Is Now the Time to Get a Flu Shot?

Is Now the Time to Get a Flu Shot?

Claremont Colonic Flu
Flu season in the US hasn’t been this bad this early in more than a decade. Now is the time to get a flu shot Flu season has ramped up early in the United States, and flu hospitalizations are worse than usual for this time of year, according to data published Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s been more than a decade – since the H1N1 swine flu pandemic – since flu hospitalization rates have been this high at this point in the season.

The CDC estimates that there have been at least 880,000 illnesses, nearly 7,000 hospitalizations and 360 deaths from flu in the US this season. The first pediatric death in the country was reported this week.

Getting the flu shot is still the best way to protect yourself, experts say. And the best time to do it is now.

“Please get it this afternoon. Do not linger,” said Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and a professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“We’re in a bit of a race with the virus,” he said, with the flu season starting at least a month earlier than usual. And it takes between 10 days and two weeks for the shot to offer full protection.

Similar to previous years, the CDC recommended that people get their flu vaccine before the end of October. But flu vaccination rates are lower than typical for this time of year. About 128 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed this season, compared with 140 million at this point last year and 156 million the year before that, according to CDC data.

Even though the current season started early, there is more than enough reason for those who haven’t gotten their shot to do it now, Schaffner said.

“I would assure anyone who hasn’t gotten it yet that they’re not too late,” he said. And “the recommendations couldn’t be simpler”: Anyone 6 months or older in the US is eligible for and recommended to get the flu vaccine, with rare exception.

“The flu season will be with us for at least a few more months. We don’t know whether it will be shorter or longer than usual,” Schaffner said. “There is still very good reason to get your protection from the vaccine.”

And people who are vaccinated can still get sick – but the goal of the vaccine is to protect against the most severe outcomes and complications.

“We can acknowledge that the influenza vaccine is not perfect. It cannot protect absolutely everyone completely against influenza,” he said. “They help keep you out of the emergency room, the hospital, the intensive care unit, and they protect you from dying. As I used to like to tell my patients, ‘I’m so glad you’re still here to complain.’ “

Overall, CDC data shows that the share of lab tests that are positive for influenza has more than doubled over the past two weeks and that flu activity is highest in the South. Additional data from Walgreens that tracks prescriptions for antiviral treatments – such as Tamiflu – suggest hot spots in the Gulf Coast area, including Houston and New Orleans.

And the flu season is ramping up amid the surge of RSV that is filling pediatric hospitals and an ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Eleven states – along with Washington, DC, and New York City – are reporting high or very high levels of respiratory illness, according to the CDC.

The surge of respiratory viruses may get worse before it gets better, Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, said Thursday.

She urged people to try to prevent any respiratory illness, including by getting Covid-19 vaccines and boosters, and the annual flu shot.

“Making sure that your kids and anyone over 6 months of age in your family are getting their flu vaccines this year is even more important because we haven’t seen a lot of influenza the last couple of years, and so everyone’s going into this season with less immunity, less protection from prior infections,” Rajapakse said.

Those at risk for complications from respiratory illness, including the elderly and those with underlying conditions, should contact their health care providers as soon as they start to notice any symptoms, Schaffner said. There are treatments for Covid-19 and influenza that offer extra protection from severe outcomes, he said.

“From the point of view of respiratory viruses, the winter season has started early,” Schaffner said. “If you do develop symptoms, please don’t go to school or work. Shelter at home a little bit so you’re not out there spreading the virus – whatever it is.” br>

Contributor: Deidre McPhillips, CNN Health

3 Scary Reasons To Ditch Aluminum Foil (And What To Use Instead)

3 Scary Reasons To Ditch Aluminum Foil (And What To Use Instead)

Claremont Colonic Clinic
You’re probably getting a little tired of people telling you that the things you’ve been eating or using for years are bad for your health. Some you’ve accepted; you do your best to stay away from gluten and you eat organic when you can. Some you’ve strategically chosen to ignore; your favorite dairy-based ice cream, for example, or that supposedly toxic non-stick frypan which makes the best pancakes.
But here’s one you should probably avoid like the plague: aluminum foil. Believe it or not, every time you use aluminum foil in the kitchen, it’s seriously harming your health. Here are three reasons to keep aluminum foil out of your kitchen, and some healthier alternatives to use instead.

1. Aluminum foil is a neurotoxin

Aluminum has long been scrutinized by the scientific community for its potential role as a neurotoxin. Researchers maintain that, due to the fact that aluminum has no physiological role in the human body, it has the potential to cause significant detrimental effects when consumed.

