White House COVID Adviser addresses current Monkeypox threat level

White House COVID-19 Adviser Dr. Ashish Jha has assured Americans that monkeypox poses a “pretty small” threat to the general population even as the World Health Organization (WHO) declares an emergency. 

“No Americans have died of monkeypox in this outbreak,” Jha said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “I don’t know globally – I think it’s a very small number –  but zero Americans have died of monkeypox, so the risk to the broader population is pretty small.”

WHO declared that the monkeypox virus is now a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged on Saturday that the level of transmission previously did not meet the criteria, but it has since continued to grow. More than 75 countries and territories have now reported over 16,000 cases, with five confirmed deaths. 

Jha said he agreed with the call since many countries do not have the necessary resources to handle an outbreak while still grappling with issues related to COVID-19, but stressed that the United States is prepared for the virus and could handle it, keeping the risk for Americans low. 

“I’m supportive of it,” he said. “I think Dr. Tedros made the right call. We are seeing monkeypox in lots of countries around the world, many of them not doing – not really being able to manage it.”

“Here in the United States, we have a little over 2,000 cases,” he continued. “We have substantially ramped up testing, we have substantially ramped up vaccinations.”

Jha also has focused over the past few days on President Biden’s COVID-19 infection, assuring the public that White House medical personnel and advisers have been transparent throughout the process – including the revelation that officials have identified and tracked 17 individuals who made contact with the president and may be infected. 

“None of them have tested positive,” Jha said. “Obviously ,all of them continue to follow CDC protocols on masking and testing but as of today, no one that I know of has tested positive.” 

Jha highlighted the fact that Biden has had two vaccine shots and two booster shots, which he said has led to him dealing with a “relatively mild” infection. 

Polio live oral vaccine: Here’s why the US stopped using it years ago

An unvaccinated Rockland County, N.Y., resident exposed to an individual who received an oral poliovirus vaccine contracted the neurological disease and is now paralyzed, according to Rockland County and New York State Health Officials on Thursday, as Fox News Digital reported earlier.

The case raises the issue of polio vaccinations — and what Americans should know to protect their health.

“Based on what we know about this case and polio in general, the Department of Health strongly recommends that unvaccinated individuals get vaccinated or boosted with the FDA-approved IPV [inactivated] polio vaccine as soon as possible,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a release from the N.Y. State Department of Health that was provided to Fox News Digital.

Health officials said on Thursday that the oral vaccine — which contains live strands of the poliovirus — is no longer used in the U.S.

However, it is still used in many countries, including those in Eastern Europe. The patient began experiencing symptoms about a month ago; state and county health officials began investigating and contact tracing. 

They could not confirm where the individual who received the oral polio vaccine was from or where the person who is ill encountered this person. (The patient’s identity has not been released.)

The N.Y. State Department of Health’s public health laboratory showed “revertant polio Sabin type 2 virus, according to a news release. 

“This is indicative of a transmission chain from an individual who received the oral polio vaccine (OPV), which is no longer authorized or administered in the U.S.” 

The release also said, “This suggests that the virus may have originated in a location outside the U.S. where OPV is administered, since revertant strains cannot emerge from inactivated vaccines.”  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed these findings as well, the release noted.

Officials said during the conference that the U.S. stopped using the oral polio vaccine (OPV) in 2000 — and instead uses the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which does not contain the live virus. 

Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said during the press conference this week that the IPV “does not cause polio.” 

She said the IPV used in the U.S. is inactivated and therefore it will not change or mutate.

“So there is no risk of transmission to others,” she said.

What is polio?

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a viral disease that affects the nervous system. It can cause muscle weakness and in some cases paralysis and death, according to health experts. 

Physicians explained to Fox Digital News that the poliovirus typically is transmitted when the contaminated fecal matter of an infected person enters the body through the mouth, usually from hands containing the fecal matter. 

It can also occur through respiratory and oral-to-oral transmission through saliva. 

Rockland County experts explained during the press conference that polio is very contagious. 

