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Many Cancer Docs Don’t Discuss Costs of Pricey Gene Tests

FRIDAY, Nov. 1, 2019 — Fighting cancer can be a long, hard battle, not to mention expensive. Now, new research shows that a quarter of oncologists don’t discuss the cost of expensive tests with their patients.

Genomic tests on cancer cells can help determine which types of treatment might work, and which ones might not. However, such testing can be expensive, and not all tests and related treatments are covered by health insurance, the researchers noted.

Costs of cancer care are rising, and there are increasing concerns about high patient out-of-pocket costs for cancer treatment.

Discussions with their oncologists can help patients make informed decisions about treatment and prepare for potentially high costs. So, the study authors wanted to find out how often oncologists discuss costs of genomic testing and treatment with patients.

They analyzed data from 1,220 U.S. oncologists who took part in a national survey on precision medicine in cancer care.

Half of them said they often discussed the likely costs of testing and related treatments with patients; 26.3% said they sometimes discussed costs; and 23.7% said they never or rarely discussed costs.

Further investigation showed that oncologists trained in genomic testing or who worked in practices with electronic medical record alerts for genomic tests were about two times more likely to discuss costs with patients sometimes or often.

Other factors associated with being more likely to discuss costs with patients included: treating patients with solid tumors; using next-generation sequencing gene panel tests; having higher patient volume; and working in practices with higher percentages of patients with Medicaid, private insurance or no insurance.

“Initiating a discussion about the expected out-of-pocket costs of genomic testing and related treatment is a necessary first step, but is not sufficient to ensure that patients and their families can make fully informed decisions about treatment options,” said lead researcher Robin Yabroff, from the American Cancer Society.

“In the context of rising costs of cancer care, interventions targeting modifiable physician and practice factors may help increase the frequency of physician-patient cost discussions, contributing to more informed patient decisions and higher-quality cancer care,” the researchers said in a society news release.

The study was published Nov. 1 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on the costs of cancer treatment.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Don’t Delay Very Early-Stage Breast Cancer Surgery

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Delaying surgery for a noninvasive breast cancer can have dire consequences, a new study shows.

Longer delays in surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer lead to a higher risk of invasive ductal carcinoma and a slightly lower survival rate, researchers found.

“For each month of delay, there was well under a 1% difference in survival. But for each month of delay, there was an approximate 1% increase in the finding of invasive cancer,” said study author Dr. Richard Bleicher, a professor of surgical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, in Philadelphia.

“The survival difference with a delay is small,” Bleicher noted in a center news release. “While it’s not an emergency to get treated immediately, delays do have an effect and long delays should be avoided.”

DCIS occurs when abnormal cells form in the milk duct of the breast and is the earliest stage of breast cancer. When cancerous cells spread beyond the milk duct, it becomes invasive ductal carcinoma.

Standard treatment for DCIS is surgery and radiotherapy, along with endocrine therapy. But research suggests that some DCIS may never progress to invasive disease, and clinical trials are being conducted to determine whether DCIS can be observed, rather than surgically removed.

This study “suggests that delays in operative management of DCIS are associated with invasion and slightly worse short-term outcomes,” Bleicher said. “Since observation represents infinite delay, it suggests that observation should not yet be pursued outside of a clinical trial in patients who will tolerate excision.”

The study included more than 140,600 U.S. women (123,947 with DCIS, 16,668 with invasive ductal carcinoma). They were diagnosed between 2004 and 2014.

Survival was compared with five time intervals in delays to have surgery: less than 30 days, 31-60 days, 61-90 days, 91-120 days, or 121-365 days.

Overall survival was 95.8%, with a median time from diagnosis to surgery of 38 days. However, each increase in diagnosis-to-surgery interval was associated with a 7.4% increase in the risk of death.

The study was published Oct. 21 in the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: Fox Chase Cancer Center, news release, Oct. 21, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Don’t Delay Surgery for Very Early-Stage Breast Cancer, Study Suggests

THURSDAY, Oct. 24, 2019 — Delaying surgery for a noninvasive breast cancer can have dire consequences, a new study shows.

Longer delays in surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer lead to a higher risk of invasive ductal carcinoma and a slightly lower survival rate, researchers found.

