Thursday, October 24, 2019

Commonly Used OTC Medicines (Ⅰ): allergy, cold, fever

   Hey Guys! This is Bryan
   For this week's blog post, I want to talk about something different. As a nursing student, I am currently taking N330 Pharmacology, the study of medicines. In that class, I learned about all kinds of different medicines and their effects on human body. I realized that many people are taking medicines without knowing enough about it. Especially for international students, we are not familiar with the commonly used medicines, and we don't know what to use when we really get sick. Therefore, I will introduce to you some of the commonly used medicines that you can get easily in Walgreen or Target. I understand this is a lot of information, and you will not read it all today. But please come back to it if you are sick or decide to take one of the medicines. 
   And please remember you can always consult with the school's Health Center!

   What are OTC medicines

o   OTC medicines stands for OVER-THE-COUNTER medicines. It means you don’t need a prescription to buy these medicines at the pharmacy. These meds are OTC (over-the-counter) because they have milder side effects (unwanted body reaction to drug) and less contraindications. Yet, people who take them are still under the risk of overdosing, developing side effects, and having drug to drug interactions if used with other medicines or recreational drugs. Hence, you should always look at the instruction book before taking a new medicine.
o   Drug to drug interactions: Though OTC drugs have less lethal side effects (unwanted body reaction to drug), taking multiple drugs at the same time will increase the risk of having side effects. Unless prescribed by a healthcare provider, you should only take one med at a time. Alcohols and recreational drugs should be stopped when taking OTC meds.
o   Common Precautions: Many of the medicines require liver and kidney to excrete out of your body, and some of them interfere with your blood vessels or heart to change your blood pressure. Thus, before you take these medicines, you should consult health care professionals if you have been diagnosed with hypertension, diabetics, liver or renal disease.
o   Overdose: overdose happens when you take too much of one med. Follow the dosing instructions when taking meds, and call 911 if severe symptoms happen. 
o   Pregnancy Warning: most of the drugs have unknown or bad reaction to baby. If you are pregnant, plan to be pregnant, or breast feeding, please consult with healthcare professionals before taking any of the OTC meds.


o   Pseudoephedrine: nasal decongestants; relief running nose and helps your breath easier)
§  Common drug name: Sudafed 12 Hour
§  Picture:

§  How many to take: 1 caplet as needed for every 12 hour (120 mg/12 hr)
·       Warning: Please check with the instruction book before use
§  What you should know about it:
·       Do not use with Antidepressant.
·       STOP and ASK: if nervousness, too slow or fast heart rate, breathing difficulties, hallucination (seeing things that are not there), or seizure as these symptoms indicate drug overdose.
o   Diphenhydramine: Antihistamine, decrease allergy symptoms, including sneezing, running nose, itchy etc.
§  Common drug name: Benadryl
§  Other usage: cold, insomnia (Hard time falling asleep), motion sickness
§  Picture:

§  How many to take: 1-2 tablets as needed for every 4-6 hours
·       Warning: Please check with the instruction book before use
§  What you should know about it:
·       Do not drink alcohol or taking recreational drugs while taking this med.
·       It makes you feel sleepy; avoid driving or other activities requiring alertness after taking this med.
·       Should not be used routinely for sleeping aid.
·       Do not use with antidepressant.

   Common Cold

o   Acetaminophen + Dextromethorphan + Phenylephrine
§  Common drug name: Comtrex Day and Night (Any of the "Day and Night")
§  Picture:

§  How many to take: 2 caplets as needed every 4 hours
·       No more than 10 caplets every 24 hours
·       Warning: Please check with the instruction book before use
§  What you should know about it:
·       This medicine will not “treat” your cold, but only decrease the symptoms to allow better rests and recovery. So please ensure proper diet, enough sleep, and avoid heavy workloads while taking this med.
·       Day pill and night pill have different function. Night pill will make you feel sleepy and have more effects to help you fall asleep. Day pill have fewer effects, but cause less sleepiness to help you get through the day. Do not drive if taking night pill; recommended not to drive if taking day pill. 
·       Do not drink alcohol or taking recreational drugs while taking this med.
·       Do not use with Antidepressant.
·       STOP and ASK: if original symptoms (cough, nasal congestion) gets worse for more than a week; if fever gets worse for more than 3 days; if nervousness, dizziness, or sleepless.
o   Diphenhydramine
§  Benadryl: since allergy and cold have similar symptoms (running nose, sneezing…), Benadryl can also be used for common cold. The side effect of drowsiness (ability to make you feel sleepy) can help you better fall asleep if you take it 30 mins before going to bed.


o   Acetaminophen
§  Common drug name: Tylenol
§  Other usage: pain relief
§  Picture:

§  How many to take: 2 tablets as needed for every 4-6 hours
·       No more than 10 tablets every 24 hours
·       Warning: Please check with the instruction book before use
§  What you should know about it:
·       Do not drink alcohol or taking recreational drugs while taking this med.
·       Tylenol comes in many different forms. Note that "extra strength", "nighttime", "rapid release" indicates different effects and different dosing requirement. Please check with the instruction book!
·       Do not use with NSAIDs, like Aspirin and Ibuprofen
·       STOP and ASK: if you still have fever after three days of use; if you have skin rash (red and itchy patch of skin), headache, redness, or swelling; if your symptom gets worth and new symptom (like nausea, stomach pain, dark urine) develops. 

As my instructor Dr. Robinson has always said: "Like your mama taught you, don't put anything in your mouth if you don't know what it is!" You should really understand these medicines well before putting them into your mouth.
Lastly, remember that the best way of recovery is always healthy lifestyle! 
(I will continue this topic with my next blog post about pain relief, insomnia, and diarrhea)

Friday, October 18, 2019

Guest Blog: Risa's Summary of PLU Experience

Hi, this is Risa.
I'm a transfer student from Japan. I used to go to a university in North Carolina.
I'm going to talk about what I experienced here and how I liked PLU.