A person can shed the virus — therefore infecting others — even when that person does not appear sick. 

An individual can start to show symptoms up to 30 days afterward. Those symptoms can range from mild flu-like symptoms — including vomiting, fever, headache and muscle stiffness — to more severe symptoms such as muscle weakness and even paralysis, according to health experts.

Rupert explained during the conference that children in the U.S. usually receive the inactivated polio vaccine at 2 months of age — then a second dose at 4 months and a third dose between 6 months up to 18 months of age. 

They then receive a booster between 4 and 6 years of age. It is a required vaccination prior to attending school.

Dr. Aaron Glatt, M.D., MACP, is chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau on Long Island, N.Y. 

Glatt — also the chair of the Dept. of Medicine at Mount Sinai — is not affiliated with the case in Rockland County, but spoke with Fox Digital News about live vaccines such as the OPV and the possibility of contracting polio from a person who had been given the live vaccine. 

“An unvaccinated or immunocompromised person is potentially capable of getting polio in this situation and should avoid being around a person who recently had OPV,” he said.

“Theoretically, polio virus can be shed for up to two months after receiving OPV.”

Glatt explained that in the U.S., health care professionals prefer the IPV so that children will have immunity if exposed to polio without the potential of shedding the virus to others. 

Dr. Jennifer L. Lighter, M.D., an infectious diseases specialist at NYU Langone in New York City, told Fox Digital News that the OPV is still used, since it is seen as an important tool for controlling polio around the world as it is easy to administer, is of low cost and induces mucosal immunity. 

The hospital epidemiologist was not privy to details of the Rockland County case but said that OPV can transmit to others. 

Lighter said in an email to Fox Digital News, “Rarely (about 1 case in a million), OPV can cause paralysis in children who are immune-compromised. For extremely rare effect in immune compromised children, the U.S. stopped using OPV.”

Lighter cautioned that those who are immune-compromised should speak to their doctor about the vaccinations. The infectious disease expert said that although OPV is not offered in the U.S., some other vaccines such as the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine or the chickenpox vaccine are live attenuated immunizations. 

Lighter said that immune-compromised individuals should discuss what measures they should take in the event they need to encounter a child or individual who had any type of live vaccine. 

Vaccination against polio is important, Lighter emphasized.

“Immunization against polio represents one of humankind’s greatest achievements,” she said. “In the U.S. before the vaccine, there were about 50,000 cases of paralytic polio cases and 3,000 deaths in the U.S. each year from polio.”  

Health experts with whom Fox Digital News spoke said polio was almost eradicated thanks to the vaccination developed in the 1955. 

Almost all children — 99 out of 100 — who get all the recommended doses of polio vaccine will be protected from the disease, according to the CDC.

On its website, the CDC said that the U.S. has been polio-free since 1979, thanks to the widespread use of polio vaccine. The CDC also said the best way to keep the disease at bay is to maintain the population’s high immunity against polio through vaccination. 

The unvaccinated should talk to their doctors

The N.Y. State Department of Health and the Rockland County Department of Health advised medical practitioners and health care providers to monitor for additional cases.

Those who are already vaccinated are considered to be at lower risk, the officials said.

However, people who are unvaccinated — including those who are pregnant, those who have not completed their polio vaccine series previously or community members who are concerned they have might have been exposed — should consult with their physician about receiving the vaccination. 

Health officials said this week they are concerned there may be vaccine hesitancy due to the COVID pandemic. 

State and county officials are urging residents to get their polio vaccine. 

“Vaccines have protected our health against old and new viruses for decades,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a news release.  

“The fact is, the urgency of safe and effective vaccines has always been here, and we need New Yorkers to protect themselves against completely preventable viruses like polio.”  

Pop-up polio vaccination clinics have been established this past week and for next week as well. 

Beijing residents asked to wear monitoring bracelets to enforce COVID quarantine, prompting outcry

Some Beijing residents returning from domestic travel were asked by local authorities to wear COVID-19 monitoring bracelets, prompting widespread criticism on Chinese social media by users concerned about excessive government surveillance.

