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Consumer Health News in Review: Big Soda Debate, Survival and Strep

September makes me think of transitions. The days are are getting shorter, iced coffee is replaced with warm apple cider, flip flops are tucked away and swapped for boots. It is official – summer’s closing up shop. I’ve decided to reflect upon some of the consumer health stories that made headlines over the past few months and in today’s edition of consumer health news, share some updates.

Take a Big Gulp

One story we reported earlier on returned to the limelight this week. The New York City Board of Health approved Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed 16-ounce cap on sweetened bottled drinks and fountain beverages sold at city restaurants, delis, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. The beverage ban, which goes into effect on March 12, 2013, includes drinks with more than 25 calories per 8 ounces.

The first-of-its-kind ban brings many opinions to the table. There are the New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, beverage and restaurant associations, as well as the health and nutrition advocates, all of whom have strong opinions on the issue. As it gets closer to March 13, the traditional and social media airwaves will likely be abuzz once again on this topic. What side do you think will make the most noise? What will the media say? What are your thoughts? Tweet us at @SchwartzMSLPRx.

I will survive… and thrive
Over the summer we heard about the ferocious flesh-eating bacteria infection that almost took Aimee Copeland’s life after an accident on a homemade zip line that left a gash in her leg. This week she appeared on Katie Couric’s new talk show and shared her survival story and homecoming. The infection forced the amputation of her hands, leg and foot and the daily tasks that we all take for granted are now done creatively, such as texting with her nose. Another story that gives us hope is a woman from Texas who is a candidate to receive the first double arm transplant in the U.S. after contacting a near fatal flesh-eating bacteria infection. The surgery will be performed by surgeons at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Both these survivors defied the odds and we look forward to learning more about their progress.

The Antibiotic Wars
As the weather gets cooler, the virus, germ and the superbug warfare begins. We read about swine flu outbreaks in August. Now Health Day reports that diagnosing strep is examined in an updated guideline from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). The IDSA urges doctors to accurately diagnose and treat strep throat to avoid inappropriate use of antibiotics that can lead to drug-resistant bacteria. On average up to 15 million people in the United States go to the doctor for a sore throat every year. As many as 70 percent of patients receive antibiotics for a sore throat, but only 20 percent of those patients actually have strep throat.


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Erin Zwirn

Erin Zwirn

Account Supervisor at MSLGROUP

A member of MSLGROUP since 2007, Erin is an account supervisor in the agency’s healthcare and technology practices.

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