Since 2012, the last week of April has been World Immunization Week. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 5 children are missing routine immunizations. With nearly 20% of the world’s population at risk for diseases such as measles, whooping cough, and other preventable diseases, there are close to 1.5 million deaths annually that could be averted. As part of World Immunization Week, we at NeedyMeds want to spread awareness on the importance of vaccinations and the resources available for those in need.

In a previous blog post, we shared a graph that compared the morbidity of illnesses from the years before the vaccine was developed to the year 2000. All the applicable diseases—smallpox, diphtheria, measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, rubella, tetanus, and influenza type b—decreased in morbidity in the United States by 95-100%.

Vaccinations help keep diseases such as polio and measles in check. Fifteen years ago, measles was declared eradicated in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since that time there have more than 120 cases of measles, including an 

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The National Sleep Foundation is celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week to raise awareness for the health benefits of sleep and tips for a better night’s rest.  In the US, Sleep Awareness Week ends with Daylight Savings Time—the night many associate with losing an hour of sleep.

Sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness are telling signs of poor sleep hygiene.  If you are experiencing a problem sleeping, it is a good idea to evaluate your bedtime routine.  It may take time to notice any positive effects from changing your sleep habits.  If sleep has been a long-term problem, consulting your doctor or a sleep specialist may lead to a diagnosis of a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea.  Any evaluation would likely improve the treatment suggested toward healthy sleep.

Up to 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder; however, more than 40 million don’t get properly diagnosed or treated.  People may be unaware of sleep interruptions, or may not think

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A mosquito-borne virus has become a growing concern for Americans and people throughout the world.  The Zika virus can affect anyone for up to a week and present with fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, and other symptoms. However 80% of people afflicted with the virus have no symptoms at all.

Zika virus is especially dangerous to pregnant women because it has been associated with babies being born with microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disorder where the brain does not fully develop and presents with a disproportionately small head.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed it a “global health threat.”  This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Emergency Operations Center moved to Level 1, the highest level, due to risk of Zika virus transmission in the US.

The most recent Zika virus outbreak began in Brazil in 2015 and is transmitted through Aedes mosquitos.  There is no vaccine to prevent or protect people from the virus, and treatment is typical for the flu: plenty of rest, fluids, and fever/pain relievers as needed.  Once diagnosed, it is necessary to further avoid mosquito bites

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A recent addition to the NeedyMeds website is the Radiology Imaging Centers database. As hopefully you read in our August edition of the Patient Assistance Newsletter, this new resource will help you search for facilities that offer the tests you need in your area. You can use the data to compare cash prices of over 20 commonly performed studies. The database also includes other pertinent information about each location such as whether or not they offer discounts or payment plans, which procedures they perform and even if they host free imaging screenings throughout the year. Such details will hopefully assist you greatly in your pursuit of better health.

Yet, per an article published at the beginning of the year by our partner Consumer Reports, there are a few more steps you should take, a few more answers you seek before actually scheduling that test. The full article is worth a read. But one of the important suggestions

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Some Americans are making sacrifices and taking risks to afford their meds

 

Rising drug prices have become a public health crisis, forcing too many Americans into making some tough choices. In a recent Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs’ poll of 1,037 U.S. adults who currently take a prescription medication, one third said they were hit with higher drug prices at the pharmacy counter in the past year. And while the average increase was $39 extra out-of-pocket, one in 10 reported paying $100 or more over what they’d previously paid. Those higher prices led nearly 40 percent of people to take potentially harmful risks with their medication in order to curb costs, including skipping filling a prescription, skipping a dosage, cutting pills in half without a doctor or pharmacist’s OK, and even taking expired meds.

While people facing unexpected high costs were more than twice as likely to avoid seeing their doctor or forego a medical procedure than those who didn’t, the financial setbacks affected more than their health. Perhaps the most troubling cutback: A third (32 percent) of poll respondents paying higher prices said

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