The Hidden Dangers of Protein Powders

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Adding protein powder to a glass of milk or a smoothie may seem like a simple way to boost your health. After, all, protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle, bone strength, and numerous body functions. And many older adults don’t consume enough protein because of a reduced appetite.

But be careful: a scoop of chocolate or vanilla protein powder can harbor health risks. “I don’t recommend using protein powders except in a few instances, and only with supervision,” says registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

What is protein powder?

Protein powders are powdered forms of protein that come from plants (soybeans, peas, rice, potatoes, or hemp), eggs, or milk (casein or whey protein). The powders may include other ingredients such as added sugars, artificial flavoring, thickeners, vitamins, and minerals. The amount of protein per scoop can vary from 10 to 30 grams. Supplements used for building muscle contain relatively more protein, and supplements used for weight loss contain relatively less.

What are the risks?

There are numerous risks to consider when using a protein powder. Among them:

  • A protein powder is a dietary supplement. The FDA leaves it up to manufacturers to evaluate the safety and labeling of products. So, there’s no way to know if a protein powder contains what manufacturers claim.
  • We don’t know the long-term effects. “There are limited data on the possible side effects of high protein intake from supplements,” McManus says.
  • It may cause digestive distress. “People with dairy allergies or trouble digesting lactose [milk sugar] can experience gastrointestinal discomfort if they use a milk-based protein powder,” McManus points out.
  • It may be high in added sugars and calories. Some protein powders have little added sugar, and others have a lot (as much as 23 grams per scoop). Some protein powders wind up turning a glass of milk into a drink with more than 1,200 calories. The risk: weight gain and an unhealthy spike in blood sugar. The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 24 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams for men.

A new risk revealed

Earlier this year, a nonprofit group called the Clean Label Project released a report about toxins in protein powders. Researchers screened 134 products for 130 types of toxins and found that many protein powders contained heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury), bisphenol-A (BPA, which is used to make plastic), pesticides, or other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions. Some toxins were present in significant quantities. For example, one protein powder contained 25 times the allowed limit of BPA.

How could protein powder contain so many contaminants? The Clean Label Project points to manufacturing processes or the existence of toxins in soil (absorbed by plants that are made into protein powders).

Not all of the protein powders that were tested contained elevated levels of toxins. You can see the results at the Clean Label Project’s website (www.cleanlabelproject.org).

Daily protein goals

Aim for the Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein intake: 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams for men. For example:

  • an egg for breakfast (6 grams)
  • 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt at lunch (18 grams)
  • a handful of nuts for a snack (4–7 grams)
  • a cup of milk (8 grams) and 2 ounces of cooked chicken for dinner (14 grams).

What you should do

McManus says that in certain cases, chemical-free protein powders may be helpful—but only with medical supervision. Such cases could include

  • difficulty eating or an impaired appetite (as a result of cancer treatment or frailty from older age)
  • a surgical incision or a pressure wound that is not healing well (your body needs protein to repair cells and make new ones)
  • a serious condition requiring additional calories and protein in order for you to get better (such as burns).

Otherwise, get protein from whole foods: nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese), legumes (beans, lentils), fish, poultry, eggs, and lean meat. “You’ll find,” McManus says, “that there are many ways to get protein without turning to a powder.”

Source: The hidden dangers of protein powders – Harvard Health

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Critics:

Bodybuilding supplements are dietary supplements commonly used by those involved in bodybuilding, weightlifting, mixed martial arts, and athletics for the purpose of facilitating an increase in lean body mass. The intent is to increase muscle, increase body weight, improve athletic performance, and for some sports, to simultaneously decrease percent body fat so as to create better muscle definition.

Among the most widely used are high protein drinks, pre-workout blends, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), glutamine, arginine, essential fatty acids, creatine, HMB, whey protein, ZMA and weight loss products. Supplements are sold either as single ingredient preparations or in the form of “stacks” – proprietary blends of various supplements marketed as offering synergistic advantages.

While many bodybuilding supplements are also consumed by the general public the frequency of use will differ when used specifically by bodybuilders. One meta-analysis concluded that – for athletes participating in resistance exercise training and consuming protein supplements for an average of 13 weeks – total protein intake up to 1.6 g/kg of body weight per day would result in an increase in strength and fat-free mass, but that higher intakes would not further contribute.

In addition to being potentially harmful, some have argued that there is little evidence to indicate any benefit to using bodybuilding protein or amino acid supplements. A 2005 overview concluded that “[i]n view of the lack of compelling evidence to the contrary, no additional dietary protein is suggested for healthy adults undertaking resistance or endurance exercise”.

In dispute of this, a 2017 meta-analysis concluded that for athletes participating in resistance exercise training and consuming protein supplements for an average of 13 weeks, total protein intake up to 1.6 g per kg body weight per day would result in an increase in strength and fat-free mass, i.e. muscle, but that higher intakes would not further contribute. The muscle mass increase was statistically significant but modest – averaging 0.3 for all trials and 1.0 to 2.0 kg, for protein intake ≥ 1.6 g/kg/day.

See also

Vaccine Management Analytics: Will It Be The Next 2021 Data Story?

َAs the world enters the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, actionable insights are more critical than ever. They’re even being prioritized in the new National Strategy for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness alongside executive orders to evaluate progress, monitor outcomes, and support transparency and equity with Americans. As the world rolls out COVID-19 vaccines, the need for accurate and timely vaccination distribution and uptake data is top-of-mind for government leaders, public health organizations, and healthcare providers everywhere.

These metrics are foundational for managing vaccination programs, measuring their effectiveness, and determining our collective progress toward “a blanket of herd immunity,” as described by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor for the Biden Administration.

This is a “wartime effort,” as we’ve heard national leaders state recently, to protect population health—particularly the most vulnerable—as well as to contain the virus as we lower case counts toward zero and to restore Americans’ trust with different discourse. By creating public performance dashboards for more transparency and accountability, and prioritizing a data-driven approach in the efforts and decisions of federal, state and local governments, vaccine management analytics is already the data story of 2021.

Vaccine Management Analytics In The Spotlight

Effective management of any vaccine distribution program requires a holistic picture of the vaccine supply chain, the populations being prioritized, the success rate in reaching those populations, and the strengths and weaknesses of the metrics used to measure progress and performance.

