Roundup: Flu-Related Death in Florida, Proper Insulin Storage and Life Expectancy Projections

Unvaccinated Child in Florida is First to Die This Flu Season, Public Health Officials say

A Florida child died from a flu-related illness during the week that ended Oct. 6, representing the first child to die in the state during the 2018-2019 flu season, according to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH).

The child had not received a flu vaccination, officials said.

Florida health officials identified the strain contracted by the child as influenza B, which is less common and generally less severe than Influenza A. The child, who was healthy before getting sick with the flu, had no other known health conditions, the FDOH says. Additional information, including the child’s age, was withheld to protect the family’s privacy.

Annual vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your family members from Influenza, or the flu, and its potentially severe complications. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community, public health officials stress.

About 80 percent of the 180 children who died from the flu last season were not vaccinated, the CDC states. An estimatedt 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter — that highest death toll tied to the flu in at least four decades.

Flu activity peaks between December and February, but can last as late as May. Estimates are that between 15 percent and 40 percent of the population will develop illness from influenza every year. An average of about 36,000 people per year in the United States die from influenza, and 114,000 per year have to be admitted to the hospital as a result of influenza infection.

The CDC recommends antiviral treatment be initiated as soon as possible for persons with suspected or confirmed influenza, especially those who are at higher risk for complications. This group includes children younger than 2 years, adults 65 or older, pregnant women, and those with underlying medical conditions. Treatment should be administered within 48 hours of illness onset.

Influenza, or the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by a variety of flu viruses. The “flu” is often used as a term for a variety of illnesses, but it correctly applies only to the upper respiratory disease caused by the influenza virus, says FDOH.

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Many Diabetics Store Insulin at Wrong Temperature, New Study Finds

Diabetes patients have to store their insulin in their refrigerators within the proper range of temperatures for full effectiveness, but a new study finds that many are not doing so.

Insulin should be stored in a refrigerator at between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 8 degrees Celsius), and at 30 to 86 degrees F (2 to 30 degrees C) when carried by the patient in a pen or vial, the researchers said. As part of the new study, a review of 400 temperature logs (230 for refrigerated and 170 for carried insulin) showed that 315 (79 percent) had deviations from the recommended temperature ranges.

Study participants included 388 diabetes patients in the United States and Europe who placed temperature sensors next to their insulin in their home refrigerators and/or their diabetes bag. These sensors measured temperatures every three minutes (up to 480 times a day), and the readings was collected for an average of 49 days.

On average, insulin stored in the refrigerator fell out of the recommended temperature range 11 percent of the time ( representing 2 hours and 34 minutes a day).

Insulin carried by patients failed to stay with recommendated temperature range for about 8 minutes a day.

Freezing presented the biggest challenge, with 66 sensors (17 percent) recording temperatures below 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) — that represents 3 hours a month on average, according to the study.

The findings of the study were made public at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, which ended Oct. 5 in Berlin.

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Spain to Overtake Japan as No. 1 in Life Expectancy by 2040, Research Projects

Spain will have the longest life expectancy by 2040, dethroning Japan’s long-held No. 1 position, new research projects. But the United States is poised to fall significantly in life expectancy rankings, the study has found.

Spain is expected to claim an average lifespan of 85.8 years by 2040, a jump from fourth place in 2016 (average lifespan of 82.9 years). Japan, ranked first in 2016 (average lifespan 83.7 years), will drop to second place in 2040 (average lifespan 85.7 years).

Meanwhile, the United States will see the steepest decrease in ranking of all high-income countries, falling from 43rd in 2016 to 64th by 2040, with an average life expectancy of 79.8 years. If the projection holds, Americans will live only 1.1 years longer, on average, in 2040 compared to 2016. That’s would be well below the average rise in life expectancy globally of 4.4 years over that same period.

The study, published in the journal Lancet, analyzed data from the 2016 Global Burden of Diseases project.

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