to spread, as it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against illness. Luckily, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), you can get a head start on your cold & flu season preparations without doing damage to your wallet. Here are a few ways to get started this autumn.
- Flu Shot
According to the CDC, this season only injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) are recommended. The cost associated with flu shots is an FSA-eligible expense, so don't delay making an appointment with your doctor or pharmacist! These shots are designed to protect against multiple strains of the flu, and typically protect against 3-4 versions of the virus that are expected to be most common this season.
- Prevent the spread of germs
Everyday actions to stop the spread of germs will make a huge difference for you and your family to avoid contracting the flu this season. The CDC suggests always washing your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer when coming in contact with public surfaces, and limit your contact with sick people. Using tissues or saline wipes can help prevent the spread of germs, and avoid touching your mouth or eyes after doing so.
- Maintain your healthy habits
The strength of your immune system plays a major role in whether you come down with a cold or flu virus, so make sure your keep up healthy habits as fall gets underway. WebMD suggests eating a balanced diet, exercising at least 4 days a week and sleeping 7-9 hours each night to ensure that your immune system is in good shape.
- FSA-Eligible Flu Care
If you do happen to contract the flu despite your best efforts, your FSA can cover a huge range of treatments to help you get back on your feet. Prescription antivirals can be covered with FSA funds, as well as cold & flu products like Neti pots, antihistamines/decongestants, steam inhalers, cold compresses and more! Before the cold weather hits, make sure you pick up cold & allergy products with your FSA funds!
For everything you need to stay healthy year-round, rely on FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible items to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits!
According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, more than 100 million Americans contend with some form of chronic pain, but thankfully, developments in drug-free pain relief have evolved by leaps and bounds in recent years to deliver targeted therapy in the comfort of your own home. Best of all, many of these products can be covered by flexible spending account (FSA) funds! Here are a few options that could be a solution for acute and chronic pain issues.
- TENS Machine
One of the most popular at-home pain relief therapies is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, also known as a TENS machine, which gives users the ability to apply electrotherapy to sore muscles and joints to alleviate acute and chronic pain. While some studies have shown that electricity can block the transmission of pain signals through the nerves, others have shown that electrotherapy can promote the release of endorphins, a form of natural pain reliever that can reduce instances of pain in a variety of situations, according to Medscape.
- Multi-Pulse TENS Machine
For those who need targeted pain relief therapy for multiple trouble spots, TENS machines are available with multiple electrodes to affect different areas of the body with varying levels of pulse energy. This is a great option for those who have multiple joint or muscle ailments, or for a more comprehensive therapy session on a particular area.
- Quell Wearable Pain Relief
For some individuals, daily pain management can't wait until they come home and apply therapy to their trouble spots. For those who need an all-day solution to combat pain, the Quell Wearable Pain Relief device is the perfect drug-free solution! This device is worn on the upper calf and fits comfortably all day long to stimulate sensory nerves. It is ideal for people with nerve pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, arthritic pain and other forms of chronic pain. Quell even features Bluetooth compatibility and a smartphone app to make it easy to monitor pain therapy, sleep quality, and customize device operation.
- Acupressure Mats
If you or a loved one suffers from neck or back pain, acupressure mats are a fantastic drug-free pain relief method that is perfect for at-home therapy. Acupressure targets specific pressure points in the neck and back to alleviate pain related to fibromyalgia, sciatica, nerve pain, back/neck/shoulder pain, headaches and migraines.
- Hot/Cold Packs
Last but not least, your FSA covers an impressive range of cold and heat therapy products, which are perfect for major and minor injuries that pop up over the course of the year. The Mayo Clinic reports that cold therapy is ideal for pain relief and inflammation from joint sprains and muscle pulls, while heat therapy is effective in opening blood vessels to increase circulation and aid the healing process.
For everything you need to stay healthy year-round, rely on FSAstore.com! We have more than 4,000 FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits.
It may only be early Fall, but cold and flu season is slowly becoming a reality all over the U.S. You may be hearing more sneezing around the office or your kids are coming home from school with the sniffles, your risk of catching a virus is certainly heightened during this time of year.
So, if you're dreading that lump in your throat that signals the arrival of an unwelcome cold, your flexible spending account (FSA) can certainly help you prepare! Your FSA covers a huge range of cold and flu products, especially those that can fight nasal congestion. If you feel a stuffy nose coming on, be sure to use your flex dollars on these qualified health products!
