Posted in Health, Hepatitis, news

Is Friday the 13th Risky For Your Health?

When Friday the 13th comes around tales of its unluckiness pervade the workplace, school, home and anywhere someone feels like warning others that doom is pending.

But as a doctor, I have yet to find scientific evidence that a certain day of the week landing on the number “13” would incite Armageddon.

Its roots have been hypothesized to come from Jesus’ last supper, in which he had 12 apostles at his dinner table, with Judas being the 13th member to arrive.  And when Jesus was crucified on a Friday, both “Friday” and “13” have since inspired negative emotions.

The “fear” aspect to “Friday the 13th” might have originated centuries ago but most notoriously was dramatized by the movies starring Jason, a mass murderer.  Hence today we have the notion that Friday the 13th will bring bad luck in any way, shape or form.

So the question lies, is this day attributed to health risks?

Well in 1993, Scanlon et al looked at car accidents in the UK that occurred on Friday the 6th vs Friday the 13th and found despite less cars on the road, hospital admissions for accidents were significantly higher on the latter day. They concluded: Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52%. Staying at home is recommended.

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Then a study done in Finland in 2002 found women to be more at risk than men on Friday the 13th when it came to traffic accidents.  They state:

An estimated 38% of traffic deaths involving women on this day were attributable to Friday the 13th itself.
CONCLUSIONS:
Friday the 13th may be a dangerous day for women, largely because of anxiety from superstition. The risk of traffic deaths on this date could be reduced by one-third, although the absolute gain would remain very small: only one death per 5 million person-days.

However Dr. Bruce Lo from Eastern Virginia Medical School and colleagues looked to dispel the myth of Friday the 13th health risks and found the date did not make a difference when it came to multiple different medical conditions, with the one exception of “penetrating trauma.”

So my opinion…..superstition breeds anxiety and anxiety breeds accidents.  Chilling when it comes to the odd number Friday would probably be what this doctor orders.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health, Hepatitis, news

Ohio Joins Multiple States in Declaring Hepatitis A Outbreak

Since 2017 multiple states have declared outbreaks of the Hepatitis A Virus and now the Department of Heath in Ohio (ODH) has declared one as well.

Since the start of 2018, cases in Ohio have risen to 79, double the total number recorded for 2017 in the Buckeye state.

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Image from Cleveland.com

 

WTOL reports: Ohio’s hepatitis A outbreak cases appear to be primarily among people who use illegal drugs, those who have been incarcerated, people who have had contact with known cases, those also infected with hepatitis C, men who have sex with men, and people experiencing homelessness.

Per the CDC, the below states have reported the following number of cases:

  • California 704  (as of April 11, 2018)
  • Indiana 148  (as of June 21, 2018)
  • Kentucky 760
  • Michigan 846
  • Missouri 125
  • Utah 109 (2018) and 147 (2017)
  • West Virginia  248
  • Arkansas 40 since February, 2018

Last year Colorado reported a doubling of Hepatitis A cases since the previous year.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a disease that affects the liver.  Its caused by a virus (Hepatitis A virus) that is most commonly ingested. Poor hand washing and/or contaminated food are likely culprits.  It’s transmitted by the fecal-oral route, where food or drink contaminated by fecal matter enters another person’s GI tract.  Sexual transmission of Hepatitis A has been reported during activities involving oral-anal sex.

Hepatitis A can live outside the body for months, so unclean dining areas can be contaminated and transfer to food.

Those who are immunosuppressed run the risk of dying from the infection.

 

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes

Fever

Abdominal Pain

Fatigue

Dark Urine

Joint Pain

Clay – looking stools

Diarrhea

Nausea

Vomiting

Loss of appetite

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What is the treatment for Hepatitis A?

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A.  Most hepatitis A infections resolve on their own.

We usually recommend rest, fluids, and offer medications to help with nausea and vomiting.

For liver injury we avoid medications and alcohol that can worsen liver damage. The liver will usually recover within months after hepatitis A infection.

There are vaccines for Hepatitis A included in the childhood vaccination schedule.  Those older who weren’t vaccinated as a child can get the vaccine from their local provider or health department.  Many states require all health care and food workers to be vaccinated.

The best form of prevention however is good hand washing, dining area hygiene, and cooking food thoroughly.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician