Vaccines can prevent many life threatening diseases. Pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants can administer immunizations in many places, including local pharmacies and retail clinics. Vaccines are generally very safe and can help eradicate some diseases. For instance, polio once caused paralysis and even death. Due to the administration of the injectable polio vaccine, there are now no reports of confirmed polio in the United States.
Flu season is upon us, and it’s important to know how to protect yourself. Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, is an acute viral infection caused by an influenza virus. Common symptoms include muscle and joint pain, high fever, sore throat and runny nose. The flu affects between 5 and 20 percent of Americans each year. Approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu-related symptoms, and anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 people die each year from flu-related causes.
Controversy surrounds dental amalgam, the material sometimes used to fill cavities, because about half of it is composed of elemental mercury. Amalgam is a mixture of metals consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of tin, copper and silver. Elemental mercury reacts with and binds together with the alloy particles to form an amalgam. These fillings are also referred to as “silver fillings” due to their silver appearance.1
Elemental mercury releases mercury vapor that is primarily absorbed through the lungs, harmfully affecting them. Coughing, difficulty breathing and headaches are just a few of the symptoms of inhaling mercury. It is also possible for mercury to be absorbed through the skin; however, it is a much slower process.2
Many misconceptions exist about the differences between Type I and Type II Diabetes, a disease which affects 29.1 million people in the United States.1 Diabetes is a chronic disease, in which the pancreas produces less of or completely stops producing the hormone insulin. Insulin is essential in order to live. It breaks down the sugars in the body, converting them to energy.
Type I Diabetes, also referred to as juvenile diabetes, is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. However, older adults can also contract Type I. It occurs when the pancreas completely stops producing insulin. The exact cause of Type I is still unknown, but genetics and viral infections are thought to play a part.2 Treatment for Type I involves taking artificial insulin either by injections via a syringe or insulin pen or a pump, a device that delivers insulin through a catheter underneath the skin.3 Rapid-acting insulin begins decreasing blood sugars within 10-30 minutes and is good to take before eating. Long-acting insulin helps stabilize sugars over a longer period of time (20-24 hours).4
In our last blog post, we explored how prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the United States. This week we will discuss how to prevent prescription drug abuse and what to do with any unused medications.
Many opioid abusers get the prescription drugs from friends or relatives for free, according to a study by JAMA Internal Medicine. Other sources include getting a prescription from one or more doctors, stealing or buying prescription drugs from friends or family and buying prescription drugs from drug dealers.1