According to posts published on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning on microblogging platform Weibo, some Beijing residents returning to the capital were asked by their neighborhood committees to wear an electronic bracelet throughout the mandatory home quarantine period.

Chinese cities require those arriving from parts of China where COVID cases were found to quarantine. Authorities fit doors with movement sensors to monitor their movements but until now have not widely discussed the use of electronic bracelets.

The bracelets monitor users’ temperature and upload the data onto a phone app they had to download, the posts said.

Beijing residents who returned to the city after outside travel were required to wear electronic bracelets to ensure that they complied with mandatory home quarantines. This sparked outcry on Chinese social media platform Weibo. (Reuters/Thomas Peter)

This post and others that shared pictures of the bracelets were removed by Thursday afternoon, as well as a related hashtag that had garnered over 30 million views, generating an animated discussion on the platform.

A community worker at Tiantongyuan, Beijing’s northern suburb, confirmed to state-backed news outlet Eastday that the measure was in effect in the neighborhood, though she called the practice “excessive”.

A Weibo post and a video published on the official account of Eastday.com was removed by Thursday afternoon.

Weibo user Dahongmao wrote on Thursday afternoon his neighborhood committee had already collected the bracelets, telling him that “there were too many complaints.”

The outcry against electronic bracelets comes at a time of growing COVID fatigue around China, with disobedience and infractions on the rise since a nationwide outbreak in March.

The Beijing government could not be immediately reached for comment after regular office hours.

Besides Beijing, several other regions and jurisdictions have introduced bracelets as a COVID control measure, or plan to do so, including Hong Kong, Henan, Inner Mongolia, and Zhejiang, according to Chinese news site Jiemian.

But data privacy concerns and the usage of COVID monitoring technology for other purposes, such setting health codes on alert to stop protesters from congregating, has left many Chinese wary of such gadgets and apps.

Here are the health risks of extreme heat

Heat affects health in a number of ways.

Heat exhaustion, which can include dizziness, headaches, shaking and thirst, can affect anyone, and is not usually serious, providing the person cools down within 30 minutes.

The more serious version is heatstroke, when the body’s core temperature goes above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a medical emergency and can lead to long-term organ damage and death. Symptoms include rapid breathing, confusion or seizures, and nausea.

Who is at Risk

Some people are more vulnerable, including young babies and older people, as well as people who have to stay active or are more exposed, such as homeless people.

Existing conditions, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as diabetes, can also heighten risk – and be exacerbated by heat.

“When you see a hot day such as today, there is likely to be a spike in mortality in all of these disease groups,” said Shakoor Hajat, an environmental epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Globally, just under half a million deaths a year are estimated to be due to excess heat, according to a study last year in The Lancet, although data is lacking from many low-income countries. Far more die of cold, but that is forecast to change, the researchers said.

Less Obvious Risks

Air pollution also increases during heatwaves, the World Meteorological Association warned last week, with adverse health affects.

Heat also can lead to low birth weight and premature birth for pregnant women and babies, a number of studies have shown.

There are less obvious risks, too. Lawrence Wainwright, an environment lecturer at the University of Oxford, said suicide rates and mental health problems often rise during heatwaves.

Scientists said that there was no evidence yet of any impact on COVID-19 or long COVID patients.

Timing Matters

Experts say more deaths occur earlier in the summer, when people’s bodies have not had chance to acclimatize.

Location matters, too; people are at higher risk in places where they are not used to such heat, including in parts of Europe.

However, there are limits, and people all around the world are at risk in extremely hot weather caused by climate change, particularly people who have to continue to work in physical jobs, for example.

“In all of the places I’ve seen in the world that we have data, there’s an increase in mortality risk when people are exposed to high temperatures,” said Eunice Lo, a climate scientist at the University of Bristol, in western England.

