Winter and fall seem to be the most vulnerable times for getting contagious viruses because we tend to share more indoor time with other people when the weather starts cooling down.

However, there are plenty of FDA-approved medicines and vaccines you can take to combat these ailments.

Colds and Flu

A lot of respiratory infections go away as soon as they surface—often within a matter of a couple of days. There are some that are more lasting and can create serious health issues. Tobacco users and people who are around secondhand smoke often are more likely to experience respiratory infections and more serious complications than nonsmokers and nontobacco users.

Colds typically cause a runny or stuffy nose and sneezing. Sometimes, other symptoms are present like watery eyes, coughing and a scratchy throat. These are often spread through infected mucus and often gradually occur. To date, there is no vaccine available that combats a cold.

The Flu arrives suddenly and lasts a longer time than colds do. Signs of the flu are chills, fever, headache, body aches, dry cough, tiredness and overall discomfort. You can also have cold symptoms like runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes and sneezing. Some children have nausea and vomiting with the flu. This virus is contagious and spreads from droplets that occur when people with the flu talk, sneeze or cough. Touching a surface that has the flu virus can also cause you to catch the flu.

The time between the months of October and May is considered the Flu season in the United States with peaks time between December and February. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that:

  • Every year over 200,000 Americans experience hospital-related episodes from the flu (20,000 of these are children under age 5).
  • Between the 2014-15 flu season, 40 million flu-related conditions occurred. There were about 19 million flu-related healthcare visits and 970,000 flu-related hospitalizations, which was a record high for one flu season.
  • Between 1976 and 2006, there were between 3,000 to 49,000 deaths reported that related to the flu.

Prevention Tips

Get vaccinated against flu.

People ages 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine in nasal spray or shot form to decrease the need to be out of work and school because of the symptoms of the flu. The vaccine may also prevent hospitalizations and deaths from this virus.

It’s best to get vaccinated each year in the month of October, but it can still provide some relief if taken in January and afterwards. The reason why the vaccine has to be taken every year is because the virus mutates frequently and the protection from the previous year’s vaccine starts to decrease in effectiveness. If you are prone to other complication from having the flu, then it is highly recommended you take the vaccine every year.

People at high risk for the flu are:

  • Women who are pregnant
  • Children under 5 years old (especially those under 2)
  • People 6People 65 and up
  • People with certain chronic health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease).

If you work in the health profession or live with/care for people with weak immune systems or are over 65 years old, then it is extremely important you get vaccinated.  Pregnant mothers are advised to get the flu vaccine while pregnant so their baby can stay protected up to six months after birth. Also, make sure people who come in contact with the baby are also current with their vaccinations.

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Located at the top of each kidney, the adrenal glands produce hormones that help the body control blood sugar, burn protein and fat, react to stressors like a major illness or injury, and regulate blood pressure.

Adrenal gland health is important for overall human health. Adrenal gland diseases occur when the adrenal glands don’t make enough hormones. Symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, decreased appetite, and weight loss. Some people experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The good news is that the conditions caused by overproduction or underproduction of adrenal hormones are usually treatable.

What to eat to support adrenal gland health?

  • Eat fresh, whole foods – preferably organic, locally grown, seasonal food – for meals and snacks.
  • Avoid preservatives, added hormones, artificial colors, dyes, and chemicals.
  • Include lean protein with each meal and snack to help stabilize blood sugar and stave off cravings for refined sugars and caffeine.
  • If you buy prepared food, try to buy it at a health food store or grocery offering natural, whole foods.
  • Try to prepare extra nutritious snacks to have on hand so they are ready and available when you are having cravings.

Beverages also make a difference in supporting adrenal health. If you are used to choosing adrenal draining liquids like alcohol, sports drinks, or caffeinated drinks, this handy chart can show you some alternatives.

Adrenal gland diseases can be treated with natural treatment options. Read more about adrenal disorders and treatment in source page: www.yourwebdoc.com/adrenalglands.php

Five Tips for New Mothers

September 2, 2017

Mother’s Day is a great day for moms but can be a nightmare for new moms who are just learning how to take care of their new baby.

Your child’s pediatrician is a good source of information when it comes to getting insight on what to expect during childhood and adolescence concerning raising your children.

1. Consult Your Doctor Prior to Giving Your Baby any Medications

Always consult your doctor to ensure a medication you give your baby is suitable for children their age. If your doctor recommends using a medication, always make sure you get information on the right amount to give to a baby.

