HEALTH

Allegra Allergy supports Bike to Work Day events across the country

BY Michael Johnsen

RIDGEWATER, N.J. — Sanofi Consumer Healthcare – the makers of Allegra Allergy – on Thursday announced that it is supporting Bike to Work Day events across the country as a way to help reduce air pollution and to get more people outdoors this spring.

"Air pollution is one of the world's biggest global health problems, so a lot of people feel like there isn't anything they can do to make a difference but we want them to know that isn't the case. Every step counts – or in this case, every bike ride," stated Holly Sisson, senior marketing manager, Sanofi Consumer Healthcare. "That's why we are supporting Bike to Work Day this year – it's a great way for people to get involved, while also getting outside and enjoying the spring season."

Bike to Work Day is an annual observance on which people are encouraged to ride bicycles to work instead of driving, as a more environmentally friendly form of transportation. It takes place on May 19 in most locations and on June 28 in Denver.

A recent survey found that a majority of Americans (88%) are concerned about the impact of air pollution on their overall health. It also found that most Americans (90%) wish there was more they could do to get involved and help reduce air pollution.

A variety of Bike to Work Day events are available across the country. Allegra will be supporting those taking place in Philadelphia, Dayton, Ohio, Chattanooga, Tenn., Denver and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. In certain locations, Allegra will also be working with local bike share programs to offer free 24-hour bike passes in recognition of Bike to Work Day.

 

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Researchers determine zinc acetate successfully reduces duration of common cold

BY Michael Johnsen

HELSINKI, Finland — According to the latest meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials, zinc acetate lozenges may increase the rate of recovery from the common cold by three-fold, researchers from the University of Helsinki reported Thursday. On the fifth day of a cold, as many as 70% of the zinc lozenge patients had recovered from that cold as compared to 27% of the placebo patients.

"Given the strong evidence of efficacy and the low risk of adverse effects, common cold patients may already be encouraged to try zinc acetate lozenges not exceeding 100 mg of elemental zinc per day for treating their colds," stated Harri Hemilä, lead author from the University of Helsinki.

The effect of zinc acetate lozenges was not modified by age, sex, race, allergy, smoking or baseline common cold severity. Therefore the 3-fold increase in the recovery rate from common cold may be widely applicable.

The dose of zinc in the three studies was between 80 mg to 92 mg per day. And none of the three analyzed zinc lozenge studies observed serious adverse effects of zinc.

Even though there is strong evidence that properly formulated zinc acetate lozenges can increase the rate of recovery from the common cold by three fold, many zinc lozenges on the market appear to have either too low doses of zinc or they contain substances that bind zinc ions, such as citric acid, the researchers noted. Therefore, the findings of this meta-analysis should not be directly extrapolated to the wide variety of zinc lozenges on the current market.

 

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Truth Initiative, Mayo Clinic introduce new smoking cessation program

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Truth Initiative, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, on Thursday announced the EX Program, a quit-smoking program designed for employers, health systems and health plans to offer to their employees and members. The fully digital program expands upon EX, the consumer platform launched in 2008 that has helped more than 800,000 smokers. Research shows that following the EX plan quadruples a smoker's chance of quitting.

"We developed the EX Program to fill a gap in the market," stated Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative, a national public health organization. "Organizations are still burdened with the financial and health impacts of smoking, and many are frustrated with the poor results they're seeing from wellness programs. Tobacco use is a complex addiction that requires specialized treatment from a provider with deep expertise and experience. We aim to be that provider."

EX Program participants receive digital coaching and medication support from tobacco treatment specialists at the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and Truth Initiative, along with proven quitting tools and an online community of thousands of smokers and ex-smokers. Employers and health plans receive frequent reports on employee engagement and outcomes, along with guidance on promoting the program and setting workplace tobacco policy. The EX Program also helps employers meet requirements for wellness programs under the Affordable Care Act.

According to the Truth Initiative, statistics make clear why an innovative, advanced approach is needed. As many as 68% of smokers want to quit. And while 55% of smokers make a quit attempt annually, only 7% are successful.

Each year a smoker costs an employer nearly $6,000 more than an employee who has never smoked.

The Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center has a longstanding collaboration with Truth Initiative in delivering EX to consumers. Weekly blogs, and an active presence in the EX community, have established Mayo Clinic as a valued source of expert advice and guidance. "The EX Program eliminates virtually all of the barriers to effective treatment and provides ongoing support through the ups and downs of tobacco cessation," said Taylor Hays, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center. "We are excited to build upon our relationship with Truth Initiative in this innovative program."

The EX Program is designed to be as effective as phone-based coaching, but more accessible, flexible and cost effective. Today, 95% of U.S. adults own a cellphone, and nearly 9 in 10 use the Internet. "The ability to reach smokers with a digital quit smoking program is unprecedented. Our research has shown that online, interactive interventions are as effective as face-to-face and quitline interventions, but at far lower costs," said Amanda Graham, SVP innovations at Truth Initiative and head of the EX Program. "With the EX Program, smokers can connect with experts and peers at any time, from any device, for as long as they need. Use of the EX community is an independent predictor of success, and 93% of members say they would recommend EX to other smokers who want to quit."

The EX Program's inaugural health-system client is CHI Mercy Health, a private, not-for-profit medical center in Roseburg, Ore. Mercy, affiliated with the nation's second-largest Catholic health network, will offer the EX Program to employees, patients and all residents of Douglas County.
 

 

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