What You Can Do

A number of European public health agencies have issued advice on keeping cool, including avoiding exertion where possible and staying hydrated.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

They also advise checking in on the vulnerable. In the European heatwave in 2003, when more than 20,000 people are thought to have died, many of them were older and isolated.

World Health Organization: COVID still a global health emergency

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that COVID-19 remains a global emergency, nearly 2-1/2 years after it was first declared.

The Emergency Committee, made up of independent experts, said in a statement that rising cases, ongoing viral evolution and pressure on health services in a number of countries meant that the situation was still an emergency.

Cases reported to WHO had risen by 30% in the last fortnight, although increased population immunity, largely from vaccines, had seen a “decoupling” of cases from hospitalizations and deaths, the committee’s statement said.

“COVID-19 is nowhere near over,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference from Geneva after the announcement. “As the virus pushes at us, we must push back.”

The U.N. health agency first declared the highest level of alert, known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, for COVID-19 on Jan. 30, 2020. Such a determination can help accelerate research, funding and international public health measures to contain a disease.

Florida warns residents of giant African land snail that may cause meningitis in humans: report

Did you know some snails can cause meningitis? 

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is warning Pasco County to beware of the giant African land snail (GALS) that can carry a rare rat lungworm called Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which may cause meningitis in humans, according to the state’s recent “Pest Alert.” 

“The giant African land snail … is one of the most invasive pests on the planet, causing agricultural and environmental damage wherever it is found,” the report added.  

After receiving notice of a “possible” population of the snail in New Port Richey, Pasco County on June 21, FDACS said a property survey confirmed the presence of a white form of the giant African land snail two days later. 

“The phenotype in Pasco County has a creamy white flesh as opposed to the grey-ish brown flesh of the phenotype that was eradicated in the Miami area,” said Erin M. Moffet, FDACS’s communications director.  

Moffet told Fox News that Mellon, a mollusk detector dog, is actively surveying for the pest. 

The department said on their website that they will treat properties with a specific snail bait that is a metaldehyde-based molluscicide labeled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for residential use.   

Metaldehyde is a pesticide used to control snails that’s approved for use in many crops, fruit trees, avocado and citrus orchards, berry plants, banana plants and in limited residential areas, the department said on their website.  

The pesticide interferes with the snail’s mucus production ability, thereby reducing their digestion and mobility, which makes them susceptible to dehydration, per the website.  

After eating the metaldehyde, the GALS often seeks hiding places, then becomes inactive and begins to die within days, the department said.  

“FDACS’s Division of Plant Industry has begun to survey the area, enacted a quarantine and will begin treatment for this detrimental pest on June 29, 2022,” the state department said.  

“It is unlawful to move the giant African land snail or a regulated article, including but not limited to, plants, plants parts, plants in soil, soil, yard waste, debris, compost or building materials, within, through or from a quarantine area without a compliance agreement.” 

The snail is popular in the pet trade in other countries, but it is a federally prohibited organism that cannot be legally sold or possessed in the United States, per the FDACS report.  

“The giant African land snail is one of the most damaging snails in the world and consumes at least 500 different types of plants. These snails could be devastating to Florida agriculture and natural areas as they cause extensive damage to tropical and subtropical environments,” FDACS said on their website.  

The state first eradicated the pest in 1975 after detecting it in 1969 and most recently eradicated the pest in 2021 after detecting it in 2011 in Miami-Dade County, per the FDACS website.  

The snail can cause a disease called Angiostrongliasis, or rat lungworm disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

“An infected rat coughs up worms from the lungs into the throat where they are then swallowed by the rat. The worms are now in the rat’s digestive system and eventually end up in the rat’s poop,” the CDC said. 

A snail gets infected two ways: by either accidently eating the rat’s poop or the worm penetrating the snail’s body.  

“When a rat eats an infected slug or snail, the cycle begins again,” the CDC added. 

Most cases of rat lungworm disease occur in parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands, but some have been in Caribbean, Africa and United States, like in Hawaii and Louisiana. 

