November 2014 has been proclaimed as National Family Caregivers Month by President Barack Obama to “pay tribute to those who provide for the health and well-being of their family members, friends, and neighbors.” In honor of the over 60 million caregivers in the United States, we are focusing this week’s blog post on resources for these strong and selfless individuals.

Whether you are taking care of the young or elderly; the ill, injured, or disabled; the difficulty of the work, while rewarding, can be draining. Respite care services (outlined here by StuffSeniorsNeed.com) can help allay the exhaustion and give a well-deserved break to caregivers. In 2006, the Lifespan Respite Care Program was authorized by Congress and has since been implemented in 30 states. Funded by federal grants from the Administration for Community Living and the Administration on Aging, the program has expanded access to respite care for caregivers of patients of all ages.

Caregivers of veterans are eligible for support from the US Department of

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We hear in the media of mistakes made in hospitals including errors in administering medication. A new study shows that a child is improperly medicated at home every eight minutes. The study published by the journal Pediatrics is based on data from the National Poison Database System between the years of 2002 and 2012. The statistics don’t reflect the real scope of the problem since not everyone reports an error to poison control or may even be aware they made a mistake.

In the 10-year time period, 696,937 children younger than 6 years old experienced out-of-hospital medication errors. The most common error was double-dosing, or inadvertently giving a child the same medicine twice. The data also suggests that errors are more likely to occur with younger children, in part because older children can tell someone they’ve already taken their dose. Other common mistakes are caused by confusion with units of measure or administering the wrong medicine. Over 93% of medication errors could be managed without going to a healthcare facility. Unfortunately, 25 children died from out-of-hospital medication errors, a majority of which

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Children going back to school and a cold wind starting to blow are signifiers of the impending cold and flu season. This year’s may seem particularly daunting due to exotic diseases appearing in the news and the spread of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) affecting hundreds of families throughout the United States. With all of this in mind, NeedyMeds wanted to give our readers some helpful tips to keep themselves and their children healthy, along with resources available for those in need.

  1. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow. This will reduce the spread of germs through touching objects or one’s face.
  2. Wash hands often, especially after blowing your nose or coughing. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) suggests washing using warm water and soap, and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds and drying with a single-use towel. Tell your children to sing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing—that takes about 20 seconds.
  3. Regularly disinfect common surfaces in your home that your family touches every day, including countertops, telephones, computers, faucets, and doorknobs.
  4. Ensure your family eats a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, gets plenty of rest, and exercises regularly. These steps will keep your immune system in prime shape to help fight off illness.
  5. Know the difference between a cold and the flu. The flu generally comes on strong with severe symptoms, including fever, sore throat, chills, body aches, cough, runny/stuffy nose, diarrhea, vomiting, headache and fatigue. Although colds can exhibit some of the same symptoms, they usually are not as severe and often do not last as long.
  6. It’s also important to know the difference between a cold and autumnal allergies. With the similarities in symptoms, it can be easy to self-medicate for the wrong condition.
    1. With a cold, you’re likely to wake up with a sore, painful throat. With allergies, the throat has more of an itch or tickle rather than soreness.
    2. Colds follow a relatively slow progression and last for a few days, whereas allergies can come on almost instantly, with symptoms of coughing, sneezing, and congestion striking all at once and can last as long as allergens are in the environment—sometimes a matter of hours, other times for weeks.
    3. Sneezing with itchy eyes or mouth are associated with allergies rather than colds.
    4. Fevers can appear with colds, but do not affect those suffering from allergies.
    5. It’s important to know you don’t have both a cold and allergies, as this can lead to chronic sinus problems if left untreated.
    The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months to get a flu vaccine every season. Children younger than 2 years old, or children with health problems such as asthma, diabetes, or other chronic conditions are at the highest risk of severe complications of the flu and should get the flu shot. The best way to protect infants under 6 months old is to surround them with people who have been vaccinated. Stay home from school or work if you or your child are sick.

    Enterovirus D68

    EV-D68 presents similarly to a cold, with runny nose, sneezing and coughing, body and muscle aches, and occasional fever. Severe symptoms can include difficulty breathing, wheezing, and worsening of asthma. State and county Departments of Health say children diagnosed with EV-D68 or any other enterovirus should be excluded from school or daycare until symptom free, or until fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication if a fever is present. Though there is risk of children catching the illness at

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Even with recent legislation making health care more accessible, Americans still need help paying for medical expenses. Despite having insurance coverage, 10 million Americans faced bills they were unable to pay in 2013.

When options run low and eligibility requirements for assistance can be restrictive, many are turning to online crowdfunding.

Remaining popular for creative works, crowdfunding is a tool to collect donations using the Internet towards a larger single goal. In 2012, up to 30% of all crowdfunding campaigns were for social or medically related causes. The use of social media has connected those in need with those in their own personal networks and beyond that are able to help.

Earlier this year, NeedyMeds launched HEALfundr to take what we saw as the next logical step in medical crowdfunding. Our unique vision is one of secure, verified campaigns that take the hassle and stress of coordinating between incoming donations and outgoing bills as well granting donors the confidence their contribution is going to an essential need.

The only eligibility requirements of HEALfundr are that you have legitimate medical expenses

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NeedyMeds has always been a leading resource for information on patient assistance programs to help cover the costs of brand name drugs. There are hundreds of programs providing free or low-cost brand name medication, but there is yet to be an assistance program to help with the cost of expensive generic drugs. It is a common misconception that generic medications are all inexpensive. The truth is that there are many that cost hundreds of dollars per year, and are essential to the health of many people. With the help of Rx Outreach, the largest non-profit pharmacy in the country, NeedyMeds is launching a first-of-its-kind generic medication assistance program, called GAP (Generic Assistance Program).

The Generic Assistance Program will offer nearly 20 generic medications at no cost to people who meet program eligibility guidelines. The guidelines include:

  • Must have no prescription coverage for needed medication
  • At or below 100% Federal Poverty Level
  • Must be US citizen, legal entrant, or have a work visa

NeedyMeds and Rx Outreach provided the initial funding for the program and have launched a crowdfunding campaign on

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