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Jul 30, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- HOW TO AVOID INSECT-BORNE DISEASES

With the insect and tourism season in full swing, dermatologists recommend prevention as the best medicine against insect-borne diseases. Doctors advise people to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside, stay inside at dawn and dusk, when many bugs -- including mosquitoes -- are most active, remove standing water in yards and clean out gutters, and install or repair window and door screens. Also, insect repellants should be used before going outside. Those containing permethrin should be applied only to clothing and they will last through several wash cycles. Those containing DEET can be applied to the skin, but only last for a short time and can cause side effects such as skin irritation and headaches. For children, insect repellents with a 10 percent or lower DEET concentration are recommended. However, the chemical repellent never should be used on a baby younger than 2 months old.


People with breast cancer can find support in an online network designed for them as an alternative to conventional support groups. "Despite research showing the effectiveness of support groups in aiding recovery, only 10 to 15 percent of breast cancer patients take part in a conventional support group," said Jason Owen, a University of Alabama, Birmingham, public health and psychology graduate student. Owen created Project Survive to address this gap. "Providing a support group over the Internet allows us to reach patients for whom the stress of coping with treatments makes it impractical for them to attend an in-person support group," he said.


A new nationwide initiative to encourage African Americans to donate organs, tissue and bone marrow will take place Sunday, Aug. 3. The emphasis of "Linkages to Life," presented by The Links Inc., in Washington, D.C., is to create awareness in black communities about the number of African Americans on the transplant waiting list and the need for more donors. "While donation shortages exist in the U.S., African Americans consistently have a disproportionately high number of people on the waiting list," said Victoria Dent, a project coordinator with The Links. At present, more than a third of people waiting for kidney transplants are black. Overall, African Americans account for 13 percent of organ donors and 18 percent of recipients. "Increasing donation within a race allows for a better match and, inevitably, better outcomes," said Dr. Dorian Wilson, a liver transplant surgeon at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey.


Researchers have found moderate use of over-the-counter painkillers probably does not damage the kidneys, contrary to what many people think. A new study of nearly 4,500 men who took an average of three to four pain killers a week showed the drugs did not result in a decline in kidney function. "People on aspirin therapy to prevent cardiovascular problems are likely to develop kidney troubles, too," said Dr. Tobias Kurth, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, explaining why the misperception persists about painkillers' effect on kidneys. Factors that led to the cardiovascular problems could also be to blame for the kidney trouble, he said. Kurth cautioned, though, there is evidence overconsumption of some painkillers can result in harming the kidneys.

(Editors: For more information on MOSQUITO, contact the American Academy of Dermatology at 847-330-0230. For CANCER, the University of Alabama, Birmingham media relations at 205-934-3884 or Project Survive at For ORGANS, Enid Doggett at 202-835-9487. For KIDNEYS, Jeff Ventura at 617-534-1605 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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