So why should humans worry about it? 

People get the disease when they eat raw or undercooked snails that are infected with the worms as well as eating fruits or vegetables that have not been washed well that also contain the snails.  

“People present with symptoms of bacterial meningitis, such as nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, and headaches that are often global and severe,” the CDC said. 

“Most infections of [Angiostrongylus cantonensis] resolve spontaneously over time without specific treatment because the parasite cannot survive for long in the human body. However, serious complications can rarely occur, leading to neurologic dysfunction or death.” 

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and FDACS will be holding a press conference on the recent GALS detection from FDACS’ Clearwater office, which will be livestreamed on the department’s Facebook page. 

MIT’s new human liver model reveals how it regenerates, providing hope for patients to avoid transplants

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), engineers developed a new liver tissue model to help reveal the stages of liver regeneration in hopes to help those individuals with liver disease, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers said by finding an effective way to stimulate the liver to regenerate on its own, some liver transplants could potentially be avoided and it may help a donated liver grow after being transplanted, according to a media release from MIT.  

Liver experts told Fox News that most patients who need liver transplants are often those diagnosed with chronic diseases such as viral hepatitis, primary biliary Cholangitis (PBC), cancer or fatty liver disease. The researchers hope that by learning how to utilize the liver’s regenerative properties, doctors will have more options for treating chronic liver diseases. 

According to MIT, even if 70 % of the liver is removed, the remaining tissue can still regrow to its full size within months. Meredith Stone is a 50-year-old healthcare professional who was diagnosed with primary biliary cholangitis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the bile ducts of liver and damages the liver. Stone was not part of the study but shared that she now has cirrhosis of the liver, despite not drinking alcohol for over 20 years. Stone told Fox News that she is currently taking medications such as ocaliva and ursodial hoping to slow the progression of the disease and prevent a liver transplant.  

“I heard about this study and prayed that these researchers can find a way to help the liver regenerate. It would give such piece of mind.” Stone added, “Not much research is going on for PBC and I just hope they find a way to help my liver regenerate as well as other people dealing with devastating liver disease.”

Researchers have used studies from mice to understand the regeneration pathways that occur after liver injury or illness. According to the report, one key factor is the reciprocal relationship between cells found in the liver called hepatocytes and the cells that line blood vessels called endothelial cells. The researchers explained that hepatocytes produce factors that help blood vessels develop, and endothelial cells generate growth factors that help hepatocytes proliferate. The investigators also said that previous studies in mice found that blood flow is another component in sparking regeneration of the liver.   

The MIT researchers wanted to model liver regeneration interactions, so they teamed up with Christopher Chen, MD, PhD, the William F. Warren distinguished professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University, who designs microfluidic devices with channels that act like blood vessels. 

The researchers grew blood vessels along one of these microfluidic channels and then added aggregates derived from liver cells taken from human organ donors. 

They developed a chip designed so that molecules such as growth factors can flow between the blood vessels and the liver spheroids, according to the release.  This design allowed the investigators to knock out genes of specific cell types and see how it affects the overall regenerative process. 

Sangeeta Bhatia, who is a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science said in the release, “For years, people have been identifying different genes that seem to be involved in mouse liver regeneration and some of them seem to be important in humans, but they have never managed to figure out all of the cues to make human liver cells proliferate.” 

This “regeneration on a chip” model showed that increased fluid flow on its own did not stimulate the liver cells to begin dividing, which is part of the cycle involved in liver regeneration.  But they did find that if they also provided an inflammatory signal, called the cytokine IL-1-beta, the liver cells did enter the division cycle, the release said. 

The investigators also blocked a gene in the endothelial cells that is responsible for making prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a molecule that is also involved in liver regeneration in zebrafish. By blocking the gene in these cells, they were able to demonstrate that this molecule stimulates the human liver cells to enter the cell division cycle, according to the report. 

The team plans to explore some other growth factors and molecules that are produced on their model during liver regeneration. They also hope to find the signals that tell the liver when to stop regenerating. 

