Boca Regional Urgent Care is a drop off site for Toys For Tots

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Safe Ways to Relieve Dry Eyes


Dry eye syndrome — when your body doesn’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist — is not just uncomfortable, it can lead to eye damage. Unfortunately, the problem is common and can worsen with age. In fact, Americans spend about a third of a billion dollars annually on over-the-counter eye drops, or “artificial tears,” a solution which is only temporary. And their prescription counterparts may produce such side effects as allergic reactions, acute and chronic conjunctivitis, stinging and blurred vision, among others. Indeed, the preservatives in eye drops themselves can even be a source of dry eye syndrome. So before reaching for those drops, consider these alternatives: Change Your Lifestyle Reducing your alcohol intake can have many positive benefits on the body and you can count relief from dry eye syndrome among them. Additionally, avoid exposure to cigarette smoke and other air pollutants. If you’re a smoker, relieving …

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Is ‘Concierge Medicine’ Worth the Extra Cost?


You may have heard about doctors who practice “direct primary care” or “concierge medicine.” They offer what’s known as private medicine, where patients pay a fee up front (usually an annual or monthly retainer) for the privilege of having the physician at their beck and call, which may include sharing his or her cell-phone number. About 6,500 physicians in the U.S. currently offer the service, up from fewer than 150 in 2005, according to the American Academy of Private Physicians. They’re expected to grow by about 25 percent a year. Retainer fees vary, but you can expect to pay about $1,200 to $1,500 per year. Since these physicians have fewer patients, they often offer same-day appointments, longer office visits, and frequent email and phone communication. A few studies have found that patients who sign up for this type of care report more satisfaction and fewer visits to emergency rooms and …

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Avoid Medical Bill Sticker Shock


Before Lisa Beach, an assistant vice president for an Austin, Texas, credit union, had surgery for severe back pain two years ago, she did everything she could think of to make sure she wouldn’t have to pay a lot out of pocket. “I wanted to know the names of anyone who would have any kind of involvement in my surgery,” she says. Then she ran the names by her insurance company, Aetna, to make sure the care would be covered. In spite of her diligence, she received a $1,050 bill for services provided by an out-of-network doctor who, it turns out, wasn’t even in the hospital during her surgery. That doctor had simply provided specialized equipment used during the operation. Aetna refused Beach’s appeal, she says, so she went straight to the equipment provider. They agreed to drop the bill to $700—but only if she paid that day. She handed …

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Sleeping 101


When you fall asleep at night, your brain and body don’t just shut down. As you rest, your body maintains its most basic functions like circulating blood and breathing steadily. Recently, researchers have been curious about is what this rest period really does for our bodies. There are still some unanswered questions about sleep, but the many measurable health benefits prove a full nights sleep is worth a whole lot! What Is Going on During Sleep? There are five different stages of sleep that you cycle through. The first, stage 1, is a very light sleep during which your eyes and muscles begin to move more slowly. In stage 2, your eyes stop moving, and your brain activity begins to decrease. Since stage 1 and 2 are light sleep, and it is very easy to be woken up. In stages 3 and 4 of sleep your muscles completely relax and …

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Don’t Be Fooled By Coconut Water and Other New Sports Drinks


Plain old bottled water is sharing more shelf space these days with flavored and fortified drinks. The labels on these drinks say they contain added electrolytes, minerals that help regulate muscle function and water balance which can be lost during long intense workouts, or suggest that they pack the benefits of fruits and vegetables by providing vitamins. But are those drinks more hydrating (and healthier) than regular water? It’s unlikely, our experts say. Few people exercise so vigorously that they need to replenish electrolytes. And Leslie Bonci, a dietitian and director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says that “any liquid is going to be hydrating, even coffee. Do vitamins and minerals add to hydration? No. What’s hydrating is the fluid.” “Do vitamins and minerals add to hydration? No. What’s hydrating is the fluid.” Most Americans simply don’t need fortified drinks. More than 90 percent of …

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Is it OK to buy medicine online?


Almost 60 percent of those surveyed last June by the Consumer Reports National Research Center said they’re trying to cut health care costs. Many of them said they get bargains on medications, for example, by buying them from online pharmacies outside the U.S. In fact, based on the survey, the center estimates that 1.9 million Americans buy medications that way. It’s not terribly risky to order a toaster online, but it is when you fill prescriptions through Internet pharmacies. Cyberspace is rife with sellers peddling illegal and even toxic products, often through websites that appear to be authentic. “The vast majority of websites selling prescription drugs are not legitimate,” says Carmen Catizone, D.Ph., executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). Last June, for example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took action against more than 1,050 sites, seizing products being sold fraudulently as FDA-approved prescription drugs …

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The Truth About Vaccines


We answer four common questions about the shots that grown-ups need, but don’t always get Do you skip vaccines because you don’t think you still need them or you’re worried about their safety? Many of us aren’t getting the protection we need, according to infectious-disease experts. “Each year, at least 30,000 people die from complications related to vaccine-preventable diseases,” says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser. “Getting the right shots doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get sick, but it will significantly improve your odds.” Here are answers to four common questions about vaccines: I was fully vaccinated as a child. Why do I need more vaccines now? Over time you may lose the ability to fend off diseases you were vaccinated against earlier. Some adult vaccines are boosters, building your immunity against those illnesses. Others protect against diseases that are more common in adulthood All adults should …

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Is it still safe to take Advil, Aleve, and other pain relievers?


A new warning by the Food and Drug Administration might make you think twice before reaching for pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and generic) and naproxen (Aleve and generic). The agency says these drugs, also known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, have a small, increased risk of triggering a heart attack or stroke, even if you don’t have an existing heart condition. And, that’s true even within the first few weeks of taking the drugs. Your risk is also upped if you take the medications for extended periods of time and if you take larger doses. The safety alert further strengthens advice our CR Best Buy Drug analysis has long offered. Besides ibuprofen and naproxen, the warning also applies to prescription NSAIDs, such as celecoxib (Celebrex),diclofenac (Cambia, Voltaren, and others), and meloxicam (Mobic). Aspirin is not included in the FDA’s warning. For a complete list, see the FDA’s …

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Back-to-School Tips to Keep Kids Healthy and Safe


Back-to-school prep means more than a trip to the office supply store. Help kids stay strong, healthy and safe this school year by putting wellness front and center. “Thinking about back-to-school now can help parents keep kids on track for a healthy summer and start to school,” says Dr. Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics. With that in mind, Hassink recommends taking the following steps. Ease into the School Schedule Ease the back-to-school transition by keeping bedtime and meals scheduled during the summer and adjusting timing as school approaches. If your child has been going to bed later than usual, begin adjusting his or her bedtime earlier toward the end of summer. Depending on age, children and teens need between 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep nightly. For young children, arranging to see their new classroom and meet their new teacher before school starts can …

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