Loyola test shows early return of ragweed

Ragweed. Photo courtesy National Institutes of Health.
National Institutes of Health image.

By Loyola Student Dispatch Staff

Your allergies bad today?

Maybe it’s because ragweed has returned.

Loyola University Health System reports the early return of ragweed, a sure trigger of summer allergies.

Here is a report from Loyola University Health System:

Later summer triggers ragweed allergies in 10 to 20 percent of Americans and today spells misery for those with sensitive systems. Ragweed pollen was reported for the first time in the 2014 allergy reporting season, causing a pollen vortex of sneezing, itching and headaches for Midwesterners.

“The ragweed pollen is showing up about one week earlier this year than last year,” says Joseph Leija, MD, who performs the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official count of the Midwest. “With the high mold count and moderate weed count, the presence of ragweed will make breathing difficult for many.”

Monday, August 4, 2014, was the first count featuring ragweed. The Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official count for the Midwest, for August 4 is No Trees, No Grass, Mold High, Weeds Moderate and Ragweed Low

Typical pollen seasons are: Trees in March to May; Grass in May to June; Weeds and Ragweed in mid-August to October and Mold all season long depending on dampness.

Say what? Loyola says fireworks bad for your ears


By Loyola Student Dispatch Staff

What’s louder than a power saw, a race car or a rock concert?


And as the Fourth if July approaches, Loyola University Health System is warning people to protect their ears from fireworks.

Here is a news release from Loyola University Health System:

Summer sounds include much more than crickets chirping. Outdoor concerts, parades, Fourth of July fireworks, public transportation and construction sites all have one thing in common – high decibels of noise.

“Once hearing is damaged, it cannot be repaired,” said Dr. Jyoti Bhayani, a certified audiologist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of the Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill. She has blunt advice about using headphones.

“Hearing aids have yet to become status symbols, so young people need to wise up and turn the volume down on their ear buds.”

Damage to hearing is one component of summertime living that holds dangers that many people often ignore, Loyola experts say. Other things activities be cautious of include:

  • Beginning in early summer, trauma centers around the country see patients injured by fireworks. Hand and finger damage are the most comon types of trauma.
  • Friends and family gathering around a fire pit or camprire must be particularly serious and attentive. Young children can easily get injured around cooking grills.
  • Young children can be particularly susceptible to ear damage from the high volume of thunderous fireworks displays. (You can protect their hearing by watching from farther away from the sound.)

One in 10 Americans – mostly grownups – has hearing loss that affects their ability to understand normal speech. Aging is the most common cause of this condition. However, exposure to excessive noise also can damage hearing in higher pitches.

“Hearing loss due to excessive noise is totally preventable, unlike hearing loss due to old age or a medical condition,” Bhayani said.

Here are the registered levels for common sounds, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery:

  • 30 decibels – soft whisper
  • 50 decibels – rain
  • 60 decibels – normal conversation/computer typing
  • 70 decibels – expressway traffic
  • 85 decibels – earplugs are recommended for prolonged exposure at this level
  • 90 decibels – subway, lawn mower, shop tools
  • 100 decibels – chainsaw, snowmobile, drill
  • 110 decibels – power saw
  • 115 decibels – loud rock concert, sandblasting, car horn
  • 130 decibels – race car
  • 150 decibels – fireworks/jet engine takeoff
  • 170 decibels – shotgun

“It is important to know the intensity of the sounds around you,” said Bhayani, who regularly cares for construction and factory workers, frequent air travelers and seniors at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. “I recommend using hearing protection devices for those who are exposed to excessive, loud noises and musician’s earplugs, which simply attenuate the intensity/loudness without altering frequency response.”

Loud noise destroys ear nerve endings

Three small bones in the middle ear help transfer sound vibrations to the inner ear where they become nerve impulses that the brain interprets as sound.

“When noise is too loud, it begins to kill the hair cells and nerve endings in the inner ear,” Bhayani said. “The louder a noise, the longer the exposure and the closer you are to the noise source, the more damaging it is to your nerve endings, or your hearing.”

As the number of nerve endings decreases due to damage, so does your hearing. Nerve endings cannot be healed or regenerated and the damage is permanent.

Ear bud warning

Use of ear bud headphones may save your ears from being assaulted by the noise of your teenagers’ music or electronic games, but it may be damaging your child’s hearing.

“About 3 in 5 Americans, especially youth, are prone to hearing loss due to loud music being delivered via ear buds,” Bhayani said.