This theory was unequivocally proven when a 2014 study showed that a 66-year-old man who died with Alzheimer’s disease had significantly elevated aluminum content in his brain, following eight years of occupational exposure. While the study noted that it was the respiratory system that was exposed to aluminum dust, we now know that there is a direct link between aluminum ingestion and Alzheimer’s disease, a debilitating neurological disorder.

The fact also remains that aluminum foil is not fully inert; food cooked or prepared in it has been shown to have significantly higher levels of aluminum than if they were prepared in another medium. The takeaway is simple: aluminum foil has the potential to cause neurotoxic effects, including Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Aluminum foil can contribute to bone disease

Research shows that aluminum from sources like foil can increase a person’s risk of developing bone disease. A study that examined the effect of hemodialysis, which causes buildup of aluminum in the blood, found that 37 percent of dialysis patients had developed aluminum-associated bone disease. The study proponents concluded that “long-term oral aluminum intake in hemodialysis patients results in a high prevalence of aluminum-associated bone disease.” It was theorized that aluminum either directly or indirectly impacts osteoblast production, which in turn leads to bone wasting.

The key here is that little statement about “long-term oral aluminum intake.” Many would argue that using aluminum foil regularly for years would equate to long-term oral aluminum intake. This means that using aluminum foil in the kitchen can contribute to bone disease.

3. Aluminum foil can promote pulmonary fibrosis

Using aluminum foil to prepare, store or cook food can increase a person’s risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis, a form of lung disease. A study that performed lung tissue analysis of nine workers exposed to aluminum oxide found alarmingly high levels of aluminum in the lung tissue, suggesting that aluminum exposure contributed to their development of pulmonary fibrosis.

While aluminum foil might not contribute to lung disease at the same rate as breathing in aluminum oxides, there is still a very real risk that cooking with aluminum foil may cause pulmonary fibrosis and other diseases of the lung.

Why aluminum may be leaching into the food you eat

In a 2012 study, a faculty of engineering team from the University of Ain Shams in Cairo examined the different ways in which aluminum foil and other cookware interacts with food. Leaching of harmful aluminum compounds was by far the highest when acidic foods like lemon juice or tomatoes were coming into contact with aluminum foil, and this was often further exacerbated by the use of spices.

In essence, aluminum foil is not inert. When exposed to certain foods, it has been shown to leach a portion of its metallic compounds into the food, whereupon people ingest it. From here, it can build up in the blood, muscles and organs and contribute to all manner of health problems. Science is only just starting to understand just how negative these consequences may be.

The onus is simple: keep aluminum foil out of the kitchen, and well away from the food you eat. Here are some healthier alternatives for cooking and storing your food that won’t have any ill health effects.

Healthier alternatives to aluminum foil Personally, I’ve never been much of a fan of aluminum foil and aluminum cookware anyway. If I want to store food in the fridge or pantry, I’ll almost always use glass storage containers. Glass is completely inert and doesn’t transfer any harmful chemicals or metals into food, no matter how acidic they are. This way, we’re also minimizing waste, as the glass can be used over and over again… unlike aluminum foil! For cooking, where one might use foil to enclose baked potatoes or fish, I simply used a ceramic dish with a lid. The effect is exactly the same, it’s just that ceramic doesn’t leach compounds into our food! And for baking, I either use glassware or high-quality silicone bakeware that doesn’t require any sort of lining. These materials are much nicer to use, usually produce higher quality dishes and don’t create excess waste. That’s a win-win, if you ask me!

Contributor: Liivi

10 Ice Cream Brands That Use the Lowest Quality Ingredients

10 Ice Cream Brands That Use the Lowest Quality Ingredients

Claremont Colonic Newsletter
It’s shocking how many ice creams on shelves aren’t made with milk, cream, and sugar.
There are a few different theories as to when humans first began to produce and enjoy ice cream. One possible origin story traces the sweet, cold confection back to the Tang Dynasty of Ancient China, which lasted from roughly 600 to 900 CE. By the Middle Ages, versions of ice cream were enjoyed across much of Arabia and Europe. And now, of course, people worldwide love the stuff.

Whereas in ancient and Medieval times, the process of creating ice cream was often painstaking and laborious—Tang Dynasty producers blended milk with flour and camphor and then froze the mixture in metal tubes lowered into frigid lakes. Today ice cream is produced on a commercial scale by numerous companies around the globe. And at that commercial scale, sadly quality is often dropped in the name of lowering costs and increasing profits.

