Health

Over-the-counter hearing aids expected this fall in US

U.S. regulators have finalized a long-awaited rule that's expected to allow millions of Americans to buy hearing aids without a prescription. The rule announced Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration goes into effect this fall. It creates a new class of hearing aids that don’t require a medical exam, a prescription and other specialty services. Instead the devices will be sold online or over-the-counter at pharmacies and other retail stores. The move follows years of pressure from medical experts and consumer advocates to make the devices cheaper and easier to get. Devices for more severe hearing loss will remain prescription only.

Monkeypox can spread to pet dogs, doctors report

Health officials are warning people who are infected with monkeypox to stay away from household pets, since the animals could be at risk of catching the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has had the advice in place as monkeypox spreads in the U.S. It gained new attention after a report from France, published last week in the medical journal Lancet, about an Italian greyhound that caught the virus. Infections have been detected in rodents and other wild animals. But the authors called it the first report of monkeypox infection in a domesticated animal like a dog or cat.

Minnesota nurses authorize strike against 7 health systems

Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike against seven health systems in the Twin Cities and Duluth, union officials say. The vote Monday gave nurse negotiators the ability to call a strike, with a 10-day notice to employers. The union represents 15,000 nurses. Union officials said one of the biggest issues is retention with understaffing contributing to overwork and professional burnout. Union officials say 15 hospitals and would be affected by the strike, including those operated by Allina Health, M Health Fairview, Children’s Hospital, North Memorial and HealthPartners. In Duluth, it’s Essentia and St Luke’s. Allina Health said it has plans in place to care for patients during any work stoppage, but wasn’t specific.

New Scottish law makes period products free for all

A law has taken effect in Scotland to ensure period products are available free of charge to anyone who needs them. The Scottish government said it became the first in the world to legally protect the right to access free period products when its Period Products Act came into force Monday. Schools, colleges and universities as well as local government bodies must make a range of period products available for free in their bathrooms under the new law. The Scottish government already invested millions of pounds since 2017 to fund free sanitary products in education institutions. But the law makes it a legal requirement. A mobile phone app also helps people find the nearest place where they can pick up period products.