Flu Shots Are Ready, But Waiting A Couple Weeks Will Offer Better Protection Through Peak Period
While the CDC recommends a flu shot for everyone older than 6 months, when to get a flu shot is always a guessing game. Getting the vaccine too early -- it's showing up in stores now -- might mean you "won’t have the same number of antibodies fighting the infection,” says Dr. Mark Montano. Public health news also looks at a lack of breastfeeding guidelines, higher cancer death rates among minority children, new research on altering blood types and more.
Flu Shots Available At CVS, Safeway, But Should You Get One?
The sunny days of summer are not yet over, but flu season has already weaseled its way into drug and grocery stores, where pharmacies and clinics are administering vaccines to ward off influenza. Stores such as Safeway and CVS Health started offering flu shots to customers this month after they received shipments of the vaccine. (Seaman, 8/20)
There's A Lack Of US Leadership On Breastfeeding
In July, the World Health Assembly in Geneva made news when delegates passed a resolution promoting breastfeeding. The controversy wasn’t that the resolution passed (it was expected to, without fanfare), but rather that it almost didn’t due to the energetic efforts of a surprising antagonist.The U.S. delegation — ignoring all scientific evidence proving the benefits of breastfeeding — pushed for the removal of language asking governments to “promote, support, and protect” breastfeeding. They also wanted another clause struck that urged policymakers to restrict promotion of food products that global public health officials have identified as having deleterious health effects on infants. The food products are infant formulas, which, when combined with untreated water (as they often are in developing countries), can be deadly. A 2016 study in The Lancet calculates that universal breastfeeding could have saved the lives of more than 823,000 children and 20,000 mothers and resulted in more than $302B in savings in 2012. (Jonathan Fielding, 8/20)
Black And Hispanic Kids Are More Likely To Die Of Some Cancers
When it comes to cancer survival, the United States is sharply divided by race. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cancer death rate for African-Americans is 25 percent higher than whites, and Hispanics and Latinos are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a late, and more dangerous, stage of the disease. Kids aren't exempt from those disparities either — black and Hispanic children are more likely to die of many childhood cancers than their white counterparts. So what explains the survival gap? (Blakemore, 8/20)
Researchers Look To Transform Type A, Type B Blood Into Type O
Canadian researchers unveiled a promising bit of scientific alchemy Tuesday: a newly discovered enzyme that may be able to turn your average blood donation into coveted Type O blood, which can be safely transfused into at least 85 percent of Americans. Their work is an admittedly early step, but one researchers hope could ultimately help them address near-constant shortages of donated blood. (Sheridan, 8/21)
Kaiser Health News:
Biorhythms And Birth Control: FDA Stirs Debate By Approving ‘Natural’ App
The Food and Drug Administration took a “big tent” approach earlier this month when it approved two new forms of birth control that prevent pregnancy in very different ways. Women’s health advocates applauded the availability of a new vaginal ring that could be used for up to a year. But some questioned the approval of a mobile phone app that helps women avoid pregnancy by tracking their body temperature and menstrual cycle, a type of contraception called “fertility awareness. (Andrews, 8/21)