Tag Archives: CDC

7 Flu Myths We’re Fighting This Season

flu shot

Flu season is here, and the only things more infectious than the assorted flu viruses are the myths that surround them. While those who unintentionally spread the fake flu facts are doing so with the best intentions in mind, what they say often overshadows what people really need to know about the flu.

We’re here to set the record straight. When it comes to the flu, it’s important to know fact from fiction.

Myth 1: Vomiting and other stomach issues are flu symptoms.

What is commonly referred to as the stomach flu isn’t the flu at all. It’s actually gastroenteritis, which is an infection of the stomach and intestines. It’s usually caused by a virus, but can also be brought on by bacteria. The real flu, or influenza, rarely causes stomach problems.

Myth 2: Flu shots give you the flu.

Neither the vaccine administered with a needle nor the nasal spray vaccine will give you the flu. Vaccines administered through needle either have “inactivated” flu viruses or contain no flu viruses at all. The nasal spray does contain live viruses, but they have been weakened and cannot cause infection. Side effects of the flu vaccine can include low-grade fever, soreness at injection site, aches, runny nose and cough.

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More than 80% of Firefighters in the U.S. Are Overweight or Obese, But What’s Being Done?

obesity-in-firefighters-2014

A new study out of the CDC finds that 82.5% of firefighters in the U.S. are overweight or obese, a figure alarmingly higher than the rest of the general population, which hovers around 67%. The study found that, of 1,002 firefighters who participated, 854 had a BMI over 25%. A BMI under 25% is considered to be “normal.”

The main purpose of the Centers for Disease Control’s study was to determine whether firefighters were receiving recommendations from their health care providers regarding their weight and whether they needed to gain weight, lose weight, or simply maintain their current weight. The study found that 69% of them, despite having visited their physician in the last 12 months, received no recommendations or advice.

This is especially problematic, considering that data from earlier this year by Johns Hopkins University found that cardiovascular problems are the leading cause of death (45%) for active duty firefighters. They attribute that staggering statistic to the high stress factor of the job and poor lifestyle habits surrounding it.

What can be done to reduce obesity in our first responders? (more…)

Largest Measles Outbreak in Two Decades Has Doctors Worried

Measles, one of the most contagious infectious diseases, has popped up in 13 separate outbreaks across the United States. According to the CDC, more people have been infected with the disease in the first four months of this year than in the first four months of the past 18 years.

measles

Data released by the CDC last week showed a dramatic rise in the disease with 13 reported outbreaks and 129 individual cases. California has the highest number, with 58 measles cases since January 1. The average number of measles cases in California is 9 per year.

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The Government Shutdown Will Affect Your Health Care. Here’s How.

My fellow Americans, I don’t want to alarm you, but the government is in official shutdown mode! On Monday, lawmakers were unable to agree to a budget and neither the House nor the Senate wanted to back down. The shutdown appears to stem from one source, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as, Obamacare. The Republican-controlled House is refusing to sign the budget unless they can add a stipulation that essentially pushes the ACA law back one full year.

Congress Shut down

Since the Affordable Care Act law was passed in 2010, some lawmakers have continued to criticize it publicly to any reporter or television camera that will listen. A common theme among ACA opponents is their love of the Constitution, though most Americans remain confused about what one has to do with the other. Last night on the satirical political talk show The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart summed it up nicely when he referred to the GOP/Obamacare fight as, “The End of America as We Know It for Reasons No One is Able to Clearly Explain.”

While the government shutdown is clearly about health care, how will it actually affect health care? In addition to the furlough of nearly one million civilian federal employees, the closing of national parks and passport offices, and the temporary stoppage of other government functions, this is what you need to know for the impact this will have on your family’s well-being.

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4 out of 5 Americans Aren’t Getting Enough Exercise

exercise

  • A new report report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that roughly 20 percent of U.S. adults are getting the recommended amount of exercise.
  • According to MedicalNewsToday.com, most Americans are falling short in the area of strength training. Research revealed only one in five U.S. adults is meeting the requirements for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening components of the physical activity guideline issued by the federal government.
  • Research was based on a phone survey of adults aged 18 and older issued by state health departments. (more…)

Trader Joe’s Peanut Butters Recalled Due to Salmonella Risk

If peanut butter is your jam, be on the lookout for some recalls this week. Last Friday, Trader Joe’s made headlines when it announced a voluntary recall of its Salted Valencia Peanut Butter on suspicioun of it containing a rare strain of salmonella

Since then, Trader Joe’s peanut butter producer, Sunland Inc., has followed suit after several people were reported sick.