- Saline Nasal Wipes
One of the worst side effects of any cold is the dry, inflamed skin around your nose that can form after blowing your nose dozens of times with standard tissues. As cold and flu season kicks off, use your FSA funds to pick up soothing saline nasal wipes that are less abrasive against the skin and moisturize the underlying skin layers as well!
- Neti Pot
Are you looking for a drug-free method to treat nasal congestion? Try saline irrigation! Through the use of an FSA-eligible Neti pot, you can whip up a saline solution with products you already have around the house. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, an effective saline rinse can be made with 1 cup of lukewarm water, 3 teaspoons of iodide-free salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Using a Neti pot, this solution can be flushed through the nasal cavities to remove mucous, allergens and environmental irritants to clear your breathing passages.
- Steam Inhaler
Another great option for those who are not comfortable with the idea of using a Neti pot but still would like a drug-free treatment method can try a steam inhaler! Much like the feeling you have after stepping out from a hot shower, a steam inhaler will clear your passageways with soothing steam that can break down mucous, remove irritants, and help you breathe clearer during the worst of your cold symptoms.
- Eye Mask
Contending with a sinus headache? Having trouble sleeping with your cold? A soothing eye mask is a quick solution! These helpful home treatment products can provide both hot and cold therapy directly to your face to treat headache pain, relieve dark circles under your eyes and help you sleep during the worst of your cold symptoms.
This cold and flu season, use your FSA card to keep your family healthy at FSAstore.com! We have over 4,000 FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your tax-free healthcare funds!
Neti Pot and Supplies
Breathe better instantly with a quick and easy nasal irrigation rinse to clear up congestion and sinus symptoms.
After a long, sweltering summer, the gorgeous fall weather is the perfect season for hikers, campers and outdoorsy types to go on a fall hike soon.
Plan a fall hike with your FSA
However, before you hit the road to your next destination, make sure you use your flexible spending account (FSA). Your FSA can prepare you for the next fall hike. Your Flexible Spending Account covers lots of different, everyday products that you may not realize are eligible. For example, did you know that pain relief hot or cold therapy packs for achey muscles and other pains? Or how about prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses? Thousands of items are available with an FSA.
Use your FSA card to pick up the following helpful FSA eligible expenses:
First Aid Kits
It's vital that you pack an FSA eligible first aid kit before your hike. This kit contains bandages, antiseptics, first aid tools and more that can help you act quickly. Opt for an Adventure Medical First Aid Kit for a rugged first aid kit that can stand up to the rigors of the trail!
Check Out: Adventure Medical Kits Weekender, 1 Kit
Hiking in the fall presents its own challenges, as precipitation can make trails slippery and uneven. A great item to pack is an elastic bandage. It can stabilize an injured joint to prevent further injury, and can be made into a sling! Bandages are a perfect accompaniment to a first aid kit.
Check Out: KT Tape
It's advisable that you apply sun protection before spending time outdoors. Additionally, if you become lost, a lack of sun protection can quickly become a life-threatening matter.This is an essential you should have available when venturing on the trails.
Do you have fall allergies? Allergens will be present whether you're in an urban or wooded environment.Prepare with a dedicated antihistamine tosymptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, watery eyes and a sore throat.
Check Out: Zyrtec Allergy, 24 Hour 10 mg Tablets, 45 ea
Pick up everything you need for your family's well-being with money you've already set aside by shopping at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA/HSA eligible items!
Summer's here, and that means warm weather, long days, and plenty of opportunities to hit the road on a bike. While there's something to be said for getting out and forgetting the worries of everyday life, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you spent more time preparing for your mid-ride lunch stop than ensuring your safety while out on the road!
Luckily, saving money on some simple purchases to improve your cycling experience is easier than ever. And you can pay for them through an unexpected source - your flexible spending account (FSA) funds! Here are a few great FSA-eligible items that could make your ride safer and more comfortable.
If you don't plan ahead for your ride with the right sun protection, you may end up with an epic burn instead. Last year's sunscreen may have a limited shelf life, so make sure that you're prepared for the new season with the most effective sun care regimen. Sunscreen with broad spectrum protection against ultraviolet rays and SPF 15 or above is eligible for FSA reimbursement, so make sure you and your loved ones avoid sunburn wherever you're headed.
