Looking for an older news story that you saw on our homepage? Here are the previous medical news stories we’ve shared:
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Guidelines- Updated
It’s possible that face protection may be required when leaving the house to protect from those that may be asymptomatic of the COVID-19 virus. While this is controversial and may help protect from those unaware they are infected, there are pros and cons to both sides. In the event the recommendation is made to wear face coverings, we wanted to stress how to safely use them. Please follow these guidelines for how to effectively use a face covering; the recommendations specify disposable masks, but if you opt for a cloth covering, the best precaution is to wash the covering after use, and to avoid touching the covering (along with maintaining hand hygiene and frequent cleaning of high traffic areas).
If the recommendation is made, please don’t rush to buy surgical masks so desperately needed by your healthcare providers on the front line. A scarf or other homemade device will give the basic protection this rule is trying to provide.
The World Health Organization has also shared other helpful resources (including a myth busters section) to provide accurate information about COVID-19 as we navigate these uncertain times.
Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Guidlines
News surrounding Covid-19, also known as coronavirus, is circulating at a rapid pace and can make it difficult to feel adequately informed about the topic and what precautions to take.
-Establish hand hygiene. Most illnesses are transmitted by people touching contaminated surfaces (door handles, keyboards, pin pads, etc), then touching their faces. Routinely washing hands and avoiding touching your face can reduce the chances of illness significantly.
-Avoid being around those that are sick, and stay home if you yourself are ill. It can’t be stressed enough the importance of avoiding group settings when ill- not to mention that anybody that is under the weather will benefit from resting at home.
-There is no evidence that wearing masks will protect people from getting sick. The CDC does not recommend that people use face masks, as this can create a false sense of security and actually increase how often people touch their faces. The face masks that may protect against coronavirus, N95 respirators, require annual fit testing to be considered effective, and are used by those in professions that may expose them to harmful chemicals, dusts, fumes, etc., not daily use by the general public. Officials are strongly recommending people do not stockpile face masks of any sort as that may cause a shortage for those in professions that require them, or individuals who otherwise need them. You can read the latest CDC info here.
Ask Your Provider About Daily Aspirin
New research shows that healthy people who don’t have known heart disease or stroke should speak to their provider before starting a daily aspirin regimen. Evidence highlights that the risk of internal bleeding and other side effects offset potential benefits for those considered to be at low or moderate risk for heart disease. Please speak to your provider before starting (or stopping!) any medication. Read more about the recommendations from the American Heart Association here.
Parents, Grandparents Responsible For Half Of Child Poisonings
Most would agree that the safety of our children and grandchildren is one of our highest priorities. It may shock many people that parents and grandparents are often responsible for half of child poisonings. How can that be? A study found that caregivers take their meds out of tough-to-open containers and put them in easy reach places for convenience, they are inadvertently contributing to some 50,000 emergency room visits by kids every year who swallow dangerous pills when adults aren’t paying attention. Read more here about how this oversight can be life threatening to children.
Additional Meds Added To Ranitidine Recall List
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is adding to a list of recalled lots of popular heartburn medications, including generic forms of Zantac, because the pills might contain small amounts of a suspected carcinogen, NDMA. New evidence points to the production of NDMA when ranitidine is exposed to heat. For additional information, read here.
FDA Exerts Authority Over Vaping Products In An Effort To Protect Public Health As Lung Injuries Continue To Rise
January 2020 brought about another FDA regulation over the e-cigarette market as EVALI cases continue to rise. Flavored e-cigarette cartridges are no longer permitted to be manufactured, sold, or distributed by companies, or else face FDA enforcement actions. Companies were given only 30 days to comply with the regulation.
New Study Shows Exposure To BPA Higher Than Previously Thought
Many people have transitioned to limit their use of plastic items, and avoid those that contain BPA. When we consider all plastics used to hold liquids, personal care products, cooking supplies, materials like paints, adhesives and protective coatings (including clear coatings on the inside of food cans and some kinds of paper such as receipts) contain BPA or a similar chemical, the potential for exposure is high. A new study shows it may even be worse then we first thought. Although protections for the consumer are in place, new evidence shows that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing methods may be unreliable and result in exposure to high levels of BPA. You can read more about the latest findings here.
FDA Raises Legal Tobacco Age To 21
The higher legal age was slipped in to the final version of the fiscal 2020 budget that was passed by Congress this month and signed by President Trump on Dec. 20, 2019.