“For each month of delay, there was well under a 1% difference in survival. But for each month of delay, there was an approximate 1% increase in the finding of invasive cancer,” said study author Dr. Richard Bleicher, a professor of surgical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, in Philadelphia.

“The survival difference with a delay is small,” Bleicher noted in a center news release. “While it’s not an emergency to get treated immediately, delays do have an effect and long delays should be avoided.”

DCIS occurs when abnormal cells form in the milk duct of the breast and is the earliest stage of breast cancer. When cancerous cells spread beyond the milk duct, it becomes invasive ductal carcinoma.

Standard treatment for DCIS is surgery and radiotherapy, along with endocrine therapy. But research suggests that some DCIS may never progress to invasive disease, and clinical trials are being conducted to determine whether DCIS can be observed, rather than surgically removed.

This study “suggests that delays in operative management of DCIS are associated with invasion and slightly worse short-term outcomes,” Bleicher said. “Since observation represents infinite delay, it suggests that observation should not yet be pursued outside of a clinical trial in patients who will tolerate excision.”

The study included more than 140,600 U.S. women (123,947 with DCIS, 16,668 with invasive ductal carcinoma). They were diagnosed between 2004 and 2014.

Survival was compared with five time intervals in delays to have surgery: less than 30 days, 31-60 days, 61-90 days, 91-120 days, or 121-365 days.

Overall survival was 95.8%, with a median time from diagnosis to surgery of 38 days. However, each increase in diagnosis-to-surgery interval was associated with a 7.4% increase in the risk of death.

The study was published Oct. 21 in the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on treatment of DCIS.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Don’t Let SAD Get the Better of You

SUNDAY, Oct. 13, 2019 — If you suffer from the winter blues, there are things you can do to make the season less depressing.

Clinically known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it happens when there is less sunlight during the day, according to Jeannie Larson, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing.

Less sunlight may affect your serotonin level, which affects your mood, and lower levels of serotonin are linked to depression, she said in a university news release.

About 10% of people living in northern areas experience SAD. That’s about 5% of the population of the United States, Larson said. SAD is more common among women, and starts in one’s 20s and 30s.

SAD can make you depressed, anxious and moody. It can also cause sleep and eating problems. You may sleep too much or too little, or gain weight. And you may feel too tired to carry out normal routines. People suffering from SAD also may avoid socializing and lose their sex drive.

To combat SAD, Larson recommends spending 30 minutes outdoors every day.

More information

For more on SAD, head to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Don’t Let Kids Wander Alone in Parking Lots

FRIDAY, Sept. 13, 2019 — Many children walk through parking lots without adult supervision, putting them in great danger, a new study warns.

Researchers watched 124 kids, ages 2 to 10, and their adult companions as they crossed a parking lot at a community recreation center.

The team found that 67% of the children lacked adult supervision at some point during the walk and nearly 90% were beyond an adult’s arm reach.

More than half of kids got out of the vehicle before an adult, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham study. It was published recently in the Journal of Safety Research.

“Children are unpredictable,” study author and associate dean for research David Schwebel said in a university news release. “The safety risks in parking lots are already dangerous. We observed that parents pay less attention to their children in these parking lots, even further elevating the risk.”

Every year in the United States, vehicle-pedestrian accidents in places such as parking lots, driveways and on private property cause about 5,000 injuries and 205 deaths among kids 14 years and younger, according to a U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.

Study co-author Jenni Rouse, a doctoral student in psychology, said adults and children may overlook the high level of danger in parking lots because vehicles are moving slowly. But she said drivers may not be paying close attention due to distractions such as cellphones, so pedestrians must be extra-vigilant.

“As adult supervisors, we are responsible for teaching children basic pedestrian safety practices and leading by example,” Rouse said in the release.

She recommended that adults hold a child’s hand in parking lots; make sure kids remain in the car until an adult opens the door; have children exit from the passenger side when being dropped off near a building; and limit distractions as kids are guided through a parking lot, including cellphones and talking with others.

Adults should also teach children to look both ways for traffic before crossing the parking lot; make them aware of the dangers of moving vehicles, and to use sidewalks when available.

