FDA: Make Sure Epi-Pens Don’t Get Stuck in Tube

According to manufacturer Pfizer Inc. and distributor Mylan, due to a defective label, a small number of EpiPen 0.3 mg and EpiPen Jr 0.15 mg auto-injectors and their authorized generics do not slide out of the tube easily. There are no issues with the device or the epinephrine inside.

People with an EpiPen should check to make sure it is not stuck in the carrier tube, according to a new warning from the manufacturer and federal health officials.

“It is vital for lifesaving products to work as designed in an emergency situation, and patients and caregivers should inspect their epinephrine auto-injector prior to needing it to ensure they can quickly access the product,” the Food and Drug Administration said in a safety alert.

Anyone with an auto-injector that does not easily slide out or one that has a label that only is partially adhered to the auto-injector should contact MylanCustomer Relations at 800-796-9526.

 

http://www.aappublications.org/news/2018/11/07/epipens110718

Why Cleaning Your Home Is a Health Habit

We all know the things we need to do to stay healthy, right? You eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and practice good hygiene. But have you ever considered how your home might be affecting your health? Cleaning the house is often seen as a thankless chore, but it is actually just as much a part of a good well-being routine than going for a jog or brushing your teeth. Turns out there are quite a few health hazards lurking in your home, and a good cleaning routine is the only way to eliminate them.

 

Allergens and Pollutants

Enemy number one when it comes to allergens is dust. Dust is inevitable; it is a combination of skin particles, pet dander, sand, insect waste, dirt, food crumbs, and a variety of other products of everyday life. Most people get rid of dust as a matter of cleanliness, but it can also be dangerous.

And it’s not the only one. You may think pollution is just an outside problem, but your home’s air is also filled with pollutants. Even if there are no smokers in the house, air pollution can come from cooking food, candles, incense, and even the act of cleaning itself. All these micro-particles in the air can damage and irritate your respiratory systems and can be particularly damaging to children.

So how do you get rid of allergens and pollutants? Dust and dirt should be vacuumed and removed effectively, not just spread around, so make sure you have the right tools for dusting. Ventilation is key, so remember to open windows to air out rooms regularly, and make sure your kitchen fan is working effectively. You can also invest in an air purifier to clean the air you breathe every day.

 

Mold 

Mold is an annoyingly common phenomenon, especially in rooms which see a lot of moisture such as the bathroom and kitchen. It is also, according to the CDC, potentially harmful for your respiratory system. Some people experience allergy symptoms when living with mold, and some can even develop serious complications with their lungs.

Getting rid of mold or other ingrained stains often requires a proper deep clean, which can be time-consuming and exhausting. If you don’t have the time, patience, or ability to put in that much elbow grease into your cleaning, consider hiring a professional. A one-off full interior home cleaning in Appleton, WI, costs between $121 and $253, which can be well worth it for getting the hardest jobs done and leaving only basic ongoing maintenance for you to do.

 

Clutter Anxiety

Finally, there’s your mental health. Everyone has felt that elation when they finish cleaning: surfaces sparkle, the room smells fresh and clean, and everything is exactly where it should be. Turns out, there’s a reason for that wonderful feeling, and it’s not just pride at having actually cleaned.

Dirty, messy homes can trigger feelings of anxiety, according to Psychology Today expert Sherrie Bourg Carter. Clutter, mess, and general chaos in the home overwhelm the senses with unnecessary stimuli and can make you feel unfocused, stressed, guilty, and overwhelmed. When your house is uncluttered, your mind feels uncluttered as well.

The bad news is that you have to continue cleaning your house often. Unless you want to pay someone else to do it, there’s no way to avoid it. The good news is that you are not just doing it to make your house look good. Cleaning is an act of self-care and a health habit, one which will make you healthier and happier in both body and mind.

 

Written By Guest Blogger: Julia Merrill

Julia Merrill is on a mission. She wants to use information to close the gap between medical providers and their patients. She started BefriendYourDoc.org to do just that. The site offers an abundance of information from tips on finding the right medical care to help with dealing with insurance companies to general health and wellness advice and more.

