Health Watch: Rabies vaccine supplies ‘limited’

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Rabies shots being saved for animal bites

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a shortfall in the rabies vaccine is leading to supplies being saved for people who have been bitten by animals, as opposed to for preventative measures.

The shortfall does not affect rabies vaccines for animals, and the CDC recommends people vaccinate their pets. Other ways to prevent rabies:

- Do not let pets roam free.

- Don't feed or water pets outside -- even empty bowls attract wild animals.

- Keep garbage securely covered.

- Do not keep wild animals as pets.

- Never handle unfamiliar or wild animals, even if they appear friendly.

- If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to animal control officials.

- Bat proof your home in the fall and winter.

Cancer 'cure' in mice to be tested in humans

Scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center are about to begin a human trial to test whether a new cancer treatment will be as effective at eradicating cancer in humans as it has proven to be in mice.

The treatment will involve transfusing specific white blood cells, called granulocytes, into patients with advanced forms of cancer. A similar treatment using white blood cells from cancer-resistant mice has previously been highly successful, curing 100 percent of lab mice afflicted with advanced malignancies.

The study, given the go-ahead by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will involve treating human cancer patients with white blood cells from healthy young people whose immune systems produce cells with high levels of cancer-fighting activity.

Health Tip

Bedbugs are insects that lurk in the cracks and crevices of mattresses, box springs, headboards and furniture by day and emerge at night to feed on their sleeping victims. These hitchhikers can spread from city to city or continent to continent by crawling into luggage or attaching to clothing. 

Summer travelers can protect themselves by doing the following:

- Check around headboards, mattresses and box springs for bedbugs and the dark blood spots they leave behind.

- Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture.

- Do not unpack clothing and store them in the hotel's furniture drawers.

- Do not allow your baggage to sit on the floor. Store it on a luggage rack as far from the bed as possible.

- Do not take a personal pillow, blankets or sheets on a trip. Bedbugs can hide in these and be brought home.

- Use a plastic trash bag to seal your luggage while at the hotel. This will help keep bedbugs out.

- When returning home, leave luggage in the garage or basement until you are able to thoroughly inspect it for bedbugs.

- Vacuum suitcases when returning from trips and immediately wash clothing in hot water.


Number to Know: 294,000

Approximately 294,000 children younger than 18 are affected by pediatric arthritis and rheumatologic conditions, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Juvenile arthritis refers to any form of arthritis or an arthritis-related condition that develops in children or teenagers who are less than 18 years of age.

The List

The American Heart Association has a list of the top “heart friendly” U.S. cities for women.

The ratings are based on heart disease death rates, factors that make heart disease more likely (including obesity, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol), heart-healthy habits (including healthy eating and regular exercise), and access to medical care.

Here are the 10 most heart-friendly major metro areas:

1. Minneapolis-St. Paul

2. Washington, D.C.

3. San Francisco Bay area

4. Denver

5. Boston

6. Seattle-Tacoma, Wash.

7. Portland, Ore.

8. San Diego

9. Los Angeles

10. Phoenix

Children’s Health

Swimming is a fun summer activity for kids, but keeping them safe needs to be a priority. Here are some tips from the American Association of Pediatrics about pool safety.

- Install a fence at least 4 feet high around all four sides of the pool.

- Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can't reach.

- Never leave children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.

- Keep rescue equipment and a portable telephone near the pool.

- Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as "floaties." They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children a false sense of security.

- Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within arm's length, providing "touch supervision."

Senior Health

Older adults with type 2 diabetes may have a steeper mental decline as they age, a study led by Harvard Medical School suggests.

Diabetes is known to raise the risk of a number of major health problems, including heart disease and kidney failure. More recently, studies have also linked diabetes to speedier mental decline and dementia in older adults.

These latest findings, published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, confirm those earlier reports -- and suggest that the longer a person has had diabetes, the more substantial the cognitive decline over time.

GateHouse News Service