December 21, 2016

Drug Company’s CEO Salary Rises 6 Times as Prices Increase

ceo salary rise drug price affordableEpiPen is known to be vitally important to people who have extreme allergies and those at risk of anaphylaxis. The EpiPen was taken over by the pharmaceutical company, Mylan, in 2007 and has been increasing their prices drastically over the last eight years. The $100 for a pair of EpiPens in 2007, is now being sold for a little over $600!

There have been many executives who have benefited from this ordeal but Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Heather Bresch, has seen her compensation increase over 600% over the past eight years. While numerous patients and families have struggled to afford the drastically increasing expense of EpiPens, CEO Heather Bresch has enjoyed a “total compensation of $18,931,068” [1]. Although there has been no open investigation of Mylan’s pricing structures, it has received public scrutiny from numerous politicians.

When the company first acquired the rights to the EpiPen, it was considered a failing enterprise. Having developed the product to a satisfactory level the company subsequently began increasing its price. This was seen as a fair business move, but hiking up the prices to such an outrageous number is unfair to numerous families who struggle to afford a crucial medication to treat a common and easily controlled condition.

Furthermore, Mylan has also purchased a drug company in the Netherlands for the sole purpose of paying lower taxes. Mylan was further criticized  for its profit-seeking actions in an article by Michael Hiltzik. Hiltzik pointed out that Mylan is unpatriotic and an “inversion”, which is defined as a “U.S. company cuts its tax bill by acquiring a foreign firm and moving its tax domicile to the acquired company’s homeland” [2]

The EpiPen is not merely an allergy medication that avoids minor symptoms, yet it is an auto-injector which is used in life or death situations. This is why numerous patients find the price increases outrageous, because such a crucial piece of equipment should not be made so unaffordable.

[1] CEO of EpiPen Maker Mylan Sees 671% Compensation Increase in 8 Years. Willingham, Emily. Forbes. Retrieved From:

[2] Another reason to hate Mylan, which jacked up the price of life-saving EpiPens: It’s a tax dodger. Hiltzik, Michael. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved From:

August 17, 2012

Symptoms of a Latex Allergy

Filed under: allergic reaction,allergy,allergy symptoms — drwatson @ 10:35 am

According to recent research, latex allergies are becoming more common, especially within the medical community. An allergy to latex is normally caused by over exposure to latex materials. Symptoms can range from minor to severe and should not be taken lightly. There is no failsafe way to avoid a reaction other than completely avoiding all contact with any materials that may contain latex.

Common Symptoms of a Latex Allergy

One of the most common latex allergy symptoms is a rash.  This can be a minor reaction and may only require an over-the-counter allergy pill. Or, it may be severe and require medical treatment.  The rash may appear in the form of hives. These are usually small clusters of red bumps that itch or burn.

Another of the more common latex allergy symptoms that occur on the skin is ‘contact dermatitis,’ which is a patch of dry itchy skin with no sign of bumps. This is usually minor and can often be treated with an allergy pill or topical antihistamine.  It is important, though, to see an allergist or your doctor to determine the severity of your allergy and the proper course of treatment.

There are some minor respiratory symptoms of a latex allergy, such as a runny nose, sore throat, frequent sneezing or coughing. Over the counter drugs can treat these symptoms, but the best thing to do is eliminate your contact with latex products.

Serious Symptoms of a Latex Allergy

One serious symptom related to any allergy is angioedema. Angioedema is swelling of the tongue, lips, or face, sometimes to the point that breathing is inhibited. This requires immediate treatment, as it may affect the airway very rapidly and can result in suffocation if not treated soon enough.

Other more serious latex allergy symptoms include respiratory problems such as shortness of breath (which is a sign of angioedema), or asthma symptoms like severe wheezing or the inability to catch your breath.

Serious allergic reactions to latex can be life-threatening and should you experience any of them, you should immediately call 911.

Things to Avoid if You Have an Allergy to Latex

The most common things that contain latex are:

  • Latex Gloves
  • Condoms, diaphragms, and other contraceptives
  • Bandaging materials like tape and adhesives
  • Some glues
  • Rubber bands
  • Pacifiers and bottle nipples
  • Balloons

Some weird things that can contain latex are:

  • mouse pads
  • tampons
  • sanitary napkins
  • baby diapers

Also, it’s not only important to avoid touching latex, but also to avoid breathing in any dust or particles that might contain it.

