Review Category : Health

Low Chlorine Levels Prompt School Closings, Boil Water Advisory in Pittsburgh

caristo/iStock/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH) — Low levels of chlorine at a single test site prompted the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to issue a boil water advisory for approximately 100,000 customers on Wednesday.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools closed 22 schools and two early childhood centers on Wednesday to “allow the District time to properly cover water fountains, prepare food services and provide bottle water so schools [would be] ready to open on Thursday. Late Wednesday, the school system announced that those schools would indeed open on Feb. 2.

According to the PWSA, there was no evidence of bacteria in the system and no proof that the water is unsafe.

Until the boil water advisory is lifted, operators should not use public water sources — including water fountains and ice machines.

On Wednesday, the PWSA took its Highland Park microfiltration water treatment plant out of service to deal with the low chlorine levels. New chlorination technology was installed and chlorine was added.

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Texas Daycare’s Note Scolds Parents to ‘Get Off Your Phone’

mangostock/iStock/Thinkstock(HOCKLEY, Texas) — It’s a photo that’s touched a major nerve among parents and been shared more than one million times.

On Jan. 27, Juliana Farris Mazurkewicz posted the below photo to her Facebook page. The Hockley, Texas mom captioned it “Posted at the daycare today!”

Mazurkewicz and her husband, Jason Mazurkewicz, told ABC News the photo was taken at their daughter’s child care center.

“The owner posted the sign on the door,” Juliana Farris Mazurkewicz said. “I was surprised that they would be so bold, but also I liked it. I thought it was on point,” she told ABC News.

Another parent, Coley Sloan Jones, has a step-child at the daycare. She had a similar reaction. “I thought it was a valid reminder to parents to be aware and attentive to their child/children,” she told ABC News. “Sometimes other things can wait, including a phone call.” She said she does think there can be exceptions.

Of the more than 7,000 comments on Mazurkewicz’s post, many were in agreement. But some took issue with the delivery.

“I am appalled that a daycare would post this. I agree fully with the statement, but abhor shaming,” commented Vicki Hagen Michel. “If this kind of shaming is done publicly, I hate to think of what happens to the children in their care.”

Mazurkewicz said she thinks the comments have been equal on both sides of the argument. “There’s a big divide in the comments. Half of the people are saying it’s not the daycare’s business what paying customers do, and the other half are saying that it’s great they are looking after the children’s well-being.”

Some are taking a closer look at their own phone habits, it seems. “There are a few that have said ‘I need to work on this,'” Mazurkewicz said, “which I think is pretty cool.”

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Teen With Epilepsy Wins Super Bowl Tickets After Sharing Her Story on Social Media

BananaStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — A Georgia teen is headed to Super Bowl 51 after a tweet qualified her for a social media contest, where she shared her personal story of living with epilepsy.

Atlanta Falcons fan Skylar Tipton, 15, will be attending Sunday’s game with her father at Houston’s NRG Stadium.

“I’m a Daddy’s girl, that’s one, and two, I’ve never been to a football game besides high school,” Skylar told ABC News. “I’ve never been on a plane…it’s a big opportunity. I’d like [to say] ‘Thank you.'”

Skylar was diagnosed with epilepsy at 14 months old. She has not had a seizure in about two years, her dad Jody Tipton told ABC News.

“But, she take 10 pills a day to control the seizures,” he said. “We’ve heard stories of people growing out of them, so we are hoping that she’ll grow out of them, but that’s a wait-and-see thing.”

“She’s taking drama this year,” Tipton added of Skylar’s interests. “The sports we kind of worry about. She’s gotten too hot before and it’s triggered a seizure. [She has] all A’s now and a 94 [grade] in World History. She’s an A-student.”

Skylar’s mom, Rachel Tipton, follows the Facebook page of the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia (EFGA). Rachel discovered the organization was giving away Super Bowl tickets to a person who had epilepsy or a seizure disorder.

