That's Eligible?! A quick holiday health survival kit

Hear that? No, it isn't the distant sounds of jingle bells, ringing merrily for all to hear. It's the sound of the impending holidays and all that entails – a house full of family members, someone suggesting your deep-fry your holiday roast stringing up a tangled ball of lights on your roof, or Great Aunt Sally's excellent idea to gift the kids their very own set of permanent markers for the holidays.

Whether you're traveling or staying home, going to a big family gathering or keeping it small, the holidays don't only bring along a sleigh full of gifts. They can come with their very own set of aches and pains, even potential injuries. We put together a quick and easy holiday survival kit, complete with everything you need to survive the holidays in one piece – all FSA-eligible of course.

Stay healthy, stay active

We realize being active isn't hard to do this time of year -- but too much running around isn't good, either. And being sick during the holidays isn't fun for anyone. That's why you should do your part beforehand to avoid any holiday sniffles. Bone up on your medicine cabinet 101, from prenatal vitamins for expectant moms to other meds, like pain relievers and supplies for diabetes.

Don't go too far in the other direction, either. Staying active in the weeks leading up to the festivities is key, and easy to accomplish, just by taking long walks or runs, using insoles to keep you feeling pain-free when it's done. But, if you have a lingering knee or ankle injury, invest in an orthopedic brace to make regular exercise a bit more bearable.

Banish aches and pains

Every family has one: that lovely, yet extremely talkative family member who can chat for hours and hours on end, usually on a subject of their choosing. Despite your subtle attempts at escaping to the next room to score some pie, they just don't take the hint.

This scintillating conversation is usually followed by a stress headache. To be fair, whether it's brought on by the incessant chatting or the overindulgence of eggnog on your part, that's beside the point. Acetaminophen is a must-have in your FSA-eligible holiday toolkit (as long as you have an Rx). You could also try a calming acupuncture pillow and matching eye mask for pain relief once you're home, to help take the edge off.

Keep stress away

The holidays can bring about a plethora of potential stressors, whether it's from the pressure to overspend, holiday travel delays and inevitable hiccups, or complicated family dynamics at play.

Keep your stress level down with FSA-eligible acupuncture (with a letter from your doctor proving medical need, of course). Acupuncture has been known to reduce stress, but can also melt away tension in your neck and back, and can even help with digestive issues, which we all know are a common side effect of that big holiday meal.

(Fruitcake, am I right?)

Prepare for guests

If you're expecting visitors this year, be sure any elderly visitors are accommodated with FSA-eligible bathroom safety products. After all, the last thing anyone wants this holiday season is a late-night trip to the ER.

If children are a part of your household, other great items to have on hand during these hectic times are thermometers, children's cold and allergy relief, a nasal aspirator, and even band-aids. (Because kids love band-aids. It's science.)

Just don't tuck any of your FSA-eligible items into anyone's stockings, unless they're your dependents. It's a surefire way to earn a lump of coal from the IRS this season.

BrainStrong Prenatal Multivitamin Plus DHA

Vitamins and minerals to support mom's health throughout pregnancy and breast feeding.


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.


Product Pick of the Week: Caring Mill Travel Heating Pad

For a large majority of American families, at-home pain relief methods are pretty simple. Cold packs for injuries, pain relievers for headaches and general pain, and maybe an elastic bandage or athletic brace for a sprained ankle. But let me be the first to say that a good heating pad needs to be included in that conversation.

Caring Mill Travel Heating Pad

For this week's selection, let's take a closer look at the Caring Mill Travel Heating Pad, sold exclusively at FSAstore.com and HSAstore.com! Heating pads come in every shape and size imaginable, but we think this Caring Mill design for travel is a smart choice for all applications.

First aid

Muscle sprains and pulls can benefit from a combination of cold and heat therapy, such as using a heating pad in combination with a cold pack. According to Healthline, while cold packs can help reduce inflammation and pain for muscle pulls and sprains, heating pads are a great accompaniment that can help open blood vessels to allow oxygenated blood to flow faster to the affected area and boost your recovery. In addition to acute injuries, heating pads are smart choices for chronic pain issues like lower back pain, joint issues and more.

Abdominal pain relief

Whether the source of your pain is a stomach virus or menstrual cramps, abdominal pain is a tough nut to crack. Heating pads are one of the few treatment methods available that can increase circulation to these areas to reduce pain and loosen up tight muscles that could be contributing to cramping.