“Right now when patients come in with liver failure, you have to transplant them because you don’t know if they’re going to recover on their own. But if we knew who had a robust regenerative response, and if we just needed to stabilize them for a little while, we could spare those patients from transplant,” Bhatia said in the MIT release. 

Bhatia hopes the team of researchers will be able to harness molecules to help treat patients with liver failure. The investigators also said that another possibility is that doctors could potentially use biomarkers to determine the likelihood that a patient’s liver will regrow on its own.  

Sunscreen helps prevent premature aging and skin cancer: How to pick the best one

Don’t get burned this summer.  

As many Americans enjoy the summer outside in the hot sun, experts remind that sunscreen protects the skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, but which one to choose? 

“Seeking shade, wearing protective clothing — including a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection — and using sunscreen are all important behaviors to reduce your risk of skin cancer,” according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).  

“In fact, it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.  Sunscreen can also help prevent premature skin aging, such as wrinkles and age spots, caused by too much unprotected UV exposure.”  

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection that protects against UVA and UVB rays, one that is SPF 30 or higher and is also water resistant. 

“SPF” stands for sun protective factor, but many people think the number relates to the time of solar exposure, but this is not correct, said Dr. Darrell Rigel, clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine and a former president of the American Academy of Dermatology.  

“For example, many consumers believe that, if they normally get sunburn in one hour, then an SPF 15 sunscreen allows them to stay in the sun 15 hours (i.e., 15 times longer) without getting sunburn. This is not true because SPF is not directly related to time of solar exposure but to amount of solar exposure,” the Food Drug and Administration (FDA) said. 

The SPF number tells how long the sun’s UV radiation will take to cause a sunburn when using sunscreen (as directed) compared to the amount of time without sunscreen, Rigel said. 

“Because SPF values are determined from a test that measures protection against sunburn caused by UVB radiation, SPF values only indicate a sunscreen’s UVB protection,” the FDA said. 

Rigel encourages SPF of 50 or higher because many people only put 25-50% of the required amount of sunscreen to reach the SPF amount on the label, so if they are applying SPF 15 or SPF 30, they might be getting less protection than expected. 

He recommends applying sunscreen on all exposed skin, taking special care to not forget the nose as approximately one-third of all skin cancers are on the nose because it “sticks out.” 

“Most adults need about 1 ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to fully cover their entire body. Don’t forget to apply to the tops of your feet, your neck, your ears and the top of your head,” the AAD said. 

Rigel said most people will need to reapply sunscreen every 90 minutes but sweating or swimming may require more frequent intervals.  

He told Fox News no sunscreen is “waterproof” because all sunscreens will wash off, but sunscreens are labeled “water resistant” or “very water resistant.” 

“The labels are required to state whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes when swimming or sweating, and all sunscreens must provide directions on when to reapply,” the FDA said on their website. 

Rigel explained “water-resistant” sunscreens are rated effective for 40 minutes while “very water-resistant” are effective for 80 minutes.  

He recommends the best sunscreen to use is the one you will use on a regular basis.  

He said about 50% sunscreens are sold as sprays, but although they more easily cover more surface area, he says non-spray formulations are often more effective because sometimes it’s difficult to tell what part of the skin the spray is covered compared to lotions, where people can be more accurate.  

But ultimately, he says it’s down to personal preference, but reminds sunscreens alone may not protect the skin

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends avoiding the sun rays when they are strongest, which is usually between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

“If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade,” the AAD said. 

Dermatologists also recommend wearing clothing to cover the skin, such a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection. 

And don’t just wear sunscreen when the sun’s out – apply sunscreen daily if you are going to be outside, because the sun emits harmful UV rays all year. 

“Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate the clouds,” the AAD said. 

And what if you get a sunburn? 

Rigel suggests cooling lotions containing menthol and 1% hydrocortisone cream to treat inflammation as well as aspirin to treat any swelling, redness or discomfort.  

