HEALTH

CDC raises awareness around flu shots

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — In preparation for the National Influenza Vaccination Week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosted a press conference Friday afternoon to raise awareness around the universal need for people to be protected against influenza. “It’s a week that we typically highlight the importance of the flu vaccine,” Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, told reporters. During a typical season, he said, most influenza incidents begin picking up in December. “Flu activity is now increasing across the country, and the flu season is well underway,” Koh said. “If you’ve been thinking about getting vaccinated for influenza, now is a very good time to do so.”

At this time last year, added Anne Schuchat, director of the  National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, the H1N1 flu was in full circulation, and the CDC was conducting weekly press conferences. “This fall has begun like so many influenza seasons, with relatively few flu viruses circulating through the end of November,” she said. “[But] we don’t want people to be complacent because disease activity has been low so far this year. Flu is coming.”

Right now there is a sharp increase across Georgia, Schuchat said, primarily in school age children. The prominent virus is an influenza B strain that matches up well to the B strain included in this year’s vaccine, Schuchat added. “Everything we know so far suggests to us that vaccine should be a good match for the circulating strain.”

According to a telephone survey of 38,000 adults recently conducted by the CDC, 33% of the population has already been vaccinated. Of those who haven’t been vaccinated, 15% plan on getting their flu shots, and 25% suggested they would “probably” get vaccinated.

That vaccine is being administered most commonly in the doctor’s office — 63% of patients reported that they received their shot there or in a hospital or clinic. Approximately 18% received their shots at their workplace or school, and 16% from a supermarket pharmacy or other retail setting.

To date, 64% of those over the age of 65 years have been vaccinated, Schuchat added.

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Intimacy health remains issue among seniors

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON — According to a report in the December 2010 issue of the Harvard Health Letter, Americans are maintaining intimacy through their 60s, 70s and even 80s.

The article summed up findings from two surveys investigating intimacy health in older Americans. Indiana University researchers reported earlier this year that 20% to 30% of long-lived Americans are active into their 80s. And a University of Chicago survey originally published in 2007 found that half of Americans continue to engage well into their 70s.

The Health Letter offers several possible explanations for sexuality extending later into life, notably that people are staying healthy longer. In fact, the University of Chicago study found a close association between good health and sexual activity among older people, particularly among men. Diabetes seems to have a greater negative effect than either arthritis or high blood pressure on both genders, but especially on women.

Half of those who participated in the University of Chicago study reported having at least one health-related problem. Among men, the problems included difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection (37%) and the lack of interest in sex (28%). Among women, the common problems were lack of interest in sex (43%) and difficulty with lubrication (39%).

In the Indiana survey, 30% of the women ages 50 years and older said they experienced some level of pain during their most recent sexual experience with a partner.

In the Indiana survey, 17% of men ages 50 years and older took an erectile dysfunction drug in connection with their most recent sexual experience with a partner. In the University of Chicago study, 14% of the men and 1% of the women reported taking medications or supplements to improve sexual function during the past year.

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Nutramax re-signs Palmer, sponsors golf tour

BY Michael Johnsen

EDGEWOOD, Md. — Nutramax Labs on Thursday announced the continuation of its partnership with Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer, spokesman of the Cosamin joint health supplements in national and regional marketing campaigns and events.

"We are pleased to enter into our 11th year of partnership with Jim Palmer,” stated Troy Henderson, VP corporate operations and professional services at Nutramax. “Palmer continues to be an excellent [spokesman] for Cosamin joint health supplements because Cosamin is not just for athletes, but [also] for anyone who is active."

"Ten years ago, my orthopedic doctor recommended Cosamin for my joint pain,” Palmer said. “I’ve been using it ever since, and at 65, I’m still very active and doing the things I love most since retiring from Major League Baseball in 1985."

Palmer is scheduled to appear on behalf of Nutramax at the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society meeting in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 4, where he will discuss the importance of the NSF Certified for Sport designation on select batches of Cosamin ASU and Cosamin DS products, Nutramax stated.

Nutramax also recently announced its sponsorship of the 2011 Georgia PGA Senior Tour. Last year, Nutramax sponsored the Senior Tour Championship at the Legends at Chateau Elan, where the Cosamin ASU trophy was awarded to long-time Cosamin consumer DeWitt Weaver.

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