DEAR DR. ROACH: You advised an 81-year-old farmer who was drinking an energy drink several times a week to “stick with coffee” in order to avoid the added sugar in the energy drink. What is your opinion of getting an equivalent amount of caffeine through overthe counter caffeine pills instead of coffee?
I am a 55-year-old woman, and except for being overweight, I am in excellent health. I exercise daily, sleep well at night and have no complaints whatsoever. I get about six or seven hours of sleep a night, and am a naturally early riser. I do not drink either tea or coffee (don’t like the taste), but I have found that if I take one half of a 200-mg caffeine pill immediately on arising, it does wonders for my mood and productivity. On some days I take a second pill in the early afternoon, and rarely, a third in the evening, though never later than 6 p.m.
Is there anything wrong with this? I’ve found that many people who drink several cups of coffee a day seem to look askance at me because I get my caffeine a pill. — A.C.
ANSWER: Some people drink coffee for the caffeine; some people drink decaf to avoid the caffeine; most people like both the taste and the caffeine effect. You are unusual in only wanting the caffeine effect.
A 16-ounce cup of coffee at a large chain contains 330 mg of caffeine. I don’t see anything wrong with taking caffeine pills the way you are. However, some people won’t sleep well if taking as much as you are.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I read your column regarding the high cost of the shingles vaccine. I am an insurance agent who is often asked about coverage for the shingles vaccine. The Affordable Care Act does include this under preventive care for individuals 60 and over. Preventive care is covered at 100 percent for health plans that are not grandfathered. (Grandfathered health plans are plans that have been continued virtually unchanged since 2010. They are not required to comply with all aspects of ACA, so these plans might not provide this service.)
You also may be interested in knowing that, in our area, the Department of Health clinic does offer the shingles vaccine for a fee of $5 for individuals over the age of 50 who do not have it covered under a health plan. I am not aware if this is unique to our area, or if it is a widespread provision.
ANSWER: Thank you for writing. Others wrote to me that their Department of Health paid for most or all of the cost. Some said they could get the vaccine covered at a pharmacy but not at physician’s offices.
Readers: Shingles questions are among the most frequently asked. The booklet on the shingles virus answers many of them. Obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue — No. 1201W, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to ToYourGood- Health@med.cornell.edu. To view and order health pamphlets, visit www.rbmamall.com, or write to Good Health, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803. ©2016 North America Synd.