Living with an Allergy to Latex

Having a latex allergy can be troublesome and even frightening, but there are things you can do to protect your health and enjoy life with less worry.

The most important step you can take is to discuss your concerns with an allergist or your regular doctor to determine what you need to do to keep yourself safe.

August 2, 2012

4 Unique Allergy Control Products

Filed under: allergic reaction,allergy,allergy symptoms — drwatson @ 12:30 pm

Allergy symptoms can be uncomfortable enough to stop you in your tracks and ruin an otherwise good day. If you are looking to find out how to control allergies, then look no more.

Here are 4 completely different allergy control products, available over the counter, that are not only convenient but effective, too.


The most commonly known and used over the counter allergy control product is the antihistamine Benadryl.

When histamine is released from the body, symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, itchy skin and sneezing can be produced. Benadryl works by blocking the HL Receptors from releasing histamine which will provide relief from your symptoms. Plus, you can use Benadryl preventatively to avoid experiencing allergy symptoms.

While Benadryl is typically safe for most, there are certain people who should not use it.

Since antihistamines also double as sedatives, taking Benadryl can cause drowsiness. It should be avoided if you need to remain alert.

Children under 2, pregnant women and people with breathing conditions such as asthma and bronchitis should not take Benadryl.

In addition, if you are on any other medications, you should consult your doctor before taking Benadryl. This medication should not be used if you are allergic to diphenhydramine.


This medicated nose spray was once prescription but is now available over the counter. It is best used preventively before you encounter any allergens and can be used on a daily basis.

Using a nasal applicator, squirt NasalCrom in each nostril, typically 3-6 sprays a day, to keep allergy symptoms at bay with an anti-inflammatory agent called cromolyn sodium. This prevents allergy-causing substances from being released into your nasal passage.

Nose sprays are beneficial for people whose main allergy symptoms include nasal congestion or runny nose.

Do not use NasalCrom if you have an allergy to cromolyn sodium. Consult your doctor if you are taking any other medications, are pregnant or if you plan on giving NasalCrom to a small child.


If you suffer from topical symptoms, then the best allergy control product for you will contain Cortaid. Anti-itch creams, with the active ingredient of 1% hydrocortisone, work by reducing chemicals that produce inflammation, redness and even swelling of the skin.

Do not apply on an open wound or an area of infected skin.  You should not use if you have an allergy to corticosteroids. Consult a doctor before use if you have allergies to any other medications or are currently taking another medication.


Because irritants can cause the blood vessels in your eyes to swell, you can experience red, itchy, dry or watery eyes. Visine, which is a liquid medicine, causes your eye’s blood vessels to constrict, thus alleviating your symptoms and reducing the bloodshot appearance.

If you mostly suffer from eye allergy symptoms, then this is a great treatment for you. Do not use if you are allergic to Tetrahydrozoline. Consult a doctor first if you are pregnant, have eye disease, an eye infection or are taking any other medications.

Whether you suffer from itchy skin, a runny nose, watery eyes or a combination of symptoms, one of these four allergy control products should help you find some relief from the discomfort of your allergies.

May 24, 2011

Herbal Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

When allergy symptoms are taking you under, be aware that you are not alone. Every spring, over thirty five million Americans are affected by seasonal allergies. Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to certain substances (called allergens) by the onset of cold-like symptoms such as itchy eyes, sinus congestion, and hives. Seasonal allergies are typically caused by pollen.

Over the counter allergy medications are the most common forms of treatments patients use to cope with their allergies. Anti-histamines are the most effective type of medication one can use for their allergy as anti-histamines inhibit the actions of histamine; the substance released by the immune system which causes all allergy symptoms. For best results it is recommended to take anti-histamines before allergies occur, this is why patients with year-round allergies take anti-histamines daily when advised by their doctor. Two herbs have been found to have the same properties of anti-histamines: butterbur and stinging nettle.

How can herbs such as butterbur and stinging nettle relieve my seasonal allergies?

Butterbur was found to be as effective as cetirzine (the medicinal ingredient in Zyrtec in a Swiss study. Butterbur has the same characteristics of chemical anti-histamines without the drowsiness. Stinging nettle has anti-inflammatory properties and also prevents the body from producing histamine. Stinging nettle also does not cause drowsiness. It is best to take these herbs as supplements (they are available in capsules) a week or two prior allergy season.

