HEALTH

CDC: ILI rates reach 5.9%

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA – The most recent FluView report for the 2014-15 flu season shows that flu season in the United States has begun and about half the country is experiencing high levels of flu activity. Reports of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths are elevated. Activity is expected to continue for several weeks, especially in parts of the country that have not yet seen significant activity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
 
According to this week’s FluView report, U.S. flu activity continued to increase in intensity and expand geographically in many areas of the country. For the week ending Dec. 27, the proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like illness increased to 5.9% and is above the national baseline (2%) for the sixth consecutive week. All 10 U.S. regions reported ILI activity at or above region-specific baseline levels. The length of a flu season can vary, but for the past 13 seasons ILI has remained at or above the national baseline for an average of 13 weeks.
 
Puerto Rico and 29 states experienced high ILI activity, an increase from 22 states during the previous week. New York City and six states (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Washington, and Wisconsin) experienced moderate ILI activity. 
 
The severity of flu disease so far this season is similar to some previous seasons in which influenza A (H3N2) viruses have circulated predominantly. H3N2 seasons often cause more severe disease for young children and elderly adults, as indicated by hospitalizations and deaths, compared to H1N1 seasons. 

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Americans identify leading health habits for 2015 in CRN survey

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Nearly three-fourths (72%) of Americans will be committing to “drinking enough water” in 2015, according to a new survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition in December 2014 among more than 2,000 U.S. adults.
 
“We’re encouraged to see that people recognize the importance of appropriate levels of hydration,” said Duffy MacKay, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN. “But water is only one of the healthy habits that this survey demonstrated people found most important. Let’s remember that the key to good health is a constellation of healthy habits, not just one habit in isolation.”
 
According to the survey, “drinking enough water” was the No. 1 health-and-wellness habit American adults are committing to in 2015, with the following four options rounding up the top five: eating healthy/healthier in general (66%); getting more physically active (62%); getting more sleep (49%); and taking vitamins (47%). 
 
In the bottom five were starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast (37%); spending more time with family and friends in real life, instead of online (34%); staying cool, calm and collected when stuck in traffic (30%); visiting the doctor before getting sick (23%); and tracking meals/exercise via mobile apps, online tools or personal gadgets (17%). 
 
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of CRN from Dec. 8-10, 2014 among 2,021 adults ages 18 years and older. 

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Boca Health Remedies debuts homeopathic nasal inhaler

BY DSN STAFF

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Boca Health Remedies announced the introduction of GermWarrior, a nasal inhaler that combats germs, provides a boost to immune defenses and temporarily relieves cold symptoms, the company said.
 
The homepathic inhaler was developed with travel in mind. Since the product isn't a liquid, GermWarrior is TSA-friendly. 
 
"GermWarrior is small and lightweight, easy to carry in a pocket or purse, yet packs a powerful germ-fighting punch that's essential in protecting against the airborne germs so prevalent during wintertime and spread through public travel," said Brett Jaffy, CEO and director.
 
The inhalant can be used up to six times per day and contains a minimum of 40 applications. The product can be used with other over-the-counter cold products, the company said. GermWarrior has a suggested retail price of $6.99 and can be purchased at select Walgreens and Meijers stores, as well as online at GermWarrior.com.

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