HEALTH

Like Walgreens, CDC data suggests flu season has passed its peak

BY Michael Johnsen

Finally, there is an indicator that the nation may be on the back end of the bell curve representing this year’s flu season. For the week ended Feb. 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported influenza-like activity crested at 7.7% nationwide, which means this year is the most prevalent season since at least 2003/2004 when illness rates reached 7.6%.

On Friday, CDC reported ILI rates dropped to 7.5% for the week ended Feb. 10.

On the CDC heat map, this year’s flu season still appears to be raging. And it is, though Colorado, Florida, Oregon and Wisconsin each went from the highest level of ILI activity to one shade of orange below as a potential indicator that this season may be on its downswing.

Earlier this week, Walgreens similarly published a flu heat map that indicated the end of the flu season may be in sight.

Nonetheless, the CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for all persons 6 months of age and older as flu viruses are likely to continue circulating for weeks and there is an increasing proportion of influenza B and H1N1 viruses being detected.

Early estimates show that flu vaccine has reduced risk of having to go to the doctor due to flu by 36% overall so far this season and that flu vaccine is offering substantial protection against H1N1 flu as well as moderate protection against flu B viruses. In addition, in the context of widespread influenza activity, CDC is reminding clinicians and the public about the importance of prompt treatment with antiviral medications in people who are severely ill and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications who develop flu symptoms.

According to an IRI evaluation of this year’s cough/cold season released earlier this month, this year’s plethora of sniffles, sneezes, aches and pains has significantly driven sales of over-the-counter cough, cold and flu remedies. For the four weeks ended Jan. 14, sales of cough syrups were up 39.9% nationwide; sales of cough-cold liquid formulations were up 35.1%; and sales of cough-cold tablets were up 26.8%.

 

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Severity of flu 9.5 on scale of 10, DoctorsReport.com notes

BY Michael Johnsen

With the flu continuing to remain strong nationally, the Doctors Report Illness Tracker and DoctorsReport.com, the new mobile app and website that provide instant access to data including doctors’ reports from almost 1 million doctors’ offices across the nation, has expanded and released its current list of the nation’s top Influenza hot spots (by metro area) in the nation.

According to the Doctors Report Illness Tracker, the severity level of the flu nationally is 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most severe) for the third consecutive week.

The Doctors Report Illness Tracker draws from a national database of doctor-diagnosed and reported cases over a period of the past seven days. Specific metros are listed according to the Doctors Report illness severity scale, with 10 being most severe and 0 being least severe:

  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH at 9.5;
  • Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC at 9.5;
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD at 9.5;
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV at 9.5;
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL at 9.5;
  • Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI at 9.5.;
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL at 9.5;
  • Jacksonville, FL at 9.5;
  • Richmond, VA at 9.5; and
  • Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY at 9.5.

Flu isn’t the only disease state that DoctorsReport. com tracks. DoctorsReport.com has developed a proprietary set of algorithms for gauging the severity of 15 common illnesses, the company noted. The major factors that define the severity scale are: number of diagnosed and reported cases from actual doctors’ offices and comparisons to historical trends for the same area.

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Hyperbiotics launches athlete-focused probiotic

BY Michael Johnsen

Hyperbiotics on Thursday welcomed the latest addition to its line of targeted probiotic blends: a supplement for athletes called PRO-Compete.

With recent studies showing that the gut microbiome of athletes is unique in composition and requires a diverse array of specific beneficial bacteria to optimize energy, endurance, strength and mental and physical performance, the team at Hyperbiotics formulated a next-generation probiotic supplement tailored to the needs of athletes and sports competitors of various levels.

“By combining the very best blend of probiotic bacteria — including L. plantarum 6595 to support digestive and immune function and promote upper respiratory health — we’ve developed a formula that covers every aspect of physical training from prep and performance to recovery,” Jamie Morea, Hyperbiotics co-founder, said.

Hyperbiotics PRO-Compete contains six targeted strains as well as microbe-supporting FOS to enhance performance by allowing athletes to enjoy respiratory, digestive and overall health, and avoid momentum-killing down days.

Formulated with a patented BIO-tract delivery process, the probiotic organisms in PRO-Compete are released over an 8-10 hour period so they can survive stomach acids and reach the intestinal tract alive. In addition, PRO-Compete includes a guaranteed shelf life without refrigeration with its patented LiveBac manufacturing process.

“We now know that having the right gut bacteria is essential for peak athletic performance, and we’re proud to be leading the way with an effective, natural solution that helps athletes of all abilities go the distance,” Morea said.

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