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CDC issues report on flu activity in the United States

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — Influenza activity in the United States decreased across several indicators, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday, though the agency projected that illness rates for the season have not yet peaked.

Of all influenza A viruses tested since Oct. 30, 2010, only 15.8% were identified as the 2009 H1N1 virus; 44.6% of the specimens were identified as an H3N2 virus. That virus is similar to the H3N2 component of the 2010-2011 triumvirate influenza vaccine.

The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness was 2.9%, which is above the national baseline of 2.5%. Four states experienced high ILI activity: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Thirty states continue to record only minimal ILI activity.

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Saving on supplements at Sam’s

BY DSN STAFF

TAMPA — Right in the main aisle that everyone walks down after they enter the building and go past electronics, Sam’s Club has parlayed its tagline “savings made simple” to read “healthy living made simple,” as seen on this display of aggressively priced store-brand ibuprofen and vitamin D.

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Rite Aid hearts Wellness+

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid on Monday introduced its annual national education and prevention campaign against heart disease in observation of American Heart Month in February.

New to that initiative this year is the chain’s loyalty card program: Between Jan. 23 and March 26, card members can earn a $10 +Up Reward by spending $30 on such select heart health products as aspirin, diabetes glucose testing supplies, fish oil and other vitamins. If members reaches $50, they earn a $20 +Up Reward. As an extension of Wellness+, +Up Rewards print at the bottom of a register receipt and are redeemable like cash toward a future purchase.

Wellness+ members also qualify year-round for free health screenings for total cholesterol and blood glucose, which can help patients detect early warning signs of potential heart health problems later.

Rite Aid also will have its traditional 12-page guide, "Roadmap to a Healthy Heart," available in stores and online. The guide includes seven steps that can reduce heart disease and stroke, and breaks down the numbers behind heart disease risk factors, such as good and bad cholesterols and the danger of triglycerides.

Stores nationwide now also are selling $1 red paper dresses to benefit the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement. Rite Aid customers can display their support for the Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement by buying and signing a paper dress icon to hang on store walls. Every dollar raised goes directly to the Go Red For Women movement and comes with more than $10 in product coupons.

Rite Aid’s focus on heart health is part of its year-long commitment to patient health and wellness. Each year Rite Aid offers free information, answers and guidance on health-and-wellness topics, including diabetes, allergy awareness, skin care, oral health and weight management.

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