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What you should know about the measles

By now you’ve heard about the measles outbreak that’s linked to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park. From what we know, at least 42 people have caught the virus. Though the initial contagious period is over, there are still concerns about future outbreaks.

Here, experts address what you need to know.

Q: How widespread is measles now?

The United States declared measles eliminated in 2000, according to the CDC. But outbreaks in recent years have been reported in Western Europe, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Travelers from those areas can bring the disease back to the U.S. when they visit.

U.S. measles cases in 2014 hit a record number since the 2000 declaration, according to the CDC — 644 cases were reported in 27 states.

Q: Who brought the measles to the amusement parks?

Public health experts haven’t yet found the first patient, and doing so can be “almost impossible,” says Aaron Glatt, MD. He’s an infectious disease specialist and spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Q: How is measles spread, and does it spread easily?

“You can catch it from anyone who has measles,” Glatt says. The virus lives in the nose and throat mucus of the person affected, according to the CDC. When the infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus can be spread.

The virus is capable of living for up to 2 hours on a surface or in airspace, the CDC says. When others touch an infected surface, then touch their mouth, nose, or eyes — or, when they breathe the air with the virus — it can be spread and an infection can happen.

Measles is highly infectious. According to CDC estimates, 90% of those who aren’t immune to the measles virus and are close to an infected person will also get measles.

Q: What are the first symptoms and how quickly do they usually show up?

Typically, people infected have a fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Within a few days, the hallmark red rash usually appears, usually first on the face. It then can spread to the rest of the body.

According to the CDC, those infected can spread measles from 4 days before to 4 days after the rash first appears.

Q: What are the possible complications?

Diarrhea and ear infections can happen, according to the CDC. The infections can lead to hearing loss. Pneumonia and swelling of the brain are other potential complications.

About 1 or 2 of every 1,000 children with measles will die of it, the CDC estimates.

Q: How do you prevent measles?

“There’s only one way to prevent it,” Glatt says. “Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate.” He blames the anti-vaccine movement in the U.S., with parents refusing to vaccinate their children, for current outbreaks. “You really should not be allowing your children to go to school if they are not vaccinated,” he says.

Two doses of measles-containing vaccine, or MMR, provides more than 99% effectiveness in preventing measles, according to the California Department of Public Health. It also protects against mumps and rubella, or German measles.

The first dose is usually given at 12 months old, and a second before kindergarten.

Q: What should you do if you think you notice the first symptoms?

Contact your doctor or your child’s doctor right away, Glatt says. Tell them what you see so they can take proper precautions.

 

Source: WebMD – View Article Sources

 

Treating a Sore Throat

It’s the time of year when we suffer from sore throat.  Also called pharyngitis, sore throat is typically caused by a viral or bacterial infection. An estimated 200 to 300 different strains of virus cause colds and sore throat. In up to 90% of cases, sore throat is caused by viruses linked to the common cold or flu. The other 10% of cases result from bacterial infections or some other medical condition. The bacteria that most commonly cause sore throat are streptococci. Infection with streptococcal bacteria is commonly called strep throat.

Sore throat can also be caused by irritants such as air that is low in humidity, smoking, air pollution, excessive yelling, postnasal drip caused by allergies, and breathing through the mouth. Injury to the back of the throat and stomach acid backing up into the throat and mouth are other causes of sore throat.

Although sore throat affects people of all ages, children aged 5 to 15 years, smokers, allergy sufferers, and people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk.

Symptoms:

  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Hoarseness or laryngitis
  • Headache
  • Runny nose or nasal congestion
  • Lack of appetite
  • Mild fever
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen or sore glands in your jaw and throat
  • Ear pain
  • Red and swollen glands

If your sore throat is due to a virus, it should go away within 7-10 days with these basic remedies and OTC treatment to help you feel better:

Treatment:

  • Take a pain reliever such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Children under 18 years old should not take aspirin.
  • OTC antihistamines may provide relief of postnasal drip if your sore throat is due to allergies.
  • OTC antacids will help if your sore throat is due to stomach acid.
  • Gargle with warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt per one cup of warm water).
  • Suck on throat lozenges or hard candies to stimulate saliva flow.
  • Eat smooth foods such as mashed potatoes and yogurt.
  • Use a humidifier or vaporizer — hot showers also help.
  • Drink lots of fluids to help keep throat lubricated, but avoid acidic drinks like orange juice.

However, if you have strep throat – a bacterial infection – the pain starts gradually and becomes severe and constant. Symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever of 100°F or higher

Unlike a virus, bacterial infections are treated using antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. Penicillin is the most common antibiotic prescribed for strep throat. It’s important to see your doctor for treatment as soon you can to begin treatment. Along with killing the bacteria that cause strep throat, your doctor will focus on preventing complications from the infection. For example, untreated strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever, which causes heart damage along with kidney problems.

