An astonishing 5.8 billion — that’s how many prescriptions patients in the US filled back in 2018.

During the same year, the average American also spent almost $5,000 on health care alone. That’s more than twice the average per-person spending back in 1984.

All these show how expensive being healthy in the US has become. Still, we don’t really want to compromise our health, especially not now with the deadly pandemic happening around us.

The good news is buying health products online will help you stay on top of your health goals. Online purchases also help you stay at home, so you can reduce your exposure to the virus. To top it off, you may be even able to save quite a lot by buying your health must-haves online.

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Ready to master the safe and secure way of purchasing health products online? Keep reading to learn more.

1. Check Online Options With Your Local Pharmacy First

Check if pharmacies in your neighborhood are offering online purchases and deliveries. If they can’t deliver, ask if you can buy online and pick up your purchases. The less time you spend outside, the lower your risks may be for contracting illnesses.

Besides, you’ll feel more secure if you buy from a pharmacy or store that’s super near your place. You know that they’re an established, licensed, and legitimate seller. You’ll also know exactly where to go or who to call just in case issues with your orders arise.

2. Go for an Online Store With a Physical Address

What if nearby pharmacies don’t have an online option or don’t carry the products you need? In this case, look for an online health product seller that still has a valid, physical address. Ditch websites that only list a P.O. Box.

You may not be able to return defective products if you buy from a seller that only has a P.O. Box for an address.

3. Confirm Website Security

If Google, Firefox, or Safari warns you that a website you’re about to visit is “not secure”, don’t visit it. These sites don’t use the latest site security measures, such as a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). If they can’t get even that lock icon on their site, they’re unlikely to have secure payment options.

Instead, look for secure online stores that have a lock icon on their web address bar. They should also have an SSL certificate from firms like “GeoTrust”. SSL certificates help keep online transactions secure and encrypted. If you have unlimited subdomains then, you can go with AlphaSSL Wildcard certificate that can secure main domain and its chained subdomains. There are other SSL certificate types that are designed to suit different websites’ requirements.

4. Scour the Internet for Store or Seller Reviews

Reading online reviews can also be helpful, so long as you can also confirm the validity of the reviewer. For instance, some online health stores allow reviews via social media. You can then check the profile of these reviewers to see if they’re real people.

Be on your toes when it comes to sites that don’t have any review at all. You should also look out for negative reviews, especially those about non-delivery. Steer clear from websites that have too many complaints.

On the flip side, websites that are just full of raving reviews may not be a good option either. If all 500 reviews, for instance, are five-out-five stars, it’s possible that those are “paid”. Even the best sellers will still get three- or four-star reviews from time to time.

5. Be Careful of Websites That Don’t Ask for a Copy of a Prescription

Prescription drugs are more potent than over-the-counter drugs. The former usually have a greater active ingredient content. That’s because they treat specific conditions that afflict specific groups of people.

Moreover, these stronger drugs require a prescription in order to regulate them. Most of them, after all, can be harmful if misused or taken in large doses. Improper use of these potent drugs can cause adverse effects and even dependence.

This is why patients can only use them under the supervision of a licensed physician.

That said, be sure the site you’re buying prescription meds from asks for a copy of your prescription! This is a federal legal requirement they need to abide by. They should require you to furnish them with a copy of the prescription signed by your doctor.

If you run into a website that tells you they don’t need your prescription, don’t buy from them. Not only is it against the law — they might also be selling adulterated drugs. These drugs may have reduced strength or even contain other dangerous substances.

6. Choose Only Lab-Tested or Verified Health Products

A whopping $124.8 billion — that’s how much the dietary supplements market was worth in 2018. The US market alone accounts for 2% of that, or almost $2.5 billion.

Unfortunately, some of these supplements are also adulterated.

If you want to buy supplements for fitness online, you won’t necessarily need a prescription. The FDA doesn’t heavily regulate most of these health products. At the very least, however, they should bear the USP Verified Mark.

USP stands for United States Pharmacopeia. It’s a nonprofit organization that runs comprehensive tests on health supplements. They confirm that products really contain the ingredients listed on their label.

With the USP verification, you can be sure that a product indeed has the potency declared on its label. This mark also ensures that the product doesn’t contain harmful levels of contaminants. Moreover, it ensures that the item has gone through current Good Manufacturing Practices.

In short, a USP verification means that the product will indeed give you the value you expect from it.

7. Look for Special Online Deals to Bring Your Costs Down

A study found that discount coupons for prescriptions cut patient costs by up to 35%. In the study, coupon users shelled out $9.70 a month, whereas those who didn’t use coupons spent $15.10.

While these are for prescriptions, you’ll also find them for a wide range of other health products. For instance, if you check this free Kroger Friday page, you’ll see a coupon for branded ibuprofen. You’ll also find deals for free shipping or buy-one-get-another for a discounted rate.

The bottom line is, discount coupons can help you save a lot in the long-term. So long as you keep using them whenever you purchase online, you can keep those savings coming.

Keep Safe and Stay Healthy When Buying Health Products Online

With the pandemic, buying health products online has become more of a necessity. After all, staying at home as much as possible reduces your risks for disease contraction. However, you need to be just as careful when making online purchases for health products.

Be sure to follow all the tips we’ve laid out above! They will keep you healthy and safe at home.

Looking for more health hacks to keep your bod fit and strong during this pandemic and beyond? Be sure to visit this site’s Health section!