HEALTH

New features added to Flu.gov

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK No matter how this season breaks out — in terms of numbers of people who become sick with the cold or flu, or in terms of how severe their symptoms may be — there is one sure thing: People know about the flu vaccine. And through this government Web site, they can find out where to get that vaccine if they are so inclined.

 

Those sites at this early stage, if they are even listed, are mostly hospitals and healthcare departments, and inoculations are being offered only to those people on the CDC’s high-risk group (healthcare professionals, pregnant women, caregivers of young children and people with a chronic upper-respiratory condition).

 

 

But given the need to inoculate a significant portion of the population in an effort to reach “herd immunity,” the pharmacies and retail clinics that many people already go to for their seasonal flu vaccine are expected to play a role.

 

 

And that means those pharmacies and clinics likely will be listed as a “where-to-go” on the flu.gov Web site.

 

 

Also on the site — recommendations to get almost germophobic about washing hands, and if not with soap and water, then with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; and recommendations around wearing N95 facemasks if you become a caregiver for someone who has the flu — both products, of course, currently in wide supply at the pharmacy.

 

 

Also in wide supply at the pharmacy — cold-and-flu symptom relievers and fever reducers. According to one company that tracks the sale of cough-cold medicines, sales of some of those medicines already are up more than 90%. And the season has yet to really start.

 

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New research finds link between antioxidants, increased diabetes risk

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. LOUIS A new report in the Oct. 7 issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, found that low levels of free radicals – which commonly are perceived as damaging to a body and the reason behind the consumption of antioxidant vitamins – might actually prevent diabetes by improving the ability to respond to insulin signals.

“Our studies indicate that ‘physiological’ low levels of [free radicals] may promote the insulin response and attenuate insulin resistance early in the progression of Type 2 diabetes, prior to overt obesity and hyperglycemia,” stated Tony Tiganis of Monash University in Australia.

Tiganis said whether antioxidants ultimately are good for people probably will depend on their state of health or disease. “In the case of early Type 2 diabetes and the development of insulin resistance, our studies suggest that antioxidants would be bad for you,” he said.

Under some conditions, treatments designed to selectively increase ROS in muscle – if they can be devised – might even help, he said.

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Florastor products to be sold at CVS/pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN BRUNO, Calif. As part of its continued expansion throughout the U.S. retail market, Biocodex, the U.S. distributor of Florastor and Florastor Kids, has secured distribution through CVS/pharmacy beginning this month, the company announced. Florastor will be placed on-shelf in the stomach/digestives aisle, while Florastor Kids will be available upon request behind the counter.

According to Dan Harper, director of sales for Biocodex, the stomach/digestives aisle is the most appropriate spot for this product – in the company of popular anti-diarrheal remedies.

“While Florastor is technically a dietary supplement, it is used successfully by many to manage digestive ailments and diarrhea, so it makes sense for it to be available in the section where the consumer will be looking for those types of items,” Harper said.

“When Florastor was first introduced to Americans, the idea of probiotics was not well understood by mainstream consumers or even traditional medical practitioners,” stated Marc Rohman, U.S. VP and GM of Biocodex. “However, as Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of probiotics, particularly yeast-based probiotics such as Florastor, expanding distribution into the chain stores was the next logical step to meet the demand we’re seeing.”

According to Rohman, sales of Florastor have grown annually, even without widespread on-shelf availability, as a result of increased pharmacist and consumer awareness of the probiotic category, word-of-mouth and physician recommendations.

The latest chain shelf space acquisitions are the result of Biocodex’s work with Morgan & Sampson USA, with which Biocodex teamed to help manage its growth and distribution within the U.S. retail trade.

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