Dr. Melissa Clarke is back with her medical minute and this week we get some details on new COVID variants. What is the difference between RSV and COVID and how do you test for them?
Also, Hollywood and people who are looking for a quick weight loss fix are turning to Ozempic. How does it work and what does it mean for diabetics who are looking for the drug but can’t find it?
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New COVID Vaccine
Russ Parr: They’re putting out a new COVID vaccine. There have been more hospitalizations that have gone up quite a bit. The thing I have to ask you is this variant as bad as some of the first ones that we got?
Dr. Clarke: So you know, every summer we have a surge. This summer was no different. As you said, hospitalizations have tripled and the Omicron variant, EG 5, is the one that’s out there causing the most problems. And then there’s another one coming up that’s called BA 2.86. It’s more infectious, but it’s not more deadly and it’s still detectable by all the current tests that are out there, and it’s still treatable by the COVID Pill PAXLOVID, so that’s good news.
RSV vs. COVID
Russ Parr: What is the difference between RSV and COVID? How do you feel? How do you know if you got one or the other?
Dr. Clarke: You really don’t. Typically, in adults, RSV is a little more mild. But we know that, you know, if you’ve been boosted or vaccinated you can get a mild case of COVID. So it’s really hard to tell. The most important thing is to get treated. Wash your hands, isolate, and wear your mask if you test positive for either one. You don’t spread it to other people.
Russ Parr: Is there a test for RSV?
Absolutely. There is a test for RSV, but remember there are multiple viruses out there, and there are some that don’t have tests. Just go to a healthcare professional, have them evaluate you, and do the appropriate test because there other things. There’s also strep throat. So there are other things to be tested for is just make sure you get medical attention.
Will Ozempic Help Weight Loss?
Russ Parr: The rage of Hollywood is Ozempic. It’s basically a diabetes drug, but people have been using it for weight loss. I’m talking to people in LA. It works. People lose weight, but I think they’re losing a lot of muscle because I mean it, it just changes people, people’s features. What is your take on Ozempic?
Dr. Clarke: Ozempic is to treat type 2 diabetes. That’s what it was FDA-approved for but people are using it for this off-the-shelf indication because it does help lose weight so it suppresses your appetite, both by slowing the rate at which food leaves your stomach and tricking your brain into thinking it’s full.
However, it is not for short-term cosmetic weight loss for a variety of reasons. #1 if you stop taking it, the weight comes right back #2 it’s a drug it causes. Side effects, nausea, bloating, diarrhea. It can cause hair loss, and pancreatitis. As you mentioned, loss of muscle mass and bone density causes Ozempic butt and Ozempic face like you said, with the muscle mass because your skin gets saggy, your cheeks lose their fulness, your butt loses its fullness and you might not be happy with the cosmetic result in the end anyway.
Russ: But it does work. I mean it, you know because every drug has its risk.
Dr. Clarke: it does not. Yes, it does. It does work, but keep in mind it’s the medication, and people who are using it for this short-term cosmetic stuff are taking the drug away from the people that need it to treat their diabetes. It’s causing massive shortages.
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