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Is RSV Causing Your Baby’s Breathing Problems?

Nov. 7, 2019 — The virus known as RSV can cause serious breathing problems in infants. Parents need to be able to recognize the signs, says Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, because RSV infections seem to be on the rise. The hospital posted this video online to show parents exactly how this labored breathing might look and sound:

Notice the fast belly breathing, grunting, and wheezing, all signs of breathing problems linked to RSV. Call your doctor right away if you notice your baby breathing this way.

RSV by itself doesn’t typically cause breathing problems. In fact, almost all kids will have an RSV infection at least once before age 2. For most, it’s no big deal. Any symptoms — sneezing, runny nose, fever, coughing — usually go away in a week or two.

But in some children, especially babies younger than 6 months or those with other health issues, RSV is more likely to lead to serious lung illnesses like pneumonia or bronchiolitis. (Ask your doctor if your baby is at a higher risk.)

“Young children and babies can have severe complications,” says WebMD Medical Editor Neha Pathak, MD

And, says Pathak, it’s not always easy to notice if your baby has RSV, especially at first. Younger infants don’t always get the cold-like symptoms that the virus typically causes in older children. In many cases, she says, the only signs may be that they’re less active and more irritable.

“That’s why it’s important to watch closely for any sign of breathing problems.”

“The earlier you treat it, the better the outcome.”

Talk to your child’s doctor if you notice your infant struggling for breath, especially if you also notice dehydration (less than a single wet diaper in 8 hours) or cold symptoms.

Signs of breathing problems might include:

  • Flared nostrils
  • Wheezing
  • Pauses while breathing
  • Head motion with each breath
  • Grunting
  • Quick breaths
  • Blue color around the lips or fingertips
  • Stomach muscles that tighten to get breath

Infants with RSV-linked breathing problems typically need to go to the hospital. With the right treatment, most babies make a full recovery within a few days.

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Pediatrics: “Bronchiolitis,” “RSV: When It’s More Than Just a Cold.”

CDC: “Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV).”

Cleveland Clinic: “Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) & Your Child.”

Stanford Children’s Health: “Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in Children.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Vision Problems Strike More Than 2 Billion Globally

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — More than 2 billion people worldwide suffer vision problems that range from impairment to blindness, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

And at least 1 billion of those people have problems such as short- and far-sightedness, glaucoma and cataracts — all of which could have been prevented or have not been treated.

Eye conditions and vision impairment are widespread, and far too often they still go untreated,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in a news release from the organization.

“People who need eye care must be able to receive quality interventions without suffering financial hardship. Including eye care in national health plans and essential packages of care is an important part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage,” he said.

Aging populations, changing lifestyles and limited access to eye care — particularly in low- and middle-income countries — are among the main reasons for increasing numbers of people with vision problems, according to the report released Tuesday in advance of World Sight Day on Oct. 10.

“It is unacceptable that 65 million people are blind or have impaired sight when their vision could have been corrected overnight with a cataract operation, or that over 800 million struggle in everyday activities because they lack access to a pair of glasses,” he added.

Eye conditions and vision impairment tend to be much more common among people in rural areas, those with low incomes, women, older people, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous populations, according to the WHO’s first report on vision worldwide.

Untreated distance vision impairment in low- and middle-income regions is about four times higher than in high-income regions, and $ 14.3 billion (U.S. dollars) is needed to treat the 1 billion people with vision impairment or blindness due to cataracts, and short- and far-sightedness, the report said.

According to Alarcos Cieza, who leads WHO’s efforts on blindness and deafness prevention, disability and rehabilitation, “Millions of people have severe vision impairment and are not able to participate in society to their fullest because they can’t access rehabilitation services. In a world built on the ability to see, eye care services, including rehabilitation, must be provided closer to communities for people to achieve their maximum potential.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: World Health Organization, news release, Oct. 8, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Vision Problems Strike More Than 2 Billion Globally

FRIDAY, Oct. 11, 2019 — More than 2 billion people worldwide suffer vision problems that range from impairment to blindness, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

And at least 1 billion of those people have problems such as short- and far-sightedness, glaucoma and cataracts — all of which could have been prevented or have not been treated.

Eye conditions and vision impairment are widespread, and far too often they still go untreated,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in a news release from the organization.

“People who need eye care must be able to receive quality interventions without suffering financial hardship. Including eye care in national health plans and essential packages of care is an important part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage,” he said.

Aging populations, changing lifestyles and limited access to eye care — particularly in low- and middle-income countries — are among the main reasons for increasing numbers of people with vision problems, according to the report released Tuesday in advance of World Sight Day on Oct. 10.

“It is unacceptable that 65 million people are blind or have impaired sight when their vision could have been corrected overnight with a cataract operation, or that over 800 million struggle in everyday activities because they lack access to a pair of glasses,” he added.

Eye conditions and vision impairment tend to be much more common among people in rural areas, those with low incomes, women, older people, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous populations, according to the WHO’s first report on vision worldwide.

Untreated distance vision impairment in low- and middle-income regions is about four times higher than in high-income regions, and $ 14.3 billion (U.S. dollars) is needed to treat the 1 billion people with vision impairment or blindness due to cataracts, and short- and far-sightedness, the report said.