If you’re looking for a top-quality, artisanal scoop of the sweet stuff, look elsewhere than these nine ice cream brands, which have been found to use the lowest quality ingredients. And next, don’t miss 8 Hot Dogs That Use the Highest Quality Ingredients.

1. Halo Top

Halo Top is a popular ice cream brand that lowers the sugar and positions itself as healthier than regular ice cream. That has been called into question by some for a few reasons. For one, many varieties contain erythritol, a sugar substitute that can cause stomach upset in some people. Second, if people consume the whole pint, as Halo Top suggests is okay with their lower-calorie ice cream, they could experience exacerbated effects. And third, Halo Top may be less filling than traditional ice cream, causing people to eat more.

2. Blue Bunny

Take a look at the packaging of most Blue Bunny “ice cream” flavors and you’ll see the conspicuous absence of the words ice cream. Instead, you may see terms like “frozen dairy dessert.” Why? Because many of their products are technically not ice cream, but rather, flavored frozen custard. You’ll also see qualifiers like “vanilla flavored” instead of just vanilla, because, again, it’s often a version of the flavor created by using low-quality artificial ingredients.

3. Good Humor

Beloved of many a generation—largely for showing up on a truck at just the right time on hot summer days—Good Humor’s ice cream products may be popular, but they’re not high-quality. Take the company’s classic Strawberry Shortcake Bar, for instance. It has approximately two dozen ingredients including, Red 40, Red 40 Lake, and Red 3 for coloring alone. The first two are derived from petroleum, while Red 3, aka erythrosine, is derived from fluorine.

4. Friendly’s

If the whey protein concentrate, whey, monoglycerides, diglycerides, xantham gum, guar gum, and corn syrup don’t turn you away from Friendly’s ice creams, maybe the fat and cholesterol will. A 150-calorie serving of their Classic Chocolate flavor has 80 calories of fat, five grams of saturated fat, and 30 milligrams of cholesterol.

5. Great Value

There’s a reason 48-ounce tubs of Walmart’s store brand Great Value ice cream can sell for less than $2.25… it’s made with low-quality ingredients. The brand’s Homestyle Vanilla Ice Cream does not even list vanilla (except for vanilla extract). Also listed in the ingredients are cellulose gel and cellulose gum, which are derived from wood, caron bean gum, guar gum, and more.

6. Nestlé Drumstricks

Here’s another classic and beloved frozen treat that might be best left unexamined. These chocolate-dipped ice cream cone treats are made with pretty inferior ingredients. Let’s name just five of the 25-plus ingredients you’ll find in a vanilla Drumstick The Original: Dairy Product Solids (that’s the first, FYI, not cream or milk), maltodextrin, Propylene Glycol Monostearate, Cellulose Gel, and Palm Olein.

7. Favorite Day

A store-label ice cream available at Target, this ice cream is popular, which makes sense given its low price. But its low price also means sense it has low-quality ingredients. Favorite Day Cookies ‘n Cream (which has “Artificial Flavor Added” displayed right under the name) has the following unsavory ingredients: Corn Syrup, Whey, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Mono and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Calcium Sulfate, Carob Bean Gum, and more.

8. Baskin Robbins

Sure, Baskin Robbins is one of the most successful chains out there, and yes, you probably loved it as a kid, but things have changed. A number of years ago, per Biz Journals, the company outsourced its ice cream production to Dean Foods, and today, in a scoop of, say, their Cotton Candy flavor, you’ll find cheap ingredients like a “Stabilizer/Emulsifier Blend” (which is cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, carrageenan, and polysorbate 80), and “Cotton Candy Flavored Base” (corn syrup, water, sugar, artificial flavor, sodium citrate, and citric acid).

9. Blue Bell

Blue Bell Ice Cream has a popularity problem: according to a Mashed survey, a majority of people find it to be the worst store-bought ice cream. Maybe that’s because they have a quality ingredient problem, too. The company’s Homemade Vanilla flavor features HFCS, cellulose gum, and vegetable gums. Other flavors add in modified food starch, artificial colors, mono and diglycerides, and more. How about just regular milk, cream, and sugar?

10. Turkey Hill

Turkey Hill’s ice cream has a sizeable fan base, as you can see from a quick look at one of their flavors via FreshDirect or Target. But their ice creams also have a sizeable number of ingredients that are anything but high quality. These include corn syrup, monoglycerides and diglycerides, carrageenan, and more.

Contributor: Steven John- Eat This, Not That!