Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Lingering Thoughts of the Health & Wellness of Japan

We've seen the devastating effects of the tsunami in Japan and followed closely with the rescue efforts and the concerns of the radiation exposure. Today's report states that there are low levels of radiation detected in 5 states in the United States.

I think of those who were hospitalized and sick prior to the earthquake and the tsunami. I wonder about those who were scheduled to give birth.

I wonder about the elderly who may have become separated from their families during the disaster.

I even wonder what happened to the pets, the animals.
What if they were exposed to the radiation and then found by some random person tries to pet or comfort the it? How will this be remedied?

Meanwhile, shortly after the debris settled, the focus shifted to the nuclear plants that clearly was affected by the earthquake. Initially it was said to have been under control, nothing to worry about. However, I had this sinking feeling that there was a lot to worry about and there is much more to this than what was being shared. I'm sure that the leaders wanted to appear in control and with all the media regaling us with the wonderful architectural work of the engineers who built the buildings to withstand earthquakes, the evidence of mother nature spoke volumes. Could you imagine if they said "Run for the hills!!" Where would they go? I could only imagine the mass pandemonium that would ensue at that point.
The lives of those who perished may never be accounted for as there is no real census of everyone who may have been washed into the belly of the ocean. The numbers fluctuate from a few thousand to almost 10 thousand. As of this moment, the latest reports are rounded off perfectly to 9,800 bodies and more than 17,500 missing.

The whole issue of the radiation levels being under control is like watching an intense table tennis match. It's safe, it's `not safe. See our scientist go in and see them scurry out.

Only time will tell the true effects of the disaster. Is it really safe to drink the water? What about the food, is anything good for consumption? Will loved ones soon be reunited? What about their health, what about the long term health effects? The truth is the people of Japan are a force to be reckoned with. They are focused, dedicated, hard working, creative, innovative people who will in no doubt rebuild and regain their lives to a better standard. It's just that it will take a bit of time. Time to mourn and the time to heal. In the meantime, we the people from all over the world, we're praying with you.

World Health Organization guidelines on radiation exposure.

Food Drug Administration discusses safety of food products imported from Japan.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Staying Aware - AIDS

2011 and the Center for Disease Control reports that The New York State Department of Health is recommending a shorter HIV and hepatitis screening window and nucleic acid testing (NAT) for living organ donors following a recent HIV transmission from a kidney donor to a recipient in New York City. The advisory also urges hospitals to question living donors about risky behaviors, including injection drug use. This is the first documented case of HIV transmission by way of a live-donor transplant since improvements in the screening process were initiated in 1985, said a health department spokesperson. The hospital, which, in the interest of patient privacy, the spokesperson declined to identify, followed appropriate protocols in screening the kidney donor. However, the donor apparently had unsafe sex after testing and before surgery to harvest the organ. “Of course this is a rare case, but we felt like we needed to alert centers to this possibility so they can talk to potential donors about risks and do testing closer to the time of surgery,” the spokesperson said. The advisory calls for HIV and hepatitis B and C testing to be performed within 14 days of living-donor donation using NAT, which can detect virus antibodies weeks to months before standard blood tests. NAT is not recommended for organs from deceased donors due to time constraints, as organs soon begin to deteriorate. Infectious disease screening has virtually eliminated HIV transmission through donated organs, blood or tissue. CDC’s most recent HIV-specific organ donation screening recommendations were issued in 1994; updated guidelines from the agency are expected this year.
It was 1981 when the first cases of what is now known as AIDS were reported in the U.S. During the 1980s there was a rapid increase in the number of reported AIDS cases and AIDS deaths. The lack of knowledge had many people fighting to isolate the people with the disease. As the cases grew from gay men to women, children,seniors and drug abusers the debates were intense. It was brutal.

Somewhere between then and now efforts to manage the disease have improved yet it is not good enough. Yes, I said it! It was during the 1980's that my brother contracted the disease through a blood transfusion from the place where one goes to be made well - the hospital. Surprisingly, the screening for HIV/AIDS was not enforced at that time. Many families lost their loved ones due to contaminated blood. Unfortunately, that was then and is in no way acceptable now. Not with the advances made through the awareness and fundraising campaigns, not with the powerful support of the celebrities or even most importantly, the researchers/scientists who have developed drugs to maintain the disease while working to find the cure - NO!
We must be ahead and proactive in taking the precautions, leading confidently, being the exemplar of delivering medical care. The old proverb 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' is oh so true and appropriate in everything especially - health.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thoughts & Prayers - Tsunami

We have a very high readership in Asia specifically Japan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you. We're also thinking of those who live abroad and have not been able to make contact with their loved ones. It may be quite some time before we know the accurate number of people affected or the long term effects that this disaster has caused.

