The Flu Vaccine: Frequently Asked Questions

By holladay | August 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
  1. What is the flu?
    The flu is an illness that can cause hospitalizations and potentially death. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, and fatigue. It can also lead to other complications such as pneumonia, sinus infections, or, in severe cases, multi-organ failure. People over the age of 65 are at a higher risk of complications due to decreasing immune defenses as aging occurs.
  2. Are there any ways of preventing the flu?
    The main prevention against the flu would be receiving the flu vaccine. It works by causing the body to produce antibodies that provide protection against the specific flu viruses in the vaccine. Other prevention techniques include covering your nose/mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing your hands with soap and water avoiding touching your face, and frequently cleaning surfaces that could contain germs.
  3. Why is it important to receive a flu vaccine?
    Studies have shown that each year the vaccination helps prevent influenza-associated complications and doctor’s visits. In 2016-2017 it was estimated that the vaccine prevented 85,000 hospitalizations related to the virus and 2.6 million medical visits.
  4. Why do I have to receive a flu shot yearly?
    Every year the CDC conducts studies that predict the most common flu types they believe will be prevalent in the United States. These change from year to year and that is why you should get a flu shot each year.
  5. If I receive the flu vaccine can I still contract the flu?
    Yes, however, there are still multiple benefits even if you get sick. Studies have shown that people that received the vaccine and still contract the flu had a decreased risk of death, decreased intensive care unit admissions, and decreased duration of hospitalization vs people who contract the flu and did not receive a flu shot. Studies have also shown that vaccinated people who contract the flu had a less severe case than unvaccinated people.
  6. Does the flu vaccine work immediately?
    No, it takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccine for it to provide protection against the infection. This is why you should receive the vaccine around October of each year before the season starts.
  7. Should I be concerned about side effects?
    Typical side effects would be soreness or redness where the shot was given, a low grade fever, and potentially some aches. The flu vaccine cannot cause you to contract the flu.
  8. Where can I receive my flu shot?
    Please contact Holladay Healthcare Pharmacy at 1-800-848-3446/ or your local pharmacy as pharmacists can administer the flu vaccine. Flu vaccines can also be obtained through your primary care doctor’s office or the local health department.

Reference: Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine [Internet].Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2018 September 6th [cited 2019 July 25]. Available from:

Laura Loflin, PharmD
Staff Pharmacist
Holladay Healthcare Pharmacy

Why is my pharmacy bill higher than when I lived at home?

By holladay | July 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

This is a frequent question asked by long-term care (LTC) residents or their caregivers. To answer this, you must first understand the difference between LTC and retail pharmacies, such as CVS or Walgreens. LTC pharmacies are not open to the public. They contract with skilled and assisted living facilities to provide an all-encompassing pharmaceutical service. LTC pharmacies coordinate with the facility, provider, and payer to review and compare medications, meet rigorous packaging requirements, and provide delivery services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Federal regulations require skilled nursing facilities to have consultant pharmacists provide medication and medical record reviews, not to mention numerous other services on site to ensure the facility is in compliance with all pharmaceutical requirements. All of this translates to a better standard of care for the residents but also a higher operating cost for the pharmacy.

Copay amounts charged for prescriptions by insurance companies are determined by the insurance plan and whether the insured received any government assistance (Medicaid). Another factor determining copay amounts is whether the pharmacy filling the medications is a ‘preferred’ or ‘in-network’ pharmacy. In many cases, especially with Medicare Part D plans, LTC pharmacies are not preferred and therefore the insured is charged slightly higher copays than a retail pharmacy that is in-network.

The bottom line is that LTC pharmacies provide numerous services to their contracted facilities and their residents. It is important to remember that when you have others administering medications to yourself or your loved ones, you want it to be as safe and accurate as possible. This is why LTC pharmacies exist!

Hope J. Hardy
Billing Manager
Holladay Healthcare Pharmacy

Stay Sun Safe with These 7 Sunscreen Tips

By holladay | June 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

From the young to the elderly, from fair skinned to dark skinned, everyone should wear sunscreen when outside. Sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer and premature aging. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

The following 7 tips will help you stay skin safe this summer!

  1. Your sunscreen should be at least 30 SPF or higher, water resistant, and provide broad spectrum coverage.
  2. Make sure to check the expiration date on your sunscreen. If it is expired it may not be effective.
  3. You should apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before being outside. You should re-apply every 2 hours or after swimming, sweating or towel drying.
  4. Many people do not apply enough sunscreen. The average adult needs at least 1 oz. of sunscreen to cover their whole body. Think a whole shot glass full!
  5. Don’t forget those easy to miss spots: face, neck, ears, exposed scalp, the tops of your feet and even your lips.
  6. Remember to seek shade when possible and dress to protect yourself from UV rays.
  7. You should use sunscreen daily, not only during the summer but even on cloudy days and during the winter. Each day around 9,500 people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer. Take steps to protect yourself and those you love.

References: Accessed May-14-19

Wendy Sanchezruiz, PharmD
Consultant Pharmacist
Holladay Healthcare Pharmacy

NCBON No Longer Mailing Renewal Reminders

By holladay | May 23, 2019 | 0 Comments


• The North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) is converting to an electronic renewal system and will no longer be mailing renewal reminder postcards effective July 1, 2019.

• You must register with the system at to be notified. Once registered you will receive automated reminders and updates for: license status, license expiration and discipline/final order action and resolution.

• The primary source of communication regarding your licensure status will be your registered email address. Holladay Healthcare Pharmacy is committed to educating and keeping the long-term care community informed of changes and updates to policies and procedures. Please feel free to contact Holladay Healthcare Pharmacy at 1-800-848-3446 or if we can be of service.

Ann Shea
Marketing Consultant
Holladay Healthcare Pharmacy

The Benefits of Tracking Medication Errors in LTC

By holladay | April 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
  1. Every healthcare organization, including Long Term Care, has a duty to continually improve systems to prevent harm to patients due to medication errors.
  2. Health care organizations have to monitor actual and potential medication errors that occur.
  3. The value of medication error reports and other data gathering strategies is to provide the information that allows an organization to identify weaknesses in its medication use system and to apply lessons learned to improve the system.
  4. The healthcare organization’s, prevention of medication errors is only as strong as its weakest link. Determining the weakest link in your system is challenging and takes consistent analysis, documentation,
    coordination, education as well as consistent and impartial communication.
  5. The number of error reports is not as important as the quality of the information collected in the reports, the Long Term Care organization’s analysis of the information, and its actions to improve the system to prevent harm to patients. Therefore, there is no acceptable incidence rate for medication errors. Furthermore, the use of medication error rates to compare health care organizations is of no value.

Reference accessed 3/8/19: Statement on Medication Error Rates

VISIT: National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Preventions [NCCMERP]
• Index for Categorizing Medication Errors
• Index for Categorizing Medication Errors Algorithm

Jennifer Hamilton, Pharm D, BCGP is a Consultant Pharmacist with Holladay Healthcare Pharmacy.