Foods to Help Boost Immunity

 

Although no amount of the right kinds of food can prevent or cure illness, healthy nutrition can help boost your immunity. A trip to the grocery store is a great way to prevent colds, the flu, and other infections. Many of our favorite foods have the nutrients we need to boost our immune system:

Citrus Fruits

One of the best foods to boost your immune system are citrus fruits. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. These white blood cells fight off infections in our body. Thankfully, there are many citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C. These include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, tangerines, and clementines. Next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to add some of these to your cart.

Red Bell Peppers

Another kitchen staple that is great for building up immunity is red bell peppers. Red bell peppers are easy to add to some of your favorite dishes and are rich in beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A by your body for healthy eyes and skin. Red bell pepper also has three times as much vitamin C as an orange. You can easily add this nutritious vegetable to your next stir-fry, lasagna, pizza, or even on taco night. 

Garlic

One of the best ways to add supreme flavor and nutrients to your next meal is by adding in garlic. Garlic is great for fighting infections and can slow down the hardening of the arteries. There is also some evidence that it may help lower blood pressure. The heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, is what makes garlic a powerful immune booster. 

Yogurt

A tasty treat with immune-boosting nutrients is yogurt. Yogurts with the phrase “live and active cultures” printed on the label are exactly what you need. These yogurts have disease-fighting cultures that are able to stimulate your immune system. It is also a fantastic source of vitamin D, which can help regulate your body’s immune system. Be sure sure to go with plain yogurt to avoid sugar and dress it up with fruits, granola, and honey to make it sweeter. 

First new Drug to Fight the Flu in 20 Years

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Those suffering from the flu have a new option to relieve symptoms after 20 years. Xofluza, is a single dose oral drug that has been approved by the FDA to treat the sickness, this comes after 20 years of prescribing the same prescription to patients. The flu affects thousands of people each year, and having another safe and effective treatment is critical to keep the illness under control. The pill is offered to those who are 12 years and older and have had flu symptoms for no longer than 48 hours. Treating a respiratory illness in this time frame with antiviral drugs can help reduce symptoms and the duration of the illness in someone.

 

After two clinical trials with 1800 patients, doctors were able to prove that taking the drug in the 48-hour time frame eased the symptoms of the the flu in a shorter amount of time than the placebo patients. Although Xofluza eased the symptoms in patients, there were no distinct differences in those who took another flu drug instead. Like many other drugs, there are side effects, the two most common for Xofluza are diarrhea and bronchitis.

 

Xofluza is now available across the U.S for $150 without insurance and as low as $30 with. Although a new drug is in place to help with the treatment of the Flu, Dr. Scott Gottlieb who was in charge of the study urges everyone who has not done so, to get the flu shot, since no treatment is a replacement to the vaccine.

 

It is recommended to receive the vaccine by the end of October of each year. Flu vaccines are available at doctors offices, local pharmacies, and some workplaces. Although imperfect, those who still get the flu after the vaccine are less likely to be hospitalized or die from the illness.

 

Although the new drug has only been present in the health care system for a short period of time, it now has opened doors for other pharmaceutical companies to look into creating another form of Xofluza at a cheaper price, that can be easily distributed to those suffering from the illness.  

Alabama Ranked one of the Top States for Being Employed as a Physician

physiciansThe state of Alabama has grappled with a number of health care challenges; nonetheless, it has managed to rank as one of the top states for being employed as a physician.

According to rankings published by Medscape, a medical specialist site, Alabama has been identified as the third best state in the nation to practice medicine in 2016. Chiefly, the rankings looked at the financial aspects of working as a physician in Alabama, as well as the malpractice environment, cost of living, and tax burden. Only North Carolina and Texas surpass Alabama as states that ranked higher.

For physicians living in the state of Alabama, the average salary is approximately $296,000, which is four percent higher the national average. That fact coupled with the state’s exceptionally low cost of living means that physicians in that state are faring well. The cost of living in Alabama is 10 percent less than the national average and there’s a tax burden of just 8.7 percent, which means that wages have a great lifespan in the state.

The Medscape study also revealed that malpractice payouts, suggesting a favorable malpractice environment. In Alabama, malpractice payouts only reach $4.15 per capita each year, which is the fourth lowest among all states. Birmingham’s physicians, specifically, are thriving due to good schools, growing suburbs, and premium health care facilities like the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. The state may have ranked even higher if it weren’t for slow economic growth and above-average unemployment (6.2 percent vs. 4.9 percent nationally).

The report identified Birmingham (the state’s economic engine) and Hoover as the best cities in the state to practice medicine. Hoover happens to be one of the most in-demand suburbs in the state with ample shopping and good schools. However, there are a few cons for Hoover, including the fact that the housing costs are more than twice the state’s average.

Putting A Stop To Prescription Drug Abuse: It Starts With Our Doctors

 Putting A Stop To Prescription Drug Abuse: It Starts With Our Doctors

Scientists have made leaps and bounds in the world of medicine, but there are still kinks in the medical field that will need to be worked out. One of those problems is the over-prescribing of painkillers.

While the drug abuse problem in the U.S. will not be single handily fixed with this change, working against over-prescribing will make a large difference. The way health professionals prescribe drugs is a large cause of prescription drug abuse, and tackling this problem from its source will work a lot better than simply pointing the finger at those who abuse the drugs.

Scientists became aware of the prevalence of over-prescribing through a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study was led by Jonathan Chen, MD, a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study examined Medicare claims from 2013 to see which doctors prescribed opioids. The researchers also looked at how many prescriptions were filled. The term “opioids” refers to a class of drug that includes OxyContin, morphine, and codeine.

The study had some truly eye-opening results. These drugs are being prescribed by all different types of medical professionals, such as doctors, dentists, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners. The researchers were surprised to find that the majority of health professionals are contributing to the problem of overprescribing opioids, an issue which was originally thought to be caused by only a small minority of healthcare professionals.

Abuse of prescription painkillers has been a problem throughout the nation, causing concern among policymakers, law enforcement officials, and public health experts. According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 19,000 people died from overdosing on prescription painkillers in 2014. According to previous research, about 80% of opioids are prescribed by medical professionals. Dr. Chen’s research went further in depth to find that 57% of these opioid prescriptions were filled by 10% of doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists, and physician assistants. This figure implies that the pattern for the opioid prescription is in line with the patterns for other medications, including those that are not typically abused. This means that 10% of doctors and responsible for 63% of medical prescriptions. This shows that the opioid crisis is fueled by more than just a few doctors. The frequency that a doctor prescribes these painkillers is about the same as the frequency that a doctor recommends any other type of medication.

So, what are the real world implications of this research? Chen states that any public health initiatives that set out to end prescription drug abuse need to target all doctors, thus taking a systematic approach. This change can not be brought about unless medical professionals throughout a number of fields are informed about the prevalence of overdosing on opioids. The target needs to shift from a small percentage of doctors that were believed to be causing the crisis to the wide spectrum of medical professionals who are actually causing it. All healthcare professionals need to work to solve this issue in order to change the medical field, and the world, for the better.