Healthy Holidays Gift Guide

Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences building on the WSU Spokane campus.

With the holidays coming up fast we could all use a few extra ideas of gifts to help brighten the days of those we hold dear. College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty experts weigh in with health-related gift ideas.

Contributing Faculty Members

John Clarke

Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

The John Clarke Lab focuses on understanding why people differ in how they react to the drug therapies, diets, and environmental toxins.
Megan Undeberg

Megan Undeberg

Associate Professor of Pharmacotherapy, Director of Rural Health Curriculum

Undeberg has a passion for improving health care access in rural areas and serves as the director of rural health curriculum for students pursuing the Rural Health Track in the pharmacy program. In her previous role as a clinical pharmacist at Providence/Sacred Heart Medical Center, Undeberg also supervised student pharmacists on the internal medicine teaching team.

Alex Stumphauzer

Clinical Assistant Professor, Pharmacotherapy

Stumphauzer serves as the transitions of care pharmacist and residency program coordinator at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital in Spokane where he supervises WSU pharmacy students on rotation in transitions of care including an ambulatory care, and internal medicine rotation.

Ways to Get Active

For your friends and family members looking for ways to get more active or improve their fitness, check out these suggestions.

Fitness Apps

John Clarke

I recommend fitness apps for people who are trying to have a healthy body and mind. As a scientist, I love collecting data! The more data you collect, the more information you have to find ways to improve your diet and/or physical activity. Use the app to set goals and engage in the social aspect of the app to grow your support network.

Disc Golf Starter Set

Alex Stumphauzer

For a student or family member who needs a good reason to get a few more steps in their day, disc golf is a readily accessible activity. With over 7,000 disc golf courses nationwide, fast learning curve, and minimal associated cost, it’s a great way to stay active while being outdoors. A starter kit includes discs for both short and long ranges, but often just one disc will be good enough in the beginning. Happy frolfing!


Check out these book recommendations from Alex Stumphauzer for all the of the pharmacy and aspiring health sciences students in your life.

Antibiotics Simplified

For any student within the medical field, antibiotics can be a daunting topic of study. With a vast number of antibiotic classes, side effects, and interactions, anything that makes this area easier can be a lifesaver for medical education. Antibiotics Simplified is, in my opinion, one of the best study helpers regardless of level of interest in infectious diseases. It made my life so much easier throughout school and in my career!

Letters to a Young Pharmacist

The transition from pharmacy student to full-blown pharmacist can be difficult for many. The autonomy and responsibility that comes with this step in a pharmacist’s career is incredibly formative. This book, published in collaboration with The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), provides career and life guidance for someone in this stage, which is something not often covered in pharmacy education. This is a book we give to all residents graduating from my pharmacy residency program, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it!

Winter-Ready Health Kits

Whether for yourself, or to give to a loved one – make sure you’re ready for anything with a Winter-Ready Health kit. Here are a couple suggestions from Megan Undeberg.

Winter Health Kit

Growing up and living in rural areas, I’ve found in the winter months it’s not always easy to get to town, especially when the weather turns snowy and windy. This time of year, I get my “winter health kit” ready and keep it in an easy to find place, like the hallway towel closet. While you know yourself and your family best, my favorite go-to supplies include:

  • thermometer with spare batteries
  • bottle of ibuprofen 200 mg tablets (e.g. Advil or Motrin)
  • bottle of acetaminophen 500 mg tablets or caplets (e.g. Tylenol)
  • small bottle of dextromethorphan cough suppressant (for dry cough)
  • small bottle of guaifenesin (e.g. Robitussin) or small bottle of Mucinex tablets (to help liquify congestion)
  • small package of pseudoephedrine (e.g. Sudafed) 30 mg tablets for nasal congestion and stuffiness in sinuses
  • jar of an aromatic vapor rub, plus some squares of flannel and safety pins to attach to pajamas
  • cough drops
  • nasal saline spray
  • anti-diarrheal tablets (loperamide, Imodium)
  • antihistamines (Benadryl/diphenhydramine works fast but can make you tired; Claritin/loratadine or Zyrtec/cetirizine work as well with less sedation)
  • bacitracin cream or ointment and a variety of adhesive bandages for minor cuts and wounds
  • over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream for minor rashes or itchiness

This is a great time to talk to your pharmacist to review your medical conditions and medications, and the safety of using any over-the-counter medication with your individual situation.

For the Littles

If you have littles, (babies, young children, and teens!) consider having a separate kit ready to go for them. Keep it handy for those middle-of-the-night urgencies:

  • liquid or chewable ibuprofen and acetaminophen; also consider having some acetaminophen suppositories on hand as well
  • thermometer that’s easy to use with kids
  • aromatic vapor rubs for chest and nasal congestion—just like for the adults, keep flannel squares and safety pins ready to go
  • mini ice packs for minor “ouchies”
  • variety of sizes of adhesive bandages
  • for helping with sore throats

Check with your pharmacist and pediatrician or family doctor to double check doses of any medications for the children in your life.

Gifts to Give Yourself

While much time is spent thinking about others during the holiday season, it’s also important to take care of yourself. Here’s a couple more ideas from Megan Undeberg of “gifts” you can give yourself to be at the top of your game and keep up your energy during this busy season.

Healthy Eating in the Winter Months

Time to put the summer and fall garden bounty to use! Or, for your neighbors who may not garden, tap into mobile food banks that may travel to your area. It’s a great time to enjoy hearty root vegetables like winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets. Apples store great as well! Instead of taking vitamin C tablets to boost your immune system, try adding fresh oranges, clementines and grapefruit to your day.

Vitamin D

Speaking of winter, with less sunshine and shorter days, many of us could use a little boost of vitamin D—“nature’s sunshine vitamin.” Talk with your doctor or care provider about adding a vitamin D supplement to your daily regimen. When possible, add in a walk outdoors. Take care to wear warm clothing, as well as footwear with good traction to prevent slips and falls.

Please note this website is not intended to be all-encompassing and should not be considered to be providing medical advice. In all instances, you should consult with a relevant health care expert for guidance specific to your circumstances.