More information

Connecting for Kids has more on parking lot safety.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

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Booze Taxes Don’t Make Up for Societal Costs of Excess Drinking: Study

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 11, 2019 — Alcohol taxes do little to reduce the burden on American taxpayers for the harmful impacts of heavy drinking, a new study finds.

The cost of harm caused by excessive drinking in the United States is just over $ 2 per drink, with about 80 cents of that shouldered by government. But state and federal alcohol taxes bring in an average of about 21 cents per drink.

That means most of the financial toll of alcohol-related harm is borne by people who drink in moderation or don’t drink at all, the study authors said.

“Total alcohol taxes accounted for a median of 26.7% of the economic cost to the government, and 10.3% of the total economic cost of excessive drinking,” the researchers reported in the Sept. 11 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

“The disparity between alcohol-related cost to government and alcohol taxes amounts to a large taxpayer-funded subsidy of excessive drinking and alcohol companies,” senior author Dr. Timothy Naimi said in a journal news release. He’s a physician and epidemiologist at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Public Health.

Research shows that higher prices on alcohol — often in the form of increased taxes — can reduce excessive drinking and related harms, such as violence, vehicle-related injuries and liver cirrhosis.

“Increasing alcohol taxes could improve public health and reduce the disparity between alcohol-related costs and alcohol taxes in states,” Naimi said.

The federal government charges a standard tax on alcohol that applies nationwide and is equivalent to 5, 4 and 16 cents per drink for beer, wine and distilled spirits, respectively, according to the news release. States can levy up to three added taxes.

Lead study author Jason Blanchette said the new study could shift the debate about alcohol taxes.

“Policy debates around alcohol taxes have mostly centered on public health benefits, but I think our study might change the focus of the debate somewhat, since it seems fair that those who drink the most, and who produce and sell alcohol should cover the costs to society,” he suggested. Blanchette is a postdoctoral associate at Boston University School of Public Health.

The bottom line, Naimi said, is that current taxes don’t come close to covering alcohol-related costs.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on alcohol and public health.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

If a Child’s Schoolwork Slips, Don’t Rule Out Hearing Loss

TUESDAY, Sept. 10, 2019 — Falling school grades could be a sign of hearing loss in children, according to the American Academy of Audiology.

“A child with just minor hearing loss can be missing a significant amount of the classroom discussion,” said academy president Lisa Christensen.

“There are children who have been diagnosed with a learning disability when really what they need are hearing aids,” Christensen added in an academy news release. She’s with Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Along with struggles in the classroom, hearing problems can lead to behavioral issues, lack of focus and even depression in children.

Many children with hearing loss don’t recognize that they have a problem, and parents may not recognize the signs.

  • Look for difficulty following through with assignments and often seeming unable to understand the task. Other tipoffs include not understanding questions and either not responding or not responding appropriately.
  • Children with hearing problems may struggle to pronounce simple words or repeat a phrase. They may also have articulation problems or language delays.
  • Does your child often ask you to repeat things, watch your face intently in order to understand what you’re saying or have difficulty hearing on the phone? Those could be signs of hearing loss, too.
  • Some other red flags: speaking loudly when not warranted, having chronic ear pain, complaining of noises they can’t identify, and struggling to keep up in school.

“Often parents and teachers overlook the fact that a child’s behavior may be a sign of hearing loss,” Christensen said.

“If parents suspect an issue, they should have their child evaluated by an audiologist. Audiologists have the tools and training to identify hearing loss, degrees of hearing loss, and can recommend solutions,” she said.

About 2 to 3 of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears, according to the U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

However, many cases go undiagnosed, and the total number of U.S. children with some type of hearing loss is unknown.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on hearing loss in children.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

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CDC Says ‘Don’t Vape’ As Lung Injury Cases Rise

FRIDAY, Aug. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The number of people who’ve developed a severe form of lung disease potentially tied to vaping has now risen to 215 cases across 25 states, and federal health officials are recommending that Americans not use e-cigarettes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health advisory saying, “if you are concerned about these specific health risks, consider refraining from the use of e-cigarette products.”

As of Aug. 27, 215 possible cases have been reported — but other reported cases are also under investigation, the CDC noted.
Last week marked the first fatality tied to these lung crises: An adult in Illinois died after being hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness after using an e-cigarette.

