HEALTH

Survey: Adults have trouble picking appropriate treatments for cough symptoms

BY Michael Johnsen

AUSTIN, Texas Despite an increased concern for their health due to fears of the H1N1 influenza virus, American adults frequently confuse their symptoms and the treatments appropriate for them when dealing with a cough due to a cold or flu, according to results of a new survey conducted in October for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners released Wednesday.

Two online surveys — one fielded in January just prior to the emergence of the H1N1 virus, and a second survey fielded in October following the H1N1 virus outbreak — were conducted for the AANP by Harris Interactive. The first survey queried more than 500 nonsmokers ages 25 to 55 years who reported having a cough due to cold or flu in the last year; the second survey queried 1,928 adults ages 18 years and older.

In the more recent survey, nearly 60% of Americans reported they are somewhat or very concerned for their health when near someone who coughs, due to the high number of H1N1 flu cases expected this year.

Although 72% of all survey respondents who had experienced a cough reported treating it with an over-the-counter regimen, American adults are largely unsure or inaccurate when identifying which cough product works best for relieving their symptoms. More than 40% were not sure at all, and only 15% accurately identified cough products that contain an expectorant as best for relieving cold-related coughs, and those that contain a suppressant as best for flu-related coughs.

“We found patients are still confused about cold and flu symptoms and how best to treat them, even though there’s been a lot of education about the flu this year,” stated Mary Ellen Roberts, nurse practitioner and AANP board member.

More than three-fourths of adults correctly associate the flu with high fever and severe aches and pains. However, less than one-quarter identified a dry, unproductive cough as a symptom of the flu. Conversely, more than 75% of adults correctly associate the common cold with a productive cough, stuffy nose and sneezing, yet only one in 10 respondents reported taking an expectorant product to treat cough due to cold.

“Because coughs associated with the cold and flu differ both in their causes and in their effects, patients need different over-the-counter medications for them,” said Roberts. “With a cough due to a cold, patients should treat with an expectorant to clear out mucus. For coughs associated with the flu, patients should usually consider a cough suppressant to treat a dry, hacking cough, as well as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain.”

Earlier survey results from January show that 73% — 68 million Americans — experienced disrupted sleep due to a cough in the past year, yet more than two-thirds of the adults who chose not to stay home because of their cough say that they made the choice because they didn’t want to miss work or school. Of all symptoms cough sufferers experience; difficulty sleeping was the most commonly reported and correlated most strongly with the severity of the cough, and with the likelihood of seeking professional treatment.

“Cough sufferers need to know that when they don’t get their symptoms treated rapidly and properly, they might not only lose effective rest, but there can be far-reaching ramifications on their work or school days,” Roberts said. “We frequently see patients continue normal activities regardless of how they feel. While this may be reflective of the current economic situation, patients need to know that this may not be the wisest decision in the long term, and that there are long-acting products that can provide symptomatic relief for up to 12 hours.”

Both surveys were sponsored by an unrestricted educational grant from Reckitt Benckiser.

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Study finds GanedenBC30 strain relieves intestinal gas

BY Michael Johnsen

CLEVELAND A clinical study recently published in BMC Gastroenterology found that an over-the-counter product containing the probiotic strain Ganeden Biotech’s GanedenBC30 was significantly more effective than placebo in providing relief to subjects suffering from intestinal gas, Ganeden announced Tuesday.

Bacillus coagulans already has been shown to be effective in more serious disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, but the study is the first to show a gastrointestinal benefit in otherwise healthy adults.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that subjects taking Digestive Advantage Gas Defense Formula, an OTC product marketed by Ganeden Biotech that contains the Bacillus coagulans probiotic strain, experienced statistically significant improvement versus placebo in the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale total score over the four weeks of product use.

“Many people may not understand that probiotics are more than something you find just in yogurt,” stated Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic. “Taking probiotics is a good habit that can really benefit your digestive system, which is intricately connected to your overall health, yet most Americans are still unfamiliar with them and the good they can do.”

Intestinal gas results from the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates in the lower bowel. The lack of appropriate enzymes to break down these carbohydrates before they reach the lower bowel is a major factor, as is the case with people who are lactose intolerant. Bacillus coagulans has been shown in an in vitro model of the human digestive tract to aid in the digestion of carbohydrates, including lactose and fructose.

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iParenting Media awards Lansinoh products

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. iParenting Media on Wednesday awarded three Lansinoh products its Greatest Products of 2009 Awards — Lansinoh HPA lanolin in the just-for-Mom category, Lansinoh manual breast pump in the feeding category and Lansinoh Clean & Condition cloths in the baby care category.

“We are proud that the country’s No. 1 family products evaluation program has named three of our products as providing the highest quality and best value for families,” stated Jennifer Moyer, VP marketing for Lansinoh. “In the categories we competed in, you can’t win an iParenting award unless you’re completely focused on providing the best quality products for moms and growing families. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, these awards validate that we have never lost sight of our mission of providing moms the support and care they need and deserve.”

As a result of the awards, packages of these Lansinoh products can now feature the iParenting Media Awards Seal.

iParenting’s complete reviewer feedback has been posted on ByMomsForMoms.net, Lansinoh’s sponsored blog.

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