Bird flu spreading; one case in humans reported

The bird flu virus is spreading among birds and, most recently, cattle in the U.S. In early April, a Texas farmer tested positive for bird flu. Among St. Louis adults surveyed, 19% had heard about the case. Respondents ages 50+ were more likely to hear it than those under 50 (29% vs 14%).  Bird flu, […]

Health chatter dips nationally and in St. Louis

It was a slow week for conversations about health, according to a national dashboard that tracks online and offline narratives about multiple health topics. Here in St. Louis, iHeard’s weekly survey found the same was true locally. National tracking data showed that the spread of health information declined almost 20% from the previous week. Vaccine […]

Walgreens closing St. Louis store in Jeff-
Vander-Lou neighborhood

In 2023, Walgreens announced it will close 150 stores by August 2024 to cut costs. On April 9th, the next of those stores to close will be in St. Louis’ Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood at Grand Boulevard and Martin Luther King Avenue. More than a quarter (28%) of St. Louis adults heard about this closure in the […]

Huge gaps in public understanding of weight-loss drugs

Although two-thirds of adults surveyed had heard about newly approved weight-loss drugs, knowledge about weight-loss drugs in general was low:  In contrast, only 24% thought weight-loss drugs were safe, 38% thought they were effective and 16% thought they helped people sustain weight loss over time. Respondents were 422 adults in MD, MO and NE. “The […]

More measles: Case count in first 11 weeks of 2024 matches all of 2023

According to the CDC’s March 18 alert, there have been 58 confirmed cases of measles infection in the U.S. this year, the same number recorded for the entire year in 2023. Over one in four (28%) St. Louis adults reported hearing that “Measles cases are on the rise” in the last week.  Of the 58 […]

Vaccinated for COVID? Yes, you can still donate blood!

Recent social media posts FALSELY claimed that a person cannot donate blood after receiving a COVID vaccine. One in five (21%) adults surveyed in MD, MO, and NE heard the claim last week, and 30% of those believed it could be true.  Men were more likely to hear the claim than women (29% vs 16%).  […]

Awareness of new COVID isolation guidelines high, but gaps remain

On March 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its isolation guidelines for COVID and other respiratory infections. In a survey of 421 adults in three states (MD, MO and NE) conducted March 9-11, 58% had heard about the change.  However, African American respondents were less likely to have heard about the […]

Measles cases are on the rise: 1 in 4 St. Louis adults heard this

During the first 2 months of 2024, 41 measles cases have been reported across 16 states, including Missouri. In all of 2023, there were only 58 cases in the U.S. Nearly one in four (24%) St. Louis adults reported hearing that measles cases were on the rise last week. Because most measles cases are reported […]

Does long-term Benadryl use cause dementia? 16% of St. Louisans heard it does.

A recent TikTok video claimed that long-term use of Benadryl could increase your risk of dementia. Nearly one in six (16%) St. Louis adults reported hearing the claim in the last week, a 5% increase from the prior week; 93% believed it was true. Older adults 50+ were more likely to hear the claim than […]

Is CDC changing COVID-19 isolation guidelines? CDC says no, but 93% of St. Louisans who heard it believed it

A banner at the top reads “Weekly Alert 02.22” accompanies: “Is CDC changing COVID-19 isolation guidelines? CDC says no, but 93% of St. Louisans who heard it believed it."

UPDATE (March 1, 2024): The CDC guidance on isolation with COVID & other respiratory illnesses has changed. Please use the newest resource “New CDC Guidelines”. On February 13th, The Washington Post reported that CDC would be relaxing its COVID isolation guidelines. However, CDC officials said that there are no updates to the guidelines. Despite CDC’s denial, 29% […]

Listeria Outbreak? Most St. Louis adults haven’t heard about it

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reopened an investigation into a Listeria outbreak after new illnesses were reported in December 2023. In last week’s iHeard survey only 19% of St. Louis adults had heard that “A Listeria outbreak was linked to dairy products.”   Those under age 50 […]