The bill gave the federal government up to nine months to develop and implement regulations for enforcing the new rule, but the FDA said the higher age took effect with the president’s signature. The CDC reports that 6.2 million middle and high school students used some form of tobacco in 2019; the new law will help prevent youth tobacco usage, including vaping and e-cigarette products which have been under heavy scrutiny due to lung illnesses and deaths related to the products. You can read more about the legal tobacco age change here.
1,300 Flu Related Deaths So Far This Season
Have you received your flu shot yet? It is not too late to benefit from the protection of the flu vaccination. Due to overwhelming response, CMG no longer has the shot available, but you can still receive the vaccination at pharmacies throughout the city. The CDC has released information regarding the flu-related deaths which you can read here.
Deaths Related To Vaping Continue To Rise
In response to the continued rise of lung illnesses and deaths related to vaping, the FDA has issued a recommendation that e-cigarette or vaping products that contain THC be avoided. The only way to assure that you are not at risk while the investigation continues is to consider refraining from use of all e-cigarette and vaping products. Adults addicted to nicotine using e-cigarettes should weigh all risks and benefits, and consider utilizing FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies. They should not turn to or resume using combustible tobacco. There is no safe tobacco product. All tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, carry a risk. For more information on the outbreak and recommendations, please see the FDA’s consumer update on vaping illnesses.
Romaine Lettuce Recall Update
Late November, a recall of Romaine lettuce used within pre-made salad mixes was issued. The source was found to be in the Salinas, CA area. The most recent update from the CDC says 67 people across 19 states infected with E. coli are linked to the outbreak. Thirty-nine of them have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. The CDC is urging people to avoid all lettuce from the Salinas, CA region- you can check the package, or label on the lettuce. If you are unsure, do not eat the product. This particular strain, E. coli 0157:H7 is considered a more serious infection, so it is better to err on the safe side. For more information, you can read here.
Additional Concerns Raised Over Ranitidine
Information continues to expose additional concerns over ranitidine, commonly known as Zantac. The manufacturing process, previously thought to be when medication was exposed to a contaminant was the reason behind elevated levels of NDMA; now, information shows that it may be the actual process that is creating the elevated NDMA levels.
In addition, sources at the FDA shared that they are looking into how ranitidine interacts with the human body, specifically what happens to NDMA levels in the body, after ranitidine has been exposed to acid in the stomach.
Please call your provider or pharmacist to discuss any concerns regarding ranitidine and alternatives if you are currently using a prescription that contains the ingredients in question.
CDC Releases Info: Vaping Illnesses Caused By Vitamin E Acetate
A form of vitamin E has been identified as a “very strong culprit” in lung injuries related to vaping THC, health officials reported on Friday, November 8th, 2019. It is a major advance in a frightening outbreak that has killed 40 people and sickened 2,051. You can read more here about the latest development. The CDC continues to update their page with information as well, and can be found here.
FDA Expands Ranitidine Recall To Even More Manufacturers
The FDA announced that four other pharmaceutical companies were voluntarily recalling various ranitidine-containing products in addition to those that have previously recalled for unsafe levels of NDMA. You can read the timeline and details of the recall here. If you are unsure if a product you are using contains NDMA, contact your pharmacist or provider.
Ranitidine Recall Expanded
Ranitidine, more commonly known by brand names like Zantac, Rani 2, and Ausran, was voluntarily recalled by its manufacturer (Sandoz Inc.). The lots of Ranitidine Hydrochloride Capsules were recalled in the U.S. because of confirmed contamination with N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) above levels established by the FDA. To check whether a batch is part of the recall, you can check the FDA website or call your pharmacist or provider for information.
UPDATE: This week, the recall was widened- you can find more details here.
Vaping Illness Reported In 49 States
Concerns over vaping and the lung injury caused by it continue to grow. Now named EVALI, the vaping related illness has spread to over 1,300 people in 49 states. You can read the latest from the Centers for Disease Control, here.
Flu Season Kicks Off- Here’s What To Know
A flu vaccination is important not only for those that receive the immunization, but for all those around them. People with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and very young are especially at risk for complications and may not be able to receive the immunization; but if those around them are immunized, it can offer a layer of protection. You can read more about why immunizations are important, here. The 2019 flu season has officially started- here is some important information about this flu season .