 

New Concerns About Sesame Allergies

Sesame could become the newest allergen added to the list of foods required to be named on labels, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced Monday. There are currently eight major food allergens that must be declared on US labeling using their common names: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. These eight foods have accounted for over 90% of documented serious food allergies in the country when the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act was passed in 2004, which requires the clear labeling of ingredients.  Now the FDA is launching a formal request for information as it considers making sesame the ninth on the list.

“Unfortunately, we’re beginning to see evidence that sesame allergies may be a growing concern in the US,” Gottlieb said. “A handful of studies, for example, suggest that the prevalence of sesame allergies in the US is more than 0.1 percent, on par with allergies to soy and fish.” Over 300,000 Americans are currently affected by sesame allergies.

Sesame reactions vary from person to person and can be caused by as little as one or two sesame seeds.  Symptoms may vary but can include hives, dizziness, itching, stomach pain, nausea/vomiting, wheezing and breathing problems.  In severe cases, there is a risk of anaphylaxis or even death.  The possibility of such severe reactions is why the FDA believes that the labeling requirements for sesame need to change.

Currently, there are no food labeling requirements for sesame.  The issue for consumers is that sesame could be in an ingredient list under a word like tahini or a generic term like ‘natural flavor’.  Even the most careful consumer would have difficulty spotting the allergen under current labeling requirements.

The FDA is asking for information, specifically from epidemiologists, nutritionists, allergy researchers and physicians, “so we can learn more about the prevalence and severity of sesame allergies in the US, as well as the prevalence of sesame-containing foods sold in this country. These include foods that, under current regulations, may not be required to disclose sesame as an ingredient.”  The FDA is accepting comments from October 30 – December 31, 2018.

7 Allergy-Free Halloween Candies

One in every 13 children has a food allergy, so this Halloween consider passing out some allergy-free candy. The following treats are all free of the eight most common food allergens: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.

  1. Sour Patch Kids
  2. Swedish Fish
  3. Dum Dum’s Lollipops
  4. Dum Dum’s Gummies
  5. Skittles
  6. Starbursts
  7. Lifesavers

 

Source: https://community.kidswithfoodallergies.org/blog/2018-allergy-friendly-halloween-candy-guide

What Do Teal Halloween Pumpkins Mean?

Halloween is supposed to be scary, but for children with food allergies it can be scarier than usual. Finding treats that won’t potentially trigger allergic reactions can be tricky. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to paint a pumpkin teal, the color of food allergy awareness, to indicate that their home is safe for trick-or-treaters with food allergies and offering non-food treats such as small toys.

According to the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), food allergies affect 1 in every 13 children or roughly two in every classroom. That’s a lot of kids who might feel left out of the festivities. If you would like to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project this Halloween, you can visit FARE’s website to download a free poster and get ideas of non-food treats to hand out to kids with food allergies.

 

Source: http://www.kulr8.com

Experts Say Recent Rainfall is Worsening Seasonal Allergies

If you live on the east coast and you’ve been suffering from seasonal allergies more than usual, it’s likely the recent rainfall is to blame. According to an Dr. Dane McBride, an allergy specialist at the Asthma and Allergy Center in Roanoke, drier seasons usually make for calmer allergies. But mold and other allergens like ragweed have flourished in the recent wet conditions.

 

McBride said mold is unlike other allergens because it can grow in warm, damp spaces inside your home. Allergy season typically begins in mid-August and ends in late October when temperatures drop. You also want to prevent mold growth in leaky areas like the kitchen and bathroom.

 

Source: www.wsls.com

San Antonio Ranks 4th in U.S. For Severe Fall Allergies

San Antonio has been named as one of five most challenging places in which to live with fall allergies in 2018.

A report released Monday by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked San Antonio fourth among the 100 largest cities in the United States due to its high pollen count, rates of prescription medication use, and the number of allergy specialists located in the area.

In 2017, San Antonio ranked 16th on the list, said Angel Waldron, a consumer health advocate with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, an education, advocacy, and research nonprofit that aims to improve the quality of life for people with asthma and allergies. The organization has published the Allergy Capitals report annually since 2003.

Waldron said during the fall, the South and the Midwest regions of the U.S. dominate the Allergy Capitals list, mostly due to large amounts of ragweed and its ability to easily grow and thrive in the area.

The No. 1 allergy capital for fall 2018 is McAllen, Texas, followed by Louisville, Kentucky, and Jackson, Mississippi. Coming in fifth behind San Antonio is Dayton, Ohio.