Helpful hearing hints

Here are a few summertime tips:

  • Cover your ears: “Generic, over-the-counter earplugs are inexpensive and can be found at any drugstore,” Bhayani said. “However, they can be custom-made for comfort and durability. Buy earplugs now and keep them handy in wallets, backpacks, briefcases and purses so you can pop them in when noise is loud and continuous.” Bhayani also suggested using a scarf or even covering your ears with your hands to muffle sound.
  • Swimmer’s ear: “Swimmer’s ear is caused by painful membrane swelling due to trapped moisture in the outer ear,” Bhayani said. “Multicolor, customized plugs for swimming are available and a good investment to avoid painful, or costly, ear infections.” After swimming, Bhayani recommended tilting the head to drain water from each ear and gently wiping the outer ear with a towel.
  • Cotton swabs:  Do not use cotton-tipped swabs to clean ears. “Swabs can actually push wax or harmful material farther into ears and many people use them improperly or too forcefully, which can cause pain or damage.”
  • The plane truth: Many air travelers complain about ear discomfort when the plane is taking off or landing. “Yawning, swallowing, chewing gum and sucking on hard candy help to unplug the ears,”  Bhayani said. If yawning and swallowing are not effective, pinch the nostrils shut, take a mouthful of air and direct the air into the back of the nose as if trying to blow the nose gently. This may have to be repeated several times during the plane’s descent.

Loyola doctors discuss “five-second rule”

When grilling, remember the "five-second rule." cdc.gov image
When grilling, remember the “five-second rule.”
cdc.gov image

By Loyola Student Dispatch Staff

You’ve heard of the “Five-Second Rule.”

You’re grilling a burger.

It falls off the spatula.

It lands on the patio.

You scoop it up and flip it back onto the grill.

You shout: “Five-Second Rule.”

And you tell your guest not to worry about the germs.

Well, the minds at Loyola University Health System spent time mulling over the “five-second rule,” and here’s what they have to say:

MAYWOOD, Ill. – The burger patty that slides off the plate, the ice cream treat that plops on the picnic table, the hot dog that rolls off the grill – conventional wisdom has it that you have five seconds to pick it up before it is contaminated.

Fact or folklore?

“A dropped item is immediately contaminated and can’t really be sanitized,” said Jorge Parada, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, medical director of the Infection Prevention and Control Program at Loyola University Health System. “When it comes to folklore, the ‘five-second rule’ should be replaced with ‘When in doubt, throw it out.’ ”

All items that come into contact with a surface pick up bacteria (and dirt!). How much bacteria and what kind of microbes it pick up depends on the type of object that is dropped and the surface it is dropped on, he said.

“If you rinse off a dropped hot dog, you will probably greatly reduce the amount of contamination, but there will still be some amount of unwanted and potentially nonbeneficial bacteria on that hot dog,” said Parada, who admits to employing the five-second rule on occasion. “Maybe the dropped item only picks up 1,000 bacteria but typically the innoculum, or amount of bacteria that is needed for most people to actually get infected, is 10,000 bacteria. Well, then the odds are that no harm will occur. But what if you have a more sensitive system, or you pick up a bacteria with a lower infectious dose? Then you are rolling the dice with your health or that of your loved one.”

And using your own mouth to “clean off” a dropped baby pacifier?

“That is double dipping – you are exposing yourself to bacteria and you are adding your own bacteria to what first contaminated the dropped item. No one is spared anything with this move,” Parada said.

Parada likened this scenario to being burned, with temperature and time being analogous to type and amount of bacteria.

“The hotter the surface, the easier and worse you will be burned – like the more virulent, or harmful, the bacteria, the easier and sicker you may get. One only has to touch a white-hot surface momentarily to get burned and sometimes it doesn’t take a lot of bad bugs for you to get sick. On the other hand, if hold your hand to a less hot surface but do so for a longer period, the more you will be injured, too.”

Parada said there are degrees of risk of contamination.

“So a potato chip dropped for a second on a rather clean table will both have little time to be contaminated and is likely to only pick up a miniscule amount of microbes – definitely a low risk,” he said. On the other hand, food that lands on a potentially more contaminated spot – such as the floor – and stays there for a minute is going to pick up more bacteria and pose a greater risk.

“In the same time period, a rock candy is less likely to pick up contamination than a slice of cheese. As an extreme example, whether it’s a rock candy or a slice of cheese, I don’t think anyone would invoke the five-second rule if it fell in the toilet,” said Parada, a professor at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine. “At the end of the day, this is a polite social fiction we employee to allow us to eat lightly contaminated foods,” Parada said.

And that old saw about building up a healthy immune system through exposure?

“There actually is certain research that supports the importance of being exposed to bacteria at critical times in a child’s development,” Parada said. “But I believe this development applies to exposures of everyday living. I do not advocate deliberately exposing ourselves to known contaminants. That would probably be a misplaced approach to building up our defenses. If you want to be proactive in building up your defenses, eat right, exercise and get adequate sleep – and remember to get your vaccines.”


Loyola “tops off” new medical research center

A crane places the last beam atop Loyola's new medical research center. Loyola University Chicago photo.
A crane places the last beam atop Loyola’s new medical research center.
Loyola University Chicago photo.

By Loyola Student Dispatch Staff

The last beam has been put in place atop Loyola University Chicago’s new Center for Translational Research and Education in Maywood.

The university held a “topping off” ceremony this week on the $137 million project, which will include a  laboratory and support space for 72 principal investigators plus space for 40 lead scientists engaged in desktop research such as public health, health services, nursing, bioinformatics and epidemiology.