- Lip Balm
With the constant flow of wind in your face while biking, which may result in chapped lips for days afterward. While not all lip balm is FSA-eligible, those that are, follow the same eligibility requirements as sunscreen. As long as lip balm is SPF 15+ and offers broad spectrum protection, it is FSA-eligible!
- Allergy Medicine
Being in the great outdoors comes with its own set of challenges, not the least of which are high pollen counts that could trigger your allergic symptoms. Allergy medication can help you breathe a little easier when you're out on the road, and over-the-counter medicines are eligible for FSA reimbursement with a prescription from a doctor.
- Hot/Cold Packs
Whether you're an avid cyclist or a total newbie, a long ride can leave your muscles sore for days after physical activity, but your FSA can help tackle that as well! Hot and cold packs are eligible over-the-counter products that can administer targeted heat and cold therapy to soothe sore muscles, curb swelling and reduce pain so you can get back on the road faster.
- Crash Pack
Last but not least, we never want to think about it when we're out on the road or on the trail, but falling off your bike in an emergency can lead to a serious injury that could be worsened without the right preparation. Every cyclist should keep a crash pack handy, and your FSA can help cover an extensive selection of bandages, braces, first aid kits and—worst-case scenario—crutches.
No matter where you're headed this summer, make FSAstore.com a part of your plans! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to keep you and your loved ones healthy year-round.
Father's Day arrives on Sunday, June 18, and it's your day to spend with family and friends in your celebration of all things "Dad." As enjoyable as this holiday is, it also sheds light on the indispensable role that you play in your loved ones' lives, and maintaining your overall health should be your top priority to enjoy many more Father's Days for years to come.
If you are enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA), your benefit can cover a huge range of qualifying health products that can support your long-term health, and even help you enjoy your favorite activities more safely! Here's how to use FSA money to do just that!
- Blood Pressure Monitor
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hypertension affects 75 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 American adults. If you have hypertension, or a family history of high blood pressure, tracking your numbers with a blood pressure monitor is a smart choice for your long-term health.
These devices will shed light on fluctuations in your blood pressure levels and create reports that you can share with your doctor to help make positive lifestyle changes for the future. Best of all, many of these devices are compatible with your smartphone!
Check Out: Qardio Arm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor
- TENS Machine
Have you recently contended with chronic or acute pain issues? You may be a great candidate for a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine! TENS machines administer electrotherapy, which utilizes electricity to interfere with the transmission of pain signals through the nerves to alleviate pain. These devices can also promote the release of endorphins, a form of natural pain reliever that can reduce instances of pain in a variety of situations.
- Vehicle First Aid Kit
You have a first aid kit at home to handle any emergencies, but what about your car, boat or recreational vehicle? First aid kits are FSA-eligible and can help you tackle major and minor injuries with confidence before seeking out medical attention. Adventure Medical Kits has a full line of first aid kits to suit any vehicle, lifestyle and price point.
Check Out: Adventure Medical First Aid Kits
- Mineral Sunscreen
Do you find yourself constantly re-applying sunscreen during trips to the beach or during outdoor activities? Mineral sunscreen is your answer! These products are dermatologist-tested, do not absorb directly into the skin and contain ingredients that can reflect UVA/UVB rays that contribute to sunburns. As long as sunscreen is SPF 15+, you can use your FSA to cover the sun care products that do the most for your overall wellness!
- Cold Wraps
Looking to get back into the gym this summer? Starting a new workout plan will come with its own share of post-exercise soreness, so make sure you don't stray too far from your routine with re-usable cold wraps! These pads require no pre-cooling and can be used right out of the package's resealable pouch.
For everything you need to maximize the potential of your FSA, visit FSAstore.com! Search the web's most comprehensive Eligibility List available, submit a question on our FSA Learning Center and shop the largest selection of FSA-eligible items on the web!
Summer is fast approaching, and if you are an outdoor enthusiast, this is the time of year when you are itching to get out into the backcountry and away from the cares of modern life. As any good camper knows, you should always be prepared for the worst when you are miles away from the nearest hospital, and if you are enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA), you can save on must-have camping necessities!
FSAs already cover rugged, camping-ready first aid kits like the ones from Adventure Medical Kits, but there are a number of FSA-eligible items that you may not have thought of that could come in handy during your next camping trip.
