STDs Increase in California By 45% Over the Last Five Years

15 May 2018

Sexually transmitted diseases dramatically increase in California – San Francisco Chronicle, 2018/05/14

The internet has helped love bloom for many couples, but it’s also played a role in a 45 percent jump in sexually transmitted diseases over five years in California, a surge not seen in nearly three decades, health officials said Monday.

More than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and early syphilis were reported in California in 2017, a 45 percent increase compared with five years ago, according to a report by the California Department of Public Health.


Dr. James Watt, chief of the division of communicable disease control for the Department of Health, said social media played a significant role by helping people find anonymous sex partners.

“It makes it easier for people to meet people they don’t already know to have sex,” Watt said. “The internet allows for a broadening of sexual networks, and the broader that gets the more opportunity you have for sexually transmitted diseases to spread.”

The jump is all the more alarming for health officials considering that sexually transmitted diseases have increased every year for six years.

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Bathroom Hot Air Dryers: Saves Paper, Spreads Germs Per Study

19 Apr 2018

Hot-air dryers suck in nasty bathroom bacteria and shoot them at your handsARS Technica, 2018/04/06

Hot-air dryers suck in bacteria and hardy bacterial spores loitering in the bathroom—perhaps launched into the air by whooshing toilet flushes—and fire them directly at your freshly cleaned hands, according to a study published in the April issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The authors of the study, led by researchers at the University of Connecticut, found that adding HEPA filters to the dryers can reduce germ-spewing four-fold. However, the data hints that places like infectious disease research facilities and healthcare settings may just want to ditch the dryers and turn to trusty towels.


The research findings largely square with other data showing that hot-air dryers and jet dryers can launch and disperse germs from hands into the air and onto surfaces—essentially setting off a very dirty bathroom bomb. But the new study clearly demonstrates that the less powerful hot-air dryers can also bathe hands with germs already swirling in the wash room.

The researchers speculated that “one reason hand dryers may disperse so many bacteria is the large amount of air that passes through hand dryers, 19,000 linear feet/min at the nozzle. The convection generated by high airflow below the hand dryer nozzles could also draw in room air.”

That does not give me the warm fuzzies… paper it is.


Are Antibiotics Making Us Susceptible to Illness

28 Mar 2018

The world keeps using more antibiotics and it’s making us sick – Philadelphia Inquirer, 2018/03/26

Patients with a fever or congested lungs increasingly are being discouraged from taking antibiotics in the United States, and that’s a good thing. Those symptoms often are caused by viruses, in which case antibiotics — which kill bacteria — are the wrong approach.

But a new study finds that although antibiotics use has declined somewhat in the U.S., the nation remains the leading user of the drugs worldwide, with 3.3 billion doses administered in 2015. As many as one-third of these doses are thought to have been inappropriate, leading to the rise of “superbugs” — bacteria that develop resistance to the medicines.


But too often, antibiotics are deployed against infections that would be better addressed with preventive measures such as sanitation, said Klein, also an assistant professor of emergency medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University.


Antibiotics promote resistance in this way: Though they may be effective against a specific organism that is causing disease, they kill other microbes in the process. That means clear sailing for any remaining bacteria that were resistant to the drug, enabling them to multiply.

And contrary to popular perception, that problem can arise even when antibiotics are used appropriately, Temple’s Gallagher said.

We still have immune systems in our body, right? Sounds like these drugs compromise our immune systems from functioning optimally.  I take very little medicine, and usually let the pain work its way out.  When I do take medicine, I don’t need much and it works pretty quickly.


Going on a Cruise? … Beware

8 Mar 2018

More cruise ships than ever are flunking health inspections – NY post, 2018/03/07

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that 15 ships out of 250 failed crucial health checks.

This is a steep rise on 2016 when just four ships failed checks and amounts to six percent of cruise ships.


The body’s public health inspections check the cleanliness of each ship’s water, the preparation of food, pest control, the health and hygiene of employees, and the measures to stop disease breaking out on board.

Ships failed tests for several reasons, such as crew members working with contagious bugs like gastroenteritis.

Five of Carnival Cruise Lines’ ships failed checked – their liners sail to destinations like the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Mexico.


Jim Kelly’s Throat Cancer Has Returned

1 Mar 2018

Jim Kelly is the former NFL QB with the Buffalo Bills who was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2013, and was told he was cancer-free in 2014.

… Jim Kelly announces his oral cancer has returned

“As our family has faced many trials and triumphs throughout the years, you have blessed us with your prayers. We are asking for those prayers once again.

“The oral cancer we hoped would be gone forever has returned. Although I was shocked and deeply saddened to receive this news, I know that God is with me. I continuously talk about the four Fs. Faith, Family, Friends and Fans. With all of you by my side, we will fight and win this battle together. Staying “Kelly Tough” and trusting God, will carry us through this difficult time.”


Trump Administration Exploring Mental Health Coverage Changes

27 Feb 2018

Trump administration weighs mental health coverage option – ABC News, 2018/02/27

Amid the outcry over the Florida school shootings, the Trump administration says it is “actively exploring” ways to help states expand inpatient mental health treatment using Medicaid funds.


Organizations representing state officials and people with mental illness say no one wants to go back to warehousing patients. But they also say that federal action is needed to reverse a decades-old law known as the “IMD exclusion,” which bars Medicaid from paying for treatment in mental health facilities with more than 16 beds. IMD stands for “institution for mental diseases.”


Last year a government advisory panel recommended repealing Medicaid’s IMD exclusion, and the idea has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. But the cost of full repeal has been estimated at $40 billion to $60 billion over 10 years, daunting for lawmakers. State waivers may provide a more manageable path.


Trump Administration Introduces Plan to Reduce Health Care Costs

8 Jan 2018

Trump Drives Another Nail Into Obamacare’s Coffin – American Spectator, 2018/01/08

The new regulation, which was published in the Federal Register on January 5, will be available for public comment for 60 days. When it goes into effect, it will allow small employers to band together for the purpose of buying health insurance in the large group market. Specifically, it will “allow employers to form small business health plans based on geography or industry” and permit such plans “to serve employers in a state, city, county or a multi-state metro area.” It can be used to “serve all the businesses in a particular industry nationwide,” and also allows sole proprietors to join small business health plans.


The impetus for the new AHP rule was provided by Executive Order 13813, “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” issued by President Trump last October. Among the EO’s goals was “to facilitate the purchase of insurance across state lines and the development and operation of a healthcare system that provides high-quality care at affordable prices for the American people.”

Here’s the official Dept. of Labor press release.

Small companies burdened because they can’t take advantage of pricing advantages that are made to large corporations will be glad to see this.