Local allergist Dr. Joe Diaz told the Rivard Report on Tuesday it is no surprise that San Antonio made a Top 5 list for places with high rates of allergies. “In San Antonio, patients suffer from allergies year-round because of the climate we have, and because there is always mold in the air. It’s a big allergy capital in the U.S.”

While ragweed is a main cause of fall allergy symptoms across the continental U.S., winter season is the most severe for many local allergy sufferers due to high rates of mountain cedar, Diaz said.

“Mountain cedar, which is really a local and Hill Country tree, pollinates extensively in the middle of the winter. Historically, the pollen counts peak around Christmas Day. There is no other pollen in the air at the time, and the northerly winds blowing in from the Hill Country help cause havoc in San Antonio.”

The best way to treat an allergy, Diaz said, is to avoid exposure by staying indoors during the early morning hours when plants pollinate the most and eliminating indoor allergens including dust mites and pet dander.

Study: San Antonio Ranks 4th in U.S. For Severe Fall Allergies

Label Mix-Up Prompts Montelukast Recall

Camber Pharmaceuticals is recalling one lot of montelukast sodium tablets because the bottles are labeled “montelukast sodium tablets, 10-mg, 30-count” but actually contain 90 tablets of losartan potassium, 50 mg.

“This tablet mix-up may pose a safety risk as taking losartan tablets when not prescribed has the potential to cause renal dysfunction, elevated potassium levels and low blood pressure,” the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns in a news release.

“This risk is especially high for pregnant women taking the allergy and asthma medication montelukast because losartan, which is indicated to treat high blood pressure, could harm or kill the fetus,” the FDA says.

The lot number for the recalled product is MON17384, the expiration date is 12/31/2019, and the national drug code is 31722-726-30.

“We want to ensure that patients who take montelukast are aware of this recall due to the serious risks associated with taking losartan in its place,” said Donald Ashley, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Patients who take prescription drugs expect and deserve to have the medication their doctor prescribed.”

The FDA is asking patients to contact their healthcare provider or pharmacist to determine whether their montelukast medication has been recalled.

To date, Camber has not received adverse event reports associated with this recall. The FDA encourages healthcare professionals and consumers to report adverse events to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program.

 

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/901490?nlid=124774_3901&src=wnl_newsalrt_180831_MSCPEDIT&uac=63260ER&impID=1727667&faf=1

It’s National Penicillin Allergy Day!

Today, September 28, 2018 is recognized by several states and health organizations as the second-annual National Penicillin Allergy Day, a national awareness day to help spread the word and educate the community on penicillin allergies and testing. This date holds significance in the medical industry and antibiotic community as the date Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, the world’s first antibiotic, in 1928.

Penicillin allergy is one of the most frequently reported allergies; however, nine out of 10 patients reporting a penicillin allergy are not truly allergic, which can lead to higher use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and an increased risk of adverse events for patients. Inaccurately labeling patients as penicillin allergic is, therefore, recognized as a significant public health problem—and it is important for patients and providers to know the facts about penicillin allergies to help combat the rise of antibiotic resistance.

“We are eager to continue spreading critical awareness around penicillin allergies with the second annual National Penicillin Allergy Day,” said Jorge Alderete, President ALK, Inc. “Together we can assist communities in educating patients, healthcare providers and others on the importance of proper diagnosis, the facts about penicillin allergy prevalence, and the risks associated with an unverified diagnosis. With proper diagnosis and hospital antibiotic stewardship efforts, health providers and patients can reduce the use of alternative antibiotics. These alternative antibiotics, when used unnecessarily, can lead to higher treatment costs and stronger antibiotic drug resistance.”

Several national organizations have joined efforts to help educate and bring awareness to penicillin allergy and the importance of testing.

“It’s vital that doctors understand the importance of confirming penicillin allergy, but it’s even more critical that those who carry the label be tested by an allergist or other healthcare provider trained in allergy testing to be sure,” said allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “An allergist or other healthcare provider can work with a patient to find out if they are truly allergic and determine the best medications available for treatment. Patients who are found not allergic will be able to use medications that are safer, often more effective, and less expensive.”

