Eye Drop Recall Linked to 3 New Deaths and 8 Cases of Blindness: What to Know

Eye Drop Recall Linked to 3 New Deaths and 8 Cases of Blindness: What to Know

Claremont Colonic & Nutrient Resource Clinic
  • Three deaths and eight cases of vision loss due to bacterial infection have been possibly linked to the use of certain artificial tears products.
  • As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigates, the agency recommends that clinicians and patients stop using EzriCare’s or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears products, both manufactured by India-based Global Pharma Healthcare.
  • In February, Global Pharma Healthcare voluntarily recalled its Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops and its Artificial Eye Ointment due to possible contamination.
  • A separate recall for eye drops has impacted two lots of the Purely Soothing 15% MSM eye drops from Pharmedica USA.
Three people have died and there have been eight reports of people losing their vision after developing a bacterial eye infection possibly linked to the use of certain artificial tears products, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

In addition, there have been four reports of people needing to have their eyeball removed as a result of the infection.

In total, the CDC has identified 68 patients affected in 16 states as of March 14. All patients were identified as having an infection caused by an extensively drug-resistant strain of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

As the agency continues to investigate, it recommends that clinicians and patients stop using EzriCare’s or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears products, both manufactured by India-based Global Pharma Healthcare. EzriCare’s product was the brand most commonly reported being used by affected patients, the CDC said.

On Feb. 2, Global Pharma Healthcare voluntarily recalles its Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops. The company issued another voluntary for its Artificial Eye Ointment due to “possible microbial contamination.”

MSM eye drop recall

In a separate incident, Pharmedica USA issued a voluntary worldwide recall of two lots of its Purely Soothing, 15% MSM eye drops, the Food and Drug Administration announced. The recall notice warns consumers that the products being recalled are non-sterile, meaning they may contain bacteria or other germs.

“Use of contaminated eye drops can result in the risk of eye infections that could result in blindness,” the notice said.

Dr. Diane Hilal-Campo, an ophthalmologist and founder of twenty/twenty beauty, said symptoms of an eye infection can vary, but may include redness, itching eye pain, a gritty sensation in the eye, discharge, sensitivity to light or a decrease in vision.

“If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms, no matter how mild, I encourage them to seek medical attention immediately,” she told Healthline.

Pharmedica has advised customers to immediately stop using the product, which can be returned to the place of purchase for a refund.

The Phoenix, Arizona-based company said in its notice that it has not received any reports of illness related to use of the recalled eye drops.

Purely Soothing, 15% MSM eye drops are an anti-inflammatory topical solution to relieve eye irritation and swelling.

The affected products were sold worldwide via e-commerce sites such as Amazon Marketplace, the company said.

The eye drops come in white, cylindrical bottles and have eye dropper caps and white lids. The products affected by the recall are:

  • LOT#: 2203PS01, 1 oz, UPC 7 31034 91379 9
  • LOT#: 1808051, ½ oz, UPC 7 31034 91382 9

Images of the labels for these products can be found with the recall

Consumers with questions concerning the Purely Soothing, 15% MSM recall can contact Pharmedica by email at osm@pharmedicausa.com, or by calling (623) 698-1752 between the hours of 8 a.m and 5 p.m. Mountain Time. Consumers who have experienced any problems that may be related to their use of this product should contact their physician or healthcare provider.

Soothing the eyes safely

To reduce the risk of infection when soothing your eyes, Hilal-Campo recommends choosing artificial tears that come in single-use vials.

“To use correctly, these single-use products should be opened and instilled with clean hands, and then immediately discarded,” she said.

Multi-use bottles increase the risk of spreading bacteria or other germs to the eye, because the dropper tip has more chances to come into contact with the eye, skin, or other surfaces.

Hilal-Campo also suggests that people choose preservative-free eye drops, which she says are easier on the surface of the eye.

In addition, “stick with large, trusted brands for your over-the-counter eyedrops — like Allergan, Alcon, and Bausch and Lomb,” she said.