Normally the skin’s epidermal cells turn over in 28 days, but we don’t see the skin turnover because they normally slough off in the shower. But when we have a sunburn, the skin turns over in 5-7 days because the injured skin cells don’t have time to separate, leading to visible peeling of skin, Rigel said. 

He said a sunburn will typically heal fine as long there is no blistering, which is a sign of a second-degree burn. 

A second-degree burn that gives blistering may lead to scarring and the number of blistering episodes directly correlates to the risk of developing melanoma later in life, Rigel said. 

What is pancreatitis: symptoms, causes, and treatment

Earlier this week, Travis Barker, the longtime Blink-182 drummer and husband to Kourtney Kardashian, was carried out of his Los Angeles mansion on a stretcher to a local hospital after being diagnosed with pancreatitis. Barker’s pancreas became inflamed following a colonoscopy procedure.

The musician’s health scare has left many wondering what pancreatitis is and how to treat it. According to the Mayo Clinic, pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas, a flat gland behind the stomach in the upper abdomen, is inflamed. The pancreas is vital for the body to process sugar through digestion and hormones. The pancreas becomes inflamed when these digestive fluids attack the organ instead of regulating the body’s blood sugar levels. 

Acute pancreatitis is a mild form of the condition that occurs suddenly and only for a short time. However, chronic pancreatitis is long-lasting and can lead to death without proper medical attention. Chronic may appear randomly over the course of many years while causing severe discomfort to the body. 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms for individuals differ based on the type of pancreatitis. The acute version causes pain in the upper abdominal, abdominal pain throughout the back, tenderness when touching the abdomen, fever, rapid pulse, nausea, and vomiting. 

However, chronic pancreatitis is more life-threatening and can cause more severe damage to the body. Common symptoms include upper abdominal pain, abdominal pain that increases after digestion, unexplained weight loss, and oily, smelly stools, according to Mayo Clinic. It is recommended that individuals make an appointment with their doctor for acute or chronic abdominal pain and seek immediate attention if the pain caused by pancreatitis makes it impossible to sit or stand still.

What are the causes?

When digestive enzymes are triggered, pancreatitis occurs from irritated cells in the pancreas, causing the organ to inflame. Some habits and conditions that cause pancreatitis include alcoholism, abdominal injury, obesity, high levels of triglyceride in the blood, and gallstones. Moreover, untreated acute pancreatitis may become chronic and lead to digestion problems and diabetes. 

Other factors such as a family history of pancreatitis, excessive cigarette usage, and alcohol consumption may increase an individual’s risk of pancreatitis. 

How do you treat it? 

Depending on an individual’s condition, medical professionals will ovulate and treat the underlining cause of pancreatitis differently in some cases. However, some early treatments include slimming down your daily diet to allow your body to recover. Doctors may also prescribe patients suffering from pancreatitis pain medication if the condition is severe. If an individual is admitted to a hospital, intravenous (IV) fluids will be injected through a vein in the arm to avoid dehydration until the pancreas recovers.

AstraZeneca gets EU backing for targeted breast cancer therapies

AstraZeneca said on Monday two of its existing therapies were recommended for treating patients with some forms of high-risk breast cancers in the European Union, in a boost to the company’s oncology portfolio.

Lynparza, a cancer drug developed jointly with U.S.-based Merck, was backed for standalone use or in combination with endocrine therapy in adults with a form of genetically mutated early-stage breast cancer.

The drug, which has received a similar recommendation in the United States in March, is a key asset for AstraZeneca. It was recommended in patients with low-to-normal levels of a protein known as HER2 that is the target of several new therapies.

Enhertu, developed jointly with Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo, was the other drug that was endorsed by the European Medicines Agency for treating an aggressive form of breast cancer characterized by a high rate of HER2.

Enhertu is seen as a major growth driver for AstraZeneca, with some analysts expecting peaks sales of $10 billion. The drug is also expected to be cleared for patients with low levels of HER2 this month after the recent success of a trial.