How to tell cold, flu symptoms apart is difficult

January 22, 2013

How to tell the flu from a cold is difficult, because the illnesses share many symptoms, including fatigue, fever, headache, muscle aches and runny nose.

Cold

Cold symptoms tend to develop gradually and include:

  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Scratchy throat
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild fever of less than 102 degrees

Flu

Flu symptoms can appear suddenly and include:

  • Nausea
  • Cough without phlegm
  • Chills and body aches
  • Sweating
  • Fever of more than 102 degrees (not everybody with the flu develops a fever)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting (more common in children)
  • Diarrhea (more common in children)

Sources: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, everydayHealth, University of Arizona

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Recall includes nut butters at Costco, Trader Joe’s

October 9, 2012

Costco, Target and Trader Joe’s recalled nut butters in recent days due to potential salmonella contamination in the products.

Between June 11 and Sept. 2, health officials reported 35 people sickened by salmonella to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The people sickened due to suspected contamination include a Spokane boy and a Thurston County boy.

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Trader Joe’s recalls peanut butter linked to 30 salmonella cases

September 26, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. Sept. 26, 2012

Trader Joe’s recalled nut butters due to potential salmonella contamination in the products.

Between June 11 and Sept. 2, health officials reported 29 people sickened by salmonella to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The people sickened due to suspected contamination include a Spokane boy and Thurston County boy.

Officials reported similar illnesses in 17 other states connected to the products.

Trader Joe’s and product manufacturer Sunland, Inc. initiated the voluntary recall on Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter, Valencia Peanut Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds and Almond Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds manufactured between May 1 and Sept. 24.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges West Nile precautions

September 11, 2012

With the West Nile Virus outbreak continually growing, the nation’s emergency physicians urge the public to take precautions now to protect from being infected.

The West Nile Virus, a disease spread by mosquitos, causes only mild, flu-like symptoms in 20 percent of cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About four out of five people who are infected show no symptoms at all.

But in rare cases, some will develop severe symptoms that can include high fever, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions and vision loss. It can also cause permanent neurological damage and even death.

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Officials revive Washington State Tobacco Quitline

August 21, 2012

The state revived the Washington State Tobacco Quitline on Aug. 1, due to infusions of funding from state legislators and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Through the hotline, state Department of Health officials can offer adults help to stop using tobacco. Funding cuts last year eliminated the Washington State Tobacco Quitline, affecting many people without health insurance.

The toll-free hotline is available at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or 1-877-2NO-FUME in Spanish. The hotline provides free counseling, a personal quit plan, a quit kit and referrals to local resources. Eligible callers can also receive a supply of nicotine patches or gum.

Quitting lowers the risk of lung cancer, heart attack, stroke, chronic lung disease and other cancers.

Officials said more than 170,000 people have received help since the hotline started operations in 2000.

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Statewide whooping cough epidemic passes 3,000 cases

July 31, 2012

State health officials said vaccination protection from whooping cough does not last as long as initially believed, but added that vaccination remains the best defense.

The number of pertussis, or whooping cough, cases statewide surpassed 3,000 in recent days. The state documented the most cases in vaccinated school-aged children.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a report about the Washington epidemic. The report highlights more reported cases among 13-14 year olds — a changing trend across the United States. The prevalence of pertussis in the age group indicates a shorter duration for vaccine protection against whooping cough.

“Even so, vaccinated people who get whooping cough have milder symptoms, shorter illnesses and are less likely to spread the disease to others,” state Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said in a statement. “Our biggest concern is keeping babies from getting sick — and vaccination is still the best protection.”

Pertussis is highly contagious and spreads easily from person to person through coughing and sneezing. The disease is most serious for infants, especially children too young to receive the vaccination. Pertussis causes cold-like systems followed by a long, severe cough.

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Officials urge vaccinations as whooping cough surpasses 3,000 cases statewide

July 25, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. July 25, 2012

State health officials said vaccination protection from whooping cough does not last as long as initially believed, but said vaccination remains the best defense against the illness.

The number of pertussis, or whooping cough, cases in Washington surpassed 3,000 in recent days. The state documented most cases in school-age children vaccinated against pertussis.

“Whooping cough vaccines work but don’t seem to last as long as was expected,” state Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said in a statement. “Even so, vaccinated people who get whooping cough have milder symptoms, shorter illnesses, and are less likely to spread the disease to others. Our biggest concern is keeping babies from getting sick — and vaccination is still the best protection.”

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King County child injury deaths drop by 62 percent

July 17, 2012

King County public health officials attributed a drop in injury deaths of children and teenagers in recent years to better education, policies, research and law enforcement.

The rate of death from injuries for children and teenagers 19 and younger declined by 62 percent from 2000 to 2009, Public Health – Seattle & King County announced June 18.

Countywide, 22 children died from injuries in 2009, down from 55 in 2000. The improvements in King County surpassed a national trend of fewer child injury deaths. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said child deaths from injuries declined 29 percent from 2000 to 2009.

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Costco, Diamond Pet Foods sued over contaminated dog food

June 26, 2012

Issaquah-based Costco and Diamond Pet Foods face a lawsuit for a salmonella infantis outbreak stemming from contaminated dog food.

The national food safety law firm Pritzker Olsen filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

Diamond issued a recall of dog food manufactured at a South Carolina plant after discovering salmonella at the facility. The outbreak sickened at least 15 people in Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Many recalled products carried the Kirkland Signature label — Costco’s store brand manufactured by Diamond.

Pritzker Olsen filed the suit on behalf of a New Jersey infant hospitalized after contracting salmonella. The baby developed severe diarrhea, fever and loss of appetite April 11.

The infant’s father purchased Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Formulated with Chicken & Vegetables — a recalled variety — for the family dogs.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the bacteria spread after people came into contact with the contaminated dog food or with animals that ate the dog food.

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Child injury deaths in King County drop by 62 percent

June 20, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 20, 2012

King County public health officials attributed a drop in child injury deaths to better education, policies, research and law enforcement.

The rate of death from injuries for children 19 and younger declined by 62 percent from 2000 to 2009, Public Health – Seattle & King County announced Monday.

Countywide, 22 children died from injuries in 2009, down from 55 in 2000. The improvements in King County surpassed a national trend of fewer child injury deaths. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said child deaths from injuries declined 29 percent from 2000 to 2009.

“In King County, child injury rates have fallen twice as fast as national injury rates,” Dr. Beth Ebel, director of the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, University of Washington, said in a statement. “We led the nation in strong bicycle helmet legislation, passed the first booster seat law in the country and have innovative programs to prevent childhood drowning. These programs make a difference.” Read more

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