Interior work will continue on the five-story building, which is slated to open April 2016.

Here is a news release from the university:

On June 9th, construction workers topped off Loyola University Chicago’s $137 million medical research and education building.

Iron workers signed their names and attached an American flag to the final beam to be placed in the Center for Translational Research and Education. A crane hoisted the beam, which workers secured to the top floor of the five-story building.

Construction of the center began in August, 2013. The center is on schedule to open in April, 2016 on the university’s Health Sciences Campus in Maywood.

The 227,000-square-foot building is a collaboration among Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University Health System and CHE-Trinity Health. The center will support nearly 500 scientists and staff working together to improve human health.

The center will include bench laboratory and support space for 72 principal investigators plus space for 40 lead scientists engaged in desktop research such as public health, health services, nursing, bioinformatics and epidemiology. A 250-seat auditorium will provide a link with the local community, serving primarily as a showcase for health-related programming.

The center will accommodate principal investigators, postdoctoral trainees, physicians, nurses, residents, fellows, graduate students and students from Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.

Researchers now scattered among buildings throughout the Health Sciences Campus will be centralized in the research and education center. The center is located between the Maguire office building and Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine.

Loyola to Host 3rd Annual Health, Hope & Heroes 5K Run/Walk and Children’s Hero Hustle

 by Mariah Evely


The Loyola University Chicago will host its Third Annual Health, Hope and Heroes 5K Run/Walk and Children’s Hero Hustle on Sunday, June 8 at 9 a.m. on the shared campus of the Loyola University Medical Center and Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital at 2160 S. First Ave. in Maywood, Ill. rmch_3spot_2_07

After the race will by the Children’s Hero Hustle at 10:30 a.m. Mascots from the area will be available to entertain kids as they race. Children ages 4 and younger will run a 50-yard dash; children ages 5 and older will run a 100-yard dash. Kids’ activities will also be held at the finish line area from 9-11:30 a.m.

For more information about the race, the heroes and to donate click here.

College applications for Loyola rise over the last year

by Mariah Evely


Loyola University Chicago saw a 22 percent increase in college applications over the past year, according to ChicagoBusiness.com. The university has invested over $500 million in recent years on new or renovated facilities and continues to spend money to improve campus life.

The following is from ChicagoBusiness.com:

“Students are coming here and having a great experience,” said Paul Roberts, Loyola’s associate provost. “There’s been a tremendous focus on the student experience and making sure they complete their degree in four years.”

To read the rest of the article from ChicagoBusiness.com click here.

American Heart Associations awards Loyola $438,740

by Mariah Evely

logo-charity-loyola-stritch-300x218The American Heart Association has awarded Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine $438,740 for cardiac research in 2013, totaling a sum of $10.6 million the organization has donated to Loyola over time.

The Heart Association has funded 122 studies at Loyola since 1984.

Loyola provides complete heart and vascular care, ranging from pioneering the latest technology to teaching heart-healthy lifestyles. For 11 years in a row, World Report and U.S. News has named Loyola as one of the top 50 hospitals nationwide for heart surgery and cardiology. Loyola is ranked 20th in the nation in the current rankings.

Loyola professor receives prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

by Mariah Evely


Katherine Radek, PhD, of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, was awarded a prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

The PECASE is the highest award the U.S. government bestows on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers, Dr. Radek is among 102 researchers to receive the honor.

To read more about Dr. Radek and the award bestowed upon her click here.

Loyola expert believes E-Cigarettes Encourage Youth to try Nicotine

by Mariah Evely

E Cigarettes Become Popular Alternative

Philip McAndrew, MD, is a physician and smoking cessation expert at Loyola University Health System as well as an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

“As physicians we have seen progress in getting kids not to smoke, but with e-cigarettes we are seeing the numbers rise. In 2011-2012 twice as many middle and high school students tried e-cigarettes. They are new, they are techy and seem fun. E-cigarettes are a real danger because not only can they lead to addiction to nicotine, with no FDA regulation we don’t now all the other chemicals in e-cigarettes that could cause harm. And, they are most easily accessible to kids,” said McAndrew in a Newswise article.

Lake Shore Campus Wellness Center moves to new location

by Mariah Evely 12b3eaaad5f84782b69c606eb73dede5

The Lake Shore Campus Wellness Center has moved to the Granada Center, Third Floor, 6439 N. Sheridan Road. The Granada is located next to Felice’s and the Campus Bookstore.

Services will be added at the new location including:

  • Confidential HIV testing, with results in five minutes
  • A self-service immunization module, which allows you to enter your immunization data into LOCUS and print copies of your immunization records
  • Talk to Tivo-dog therapy outreach-offered weekly at Lake Shore Campus and monthly at Water Tower Campus.
  • Expanded group offerings that meet at both Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses.

For more updated information click here. Appointments can either be made online or through Dial-A-Nurse at 773.508.8883.