Weeks after reading in the local papers about a 7 year-old boy that died after taking paracetamol (aka Panadol aka acetaminophen aka Tylenol) for fever at an adult dosage of 4000mg per day, my attention was directed to the coincidental release about this drug by the US Food & Drug Administration. The FDA have now issued warning guidelines on the use of this popular pain-killer, generally regarded as one of the safest around and sold everywhere over-the-counter, without the need for a doctor’s prescription.
The news release requires that the labeling must warn of the risks of stomach bleeding in alcohol-users and severe liver damage from overdosage. The latter has been blamed for many deaths arising from overuse of this drug.
The report also calls for limiting the maximum adult daily dose to no more than 3,250 milligrams (one paracetamol tablet is usually 500 milligrams, so that means the current recommended dosage of up to 4000 milligrams is already too high), but with a lower daily maximum for patients consuming three or more alcoholic drinks every day. For kids, all liquid forms (syrups) need to be in a single medium strength formulation with much lower dose recommendations.
My take on this is that every drug you take can have side-effects – its a question of balancing the pros and cons and,of course, taking it correctly!
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With the flu epidemic extending its hold globally, health authorities are debating on the most effective strategy to contain it, but one thing remains unanimous…washing your hands is the most effective preventive measure. Because..
In the healthcare setting, handwashing can prevent potentially fatal infections from spreading from patient to patient, and from patient to healthcare worker and vice-versa. The basic rule in a hospital is to wash your hands between seeing patients.
In the home, it can prevent infectious diseases such as diarrhea and hepatitis A from spreading between members of a family. The rule should be to wash hands before preparing food, after changing diapers, and after using the bathroom.
There are at least 4 ways diseases can be transmitted by hand:
- Hands to food: germs are transmitted from unclean hands to food, usually by an infected food preparer who didn’t handwash after using the toilet. Hepatitis A and shigella food-poisoning are examples.
- Infected infant to hands to other children: during diaper changing, germs are passed from an infant with diarrhea to the hands of a parent; if the parent doesn’t immediately wash his or her hands before handling another child, the germs that cause diarrhea are passed to the second child.
- Food to hands to food: germs are transmitted from raw, uncooked foods, such as chicken, to hands; the germs are then transferred to other foods, such as salad. Cooking the raw food kills the initial germs, but the salad remains contaminated. Bacterial food-poisoning results.
- Nose, mouth, or eyes to hands to others: germs that cause colds, eye infections, and other illnesses can spread to the hands by sneezing, coughing, or rubbing the eyes and then can be transferred to other family members or friends.The H1N1 flu spreads in this manner.
And there’s a proper way to wash those hands.. plenty of water and soap for at least 15 secs to cover all parts:
And while we’re on this subject, can someone improve the thermal scanners at airports and devise one that will do this:
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Ahh…thanks to medical research, we have better alternatives nowadays. But are all of today’s products free from side-effects?
(Thanks to Ron in Vancouver for the material)
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If the above headline looks like one of the many spam mails in your email box, I do apologise. But both sexual recession and free Viagra are indeed happening.
The present economic recession has created a lot of anxiety, depression and stress -these can wreck havoc on one’s libido and lead to deflation of the sexual kind, aka impotence aka erectile dysfunction(ED). By the way, just to set things right – many are confused between libido and impotence. Suffice to say that libido means sexual drive whilst impotence means failure in erection. Hence, ladies do not really get impotence because they do not need to stand to perform, but a couple’s sex life will all but disappear if the husband cannot rise to the occasion!
Many sex therapists have coined the term sexual recession to account for this phenomenon. One such therapist warns here that it is important for couples to talk it out before false accusations of infidelity arise because one partner is ‘disinterested’ in sex.
Meanwhile, the world’s biggest drug-maker Pfizer announced May 14th that it will provide 70 of its most widely prescribed drugs — including the wonder-drug Viagra — for 1 year free to people who have lost their jobs and health insurance during the recession. In a move seen to be a public relations exercise as well as an attempt to prevent patients switching to cheaper generic versions, this gesture of goodwill may backfire.
Already, criticisms are coming hard and fast.. ranging from accusations of encouraging the unemployed to have more babies and worsening their financial status, to being sexist as the drug is not seen to benefit women!
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Amidst the H1N1 flu outbreak, my attention was diverted to news reports about a meningitis outbreak in a training academy in Malacca, Malaysia just 2 days ago. The suspected bacterial meningitis outbreak was detected on May 7 when nine trainees were referred to the hospital there after they complained of fever, cough, headaches and joint pains. Earlier,a 24 year-old trainee had succumbed to the infection while being rushed to the hospital here.