“In many cases, patients reported a gradual start of symptoms, including breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain before hospitalization,” the CDC explained in the advisory issued Friday. “Some cases reported mild to moderate gastrointestinal illness including vomiting and diarrhea, or other symptoms such as fevers or fatigue.”

The respiratory symptoms appear to be caused by inflammation that causes the lungs to fill with fluid, said Dr. Karen Wilson, vice chair of clinical and translational research for pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Wilson first became aware of these cases a month ago, when the teenage son of a family friend wound up in the ICU with lung injuries possibly linked to vaping.

The 17-year-old is improving, and his prognosis is good, Wilson said.

“In general, I think kids are recovering from this, but it’s hard to say if there’s going to be any long-term risk of lung injury or asthma or other illness,” Wilson said.

According to the CDC, in many cases, patients have said they recently used tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing e-cigarette products. THC is the chemical in marijuana that provides a high.

“At this time, there does not appear to be one product involved in all of the cases,” the CDC said, “although THC and cannabinoids use has been reported in many cases. At this time, the specific substances within the e-cigarette products that cause illness are not known and could involve a variety of substances.”

Continued

Dr. Albert Rizzo is chief medical officer for the American Lung Association. He noted that e-cigarette vapor contains many ingredients that could cause lung irritation, such as ultrafine particles, oil, and heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead.

Flavored vapor also can contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to a condition called “popcorn lung,” Rizzo noted. The condition is so named because more than a decade ago workers in a microwave popcorn factory developed lung ailments after breathing in butter-flavored diacetyl.

In popcorn lung, the tiny air sacs in the lungs become scarred, resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways, the American Lung Association explained.

There’s also the possibility that heavy levels of nicotine are affecting the lungs, Rizzo added.

“One of the more common e-cigarettes contains as much nicotine in a pod as in a whole pack of cigarettes,” Rizzo said. “It’s very hard to smoke a pack of cigarettes in 15 minutes. You can ingest a whole pod by vaping in 15 minutes.”

In the meantime, the CDC said it and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are working with state health departments to gather information on any products or substances used by patients, including the brand and types of e-cigarette products, where they were obtained, and whether any fall under the FDA’s regulatory authority.

The FDA is providing laboratory assistance, and has so far received about 80 samples for testing.

Right now, CDC is advising against vaping. The agency says that if you do use e-cigarette products, be sure not to buy them off the street (for example, products containing THC), don’t modify the e-cigarette, and don’t add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer.

It also said that when using e-cigarette products, look out for symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath and chest pain. Seek immediate medical attention if you have any concerns about your health.

The CDC has long advised that e-cigarette products not be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently smoke “traditional” cigarettes.

Continued

Wilson agreed with that recommendation.

“Particularly for adolescents and young adults, they should not have access to these products and they should not use them,” she said. “This is more evidence they’re not a safe product for teenagers and young adults.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Pagination

WebMD Health

As Lung Injury Cases Rise, CDC Says ‘Don’t Vape’

FRIDAY, Aug. 30, 2019 — The number of people who’ve developed a severe form of lung disease potentially tied to vaping has now risen to 215 cases across 25 states, and federal health officials are recommending that Americans not use e-cigarettes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health advisory saying, “if you are concerned about these specific health risks, consider refraining from the use of e-cigarette products.”

As of Aug. 27, 215 possible cases have been reported — but other reported cases are also under investigation, the CDC noted.

Last week marked the first fatality tied to these lung crises: An adult in Illinois died after being hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness after using an e-cigarette.

“In many cases, patients reported a gradual start of symptoms, including breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain before hospitalization,” the CDC explained in the advisory issued Friday. “Some cases reported mild to moderate gastrointestinal illness including vomiting and diarrhea, or other symptoms such as fevers or fatigue.”

The respiratory symptoms appear to be caused by inflammation that causes the lungs to fill with fluid, said Dr. Karen Wilson, vice chair of clinical and translational research for pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Wilson first became aware of these cases a month ago, when the teenage son of a family friend wound up in the ICU with lung injuries possibly linked to vaping.

The 17-year-old is improving, and his prognosis is good, Wilson said.

“In general, I think kids are recovering from this, but it’s hard to say if there’s going to be any long-term risk of lung injury or asthma or other illness,” Wilson said.