“Many studies establish that the majority of individuals labeled as penicillin allergic actually are not truly allergic to penicillin (and other members of this family of antibiotics). There are proven methods to rule out penicillin allergy and doing so in these individuals would allow optimizing the choice of antibiotics among those who are demonstrated not to be allergic. This day is a great way to spread the word, help ensure that patients have access to the safest possible antibiotic and work to address the increasing emergence of antibiotic resistance,” said Dr. Robert Wood, MD FAAAAI, President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

 

 

https://www.tullahomanews.com/news/business/nationalpenicillinallergyday-increases-awareness-of-penicillin-allergy-for-second-year/article_d76f25fa-cbfc-548f-8cda-6632f90ad26a.html

 

Why Can’t I Sleep? Answers to Your Most Common Sleep Problems

Everyone has a restless night once in a while, but you shouldn’t be tossing and turning more often than not. If you are, there’s probably something else going on. From bad habits to health problems, here are nine common causes of sleep problems and what you can do about them.

1. You’re stressed (or depressed)

Does your mind start racing with anxiety the second your head hits the pillow? Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for sleep problems caused by stress and depression. In addition to seeking mental health support, learn coping strategies to help you sleep, like meditating or writing thoughts down in a journal.

2. You’re uncomfortable

Whether it’s a lumpy mattress, a flat pillow, too-warm sheets, or your own aches and pains, nighttime discomfort wreaks havoc on sleep quality. Upgrade your mattress and bedding, taking your sleep position into account as you shop. If you have chronic pain, research effective management strategies.

3. You can’t breathe

If you have asthma, allergies, COPD, or another respiratory condition, reduce nighttime coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness by making your bedroom an allergen-free zone. Keep pets out, install dust-proof covers over mattresses and pillows, and wash bedding regularly (the American Cleaning Institute recommends weekly for sheets and monthly for blankets) to banish allergens from your sleeping surface. Next, turn your attention to the air. Contaminants enter your bedroom through air ducts and windows, but you don’t want to cut off air circulation completely. Consider buying an compact air purifier, which helps remove pollutants, and be sure to regularly replace your air filter.

4. Your sleep schedule is erratic

A consistent sleep schedule regulates your circadian rhythm, the internal clock that tells your body when it’s time to feel sleepy and when it’s time to be alert. A sleep schedule also ensures you set aside enough time for sleep each night — seven to nine hours for adults.

5. You have a sleep disorder

From restless leg syndrome to sleep apnea, there are a variety of sleep disorders that impact a person’s ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and achieve deep, restful sleep. If you’ve optimized your sleep habits and still lay in bed awake at night or feel fatigued throughout the day, schedule a sleep study.

6. You’re too sedentary

If you expend little energy throughout the day, it’s not surprising if you don’t feel tired at night. And unfortunately, this is a common tale: As USA Today reports, only 23 percent of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise. If you’re staying up late because you don’t feel tired, work more physical activity into your days.

7. You can’t put down your phone

Your sleep schedule isn’t the only thing affecting your circadian rhythm. Looking at screens on smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs, and other devices stops you from feeling sleepy. While this is handy when you need to pull all-nighters in college, using devices late into the night isn’t a healthy habit to get into. Stop using electronics an hour before bedtime and banish electronics from the bedroom.

8. You’re perimenopausal

For a variety of reasons, sleep problems are common in perimenopause and menopause. For most women, adopting good sleep hygiene is the best management strategy for menopause-related sleep issues. However, some women may benefit from hormone replacement therapy.

9. Your medications are keeping you up

Several prescription and over-the-counter medications interfere with sleep. These include steroids, antidepressants, stimulants, thyroid medication, beta agonists, and asthma medication. Certain over-the-counter medications like some pain relievers and cold medicines contain caffeine that disrupts sleep; others, such as sleeping pills, create a dependence that prevent you from falling asleep without them.

 

Sleep is essential for good health. If one of these sleep problems sounds like you, it’s important to do something about it. Whether that means changing your habits, seeing your doctor, or redoing your bedroom, take action to fix your sleep today.

 

Guest Author Bio:  Julia Merrill is on a mission. She wants to use information to close the gap between medical providers and their patients. She started BefriendYourDoc.org to do just that. The site offers an abundance of information from tips on finding the right medical care to help with dealing with insurance companies to general health and wellness advice and more.

 

 

 

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