HEALTH

Flu-like activity picking up across South

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — This year’s influenza virus is beginning its prominence in the South, as Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas reported high influenza-like illness activity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. 

Oklahoma reported moderate ILI activity. 

For those who got a flu shot this year, so far they appear to be well protected. 

CDC has antigenically characterized 317 influenza viruses, including 265 2009 H1N1 viruses, 46 influenza A (H3N2) viruses and 6 influenza B viruses since Oct. 1. 

All 265 2009 H1N1 viruses tested were characterized as A/California/7/2009-like, the influenza A (H1N1) component of the 2013-2014 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccine. Likewise, all 46 influenza A (H3N2) viruses tested have been characterized as A/Texas/50/2012-like, the influenza A (H3N2) component of the 2013-2014 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccine. 

Two of the six influenza B viruses tested belong to B/Yamagata/16/88-lineage and the remaining four influenza B viruses tested belong to B/Victoria/02/87 lineage.

The two influenza B/Yamagata-lineage viruses were characterized as B/ Massachusetts/2/1012-like, which is included as an influenza B component of the 2013-2014 Northern Hemisphere trivalent and quadrivalent influenza vaccines.

And the four influenza B/Victoria-lineage viruses were characterized as B/Brisbane/60/2008-like, which is included as an influenza B component of the 2013-2014 Northern Hemisphere quadrivalent influenza vaccine.

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Good to Go launches traveler’s constipation-prevention kit

BY Michael Johnsen

EASTON, Conn. — Good to Go recently launched a solution formulated to help prevent traveler’s constipation. 

The solution was created by Ed Levine, a board-certified gastroenterologist, and his wife Wendy, also a physician and board-certified psychiatrist. “As doctors, we knew that a safe solution tailored to preventing traveler’s constipation simply didn’t exist. So why not create one?” asked Ed Levine. “Our goal was to create a chemical-free, all-natural combination of plant-based laxatives and fiber that would be effective enough to maintain regularity and prevent constipation before it occurs, yet gentle enough to avoid producing the undesirable side effects of other common laxatives, such as diarrhea.”

Good To Go is a four-day regimen of capsules containing an all-natural blend of bulk, stimulant and osmotic ingredients including psyllium husk, chia seed, prune, apricot extract, aloe vera, senna leaf powder and magnesium. 

Upon arrival at the destination, the traveler takes two “AM” capsules in the morning with a full glass of water, and two “PM” capsules with a full glass of water in the evening for four days. 

Suggested retail price is $14.99 for one four-day travel pack. 

 

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Balance Bar kicks off anti-resolutions pledge campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. — Balance Bar on Thursday asked Americans to join them in taking the Balance Bar Pledge, an anti-resolutions pledge that encourages people to skip the tradition of setting overly ambitious and sometimes unachievable goals and instead make one small step each month that supports their health, wellness and overall happiness.

Making small lifestyle changes, even one per month, can lead to a more balanced life in 2014. Balance Bar has teamed up with lifestyle expert Laurel House, known as the QuickieChick, to create a year’s worth of monthly, realistic and achievable tips. These tips are available at Balance.com, along with videos on Facebook featuring House and her "balanced" advice.

"The idea behind the Balance Bar brand is to be your best you — and that involves setting yourself up for success," said Katia Facchetti, chief marketing officer for Balance Bar. "The purpose of the anti-resolution campaign, and the whole spirit of Balance Bar, is to make small decisions that have a positive impact every day that benefits the longer term. For a snack, do you choose a bag of chips or do you choose a nutritionally-sound Balance Bar? Not a life-changing decision, but a small one that can have benefits today and down the road."

Balance Bar also has launched a Facebook tab dedicated to the Balance Bar Pledge, and a microsite where fans can publicly declare their intentions to live their best 2014 and join the community of anti-resolutioners. They can enter to win a grand prize fitness resort vacation at New Life Hiking Spa in Killington, Vt. Five fans also will win a Balance Bar 2014 calendar, which features each of House’s monthly tips, a case of Balance Bar bars and Yurbuds sports headphones.

Balance Bar and House will be hosting a live, one-hour Twitter chat on the topic on Thursday, January 9 at 2 p.m. ET. Yurbuds, as well as bloggers from Mommy’s Memorandum and Leslie Loves Veggies, also will join the discussion. 

"I love the idea of focusing each month on a small, achievable step," House said. "For example, in May, I want you to surround yourself with motivating people. And in August, it’s all about taking care of your body. On their own, these may seem small, but they add up and build on each other, giving you the best and most balanced life by next December."

 

 

 

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