COVID-19 summer surge is here

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. have increased steadily since May 4, and COVID cases are growing or likely growing in 45 states and territories. One-third of St. Louis adults surveyed (34%) had heard about the summer wave of COVID in the last week, up from 32% the prior week. Why a summer surge? COVID infections […]

U.S. Surgeon General urges action on social media & gun violence

Last month, the U.S. Surgeon General called for warning labels on social media and declared gun violence a national health crisis. Only 24% of St. Louis adults surveyed had heard about the social media warning, down from 37% one week prior. Even fewer (23%) had heard about the gun violence declaration, which was also lower […]

Sunscreen jargon foreign to most St. Louisans

Protecting your skin from the sun isn’t complicated. But it’s easy to get lost in all the letters and numbers like “SPF-30” and “UPF” or terms like “broad-spectrum” and “mineral-based.” Among St. Louis adults surveyed, just 7% to 32% felt they understood these terms well, and many didn’t know which sunscreen types worked best. Here’s […]

1 in 6 St. Louis adults always use sunscreen

Although one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70, sunscreen use and knowledge remain low. Among St. Louis adults surveyed, only 17% reported using sunscreen when outside for 15 minutes or more during daylight hours. Just 32% felt that they understood the term SPF “very well.”  Nearly half of adults rarely or never used […]

St. Louis heat wave part of rising trend in U.S. heat deaths 

From 2021 to 2023, heat-related deaths in the U.S. increased by 44%. Only 19% of St. Louis adults surveyed heard about the increase in the last week. Of 542 adults surveyed in five states, those ages 50 and older were more likely than those under 50 (39% vs. 24%) to hear that heat-related deaths are increasing, […]

U.S. Syphilis cases rising; awareness in St. Louis is low

According to CDC, syphilis cases in the US have surged 80% higher since 2018. Congenital syphilis, which is passed from mother to fetus, is up 31% since 2018, with rates 10 times higher than they were in 2012. Only 17% of St. Louis adults surveyed reported hearing about it in the last week.  A top priority in […]

SUN Bucks launches but public awareness is low

Missouri and 34 other states will be launching SUN Bucks, a summer nutrition program to help feed kids. Only 12% of St. Louis adults surveyed (and 11% of those with children under 18 in their home) had heard about SUN Bucks in the last week.  What is SUN Bucks?  When approved in Missouri, SUN Bucks, also […]

Wastewater testing has strong public support despite limited knowledge

A survey of 565 adults from five states found that most (58%) were aware that public health officials tested sewer water, but less that 10% said they knew a lot about it. In contrast, 61% said they knew little or nothing about it. What is wastewater monitoring? Wastewater monitoring helps communities detect and respond promptly […]

What do St. Louisans know about their blood pressure?

For World Hypertension Day, we surveyed adult residents of St. Louis and four other states (CO, MD, NE, and TX) to see what they know about blood pressure. Do Americans monitor their blood pressure? Of 587 respondents, two-thirds (68%) reported having their blood pressure checked by a health professional in the last 12 months. Older […]

Tetanus shots are essential for storm cleanup

Cleaning up after wind damage or flooding from spring storms can increase a person’s risk of exposure to tetanus. Moving storm debris like trees, wood or carpeting can result in scrapes, cuts and puncture wounds. If dust, dirt, soil or flood water comes in contact with broken skin, tetanus spores and other contaminants can enter […]

Climate scientists: tick and mosquito diseases likely to rise

Tick and mosquito season is upon us, and scientists predict that changes in climate could make future seasons worse. Many adults reported hearing about it last week.   Who is hearing about tick and mosquito diseases?  Of 515 adults surveyed in MO, NE, CO, MD, and TX, 31% reported hearing in the last 7 days that tick- and mosquito-borne diseases were […]

Consumer confidence after bird flu fragments found in milk

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that fragments of inactive bird flu virus were found in some pasteurized milk sold in grocery stores. Less than 5 days later, 37% of adults surveyed in CO, MD, MO and NE had heard the news.   In the sample of 506 adults, 64% reported that they […]

FDA finds traces of bird flu virus in cow’s milk: Should you be concerned?

What happened? On April 23, the FDA and multiple news organizations reported that particles of the H5N1 bird flu virus have been detected in some cow’s milk samples taken from U.S. grocery stores. Is the U.S. milk supply safe? FDA and CDC say yes, based on what is known today. When the milk samples were […]

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 […]