However, we do know that our readers are compassionate and concerned about others. We're asking our readers to invite your family & friends to make a donation to the following:

Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami

Doctors Without Borders

International Medical Corps

Save the Children

Salvation Army

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Did You Know???

There are those items that you hear about on the media when there is a recall. Tylenol made it to the major networks as well as many popular products. However, there are those products that may go under the radar. They are handled on the local level but how effective is it? Do you rely or trust your local grocer to keep on top of these alerts? How do you know when there is a recall? An email from your friends? The news? Do you know that some people do not watch or listen to the news? Go figure... :-) So I went to the source for you. This is going to be rather lengthy yet informative - so get your popcorn.

And here's what I found:

Oh nooooo, one of my favorites, SKIPPY!

As reported through the FDA there's a limited recall of Skippy® Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread and Skippy® Reduced Fat Super Chunk Peanut Butter Spread, because it may be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. 

If you live in these areas the product was distributed to retail outlets in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The affected product, which is packaged in 16.3 oz plastic jars, is as follows:
  • UPCs: 048001006812 and 048001006782 (located on the side of the jar’s label below the bar code.)
  • Best-If-Used-By Dates: MAY1612LR1, MAY1712LR1, MAY1812LR1, MAY1912LR1, MAY2012LR1 and MAY2112LR1(Stamped on the lid of the jar).
Next up is for those of you who may be familiar with this product. Garden of Life, LLC announced that it is voluntarily recalling its Raw Vitamin C because these products may contain undeclared soy proteins.
Consumers who have purchased the Raw Vitamin C and are sensitive to soy should stop taking the product. According to the FDA less than 0.2% of children and adults are sensitive to soy. Further, most people outgrow the allergy after early childhood; however, adults allergic to soy may experience upset stomach, discomfort, and, in rare cases, serious and life threatening allergic reactions.
Here's what you need look for to determine whether or not you have the product. The company, Garden of Life’s product bearing the name “VITAMIN CODE RAW VITAMIN C” prominently displayed on both the outer carton as well as the bottle label. All Lots of Raw Vitamin C distributed between March 2009 and January 2011 or remaining in expiry are subject to this voluntary recall.

Ahhh, the refreshing taste of an herbal tea, so soothing. Who doesn't feel safe with a cup of tea? Teavana’s Peppermint Organic Herbal Tea issued recall as the result of a batch sample testing program by the Company after it received a notification of possible contamination by the vendor, which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria. Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis. 

The Company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as the FDA and the Company continue their investigation as to the origin of the contamination. It is important to note that the Peppermint Organic Herbal Tea was distributed nationwide in Teavana retail stores and through mail and internet orders. The Peppermint Organic Herbal Tea is sold measured to customer’s orders in retail stores and sold in 2 oz pre-packaged pouches by mail order or internet. There are no lot/batch identifying markings on the store or e-commerce packaging. Retail store stock was sold between December 4, 2010 and February 16, 2011. Mail order & internet stock was sold between November 30, 2010 and February 16, 2011.

Brandy anyone? Makes quite an impressive gift - but not so fast...

E&J Brandy announces the following voluntary recall. Consumers should immediately stop using the stainless steel flask sold in E&J® VSOP gift sets in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and in E&J® XO gift sets sold in 2006.  This voluntary recall pertains only to stainless steel flasks manufactured for E&J Brandy because laboratory results revealed that brandy stored in the flask under certain conditions may show elevated levels of lead.  Prolonged exposure to elevated levels of lead may have negative health effects. 

These gift sets were sold throughout the United States through a variety of retail stores as recently as this past holiday season.  Some flasks in leather cases were also given away as a promotional item in 2007.

Consumers in possession of an affected stainless steel flask should call the consumer recall hotline at 1-866-959-8477 at any time for instructions on how to return the product and receive a full refund. The brandy contained in the gift set is unaffected and may be safely consumed but any brandy or other liquid in the flask should not be consumed.  