The teen took an interest, but because she’s a minor, her dad was required to enter the contest on her behalf.

On behalf of my daughter Skylar, she would love to tell her story to raise awareness, see TX, & SBLI w/her dad. @EpilepsyGA #GoFalcons pic.twitter.com/oSKXKKhQc4

— Jody Tipton (@icecreamman16) January 13, 2017

Skylar qualified for the second round–a social media contest–where EFGA posted the stories of five finalists on Facebook and Instagram. Whoever received the most likes from Jan 19. through Jan. 23 would be the winner.

Skylar was awarded the Super Bowl tickets after receiving the most likes on her post.

“Epilepsy has prevented me from doing a lot of fun stuff and this trip to SBLI would be a dream come true!” she wrote, in part. “Please ‘like’ my post so that I will win! Thanks to you & EFGA!”

The post was liked over 1,600 times.

“The Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia (EFGA) is grateful for this incredible opportunity to send someone from Georgia who is living with epilepsy to Super Bowl LI,” Aly Clift, executive director of EFGA, wrote to ABC News. “As the only health agency in the state serving the 150,000 Georgians living with epilepsy, awareness is crucial for the success of our organization. EFGA is excited for this experience for Skylar and her father, we know it is something they will never forget. We would also like to thank all the finalists in the contest for their amazing efforts to increase awareness.”

After the Super Bowl, Skylar, a freshman at Flowery Branch High, hopes her school will plan a “purple day” to bring attention to epilepsy.

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Your Body: Getting in Gear for Morning Workouts

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

You plan a workout for the evening but then something comes up — a happy hour, a deadline for work — and there goes your exercise for the day. Sound familiar?

If this keeps happening to you, there’s a logical solution: Try shifting your workout schedule to the morning. But for some, that’s easier said than done.

Here are a few changes you can make to help you become the person who wants to rise and grind:

  • Set a bedtime and try to stick to it.
  • Find something to look forward to — motivation through excitement.
  • Have a morning workout buddy.
  • Think of your workout like brushing your teeth. You know it has to get done.

Getting to the end of a packed day and remembering you already trained hard 12 or more hours earlier is a great feeling.

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Donations for New Bath Help Teen with Painful Skin Disorder

WABC-TV(NEW YORK) — John Hudson has spent 14 years of his life in agonizing pain because of a rare skin disease, but now he’s thanking the community for a life-changing gift.

John’s cousin posted a video online last week to promote a fundraiser to get John a $6,000 oxygenated bathtub and a new bathroom. The special bath would help his skin heal and be more comfortable for John, who is constantly on painkillers for his skin condition known as epidermolysis bullosa, or EB.

“It’s hard, you know, sometimes my skin rips,” John, from Staten Island, New York, said to ABC affiliate WABC-TV.

The internet raised more than double the $40,000 requested for the bathroom project in just six days.
“Words cannot describe how thankful we are,” John said to WABC-TV.

His mom Faye Dilgen, who is also a marathon runner, said she is running the New York Half Marathon to raise money and to raise awareness for EB.

“John’s bathroom is in the basement, it’s hard to get to, he’s outgrown it, there isn’t enough room for the nurses to maneuver,” she said to WABC-TV. “We’re trying to put the tub against the wall so the nurses can get to three sides of the tub, which right now they can’t do.”

According to WABC-TV, the bath will be installed soon, after contractors build a new bathroom on the first floor of his home.

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New Health Guidelines for Your Heart

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The nation’s top group of heart doctors is offering new guidance on when and how frequently Americans should eat meals and snacks in order to control their weight and preserve or improve their heart health.

Based on a review of dozens of studies, the team of American Heart Association doctors behind the report was able to make a number of suggestions and observations, including:

1) Don’t skip breakfast: Daily breakfast consumption has been linked to better glucose metabolism and insulin levels.

2) Alternate-day fasting and periodic fasting may be effective for weight loss: More evidence is needed to determine whether this weight stays off in the long term.

3) Size of meals doesn’t seem to matter: It doesn’t seem to matter for weight loss or heart health whether you eat a few large meals or several smaller meals throughout the day, as long as the amount of calories remains the same.

The researchers also looked at the impact of meal timing (in other words, what time of the day people ate their meals), but said that this area needs further study.

Overall, the researchers stressed that Americans should adopt a “more intentional” approach to eating that focuses on the timing and frequency of meals and snacks.

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Children and Refugees Who Planned Medical Care in the US Stuck After Trump Executive Order

Jayne Fleming/Reed Smith(NEW YORK) — Refugees and children in need of medical treatment are among the thousands affected after Donald Trump issued an executive order to largely ban travelers from seven majority Muslim nations.

In Jordan, at least 20 refugees from Syria and Iraq with serious medical conditions are waiting to see if they will be allowed in the country, according to their lawyer Jayne Fleming and the Center for Victims of Torture.

Mohammed, 6, is currently undergoing cancer treatment for Ewing sarcoma according to his father, Jihad, and Fleming. The family fled to Jordan from Syria in 2014, after a missile hit their home, Jihad told ABC News through a translator.

Fleming is a pro bono lawyer and head of the human rights team for law firm Reed Smith. The people she currently represents from the affected nations, which she said includes an Iraqi man with hemophilia who has gone untreated for two years and a Syrian family with two nearly-blind children in need of eye surgery, were “in the pipeline” for resettlement in the U.S.

She had been hoping to have the Syrian family, identified by their first names for safety reasons, medically evacuated to the U.S. so that Mohammed could get better treatment and the family would no longer have to worry about how to pay for it.

Jihad has sold his furniture and raised money online to pay for surgery and chemotherapy for his son; he said he had to borrow furniture from a friend.

When the executive order indefinitely barring Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. was announced, Jihad said the family felt “very bad.”

“That was a shock,” he told ABC News through a translator. “Even Mohammad was talking about his desire to go to the U.S.”

After Mohammed’s cancer diagnosis, the doctors advised the family to keep the boy out of school, since chemotherapy would weaken his immune system. The family had hoped further treatment would help. “Mohammad is very smart and he was hoping to finish his studies and go to school.”

Another Syrian father told ABC News that he felt he was running out of time before two of his children could go completely blind.

Basheer, who used to work as a mathematics professor in Syria, has five children. Two of his children, Hamzah, 14, and Jinan, 10, are both losing their sight, he said. He said Hamzah retains only two percent of his vision in one of his eyes.

“The medical treatment is very limited and there aren’t many organizations that supports the treatment,” Basheer said.

While Basheer was able to get his children in a school for the blind, he is anxious to get to the U.S. because it is a “democratic country.” He said his son could go fully blind if his condition remains untreated.

“Hamzi, in particular, he won a robot competition and a championship and was invited to speak in competitions abroad but he couldn’t join because of the financial situation,” Basheer said.

Another Syrian child, a 17-year-old named Mustafa, lost part of his jaw and facial bone in a mortar attack on his home when he was just 13, according to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. The Syrian teen lives in Damascus, but Palestine Children’s Relief Fund said they were able to help fund his travel to the U.S. in 2014, where doctors at the Shriner’s Hospital in Galveston, Texas performed reconstructive surgery.

Though the surgery helped him regain some sense of normalcy, he needs further procedures to fully recover, according to officials at the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. The nonprofit organization helps “arrange medical care all over the world for sick and injured children from the Middle East who cannot be adequately treated in their homeland.”

But the plan to bring Mustafa back for further procedures in April has been put on hold as officials try to determine if he will be barred from entering the U.S., according to the organization’s president, Steve Sosebee.

“His speech, his breathing and his eating are all impacted by the terrible injury that he somehow survived,” Sosebee told ABC News. “Further delay means further suffering for a boy who already has suffered enough.”

Sosebee said the indefinite hold has put additional strain on Mustafa’s case because he’s near the usual age limit to receive free care from Shriner’s hospital and it’s not clear if it will remain available should he turn 18 before he is allowed to return to the U.S.

President Trump’s executive order, which he said is aimed at protecting the nation from terrorists, suspends for 90 days immigration to the U.S. from seven countries — Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya. It also suspends for 120 days the entry of refugees into the U.S. and indefinitely bans Syrian refugees from coming into the country.

Though the executive order does not appear to include an exception for those in need of medical treatment, on Tuesday the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said waivers would be considered for refugees who were “ready to travel” and who would be put through “undue hardship.”

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Emotional Bond Between Elderly Woman and Newly Adopted Dog Caught on Camera

The Humane Society of Western Montana(MISSOULA, Mont.) — Jerri McCutcheon may have been the one to adopt her new little Chihuahua named Minnie, but make no mistake, she’ll tell you that Minnie is the one who rescued her.

“She brings back that presence in my home I didn’t recognize was gone,” McCutcheon, 73, told ABC News of Minnie, a teacup Chihuahua weighing only 3.9 pounds. “Now the house doesn’t feel as empty. I haven’t had anyone to talk to. It was a void and she has filled that.”

McCutcheon had another dog — a Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix named Bandi — for 11 years before it died last May.

“I swore that I wouldn’t have another dog,” she said. “I just thought, ‘I can’t do this anymore at age 73. I just can’t go through that.’”

But her granddaughter Breanna Meuchel could tell McCutcheon just wasn’t the same since losing Bandi.

“She’d say, ‘Nana, you look so sad. I think you need another puppy,’” McCutcheon recalled.

Meuchel knew she needed another dog, and she couldn’t have been more right.

“Back even before Christmas, I started looking at all of the humane societies to try to find her one for Christmas. My theory is, adopt, don’t shop. But I never really found anything. It wasn’t until I looked at the Missoula humane society and found Minnie. The very next day I went up to meet her. Shortly after, I had my grandma go up and look at her.”

Instantly, it was a match made in heaven. The staff at the Humane Society of Western Montana in Missoula snapped these heartwarming photos of their emotional first meeting which quickly went viral after sharing them on their Facebook page.

“This little girl is starved for love and I’ve got it to give,” McCutcheon said of her new pup, who is estimated to be about 10 years old. “When I take them, I take them for life. She’s probably the most loving dog, and I’ve had several. We’re going through some learning processes but that’s what makes it work.”

Minnie has only been living with McCutcheon for a week now, but she’s already made herself right at home.

“She’s just skipping around,” said McCutcheon. And she’s claimed the couch. It used to be mine, but it’s hers now.”

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Roe v. Wade: How Trump’s Appointment of a Supreme Court Justice Might Affect Abortion Rights

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump plans to announce this evening his pick to fill the vacancy left on the Supreme Court by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February of last year.

Trump, whose position on abortion rights has shifted over time, told CBS News’ 60 Minutes in November that he is “pro-life” and would appoint individuals who hold the same position to the nation’s highest court. He said of the landmark abortion rights decision, Roe v. Wade, “If it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states.”

While the replacement of Scalia with another conservative justice is unlikely to realign the Supreme Court in such a way that Roe v. Wade could be threatened, the replacement of additional justices could have major consequences, according to Kate Shaw, an ABC News contributor and a Cardozo School of Law professor. We asked Shaw to help explain how this might work, and she responded via email.

What is Roe v. Wade, and what did it do?

Kate Shaw: In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy. At the time Roe was decided, 1973, many states criminalized abortion, and Roe struck all of those criminal statutes down. Following the decision, states weren’t able to prohibit abortion outright, but they do have the power to regulate it.

What can states do to regulate abortion?