Here are some smart purchases to keep in mind before you hit the trail!
- Instant Cold Packs
This is a great addition to your camping first aid kit and can help you treat a sprained ankle or other trail injury with ease. These disposable, instant cold packs have a long shelf life and are ready to use after squeezing and shaking them, and applying them to the affected area. Cold packs combat inflammation and relieve pain to speed the recovery process.
- Joint Supports
Whether you have a history of knee problems, an ankle that is prone to sprains or another form of chronic pain in your joints, it's best to be prepared for the worst before you trek out into the backcountry. Joint supports and braces can stabilize these trouble areas to reduce pain and make for a more enjoyable experience out on the trail!
Check Out: Braces and Elastic Supports
- Mineral Sunscreen
Standard sunscreen may not be able to stand up to the flurry of activity that camping offers. Whether you go swimming or work up a sweat on a hike, sunscreens can lose their efficacy over time which is why you need a unique solution to stand up to the rigors of camping. Mineral sunscreen is a much better option for camping as it does not degrade after being exposed to UV rays, offers resistance against water and sweat and offers broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, which cause sunburn.
- Elastic Bandages
In the case of a sudden injury like a broken bone or a bad sprain, immobilizing the injury to prevent further damage is paramount to promoting the healing process. This can be especially difficult in an outdoor environment, which is why an elastic bandage should be in every camper's pack. These compact bandages can be wrapped around joints to keep them stable, and they can even be fashioned into a sling for upper body injuries.
Check Out: ACE 3" Self-Adhering Elastic Bandage
- Blister Cushions
Whether you're trekking on hiking paths or doing work around the campsite, blisters can form quickly after forceful friction on your hands and feet. Blisters are an obvious nuisance, and they can put a damper on your camping excursion in a hurry. Blister pads are a great addition to your first aid kit that can provide additional padding to help them heal, as well as sealing out water, dirt and germs that could cause infection.
For everything you and your loved ones need to stay healthy this summer and beyond, rely on FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your employee benefits!
May signifies the arrival of Arthritis Awareness Month, a yearly initiative that aims to raise awareness of the importance of early detection of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. While arthritis is sometimes thought of as a disease that affects only the elderly, the problem is much greater than a single demographic.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 American adults suffer from some form of arthritis, while a further two-thirds of this population are working age adults, ages 16-64.
It's those working adults that have to juggle pain management of their conditions with the rigors of everyday life that may be surprised to know that a flexible spending account (FSA) could provide an advantage to their arthritis care regimen. These consumer-directed healthcare accounts, which are offered by many employers, can help arthritis sufferers save on the products and medications they need most.
Here are a few of the best FSA-eligible products that arthritis sufferers can purchase with their FSA funds.
- Glucosamine/Chondroitin Supplements
Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally-occurring substances in the body that is found around cartilage in key joints. Over time as a natural result of aging, these compounds will begin to break down, which can adversely affect one's health. As a supplement, glucosamine and chondroitin are most often used together to combat joint deterioration that will over time help to reduce pain, improve joint flexibility and slow the progression of arthritis.
- Arthritis Gloves
Compression therapy is a common technique to treat sore joints, especially for those who have rheumatoid arthritis that causes pain, joint stiffness and swelling that can impair hand function and interfere with daily activities. Arthritis gloves are a tried-and-tested method to provide light compression therapy to alleviate these symptoms. With light pressure on the joints and increased warmth, arthritis gloves can fight inflammation and increase circulation to combat chronic arthritis pain.
Check Out: IMAK Arthritis Gloves
- Moist Heat Ball
For those looking for a natural alternative to over-the-counter medications, moist heat therapy balls are a fantastic alternative. Much like a stress ball, these hand-held devices can gently work the underlying joints with mild exercise to promote circulation, while moist heat can fight inflammation and chronic pain. This is a great choice for office workers who can utilize this therapeutic method throughout the day.
- Pain Relief Orthotics
Arthritis can affect many different parts of the body, and those with osteoarthritis can contend with chronic pain in the hips, knees and feet. As such, the right footwear can make all the difference, which is why pain relief orthotics are a smart buy. These orthotics absorb the impact from every step to ease the strain on joints and absorb the impact.
- Knee Wraps
The knees are a pivotal joint in the body and chronic pain in these areas can dramatically affect a person's quality of life. Knee wraps are a great investment for FSA users that offer both heat and cold therapy to treat a wide range of ailments. Best of all, this device can be worn over the knee to provide continuous therapy as arthritis suffers go about their daily routine.
Check Out: TheraPearl Knee Wrap
For everything you need to stay healthy this Arthritis Awareness Month and beyond, visit FSAstore.com! We can show you how to spend FSA money on the qualifying health products that you and your loved ones need year-round.
Mother's Day arrives on May 14, 2017, and this holiday also kicks of National Women's Health Week, a national initiative that serves as a time to encourage women to take steps to improve their health and make wellness a priority.
If you're a working mom who's enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA), you'd be surprised by just how many FSA-eligible products can help improve your overall well-being. Whether it's products to tackle chronic pain issues or to help you manage being a mom, it's your holiday - it's time to treat yourself!
Here are a few great FSA-eligible items that moms should consider this Mother's Day.
- Pain Relief Eye Mask
Do you have an issue with puffy eyes or inflammation? Or do you suffer from migraines and have extensive eye pain that accompanies headaches? Therapeutic eye masks can administer both heat and cold therapy, and are a great option for moms looking for a natural means of pain relief.
Check Out: TheraPearl Hot or Cold Therapy Eye Mask
- Acupressure Wrist Bands
Do you suffer from motion sickness during travel or experience nausea when a migraine hits? You may be the perfect candidate for acupressure wrist bands! These drug-free bands provide light pressure to key acupoints in the wrist to alleviate nausea caused by travel, headaches, morning sickness/pregnancy, anesthesia and chemotherapy. Best of all, they're waterproof, adjustable for a customized fit, and reusable.
- Mineral Sunscreen
How prepared are you for summer? If you'll be spending time at the beach this summer, be sure to pack the sunscreen! These products are eligible as long as they offer broad-spectrum protection against UVA/UVB rays, and offer a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above. Mineral sunscreen is not absorbed into the skin, does not degrade over time because of UVA/UVB rays, and is effective immediately after application.
- Lip Balm with SPF 15+
In addition to sunscreen, make sure your lips are protected all summer long as well! Lip balm is only FSA-eligible with an SPF 15 or above, so use your FSA funds to refresh the look of your lips and keep them protected from sun damage.
- First Aid Kit
There's a long summer ahead of day trips, vacations and outdoor excursions, so make sure you and your loved ones are protected with medical supplies to handle any situation. First aid kits are a smart buy for your home, car or boat and can help you respond confidently in an emergency situation.
High blood pressure is among the most common medical conditions affecting American adults today. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 75 million American adults have high blood pressure, or about 1 in 3 adults.
May is National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month, and this initiative aims to educate Americans about the risks of this condition. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, boosts the risks of leading killers such as heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure, reports Prevention magazine.
With Summer just around the corner, this is the perfect time to make lasting changes for your overall health, and FSAstore.com can help you get there! Here are a few ways that you can get your blood pressure numbers to healthy levels.
- Reduce your salt intake
Sodium has a major effect on blood pressure levels, so in addition to setting aside the salt shaker at meals, be vigilant about checking food labels for high sodium levels. According to the American Heart Association, sodium pulls water into your blood vessels, increasing the total volume of blood inside your blood vessels.
With more blood flowing through your blood vessels, blood pressure increases. If your blood pressure numbers have been rising in recent years, cutting out the salt is a step in the right direction!
- Commit to 30 minutes of exercise each day
Exercise is one of the easiest ways to reduce your blood pressure, and Mayo Clinic suggests committing to at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Calisthenics like walking, jogging, cycling or swimming will have the most tangible impact on your numbers, and staying consistent with the practice will help you keep your blood pressure stable. Make sure you stay on track and manage any injuries that come up along the way with FSA-eligible braces and elastic supports.
- Increase your potassium intake
Potassium has the unique ability to balance out the negative effects of salt intake, which has a major impact on your blood pressure numbers. As you formulate a blood pressure-lowering diet, include potassium-rich foods such as bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, kidney beans, peas, cantaloupes, and dried fruits like prunes and raises, reports Prevention.
- Limit your alcohol consumption
While small amounts of alcohol does have the potential to reduce your blood pressure numbers, anything above the daily recommended amount can have a detrimental effect on your blood pressure numbers. Many studies have found that one drink per day (12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz spirits) can reduce one's risk of heart disease. If you drink make sure it is in moderation.
