The Med & Mic™ 02.11.22
Medical and Health News of the Day
From Dr. Maria ON Speaking, LLC
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New Guidance on Opioid Prescriptions
The CDC has issued new guidelines on prescribing opioids to adults with acute and chronic pain. In a 229-page document, the governmental agency urges doctors to limit new prescriptions and discuss alternative therapies with patients. It also warns against suddenly stopping pain medications for chronic pain patients. The new recommendations are open to public comment for the next 60 days. With previous guidelines, people with chronic pain complained about being cut off from medications they had been taking for months or years. This adversely affected their quality of life and mental health. More in USA Today.
Omicron’s Structure Makes it Highly Contagious
Researchers have analyzed Omicron’s 50 mutations to figure out why it is so contagious. Three mutations allow the variant to hide from the immune system and become more infectious, and a fourth makes the illness milder. Many of the mutations are at the antibody binding sites, akin to a mask. With this disguise, there is little to slow the variant down. Other mutations help the virus bind to cells in other ways. This results in Omicron being more likely to proliferate in the nose rather than the lungs, which has made it more transmissible through coughing or sneezing. Omicron spreads so readily and rapidly, a single case can result in six more within four days. By mid-February, Omicron is projected to have infected 40% of the U.S. population. More in Scientific American.
More Primary Care, Higher Vaccination Rates
Counties with a high number of primary care physicians had more robust COVID-19 vaccination rates. In a cross-sectional study of nearly 3000 counties, those with the highest number of primary care docs per population had a 5.5% greater vaccination rate compared to those with the lowest number. The pattern was noted across rural and urban locations and political leanings. Six states – Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia – were excluded from the analysis, as well as eight California counties due to insufficient data. More in MedPage Today.
New Health Problems in COVID Survivors
One in three older COVID survivors develops a new, persistent health problem within three months of their infection. In a study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers analyzed the health insurance records of 133,000 Americans 65 and older diagnosed with COVID before April 1, 2020. Within months of their illness, 32% of older COVID survivors sought medical attention for one or more conditions, such as respiratory failure, fatigue, high blood pressure, and mental health issues. This is 11% higher than in the comparison group. More in HealthDay.
Babies Protected in Vaccinated Moms
When mothers receive two doses of an mRNA COVID vaccine during pregnancy, their babies have antibodies lasting at least six months, more so than the babies of unvaccinated moms who contracted COVID during pregnancy. In a study published in JAMA, 98% of babies of the vaccinated moms had antibodies at two months, and 57% at six months. As for the moms who had COVID while pregnant, only 12% of their babies had antibodies at six months. “Many interested parties from parents to pediatricians want to know how long maternal antibodies persist in infants after vaccination, and now we can provide some answers,” says Dr. Andrea Edlow in an article from HealthDay.
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Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis, or the advice of your own physician. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.