Public Health News Roundup: October 26
‘Frankenstorm’ Likely Coming to U.S. East Coast
Forecasters are warning the east coast that Hurricane Sandy coming from the south could intersect with a wintry storm coming from the west to create a “Frankenstorm.” This combination of extreme rain, wind and tides could do as much as $1 billion in damage to the region, according to The Associated Press. Estimates are the storm will start Saturday and last through Halloween. Local governments are already marshaling their post-storm responses, as well as recommending people stock up as best they can on supplies and be prepared to sustain themselves for one to five days. Read more on preparedness.
Don’t Let Flu Myths Keep You from Being Vaccinated
As we move into flu season, health care providers and public health officials across the country are reminding people not to let myths stop them from being vaccinated. Common misconceptions include the belief the vaccine will actually give them the flu or that the current vaccine won’t protect against the current flu strain, according to Health Day. "The vaccine can give you some mild symptoms; you may feel a bit achy and your arm may be a little tender where you first get the shot," said Dennis Cunningham, MD, an infectious diseases doctor at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. "But that's actually a good thing and shows that the vaccine is working. It tells us your body is responding appropriately to the vaccine." The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention especially recommends that young children and older adults receive the flu vaccine. Read more on the flu.
Smokers More Likely to Experience a Second Stroke
Smokers who have a stroke are at higher risk than non-smokers of experiencing another stroke, according to a new study in the journal Stroke. Ex-smokers who had a stroke were also at less risk than smokers. Researchers studied approximately 1,500 stroke patients, comparing data from 1996-1999 to data from a 10-year follow-up. They found that smokers were at 30 percent greater risk of a second stroke or heart attack. Smoking hardens arteries and increases the chance of stroke, according to Rafael Ortiz, MD, director of the Center for Stroke and Neuro-Endovascular Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not a part of the study. "If you're a current smoker, stop, because it predisposes you to having a stroke and if you have a stroke it will have a worse outcome and it predisposes you to have a stroke at an earlier age." Read more on tobacco.