Thursday, December 14, 2017
Health

Health notes: Free HIV and STD tests in Tampa June 29; traffic noise may be bad for your heart

children

PRESCRIPTIONS DROP 7 PERCENT FROM 2002-10

The number of prescriptions dispensed to children younger than 18 declined 7 percent from 2002 to 2010, a new study reports. Prescriptions for allergy medicines declined 61 percent, cough and cold remedies 42 percent, pain medicines and antibiotics 14 percent, and antidepressants 5 percent. Prescriptions for six drugs increased significantly, led by a 46 percent increase in those to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Asthma prescriptions rose 14 percent, skin corticosteroids and seizure disorder medicines 10 percent, oral corticosteroids 22 percent and contraceptives 93 percent. The study, published online last week in Pediatrics, drew from retail pharmacy databases that include about half the prescriptions dispensed in the United States. Some reasons for the finding may be simple — for example, some popular prescription allergy medicines became over-the-counter drugs during the period. Others could be more complicated. Dr. Aaron M. Milstone, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins who was not involved in the study, said there may be fewer antibiotic prescriptions because there are fewer infections, more untreated infections, or better diagnoses of the viral diseases that do not respond to antibiotics.

ENVIRONMENT

Traffic noise may hurt heart health

A new study published in PLoS One suggests that traffic noise may be more than just a nuisance. It may increase the risk for heart attack. Danish scientists studied 57,053 residents of Copenhagen and Aarhus, ages 50 to 64 at the start of the study, recording 1,600 heart attacks over 10 years. With addresses of the participants and a long-used, precise Scandinavian method for calculating noise, scientists estimated the exposure of each of the subjects to the racket of passing car and truck traffic. Even after controlling for known risk factors, along with blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetic status, each increase in 10 decibels of traffic noise exposure was associated with a 10 percent greater risk of heart attack. The link may not be causal, but the researchers suggest noise leads to disturbed sleep and increased stress, a known cardiac risk factor.

HEALTH SCREENING

Free HIV, STD tests Friday in Tampa

The Hillsborough County Health Department is offering free, confidential HIV and STD testing from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. The tests are available at the downtown Tampa location, 1105 E Kennedy Blvd. More than 100,000 people in Florida have been infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Approximately 15 new people getting infected every day. Of those infected, an estimated 20 to 25 percent don't know they have it. For more information: doh.state.fl.us/disease_ctrl.

Times wires

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