On the path to recovery, government leaders, the public and private sector, and healthcare providers have realized that vaccine administration and management is a complex, evolving process. Expecting we could implement it overnight with a one-size-fits-all approach was unrealistic—some may say foolish—and we must ask some of these important questions as we press forward:

  • Where is the greatest vaccine reluctance based on rate of spread and case count?
  • How do we prioritize population groups for immunization and maintain equity?
  • What level of awareness and understanding exists around vaccine safety and efficacy?
  • How does vaccine supply match demand?
  • In which direction are immunizations tracking and impacting COVID spread?
  • Are vaccine sites known and sufficiently equipped and staffed?

As we create the path to normalcy, with increased access, use and communication with data and analytics, we can elevate our national and local pandemic response and make better vaccine management decisions that have a national and global impact.

For several months, I’ve conversed with government leaders and health officials, considering their concerns and questions and discussing how data analytics can assuage them. With those engagements top-of-mind, I’d like to highlight:

  • Some effective vaccine management dashboard examples that states are leveraging for their needs and situations
  • How some states are using data and analytics to achieve positive outcomes

Using Data To Guide COVID-19 Vaccine Management

The national vaccine effort is one of the greatest operational challenges America has faced. As we prioritize data and visual analytics in our response and resolution, our learnings can help frame how we approach future events and crises. The dashboard examples that I’ll share, containing sample data, demonstrate how data informs vaccine management, but the same analytics principles and approach could be applied to management of other national challenges.

Tracking Performance Against Vaccine Goals

Do you need to pivot local attention to track down more vaccines or other treatment supplies? Are mortality rates on the rise, unexpectedly? Is there a certain community that needs increased attention? Do we need additional marketing and public outreach to overcome vaccine reluctance and hesitancy? These questions and more are weighing on the minds and hearts of our leaders and public health officials and can be explored through solutions like a performance management dashboard, shown below.

By tracking performance in this way, it’s easier to take a snapshot of local progress to see if a state will meet, exceed or fall short of vaccine goals. It is also an effective communication tool for governors, mayors or county executives to be transparent with constituents and the public in their briefings and updates.

Furthermore, with increased plans to expand vaccine manufacturing and purchases, and improve national allocation, distribution, administration and tracking, there will be more data for government leaders to capture, monitor and share for a clearer sense of how localized efforts impact national goals, benchmarks and reporting.

Assessing The Readiness Of Facilities To Administer Vaccines 

This dashboard reflects the readiness of mass vaccine deployment across cities, counties and states because hospitals, medical clinics, pharmacies and other locations have fulfilled administration requirements.

Monitoring COVID-19 Spread In Communities 

With data and analytics, communities can assess resources, know when to order supplies, determine vaccine administration and help leaders understand where to focus their efforts. The sample dashboard below is one example of this, providing a high-level view and giving the option to drill down into certain areas to understand where numbers are higher or lower and determine the best course of action.

Vaccine Management Analytics In Action, Creating Benefit In Local Communities

Each week brings new problems that sometimes compound into more complex problems, so “we can’t take any chances and need to put data to the test,” explained Anthony Young, senior manager, solution engineering, U.S. Public Sector at Tableau Software. After nearly a year of capturing, analyzing and determining where we can gain insights from COVID data, using a data-driven approach with vaccine management will continue to create positive outcomes. For example:

  • Improved patient engagement and understanding of their vaccination responsibility so they successfully follow through with immunization
  • Clearer, more direct, and proactive communication with stakeholders
  • Increased public transparency so people are confident they’re receiving good, truthful data
  • Improved management of vaccination workflows and operations based on demand and need
  • More equitable vaccination through better population prioritization
  • Improved tracking and monitoring with populations of interest

Two government agencies are tracking, analyzing and putting data to work in their own pandemic responses as they focus on keeping citizens informed, engaged safe, and healthy.

  • The Ohio Department of Health published a dashboard, built by the Department of Administrative Services’ InnovateOhio Platform, to keep citizens informed about current trends, key metrics, and its forecast for how mitigation policies will reduce strain on the healthcare system.
  • The Lake County Health Department (LCHD) in Northern Illinois is tackling vaccine orchestration as it promotes resident health. Together with partners, LCHD launched Lake County AllVax Portal, an online vaccine registration and management system, as a single source of truth for the community to track inventory status, spot trends, pinpoint catalysts and inform vaccine resource planning.

“Transparency matters, and data and analytics will combat disinformation, providing the source of truth when citizens need it most,” explained Graham Stroman, my colleague and vice president of sales, U.S. State, and Local Government at Tableau Software. Let’s continue to make data analytics a central tool and effective mouthpiece in our COVID-19 efforts as Americans anxiously await a return to normalcy.

Let’s Rise To The Vaccine Management Challenge With Data And Analytics

March 2020 was more than a year ago, and so much has changed. Could we ever imagine that this is where we would be today? New terms are part of our everyday language: contact tracing, flatten the curve and social distancing. Just like putting on shoes and brushing our teeth, hand sanitizing and putting on masks are part of our daily routines.

Problems have grown and compounded, but innovative solutions, powered by data and analytics, have emerged to solve them and support better decision making and action. I urge the public and private sector, our government leaders and public health officials to continue looking for ways to lead with data.

To learn more about vaccine management analytics and how Tableau or other resources can help you visualize key insights to create a data-driven, effective vaccine response, visit the vaccine management resource page on Tableau.com.

From connection through collaboration, Tableau is the most powerful, secure, and flexible end-to-end analytics platform for your data. Elevate people with the power of data. Designed for the individual, but scaled for the enterprise, Tableau is the only business intelligence platform that turns your data into insights that drive action.

Source: Vaccine Management Analytics: Will It Be The Next 2021 Data Story?

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References

Silverman, Rachel (March 15, 2021). “Waiving vaccine patents won’t help inoculate poorer nations: Voluntary licenses are a more promising way to get vaccines to the developing world”. The Washington Post.

Expert Pharmacist GEMMA FROMAGE Reveals How To Save £200-a-Year On Everyday Essentials

For every condition, there is often a branded over-the-counter remedy we instinctively reach for. And yet there will be a cheaper version with identical contents that could save you a small fortune. Pharmacist GEMMA FROMAGE reveals the definitive guide to the best buys to fill your medicine cabinet.