2. If breastfeeding, Consult Your Doctor Prior to using a New Medication

You should always let your doctor know you plan to breastfeed (or are breastfeeding) before taking any medication just to make sure it’s okay to use that medication. That also goes for any vitamin or herbal supplements and anything else you can get over-the-counter. Some medications pass through your breast milk and may not be safe for the baby to consume. You also have to consider if it’s good for your health to stop a medication, which may determine if you are able to breastfeed if chronic health problems dictate you need to remain on a certain medication.

3. Use the Proper Tools to give Your Baby Medicine

When administering medicine to your baby, use the right dosing device that came with the medication. If the medicine does not already have an oral syringe, then you can always get one at a local pharmacy without a prescription. Make sure the dose you give your baby is measured exactly as it reads with the dosing device.

4. Store Medications Safely

Never keep medications for you or your baby in a child’s reach. Even if your baby is not old enough to be climbing to reach medicine, it’s a good practice to start now, so you will be in the habit of doing so when the child starts crawling.

If he medication has to be refrigerated, keep it in the refrigerator. For all other medications, you can always ask your doctor about how to store them.

5. Take Care of Yourself

Even if it seems like the baby is taking up all your time (wake and sleep), you still have to find time for yourself.  To remedy not getting enough sleep, learn how to sleep when the baby is sleeping and napping. If you are experiences signs of postpartum depression and are feeling sad a lot, then consult your doctor immediately for possible solutions. Make sure to go to your six-week postpartum appointment even if you don’t have any symptoms.

Biosimilars

August 18, 2017

Inflectra (Infliximab-dyyb), a biosimilar of Remicade (infliximab), and Zarxio (filgrastim-sndz), a biosimilar of Neupogen (filgrastim), are in a new line of medications destined to become more commonplace in the future as more Biosimilars are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dr. Leah Christl (Associate Director for Therapeutic Biologics at the FDA) tells us that in order to understand what a biosimilar is, we need to first understand what biologics (also called biological products) are.

Biologics: Medications from Biological Substances

A biologic is any medicine derived from living creatures—be it a microorganism (like bacteria and yeast), animal or human.

Dr. Christl tells us that the major difference between biologics and traditional medicines is in the source of material they are derived from. Traditional medicines are derived from chemical substances and byproducts and are easy to replicate.

Because biologics come from living organisms, they are just as unique as the organisms they come from. So there is no one exact recipe one can follow to replicate a biologic. Thus, the procedure for replicating a biologic is more difficult than with traditional medicines.

Right now, biologics are becoming a popular commodity in the pharmaceutical world   As with traditional medicines, biologics also undergo a strict process to get approved by the FDA.

What Are Biosimilars?

A biosimilar is a biologic that closely resembles the design of another biologic that is already approved by the FDA (commonly referred to as the reference product).

Unlike generics, which are replicas of brand name drugs, biologics are not as easy to replicate because it’s impossible to create an exact replica of an existing biologic. Therefore, the new brand will be similar but not identical to the original.

In order for a biosimilar to be approved, the FDA has to ensure the biosimilar has no significant differences in structure from the reference product. Thus, the biosimilar must produce the same effect, same method of being administered and have the same potency per dosage as its reference product to be considered an authentic biosimilar.

As stated earlier, Inflectra is the biosimilar of Remicade (infliximab). Like Remicade, Inflectra is used to treat:

  • plaque psoriasis
  • psoriatic arthritis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • ankylosing spondylitis

Respiratory infections are a common side effect of Inflectra. These symptoms include:

  • headache
  • sinus infections and sore throat
  • stomach discomfort
  • coughing

Sometimes, people experience chills, chest pain, low or high blood pressure, shortness of breath, itching, rash, or fever for up to two hours after taking the Inflectra infusion. It is recommended Health care professionals become well-knowledgeable about all prescription information concerning Inflectra—the good and the bad before prescribing it to patients.

Colorectal Cancer

August 5, 2017

The National Cancer Institute reports that over 136,000 people were diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer, and over 50,000 people died from this condition in the US last year, making it the second leading cause of death from cancer in the country. Some racial groups–minorities in particular—seem to suffer from this condition more than others, according to Dr. Jonca Bull, director of the Office of Minority Health for the FDA. The minority population (American Indians, African Americans, Hispanics, and Alaska Natives) is hit hard primarily because of limited access to medical treatment and screening. The biggest remedy for treating this condition is to attack it head on by doing early detection so the patient can be referred and treated, which will decrease the number of deaths occurring from this condition.

The Signs of Colorectal Cancer

The development of polys or other precancerous growths in the rectum (or colon) can turn into colorectal cancer. However, there may not be any outward symptoms if you have precancerous growths. Screening will help your doctor see what’s going on, so the growths or questionable can be removed if needed.

Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer increases if you:

  • Smoke
  • Have diabetes
  • Have a history of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Have a family history of colorectal cancer
  • Have certain genetic syndromes (such as FAP or Lynch)
  • Have a personal history of colon polyps or colorectal cancer

You should see your doctor also if you have any of these Symptoms, even though they do not necessarily indicate colorectal cancer:

  • Frequent bloating, fullness, cramps or gas pains
  • Unexpected Weight loss
  • A change in bowel habits (such as constipation, diarrhea and the sensation that the bowel does not empty completely)
  • Bright or dark blood in stool
  • Stools narrower than usual
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling very tired

The Benefits of Screening

Thanks to screening, surgery and medication, a lot of people with colorectal cancer are seeing a longer lifespan. Companion diagnostics are being conducted to determine if some people are less receptive to some medications than others due to genetic mutations.

There are also clinical trials available for those wishing to participate in research to discover new approaches to treating the condition. If you are considering a clinical trial, make sure you talk this over with your family and your health care provider.

How can I reduce my risk?

Your race, ethnicity, age, medical history, and other factors may increase your risk for colorectal cancer. Here are some ways to reduce the risk:

  • Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke
  • Exercise often and vigorously
  • Eat healthy (adopt a diet high in fruits and vegetables but low in processed and red meats)
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Maintain a healthy weight

While it is normal to feel an urge to urinate 4-6 times a day but if it exceeds this number, you may be suffering from the problem of frequent urination, especially if you need to urinate more than 8 times a day.

From diabetes, pregnancy, anxiety to bladder stones, kidney infections, urinary tract infection and prostate problem, there can be multiple causes of frequent urination. If you have not been drinking excess water or too close to your bedtime and still having to urinate for more than 8 times a day or wake up repeatedly at night, you must visit your doctor for underlying cause of frequent urination. This becomes crucial if your frequent urination is accompanied by fever and chills.

If there is nothing very serious about your frequent urination problem, you can use one or more of the home remedies for frequent urination.

Taking all dietary modifications along with some lifestyle changes like regular exercising and Kegel exercises for strengthening pelvic muscles will help you get rid of frequent urination. However, because frequent urination have various different causes, some of which are really serious, you should visit your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment for the underlying cause of your frequent urination.

If you wake up feeling irritable and like you haven’t had enough rest, and if your spouse complains about your snoring, you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

OSA is a sleep disorder affecting over 12 million Americans, and it can affect your entire body and mental state if it goes untreated. Untreated OSA causes heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, car accidents, depression and work-related accidents.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) makes sure that the products used to treat OSA are effective. One of the most common devices used to treat OSA is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP), and there is also a new product called the Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) System.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Apnea is the Greek word meaning “without breath.”  A person with sleep apnea experiences episodes where breathing is interrupted several times while asleep. The interruptions can last from a few seconds to a few minutes and can happen up to 100 times per hour. (It’s normal to have this happen less than five times per hour.). Sometimes when the breathing resumes, there’s a choking sound or loud snort.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, and it occurs because of a blockage of the airway (for instance, when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses). Central sleep apnea is a less common form of sleep apnea that occurs when the part of the brain that controls breathing doesn’t properly send signals to your breathing muscles.

Dr. Eric Mann, deputy director of the Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological, and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices for the FDA, states that most people don’t know they have sleep apnea because it takes place while they are asleep. The frequent interruptions in breathing that cause you to wake up keep you feeling tired and irritable the next day.

Sleep Apnea in Men more than Women. Risk factors for Sleep Apnea include:

  • smoking
  • being over age 40,
  • being overweight (The extra fat around the neck can obstruct the airway.)
  • a family history of sleep apnea, and
  • a nasal obstruction caused by allergies, sinus problems or a deviated septum

Some children can have sleep apnea between age 3 to 6 if they have enlarged adenoids and tonsils obstructing the upper airway.

Dr. Mann recommends consulting your health care provider as soon as possible if you suspect you (or your child) have sleep apnea. However, to get a confirmation of such diagnosis, there will have to be a sleep study.

A polysomnogram (PSG) is a sleep study used to determine a diagnosis of sleep apnea. It is often done in a lab or center to monitor eye movement, brain activity, blood pressure and how much air moves in and out the lungs.

Getting Treatment

Sometimes a change in our behavior can improve sleep apnea. For starters, we can try managing our weight and reducing the use of medicines and beverages (like alcohol) that makes us drowsy and also make it harder to breathe.

As stated earlier, the CPAP machine is the most commonly used treatment for OSA because it uses mild air pressure to prevent the airway from being blocked. Some devices only cover your nose and some cover both your mouth and nose.