Contributor: Shawn Radcliffe-Healthline.com

Series: Know Your Body-The Immune System

Series: Know Your Body-The Immune System

Series: Know Your Body-The Immune System
A well-working immune system prevents germs from entering your body and kills them or limits their harm if they get in. To keep your immune system healthy, get plenty or sleep, stay active, eat healthy foods, manage your weight, reduce your stress and follow other healthful habits.
Your immune system is made up of a large number of organs and cells including white blood cells, lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils and adenoids, thymus, bone marrow, skin, stomach and bowel acids and bacteria.

Your immune system is made of up a complex collection of cells and organs. The system works together to protect you from germs and helps you get better when you get sick.

What is the immune system?

Your immune system is a large network of organs, white blood cells, proteins (antibodies) and chemicals. This system works together to protect you from foreign invaders (bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi) that cause infection, illness and disease.

Function What does the immune system do and how does it work?

Your immune system works hard to keep you healthy. Its job is to keep germs out of your body, destroy them or limit the extent of their harm if they get in.

When your immune system is working properly: When your immune system is working properly, it can tell which cells are yours and which substances are foreign to your body. It activates, mobilizes, attacks and kills foreign invader germs that can cause you harm. Your immune system learns about germs after you’ve been exposed to them too. Your body develops antibodies to protect you from those specific germs. An example of this concept occurs when you get a vaccine. Your immune system builds up antibodies to foreign cells in the vaccine and will quickly remember these foreign cells and destroy them if you are exposed to them in the future. Sometimes doctors can prescribe antibiotics to help your immune system if you get sick. But antibiotics only kill certain bacteria. They don’t kill viruses.

When your immune system is not working properly: When your immune system can’t mount a winning attack against an invader, a problem, such as an infection, develops. Also, sometimes your immune system mounts an attack when there is no invader or doesn’t stop an attack after the invader has been killed. These activities result in such problems as autoimmune diseases and allergic reactions.

Anatomy What are the parts of the immune system?

Your immune system is made of up a complex collection of cells and organs. They all work together to protect you from germs and help you get better when you’re sick. The main parts of the immune system are:

  • White blood cells: Serving as an army against harmful bacteria and viruses, white blood cells search for, attack and destroy germs to keep you healthy. White blood cells are a key part of your immune system. There are many white blood cell types in your immune system. Each cell type either circulates in your bloodstream and throughout your body or resides in a particular tissue, waiting to be called into action. Each cell type has a specific mission in your body’s defense system. Each has a different way of recognizing a problem, communicating with other cells on the defense team and performing their function.
  • Lymph nodes: These small glands filter and destroy germs so they can’t spread to other parts of your body and make you sick. They also are part of your body’s lymphatic system. Lymph nodes contain immune cells that analyze the foreign invaders brought into your body. They then activate, replicate and send the specific lymphocytes (white blood cells) to fight off that particular invader. You have hundreds of lymph nodes all over your body, including in your neck, armpits, and groin. Swollen, tender lymph nodes are a clue that your body is fighting an infection.
  • Spleen: Your spleen stores white blood cells that defend your body from foreign invaders. It also filters your blood, destroying old and damaged red blood cells.
  • Tonsils and adenoids: Because they are located in your throat and nasal passage, tonsils and adenoids can trap foreign invaders (for example, bacteria or viruses) as soon as they enter your body. They have immune cells that produce antibodies to protect you from foreign invaders that cause throat and lung infections.
  • Thymus: This small organ in your upper chest beneath your breast bone helps mature a certain type of white blood cell. The specific task of this cell is to learn to recognize and remember an invader so that an attack can be quickly mounted the next time this invader is encountered.
  • Bone marrow: Stem cells in the spongy center of your bones develop into red blood cells, plasma cells and a variety of white blood cells and other types of immune cells. Your bone marrow makes billions of new blood cells every day and releases them into your bloodstream.
  • Skin, mucous membranes and other first-line defenses: Your skin is the first line of defense in preventing and destroying germs before they enter your body. Skin produces oils and secretes other protective immune system cells. Mucous membranes line the respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive tracts. These membranes secrete mucus, which lubricates and moistens surfaces. Germs stick to mucus in the respiratory tract and then are moved out of the airways by hair-like structures called cilia. Tiny hairs in your nose catch germs. Enzymes found in sweat, tears, saliva and mucus membranes as well as secretions in the vagina all defend and destroy germs.
  • Stomach and bowel: Stomach acid kills many bacteria soon after they enter your body. You also have beneficial (good) bacteria in your intestines that kill harmful bacteria.

