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Rite Aid launches heart health campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid is marking American Heart Month with a campaign that offers blood-pressure screenings, online tools and hearth health guides for free, the company said Wednesday.

Through Feb. 29, customers can buy a paper red dress for $1 that they can sign, dedicate and pin to store walls to help promote awareness of women’s heart health.

"Rite Aid is a committed year-round advocate for our customers’ overall health and wellness," Rite Aid SVP marketing John Learish said. "During American Heart Month, this commitment includes access to specially designed in-store and online heart health resources, including our greatest asset, the neighborhood Rite Aid pharmacist."


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Taking a shot: Flu vaccinations up at retail

BY Michael Johnsen

As many as 111 million Americans had gotten a flu shot by mid-November, representing 36% of the 305 million Americans older than 6 months of age, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in early December. The number of people getting vaccinated is up slightly from last year, the CDC reported, most notably among children and seniors.

Additionally, more influenza vaccines are being administered in a retail setting. While 55% of people are still getting their vaccinations in a doctor’s office or other medical setting, 21% of adults have been vaccinated in a retail setting and 16% in a workplace setting.

In 2010, of people who had gotten a flu shot, 58% did so before November, 23% were inoculated in November and 19% had their flu shots administered between December and May.

“This is the second year of our universal influenza vaccination recommendation,” reported Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases for the CDC, adding that the number of people who have gotten their flu shot to date is outpacing last year’s rate by about 3.5 percentage points during the same period in 2010.

Approximately 36% of adults had been vaccinated through Dec. 5, versus 34% in 2010; and 37% of children had been vaccinated through Dec. 5, versus 31% in 2010.

 

FAST FACTS

  • Flu is contagious up to one day before symptoms develop and between five days and seven days after symptoms subside.

  • Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. Those at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu include seniors, toddlers, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions, including asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

  • The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

  • The nasal-spray flu vaccine — a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that is given as a nasal spray — is approved for use in healthy people 2 to 49 years of age who are not pregnant.

  • There are three “flu shots” this year: an intramuscular shot approved in people 6 months and older, a high-dose vaccine for seniors and for the first time this season, an intradermal vaccine for use in adults between the ages of 18 and 64 years.

Click here for data on the 2011-12 flu season.

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Heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol still extremely prevalent

BY Alaric DeArment

Of all the diseases labeled “silent killers,” heart disease is the one that gets that epithet most often. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, since 1900, there has been only one year in which heart disease wasn’t the deadliest disease in the country: 1918, the year of the great influenza pandemic, when 450,000 Americans died.

That trend has not gone away. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1-in-6 adults in the United States, or 16.3% of the adult population, has high cholesterol, defined as 240 mg of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. The condition disproportionately affects women, with 16.9% of women in the United States having high cholesterol, compared with 15.6% of men, while middle-aged and older adults also are disproportionately likely to have it.

The numbers are even higher for hypertension. According to the CDC, high blood pressure affects 33% of adults ages 20 years and older, causing more than 20,000 deaths per year. The condition is especially prevalent in nursing homes, with 53% of residents having it — for a total of 790,300 — according to a CDC study from 2004.

To view the charts listing the Top 20 hypertension and cholesterol-lowering drugs, click here.

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