Achoo!

It’s the dreaded allergy season. Everyone in my family has been sneezing for weeks! So I thought it would be a good time to look into what are some of the best-selling over-the-counter meds, as well as give you some tips to minimize the suffering.

Top 10 OTC brands for cough, cold, allergy and sinus in the U.S., by revenue in 2014.

  • Zyrtec
  • Claritin
  • Alka Seltzer Plus
  • Allegra
  • Vicks NyQuil
  • Mucinex DM
  • Mucinex
  • Claritin D
  • Abreva
  • Nasacort

Source: statisa.com

Here are some tips that might help with allergies, from mayoclinic.org:

Reduce Your Exposure To Allergy Triggers

  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
  • Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Don’t hang laundry outside — pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
  • Wear a pollen mask if you do outside chores.

Take Extra Steps When Pollen Counts Are High

  • Check your local TV or radio station, your local newspaper, or the Internet for pollen forecasts and current pollen levels.
  • If high pollen counts are forecasted, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
  • Close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high.
  • Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.

Keep Your Indoor Air Clean

  • Use the air conditioning in your house and car.
  • If you have forced air heating or air conditioning in your house, use high-efficiency filters and follow regular maintenance schedules.
  • Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
  • Use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.
  • Clean floors often with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter

Try An Over-The-Counter Remedy

  • Oral antihistamines. Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes.
  • Decongestants. Oral decongestants can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Only use nasal decongestants for a few days in a row. Longer-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms (rebound congestion).
  • Nasal spray. Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can ease allergy symptoms and doesn’t have serious side effects, though it’s most effective when you begin using it before your symptoms start.
  • Combination medications. Some allergy medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant.

Rinse Your Sinuses

  • Rinsing your nasal passages with saline solution (nasal irrigation) is a quick, inexpensive and effective way to relieve nasal congestion. Rinsing directly flushes out mucus and allergens from your nose.

I hope that helps. I’ve used some of these tips with my own family.

I also wanted to mention that we had our first live Facebook chat this past Tuesday. Unfortunately, we may not have picked the best time for it. We’ll have some news on other things we’ll be trying in the very near future. Stay tuned!

Have a great day.

Celebrate The Earth!

Today is Earth Day! I hope you do your part today and every day to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The Earth – and all of its inhabitants! – is counting on you.

To celebrate Earth Day, the NCP team will be having a special event later today. We’ll try to take some photos to show you next time.

Here are some tips to reduce, reuse, and recycle, according to livegreenhoward.com:

  • If your town or city has a recy­cling pro­gram, participate in it!
  • Choose wisely before pur­chas­ing: Repair and mend items rather than replac­ing them, and buy used items instead of new when appropriate.
  • Sell, give away or donate reusable items instead of throw­ing them away.
  • Carry your own reusable shop­ping bags.
  • Buy respon­si­bly:  Avoid over-packaged prod­ucts and choose prod­ucts with recy­cled content.
  • Drink tap water or fil­tered water rather than bot­tled water and fill reusable bot­tles for bev­erages to go.
  • Use reusable (wash­able) dishes and uten­sils and cloth tow­els and nap­kins instead of sty­ro­foam, plas­tic or paper products.
  • Can­cel unwanted sub­scrip­tions and opt out of junk-mail.

Now, here are some interesting stats from the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • 716: The number of wind, geothermal, biomass, solar and other electric power generation business establishments in 2012, more than double the number of establishments (312) in 2007.
  • 26 minutes: The estimated average time workers age 16 and older across the country spent getting to work in 2014, up from 25.8 minutes in 2013 and 25.7 minutes in 2012.
  • 904,463: The estimated number of people who rode a bicycle to work in 2014. This comes out to about 0.6 percent of the American workforce.
  • 4,011,094: The estimated number of people who walked to work in 2014. This comes out to about 2.7 percent of the American workforce.

Don’t forget to join us for our first Facebook chat on Tuesday, April 26, at 2 p.m. ET.

Remember to Be Green! Have a great day.

A Taxing Time

Happy tax day! OK, I’m kidding. April 15 is the traditional day your income taxes are due, although this year that date has been extended to Monday, April 18.

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Although we all try to avoid both of those, in the end, as Franklin said, we can’t. (Sorry, I don’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer!)

I’ve been thinking about taxes this week, which led me to find some interesting info:

  • The week of April 15 is the busiest single week for tax filings, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Nearly 13 percent of taxpayers put off filing until the last week possible, more than double the 5 percent average through the month of March.
  • Three percent of filers get around to it in the weeks after the April filing deadline and another 9 percent file for extensions and finish up in October and November each year.
  • The average refund issued to date is $3,053, which is $5 more than last year.
  • In 2014, federal, state and local governments collected a combined total of $4.7 trillion in taxes, or an average of $38,317 for every household in the U.S.

How do people file their taxes? According to GoBankingRates.com:

  • 34.5% use tax-prep software or an online program
  • 28.5% use an accountant
  • 10.9% get a friend or family member to do it
  • 8.5% file by hand, using the IRS forms and entering in everything themselves
  • 8.3% go to a tax-preparation service company
  • 9.2% don’t file taxes. (Some of these people have earned less than $10,300 in 2015 and aren’t required to file a return. In addition, there are 7 million people who are required to file a return but fail to do so each year.)

So with that, I wish you many happy “returns”!

Play Ball!

Baseball season has finally started, and I’m really excited. I’m a big Mets fan, so it was great to see them make it to the World Series last year. I’m hoping they go all the way this year! (What is your favorite team? Make sure to comment and let me know!)

Since this is the beginning of baseball season, I thought I’d dedicate this blog to the summer game. We are a New York-based company, so most of the people here are either a Mets or a Yankees fan. I was curious how people felt, so we polled all of our NCP staff, asking them if they preferred the Mets or the Yankees.

Well, I’m psyched to say that the Mets won the internal (and somewhat unscientific) vote by 67% to 33% over the Yankees. (Full disclosure: My husband is a HUGE Yankees fan, who practically wears only Yankees stuff, at least at home and on the weekends. At least it’s easy to buy him a present! LOL)

Here are some interesting stats about the business of baseball:

Average ticket price by team in 2015 (highest and lowest three teams)

  • Boston Red Sox: $52.34
  • New York Yankees: $51.55
  • Chicago Cubs: $44.81
  • Major League average: $28.94
  • Tampa Bay Rays: $21.90
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: $17.98
  • San Diego Padres: $16.37

Average price for a hot dog at Major League Baseball games in 2015 (highest and lowest three teams)

  • New York Mets: $6.25
  • Miami Marlins: $6
  • Chicago Cubs: $5.75
  • Major League average: $4.39
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: $2.75
  • Baltimore Orioles: $1.50
  • Cincinnati Reds: $1

Average price for a beer at Major League Baseball games in 2015 (highest and lowest three teams)

  • Boston Red Sox: $7.75
  • Chicago Cubs: $7.75
  • Philadelphia Phillies: $7.75
  • Major League average: $5.98
  • Los Angeles Angels: $4.50
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: $4.00
  • Cleveland Indians: $4.00

Source: Statista.com

I will be saving up my money to try and get to a game or two this year. What about you? Are you planning to go to some games this year? What do you think about the price of going to a game? Comment and let me know what you think.

Thanks, and have a great day!