A few of us forget the warnings to regularly change or disinfect our toothbrushes. Some of us remember only when we are getting over an infection. The last thing we COPDers need is another infection, and failure to maintain a sanitized toothbrush might lead to just that. Jimmie, a member from Missouri who reminds us she is a “gal” in her signature, recently stressed the importance of disinfecting our toothbrushes. She disinfects hers with peroxide. Toothbrush care is part of good oral hygiene. Taken to an extreme, neglecting oral health might lead to periodontal disease, and a recent study in the Journal of Periodontology concludes that “[P]eriodontal disease may increase the risk for respiratory infections.” For more information about this study (warning, the article refers to COPD as a respiratory infection), see the PRNewswire article at http://tinyurl.com/4srzs5z
In contrast to the above study, the American Dental Association website says, “Although there is insufficient clinical evidence to support that bacterial growth on toothbrushes will lead to specific adverse oral or systemic health effects, a common-sense approach is recommended for situations where patients may be at higher risk to infection or re-infection by various microbes.” Their statement, from 2005, and can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/4hysd5s
How Dirty are Toothbrushes?
Toothbrushes can contain germs, saliva, blood and toothpaste residue. There are numerous websites that detail the horrific types and numbers of bacteria, however many of the frightening descriptions appear to be self-serving; they often cite “studies” that cannot be traced to their original source. The following American Dental Association articles provide practical information without the hype
Suggestions for Storage and Care of Toothbrushes
- Replace toothbrushes periodically. The American Dental Association recommends replacing them every 3 or 4 months or when they become frayed; however others suggest changing them at least every 2 months.
Options for Disinfecting Your Toothbrush
- Soak your brush in an antiseptic mouthwash (discard regularly). Don’t soak multiple toothbrushes in the same liquid as this could lead to cross-contamination.
Manual or Electric?
There are many different opinions regarding any benefit of using an electric toothbrush over a manual one. A 2006 study in the International Journal of Clinical Dental Science provides this seemingly contradictory conclusion: “In general there was no evidence of a statistically significant difference between powered and manual brushes. However, rotation oscillation powered brushes significantly reduce plaque and gingivitis in both the short and long-term.”
What Toothpaste is Best?
In 2006, St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington, conducted a study of three popular toothpastes: Aquafresh, Colgate and Crest. Their study concludes, “[T]here was no statistically significant difference among the three brands of toothpaste. Thus, no toothpaste was more effective in repressing bacterial growth than the others.”
- MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES MAY FACE CO-PAYS FOR HOMECARE
Congress’s Medicare Advisory Commission is recommending that Medicare recipients be charged a copayment for home healthcare services. Homecare services cost Medicare $20 billion a year, but Medicare does not currently require a co-payment for the services. Although the panel did not suggest a specific amount for the copayment, they are nevertheless talking about $150 for each series of related visits. This STLtoday (from Saint Louis, Mo.) article provides a good overview http://tinyurl.com/45o44vo
Individuals with COPD often have other diseases that coexist with COPD (comorbidity). According to a study in Respiratory Research, patients with COPD cost more than 3 times the amount of money to treat than do average patients. The researchers believe comorbid diseases are to blame for these high costs. The pricy (and debilitating) diseases, according to this study, are: myocardial infarct, congestive heart failure, mild liver disease, and diabetes. Aside from the costs involved, and from a personal health perspective, we COPDers may need to be aware of this list of diseases so we can take measures to prevent or minimize their impact on our health. This 7thSpace website, explains the study, first published in Respiratory Research http://tinyurl.com/48qcymn
Vitamin D, as pointed out frequently, is an important vitamin and benefits us in numerous ways. One of the claims that appears on occasion is that a low level of vitamin D might decrease the effectiveness of inhaled corticosteroids (such as fluticasone, beclomethasone, budesonide, ciclesonide, mometasibe, triamcinolone). However, a recent study published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease found that vitamin D (as 25-hydroxyvitamin D) levels do not influence the effectiveness of inhaled corticosteroids. You can read about this study at http://tinyurl.com/4qscsty
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking drug manufacturers to limit the amount of acetaminophen (the ingredient in the brand Tylenol and also available generically) in prescription medications to 325 mg, and to also warn users about potential liver damage. The risk of liver injury is greatest when someone takes more than the recommended amount of acetaminophen. This is more likely to occur if people are unknowingly ingesting large amounts of acetaminophen because of its presence in multiple medications. The current maximum dose is 4,000 mg within 24 hour period. For the FDA announcement, see http://tinyurl.com/5s8kcwn
