Category : Lab services

Teen using an e-cigarette vaping

The Dangers of Vaping by Teenagers

Teen using an e-cigarette vapingMany middle and high schoolers believe that vaping (the use of e-cigarettes) is less harmful then smoking traditional cigarettes because they get the high from the nicotine, but not the tar and other carcinogens.

This is true to a degree, but for young people there is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use can be highly addictive and dangerous to their health.

A Sudden Rise in Popularity

The FDA has acknowledged that it was caught flat-footed by a  tidal wave of teenage vaping. According to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, the number of middle and high school students who currently vape has soared to about 3.6 million.

The U.S. Surgeon General reported the use of e-cigarettes surged 900 percent among high school students from 2011 to 2015.  In 2016 more than 3 million middle and high school students said they had used e-cigarettes in the past month.

E-cigarettes are sold in more than 7,760 flavors, including apple pie, cotton candy, gummy bear, and watermelon—flavors known to lure younger users. Once those younger users get hooked on nicotine, there’s a good chance they’ll be in for a lifelong habit.

Teen Vaping Statistics
Safe or Not

Are e-cigarettes actually dangerous? While many young people (and adults) see little harm in vaping, the answer is yes.

Exposure to nicotine varies a lot, depending on the e-cigarette device and the e-liquid it uses, as well as the individual vaper’s practices.  But there is substantial evidence that nicotine intake from e-cigarettes, used by experienced adults, can be comparable to that of conventional cigarettes.

The vapor e-cigarettes produce come from heating up liquid “e-juice,” which is added to the devices via refillable cartridges.  In addition to nicotine, the liquids used for e-cigarettes also contain cancer-causing toxic chemicals, heavy metals and ultrafine particles that pose additional health risks.

Nicotine’s Effect on Teenagers

Beyond the risk toxic chemicals may pose, numerous studies have also shown the harm of nicotine itself to teenagers.  A  JUUL cartridge (the most popular brand of e-cigarette) has approximately the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.  Nicotine can disrupt brain development, contribute to future cardiovascular disease and increase the risk of a teen trying alcohol or other drugs.

Nicotine itself is also a highly addictive drug.  This explains why a significant proportion of teens, who have never smoked a cigarette, end up smoking traditional cigarettes after using e-cigarettes.

Conclusive evidence exists that drinking or injecting e-liquids can be fatal; that exposure to the skin or eyes can cause seizures and other serious problems; and that e-cigarette devices can explode and cause burns and other injuries.

What Steps Can Parents Take

Talk to your children early about the serious risks and consequences of using any product with nicotine.  When they hear that vaping is O.K., that it’s not as bad as traditional cigarettes, they need to understand that vaping now can lead to an addiction to nicotine and long term health consequences.  For suggestions on what to discuss go to Vaping’s Impact on Teens.

Kimi HathawayTesting for Nicotine

For parents concerned that their children may be using e-cigarettes, Blackbird Clinical Services can test for nicotine.  Please give us a call at 765-447-8700, or send me an email at KHathaway@blackbirdclinicalsvs.com and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

Flu Season Ahead sign

Get a Flu Shot, If Not for You, Then for Them

Many of us balk at getting a flu shot each year for a number of reasons.  We think we are healthy, so we don’t believe we need to be immunized; we think a flu shot will give us the flu (not true); or we just don’t take the time.  In 2017 49% of adults and 59% of children were vaccinated.

flu symptomsEveryone Needs a Flu Shot

If you don’t think you need a flu shot, those around you would disagree.  Especially if you are around young children or older adults who are more susceptible to catching the flu.

Symptoms of influenza usually appear 1-4 days after exposure. This means you are most contagious during the 24 hours before symptoms appear and may be contagious for up to 5 -7 days after getting sick.

Children and Older Adults are Most Susceptible

Last year’s flu season according to the Center for Disease Control was one of the longest, most wide spread and sever in years. They estimate that flu takes between 12,000 to 56,000 lives a year and in the 2017-2018 season a total of 180 pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC.  This number exceeds the highest number of flu-associated deaths in children of 171 during the 2012-2013 season.  Approximately 80% of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination.

sick childPeople 65 years and older accounted for approximately 58% of reported influenza-associated hospitalizations.  Overall hospitalization rates (all ages) during 2017-2018 were the highest ever recorded.

Flu can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Babies under six months can’t get the flu shot, yet they are more susceptible to influenza than adults.