KS: Roe held that while the Constitution protects a woman’s right to decide for herself whether to continue with a pregnancy, states also have a strong interest in regulating abortion, both to protect women’s health and to promote potential life.

The court balanced these competing interests using a trimester framework, holding that during the first trimester of pregnancy, the abortion decision is in the hands of a woman and her doctor. During the second trimester, the state can regulate abortion in ways that are reasonably related to women’s health. And in the third trimester, the state’s interest in potential life is strong enough to allow states to prohibit abortion outright, except where necessary to preserve a woman’s life or health.

In a 1992 case called Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court abandoned the trimester framework and held that states have a valid regulatory interest for the duration of a pregnancy. But it also held that prior to viability, states may regulate abortion only so long as the regulations do not impose an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose. Under this ruling, states have regulated abortion in a range of ways, from requiring counseling about the availability of adoption to mandating waiting periods to regulating facilities that perform abortions. Earlier this year, in a case out of Texas, the Supreme Court made clear that where states act to regulate abortion facilities, those regulations must be grounded in objective medical standards.

Let’s assume Trump appoints a person ideologically in line with Scalia. What will be the court’s ideological makeup at that point?

KS: Justice Scalia was a strong opponent of both the Roe and Casey decisions. A jurist who shares Scalia’s views in this area would maintain the status quo, which is four strong votes in favor of Roe, four justices who don’t believe the Constitution protects the right to abortion, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has voted with either blocs when it comes to abortion (though it’s significant that his most recent vote in an abortion case was with the court’s liberals). So statutes like the Texas clinic regulation, which Kennedy joined the liberals in striking down, would remain invalid.

Let’s assume liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and swing vote Kennedy retire, leaving open two slots, and then Trump appoints two more conservative justices. How would the court be able to overturn Roe v. Wade?

KS: There are a couple of ways this could happen. First, a state could pass either an outright abortion ban or an extremely restrictive abortion regulation, either of which could set up a test case in which the Supreme Court would be invited to overrule Roe.

It could also happen more gradually, and I think that’s more likely, as the court tends to prefer to act incrementally. The court could uphold a series of abortion regulations, gradually weakening the foundations of the Roe and Casey rulings and then finally overruling those cases.

But — and this is a big “but” — there is no absolute guarantee that Roe would be overruled, even with three or more Trump appointees. It’s at least possible that the court would decide to adhere to Roe on the grounds that, as Justice Louis Brandeis wrote in 1932, “In most matters it is more important that the applicable rule of law be settled than that it be settled right.” Even a conservative court could decide it would simply be too disruptive to overrule this long-settled precedent on such a divisive social issue. That’s essentially what happened in Casey, when everyone thought Roe would be overruled but it wasn’t.

Would a ruling against Roe have immediate nationwide impact?

KS: A decision overruling Roe would allow states to ban abortion, but wouldn’t require them to do so. And the big question would be which states would do that. A number of states have laws on the books that would essentially ban abortion immediately if Roe is overruled. Other states would likely move quickly to pass such laws. In all, over half of the states would likely eliminate or severely restrict access to abortion inside their borders if Roe is overruled.

In addition to what happens in the states, it’s conceivable that Congress could attempt to ban abortion nationwide. Without any constitutional guarantee of a right to abortion, the main constraints on Congress would be political, not legal.

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Your Body: Fish Oil May Reduce Asthma in Kids

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Health experts have long been preaching the virtues of fish oils. Now, a new study out of Denmark shows that taking fish oil — especially during the last three months of pregnancy — might help ward off asthma and wheezing in kids.

The study’s authors found that in the children of the mothers who took the fish oil pill, there was a statistically significant decrease in the risk of persistent wheezing, asthma and lower respiratory tract infections.

Though the supplement industry is booming, I recommend getting most nutrients from the actual food source whenever possible. If you don’t like fish or do choose a supplement, remember purity can be inconsistent between various brands.

And if the burping is a problem, try putting your fish oil in the fridge — it might help.

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