According to Alarcos Cieza, who leads WHO’s efforts on blindness and deafness prevention, disability and rehabilitation, “Millions of people have severe vision impairment and are not able to participate in society to their fullest because they can’t access rehabilitation services. In a world built on the ability to see, eye care services, including rehabilitation, must be provided closer to communities for people to achieve their maximum potential.”

More information

The WHO has more on blindness and vision impairment.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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FDA Warns of Problems for Some Taking Hep C Drugs

By Robert Preidt        
       HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 29, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Taking the hepatitis C drugs Mavyret, Zepatier or Vosevi can trigger rare cases of severe liver problems or liver failure in patients who already have moderate-to-severe liver impairment, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Wednesday.

The agency has identified 63 cases of worsening liver function, some resulting in liver failure or death, among patients taking the drugs.

While the medicines are safe and effective in patients with no or mild liver impairment, the same cannot be said for those with moderate-to-severe liver impairment, the FDA said.

“Hepatitis C virus remains a significant public health issue, but effective therapeutic options have helped patients to receive important curative treatments,” said Dr. Debra Birnkrant, director of the FDA’s Division of Antiviral Products at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Chronic hepatitis C, or HCV, is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to serious liver problems if left untreated. Hepatitis C medicines reduce the amount of HCV in the body by preventing it from multiplying and eventually curing a patient of HCV,” Birnkrant explained in an agency news release.

Health care providers should continue to prescribe Mavyret, Zepatier or Vosevi as indicated, but should not give these medicines to patients with signs and symptoms of worsening liver function, the agency advised.

Dr. David Bernstein, chief of hepatology at Northwell Health in Manhasset, N.Y., noted that these medications “are safe and effective when properly prescribed.”

Bernstein said that “most hepatitis C patients do not have impaired liver function, so these therapies should be safe.”

And he added that other hepatitis drugs such as Harvoni and Epclusa are safe for patients with impaired liver function because they do not contain the agent that can threaten liver function.

Patients should not stop taking these medicines without first talking to a health care professional, and those with liver disease should talk with a health care professional about the benefits and risks of the medicines, the FDA said.

In many of the 63 cases, liver failure occurred in patients who should not have been prescribed these medicines, according to the FDA news release.

In some cases, patients had no cirrhosis (liver scarring) or cirrhosis with mild liver impairment, but did have indications of advanced liver disease or risk factors for liver impairment. In most of the patients, symptoms improved after they stopped taking the potent medicines.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: David Bernstein, M.D., chief, hepatology, Northwell Health, Manhasset, N.Y.; U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, Aug. 28, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

‘Exposure Therapy’ May Work Best for PTSD Plus Drinking Problems

FRIDAY, April 26, 2019 — For veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) combined with a drinking problem, the type of psychotherapy prescribed can make a difference in recovery rates, a new study finds.

So-called prolonged exposure therapy is more effective than coping skills therapy in helping these patients, according to researchers at the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

“The main takeaway of the study for me is that we may be doing a disservice to veterans if we don’t offer them the best treatments we have available for PTSD, such as prolonged exposure,” said study leader Sonya Norman.

The findings could help guide care for many veterans who have both PTSD and an alcohol use disorder, which often occur together, Norman and her colleagues said. Alcohol use disorder does not always rise to the level of alcoholism, which is a term used to describe someone with a severe form of alcohol dependence.

The study included 119 patients with PTSD and alcohol use disorder. Some received prolonged exposure therapy while others received a coping skills therapy called Seeking Safety.

In prolonged exposure therapy, patients gradually confront memories, feelings and situations related to their PTSD-causing trauma. The objective is to face them without feeling anxiety and stress. It’s considered the gold standard for PTSD treatment.

Seeking Safety is a widely accepted therapy for patients with both PTSD and alcohol use disorder, and focuses on coping skills rather than exposure.

Both therapies led to fewer days of heavy drinking and a decrease in PTSD symptoms, but study participants in the prolonged exposure therapy group had significantly lower PTSD symptom scores and higher rates of PTSD remission.

Immediately after treatment, PTSD remission was achieved in 22% of prolonged exposure patients and 7% of those in the coping skills group, the study authors said in a VA news release. At a 3-month follow-up, the rates were 25% versus 6%, respectively. After six months, the rates were 33% versus 15%, respectively, the findings showed.

Patients in both groups had similar reductions in heavy drinking days after treatment, according to the report published April 24 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Some experts had questioned use of exposure therapy for these patients. However, “the research is not showing concerns that PTSD patients with alcohol use disorder can’t handle exposure to be true,” said Norman, a VA researcher and psychiatry professor at the University of California, San Diego.

“The next stage of this research is to learn how to make prolonged exposure even more effective for patients with PTSD and alcohol use disorder. We are now conducting a study where we are combining medication to help reduce drinking with prolonged exposure to see if the combination helps patients complete prolonged exposure and benefit even more from the treatment,” Norman said in the news release.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on PTSD.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: April 2019

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Control Your Blood Pressure to Head Off Serious Health Problems