WALGREENS FLU SHOTS BEGIN in some stores
Some Walgreens pharmacies begin offering flu shots this week for $24.99. The pharmacies will also offer FluMist nasal spray ($29.99) as an alternative to the shot. To find a participating Walgreens, go to walgreens.com/flu, call toll-free 1-800-358-9950, or visit your local store. The vaccinations may be covered by insurance plans or Medicare Part B. Check with your insurance provider. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that it's not too soon for the immunizations — the earlier, the better, the CDC says.
For girls, a guide to breast health
Hoping to educate girls about breast health, physician Marisa C. Weiss has written a new book, Taking Care of Your "Girls" (Three Rivers Press, 256 pages, $15.95). Written with the assistance of her teen daughter, the breast health guide covers breast development and size, choosing a bra, how to stand up to teasing and what healthy foods to eat during this time of growth. She describes the steps girls can take to reduce the risk of disease, such as keeping a healthy weight, exercising and not smoking. It's especially important that girls receive this information at ages 8 to 18, she says. "They are laying down the foundation for future breast health."
Economy tightens health spending
As the credit crunch threatens to throw the economy into a slump, consumer medical spending is under pressure. The number of U.S. prescriptions filled fell 0.5 percent in the first quarter and a steeper 1.97 percent in the second, compared with the same periods in 2007 — the first negative quarters in at least a decade, according to data from market researcher IMS Health. Despite an increasing aging population, the number of physician visits also has been declining. Between July 2007 and 2008, visits fell 1.2 percent, according to IMS. In an August survey, 22 percent of 686 consumers said that economy-related woes were causing them to go to the doctor less often. Some of the areas being hit include hip and knee replacements, mammograms and visits to the emergency room, according to a survey conducted by D2Hawkeye Inc., a medical data analytics firm.
Boost bone health with exercise
The federal Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee says exercise increases bone mineral density and reduces fracture risk. How much exercise? There are various recommendations, including four hours per week of walking or between 90 minutes and five hours per week of combined endurance and resistance training.
Compiled from Times staff, wires