How about this recall from McCormick’s Golden Dipt® Tempura Seafood Batter Mix 8 OZ, with UPC Code 4123470132 and “BEST BY” date of OCT 08 12 H.  A very limited number of packages of Golden Dipt® Tempura Seafood Batter Mix with this date code contain an undeclared milk ingredient.  People who have an allergy to milk run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reactions if they consume this product.
The recalled cartons of  Golden Dipt® Tempura Seafood Batter Mix were distributed to grocery stores in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin as well as internationally to the Cayman Islands, beginning on October 21, 2010.  The affected product is packaged in 8 OZ cartons, and the date code is found printed in white ink on the bottom of the carton.
The recall was initiated after the discovery of a packaging error that resulted in a pouch of Cajun Style Fish Fry mix (which contains a milk ingredient) being packaged in the Golden Dipt® Tempura Seafood Batter Mix carton.  The ingredient statement on the package does not list milk as an ingredient. 

Consumers are urged to contact McCormick’s Consumer Affairs team at 1-800-632-5847, weekdays from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM, or weekends from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM (Eastern Time), for a replacement or full refund, as well as instructions on what to do with the product. 

Are you the owner of a Finicky Eater?
While recent laboratory testing found that most lots of Wellness canned cat food that were tested contain sufficient amounts of thiamine (also known as Vitamin B1), some of the lots listed below might contain less than adequate levels of thiamine. However, out of an abundance of caution, WellPet has decided to recall all of the lots listed below.

The lots involved in this voluntary recall are:
Wellness Canned Cat Food (all flavors and sizes) with best by dates from 14APR 13 through 30SEP13;
Wellness Canned Cat Food Chicken & Herring (all sizes) with 10NOV13 or 17NOV13 best buy dates.
Cats fed only the affected lots for several weeks may be at risk for developing a thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is essential for cats. Symptoms of deficiency displayed by an affected cat can be gastrointestinal or neurological in nature. Early signs of thiamine deficiency may include decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting, and weight loss. In advanced cases, neurologic signs can develop, which may include ventriflexion (bending towards the floor) of the neck, wobbly walking, circling, falling, and seizures. If your cat has consumed the recalled lots and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. If treated promptly, thiamine deficiency is typically reversible.
Consumers who still have cans of cat food from these lots should stop feeding them to their cats and call us at (877) 227-9587 Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 7:00 pm Eastern Time. Consumers with further questions should visit their website at or call at the same number.

DeFranco and Sons of Los Angeles, CA, is voluntarily recalling bulk and consumer-packaged in-shell, hazelnut and mixed nut products containing hazelnuts because they may be contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 bacteria (E. coli O157:H7). The recall was initiated after the nut products were linked to 7 illnesses in the states of MI, MN, and WI. To-date, no E. coli 0157:H7 has been detected in the nut products; however, we are notifying our valued consumers and customers out of an abundance of caution.
Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infection may include abdominal cramps and diarrhea which is often bloody. Most infected people recover within a week; however, some may develop complications that require hospitalization. Young children and the elderly are at highest risk for a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which includes kidney failure.
DeFranco and Sons received the in-shell nuts from suppliers or growers and subsequently distributed the nuts nationwide and to Canada. The affected nuts listed below were distributed between 11/2/10 and 12/22/10.

BrandSizeProductSell By DateUPC
Sunripe1 lbLarge Hazelnuts6/30/11070533 000167
Sunripe1 lbMixed Nuts6/30/11070533 000143
Sunripe2 lbsMixed Nuts6/30/11070533 001003
None - (Sold as "Season's Greetings" Gift Pack)4 lbsMixed Nuts6/30/11070533 101024
Sunripe50 lbsImperial Mixed NutsNoneNone
Sunripe50 lbsSupreme Mixed NutsNoneNone
George Packing50 lbsHazelnutsOnly the products distributed by DeFranco and Sons between 11/2/10 to 12/22/10.

The 50 lb bags of in-shell hazelnuts or mixed nuts with hazelnuts may have been repacked or sold in bulk containers to consumers.
Consumers who think they may have the affected hazelnut or mixed nut products containing hazelnuts should not eat them and are urged to check with their place of purchase to determine if they are subject to the recall. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 800-992-3992, Monday thru Friday from 2:00 to 4:00 pm Pacific time.
And now the Gourmet Family Brand Large Mouth Smelt Komochi Shishamo because it has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Consumers are warned not to use the product.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning can cause the following symptoms: General weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.
Gourmet family Brand Large Mouth Smelt Komochi Shishamo is vaccum packed in uncoded styrofoam tray. Eight pieces are packed in one container and net wt of the product is 3.5 oz. (100g). Product is imported from Japan. Product is sold in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, Virginia, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina through retail stores.  

These recalls were made voluntarily by the companies which shows their commitment to providing quality products to their consumers.

Knowing is very important Make time to explore.