Conditions and Disorders

What conditions and disorders affect the immune system?

Many deficiencies and disorders can damage or disrupt your immune system. Some medicines make it harder for your body to fight infection. Certain health conditions cause your immune system to attack healthy cells or make it hard for your immune system to protect you from harmful germs. They include:

  • Allergies: When the body overreacts to a harmless substance (such as food or pollen), the immune system launches a response. Your body fights its allergy triggers by releasing histamines that cause allergy symptoms. An allergic reaction can range from mild (sneezing or stuffy nose) to severe (breathing problems and even death). Antihistamine medications help calm the symptoms.
  • Autoimmune disorders: These disorders occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells. Lupus, diabetes, Hashimoto’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis are examples of common autoimmune diseases.
  • Primary immunodeficiency disorders: These disorders are inherited (passed along in families). There are more than 100 primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDD) that prevent the immune system from working as it should.
  • Infections: HIV and mononucleosis (mono) are well-known infections that weaken the immune system. They lead to serious illness.
  • Cancer: Certain types of cancer, like leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma affect the immune system directly. These cancers occur when immune cells grow uncontrollably.
  • Sepsis: Sepsis is an overwhelming response of your body’s immune system to an infection. This triggers widespread inflammation and causes a downward spiral of events that can end in organ damage, organ failure and death.
  • Medications: Some medications, such as corticosteroids, can weaken the immune system. And after an organ transplant, people take immunosuppressant medications. These medicines help prevent a failed transplant (rejection). However, these drugs increase your risk of infection and disease.
Care How can I keep my immune system healthy?

Just like the rest of your body, your immune system needs nourishment, rest, and a healthy environment to stay strong. Certain lifestyle changes can boost your immune system and help you avoid illness. To keep your immune system running smoothly, you should:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Lose weight or maintain a healthy body mass.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid alcohol or use it only in moderation.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Try to stress less and focus on mind/body wellness.
  • Make sure you’re up-to-date on vaccines.

Frequently Asked Questions I seem to get sick a lot. When should I call my doctor?

If you feel like you’re always sick or you have symptoms that never seem to go away, you should visit your doctor. Some symptoms could be signs of an autoimmune disease. These symptoms include:

  • Exhaustion or fatigue (always feeling tired).
  • Sore, aching muscles, especially if you also have a fever.
  • Difficulty concentrating or paying attention.
  • Hair loss.
  • Inflammation, rashes, or redness anywhere on your body.
  • Fingers or toes that tingle or are numb.

Contributor: ClevelandClinic.org.

Sigh Your Way to Stress Relief

Sigh Your Way to Stress Relief

Go ahead and sigh. It’s good for you
Sighs — those long, exhales of breath often accompanied with a bit of a whimper — have long been seen as a sigh of melancholy, frustration or even despair, leading us to ask the sighing person, “What’s wrong?”

A recent study turns that notion on its head. Instead of seeing sighs as sadness or exasperation, recognize them for what they accomplish — stress relief, said Dr. David Spiegel, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Center on Stress and Health at Stanford University School of Medicine.

“People think taking a deep breath is the way to ease stress,” he said. “But it turns out that exhaling slowly is a better way to calm yourself.”

A variety of ways to breathe

You breathe without thinking, but what’s the best way to inhale and exhale while you’re thinking about it — especially if the goal is better health?