Meningitis is caused by the presence of germs (usually viruses, bacteria or fungi) within the coverings of the brain and spinal cord. While the dreaded swine and avian flus are due to viruses, meningitis caused by viruses are relatively mild and sufferers can often be treated at home.
Its when they are caused by bacteria that it becomes a real source of worry, as the infection can run a rapid and fatal course over a few hours and days, sometimes even when antibiotics have been given. Of the three types of bacteria that are the usual culprits, the one caused by Neisseria meningitidis (aka meningococcus) is the most notorious as it is highly infectious and may cause local epidemics in college dormitories, boarding schools and on military bases.
In all likelihood, this bacteria (meningococcus) is the likely culprit in this outbreak, although it will take 3-4 days for actual confirmation as the specimens taken from the victims containing this bacteria need that amount of time to grow in the lab and be conclusively identified.
Where does the bacteria come from? Don’t get paranoid, but they live in 1 out of every 10 people’s throats! Natural body resistance keeps it at bay as long as the lining of the throat remains intact.They are passed from person to person through prolonged close contact: coughing, sneezing, breathing each other’s breath or by kissing someone who is carrying the germ!
Unlike what was reported in the local press, they are not contagious and therefore cannot be passed on via cutlery or clothing.
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The current H1N1Virus epidemic illustrates how expensive healthcare can become. Apart from the increased manpower costs in conducting surveillance checks globally, the individual senses some of the impact as well – take the cost of a course of Tamiflu, one of two antiviral drugs that can mitigate influenza in general. At nearly US$6 a capsule, the complete course of 10 is going to create quite a dent in your pocket if you’re uninsured.
China has now come up with an affirmative program to reduce healthcare costs – the use of traditional medicines, which in general costs much less than Western medicine.
The State Council, the country’s Cabinet, pledged in a circular Thursday to enable every community and village health service center, at the lowest level of the program, to provide traditional medicine service for citizens.It ordered local governments at county level or higher to include traditional medicine hospitals in their health service networks. County hospitals were also encouraged to set up traditional medicine departments.
Traditional Chinese medicine has its unique theories and practices in areas such as herbal medicines, acupuncture, massage and dietary therapy, which is independent from Western medicine.
For some time, traditional Chinese medicine was sidelined as many of its theories could not be explained by modern medicine but it recently became popular among Chinese as an alternative way to keep fit. Indeed, acupuncture has found acceptability in many Western medicine circles nowadays. Costs for acupuncture treatment for chronic back-ache is now reimbursible by most private insurance companies in the US.
One important problem that may create difficulty in promulgating traditional medicine is the fact that a lot of valuable knowledge was not passed from the older generation to the younger due to lack of documentation and some important therapies have been lost.According to the circular, the government plans to register ancient medical books, develop a catalog and set up a digital data base for them. It will also support research and publishing of these books.
Its about time more countries sit up, take notice and develop their own initiatives to develop alternative and complementary medicine strategies – the cost-savings can be tremendous.
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The Chinese character for ‘crisis’ is a hybrid for ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’. This applies as well for the current H1N1 influenza near-pandemic, formerly known as Swine Flu.
Already, websites and emails are sprouting extolling the virtues of products that claim to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. These fraudulent sites have escalated in intensity recently, enough for the US Food and Drug Administration FDA to issue a warning on fraudulent influenza products here.
Here’s a quick rundown on on some myths about the current H1N1 flu infection:
1. There are currently no flu vaccinations that can prevent an attack by the H1N1 virus. The current stockpile was derived from the flu epidemic a few years ago caused by the H3N1 and related viruses, so they will not be effective here.
2. The two antiviral drugs approved by the FDA for treatment and prophylaxis of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus are Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) and Relenza (zanamivir). However, health experts caution against using them routinely for several reasons: the emergence of resistant strains when used in mild flu infections, its ineffectiveness when given more than 48 hours after the onset of flu, the presence of side-effects (in particular,psychiatric disturbances, heart and lung disorders and deaths in children).
3. Should masks be used? Certainly not the ordinary ones as they do not filter small particles that carry the culprit viruses. You need to get the N95 respirators which block off 95% (hence the name) of small particles which carry the viruses. These are expensive and are for single-use only.
Said the Federal Trade Commissioner, Jon Liebowitz, “The last thing any consumer needs right now is to be conned by someone selling fraudulent flu remedies”.
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