Two weeks of warnings: That'll kill you!
News about life-shortening problems collected Oct. 1-12Air: Bad air from house mold can cause asthma. Airbags: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) warns that tens of thousands of counterfeit airbags could have been installed in cars. Amoeba: Rare brain-eating amoeba kills 10 people in Pakistan. Anemia: Severe anemia can cause death after surgery. Beef: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) searches for beef which could contain dangerous E. coli bacteria. Beer: Too much beer can cause pancreatic cancer. Cats: Feline-borne infection can cause suicidal thoughts. Cellphones: Teenagers' late-night cell phone use can cause suicidal thoughts. Eggs from the city: High levels of lead found in chickens in public gardens in New York City. EMS paramedics: Up to 57 patients could be victims of Boston paramedic who allegedly tampered with his ambulance's drugs. Gum disease: Affects nearly half of all Americans and could be linked to fatal pancreatic cancer. Junk food: Starchy, salty food increases risk of stroke. Kitchens: Cooking equipment is top cause of home fires, which can kill more than 2,300 annually. Not calling 911: Men are less likely to call 911 during their own heart attacks. Popcorn: Microwavable popcorn wrapper contains cancer-causing chemical. Rice: Often contains arsenic. Rural areas: Colon cancer patients in rural areas are more likely to die. Sitting: Prolonged sitting linked to kidney disease. Smoke: Second-hand smoke kills 42,000 non-smokers annually. Stem cell transplant: Could spur heart disease. Teens driving other teens: Deadlier than teens driving alone. Teen smoking: They'll die earlier, even if they've quit smoking by middle age. Walking and not paying attention: Distracted walkers could have led to increased pedestrian traffic fatalities in New York City.
The first half of October has played out like a medical melodrama. A meningitis outbreak flared across the country, killing or sickening more than 250 people in 23 states. Doctors nationwide scrambled to warn patients that they could have received fungus-tainted injections. Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a record number of deaths in the U.S. in 2011, more than 2.5 million.
Insurance experts say that neither of these should cause panic. But we're constantly bombarded with new studies and stories about the different ways that one can die -- some as bizarre as eating microwave popcorn and some as mundane as sitting down.