To find out, Spiegel and his team conducted a study, published earlier this year in Cell Reports Medicine, comparing three different types of deep breathing with mindfulness meditation. The goal was to see whether a breathing technique might be as effective as meditation in reducing stress.

Researchers sorted 114 people into four groups and asked them to practice mindful meditation or one breathing exercise — box breathing, cyclic hyperventilation or cyclic sighing — for five minutes a day for 28 days.

Box breathing requires a person to breathe in, hold, breathe out, and pause equally (like the sides of a box) to the count of four. In cyclic hyperventilation, a person breathes in deeply and out quickly — the inhalations are much longer than the exhalations.

In cyclic sighing, a person inhales through the nose until the lungs are halfway full, then pauses briefly. The lungs are then filled completely with another breath, and then the breath is slowly exhaled out the mouth. “You want the exhalation to be like twice as long as the inhalation,” said Spiegel, who is also the medical director of Stanford’s Center for Integrative Medicine.

The team then assessed mood, anxiety levels and sleep behavior after each breathing or meditation session, as well as respiratory and heart rate variability.

Sleep was not affected, the study found. All forms of breathing and meditation increased positive mood and improved anxiety. However, breathing was more effective than meditation, with cyclic sighing making the most difference, the study found.

“Cyclic sighing is a pretty rapid way to calm yourself,” Spiegel said. “Many people can do it about three times in a row and see immediate relief from anxious feelings and stress.”

While interesting, the study was small, and doesn’t take away from all the work in progress on the benefits of any form of breath work or meditation, said stress management expert Dr. Cynthia Ackrill, former editor for Contentment Magazine, produced by the American Institute of Stress.

“We know that bringing your attention to any form of breath work starts the process of awareness that feeds mindfulness and its benefits,” she said in an email. “As long as we are all experimenting with mind-body connections with open minds and finding something that calms us, yay!”

Why breathing works

Deliberately taking a slow, deep breath, holding it, and then letting it out slowly activates the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for controlling how the body rests and digests, Spiegel said. Heart rate slows, blood pressure drops, digestion is improved and the mind begins to wind down and relax.

Contrast that to a sharp inhale of breath, which you might take when you’re afraid or in danger. That triggers the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for getting us ready to fight or flee.

“The brake works more healthfully than the accelerator here,” Spiegel said. “By slowing your heart when you do this cyclic sighing you’re immediately soothing yourself in a rather rapid way.” “We believe breathing is a pathway into mind-body control,” he added. “It’s part of the autonomic system like digestion and your heartbeat, but unlike those body functions, you can easily regulate breathing.”

Other ways to breathe deeply

This isn’t the first study on the topic. Researchers have been busy trying out different methods to see which calms the body the quickest, longest, or most deeply, and which gives the most health benefits.

Many breathing methods are borrowed from ancient yoga, martial arts and meditation practices. For example, the 4-7-8 method, in which you breathe in while counting to four counts, hold the breath for seven counts and exhale while counting to eight, is based on pranayama, an ancient form of breath regulation practiced in Hinduism and Buddhism.

There are all sorts of variations: The 4-4 method, in which you breathe in and out for a count of four; the 6-6 method, in which you breathe in and out to the count of six; alternate nostril breathing and many more.

Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, has been practiced for millennia by practitioners of tai chi and yoga. It requires the breath to be inhaled so deeply that it fills the abdomen — you can tell if you’re doing it right by watching your stomach rise and fall.

A 2020 meta-analysis found diaphragmatic breathing is especially beneficial for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and might be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety and treating constipation, eating disorders, high blood pressure and migraines.

You don’t have to sigh or breathe loudly to get the benefits of any forms of breathing, Ackrill said.

“These don’t need to be audible sighs, you can just change the rate quietly,” she said. “And you just might get the people around you to slow down their breathing as well.”