According to the CDC, in many cases, patients have said they recently used tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing e-cigarette products. THC is the chemical in marijuana that provides a high.

“At this time, there does not appear to be one product involved in all of the cases,” the CDC said, “although THC and cannabinoids use has been reported in many cases. At this time, the specific substances within the e-cigarette products that cause illness are not known and could involve a variety of substances.”

Dr. Albert Rizzo is chief medical officer for the American Lung Association. He noted that e-cigarette vapor contains many ingredients that could cause lung irritation, such as ultrafine particles, oil, and heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead.

Flavored vapor also can contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to a condition called “popcorn lung,” Rizzo noted. The condition is so named because more than a decade ago workers in a microwave popcorn factory developed lung ailments after breathing in butter-flavored diacetyl.

In popcorn lung, the tiny air sacs in the lungs become scarred, resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways, the American Lung Association explained.

There’s also the possibility that heavy levels of nicotine are affecting the lungs, Rizzo added.

“One of the more common e-cigarettes contains as much nicotine in a pod as in a whole pack of cigarettes,” Rizzo said. “It’s very hard to smoke a pack of cigarettes in 15 minutes. You can ingest a whole pod by vaping in 15 minutes.”

In the meantime, the CDC said it and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are working with state health departments to gather information on any products or substances used by patients, including the brand and types of e-cigarette products, where they were obtained, and whether any fall under the FDA’s regulatory authority.

The FDA is providing laboratory assistance, and has so far received about 80 samples for testing.

Right now, CDC is advising against vaping. The agency says that if you do use e-cigarette products, be sure not to buy them off the street (for example, products containing THC), don’t modify the e-cigarette, and don’t add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer.

It also said that when using e-cigarette products, look out for symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath and chest pain. Seek immediate medical attention if you have any concerns about your health.

The CDC has long advised that e-cigarette products not be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently smoke “traditional” cigarettes.

Wilson agreed with that recommendation.

“Particularly for adolescents and young adults, they should not have access to these products and they should not use them,” she said. “This is more evidence they’re not a safe product for teenagers and young adults.”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on e-cigarettes.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Health Threats Don’t End for Some Sepsis Survivors

FRIDAY, Aug. 9, 2019 — Sepsis is a life-threatening infection that lands its victims in the hospital, but the dangers don’t end for survivors who have high levels of inflammation long after being discharged, a new study finds.

“Sepsis is the leading cause of death among hospitalized patients. Patients discharged from the hospital aren’t out of the woods yet. Approximately one out of every three sepsis survivors will die in the following year,” said study lead author Dr. Sachin Yende. He is a professor of critical care medicine and clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.

“Our new findings about chronic inflammation post-discharge suggest that addressing this condition may be important to improve patients’ long-term outcomes,” added Yende, vice president of critical care and deputy chief of staff at Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Nearly all sepsis patients have increased inflammation in their bloodstream during the first few days of hospitalization, but how long the inflammation can persist and what effects it might have were unclear.

To find out, the researchers followed 483 people who survived hospitalization with sepsis at 12 U.S. hospitals between 2012 and 2017. They were assessed at three, six and 12 months after hospital discharge.

Up to a year after hospitalization, about one-fourth of the patients had elevated levels of inflammation and half had elevated levels of immunosuppression biomarkers, the findings showed.

These patients had higher rates of hospital readmission (particularly due to heart disease and stroke) and death than patients whose inflammation levels returned to normal after hospitalization.

According to senior study author Dr. Derek Angus, “The participants with increased inflammation had levels that were twice as high as levels in healthy individuals, and that elevated inflammation persisted long after hospital discharge.” Angus is chair of the department of critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Sepsis increases risk of heart disease and stroke, and, for the first time, we’ve linked these adverse outcomes to persistent inflammation,” he said in a university news release. “This opens the door to future studies into why high levels of inflammation persist for at least a year after hospital discharge, and the development of treatments aimed at modifying the inflammation with the hope that will improve health.”

The study was published online Aug. 7 in JAMA Network Open.

Sepsis affects more than 30 million people worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on sepsis.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Don’t Forget Your Pets in Emergency Plans

SATURDAY, July 6, 2019 — Your beloved pets need to be part of any plan you craft for emergencies, such as hurricanes or floods.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says you should stock at least one week’s supply of food and fresh water for your pet. If your pet takes medication, stock a one-week supply of that, too.