Painkillers 

Best buys: Aspar Paracetamol 500mg, 16 caplets, 25p, sainsburys.co.uk; Bell’s Ibuprofen 200mg, 16 tablets, 45p, lloydspharmacy.comAnnual saving: £55.20* (Based on the average person buying eight packs of paracetamol a year, and for women, 12 packs of ibuprofen — one for each menstrual period.)

Some branded versions have special coatings, or are contained in soft capsules, and may dissolve more quickly in the body — however, the difference in speed of pain relief will be minimal

Some branded versions have special coatings, or are contained in soft capsules, and may dissolve more quickly in the body — however, the difference in speed of pain relief will be minimal

Expert says: The price of painkillers can vary hugely, yet the own-brand or cheaper versions will contain the same active ingredient in the exact same doses. As a result, they will do the exact same job as any expensive, branded options despite being up to ten times cheaper in some cases.

Some branded versions have special coatings, or are contained in soft capsules, and may dissolve more quickly in the body — however, the difference in speed of pain relief will be minimal.

Also, despite some products claiming to be designed for a specific type of pain, such as migraine or back pain, oral painkillers do not target one type alone, they work throughout the body so it won’t be targeted relief (but gels may offer this, see below).

Paracetamol and ibuprofen work differently: paracetamol can reduce a fever and ease cold and flu symptoms, whereas ibuprofen (which may also ease some of these problems) is an anti-inflammatory and so is beneficial for muscle aches and period pain. 

Antibacterial mouthwash 

Wisdom Chlorhexidine Antibacterial Mouthwash fresh mint

Best buy: Wisdom Chlorhexidine Antibacterial Mouthwash fresh mint, 300ml, £1.49, groceries.asda.com Annual saving: £35.10 (Based on going through ten bottles a year.)

Expert says: Studies have shown that chlorhexidine is the most effective mouthwash ingredient for killing bacteria that cause plaque and lead to gum disease (specifically gingivitis).

Despite the difference of more than £3.50 for the same size bottle of the branded version, the cheapest product contains the same active ingredient and will be just as effective in easing inflammation, swelling and bleeding associated with gum disease.

As with all mouthwash, use at a different time from brushing, as slooshing straight after will wash away most of the protective fluoride in toothpaste.

Allergy tablets

Best buys: Galpharm Cetirizine Hayfever And Allergy Relief, 30 tablets, £1.45, cooppharmacy.coop

Annual saving: £34.20 (Based on getting through four boxes over a year.)

Expert says: With an astounding £8.55 difference in price compared to the leading brand, it is hard to believe that the products contain the exact same 30 tablets of cetirizine at the same dose.

This medicine blocks the effects of histamine in your body, which immune cells release during an allergic response to a perceived irritant, such as pollen, which in turn causes symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. Take one a day.

Rehydration sachets  

Best buy: Asda Rehydration Treatment blackcurrant flavour, six sachets, £2.25, asda.com Annual saving: £6.16 (Based on buying a box four times a year.)

Asda Rehydration Treatment blackcurrant flavour

Asda Rehydration Treatment blackcurrant flavour

Expert says: Rehydration sachets — which you dissolve in a glass of water — contain electrolytes, vital salts such as sodium citrate and potassium chloride which keep the muscles and nervous system functioning properly (as well as sugar for energy). The body loses these as a result of diarrhoea, through dehydration, causing symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and tiredness.

Rehydration salts restore the natural balance of salts and fluid in the body, and help eliminate symptoms of dehydration.

There may be slight differences in the salts themselves, from one more expensive product to the next (and prices can be more than double this Asda option), but the overall effect will be the same.

Adults should mix one sachet with water and drink immediately after a loose bowel motion. (Do not give to children under two unless told to do so by a doctor.) If symptoms persist for more than 48 hours, seek medical advice.

LloydsPharmacy Chloramphenicol Eye Ointment

LloydsPharmacy Chloramphenicol Eye Ointment

Eye ointment

Best buy: LloydsPharmacy Chloramphenicol Eye Ointment, 4g, £4.99, lloydspharmacy.com

Annual saving: £5.22 (Based on buying two tubes a year.)

Expert says: Eye infections such as bacterial conjunctivitis are common, and the ointment used to treat them contains the active ingredient chloramphenicol, an antibiotic which stops the bug from growing and spreading.

There are many versions on pharmacy shelves, but the ointment always contains 1 per cent chloramphenicol (the drops always contain 0.5 per cent).

You apply a small amount to the infected eye three to four times a day for five days. A tube has to be binned 28 days after opening.

Nasal spray

Wilko Decongestant Nasal Spray

Wilko Decongestant Nasal Spray

Best buy: Wilko Decongestant Nasal Spray, 15ml, £1.75, wilko.com

Annual saving: £10.56 (Based on using four a year.)

Expert says: As part of the immune response during a cold, blood vessels swell, membranes become congested, and as a result the nose feels blocked.

Decongestant nasal sprays contain oxymetazoline hydrochloride which can help relieve symptoms by narrowing the small blood vessels in the nose. This brings down the swelling and helps open up the nasal passages to make breathing easier.

All sprays should work within minutes and the effects last for up to 12 hours. Identical sprays can cost up to four times as much.

Cold sore cream

Best buy: Bell’s Lipsore, 2g, £1, wilko.com Annual saving: £20.80 (Based on needing four a year.)

Expert says: At some point an estimated seven in ten of us will be infected with the virus HSV-1 (also known as herpes simplex virus type 1), which causes cold sores.

And once you have the virus, it is always in your body, where it lies dormant and is reactivated by triggers such as sunlight, stress and cold weather.

Treatments can speed up healing or try to halt outbreaks.

One of the most effective over-the-counter remedies is acyclovir, which stops the virus from reproducing, and in turn reduces the duration and severity of blisters.

Some products cost more than six times as much as this cut-price option, for the same size bottle with the same active dose.

Simply apply to the affected area with a cotton bud five times a day. 

Bell’s Lipsore

For cystitis 

Galpharm Cystocalm cystitis relief

Galpharm Cystocalm cystitis relief

Best buy: Galpharm Cystocalm cystitis relief, pack of six, £1.20, wilko.com

Annual saving: £7.40 (Based on using two packets a year.)

Expert says: Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder, usually caused by a bladder infection, which causes acidic urine, irritation and an unpleasant burning sensation when passing water.

