HEALTH

Jennifer Lopez to become spokesperson for whooping cough awareness

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Actress, singer and mother Jennifer Lopez is joining the March of Dimes and Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis, to create a national public awareness campaign to educate new parents and their families about pertussis, or whooping cough.

Pertussis is highly contagious and is caused by bacteria that are spread through airborne droplets from the nose and throat. As a result, a cough, sneeze or even talking very close could lead to exposure. The coughing fits can be so violent that infants cannot catch their breath and may turn blue, and it can lead to other serious complications such as pneumonia. In recent years, 90% of pertussis deaths have occurred in infants younger than four months of age.

The campaign, dubbed “Sounds of Pertussis,” focuses on educating new parents and their families about pertussis as it is making a comeback. Between2000-2003 and 2004-2007, there was a 100% increase in reported cases of pertussis. Estimates indicate that there may be as many as 800,000 to 3.3 million total adult and adolescent cases of pertussis in any given year.

The campaign’s centerpiece is a series of television and radio public service announcements featuring Lopez that are available in both English and Spanish. The PSAs, scheduled to begin airing nationally this month, encourage new and expectant parents to help protect their babies by making sure that anyone who is, or will be, in close contact with a young infant has been vaccinated against pertussis.

Because Hispanic babies may be at a higher risk for contracting pertussis, and the risk of dying from pertussis may be higher in Hispanic infants than in non-Hispanic infants, the program is being implemented as a bilingual educational initiative.

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Chill International launches cooling towel for hot flashes, night sweats

BY Michael Johnsen

KEY WEST, Fla. Chill International on Thursday announced the launch of a new menopausal cooling towel, called Chill Cooling Towels, which provides relief for hot flashes and night sweats.

The Chill Towels were first introduced in many Walgreens in Florida this spring, the company reported.

“Initial consumer response has been overwhelming,” stated Allan Wimer, Chill CEO. “Consumers love the fact that the towels do not need to be chilled and are genuinely amazed at how long the towel’s cooling sensation lasts,” he said. “In fact, consumer tests indicate the cooling sensation lasts up to 2-3 hours depending on climate conditions.”

The towels are available in three sizes.

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Dietary supplement recalled after FDA discovers Rx-only ingredient

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Universal ABC Beauty Supply International on Monday recalled its dietary supplement diet aid products after the Food and Drug Administration determined the supplements contained sibutramine, a prescription-only ingredient used as an appetite suppressant for weight loss.

FDA advises that these products pose a threat to consumers because sibutramine is known to substantially increase blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias or stroke.

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