The Independence (London) reports on a study from Switzerland that appears in the British Medical Journal that shows common painkillers increase the risk of heart attacks. Researchers analyzed 31 different studies to come to the conclusion that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) double, triple, or even quadruple the risk of heart attacks, depending on the drug. (A list of NSAIDS by generic names is below.) Although they only studied 7 NSAIDS, they warn of the possibility that all of them might have this effect. They claim that naproxen is the safest. Aspirin, unfortunately, was not included in the study. They caution that NSAIDS usage should be no problem for those who take them occasionally. Their concern is largely with those who use larger amounts for pain control, frequently older people. For more information, see http://tinyurl.com/4qllcue
Generic Names of NSAIDS:
According to MedicineNet, NSAIDS include (generic names only): aspirin, celecoxib, diclofenac, diflunisal, etodolac, ibuprofen, indomethacin, ketoprofen, ketorolac, nabumetone, naproxen, oxaprozin, piroxicam, salsalate, sulindac, and tolmetin. [Note that Acetaminophen (Tylenol and Panadol) is not listed as a NSAID.] See http://tinyurl.com/ylgq67k
Additional names found in the UK: Diclofenac, mefenamic acid, etoricoxib and indometacin. See http://tinyurl.com/4kj3dpc
Researchers from Emory University in Atlanta Georgia and the University of Chicago found that some of those who were infected by the 2009 H1N1 flu might have developed antibodies not only against the H1N1 but also against a large number of other strains of flu. Discoveries like this could lead to a universal, or wide-spectrum flu vaccine. This Emory University news release provides an easy to read discussion of the findings, first published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine http://tinyurl.com/4jpqc37
John Costello, the former Editor (and backup) of this newsletter, recently shared a new cleaning discovery when she wrote:
~~ I just bought a Robomop, a product fairly new to the United States and better known in the UK. It dry dust-mops hard surface flooring. I saw it demonstrated on Home Shopping Network (HSN) while channel surfing. Since it was only $30.00 and HSN has a “no questions asked” return policy, I took a chance on being scammed. Boy was I surprised! The thing really works! It removes dust bunnies, lint, hair, etc. It is very low-tech and it has no learning curve. It did an excellent job dust mopping my cobalt blue entry/hall ceramic tile and my laminate kitchen flooring.
When researching on the web, I noticed several different models at various prices. I have no interest in the HSN except it had the best price. Robomop looks like a toy, but it really works. Click on the video in the upper left hand corner of this web page to see it in action http://tinyurl.com/4lj9mf6
Does anyone else has any favorite labor/energy saving devices to recommend?~~
Pat, a member from frigid upstate New York, followed up with last week’s lead article on moisture condensation in oxygen tubing with her own discovery. She wrote: “No matter what I tried, when I used a humidifier on my concentrator, I would get water in the hose. Recently a Respiratory Therapist recommended that I only fill the bottle to a quarter inch below the lowest “maximum” line. It doesn’t bubble as wildly. It has worked and I haven’t had any trouble since.” Pat also offered one of those, “Why didn’t I think of that” suggestions when she wrote, “A good way to get water out of the hose is to connect it to a nebulizer. It blows it out in no time.”
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HEAT AND ENERGY HELP FOR LOW INCOME
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal program that helps low income individuals and families pay for home energy consumption (heat and air conditioning). Although it is a federal program, it does not provide direct assistance. Instead it provides grants to states, tribes, and U.S. territories who administer the program. Programs can help cover energy costs, provide emergency help, and even in some areas, help weatherization or energy-related home repair. If you think you may qualify for assistance, you’ll first have to find where to apply. The following will provide you with more information about the program and how to contact your local LIHEAP center http://tinyurl.com/yje9mt6
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU KEEP TAX RECORDS?
You have a few months before you have to worry about taxes, but there is nothing stopping you from tossing out old records now. What records are safe to toss? Bankrate’s website lets you know how long to keep the various types of tax related records.
FREE ONLINE DRAWING LESSONS
This is a very “neat” site that illustrates, through tutorials, how to draw things! Pick up your paints, charcoal, or pencil, and draw along, or simply sit back and enjoy watching someone else do the drawing. It is fun just to watch how it is done, at http://tinyurl.com/ye7wq93
Here’s list of different sites for crossword puzzles. Some require registration, and some are better than others, but the selection is large enough to satisfy everyone. Keep your brain active at http://tinyurl.com/6sgws
For comments and questions, or to contact Richard D. Martin, please send your email to: newsletter@COPD-Support.com
Until next Friday,
Richard D. Martin, Editor