An effective remedy like this contains sodium citrate, which will make the urine less acidic, thus providing relief of the symptoms in a few hours — but some remedies can cost four times as much.

Mix with water and drink three times a day.

If you have no improvement in symptoms in three days, suffer regularly, or have blood in your urine, then see your GP. 

Ibuprofen gel 

Best buy: Tesco Ibuprofen Gel, 35g, £1.85, tesco.com

Annual saving: £12.42 (Based on buying three a year.)

Expert says: This anti-inflammatory gel contains 5 per cent ibuprofen — but identical versions can cost from £1.85 to £6 for the same size tube.

The gels are beneficial for massaging into muscular aches and pains.

Unlike oral painkillers, which get into the bloodstream and travel around the body, the ibuprofen in the gel is locally absorbed into the skin where it is applied.

This means that pain relief can be accurately targeted.

Massage the gel into the skin until fully absorbed, up to a maximum of three times a day.

Expert says: This anti-inflammatory gel contains 5 per cent ibuprofen — but identical versions can cost from £1.85 to £6 for the same size tube

Expert says: This anti-inflammatory gel contains 5 per cent ibuprofen — but identical versions can cost from £1.85 to £6 for the same size tube

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Tesco Health Chesty Cough Relief

Tesco Health Chesty Cough Relief

Cough syrup

Best buy: Tesco Health Chesty Cough Relief, 300ml, £2.25, tesco.com

Annual saving: £11.48 (Based on using two bottles a year.)

Expert says: A common ingredient in cough syrups is guaifenesin, which reduces chest congestion caused by colds or infections. It does this by loosening phlegm and making it easier to cough out.

Differences in these cough mixtures tends to be due to ingredients that make it taste better. However, this has no effect on how the product works, yet can cost four times more. 

Cold and flu remedy 

Asda Max Strength Cold & Flu Relief sachets blackcurrant

Asda Max Strength Cold & Flu Relief sachets blackcurrant

Best buy: Asda Max Strength Cold & Flu Relief sachets blackcurrant, pack of ten, £1.59, asda.com

Annual saving: £10.40 (Based on using four boxes a year.)

Expert says: There are several cold and flu sachets on the market and the most effective — such as this Asda option — will contain the painkiller paracetamol and decongestant phenylephrine, which reduces inflammation of the nasal tissue to open the airway. 

Yet some can cost up to four times as much for the same effect. Mix with boiling water and drink every six hours. Don’t use with other medicines containing paracetamol.

Arjun Olive Oil Ear Drops

Arjun Olive Oil Ear Drops

Ear drops

Best buy: Arjun Olive Oil Ear Drops, 10ml, £1.99, weldricks.co.uk

Annual saving: £7.08 (Based on needing three bottles a year.)

Expert says: Ear drops can contain medical-grade olive oil (which, unlike that in your kitchen, is licensed for use in the body) to soften hardened ear wax gently and make it easier to remove via syringing. 

Despite containing just this basic ingredient, some cost up to four times as much.

✱ Annual savings based on a comparison with the most expensive branded products at time of writing. Advertisement Read more:

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6 Conditions That Cause Nasal Polyps

Do you feel like you’ve caught a never-ending cold or a sinus infection that keeps coming back? There may be more going on in your nose than you think. Your symptoms may be caused by nasal polyps: soft, painless growths that hang down like teardrops on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses. These pile on inflammation and block airways. Nasal polyps are not cancer, but they do need to be addressed. Learn about conditions that can contribute to or cause nasal polyps and have an informed conversation with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment.

1. Chronic Sinusitis

If your “sinus infection” goes on for weeks and months, you may have chronic sinusitis, also known as chronic rhinosinusitis or CRS. This condition puts you at greater risk of nasal polyps. In fact, about 20% of the millions of people around the world with chronic sinusitis also have nasal polyps. Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) most often affects people in their 30s and 40s, but it can affect anyone of any age. Tell your doctor if you have a stuffy or runny nose, sinus pressure, or loss of smell or taste for 10 days or more. 

2. Asthma

Up to 39% of those with adult-onset asthma also have nasal polyps. The medical term for having nasal polyps and asthma is “nasal polyps and comorbid asthma,” or “NPcA.” NPcA is considered a severe united airway disease. While having asthma puts you at higher risk of developing nasal polyps, the connection goes both ways: up to 45% of those with nasal polyps go on to develop adult-onset asthma. Anyone with asthma should have regular touchpoints with their doctor to ensure good asthma control, including appropriate management of related conditions.

3. Nasal Allergies

A nasal allergy, or allergic rhinitis, causes inflammation in the nose that can lead to nasal polyps. There are two main types of allergic rhinitis. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is triggered by pollen from grass, weeds, and trees, usually in the spring and fall.  Perennial allergic rhinitis is triggered by animal dander, mold, and dust mites year-round. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis are like the common cold, but they last longer and tend to involve more itchiness in the nose and eyes.

4. Allergic Fungal Sinusitis

Fungi in the environment can cause allergic fungal sinusitis (AFS). Like a nasal allergy, fungi cause inflammation in the nose. They also slow or block the drainage of mucus from the sinuses. AFS can lead to both nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis. One sign of AFS is thick, sticky mucus. Your doctor can take a quick sample of your mucus and test it for AFS. A proper diagnosis is important, because AFS can damage your eyesight and sense of smell if it’s not treated. You can develop allergic fungal sinusitis at any age, but it’s more common in teenagers and young adults.   

5. Aspirin Sensitivity

Aspirin sensitivity can cause life-threatening breathing problems that may exacerbate nasal inflammation and encourage nasal polyps to form. If you have a sensitivity to aspirin or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), plus chronic sinusitis, plus asthma, you have what’s known as aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD). Other common names for the condition are ASA Triad and Sampter’s Triad. Some people with the condition benefit from aspirin desensitization. It’s a process in which your doctor exposes you to a small dose of aspirin that is increased gradually to raise your tolerance until your sensitivity is gone.

6. Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis, or CF, is a genetic disorder that causes mucus to build up in the body and block the airways. This leads to lung infections, breathing problems, and nasal polyps. Nasal polyps develop in up to 60% of people who have cystic fibrosis. Doctors can use a few different tests to diagnosis cystic fibrosis, and 75% of people who have it are diagnosed by the time they’re two years old.