Pre-/post-workout treatment

Finally, if you're a gym rat, heating pads have a wide range of uses that can help you limber up and treat pain issues that may arise from heavy workouts. As we explained above, heating pads in tandem with cold packs are a smart choice for sports injuries, but if you have a troublesome muscle or joint issue hobbling you before a workout, applying a heating pad to this area can help you loosen up to get ready for physical activity.

So if you fit into any of the above criteria or looking to upgrade your pain relief regimen, give the Caring Mill Travel Heating Pad a try. In addition to serving all of your home pain relief needs, it's small enough to throw into your carry-on or overnight bag to take your heat therapy on the road.

Finally and most importantly, every purchase of a Caring Mill product will support Children's Health Fund, which is committed to providing health care to America's disadvantaged youth. That's a win-win for everyone involved!

More from Caring Mill!

Caring Mill™ Essential First-Aid Kit 160pc

This is a great every day first-aid kit that offers a variety of bandages and medical supplies to cover the most common medical situations.


Caring Mill™ Wireless TENS Therapy Kit

Complete, drug-free pain relief Wireless TENS Therapy Starter Kit which includes TENS control unit, one electrode pad, battery, and storage case that is portable and easy to travel with.

Living Well

FSA Friday - 5/4/18 - Celebrate Cinco de Mayo the healthy way

The headline says "5/4" but we bet more of you are going to celebrate tomorrow, when most of the country will put down their responsibilities and raise a glass to the Mexican Army's difficult victory over the French Empire on May 5, 1862.

(Rumor has it, there might also be some heavy partying.)

No matter what you have for going on this weekend, your FSA can help you ensure your celebration starts safe and stays safe. It might even help you enjoy May 6 as much as the previous day! In this week's FSA Friday, we put aside the news headlines to give you a few tips for enjoying a comfortable, relaxing, FSA-eligible Cinco de Mayo weekend.

Stay cool

It seems like just a few weeks ago, most of the country was still facing the possibility of snowfall. Today, the northeast United States is, once again, preparing for summer-like temperatures, clear skies, and perfect barbecue weather.

But it's been a long winter, and much of the country has been stuck indoors. So, it's probably best to avoid too much sunshine on the first warm weekend since September. Whenever possible, sit down in the shade, don't overexert yourself, and have that sunscreen ready. However, if you find yourself getting a little too much sun, we're happy to report that cold packs and other forms of cold therapy are FSA-eligible.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using these products to treat sunburns soon after you come out of the sun to fight the itching and burning from sunburns, as well as reduce any unwanted swelling and blisters.

(We like using them to just cool off, since they're drier and longer-lasting than damp towels or ice bags.)

Stay hydrated (inside and out)

I don't think we need to remind you how important it is to drink plenty of water (and no, beer, sangria and Coke Zero do not count toward your daily water requirements). Whenever you're outdoors and the temperature rises, you'll need to keep the water flowing, regardless of whatever else you're doing, eating or drinking.

In warmer weather, your skin needs some extra hydration, too. Even if you don't get a full-on sunburn, there's always the possibility your skin will crack and peel. Medicated moisturizers that are fortified with aloe vera are FSA-eligible with a prescription! Applying twice a day after being outdoors can help fight off gentle burns, and prevent your skin from drying out.

Ditch the itch

You aren't the only one looking forward to that outdoor fiesta. Bugs have been dormant all winter, and have likely planned their first summer meal at the same time as yours. But you can put the brakes on the buffet by using FSA-eligible sunscreen with bug repellent before stepping into the yard.

Should a few insects fight through the bug spray, it's a good idea to treat bites right away using hydrocortisone cream, which should immediately treat inflammation, redness and swelling before they happen.

[PRO TIP - Hydrocortisone is also fantastic for reducing sunburn swelling and burning. Have it in your bag, no matter where your weekend takes you.]

Don't be too proud

Okay, after a day full of food, drink, sun, bugs and sprays, you might not feel quite like yourself once the sun sets on Cinco de Mayo. But, rather than try to ignore the pain, allow yourself to enjoy a little relief while you wind down the weekend. Over-the-counter pain relief like ibuprofen and aspirin (along with a lot more water consumption) should help take the edge off the previous day's celebration. And they're FSA-eligible with a prescription, so use our Prescription Process to make it even easier!