Are these herbs safe?

Butterbur and stinging nettle have been confirmed safe for use. Pyrrolizaldine alkaloids found in butterbur are known to cause liver and kidney damage, however, there are tablet preparations available which have these compounds removed. Butterbur does belong to same family as ragweed therefore it is recommended to talk to a doctor to avoid an allergic reaction. Other possible side effects of butterbur include nausea, diarrhea, indigestion or constipation. Possible side effects with stinging nettle include possible drug interaction (especially when taking NSAIDs, hypertension medication or medicines for diabetes), frequent urination, or adverse effects during pregnancy. As with any treatment, patients are strongly encouraged to talk to their doctor before taking any of these supplements especially when determining the appropriate dosages.

May 17, 2011

Preventing Seasonal Allergies In Advance

Never ending sniffling and sneezing; those are seasonal allergies. No one likes them but when the weather turns from rain to sunshine, we all want to be out and about. However, this is probably not the best choice for someone with allergies. Allergies can cause a stuffy nose, constant sneezing, and breathing problems which can worsen symptoms of asthma. In an attempt to avoid taking allergy medications, here are a few things you can do to prevent seasonal allergies:

Changing Your Diet

A diet with reduced omega-6 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation. Foods such as corn oil, sunflower oil, salad dressing, mayonnaise, and most fast foods are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Having omega-3 fatty acids from fish, such as cod and salmon, are a great source as an anti-inflammatory for your system. Also, drinking natural fruit juices that are rich in antioxidants can reduce inflammation caused by allergies. Eating fresh fruits such as berries and other fruits and vegetables, such as kiwi and broccoli that are rich with vitamin C can reduce symptoms of allergies. Enriching your diet with magnesium and zinc can also help prevent symptoms. Good sources of magnesium are sunflower seeds, spinach, halibut, and artichokes. Sources of zinc can come from yogurt, tofu, crab, and oysters. Moreover, having honey that is locally cultivated can help adapt your body to pollen in the air.

Adapting Your Home

Even though it’s hot out, keeping your windows and doors closed as much as possible will help to prevent allergies. Instead, use an air conditioner to filter out pollen or use air purifiers around the house to freshen the air. If possible, remove carpets, drapes, or other fabric items around the house. These items are main storage areas of pollen around your home. If you cannot remove these, try to vacuum everyday with a HEPA filter to get rid of the pollen and other debris in the fabrics. Furthermore, avoid a clothesline to dry clothing. Drying clothing and other fabrics outside are only creating a bigger problem for your health. Fabrics outside are collecting debris in the air which you then bring into your home; so it is best to dry your fabrics inside. Also, if you have a pet, be sure to wipe them off with a damp towel before entering the house. A pet that has been outside will come back with pollen stuck to their fur. It is best to bathe them as much as possible during allergy season.

Helping Yourself

It is best to cover your eyes with sunglasses or shades when you are outdoors to reduce the amount of pollen that is blowing around outside from getting into your eyes. Also, whenever you are going out or coming back into the house, be sure to wash your hands with soapy water to wash off the pollen that sticks to your hands. Avoid touching your eyes at all times; once you start itching them, you may not be able to stop! Moreover, limit the amount of time you spend outdoors to help treat allergies. If possible, go outside at night rather than during the day. This is because pollen is settled more at night than in the day. Furthermore, when coming from outside, change your clothes right away and immediately wash clothing to remove any pollen stuck to them. Since pollen does stick to just about anything, avoid keeping your shoes inside the house for that extra step in taking care of your allergies. And to help you get a good night’s sleep, wash your hair before bed to wash out the pollen. If you go to bed without washing your hair, the pollen can stick to your pillow causing night time allergies.

July 9, 2010

Three Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wear Fragrance

Filed under: allergy,asthma — Tags: , , , — drwatson @ 9:14 pm

perfume, smellIt’s become a common fact that beauty must come with a price, and with the current fragrances and perfumes on the market today, that’s certainly become a reality. The concept of perfume originated long before the Common Era, and has developed throughout the centuries to become the personalized fragrance that today women associate with not only beauty, but also with class and individuality. As the perfume industry has been commercialized, so too have the industrial practices of manufacturing fragrances. The ingredients of modern perfumes are still held under lock and key and legally kept secret under the protection of old laws. A recent study that was conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics revealed that most of the perfumes and male fragrances on the market today contain approximately fourteen unlisted chemicals, most of which have never been tested for safety.