Have copies of your pet’s vaccination records and other medical records in your pet’s preparedness kit. If you have a pet insurance policy, be sure to include information about it.

The kit should also have photos of your pet in case you and your pet become separated, the agency noted.

If there is a warning about a weather emergency, bring your pet indoors as soon as possible. Remain indoors, preferably in a location with few or no windows, until you can confirm it’s safe. Take your emergency kit and disaster supplies with you if you switch locations.

If you have to evacuate, bring your pet with you. Ask your local emergency management agency which emergency shelters allow pets.

If you’re unable to take your pet with you when you evacuate, put a Rescue Alert Sticker on your home’s door to alert emergency crews that your pet is inside.

If you have large animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats or pigs, make sure they all have some form of identification, according to the FDA. Map out primary and secondary evacuation routes beforehand and identify the vehicles or trailers required to transport and support each type of animal.

Make sure that your emergency destination has food and water, and access to veterinary care and handling equipment.

If you need to evacuate and cannot take your large animals, you’ll have to determine how and where to move them to shelter or if it’s better to turn them outside, the FDA said in a news release.

Previously well-behaved pets may become aggressive or defensive after a major disruption in their lives and may not return to normal for several weeks. Monitor your pet and give it plenty of time to rest.

If your pet remains extremely anxious or has other behavioral or health problems, contact your veterinarian, the FDA advised.

More information

The ASPCA has more on disaster preparedness.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Don’t Let Fireworks Deafen You

THURSDAY, July 4, 2019 — Fireworks are a beautiful sight to behold, but they can damage your hearing if you’re not careful.

Protecting your hearing should be one of the safety precautions you take when you and your family are at fireworks displays and other events on the Fourth of July, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) says.

Fireworks and firecrackers can be as loud as 150 decibels, which is louder than a jackhammer or jet plane take-off. Noise levels of around 75 to 80 decibels are considered safe.

The louder the noise, the quicker hearing damage occurs, according to the ASHA.

Noise-induced hearing loss is completely preventable, but is irreversible once it occurs, the association warned in a news release.

The ASHA offered the following Independence Day hearing safety tips.

Use hearing protection. Basic earplugs can be picked up at drug stores and provide hearing protection for most teens and adults. For children, well-fitting earmuffs over earplugs are typically a good idea.

Keep your distance. Stay at least 500 feet from loud noise sources such as speakers, a stage, or fireworks launch sites. The closer you are, the greater the risk to your hearing.

Plan your exit strategy. If you develop ringing in your ears or any other ear discomfort, you should leave the event.

If you continue to have pain or ringing in the ears, or have difficulty hearing, see an audiologist for a hearing evaluation, the ASHA advised.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has more on noise-induced hearing loss.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

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Don’t Drink and Drive on the Fourth

THURSDAY, July 4, 2019 — The Fourth of July holiday is one of the most deadly times on America’s roads, so Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is urging everyone to avoid drinking and driving.

“Celebrating our nation’s independence with backyard barbecues, fireworks displays and other festivities should be fun, not dangerous,” said Bob Garguilo, executive director of MADD Connecticut.

“Celebrate safely by designating a non-drinking driver every time plans include alcohol,” Garguilo said in a MADD news release.

Police will be setting up sobriety checkpoints during the holiday. These checkpoints allow officers to stop vehicles to check to see if drivers have been drinking.

July has more drunk driving deaths than any other month, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the toll over the July 4 weekend is particularly high.

Drunk driving accounts for about 40% of all traffic deaths during July 4 and the weekends before and after.

From 6 p.m. Friday, June 30, 2017, to 5:59 a.m. Wednesday, July 5, 2017, 39% of all traffic deaths were alcohol-related, and drunk driving killed 237 people during that time period, according to the NHTSA.

Drunk driving is the leading cause of death on U.S. roads, yet is completely preventable, MADD notes.

The group urges Americans to take personal responsibility year-round, not just on holidays. If you drink, use taxis, public transportation, rideshare services, or get a ride with a non-drinking friend.

More information

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more on drunk driving.

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Posted: July 2019

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