There’s a lot to learn about what’s causing your nasal discomfort and polyps. Fortunately, there are also lots of treatments that can give you relief. Look for a doctor who will listen to your unique experience and work through the complexities of your specific case with you. Was this helpful?

Evelyn Creekmore Evelyn Creekmore has more than 15 years of experience writing online educational health content, including nearly 10 years full-time at WebMD, where she was the director of brand content. She holds an MPH in Applied Public Health Informatics from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and an MA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: 2020 Mar 19

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Nebraska Medicine Nebraska Medical Center

Dr. Christie Barnes, an ENT specialist, at Nebraska Medicine discusses what nasal polyps are, how they form and what treatment options are available. For more about Dr. Barnes: http://doctors.nebraskamed.com/doctor…

FDA Approves Remdesivir For Covid-19 Treatment

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved remdesivir as a treatment for hospitalized coronavirus patients, Gilead Sciences said, making it the first FDA-approved drug for Covid-19.

Key Facts

The drug was previously granted an emergency use authorization in May, which allowed healthcare providers to administer the treatment even though it wasn’t formally approved by the FDA.

Remdesivir, which is sold under the brand name Veklury, “should only be administered in a hospital or in a healthcare setting capable of providing acute care comparable to inpatient hospital care,” Gilead said.

The drug is approved for adults and children 12 and older weighing at least 88 lbs. for coronavirus treatment requiring hospitalization.

Clinical trial data has been mixed: A randomized trial from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases found remdesivir improved recovery time, but a study from the World Health Organization, which has not yet been peer reviewed, found last week the drug did not increase the chances of survival or result in faster recovery.

Gilead shares jumped 3.8% in after hours trading following the announcement. 

Crucial Quote

“It is incredible to be in the position today, less than one year since the earliest case reports of the disease now known as COVID-19, of having an FDA-approved treatment in the U.S. that is available for all appropriate patients in need,” said Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day in a statement.

PROMOTED Business Reporter BrandVoice | Paid Program Covid-Proof Your Portfolio With Fine Wine Investment Jumio BrandVoice | Paid Program It Takes More Than An ID Check To Outsmart Cybercriminals Mitsubishi Heavy Industries BrandVoice | Paid Program Oil & Gas Outlook – Embracing Change From Now To 2040

Key Background

President Donald Trump took remdesivir when being treated for the coronavirus earlier this month. Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tipRachel SandlerI’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. I’ve previously reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

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Remdesivir is a prodrug of an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) analog, with potential antiviral activity against a variety of RNA viruses. Upon administration, remdesivir, being a prodrug, is metabolized into its active form GS-441524. As an ATP analog, GS-441524 competes with ATP for incorporation into RNA and inhibits the action of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. This results in the termination of RNA transcription and decreases viral RNA production.

Remdesivir has an FDA Emergency Use Authorization for use in adults and children with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in hospital with an SpO2 ≤94%.[L13239] This is not the same as an FDA approval.[L12609] The FDA Emergency Use Authorization suggests a loading dose of 200mg once daily in patients ≥ 40 kg or 5 mg/kg once daily in patients 3.5 kg to less than 40 kg, followed by a maintenance dose of 100mg once daily in patients ≥ 40 kg or 2.5 mg/kg once daily in patients 3.5 kg to less than 40 kg.[L13239] Patients not needing invasive mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) should be treated for 5 days (including the loading dose on day 1), up to 10 days if they do not show improvement.[L13239] Patients requiring invasive mechanical ventilation or ECMO should be treated for 10 days.[L13239]

Clinical trials used a regimen of 200mg once daily on the first day, followed by 100mg once daily for another 9 days.[A191931,L12174,L12177] Early data suggests that some patients may benefit from only 5 days of treatment.[A198810] Remdesivir was originally investigated as a treatment for Ebola virus, but has potential to treat a variety of RNA viruses.[A191379] Its activity against the coronavirus (CoV) family of viruses, such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, was described in 2017,[A191382] and it is also being investigated as a potential treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infections.[A191427,A193254]

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CNBC Television 1M subscribers The FDA has approved Gilead’s Remdesivir as a Covid-19 treatment. Previously, the drug was approved only for emergency authorization. Gilead stock was up 4 percent after the news. Meg Tirrell joins ‘Closing Bell’ to discuss. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic Turn to CNBC TV for the latest stock market news and analysis. From market futures to live price updates CNBC is the leader in business news worldwide. The News with Shepard Smith is CNBC’s daily news podcast providing deep, non-partisan coverage and perspective on the day’s most important stories. Available to listen by 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm PT daily beginning September 30: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/29/the-n… Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: http://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: https://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: https://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: https://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBChttps://www.cnbc.com/select/best-cred…#CNBC

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Don’t Judge Your Mucus By Its Color

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A friend made an offhand comment the other day that caught me off-guard: “When I blow my nose, it’s green, so I’m calling my doctor for some antibiotics.”

I thought this myth had been debunked long ago. In fact, it has been well established that you cannot rely on the color or consistency of nasal discharge to distinguish viral from bacterial sinus infections, or even whether you’re dealing with an infection at all. Seasonal allergies are a good example. They can cause all sorts of nasal discharge — thick or thin, yellow, green, or clear — even though there’s no infection at all.

Why mucus?

Before getting into why my friend’s nasal discharge might be green, it’s worth thinking a bit about why we have mucus in the first place. And we do have a lot of mucus: the lining of the nose and sinuses makes a liter or more per day!

There are a number of reasons, including:

  • Think of mucus as the body’s own moisturizer. It’s found on the tissues within the body, such as the lining of the nose, sinuses, and mouth, that come into contact with elements from the outside world. These lining tissues, also called “mucosa,” have a tendency to dry out and crack if there is too little moisture so mucous serves an important role in keeping these tissues healthy.
  • Providing a barrier. Mucus is thick and sticky, so it can trap dust, bacteria, or other unwanted passersby in our environment and prevent them from entering the body.
  • Immune Protection. Mucus also contains elements of the immune system (such as white blood cells and antibodies) that kill any bothersome trespassers it catches.

There may even be other functions of mucus that haven’t been discovered.

Under normal circumstances, we barely notice its existence. And when we do notice, we generally think of it as disgusting or annoying, even when there’s more of it or it’s changing color only because it’s doing its job (as with allergies or infections). It’s fair to say that given all it does for us, mucus doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

Why so thick? Why so green?