Products containing tianeptine are dangerous: Few St. Louisans hearing about it

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning Americans not to use Neptune’s Fix products, which have been linked to seizures, loss of consciousness, and two deaths. When surveyed last week, only 5% of St. Louis adults said they’d heard that Neptune’s Fix was illegal and dangerous.  Neptune’s Fix products contain tianeptine (pronounced: tai·uh·nep·teen), which […]

Claims that mRNA vaccines change human DNA are back

Despite being unsupported by research, claims about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines interfering with human DNA continue to circulate. This week, one in six adults (17%) surveyed in four states said they’d heard the claim in the last 7 days; 72% of those believed it could be true.  Persistence of this claim may be due to concerns […]

Free masks are harder to find in St. Louis.

Respiratory infections are on the rise in St. Louis, but free face masks are harder to find.  The City of St. Louis Department of Health recently issued a masking recommendation for residents due to the increased respiratory infection rates in late December:  However, 1 in 7 St. Louis adults surveyed said they’ve heard that it […]

Emergency blood shortage, but only 1 in 4 St. Louisans heard about it

According to Red Cross, the number of people donating blood is the lowest it has been in 20 years. Among St. Louis adults surveyed, 27% had heard about the emergency blood shortage in the last 7 days. Younger adults (<40) were less likely to hear about it than those 40 and older (14% vs. 40%), […]

Help raise awareness about lead screening options in St. Louis

Help raise awareness about lead screening options in St. Louis. St. Louis County is offering walk-in lead screenings at all three clinic locations. Lead screening services are also available to children 6 years of age and under that live in the City of St. Louis: contact your primary care provider or local Federally Qualified Health […]

St. Louis residents are hearing COVID-19, and RSV cases are rising.

As we ease into the winter season, the number of cases of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are increasing. Last week, almost half (44%) of St. Louis adults have heard that RSV cases are increasing, and 1 in 5 (21%) heard COVID cases are rising in nursing homes. More older adults (50+ years […]

New Year, new connections: iHeard is growing, you can help! 

iHeard St. Louis provides real-time, hyper-local, health information insights and resources to support local organizations. Do you know someone or some organization that would benefit from iHeard weekly alerts and social media assets? Please forward them this information so they can sign up, or share the graphic below!    Suggested caption: Sign up for weekly iHeard […]

Highlights from a Big Year at iHeard St. Louis!

Please join us in celebrating a few iHeard accomplishments from 2023:  We are grateful that you are a part of iHeard St. Louis. Together, we can enrich the health information environment in St. Louis. Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous year ahead!  Download the graphic below to share about this topic. Suggested caption: Want […]

RSV cases rising: 1 in 4 St. Louisans have heard it

Infections from Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in Missouri have reached their highest rates since early 2023. Among St. Louis adults surveyed, 27% had heard about rising RSV rates in the last 7 days. Adults ages 40 and older were more likely to hear about it than those under 40 (36% vs 19%), as were African […]

Food safety alert: 1 in 3 St. Louisans heard of Salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupe 

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a Salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupes and urging consumers to avoid eating certain recalled cantaloupe products, including some fruit cups. As of today, the outbreak has caused 117 illnesses, 61 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths in 34 states, including Missouri.  In the last week, more than a […]

Are mammograms necessary for women over 40? 1 in 4 Hispanics heard they are not

An online influencer posted a Spanish-language video on Facebook with a false claim that mammograms are not necessary or safe for women over 40. The video had 500,000+ views before it was removed. We asked adults in Missouri, Colorado and Nebraska if they had heard the claim in the last 7 days. Overall, 1 in […]

Are eyedrops safe? 1 in 6 St. Louisans heard they are not.