This study additionally outlined several health risks associated with wearing perfumes:

Allergies – Many of the unlisted chemical ingredients in today’s leading fragrances are associated with allergic reactions including asthma, headaches, wheezing and contact dermatitis. These sensitizing chemicals are known to additionally increase the chance of allergy development in people who are repeatedly exposed to them.

Hormone Disruption – Each of the seventeen perfumes tested in this study were found to contain at least one hormone disrupting chemical. Hormone disrupting chemicals have been proven to increase the risk of cancers, especially prostate cancer and breast cancer, as well as to contribute to thyroid problems. Chemicals containing hormone disruptors have also been linked to birth defects and infertility.

Inhalation and Absorption – The nature of modern day fragrances allow for the chemicals ingredients to be absorbed topically into the skin and inhaled. These unnatural and toxic chemicals have been found by various studies in umbilical cord blood, allowing for newborns to be exposed to toxins even before they are born.

Over the past few years, many health regulations have been put in place to regulate the ingredients used in processed food and in the products we use every day.  Shouldn’t fragrances be held to the same standards?

May 8, 2010

One More Reason to Go Green

Filed under: allergy — Tags: , , — drwatson @ 9:46 pm

Recent studies completed by the National Wildlife Federation demonstrate that global warming isn’t only affecting our planet’s fragile ecosystem; it’s taking the severity of allergies to a whole new level. Today, over 25 million North Americans suffer from respiratory allergies as a result of pollen. This recent study has revealed that Ragweed, the plant that is the primary cause of fall hay fever, produces much more allergenic content in environments with increased carbon dioxide, not to mention that a longer growing season induced by the planet’s new warmth will allow for more Ragweed growth, and therefore, more pollen. In the United States, more than thirty-two million dollars are annually being poured down the drain as a result of allergies and asthma, an amount that neither the American government or the Canadian government, can afford to be paying with the recent economic downturn.

On Earth Day, President Barrack Obama urged Americans everywhere to “take action”, and make an effort to improve the current conditions of our environment. Canadians too, are being asked to contribute to a greener future. The Canadian government has recently implemented a plan to reduce the gas emissions in new passenger automobiles and light trucks that will be produced in the 2011 model year, and additionally is working with the Governments of the United States and Mexico to phase out hydro-fluorocarbons.

But while our government works hard to reduce our environmental impact, there are still many things that you can do to help erase the human footprint:

Planting a Tree – It may sound corny, but the average tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide in its lifetime.

Adjusting the Thermostat – Even turning your thermostat two degrees makes an impact on the environment. If you turn your thermostat even two degrees towards room temperature, you’ll save two thousand pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

Turn Electronics Off – Saving electricity by turning off the television and lights when you walk out of the room may seem like old news, however it will save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

Recycle – If you are able to recycle half of your household waste, you can save two thousand and four hundred pounds of carbon dioxide waste per year.

Alternative Transportation – For every kilometer of alternative travel, you can save one pound of carbon. This may not seem like a lot, but if you monitor the amount of travel you put in your car each day, you’ll realize, it adds up.

By making an effort to live a greener lifestyle, you won’t only be helping your environment; you’ll have millions of allergy-sufferers to thank you.

January 5, 2010

Top 5 Strange Cases in Medicine

There are many different medical disorders and diseases out there, more than most people could ever learn in their lifetime. New conditions are being discovered all the time, while some of the older ones are being prevented through new research into cures. However, while there are many, MANY, different medical conditions, there are a few that are very interesting, and make everyone ask if the condition is real, or if it’s just some internet hoax. Let me tell you that there are very weird and seemingly impossible conditions that are still out in the world today, I’d like to share my top 5 strange cases in medicine.

5. Progeria (Hutchinson – Gilford syndrome)

Progeria is an extremely rare disorder that causes rapid aging normally starting during childhood. When a person with Progeria is born, there appears to be no difference between a baby without Progeria and a baby with the disorder. However, when childhood begins the disorder become very apparent, causing the child to experience rapid aging, which manifests in the loss of hair, wrinkles, and severe damage on the arteries that will result in death within the first years of adolescence.

4. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine

Jumping Frenchmen of Maine is a much exaggerated form of startle reflex called hyperexplexia. Suffers were reported to react strangely to loud sudden noises, and obeying the commands of another. When asked by a loud authoritative voice to do something like hit someone they would obey and go hit someone.

Walking Corpse Syndrome

Walking corpse syndrome is a very unusual syndrome, in that the sufferer believes that they are dead, decaying, or have lost a body part or internal organ. Those suffering with the disease sometimes do not even think they exist.

The Girl That Collapses Every Time She Laughs

Have you ever laughed so hard that you’ve almost fallen over in tears, well a young women living in the UK feels something like that every time she laughs. The young lady suffers from cataplexy, which means that any strong emotion triggers a weakening of her muscles. This weakening of muscles means whenever she laughs, or is afraid, embarrassed or just about any other sort of emotion, she collapses right on the spot. It’s almost like being allergic response to your emotions.

The Girl Who is Allergic to Water

The majority of our beautiful planet Earth is water, but what happens when you can’t go near the stuff. A teen from Australia, suffers from a very rare skin disorder called Aquagenic Urticaria. This condition means that whenever any water makes contact with her skin, she breaks out in a painful rash. If you think that this just means she can’t go swimming think about all the things you do every day that requires water. Showering/taking a bath, washing your hands, and sweating are all painful things for her to do. I would probably be pretty depressed if I had an allergic reaction to water.

December 18, 2009

5 Ways to Avoid Holiday Season Allergy Symptoms

If you have an allergy to a commonly-used food in modern cuisine, or to dust or other allergens, you know that your allergy controls everything you do. Pollen allergies can become an issue during the holiday season because of that large pine tree in your living room. While the most common food allergies are shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and eggs, and unlikely to act as ingredients in holiday dishes, it never hurts to be safe when it comes to allergies.

Methods to Avoid Allergy Symptoms during the Holidays:

Fix the Tree – If you have mold or pollen allergies, selecting an artificial tree may be a wise decision this season. If an authentic tree is your only option, wipe it down with a wet cloth before bringing it into the house, and clean it frequently to avoid a buildup of allergens.

Clean Decorations – While your ornaments have been hiding away in storage all year, they have collected dust and pose as a threat to any mold allergy sufferers. Simply wiping down all decorations before placing them on your majestic pine tree will reduce dust allergens that may trigger an allergic reaction.

Clean Fireplace – Before its first use, cleaning your wood fireplace helps to prevent smoke inhalation, and will prevent any smoke inhalation based asthma and allergy attacks.

Poinsettias – This popular holiday plant is directly related to the Brazilian Rubber Tree, which latex is obtained from. If you have an allergy to latex, avoid direct contact with any part of the poinsettia.

Food – It’s easy to censor what foods you eat within your own home, however during the holiday season its occasionally difficult to forecast what you’ll be eating at someone else’s place. To avoid food allergy reactions, alert your host of your food allergies, and be sure to carry an epi-pen at all times.

While your allergies may take some toll on your daily routine, don’t let them stop you from enjoying the holiday season!

October 19, 2009

5 Ways to Control Allergies

1. Find your triggers

Allergies are different for everyone. Take note of allergic reactions that you have and try to figure out what caused it. If you are unsure, have your doctor give you an allergy test.

2. Avoid exposure

Once you know what it is that is causing you problems, try to stay away from it. For some of us, that can be hard. I have several allergies myself including shellfish and pets – but am not always cautious about my exposure to these triggers. In addition, if you are a host to visitors at your home, make yourself aware of any allergies your guests may have. Perhaps you may have to vacuum pet hair prior to their visit, or make sure you aren’t serving food that they shouldn’t be eating. This will minimize the symptoms of others and make them more comfortable.

3. Be Prepared

If you have allergies, you probably know that you may be exposed when you least expect it! Maybe you did not plan on going to a corn maze during hay fever season, or visiting a friend with pets. Its a good idea to carry the necessary allergy medications on you at all times. Such things may include allergy pills like allegra or claritin, allergy eye drops, nasal spray, or in extreme cases an Epipen.

4. Keep air clear

For those with dust allergies, it is important to clean ventilation systems at home regularly in addition to dusting in order to prevent allergy symptoms. Avoid going places that are dust-rich like the garage, basement, or crawl space. On warm breezy days, keep windows open to allow the fresh air in.

5. See the doctor

Visit your doctor to find out if there are any new treatments for your allergy, or if your allergy symptoms don’t improve.

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