When the white blood cells in the mucosa encounter an irritant or infectious organism, they respond by producing enzymes to repel the invaders. These enzymes contain iron, and that’s what gives the nasal discharge the green color. And if the mucus sits around (as when you’re sleeping), it becomes more concentrated and so may appear darker yellow or green. This is the natural order of things, whether the offending agent is a virus (which is the most common cause of sinus infection) or a bacterium.

Why does my doctor give me antibiotics for green mucus?

Good question! If most sinus infections are viral, and viral infections will not improve with antibiotics, it makes little sense to treat every episode of thick, green mucus with antibiotics. Yet some patients request it and many doctors continue to prescribe them. It’s likely that the improvement that follows antibiotic treatment would have happened even without antibiotics; yet that sequence of events tends to perpetuate the idea that antibiotics are necessary.

There are times when antibiotics should be considered. For example, antibiotics might be worth considering when

  • the infection drags on for more than 10 days, or if it gets worse after a week
  • the discharge is thick and uniformly white (that is, it looks like pus)
  • there is a high fever that isn’t improving
  • there are severe symptoms that do not respond to the usual over-the-counter sinus and cold remedies.

Each case is different. So, talk to your doctor if your sinus symptoms have you thinking you may need antibiotics.

The bottom line

If you’re prone to sinus infections or bothersome sinus discharge, remember these two things:

  1. Mucus is underappreciated.
  2. Most sinus symptoms are due to viral infections or allergies, not bacterial infections.

My friend shouldn’t expect to get antibiotics just because his mucus is thick and green. And it’s likely that if he does take antibiotics and recovers, the latter had little to do with the former.

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

By:

Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu

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https://www.FauquierENT.net – This animation goes over the many reasons for constant throat mucus production that lasts not just for days, but months or even years. Such phlegm production often triggers throat clearing, cough, or just plain hocking up and spitting. Often this issue is incorrectly blamed on post-nasal drainage which only accounts for a small percentage of patients. There are 5 main diagnostic groupings described.
For more info on this condition: https://www.FauquierENT.net/phlegmymu…
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Coronavirus Pandemic May Change Care For Some Allergy Patients After Severe Reactions

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Families of children with food allergies know to inject epinephrine if they have a severe reaction, but the playbook for next steps may shift for some patients as coronavirus fears make them skittish about seeking emergency medical care.

Instead of automatically calling 911 after administering epinephrine, a modified plan suggests some families may be able to manage symptoms at home after injecting epinephrine, unless symptoms persist or worsen — but only after doctors and patients discuss the risks and benefits, said Dr. Thomas Casale, chief medical advisor for operations at the nonprofit Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

About 5.6 million U.S. children have food allergies, and 20% of them had an emergency-room visit in the last year due to a life-threatening reaction to food, according to FARE. Adults comprise more than 26 million of the 32 million Americans with food allergies. Severe and even fatal allergic reactions to food can happen at any age, but teenagers and young adults are at highest risk of death. Every year, food-related allergic reactions require 200,000 people to seek emergency medical care.

If patients are worried about potential exposure to Covid-19, Casale advises they talk with their allergists or physicians through telehealth visits, if possible, to review or revise their emergency plan during the coronavirus crisis.

Depending on local and personal factors, a modified plan may involve managing a severe reaction with autoinjectors such as EpiPens and careful follow-up at home instead of calling 911 after injecting the first dose of epinephrine, he said.

“We came to these conclusions to a large extent because a lot of patients were asking us what to do….because there’s great apprehension about going to the E.R.”

“It’s got to be a shared decision between patient and doctor and what’s appropriate for them,” he said.

Not a universal recommendation

Doctors can evaluate appropriateness based on the patient’s medical history, patient and caregiver knowledge and comfort, local Covid-19 burden and access to emergency services, he noted.  A patient in hard-hit New York City or an emerging hotspot, for example, may be more reluctant to seek emergency care than one in a small town that’s relatively untouched by Covid-19.

The modified algorhithm is not a universal recommendation, said Dr. Julie Wang, professor of pediatrics at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in N.Y. “It’s not a blanket plan for all allergy patients.”

It provides guidance to doctors based on local risk assessment, she said. “There has to be an assurance that families will be capable and will be adherent and there will be at least two epinephrine autoinjectors available.”

It also comes with a kind of black box warning for patients who have had a severe reaction in the past that required intubation, ventilation or treatment with more than two doses of epinephrine. Patients who meet these criteria should activate emergency services immediately after injecting epinephrine, as usual.

What’s more, the most important medical advice for anaphylaxis treatment remains the same, Wang said.

“Epinephrine is and always was the first choice to treat anaphylaxis,” she said. “The number one recommendation is that epinephrine needs to be used early, and that has not changed and will not be changed.”

The modifications come at a time when Americans dramatically altered their use of emergency room care, according to data released early on June 3 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Visits to emergency departments dropped 42% in April 2020 compared with April 2019 as the pandemic took hold, the CDC found. Decreases were most striking among children 14 and younger, women and people in the Northeast over those four weeks.

How it works

The pandemic-revised management protocol, published April 18 as an editorial in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, has six steps. The first step is the same as the standard protocol: Inject epinephrine immediately upon signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, keeping a telephone within reach. Note the time the dose was given.

It helps to remain as calm as possible. Prompt treatment with epinephrine, also called adrenaline, is associated with better outcomes. Anaphylaxis can be unpredictable, causing a range of signs and symptoms including shortness of breath, wheezing, hoarseness, trouble breathing or swallowing. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, vomiting, faintness, dizziness, hives, and confusion or a feeling of doom.

After the first injection, alert a housemate or neighbor to the patient’s distress to recruit assistance. Next, the patient should lie down with legs elevated near an unlocked or open doorway to allow easy access in case people need to enter to help, according to the modified protocol.

Patients and caregivers should know they can call 911 any time after initial epinephrine use if symptoms escalate or they feel additional medical intervention is needed, said Casale, first author of the paper.

Families should not let fear of Covid-19 paralyze them, said Wang, also an author of the modified protocol. “If a patient needs to go to the hospital emergency room, there are enhanced measures in place” for safety. “We do not want patients to avoid seeing doctors…because of this concern.”

At this point, patients sticking with the home management plan can be administered an oral antihistamine such as cetirizine, although be aware it takes much longer to work and doesn’t work as well as epinephrine, Casale said. Patients with respiratory symptoms can use their prescribed albuterol inhaler for relief.

