In today's health news:
The average yearly cost of a worker with rheumatoid arthritis to her or his employer is about $8,700, says a new study – compared to about $3,500 per worker who doesn't have the autoimmune condition. HealthDay reports that people with R.A. average about three-and-a-half more absent days from work compared to their non-arthritic counterparts, which contributes to the collective $5.8 billion that the disease costs employers every year.
Drivers who text at the wheel might as well be driving drunk, say researchers of a small study, who found that drivers using the mobile devices drove as if they were a quarter over the legal alcohol limit. The Telegraph says according to the study's authors, hands-free devices can also put drivers at risk, but "should be allowed" if they can be regulated properly.
Teenagers who were depressed as children appear to be more likely to be obese, smoke cigarettes and live a largely sedentary lifestyle, says a new study, which could up the risk of heart disease later in life. Science World Report added that 22 percent of children who were depressed at the age of nine were obese when they turned 16, compared to 11 percent of their peers.
California was one of seven states to receive a "D" grade when it came to transparency about the specific costs of health care procedures and benefits, reports California Healthline. The grades were based on how easily state law allows patients to access information about the price of heath care, among other factors.
Federal regulators are warning parents to be mindful of the active ingredients in their children's medications. HealthDay explains that cold and allergy season overlap this time of year, and taking the wrong medicines simultaneously can cause serious health problems.
U.S. News & World Report says parents have become increasingly worried about the safety of the vaccine that guards girls and young women against the human papillomavirus, commonly referred to as HPV. A new study says although the vaccine is generally effective and hasn't been linked to any serious side effects, the numbers of parents whose children weren't up-to-date on the vaccine – and who said they have no plans to change that – grew, from 40 percent in 2008 to 44 percent in 2010.
And finally: How's your head on this day after St. Patrick's Day? The Los Angeles Times explains why you've got a hangover.