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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Phadia announces launch of celiac disease tests

BY Michael Johnsen

UPPSALA, Sweden Phadia on Thursday announced the launch of two new assays to support the accurate diagnosis of celiac disease.

“Our launch this month of EliA Gliadin IgA and EliA Gliadin IgG will offer physicians who suspect a possible case of celiac disease antibody tests with the lowest number of false positive results,” stated Stefan Eschbach, general manager of autoimmunity, Phadia. “This means avoiding putting patients through unnecessary biopsies.”

Celiac disease is a life-long condition in which ingestion of “gluten”, the water insoluble wheat-gliadin and the prolamins in rye and barley, leads to chronic inflammation and damage of the lining of the small intestine.

Approximately 1-out-of-every-250 people may have celiac disease, however, only 1-out-of-10 people with the disease may be actually be diagnosed, Eschbach noted. There may be as many 5 million worldwide with celiac disease.

A Mayo Clinic study published in last month’s issue of Gastroenterology reported that celiac disease is four times more common today than it was 50 years ago. Another key finding: Individuals who don’t realize they suffer from celiac disease (and therefore never received treatment for it) were four times more likely to have died during the study’s 45 years of monitoring versus individuals not affected by celiac disease.

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The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America launches new Web site

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America recently launched its updated Web site to usher in the 2010 Walk season comprising more than 100 walks nationwide.

The Foundation reached a new plateau with new interactive features such as a blog, downloadable banners and widgets, and tips and tools for fundraising to support the walks that raise much-needed awareness of and funds for the 1.4 million Americans living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both chronic digestive diseases.

“It’s very important that we create an environment that fosters awareness and support for our Walks, while making the job a little easier for those participating,” stated Cassidy Richards, National Event Director for the Foundation. “One way we’re doing that is with our new banners and widgets in different sizes that people can add to their social networking sites like Facebook.”

The banners and widgets can also be added to participants’ blogs, personal web sites, and on e-mails to friends to help get the word out about Take Steps. Available on the site’s new Spread the Word section, these tools are part of the Foundation’s efforts to help walkers show their support and get others to join Take Steps.

The new Web site also offers helpful suggestions on how to organize fundraisers at school or at work even during these trying economic times. It also encourages people to join a team, make a donation, or take part in volunteer activities through the site’s Get Involved feature.

The upcoming season kicks-off in spring 2010 and will continue into the summer in cities throughout the country.

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