The company recalled all of the nut-based spreads it sells to other companies, including Target’s Archer Farms and Earth Balance.

The nut butter recall initially included only peanut and almond butter, but was extended to include cashew butter, tahini, and roasted blanched peanut products manufactured between May 1, 2012 and September 24, 2012.

As reported by the NPR’s ‘The Salt,’ the recall was initiated after Sunland learned that 29 people were reported having the illness Salmonella Bredeny PFGE in approximately 18 states. Those states included Washington, California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland, according to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (more…)

Rural Americans More Likely To Be Obese Than Urban Dwellers

Does your environment have an impact on your lifestyle?  According to a new study published in the journal Rural Health, the answer is ‘yes’ as those living in the country are more likely to be obese than Americans living in cities.

As reported by ABCNews, approximately 70 million of Americans call rural areas home and face many challenges concerning their health as a result.

Christie Befort, an assistant professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center, comments on the result of the study: “The rates of obesity were much higher than previously reported based on self-report, with 39 percent of rural Americans being obese compared to 33 percent of urban Americans.”

To collect data for the study, researchers manually measured participants height and weight, doing so in person as people tend to exaggerate how tall they are and how much they weigh.

In addition to finding rural Americans to be more obese on average than urban Americans, researchers found that younger generations between the ages of 20 and 39  living in rural America are more likely to be obese than their urban counterparts. Because of changes in technology, manual labor in rural areas has decreased and young adults have less physical work to do. (more…)

Hypertension the “Silent Killer” is on the Rise, CDC Reports

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new information regarding our nation’s health. According to new estimates, almost 54 percent of Americans diagnosed with hypertension don’t have the condition under control despite the majority receiving healthcare. 

As reported by Health.org, to gather this information the CDC analyzed the nation’s blood pressure health using data from a National Health Examination Survey taken between 2003 and 2010.

As a result, the CDC estimates that the prevalence of hypertension among adults at that time was more than 30 percent, or nearly 67 million Americans. Additionally, of the 53 percent who didn’t have their blood pressure in control, 39 percent were unaware they had hypertension, 16 percent knew but took no medicine to treat the condition, and 45 percent were taking medications that were not bettering the condition.

Why is this news concerning? CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden has deemed hypertension “public-health enemy number two,” only behind tobacco use.

To have hypertension means to have elevated or high blood pressure. A disease often known as the “silent killer” due to it being asymptomatic, hypertension typically leads to fatal stroke or heart attack. High blood pressure is defined as having a consistently elevated arterial blood pressure. Furthermore, obesity has been strongly associated with hypertension and heart disease.

Financially speaking, the CDC estimates that high blood pressure costs our nation close to $130 million a year in healthcare bills. And certainly more concerning, Frieden points out, is the fact that hypertension claims approximately 1,000 lives a day. (more…)

No Plan Presented in Massachusetts Health Director’s Desire to Lower State’s Obesity Rates

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new frightening statistics for the obesity rates across the country. Obesity rates in America are climbing rapidly, with an estimated 35.7% of the adult population classified as such. The South has the highest obesity rate and the Midwest is right behind them. Citizens living in Northeast and West have the lowest obesity rates.

As reported by BizJournal.com, Massachusetts is the third lowest obesity rate state. However, Massachusetts should not celebrate their bronze medal in these results. Massachusetts may have a low obesity rate compared to 47 states, but that does not mean there isn’t a problem internally with the state. One-third of Massachusetts children and two-thirds of the adult population are either obese or overweight.

Cheryl Bartlett, director of the Massachusetts Bureau of Community Health and Prevention, speaks out on the state’s health issue. “On a national level, (Massachusetts) looks pretty good. But we’ve got a long way to go.” Bartlett and her organization have a goal for the state of Massachusetts. They want to see obesity levels decrease by 5% within the next 15 years. Plus, a reduction in type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol cases. However, no specific plan to reach that was shared. (more…)

35.7% of Americans are Obese, 12 States Considered Very Obese

Just when we thought estimates for U.S. obesity rates couldn’t get any worse, they did. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new figures for American waistlines, and the result? Twelve states are now considered to have very high obesity rates among adults, which is an increase from nine states in 2010. And an estimated 35.7% of U.S. adults are obese.

A snapshot of the survey shows more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, with Mississippi having the highest prevalence rate at 34.9%, and Colorado having the lowest overall at 20.7%.

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