FSA Friday is a weekly roundup of the latest topics, tips and headlines to keep you updated on all things flex spending. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Living Well

Treat everyday aches and pains like a marathon runner

Last month, 98,247 entrants of all backgrounds, training regimens and fitness levels trekked through New York City with the common dream of completing the New York Marathon. Some finished with ease. Some never finished at all. But one thing is for certain -- all were feeling some serious aches and pains the following day.

But you don't have to compete in marathons or 10Ks to put stress on your feet, legs and joints. Sometimes, just walking around the office each day is enough to bring on nagging pains from head to toe.

Just because your finish line is in your office and not Times Square doesn't mean you shouldn't treat your injuries with anything less than top-notch care. For true treatment and care pain-relief, there is a world of options at your disposal -- and many of them are FSA-eligible!


As the third component of the vaunted "RICE" -- Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation -- method of recovery, compression has long been considered a vital treatment.

We've covered compression treatment extensively on these pages, and with good reason. From fitness enthusiasts to those suffering from leg disorders, compression garments serve a wide range of needs, helping countless people recover from exercise, disorders and more.

What's unique about compression garments, like socks, is that they are beneficial for bodies that see excessive activity, such as marathon runners, as well as those that suffer from long periods of inactivity, such as pilots, drivers, and the like.

Please note -- compression garments are eligible for reimbursement with an FSA, HSA or HRA (as long as they meet specific guidelines). This means the standard, exercise-grade compression sleeves are likely not eligible. However, there is a chance they may be eligible for reimbursement with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from a physician if used to treat a medical condition.

Athletic tape...

We don't think athletic tape gets enough credit. But just ask professional athletes where their careers would be if a roll of fabric athletic tape hadn't been available to add support and pressure on injured muscles and joints.

Still, athletic tape isn't exactly a product category with innovation, so when one comes along, we acknowledge it. More advanced support tape, such as KT Tape, is made from a highly engineered synthetic material, and might just be what you need for extra relief.

Built with flexibility in mind, these tapes allow athletes to provide more targeted support for specific pains through an elastic, waterproof design that even stays on tricky parts of your body, so you don't need to reapply often.

While traditional athletic tape is good for securing injured areas, KT Tape also lifts the upper skin layers to create a gap between the skin and muscle, which alleviates pressure on sore muscles and allows for greater movement.

Old-fashioned ice… in an all-new package

Sometimes, innovation is as simple as taking a classic idea and making it better. Despite years of research devoted to better forms of pain relief, how many ways have proven to be better than icing down an injury? Not many…

That's not to say companies haven't found a way to improve on an approach that works. Take for example, a more-advanced cold delivery pain relief system, which adheres directly to your joints, applying concentrated cold specifically to a target area, without the need for endless layers of tape, gauze, or fabric bandages. These items are FSA-eligible, and give you a more-efficient form of pain relief.

In the end, you may not be training to complete a marathon, but that doesn't mean your body isn't suffering with athlete-level aches and pains each day. Don't just rely on a few ibuprofen (also FSA-eligible with a prescription) and extended time on the couch (unless a doctor says to do just that).

Instead, treat these discomforts just like a marathon runner would … but expect funny looks if you sprint into your living room like you're crossing a finish line.


If you're running a marathon, or just running to the store, sometimes you need a little extra support. That's where KT TAPE PRO comes in.

IMAK Compression Arthritis/Circulation Sock

Improve circulation any day of the week with these IMAX compression socks.


5 FSA-eligible products for your next business trip

If you ask most business travelers, they will tell you that they have a love/hate relationship with the practice. While it's certainly exciting to see and experience new places, the daily grind of flying and an ever-changing slate of hotel rooms can weigh on even the most savvy business traveler.

So if you had a way to improve your comfort level, avoid chronic pain issues and maintain your overall wellness during travel, you wouldn't turn it down, right? Luckily, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), your benefit covers a huge range of eligible products that will do just that. Here's how to use FSA money to boost your overall health during your next business trip.

  1. Orthopedic Neck Pillow

If you experience chronic pain issues from sleeping in an upright position, you may experience additional pain throughout your business trip. An orthopedic neck pillow can contour to the neck and shoulders, and can be used in conjunction with traditional pillows to provide a comfortable sleep position that alleviates pain.

Check Out: IMAK HappiNeck Orthopedic Neck Support

  1. Acupressure Mat

Tackling pain on the road is tough, but instead of constantly resorting to over-the-counter pain relievers, acupressure mats may be the perfect solution. Acupressure mats target specific pressure points in the user's back, neck and shoulders to alleviate pain in various parts of the body. These mats are used to treat back/neck/shoulder pain, fibromyalgia pain and even migraines. Best of all, they are compact and can be stored in a suitcase with ease.