The final step is monitoring symptoms. Families that have home blood pressure monitors are encouraged to use them. If the top number (systolic) of the reading drops below 90 and the low number (diastolic) dips below 60, that’s typically low for a patient over age three, Casale said. Low blood pressure combined with a high pulse rate are warning signs of a more severe reaction, he said.

Don’t have a blood pressure monitor at home or don’t have a child size cuff? Watch for signs of low blood pressure, including dizziness or lightheadedness; nausea; fainting; lack of concentration; blurred vision; and cold, clammy, pale skin.

If symptoms improve after the first epinephrine injection, call your doctor on a non-urgent basis, according to the algorithm. If there is no improvement after five minutes, give the second injection, Casale said. “If symptoms don’t resolve after five minutes, then call 911. If they do, then notify your physician this has happened.”

Recovering patients need to be monitored for a potential biphasic reaction, a recurrence of symptoms within four to six hours after recovery. Caregivers may need to call the doctor once the patient’s initial severe reaction has resolved to request a refill of epinephrine autoinjectors to prepare for this possibility.

Plan ahead to reduce anxiety

Even before the pandemic, FARE has offered a Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan and algorithm that doctors can customize for patients with known allergies. It can be used as a benchmark for recommended treatment in case a child has an allergic reaction. Some schools require students with allergies to keep a copy at the office or to go along on field trips. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a similar customizable document that can walk people through what to do in case of a mild to severe allergic reaction.

The last thing you want is added anxiety when minutes count. Planning ahead can ease the mental load during a crisis. Epinephrine autoinjectors are dispensed in sets of two in case the patient needs to have a second dose, so keep them stored together in original packaging where they’re easy to find and ready for use. Make sure they’re not expired.

The pandemic protocol modifications aren’t for everyone, and patients considering this route should seek input from their doctor, Casale said.

“You need to discuss this with your physician ahead of time so you’re not making these decisions when you’re having an acute problem,” he said.

I am a journalist whose work has appeared in national newspapers and media. Previously, I covered healthcare and personal finance for MarketWatch.com, part of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, where I wrote the Vital Signs column and Health Matters blog. I have won a feature writing award and an explanatory journalism award from the Society of Professional Journalists-Northern California. My reporting has taken me to Canada and Sweden, among other places. I had the good fortune to participate in the International Longevity Center’s Age Boom Academy, led by the late Dr. Robert Butler, founding director of the National Institute on Aging. In addition, I am an occupational therapist working in geriatrics. My interests converge around trying to help people practice prevention and manage costs, symptoms and complexity when health conditions arise.

Source: http://www.forbes.com

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How to tell the difference between an allergy outbreak and symptoms of COVID-19? This video summarizes the differences. Stay safe. Visit https://potential.com/coronavirus/ and find simple and practical information from reliable international sources regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Scientists Raise Questions About Moderna Vaccine In Market-Shaking Report

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Vaccine experts expressed skepticism about the Covid-19 vaccine trial results announced by biotech company Moderna on Monday, telling the medical publication Stat News that the company has yet to release significant data to support its claim that its drug successfully produced antibodies in human trials.

KEY FACTS

On Monday Moderna announced in a press release that “positive” data was collected from an early-stage human trial of a coronavirus vaccine, sending its stock valuation and the Dow Jones surging.

But two vaccine experts interviewed by Stat noted that Moderna has yet to publish its studies in scientific journals, and pointed out that the company disclosed results from only eight of the 45 subjects, meaning the majority of the outcomes remains unknown.

The Stat report sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling in its final hour of trading Tuesday afternoon as skepticism over the vaccine’s readiness hit the market.

The experts also noted the silence from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, Moderna’s partner in developing the vaccine, which declined to comment on the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company’s Monday announcement, which is abnormal for the institute that usually tauts its success, according to Stat.

“When a company like Moderna with such incredibly vast resources says they have generated SARS-2 neutralizing antibodies in a human trial, I would really like to see numbers from whatever assay they are using,” John “Jack” Rose, a vaccine researcher from Yale University, told Stat.

It remains unclear whether the Covid-19 antibodies produced by the body as a result of vaccination are as good as antibodies produced by the body from surviving coronavirus.

When Stat asked Moderna about this, they said antibody level information “will be disclosed in an eventual journal article from NIAID.”

Chief Critic

“It’s a bit of a concern that they haven’t published the results of any of their ongoing trials that they mention in their press release. They have not published any of that,” Johns Hopkins University vaccine researcher Anna Durbin told Stat.

Key Background

On Monday, Moderna announced “positive” results from an early-stage human trial of their preventative COVID-19 vaccine, driving stock market gains, which boosted Moderna’s market cap to a $29 billion valuation—without a single product on the market— according to Stat.

Moderna is expected to launch a phase 2 trial of the vaccine in the coming weeks, with phase three expected to occur in July. Moderna has yet to mention when the vaccine will be available to consumers. Though the company received $500 million in federal cash to bring the vaccine to market, and do so fast, according to Forbes. And the new co-chair of the White House vaccine project is Moncef Slaoui, a former Moderna executive, who reportedly divested his $12.4 million in Moderna stock options on Monday.

Moderna’s vaccine works by using mRNA (“messenger RNA”) that when injected, signals the body to produce Covid-19 antibodies without actually making the person sick from Covid-19. But there are over 100 other companies working to develop a coronavirus vaccine, with eight (including Moderna) at the human trial phase, according to the World Health Organization.

Further Reading

Vaccine experts say Moderna didn’t produce data critical to assessing Covid-19 vaccine (Stat)

Moderna Reveals ‘Positive’ Data In Coronavirus Vaccine Trial, Markets Spike (Forbes)

FDA ‘Fast Tracks’ First Coronavirus Vaccine From Moderna (Forbes)

Fueled By $500 Million In Federal Cash, Moderna Races To Make A Billion Doses Of An Unproven Cure (Forbes)

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

Send me a secure tip.

