WITH HEART DISEASE being the No. 1
cause of death in the U.S., what if treating
more people with cholesterol-reducing
medications could prevent as many as 60,000
heart attacks or strokes over a decade?
In 2013 updated recommendations
from the American College of Cardiology
and the American Heart Association changed
the guidelines for who should receive cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to prevent
cardiovascular events such as heart attack
and stroke. Those changes were met with
criticism and slow adoption rates due to the
huge number of Americans— 8 million to
12 million adults, mostly older than 60 years
old—who would be put on statins.
Now, as reported by The New York Times,
two new studies published in the July issue
of the Journal of the American Medical
Association strongly support the 2013
guidelines for wider statin use. An accom-
panying editorial in the same issue con-
cludes, “available evidence indicates that
statins are both effective and cost-effective
for primary prevention, even among low-
One of the two studies suggests greater
prevention from even wider expansion of
statin use. One study analysis indicates
that if two-thirds of all adults in the U.S.
were on statin drugs, 125,000 to 160,000
heart attacks or strokes could be prevented
over a decade.
The 2013 guidelines make it easier for
doctors to interpret who should get statins:
basically anyone with a moderate ( 7. 5 percent or greater) risk of having a cardiovascular event in the next 10 years.
Instead of focusing on blood cholesterol targets, which were the focus for the
past decade, the risk factors considered in
the updated formula are:
• Blood pressure
• Smoking habits
Check with your doctor to learn about
your risk for cardiovascular disease and
whether statin drugs could reduce that risk.
By Kerry Johnson
AS CHILDREN RETURN to school, it may
not be tough homework that has them scratching their heads. It could be lice.
Millions of kids get head lice—the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention estimates
between 6 million and 12 million cases
occur in the U.S. each year.
Using your head
Lice are wingless insects about the size
of sesame seeds. They lay their eggs (called
nits) near hair follicles, and suck blood from
Lice are not a result of poor hygiene, a
messy home or other lifestyle factors.
“They don’t know how much money
you make or where you live,” says Nancy
Gordon, owner of Lice Knowing You (lice
knowingyou.com), a lice-removal company
based in Washington state. “Lice are opportunistic. You just have to be in the wrong place
at the wrong time.”
Spread by contact
Lice spread primarily by head-to-head
contact. They crawl and cannot hop or fly.
They die after a day or two if they fall off
someone’s head, so it’s unusual to catch lice
from hats, brushes or other personal items.
But children put their heads together a lot.
“Kids don’t know the meaning of per-
sonal space,” explains Gordon, a Costco
member. “Even in my waiting room, I’ll see
kids who don’t even know each other sitting
in one chair; one is playing a video game and
the other is leaning in, watching.”
And it’s not just young kids, notes Dr. Lisa
Dana, a pediatrician and Costco member in
San Francisco. “Teenagers may be getting lice
more frequently because they’re putting their
heads together for selfies,” she says.
Combing for evidence
Lice can be tricky to spot, because the
adults avoid light and move fast, and the tiny
nits resemble dandruff. To confirm your child
has lice, you can visit a doctor or a professional
like Gordon—or you can do it on your own.
The best way, according to a German
study, is to use a fine-tooth lice comb and something to lubricate the hair, like conditioner.
Separate the hair into small sections and
comb through one section at a time from roots
to ends. Wipe the comb on a paper towel. If
lice or nits are present, you should be able to
spot them on the comb or the paper towel.
There are several treatment options,
including home remedies and over-the-counter solutions. But the only way to eliminate all
of the lice is to follow up treatment with a lice
comb, Dana says.
You’ll also want to check everyone else in
the house and wash anything that may have
come into contact with an infected person. If
an item isn’t machine washable, seal it in a bag
for two weeks to kill any lice already present or
that might hatch from any nits that may be
present on the items.
“You don’t need to bag up your whole
house,” Gordon says. “Only focus on the stuff
that was touched or worn in the last day or two.”
You also shouldn’t have to keep your kids
home from school if they have lice, according
to the American Academy of Pediatrics,
though some districts still require it.
“It’s just like a cold,” Gordon says, “except
it’s a bug you can see versus a bug you cannot see.” C
Kerry Johnson specializes in parenting,
health and consumer topics.
The Costco Connection
Products to combat and treat lice can be
special-ordered at Costco pharmacies.
for your health
© JAIMIE DUPLASS / SHUTTERSTOCK
• Head lice do not spread disease.
• They do not live on dogs, cats or
• They cannot jump or fly.
• It is uncommon to catch lice from
clothes or personal belongings.
• Lice are not an indication of poor
Source: Centers for Disease Control
The facts of lice