Check Out: Kenko Acupressure Mat for Back/Neck Pain, Emerald

  1. Pain Relief Eye Mask

In addition to helping to block out light to help you sleep, pain relief eye masks are great options for business travelers who experience migraines, sinus pain or wake up with puffy eyes. After a short time in the refrigerator, these masks can provide cooling relief to fight pain and inflammation so you can wake up feeling your best.

Check Out: IMAK Eye Mask, Pain Relief

  1. Sun Protection with Daily Moisturizer

Is your face feeling as refreshed as it could be before a major business excursion? Daily moisturizers are usually not FSA-eligible, but those that offer broad spectrum protection and an SPF of 15+ are eligible for reimbursement with an FSA as long as their primary purpose is sun protection. These products can help refresh the look of your skin and safeguard your skin from the harsh effects of UVA and UVB rays.

Check Out: MDSolarSciences Daily Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 30, Travel Size

  1. Eyeglass Repair Kit

If you wear glasses, you know the nightmare of having your eyewear break while on the road. Luckily, a surprising number of eyeglass accessories are FSA eligible, from eyeglass repair kits to cleaning wipes to cleaning sprays. Prepare ahead of time for these emergencies to give you confidence on your business trip!

Check Out: Flents Eyeglass Repair Kit

IMAK HappiNeck Orthopedic Neck Support

Offers the ultimate in neck comfort and support, for traveling or relaxing.


Treat migraines with an FSA

We've all had to contend with a headache from time to time, but if you've suffered from a migraine, you know just how painful and debilitating they can be.

We've all dealt with headaches, but if you've suffered from a migraine then you know how painful and debilitating they can be. Migraines can be accompanied by advanced symptoms including nausea, sensitivity to light/sound, impaired vision, pain in the temples/eyes/ears and even vomiting.

Let your FSA help with migraines

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can provide relief,but migraine sufferers often must wait out the pain. Rest and relaxation are important to overcome migraine symptoms. If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), your plan covers a wide range of products to help you deal with migraine pain.

Here are a few ways to treat migraines:

Sleep Mask

Migraines can cause a great degree of sensitivity to light and sound. Many migraine sufferers will retreat to a dark bedroom to sleep off the worst of their symptoms. You can use a therapeutic sleep mask (warm or cold) to provide hot/cold therapy, as well as block out external light that aggravates symptoms.

Check Out: TheraPearl Hot or Cold Therapy Eye Mask

Neck Rest

Migraines can cause significant neck and shoulder tension. While some people are more comfortable lying down and sleeping, others may prefer a seated position. A moist heat pack in the shape of a neck rest can relieve tension and bring relaxation to help migraine sufferers overcome the various stages of their headaches.

Check Out: Therabeads Neck Rest Microwaveable Moist Heat Pack

Cooling Gel Sheets

Cooling gel sheets could provide relief from migraine pain around your temples, forehead and eyes. The gel sheets are non-medicated and provide cooling relief wherever they are placed to relieve underlying tension and reducing pain.

Check Out: Be Koool Soft Gel Sheets, Adults, 4 ea

Headache Band

One of the best methods to treat a migraine "aura" (first stage of the headache associated with blurred vision, or temple/forehead/eye pain) is gentle cold therapy on the forehead. A headache band provides cold therapy evenly to the forehead and is a perfect complement to over-the-counter medications. You'll need a prescription for any OTC medications to get reimbursed with an FSA.

Check Out: Thera-Med Headache Band

Pain Relievers for Migraines

OTC pain relievers for migraines differ from regular pain relievers. Migraine pain relievers usually combine multiple analgesics (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.) with caffeine. Did you know caffeine can reduce inflammation associated with headaches?

Check Out: Excedrin Migraine Pain Reliever, 24 capsules (requires a prescription for FSA reimbursement)*

To keep you and loved ones healthy, shop at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products!

Sleep Masks

Sleep easier and help migraines with a relaxation sleep mask that applies light pressure to help ease migraine pain.

Neck Supports

Soothe neck and shoulder tension that can add to migraine pain with FSA-eligible neck supports.

Living Well

Does caffeine alleviate headache pain?