Sweet Professors, Students, and Environment in PLU🎓

First of all, I love PLU's classes!

They are a small size, less than 40 people. One of the reasons I came to PLU was to take small-size classes close to a large city.

It is easy to give their opinions and the professors always try to remember students' names. International students sometimes take time to understand a class because of their culture or language. They are willing to help us when we need help.

In addition, in the class there are many students having different backgrounds-- sex, age, color, beliefs... All of them are open to something different from themselves. I'm comfortable in the environment as a minority. Since I came to PLU, I appreciate all of them and the time of studying without any problems.

Fun Events Provided by ISS🎉

I attended some events by International Student Services (ISS).

Football game at University of Washington

We went to the match between UW and Arizona State. My friend and I were not familiar with the rules of football. I still remember we searched on phone and discussed what happened in the game at that time. After the trip, I began understanding the rules and finally enjoying it!

Seattle Chocolate Factory tour

We went to a factory of Seattle Chocolate. We saw how to make chocolates, and tried several kinds of chocolates. Seattle Chocolate is one of the most famous companies in Seattle. We were able to have an experience related to here. In exchange for it, we couldn't stop buying souvenirs though...

Precious Treasures I Got at PLU❤️

Sometimes I'm stressed out for some reasons. The reason why I'm enjoying the college life is because I have met many friends.

They sometimes show me around the city, sometimes help me with my homework, and sometimes drink together 😂

I can't be much happier to meet special, precious friends in my life.

That's all what I have here so far. I still have a year till graduation.

Can't wait to see more fun events then!!

Your friend,

Friday, October 11, 2019

Fun Things to Do for Fall!

Hey all – Megan here!
We’re getting well into the fall semester, and although most PLU students are currently drowning in homework and upcoming exams, we should still make time for play in the midst of all the stress! In this blogpost, I will be listing some of my favorite fall activities in the general Tacoma area, and hopefully you’ll come across some things you’d like to try this fall or even next year. So, without further ado – let’s check out some fun fall activities!

1. Spooner Farms Pumpkin Patch
Starting things off with perhaps the most notable fall activity – going to a pumpkin patch! I remember when I first moved here two years ago, I was so confused as to why people wanted to dress all cute and look at pumpkins, but it turns out that it’s pretty fun! Spooner Farms, which is located in Puyallup, puts together a harvest festival every year, and has been in session since September 28th, and will last until October 31st

The farm is available for your enjoyment, with fun things to do for people of all ages, including the actual pumpkin patch, a corn maze, and more.
Bring some friends along with you and get ready for amazing photo ops, but make sure to wear some boots – things can get a little muddy!

2. Maris Farms: The Haunted Corn Maze

If just a regular ‘ole corn maze doesn’t do it for ya, try it with a spooky twist! Maris Farms is located in Buckley, which is about 40-minute drive from PLU. How a corn maze works is that you walk through a field of corn with trails carved in a maze design, and you solve the maze with the help of clue cards. Because it’s more of a nighttime activity, the corn maze takes place from 8-9pm. The maze itself can take up to 45 minutes to solve, and the “haunted” part of the challenge comes from characters inside the maze who are essentially trying to spook you (don’t worry, they are not allowed to touch you). Now, I know this might not sound super appealing – but if you’re not afraid of getting a little spooked, this is definitely an activity you should try with some friends! Again, rain + dirt = mud, so come prepared by wearing shoes you can get dirty, and warm clothing.

I am actually going there tonight, and this will be my first time experiencing a haunted corn maze. I really enjoy watching horror movies, and going to haunted houses, so this should be right up my alley!

3. Go to a PLU Football Game!

I’ll be the first to say it: sports are not my thing. I don’t actually understand what goes on during a football game, which I think a lot of international students can relate to. However, PLU Football games are pretty much the only sports games I go to – because they’re super fun! Because we don’t have our own stadium, home games are played at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup (apparently all fall things take place in Puyallup), which is a little inconvenient, but it makes the trip down there an event in itself. Our games usually take place at 1pm on Saturdays, and you’ll most likely find me in the stands, not paying attention to the game, but rather chatting with the friends I have convinced to go with me J Sometimes we’ll go out to eat after, and I think I like going to the games because it gives me something to do on Saturday afternoons.

4. Christmas Tree Hunting

Granted, Christmas trees aren’t necessarily associated with fall, but I usually end up getting a Christmas tree towards the tail end of the season. There is something about walking around a Christmas tree farm, looking for the perfect tree, that is just super festive! I always enjoy going to get a Christmas tree, and will usually go with my boyfriend and his family. My favorite part is drinking apple cider and cuddling with the animals at the farm (read: the farm dog). So, if you’re in the need of a Christmas tree this year – check out the local options and make a day of it!

5. The Washington State Fair/Puyallup Fair

Last, but certainly not least: The Fair! Sadly, the fair is over for the year, but this is a definite must if you haven’t been yet. The Washington State fair takes place at the beginning of fall each year, and is located in downtown Puyallup. 


This is the place to be for amazing food, fun rides, and cuddles with farm animals! Local farmers bring things to the fair for display, so there are a lot of fun things to look at. To be honest, I usually just walk around and eat – I haven’t ever been on any of the rides there! The fair is equally as fun at night as it is during the day, and there are concerts available throughout the month of September, so keep an eye out for which day is the best to go.

Alright, that concludes my list of festive fall activities. I hope you guys decide to check out some of the options listed above, and make time for some fun in between all the studying. I sure am going to!

-       - Megan