People with bacterial infections remain contagious for approximately 24 hours after they begin taking antibiotics. Consequently, if you have strep throat, it’s important to limit your contact with other people until you are no longer contagious.

If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or are pregnant, contact your doctor or talk to your pharmacist tor recommended treatment for OTC products

Save a Life – Give Blood

The American Red Cross asks eligible blood donors to make a resolution to give blood regularly in 2015, beginning with National Blood Donor Month in January.

National Blood Donor Month recognizes the importance of giving blood and platelets while honoring those who roll up a sleeve to help patients in need. It has been observed during January since 1970, and that’s no coincidence. Winter is an especially difficult time to collect enough blood to meet patient needs. Unpredictable winter weather can result in blood drive cancellations, and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, may cause some donors to be unable to make or keep blood donation appointments.

Donors of all blood types are needed, especially those with O negative, A negative and B negative. With a shelf life of 42 days, red blood cells must be constantly replenished to maintain an adequate supply for patients.

Before coming to a center to donate, follow these tips:

  • Hydrate – Be sure to drink plenty of fluids on the day of your donation.
  • Wear something comfortable – Wear clothing with sleeves that can easily be rolled up above the elbow.
  • Maintain healthy level of iron – If possible, include iron-rich foods in your diet, especially in the weeks before your donation.
  • Bring a list of medications you are taking – They need to know about any prescription and/or over the counter medications that may be in your system.
  • Bring an ID- Please bring either your donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification.
  • Bring a friend – Bring along a friend, so that you may both enjoy the benefits of giving blood.
  • Relax!

After donating, you should have a snack and something to drink in the refreshments area. You can leave the site after 10-15 minutes and continue with your normal daily activities. Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment knowing that you have helped save lives.

Here are some tips for once you leave the center:

  • Hydrate more – You should continue to drink water throughout the day of your donation.
  • Avoid heavy lifting or exercise  – Try not to exert yourself too much for the rest of the day.
  • Also accept the thanks of people whose lives were changed by blood donations.

There are several blood drives in the Wilmington area this month. Click here to find one near you.

Source: The American Red Cross

Two New Drugs Approved

FDA Approves Soolantra Cream for Rosacea

Good news for those suffering from Rosacea. Galderma Laboratories’ Soolantra (ivermectin) Cream, 1% has been approved by the FDA for the once-daily topical treatment of the inflammatory lesions, bumps, and pimples of rosacea.

Rosacea is an inflammatory and vascular skin disorder affecting 16 million Americans, many of whom are women 30 years of age and older. Although the cause of rosacea is unknown, studies suggest that factors such as sun, alcohol, spicy food, and exercise can trigger the inflammation associated with the condition. Additional research has also indicated that rosacea may be connected with microscopic Demodex mites, which have been found to be more common on the faces of rosacea patients.

“Rosacea is a common and challenging condition to manage as it tends to vary from patient to patient, often requiring a tailored approach. For that reason, we are always looking for innovative new treatments,” said Linda Stein Gold, M.D., Galderma consultant. “While some rosacea treatments for the common bumps and pimples of the condition may take more than 4 weeks to show effect, Soolantra Cream may provide initial results as early as week 2.” Long-term extensions to the 12-week studies also found that Soolantra Cream was safe and well-tolerated for an additional 40 weeks (52 weeks total), a promising result for rosacea patients with sensitive skin. Some study participants reported skin burning sensation and skin irritation while using Soolantra Cream.

FDA Approves Drug for Children’s Nasal Symptoms Related to Allergic Rhinitis

A new FDA approval may soon help children with allergies seek relief from nasal symptoms. Teva’s beclomethasone dipropionate (Qnasl) 40 mcg has been approved by the FDA for treating nasal symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis (AR) among children 4 to 11 years old, according to the manufacturer’s press release.

Qnasl 40 mcg offers a lower dose formulation than the already-available Qnasl Nasal Aerosol 80 mcg, which is a waterless intranasal corticosteroid spray for individuals 12 and older with nasal problems related to AR. This approval makes Qnasl 40 mcg the only waterless hydrofluoroalkane nasal allergy treatment for children as young as 4 years old, according to Teva.

A study of Qnasl’s efficacy showed that once-daily treatment with 40 mcg of the drug provided greater nasal allergy symptom relief among children with seasonal AR and perennial AR when compared with placebo. Some common side effects were nosebleeds and ulcers.

“The approval of Qnasl for use in children aged 4 to 11 is an important advancement for an often difficult-to-treat patient group,” said Todd Mahr, MD, director of pediatric allergy and immunology at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in a press release. “Qnasl 40 mcg has several characteristics that provide prescribers with a treatment option specifically designed for children with allergic rhinitis, including its ‘waterless’ aerosol method of delivery and lower dose formulation.” Teva estimates Qnasl 40 mcg will be available by prescription in February 2015.

Source: Pharmacy Times