Whether you suffer from recurring headaches or more advanced migraines, there's a good chance that you've take a look at over-the-counter pain relievers for headaches. But, maybe you've also noticed something else on the ingredient list: caffeine.
Since it's often associated with withdrawal headaches from coffee and other related drinks, it seems like an odd addition to common pain relievers.

How caffeine affects pain relievers

We get our caffeine intake from a variety of sources, including coffee, soda, tea or chocolate. But, when this popular stimulant is paired with traditional over-the-counter pain relievers, it has a tangible effect on their efficacy.

Studies on pain relief

The Cochrane Library conducted a group study of 19 different pain reliever studies with more than 7,200 participants. These studies analyzed medications including acetaminophen and ibuprofen. They compared equal dosages of medications by themselves vs. the same dose of medication with added caffeine. Researchers found between 5-10 percent of participants rated their pain relief as "good" or "excellent" when caffeine was included. Non-caffeine group experienced "moderate to good" pain relief.

Numerous studies show that pain relievers with caffeine can be more effective than their counterparts. But, researchers struggle to explain why this is the case. Some researchers believe that caffeine assists drugs like acetaminophen and ibuprofen in entering the bloodstream more quickly. Some researchers believe that the stimulant has a mood-boosting effect that could increase the efficacy of pain relievers.

How much is too much?

Excessive caffeine use can lead to stomach issues, acid reflux and other problems. It's vital that you keep your caffeine intake to a minimum. Physicians advise that 300 milligrams per day is safe, which equates to about three 8-oz. cups of coffee. Headache sufferers should pay particular attention to these levels in their pain medications to avoid excess.

Be sure to check out FSAstore.com for pain relief products!


7 athletic treatments for fall sports season

Back to school time is here. Learn about a few athletic treatments and therapeutic products to keep in mind as the school year gets underway.

It's hard to believe, but back-to-school season is in full swing, and if you're the parent of a student athlete, there's a good chance your son or daughter is participating in late summer practices to ready up for the coming fall sports season. Soreness, muscle strains and injuries can happen at any time. But there are a variety of athletic treatments that can help ease any soreness and provide additional drug-free pain relief. If you are enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA), you can help keep your kids off the sidelines and in the action all season long.

Here are a few athletic treatments and therapeutic products to keep in mind as the school year gets underway!

Cold Packs

Cold therapy is the most common treatment for acute sports injuries, as a standard cold pack can dramatically reduce pain, swelling and inflammation in injured muscles and joints. Use it for bruises, sprains and muscle pulls before and after physical activity to speed recovery times from injuries.

Check Out: Battle Creek

Hot Packs

Heat therapy is especially helpful when treating sore muscles and joints and a great drug-free athletic treatment. Localized heat can open blood vessels and deliver oxygenated blood and nutrients to the affected area to reduce recovery times. Combining both cold and hot packs during rehabilitation may also be effective for some injuries.

Check Out: Cara Moist/Dry Heating Pad with Select Heat

Hot/Cold Sectionals

If you're looking for a therapeutic product that can do double duty, sectionals that can be cooled in the fridge or heated in the microwave for larger areas like the lower back are a great option for student athletes looking to recover quickly from heavy activity.

Check Out: Thermal-Aid Small Sectional

Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology Tape, also commonly referred to as K-Tape, is used to provide additional support to sore muscles and joints through strengthening taping methods. This synthetic tape can stand up to sweat, moisture and extreme temperatures to provide another layer of protection during heavy physical activity.

Check Out: KT TAPE PRO, Pre-Cut, 20 Strip, Synthetic, Laser Blue

Knee Supports

If your son or daughter has continual issues with knee sprains and associated injuries, he/she may benefit from the use of knee supports during physical activity. These sleeves are worn over the joint and provide additional support for the knee, but still providing a full range of movement. Wrist, elbow and other joint supports are also FSA eligible!

Check Out: TheraPearl Knee Wrap

Back Supports

Sports like football or wrestling typically have a weightlifting regimen that goes along with the conditioning process before the season begins. Lifters should aim to give their lower backs additional support when lifting to provide additional support and protection against injuries.

Check Out: Back-A-Line Back Support with Lumbar Pad

Plantar Fasciitis Support

Individuals with flat feet or wearing shoes with poor support are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis, the most common form of heel pain that can be extremely painful. Sleep supports are worn during the night to keep the foot and heel in the proper therapeutic position all night long to speed recovery times.

Check Out: FUTURO Night Plantar Fasciitis Sleep Support, 1 ea

For everything you need to keep you and your loved ones healthy, visit FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible items to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits!