Why You Should Wear Sunscreen All Year Long

Carly Roman, dermatologist at MD in Seattle, describes how sunscreen use in the winter is just as important as it is in the summer due to the UV rays that are we are still exposed to all year long.

“Most people want to ease up on sunscreen use during the winter, as the sun feels weaker and they are less likely to burn.”

Only UVB rays are shielded by clouds and winter; UVA rays, however, are present year-round.

UVA Rays, also called “long wave” rays, make up 95 percent of the rays that reach the surface of the Earth.

They can penetrate the skin much deeper than UVB rays, and are responsible for signs of aging, as well they can also can initiate skin cancers.

These are the rays that make you tanner.

UVA rays are dangerous because they can also penetrate glass and clouds.

UVB rays don’t penetrate the skin as deeply as UVA rays.

Rather, they hit the surface of your skin, causing redness and sunburns.

They are most intense from early spring to early fall, and during the day’s sunniest hours.

Although UVB rays are not as likely to penetrate glass as UVA rays, they are easily reflected off snow and ice.

This makes them a bigger threat on the ski slopes, and at higher altitudes on sunny days.

UVA rays are just as present in the colder, cloudier months, even in the shade, and even indoors; which is why sunscreen is always needed to protect yourself.

Roman added, “Even in the winter in Seattle, I recommend that all of my patients wear sunscreen daily to prevent cumulative sun exposure and the resulting fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and even skin cancer…It is important that your sunscreen is ‘broad spectrum’, however, as that denotes full coverage, including UVA protection.”

Carly describes further that she prefers physical sunscreens (ones with active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that physically block the damaging rays) that you apply from hand to body.

These sunscreens rub on and coat your skin very well, protecting you the best you can.

If you want to avoid the effects that harmful sun rays can put on your skin, go with an FDA registered, physical block, zinc oxide based sunscreen product.

(Original Article: https://www.gq.com/story/wear-spf-sunscreen-all-winter)

Report Shows Zika Does Critical Damage to Children

The CDC released a report recently which shows the effects Zika has had on infected children two years into their lives.

The report shows significant physical and developmental delays in those affected by the virus.

The CDC studied a group of 19 babies who were born with the Zika virus, and came up with troubling findings.

As these children grow, they struggle considerably with their motor skills, seizures, sleeping, hearing, vision, and they show signs of intellectual impairment.

Microcephaly, a Zika-related birth defect causing an abnormally small and misshapen head, is another big reason these children are having a very difficult life.

The CDC estimates that 51 babies in the United States have been born with Zika birth defects, and 43 of these children were born with microcephaly.

Although only between 2-12 babies per every 10,000 are born affected by Zika, it is still something parents should fight to avoid as the side effects are life hindering.

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, Director of the CDC, mentions how Zika affects children from the report findings: “Children severely affected by Zika virus are falling far behind age-appropriate developmental milestones, and their challenges are becoming more evident as they age.”

Out of the 19 children observed and studied, 15 had sever motor function problems.

These problems went to the extent of any of these children not being able to sit upon their own.

Many of these children also had incredibly poor vision and hearing, and some did not respond to stimuli like the sound of a rattle.

For those that have already suffered through seizures, it is reported that they are likely to now have lifelong seizure disorders.

Difficulties eating, sleeping and breathing were also common, leading to hospitalizations for eight of the children; most being for pneumonia or bronchitis.

Dr. Georgina Peacock, Director of the CDC’s Division of Human Development and Disability, concluded the report with: “As children born affected by Zika virus grow up, they will need specialized care from many types of healthcare providers and caregivers…The findings of the latest report underscore that ‘it’s important that we use these findings to start planning now for their long-term care and stay vigilant in Zika prevention efforts in the United States and around the world.”

In efforts to prevent any more Zika cases, it is the use of an EPA registered, IR3535 insect repellent is highly recommend by the CDC.

(Original Article: https://kaplanherald.com/2017/12/16/zika-infants-in-brazil-wrestle-to-sit-down-see-hear-or-speak/)

CDC Reports 36 States Have Widespread Flu Cases

This year’s flu season has started early, and it looks to be a hazardous one.

Epidemiologists in 36 states already have reported widespread influenza activity to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in data released Friday (December 29th, 2017).

Twenty-one of those states show a high number of cases compared to previous seasons.

Jennifer Radtke, manager for infection prevention at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, proposes that, “It’s just one of those years where the CDC is seeing that this strain of flu is only somewhat covered by the vaccine that was given this year…They’re seeing that it’s anywhere from 10% to 33% effective, so any time there’s a mismatch between the vaccine and the circulating strain of the flu, you’re going to see more cases.”

The peak for flu activity in the U.S. is usually sometime around February, which is why now is the time to prepare for the hardest hit of the season.

According to the CDC, “Vaccine effectiveness varies from year to year though recent studies show that a flu shot typically reduces the risk of illness by 40% to 60% among the overall population when the circulating virus is matched closely to the vaccine virus.”

Although this is a good protection against the flu, there is still a need for more protection against the flu.

These percentages can be skewed, because only a certain amount of people with flu symptoms go to hospitals and get tested; making it difficult to track the actual number of people affected.

Not only are some people not going to the hospital, but false negative results for flu tests are also common, and this disrupts the percentages the CDC delivers yearly.

Since the start of the flu season, Arizona has reported a nearly nine times increase in the number of cases compared with the same period last year, according to the state Department of Health Services.

This is a traumatic spike in cases and is troublesome as it could mean this year’s vaccine does not cover the new flu strains as well as previous years vaccines have.

Not only are the usual symptoms difficult to deal with (fever, body aches, chills, fatigue, cough, sore throat, and sometimes pneumonia), deaths already have occurred in some states this flu season.

In Arizona, one death of a child and an otherwise healthy 20-year-old mother of two in Phoenix died Nov. 28, one day after being diagnosed.

In California, at least 10 people younger than 65 have died, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In Delaware, a 47-year-old man with underlying health problems and an 83-year-old woman have died, state health officials said.

In North Carolina, 12 people, including a child, have died.

In South Carolina, seven have died.

What is always recommended to help fight the flu is to wash your hands thoroughly and to use a non-alcoholic hand sanitizer frequently.

(Original Article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/12/29/flu-season-early/990271001/)

Disastrous Flu Season May Lay Ahead

The current flu season is showing early signs of being more brutal than average.

Not only has the season started earlier than usual, but when compared to Australia’s current flu season (which usually aligns similarly with America’s) the number of cases identified is 2.5 times more than this what was recorded at time last year.

Experts are also arguing that the flu vaccines used in previous years are not as effective as before.

Flu vaccines involve growing the influenza virus in millions of chicken eggs, over a period of about four months.

This means the flu-shot manufacturers need a head start; and every year in the spring, influenza experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) make their best educated guess about which strains of the virus will make the rounds in the coming winter.

They do get it right sometimes, but when they don’t, they discover entirely different strains circulating that make people sick.

This virus also mutates quickly, making the vaccines already distributed seem ineffective.

What you are protected against may not necessarily be what people are spreading with this new mutated virus.

This year, however, the viruses in the vaccine are closely related the virus that people are encountering from other sick people.

It would seem like the flu vaccinations would be effective against this current virus spreading around, but they unfortunately are not.

Because public-health officials guess which versions of the flu will cause diseases, they include several strains in the shot.

This year’s shot includes H1N1, H3N2 and Influenza B.

These flu viruses are not easy to grow in chicken eggs, so researchers make minor changes to the virus.

Brendan Flannery, an epidemiologist in the influenza division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says those changes might be making the H3N2 strain in particular less potent–which would limit the immune response it triggers in the body.

Since that immune response is critical to how efficient the vaccines are, this could lead to people remaining susceptible to that strain of flu going around–even if they got their flu shot.

When researchers compared the H3N2 strain from infected people with the original H3N2 reference strain designated by the WHO, they did not find many differences.

But when they compared the virus in infected people to the vaccine virus that was grown in eggs, they saw changes.

Flannery added, “There is evidence that growing the vaccine virus in eggs resulted in changes that altered the vaccine’s effectiveness…The take-home message is that vaccine production, growing the virus in eggs, can cause some of the problems we are seeing.”

A relatively new form of vaccination, a nasal spray that was introduced in 2003, is no longer recommended by the CDC, as it offers less protection than a standard flu shot against the H1N1 strain.

Scientists are still trying to find better ways of protecting ourselves against the flu, but until that day comes the science is clear; some protection is better than none.

The CDC recommended the use of a non-alcoholic hand sanitizer and washing your hands frequently to avoid as many unnecessary viruses this flu season as possible.

(Original Article: http://time.com/5068553/this-years-flu-virus-could-be-worse-than-usual/)

Norovirus Outbreak Shuts Down Seattle Restaurant

Mama Stortini’s Restaurant & Bar in Northgate Mall, Seattle WA, is under investigation for a possible norovirus outbreak.

KING-TV reports King County Health Department officials learned of 15 people who became ill after eating food served here around December 5th.

Investigators visited and closed the restaurant on December 12.

During inspection, investigators identified 14 employees who experienced nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; which are symptoms associated with Norovirus.

Officials have not yet determined the cause of the illness; however, King County Health Department officials say these symptoms suggest Norovirus is the cause for illness.

If this outbreak can happen here, it is possible for it to happen anywhere.

This illness is preventable, but it is something to avoid coming across with in the first place.

Health experts say the best way to prevent contracting Norovirus is to wash your hands thoroughly, and to use a non-alcoholic hand sanitizer to stay sanitized.

(Original Article: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/washington/articles/2017-12-15/seattle-restaurant-closed-after-possible-norovirus-outbreak)

Flu Cases in Arizona Skyrocket Up Nearly 800%

Compared to this time last year, reported cases of influenza in Arizona are up 758%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported the flu is at widespread conditions in 12 states as of December 9th.

This is cause for concern as the flu season is already shaping up to be a rough one this time around.

Arizona is not even one of the highlighted states the CDC is focused on, yet there are 2,629 more cases of the flu reported now than there was at this time last year (347 cases at this time in 2016).

This is the highest amount of cases reported in Arizona since flu activity in Arizona has started to be tracked.

The CDC is concerned with the flu activity in California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

These twelve states appear to be in the midst of a widespread outbreak.

California, for example, has had 2.119 people test positive for the flu this season, according to California’s Department of Public Health.

With the peak of the flu season being between December and February there is still time for the flu to spread heavily and affect many people.

It’s recommended by the CDC that you wash your hands thoroughly and use a non-alcoholic hand sanitizer to stay clean and safe from the flu.

(Original Article: http://fortune.com/2017/12/21/2017-2018-flu-season/)

Eight-Year-Old Missouri Boy Dies of Apparent West Nile Disease

Dennis Burd, an eight-year-old boy from Missouri passed away recently without any signs of being ill previously.

Dennis had gotten only a fever beforehand, nothing too serious.

Larry Burd, Dennis’ father, added “He was just so healthy. I mean, he might have been rambunctious but he never had a health issues like that.”

This is a huge shock to anyone who has children, as it is an unexpected, potentially lethal blow to its victim.

Dennis was rushed to the hospital with a fever and back aches, and doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia.

However, Dennis has also been vomiting and going into seizures, which is unusual for someone suffering from pneumonia.

Within three hours of arriving at the E.R. Dennis had passed away.

“All his symptoms right in line with the deadly West Nile Virus.”

It is still not certain Dennis passed from West Nile, but all signs have pointed to this disease being what caused this young boy to pass away suddenly.

This disease is spread through the bite of a mosquito, which can be repelled through an effective insect repellent.

(Original Article: http://www.kdrv.com/story/35551411/father-fears-son-died-of-west-nile)

Avian Flu Could Spread to North American Poultry

“Some avian influenza, or bird flu, viruses that are able to enter North America from other continents through migrating birds can be deadly to poultry and can infect waterfowl populations.”

This statement comes from a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study (USGS), warning Americans about a possible bird flu outbreak that could affect American poultry.

The USGS analyzed the genes of the avian flu viruses that had spread in the United States during 2014-2015; an outbreak that resulted in over $3 billion in losses to the United States poultry industry.

The study found that the viruses are easily transferred and spread among North American wild birds, even considering the viruses are likely coming from Asia.

This study also found that the rate of spillover (spread between domestic and wild birds) was low, and the poultry outbreak was able to persist without further transmission from wild birds.

The scientists studied avian flu viruses of the highly pathogenic variety.

The difference between low and highly pathogenic avian flu is its potential for the virus to kill domestic chickens.

Strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, cause contagious and severe illness and often death in poultry and wildlife, and some strains can infect humans.

Fortunately, the 2014-2015 HPAI outbreak in the U.S. did not infect people.

Infection and transmission of HPAI in wild birds is difficult to measure during a fast-moving outbreak.

The new study used cutting-edge techniques, known as phylodynamics, to analyze the genetic similarity between viruses infecting wild birds and poultry that were collected during the outbreak.

The genetic make-ups of influenza viruses are different from one another, and they are constantly evolving and developing into different strains with varying risks to animal and human health.

In 2014 and 2015, three different subtypes of HPAI were detected in the United States and Canada: H5N1, H5N2 and H5N8.

Although those viruses did not infect humans, they were related to the Asian H5N1 subtype that infected people in other countries.

For your own safety it is highly advised to stay clear of any risks this virus imposes.

Wash your hands and use an alcohol-free hand sanitizer often, to avoid drying out your hands.

(Original Article: https://www.usgs.gov/news/avian-flu-abroad-can-spread-north-american-poultry-wild-birds)

Does Zika Affect a Toddler’s Hearing?

It is already known that the effects of Zika on an unborn child can be brutal.

Microcephaly is the most common condition to occur.

This is where the child’s brain is much smaller than it should be, which leads to lifelong complications.

In JAMA Otolaryngology, Mittal and colleagues reported that Zika is associated with hearing loss as a symptom in adults, and when concerning infant hearing loss and Zika the study suggested they are probably linked.

Previous findings have suggested that the rate hearing loss in newborn infants exposed to Zika is between six and nine percent, and possibly higher.

A Zika infection early in a child’s life can grow and develop along with the child; causing up to 25% of those infected to experience hearing loss.

That is an alarming rate, especially when the virus also affects other functions of the body.

There are, fortunately, some instances where normal hearing comes back to those that were infected with Zika.

The loss of hearing not only is traumatic for a child to grow up and live with, but it is unnecessary if proper measures are taken to avoid contracting Zika.

Be sure to wear an EPA registered insect repellent anytime you are potentially exposed to mosquitoes, you never know which one will leave a life-changing bite, until it’s too late.

(Original Article: https://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/hearing-loss-zika-infections-infants/)


Deadly Mosquito Spreads Dengue and Yellow Fever Across the Canary Islands

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito has been found in the Canary Islands.

This is the same mosquito that transmits Zika, Mayaro, and Chikungunya, along with the Dengue and Yellow Fever already found to transmitted on the island.

A small pocket of the mosquitoes, which in 2005 caused 30 cases of Dengue fever in the island of Madeira, were detected on a private estate called Las Granadas near to Fuenteventura Hospital in the island capital Puerto del Rosario.

In 2010 they were also linked to an outbreak of Dengue in Cape Verde, a very popular destination for British tourists in recent years.

The Canary Islands regional health authority provided support to the people on and visiting these islands by saying, “An initial intervention is taking place in Fuerteventura with a larger number of traps being set and surveys taking place in houses near to the area where the mosquito has been detected to determine the spread and the area in which the work to eradicate them needs to be undertaken.”

They also insist, “The mere presence of the mosquito doesn’t mean that illnesses like dengue, Zika, yellow fever and chikungunya are being spread as they are not present in the Canary Islands except for sporadic cases.”

However, even sporadic cases can be very dangerous, and people should protect themselves at all costs.

The spokesman is asking public to send in pictures of “suspicious” mosquitoes if found, along with information on the location or bites caused.

Basilio Valladares, Director of the Canary Islands’ Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health, told Spanish daily El Pais that he was hesitant to say there is a strong virus transmission in the islands because there was no-one the authorities were aware of in Fuerteventura that was ill.

Although, he added: “If they settle the moment might arrive when they could transmit viruses like dengue fever as happened in Cape Verde and Madeira.”

All precautions should be taken when dealing with these very dangerous mosquitoes, and wearing an EPA registered, IR3535 insect repellent is highly recommended to avoid mosquito bites.

(Original Article: https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/892182/Dengue-Yellow-fever-outbreak-deadly-Aedes-mosquito-Canary-Islands-Fuerteventura)