On October 27, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers to stop using 26 over-the-counter eye drop products due to unsanitary manufacturing conditions. Last week, about 1 in 6 (16%) St. Louis adults said they had heard that eyedrops are unsafe. Almost all (92%) who heard it said it could be true. Not […]

Schnucks recalls contaminated pouches, expanding national recall

Schnuck’s Markets recalled its cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches because they may contain high lead levels. This follows last week’s recall by WanaBana USA of its Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree Pouches due to possible lead contamination. Weis Markets in Pennsylvania also recalled a similar product.  Only 15% of St. Louis adults heard about the WanaBana recall last […]

Persistence paying off in St. Louis: Belief in false vaccine claim dropping

Local efforts to address inaccurate health information may be working. For weeks, a social media meme has been circulating, claiming that “if vaccines worked, we wouldn’t have diseases like flu, measles and mumps.” However, the proportion of St. Louisans who believe the claim has dropped for 5 straight weeks. Among St. Louis adults surveyed, less […]

1 in 5 heard COVID vaccines for kids are hard to find in St. Louis

The local supply of COVID vaccine for children is lagging, and more St. Louisans are hearing about it. Last week, one in five adults surveyed had heard that it’s hard to find COVID vaccine for young children, up 20% from the prior week. Availability of the pediatric COVID vaccine currently varies across St. Louis. Some […]

Free COVID test kits are back, but awareness lags in St. Louis

Every U.S. household is again eligible to receive four free COVID-19 rapid test kits delivered to their homes this fall. When asked if they’d heard about the free tests in the last week, only 43% of St. Louis adults surveyed said yes. The free test kits are part of public health efforts to reduce the […]

Awareness of updated COVID vaccine growing, but St. Louisans say it’s hard to find

It’s been three weeks since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the updated COVID-19 vaccine for people six months and older. More than 1 in 3 St. Louis adults (36%) have heard about the FDA’s approval, but many are also hearing that the vaccine is hard to find in St. Louis right now.  […]

FDA says ingredient in many cold medicines may not work: 1 in 3 St. Louisans heard about it 

Oral phenylephrine (PE; pronounced “fen-il-ef-rin”), considered a decongestant, is listed as an active ingredient in many common over-the-counter oral cough and cold medicines. There’s just one problem: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it may not work.   On September 11th, FDA held a Non-prescription Drug Advisory Committee meeting and concluded that there is […]

1 in 5 St. Louis adults have heard about rising RSV cases

In parts of the U.S., infections from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are on the rise. About 1 in 5 St. Louisans (20%) say they’ve heard about the increase. RSV infection typically causes mild cold-like symptoms but can be severe among infants and older adults. Among St. Louis adults surveyed, African American community members were more […]

News about the updated COVID vaccine spreads

For the last 10 weeks, St. Louis has seen a steady increase in the proportion of adults who have heard that the FDA recommended an updated COVID vaccine for the fall. In last week’s survey, 40% of St. Louis adults had heard about the FDA recommending an updated COVID vaccine. This survey was administered just […]

New variants. New vaccine. What are St. Louisans hearing?

Weekly Alert, September 9, 2023. COVID-19 in St. Louis: New variants. New vaccine. What are St. Louisans hearing?

We asked St. Louis adults what they are hearing about COVID-19. In the last 7 days, nearly two-thirds (65%) have heard that COVID cases are rising. This is a big increase from last week (+42%). In addition, 35% heard there is a new COVID variant, and 37% heard that FDA advisers recommended an update to […]

St. Louisans say COVID cases are rising

We asked St. Louis adults if they had heard “COVID cases are rising” in the past week. Almost half (46%) said “yes” and nearly all of them (93%) believed it was true.    When the same respondents were asked about their own COVID precautions such as mask-wearing, hand-washing, avoiding close contact or large gatherings, 11% reported […]

St. Louisans quick to hear about FDA-approved postpartum depression pill

Only one week after the FDA approved a new pill for postpartum depression, nearly 30% of St. Louis adults surveyed had heard the news. Increasing community awareness of this treatment is an important part of protecting moms, babies and families in St. Louis. According to the CDC, 1 in 8 women who recently gave birth […]