I’m the Under 30 Editorial Community Lead at Forbes. Previously, I directed marketing at a mobile app startup. I’ve also worked at The New York Times and New York Observer. I attended the University of Pennsylvania where I studied English and creative writing. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @iamsternlicht.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

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The results of one small study on a possible coronavirus vaccine with humans are in, and they appear to show encouraging results. Reporting for TODAY, NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres says “we’re keeping our fingers crossed.” » Subscribe to TODAY: http://on.today.com/SubscribeToTODAY » Watch the latest from TODAY: http://bit.ly/LatestTODAY About: TODAY brings you the latest headlines and expert tips on money, health and parenting. We wake up every morning to give you and your family all you need to start your day. If it matters to you, it matters to us. We are in the people business. Subscribe to our channel for exclusive TODAY archival footage & our original web series. Connect with TODAY Online! Visit TODAY’s Website: http://on.today.com/ReadTODAY Find TODAY on Facebook: http://on.today.com/LikeTODAY Follow TODAY on Twitter: http://on.today.com/FollowTODAY Follow TODAY on Instagram: http://on.today.com/InstaTODAY Follow TODAY on Pinterest: http://on.today.com/PinTODAY #Vaccine #Coronavirus #TodayShow

Hay Fever or Coronavirus? For Allergy Sufferers, a Pollen Season of Extra Worries Is Starting Up

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(HAMBURG, Pa.) — The spring breezes of 2020 are carrying more than just tree pollen. There’s a whiff of paranoia in the air.

For millions of seasonal allergy sufferers, the annual onset of watery eyes and scratchy throats is bumping up against the global spread of a new virus that produces its own constellation of respiratory symptoms. Forecasters are predicting a brutal spring allergy season for swaths of the U.S. at the same time that COVID-19 cases are rising dramatically.

That’s causing angst for people who never have had to particularly worry about their hay fever, other than to stock up on antihistamines, decongestants and tissues. Now they’re asking: Are these my allergies? Or something more sinister?

Read more: Mapping the Spread of the Coronavirus Outbreak Around the U.S. and the World

“Everyone is sort of analyzing every sneeze and cough right now,” said Kathy Przywara, who manages an online community of allergy sufferers for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Never mind the differing symptoms — that sneezing and runny nose, hallmarks of hay fever, are not typically associated with COVID-19, which commonly produces coughing, fever and in more serious cases shortness of breath. Never mind that allergies don’t cause fevers. Allergy sufferers fret that there’s just enough overlap to make them nervous.

Keep up to date with our daily coronavirus newsletter by clicking here.

Allergy season is already underway in Oceanside, California, where Ampie Convocar is dealing with a runny nose, sinus pain and headache, and an urge to sneeze. Last year, she would’ve considered her symptoms mere annoyance. Now they cause tremendous anxiety. People with asthma, like Convocar, are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

“I consider it as something that could kill me because of COVID-19 floating around,” Convocar said via email. With a family member still traveling to work every day, she said, “I don’t know what he got out there.”

Many garden-variety hay fever sufferers, of whom there are about 19 million adults in the U.S., are also on heightened alert. They’re taking their temperatures each day, just in case. They’re hiding their sneezes and sniffles from suspicious colleagues and grossed-out grocery shoppers. They’re commiserating with each other and sharing memes on social media.

Pamela Smelser is reminded of allergy season every time she looks out the window of her home office, where her cherry tree is blooming. Spring came early to Maryland, she said, and lots of people are coughing and sneezing from the pollen.

“You do what you have to do: You take your meds for allergies and stay away from people,” Smelser said. “People get really hinky about coughing right now.”

Though she’s had allergies for years, Smelser, a semi-retired social worker and community college teacher outside Baltimore, admits to being a touch paranoid. She takes her temperature every day because she’s 66 and, well, you can never be too careful. “I can’t rule out that I have anything,” she said. “That’s the paranoia: You can’t even get a test to say, ‘This is all seasonal allergies.’”

In Pennsylvania, pear trees are budding, red maple are beginning to flower and Leslie Haerer’s allergies are already in full bloom. The 64-year-old retired nurse, who lives about an hour north of Philadelphia, is coping with a scratchy throat, an urge to sneeze and a headache behind the eyes.

As a medical professional, Haerer knows her symptoms are attributable to her allergies. She also knows that other people are “really flipped out about this,” including the scowling family of three who saw her sneeze into her elbow outside a Chinese restaurant and, instead of continuing on to their destination — the pizza shop next door — got in their car and sped away.

“I was like, ‘I’m sorry you missed your pizza,’” Haerer said. “People’s reactions are just over the top.”

Read more: Will the Coronavirus Ever Go Away? Here’s What One of the WHO’s Top Experts Thinks

In Austin, Texas, where pollen counts are high, Marty Watson initially dismissed his itchy eyes, mild headache, coughing and sneezing as the product of a tree allergy, even after his temperature became slightly elevated. Then, in mid-March, he realized he could no longer smell a pungent sourdough starter, and friends began sending him news stories that said a loss of smell sometimes accompanied a coronavirus infection.

“Austin is notorious for all sorts of allergies, and it became really hard to tell: Is it this? Is it that?” said Watson, 52.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

As allergy season ramps up in Pennsylvania, Dr. Laura Fisher, an allergist in Lancaster, expects an influx of worried patients. She is advising them to keep up with their medications, stay at home as much as possible and monitor for symptoms that seem unrelated to their allergies.

“I think people are more afraid of catching it, more afraid of going out and getting it from the grocery store or drive-thru, than they are of their usual symptoms being COVID,” said Fisher, president of the Pennsylvania Allergy and Asthma Association.

Jessica Tanniehill initially blew off her symptoms as allergy-related. Tanniehill, 39, of Adamsville, Alabama, started with a runny nose and sneezing. Body aches and a cough came next, following by shortness of breath. She thought her seasonal allergies had led to a bout of anxiety, nothing more, especially since she’d been outside all day doing yard work and washing her truck. “I didn’t take it seriously,” she said.

Turns out she’d contracted COVID-19 — which doesn’t preclude the possibility that she’d had allergies as well.

Tanniehill, who’s now on the mend, acknowledged that she “was one of the people that was saying they’re overreacting to all this. But now I wish I was more careful.”

 By Associated Press March 30, 2020 2:24 PM EDT

Source: Hay Fever or Coronavirus?

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Researchers may have found a cure for the peanut allergy

New research out of Australia appears to have found a way to train the human body to overcome a peanut allergy, one of the most common and deadly allergies in the world. The discovery was made at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Victoria, where a team of researchers treated children with an experimental immunotherapy treatment…

via Researchers may have found a cure for the peanut allergy — Quartz

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