Posted in Health, news, Politics

Hepatitis A Outbreak Now Delcared in LA County

The Hepatitis A Outbreak which has killed at least 16 people in San Diego and sickened hundreds more has now surfaced in LA County.

Doug McIntyre of Los Angeles’ KABC McIntyre in the Morning reported 10 people confirmed thus far infected in LA county, primarily affecting the homeless population.  This number is expected to rise.

The Hepatitis A virus is spread by contaminated feces, and many homeless persons lack access to public restrooms and showers.

San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten suggested the recent plastic bag ban might have contributed to the outbreak as homeless individuals would use the plastic bag to excrete their waste into and then toss.  Wooten states, “We know people don’t have bathrooms and they can put bags in cans and buckets and maintain good hygiene. That’s why we put plastic bags in the hygiene kits we’re handing out. That’s what we expect people will use them for.”

Hygiene kits have been dispensed containing plastic bags, sanitizer, bottled water, wet wipes and feminine sanitary products.

Without the plastics bags, they are forced to poop without an easy means of clean up, leaving contaminated feces on the sidewalks, streets and encampments.

dog-poop-bags.jpg

City officials in both San Diego and Los Angeles have been spraying the streets with bleach-spiked water.

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.  Its 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

Hepatitis-A.jpg

 

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

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Posted in Health, Politics, Sports

Using the NFL Injury Report to Pick this Week’s Winners

The NFL Injury Report tells us all we need to know to make our picks.

For years I’ve been dissecting the NFL Injury Report and predicting who would win during the playoffs and Superbowl. When you’re a doctor who loves football, it’s not that difficult.

So my success has prompted me to make the risky move of posting my strategy and results.  There are varying levels of theory, just like layers of the epidermis.  And each deeper layer of prediction should confirm the simpler ones.  But if I can’t scientifically deduce the winner, I wing it.

Method 1 – Number game

Let’s take for example Thursday night’s game between the Chiefs and the Patriots.  According the NFL injury report, there were 3 injuries reported for the Chiefs and 5 for the Patriots.  A novice may just say 3 is less than 5 so the Chiefs will win.  But as a physician, this is not good enough.   We need to also look at the types of injuries.

Method 2 – Anatomy counts

According to the NFL Injury report, the Chiefs sustained injuries to the knee, another knee and ankle.  The Patriot’s sustained injuries to the  knee, shoulder, ankle, another knee but also hamstring.  Yes, Matthew Slater’s hamstring injury is very telling. Why?

Think about when you were playing football.  If you hurt a finger you still played.  If you sprained your knee, you toughed it out. But what happened when you sustained a groin injury.  You were leveled.  Probably couldn’t even get up.  So any injury involving the groin is physically devastating for a player, and from a psychological standpoint, the whole team.

If a groin injury specifically is not incurred and reported by the NFL injury report, then you look at the injuries closest to the groin.  A head injury is also very concerning so that will come after groin.  Hence the scale from most devastating to least in terms of injured body parts listed is:

Groin < head/concussion < hip< < glute < quad < hamstring  < eye < abdomen < chest < knee < shoulder < calf < arm < ankle < foot < wrist < hand < finger < toe.  

The Patriot’s hamstring injury is closer to the groin than any other injury hence the team wasn’t looking very good for Thursday night’s game.

If specific injuries are not listed, we can sometimes count how many did not participate in practice.

 

Method 3 – Colors 

In case of a tie….meaning both teams sustained equal numbers of groin injuries or subsequent proximal body parts, we look to the main colors of the Jersey.  Black, Blue, Green and Yellow will fare worse than White and Red, Brown. In medicine, Black may happen with necrosis, Blue is associated with hypoxia, Green- mucous, Yellow – gonorrhea.  White and Red are fairly routine and healthy colors in medicine (bones and blood).  Silver and Purple are colors that are fairly neutral as we usually don’t see those colors on a routine basis in medicine unless with hair.

Therefore, the color scale from most problematic to least is:

Black < Blue < Yellow < Green < Orange < Purple < Silver < White < Red.

Again this is only used if predictions cannot be made due to an anatomical tie.  Again I must stress we do not use the color method unless we are unable to predict using the NFL injury report.

With Thursday night’s game, the Chiefs wore white and the Patriots wore blue.   But despite this method, the Patriots were at a disadvantage with the hamstring injury all along.