So if not for you, do it for them

Getting a flu shot is easy and inexpensive. And if you don’t think you need one, take a minute and consider those who might contract the flu, if you were to expose them to the virus. Here’s what the CDC recommends:

  1. Everyone 6 months of age or older get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
    Young children, pregnant women, those over 65 years of age, and anyone with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, are at a higher risk for serious flu complications and should be vaccinated.
  2. If you become ill with flu symptoms, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours
    after your fever is gone. Try to avoid contact with others when you are sick and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  Discard the tissue in the trash.  You can find more details at Taking Care of Yourself.Kimi Hathaway, President/Owner

Blackbird Clinical Services Offers Low Cost Flu Shots

It is easy and fast to get your flu shot at Blackbird Clinical Service’s office located off S.R. 26 at 2 Executive Dr., Suite D, Lafayette, IN.

You can call for an appointment or just stop in.  Cost for the Quadravalent vaccination is just $27.  Sorry, but we don’t accept insurance for these shots.

To Receive More Details

We are happy to answer any questions pertaining to flu shots.  Please send me an email at KHathaway@blackbirdclinicalsvs.com or give us a call at 765-447-8700.

Certified Lab Services

Health insurance claim form

Using Your Health Insurance Could Be Costing You More

In 2017, 84 percent of large employers offered high deductible health insurance plans to their employees and 35 percent of those companies only offered high deductible plans, based on a 2016 Kaiser/HRET survey.

The trade-off for the lower premiums associated with these plans is substantially higher out-of-pocket costs that are incurred before a portion of your medical costs are covered by insurance.

Finding the Low Cost Provider

Health insurance claim formThe onus is now on the patient to manage their medical expenses. The Kaiser Family Foundation found individuals are paying an average of $2,295 and families $4,364 in deductible costs. Now that the first several thousand dollars are coming out of our pockets, it becomes more important to shop around for healthcare services.

Get Tests at Lower Cost Locations

When a health insurance company negotiates with a hospital on how much a procedure or test will be covered, they consider a number of factors.  All of which often make obtaining routine services at a hospital the most expensive option.

If there are outpatient locations in your network, or even private labs outside your network, they are very often considerably less expensive than going to a hospital for the same services.  In a local example the cost of getting a CAT scan at the hospital was over $1400.  The charge for the same CAT scan at an outpatient clinic was $269.

health checkupsUsing Your Health Insurance May Not Always Be Optimum

Most of us believe that large insurance companies negotiate the best rates for their clients.  This is not always the case.  It is worth checking with local labs that do routine bloodwork and other tests to see what they charge. It is not uncommon to find that the hospital’s negotiated rate with an insurance company is higher than the same test from a local lab.

What About My Deductible?

For those with high deductible plans who see a doctor infrequently, chances are most of your medical costs will be out of your pocket. In this situation, shopping for the least expensive option will only save you money, even if you use out of network providers.

If you expect to have surgery, or some other medical procedure, it is more likely that you will reach your deductible.  In this case it may not be as advantageous to use services that are not run through your insurance. If your deductible has been met, it’s also possible your health plan will cover enough of any subsequent medical expenses to make submitting a health insurance claim the preferable way to go.

Blood draw vialsDon’t Shortchange Your Healthcare

Many routine and preventative health services are now included in all insurance plans. These include annual physicals, colonoscopies, mammograms, and vaccinations which are intended to keep you well or catch problems early. Don’t neglect these important tests because you believe with a high-deductible medical plan that you will have to pay for them.  Be sure to know what is offered at no charge in your plan.

High deductible health insurance plans have pushed many of us to manage our healthcare more closely. Dealing with insurance companies and hospitals can be frustrating, but many insurance companies and hospitals now have phone and online resources that provide cost information.  Take advantage of these and stay healthy.  It’s the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family.

Kimi Hathaway, President/OwnerLab Services Blackbird Clinical Provides

The costs of Blackbird Clinical Services lab services are often less expensive than lab services offered through local hospitals or clinics.  We perform the most common lab tests (see below), along with others.

CMP, CBC, Lipid Panel, TSH, Hemo A1C, PSA, Hepatic Function, Renal Function, Total Testosterone, Rheumatoid Factor, Iron Total, STD Panel, OB Panel and Allergy Panels

Please contact me, Kimi Hathaway, at KHathaway@blackbirdclinicalsvs.com with any questions regarding our blood work and lab services.