So go ahead. Take a deep breath and let it out in a huge, long, slow sigh. And if anyone does ask what’s wrong, you can smile and say, “Absolutely nothing! I’m just releasing my stress.”

Contributor: Sandee LaMotte, CNN Health

Why You Should Spread Coffee Grounds on Your Head (hint: it feels great!)

Why You Should Spread Coffee Grounds on Your Head
(hint: it feels great!)

Coffee sometimes gets a bad rap; however, organic coffee is loaded with helpful antioxidants, and the caffeine it contains is quite useful as well. Not only is it good to drink, but it is also great for your skin, the body’s largest organ. Incorporating coffee into your diet and your personal care routine is a great way to reap all of its amazing benefits. Read on to find out how you can use coffee to feel and look your best.
Here are five of my favorite ways to use coffee for great skin.

Scalp Reviver

An often-overlooked part of your body is the scalp. It can become clogged over time with dead skin cells, creating problems with dandruff and bacterial invasion. This exfoliating scrub will help revive the skin on top of your head and eliminate bacteria, leaving you feeling fresh.

What you need
  • 2 Tbsp freshly ground coffee
  • 1 Tbsp almond oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil

How to make it

  • Mix the dry ingredients together.
  • Add the almond oil and essential oils.
  • Mix it lightly.
  • Apply to wet scalp in circular motions (this works best in the shower).
  • Rinse well and repeat twice weekly

Cellulite Blaster Scrub

Caffeine is the stimulant in coffee that makes it so popular with people who aren’t big on mornings. Caffeine is also found in high-end cellulite creams due to its ability to deflate fat cells and diminish the appearance of dimples. In addition, caffeine is an excellent exfoliant for all areas of the body.

Rather than going out and buying an expensive, chemical-infused body scrub formula at your local drug store, why not make your own at home?

What you need

  • 1 Tbsp coffee grounds
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar

How to Make it

  • Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Massage the scrub into wet skin in a circular motion, focusing on problem areas.
  • Rinse off and pat dry.

Puffy Eye Mask

Coffee once again proves its worth for the sleep-deprived by providing an effective eye-area treatment. If you have problems with puffy eyes in the morning or dark circles due to lack of sleep, save your coffee grounds from your morning cup and set them aside to cool.

What you need

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp unused coffee grounds

How to make it

  • Mix the egg white and coffee in a small bowl.
  • Beat the mixture with a fork until frothy. This should take about one minute.
  • Rub the mixture under your eyes and around your eyelids.
  • Relax for twenty minutes, rinse with cool water, and pat dry.
  • Use twice weekly to reduce puffiness.

Tired Tootsies Scrub

Our feet are perhaps the most underappreciated part of our bodies, especially considering that they have to bear our weight all day long and receive little thanks and no special treatment for their hard work. Well, you can change all that with a simple foot scrub made from coconut oil and coffee. This scrub removes dead skin, moisturizes tired skin, and generally gives your feet the nurturing they deserve.

What you need

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • Half cup organic ground coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

How to Make it

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Soak feet in warm water for ten minutes.
  • Apply coffee mixture to your feet in a circular motion.
  • Place feet back in the foot soaking tub with warm water and rinse off the mixture.
  • Pat feet dry and repeat weekly for smooth tootsies.

Glowing Skin Face Pack

This face pack is perfect for dry and dull skin. Coffee will refresh your skin cells, exfoliate dead skin and stimulate blood flow, leaving your skin looking brighter and fresher than ever before.

What you need

  • 1 Tbsp organic instant coffee
  • 1 ½ Tbsp raw goats milk
  • 10 drops pomegranate essential oil

How to make it

  • Combine coffee and raw milk in a bowl.
  • Add the essential oil and blend well.
  • Clean your face and neck well and apply the mixture.
  • Let it sit for 15 minutes on your face and wash off with cold water. Pat dry.
  • Repeat twice a week for best results.

Elevate your personal care products by incorporating the natural power of coffee!

Contributor-Susan Patterson, Alternative Daily