So what will happen this Sunday?  Let’s use what we learned to predict the winners!!

Jets vs. Bills  

1 Eye injury vs. 1 Concussion

Prediction:  Jets

********************************

Falcons vs. Bears

A Falcon chest injury vs Bears’ two ankles, a knee and finger injury

Prediction:  Falcons

********************************

Jaguars vs. Texans

1 ankle, 1 hamstring injury vs. 1 ankle and 1 shoulder

Prediction:  Texans

********************************

Raiders vs. Titans

foot, quad, knee and back vs Titan’s groin injury – very close but…

Prediction:  Raiders

********************************

Eagles vs. Redskins

0 injuries vs. hip and knee

Prediction:  Eagles

********************************

Colts vs. Rams

Groin, foot, shoulder, hamstring, lumbar plague the colts – zero injuries reported for the Rams

Prediction:  Rams

********************************

Seahawks vs Packers

Calf, shoulder, thigh, wrist, knee ankle vs. ankle

Prediction: Packers

********************************

Panthers vs. 49ers

knee, groin, ankle shoulder vs. hamstring and back injury

Prediction:  49ers

********************************

Giants vs. Cowboys

Concussion and ankle vs. ankle

Prediction: Cowboys

********************************

Ravens vs. Bengals

The Raven’s concussion is up against the Bengal’s ankle and elbow.  Tough call…..

Prediction:  Bengals

********************************

Steelers vs. Browns

A knee and shoulder injury vs. a knee injury

Prediction:  Browns

********************************

Cardinals vs. Lions

Ankle, tricep and calf injury vs. knee and foot

Prediction:  Lions

********************************

We pray that no one gets hurt and those who do recover quickly.  Here’s to a safe season of one of the best sports ever!!  FOOTBALL!!

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

Posted in Health, news, Politics

San Diego Declares Public Health Emergency as Hundreds Sickened by Hepatitis A

San Diego County has declared a public health emergency in light of 15 dead after a Hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened hundreds.

350 – 400 people have reportedly fallen ill and 15 have died since the outbreak of the virus began in November of 2016.

70% of the cases were homeless individuals, lacking good sanitation and immunocompromised due to their lack of nutrition and possible drug/alcohol use.  10 people have died within the last 8 weeks.

The declaration allows the Health and Human Services Agency to obtain funding and assistance to implement new sanitizing  measures that are modelled after other Southern California cities such as Los Angeles.

40 portable hand washing stations will be provided in areas of high homeless populations. Crews will use bleach-spiked water in high pressure hoses to clean feces and bodily fluids from contaminated areas including streets.

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.  Its 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

Hepatitis-A.jpg

 

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

Posted in Health, news, Politics

National Blood Donation Week: Governor’s Unite to Fight Blood Shortages

National Blood Donation Week (NBDW) is September 4-10th and the majority of US  governors are proclaiming State Blood Donation Days September 8th, National Blood Donation Day.

Blood supplies have been critical in many parts of the country and natural disasters such as Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey tax blood banks even more.

What makes NBDW so unique is that both Republican and Democratic governors are uniting and coming together for a common cause.

One pint of blood has the potential to save three lives.  Imagine what the whole country can do!

Last year 33 Governors declared state blood donation days to unite during National Blood Donation Week.  These included, Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Mexico, Connecticut, North Dakota, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Indiana, Arkansas, Vermont, Utah, Montana, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Oregon, Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, South Dakota, Washington, Georgia, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Nebraska.

This year more are uniting to help bring in even more blood supply.  Some of the states proclaiming September 8 their State Blood Donation Day include: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.  Arizona declared Arizona Blood Donation Week September 4-10th.  Maryland declared their blood donation day September 7.

According to the American Red Cross, 36,000 units of blood are needed in the U.S. every day.

Emergency rooms treating trauma victims, hospitals treating anemic patients, and medical clinics replenishing low blood levels in cancer patients require a steady supply of blood products.

38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood but less than 10% actually do.

Donating blood is easy and takes less than one hour.  Many places of work can hold blood drives so employees don’t have to take off work (plus you get yummy cookies).

blood-drive

Inconsistent donation patterns during the year result in unpredictable and reliable blood supply numbers, hence donation is requested year round.

United Blood Services suggests donating three times a year.

The summer and holiday season appear to be the “dryest” in terms of donations.  States and regions frequently need to ship blood to areas who are in need.

The American Red Cross is holding hundreds of blood drives this week and to find one near you please go to:  American Red Cross Blood Drive Locator.

United Blood Services serves hospitals and centers throughout the United States and their blood drives can be located at: United Blood Services/BloodHero.com.

Blood Bank of Hawaii is holding the following blood drives in Hawaii found here.

Rhode Island Blood Center is holding the following drives here.

Blood Bank of Delmarva drives can be found here.

For more on National Blood Donation Day/Week click here.

For a list of State Proclamations click here.

 

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

Posted in Health, news, Politics

Hurricane Harvey Damage to Last Weeks to Months: How You Can Help

The Category 4 hurricane that hit southeast Texas Friday evening is expected to cause “widespread devastation” to the area.

Torrential downpours are expected to continue and power outages, floods, raging waters, and the potential for tornadoes threaten coastal and inland residents.

Hurricane Harvey, although weakening, is expected to hover over the next few days bringing more deadly conditions.

How can we help?

Blood supplies will be needed as residents who routinely donate have evacuated the area. Donating blood at your local blood bank may be shipped to the area in need.

United Blood Services have locations throughout the country that can accept your blood Donation. Contact UBS here.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations. On their website, they ask to visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Salvation Army is also accepting donations online and by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769).

The Red Cross and Salvation Army may also need local volunteers to help set up shelters.  Contact the above numbers.

Local volunteers are asked to donate supplies to nearby recreation centers housing evacuees.

Supply drives in out-of-state locations may not be accepted directly but could help local charities who need to ship supplies to the affected area.

 

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

 

Posted in Health, news, Politics

US Diplomats in Cuba Suffered Traumatic Brain Injuries

Last week we learned a group of US diplomats stationed in Cuba had suffered “hearing loss” and investigators believed they were affected by a “sonic weapon” of which they weren’t aware.

In addition to hearing loss, other symptoms incurred included dizziness, loss of balance, severe fatigue and headaches.  This was reported in 2016, a year after the embassy in Cuba reopened in 2015. Those who stayed for a short period of time reported symptoms as well.

This week we learn that ten US and five Canadian diplomats suffered mild traumatic brain injury by alleged sonic attacks that may have damaged their nervous system.

The attack may have been a device emitting high-powered sound waves (but inaudible to the human ear) that damage delicate auditory nerve cells as well as those in other organs. Studies have found exposure to such frequencies to not only cause deafness but nausea, headaches, and even lung and liver injuries in mice.

The Cuban government had rejected the allegations saying, “Cuba has never permitted, nor will permit, that Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic officials or their families, with no exception.” They have launched an investigation as well after pressured by Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State.

This is a developing story.

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

Posted in Health, news, Politics

2/3 of US Governors Proclaim State Blood Donation Days to Fight Blood Shortage

Multiple governors are proclaiming state blood donation days in response to blood bank shortages throughout the country.

Moreover blood donations are desperately needed in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.  Not only do natural disasters require ample blood supply on hand, but the storm and flooding have interrupted the blood donations previously done routinely by thousands of people, thereby drastically cutting supply.

Last year 33 Governors declared state blood donation days to unite during National Blood Donation Week.

This year more are uniting to help bring in more blood supply.

According to the American Red Cross, 36,000 units of blood are needed in the U.S. every day.

Emergency rooms treating trauma victims, hospitals treating anemic patients, and medical clinics replenishing low blood levels in cancer patients require a steady supply of blood products.

38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood but less than 10% actually do.

Inconsistent donation patterns during the year result in unpredictable and reliable blood supply numbers, hence donation is requested year round.

United Blood Services suggests donating three times a year.

The summer and holiday season appear to be the “dryest” in terms of donations.  States and regions frequently need to ship blood to areas who are in need.

National Blood Donation Week is September 4-10th and this year National Blood Donation Day falls on September 8th, with many states declaring September 8th their State Blood Donation Day.

States who have already proclaimed September 8th their Blood Donation Day this year include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Arizona proclaimed September 4-10th Arizona Blood Donation Week.

More will follow in the coming days.

 

To donate blood or host a blood drive, please visit here.

 

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