If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Whether Narcan will be free is likely to vary state by state and even city by city, barring some sort of currently unannounced federal program. Right now, for example, Ohio, Delaware, and Iowa provide free Narcan for anyone, and cities like Philadelphia and Chicago distribute it free at public libraries, while NYC has dozens of city and partner-based options. We think that there are likely to be some cities or states that allow businesses to get naloxone for free or at a heavily reduced price to help prevent overdoses, but we doubt that all of them will be the same.
Many of the producers of naloxone (Narcan brand included) have reduced-price bulk purchasing options for community groups and even individual community members, so reduced-price bulk purchasing options are almost certain, while free options will probably depend on state or city programs.
While the deaths in Cambodia are tragic, they’re not from the same clade of bird flu that we’ve heard so much about lately. Instead, those cases were from a strain that’s endemic to the area and most likely resulted from direct contact with an infected bird. Most public health experts are wary of the bird flu and see it as a real threat, but aren’t panicked - at least not for humans. The human cases we’ve seen so far of the specific clade causing mass bird casualties (H5N1 clade 220.127.116.11b) have all been mild. And while the fact that it’s spread to and between minks is cause for alarm because they’re more similar to humans than other mammals, it would still take a big leap for the virus to mutate so that it’s easily infectious in humans. Instead of panic, we should be ramping up monitoring to keep an eye on this and preparing our influenza pandemic plans.
Our clinical team gets this one a lot! In the past, we thought it was mostly because cold weather forces people to spend more time indoors, which allows easier viral transmission. But there’s actually some new evidence that the cold actually does hamper your body’s immune response, especially the cells in your nose, which are a first line of defense for fighting respiratory viruses. There’s also some evidence that certain viruses can survive and reproduce better in the colder, dryer winter air. That said, it’s not the cold itself that’s making you sick - it’s probably a virus that you picked up, though the cold might be the reason it made you feel bad.
POTS stands for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. It’s a disorder of the autonomic nervous system that causes rapid heart rate, fainting, and dizziness, particularly among young women. Nearly a million new patients have been diagnosed with POTS after COVID infections. It’s not synonymous with long COVID, but it’s certainly one of many possible symptoms and effects. POTS has often been dismissed in the past as anxiety-related, especially since the young women it affects most often can look well on the outside. But POTS is a real disorder with life-altering effects, just like other symptoms and effects of long COVID, and it needs more research and more focus from the medical field.