Health Highlights: Feb.1, 2013

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Triaminic, Theraflu Cough/Cold Syrups Recalled Due to Safety Cap Problems

About 2.3 million units of Triaminic and Theraflu cold and cough syrups have been recalled by Novartis Consumer Health Inc. due to potential problems with the child-resistant caps.

Some of the caps may be faulty and a child can remove them even with the tamper-evident plastic seal still in place, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

The agency said there have been four cases of children opening the caps and accidentally consuming the medication. One of the children required medical attention. Eight other children were able to open the caps but did not consume the syrup, ABC News reported.

The recall includes six kinds of Theraflu Warming Relief syrups and 18 kinds of Triaminic syrups.

The syrups contain acetaminophen, which can cause liver injury or liver failure if consumed in large amounts, Henry Spiller, a toxicologist and director of the Central Ohio Poison Center, told ABC News. Some of the syrups also contain the antihistamine diphenhydramine, which can cause seizures or heart rhythm problems after an overdose.

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No Financial Help for Millions Unable to Afford Employer's Health Plan

A strict definition of affordable health insurance adopted Wednesday by the U.S. government means that there will be no financial assistance for millions of Americans with moderate incomes who aren't able to afford family coverage offered by employers.

The Internal Revenue Service said it will look at the cost of coverage only for an individual, not a family, when deciding if an employer's health plan is affordable, The New York Times reported.

Under the policy decision, employer-sponsored insurance for an individual is not affordable if a worker's share of the premium is more than 9.5 percent of the worker's household income.

"This is bad news for kids," Jocelyn Guyer, an executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, told The Times. "We can see kids falling through the cracks. [Workers] will lack access to affordable employer-based family coverage and still be locked out of tax credits to help them buy coverage for their kids in the marketplaces, or exchanges, being established in every state."

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Hartz Mountain Jerky Dog Treats Recalled

About 20,000 chicken jerky pet treats in the United States are being recalled by the Hartz Mountain Corp., after company tests discovered trace amounts of antibiotic residue in the products.

The recalled includes Hartz Chicken Chews and Hartz Oinkies Pig Skin Twists Wrapped with Chicken for dogs. Antibiotic residue was found in about one-third of the treats tested, but the company recalled all the treats as a precaution, NBC News reported.

This follows other companies' recalls of pet treats due to the presence of antibiotic residue. Nestle recalled its Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats, Del Monte withdrew its Milo's Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats, Publix pulled its private brand Chicken Tenders Dog Chew Treats from store shelves, and IMS Pet Industries Inc. recalled its Cadet Brand Chicken Jerky Treats.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the antibiotic residue in the treats poses no threat to human or pet health.

The agency also said the issue is not related to an ongoing investigation into reports of 500 deaths and more than 2,700 illnesses in dogs and cats that ate chicken jerky pet treats made in China, NBC News reported.

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Posted: February 2013


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