- Quit Smoking
One of the fastest ways to ease high blood pressure numbers is to kick your cigarette habit! Each cigarette smoked will result in a blood pressure spike that will linger long after you've thrown it in the ashtray, which can lead to long-term damage to your heart over time, reports The Mayo Clinic. Quitting is one of the best choices you can make for managing hypertension and your long-term health. Best of all, smoking deterrents are FSA-eligible!
Braces and Supports
Keep yourself feeling comfortable and protected with FSA-eligible braces and supports.
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? If so, then you know that the first several weeks of spring can be the most trying time for allergy sufferers. As trees bud, flowers bloom, and grass begins to germinate, pollen levels will soar and simply stepping outdoors can trigger watery eyes, a runny nose and a day's worth of sneezing fits.
While over-the-counter allergy medicines like antihistamines and decongestants are a great start to curb your allergy symptoms, there are a number of simple tricks to keep up your sleeve for those days when allergic reactions are at their worst. Here are a few anti-allergy life hacks to keep in mind before allergens are at their peak.
- Eat local honey
One of the oldest natural allergy remedies is the ingestion of local honey, which acts as a type of natural vaccination against seasonal allergies. Local honey contains a variety of the same pollen spores that are present when flowers and grasses bloom in your area, and introducing these spores in small amounts to the body can build up its natural immunity. This can limit the body's immune response of histamine production when exposed to allergens, and this daily dose of honey could be an effective means of controlling your symptoms this allergy season.
- Practice saltwater irrigation
Salt water irrigation through the use of Neti pots is one of the best natural remedies to alleviate allergy symptoms. These devices are used by millions of Americans to treat sinus problems, provide relief from nasal congestion in the event of a cold or virus, or to clear out breathing passages during the height of allergy season.
Neti pots utilize a nasal saline solution that mixes salt and warm water to thin nasal secretions and flush out bacteria/allergens/environmental irritants to help curb seasonal allergy symptoms. Aim to use saltwater irrigation twice a day during allergy season.
- Indulge in sushi
If you're contending with allergy symptoms in the early spring, stop into a sushi restaurant and ask for extra wasabi! This pungent green paste is already great for opening up your nasal passages and helping you breathe more easily, but it also fights inflammation naturally. Ingestion of wasabi can limit the body's production of histamine and can reduce the effects of seasonal allergy symptoms.
- Enjoy some green tea
When allergy season kicks off, make the switch to green tea each morning to provide your immune system with a boost against allergens. Green tea contains natural antihistamines to combat the body's immune response to the presence of allergens, and it can be a great addition to your spring diet to combat sneezing and nasal congestion.
- Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water throughout the day supports a wide range of physiological functions, and this holds special significance for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. Being dehydrated sparks the release of histamine in the body to prevent future water loss, which can contribute to the worsening of allergy symptoms. Make an effort to increase your water consumption in the early spring to lessen the severity of allergy symptoms.
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While spring allergies certainly get a lot more attention when pollen levels peak, winter has its own set of various indoor irritants to trigger those allergy symptoms many of us know all too well. As your furnace kicks in during the winter months, it can send dust mites, mold spores, and insect parts into the air which can find its way to your breathing passages to cause an adverse reaction.
One to way to help mitigate symptoms is to get a better idea of where these allergy triggers are surfacing from. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that particularly love to hide in mattresses and bedding. Their droppings and remains, when airborne, are most likely the source of your symptoms.
Additionally, mold can be found in damp and humid areas such as basements and bathrooms, but can also manifest itself under moldy carpets, soggy drywall, and areas with water leaks. As you spend more time indoors in the winter, these allergens become more prominent in causing discomfort and allergic reactions.
Treatment for your winter allergies can include Antihistamines and Decongestants, both of which are available for purchase with an FSA (with a prescription) on FSAstore.com. Antihistamines help to reduce sneezing, sniffling, and itching. Decongestants clear mucus in the nose and lungs to relieve congestion and swelling.
Antihistamines (Prescription required to purchase with FSA):
Decongestants (Prescription required to purchase with FSA):
If neither of these work and your symptoms are serious, you may want to consider immunotherapy, which consists of allergy shots or under-the-tongue tablets. Immunotherapy should expose your body to gradually bigger doses of the allergen to curb your symptoms for the longer term.