HealthWise at 5: Picks for the Top Health Stories of 2003 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/6/04

HealthWise at 5: Picks for the Top Health Stories of 2003

1. SARS vs Flu vs West Nile. Which is the most dangerous infection?
While the SARS outbreak caught the headlines, it never really arrived in the U.S. Whereas, Flu took hold and caused the worst outbreak in 30 years. West Nile hit very hard in West Texas and infectious disease experts warn that other epidemics may be on the way.

2. Drugs were one of the top stories this year.
Do your medicines really expire? We have not questioned those dates on our prescriptions. It now appears that they are not a date when the medicine goes bad, but a marketing gimmick to make us throw it away and get a new prescription.
For years, Texans have been getting prescription medicines in Mexico. Now seniors and some states, trying to beat the high cost of drugs, have been going to Canada. The FDA says this may not be safe; the Canadians say they are insulted; and the drug companies are trying to protect their profits. The new Medicare benefit claims to cure all that.

3. Is what you eat making you sick?
Bugs in the kitchen-vegetables are now the problem with green onions added to the list of bug carriers. Mad cow disease is killing the cattle industry as foreign buyers cancel sales.

4. The debate over death and dying continues and points out once again the need for a power of attorney for health care and a living will to let your will be known.

5. Americans are fat and getting fatter leading to the diet book wars. With about a third of Americans now considered obese, the business to be in is diet books and products. Atkins is being challenged by the South Beach plan. School districts are getting into the battle and banning junk food in the cafeteria.

6. Heat killed over 5,000 people in France during a summer of record heat.

7. Poor kids still left behind in the health care arena. 200,000 children in the U.S. are handicapped by lead poisoning. The death rates for infants in some U.S. cities are higher than third world countries. In a country where we spend a greater proportion of our money on health care than any other country, some children do not get their needed vaccinations.

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