UPDATE: Impact of changes at St. Louis-area hospitals may vary by race

In last week’s poll, 38% of St. Louis adults surveyed reported hearing about the closure of SSM Level II trauma services at DePaul Hospital in North County. This week, we asked respondents if they would be affected by the change, and separately, if they would be affected the expected closure of South City Hospital.  Almost 1 […]

More St. Louisans’ hearing about lost trauma services in North County

Within weeks, North County’s DePaul Hospital will be ending its Level II trauma services. That news is spreading in St. Louis: 38% of adults surveyed this week heard about the change in service, up 68% from the prior week. SSM Health announced that on September 10th it will end Level II trauma services at DePaul […]

St. Louis heat: Only 1 in 4 know where to get help to stay cool

We asked St. Louis adults, “If someone you know in St. Louis needs help staying cool or paying utility bills from air conditioning, do you know where to send them?” Only 24% said “yes.” The majority (63%) said “no,” while 13% were “not sure.” Younger St. Louisans (under age 40) were less likely to know […]

What would reduce gun violence in St. Louis? Poll shows views about what could work

In a poll from June 24-26, St. Louis adults rated gun violence as the biggest health problem in St. Louis. Three weeks later, in a follow-up survey among the same adults, 37% selected “banning semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles” as the most effective way of reducing gun violence in St. Louis, followed by “increasing the […]

How safe is that drink? Energy drinks and diet soda sweetener top St. Louis health news

The two health stories most heard by St. Louis adults last week both involved beverages. Almost half (45%) of respondents to a weekly survey had heard in the last 7 days that aspartame sweeteners may cause cancer; 28% had heard about new energy drinks under investigation due to possible health risks. White St. Louisans were […]

Expanding safe places for St. Louis youth: 3 in 10 St. Louisans have heard

More St. Louis organizations are expanding access to safe spaces for young people, and at least some in St. Louis are getting the message. In this week’s poll, 43% of African American adults surveyed and 25% of Whites had heard about it. Adults ages 40 and older were more likely to have heard it than […]

Racial, age differences in top two biggest health concerns in St. Louis

Although there was widespread agreement in last week’s survey about the biggest health concerns facing St. Louis, we found some differences by sub-group that are relevant for local community leaders and service providers to consider. Respondents chose from 13 health problems: Gun violence, Mental health, Healthcare access and cost, Drug abuse, Traffic safety, Obesity, Reproductive […]

Poll: Large majority rates gun violence top health concern in St. Louis

In the latest iHeard survey, we asked St. Louis adults what they considered the biggest and second biggest health problem facing St. Louis. By a landslide margin, most people named gun violence the area’s biggest health problem.  The order of health problems in our survey was randomized for each respondent. This week’s report is based on […]

New Mammogram Guideline: Few St. Louisans are aware of Lowered Age Limit to 40

It’s been one month since a new recommendation was announced to lower the starting age for mammograms from 50 to 40 years, but awareness of the guideline remains low in St. Louis. Only 19% of St. Louis adults surveyed heard last week about the new recommendation, a 39% decline from when we first asked about […]

Free gun locks at St. Louis hospitals, but few know about it

St. Louis hospitals are now distributing free gunlocks to help reduce firearm injuries, but only 15% of St. Louis adults surveyed have heard about the initiative. African American community members were more likely to have heard about it than Whites (26% vs 9%). On June 2, 2023, SSM Health joined 8 other hospitals across the […]

AI and healthcare: St. Louisans report limited understanding, more negative than positive

Only 8% of a panel of St. Louis adults said they understood Artificial intelligence (AI) “very well,” and asked specifically about AI and healthcare, more had heard about potential negative impacts than benefits (50% vs. 38%). Most respondents said they understood AI only “somewhat well” (61%), or “not well at all” (30%). Males reported greater […]

St. Louis adults: Social media effects on youth are mostly negative

Nearly half (46%) of St. Louis adults surveyed think that social media’s effect on youth is mostly negative. Only 4% think it is mostly positive, and the rest think it is equally positive and negative (37%) or don’t know (14%). When asked who is most responsible for making social media safer for young people, 45% […]