Review Category : Health

One-Pound Preemie’s Emotional Journey Hits Home for ‘Finding Dory’ Creator

Courtesy Maureen Azize(LITTLE COMPTON, R.I.) — A Rhode Island mom and dad are facing the challenges of their son’s premature birth head-on with encouragement from none other than the director of Finding Dory, Andrew Stanton.

“Andrew Stanton himself was born premature and didn’t have much of a chance of survival,” mom Maureen Azize of Little Compton told ABC News Tuesday. “It was inspiring to hear how thankful he was to his parents for giving him a chance. It confirmed it was the right choice to give Francis a chance.”

When Francis William Azize was born on Jan 13, 2015, he weighed just 1 pound, 9 ounces. He was 17 weeks early, arriving at 23 weeks. Doctors gave him a 15 percent chance of survival and he spent 118 days in the NICU at the Ronald McDonald House in Providence, Rhode Island, his mother said.

“It was a lot of ups and downs,” Azize said of her now 1-year-old son. “They say it’s a roller coaster and it definitely is. Some days it derails, but he received a lot of prayers and a lot of love from everyone and he is thriving. The staff, nurses, doctors — they’re such unique people on the front lines of fragile lives.”

She added: “Developmentally, he’s right on track of where we want him to be. He’s currently in the process of wanting to walk. He’s not there yet, but he wants to be. I think one of the doctors said, ‘You have to have spunk to be born at 23 weeks,’ and I think that described him very well … he’s just a real little gift.”

Charles Kinnane, Azize’s brother and Francis’ uncle, shared a video with the family featuring an inspiring speech delivered by Stanton at the 2012 Ted Talk conference.

Stanton is the creative force behind Disney & Pixar’s Finding Nemo and the newly released sequel, Finding Dory.

But it was what he said at the end of the conference that the Azize family said brought them to tears.

“When I was born, I was born premature — that I came out much too early and I wasn’t fully baked,” Stanton said in his speech. “I was very, very sick and when the doctor took a look at this yellow kid with black teeth he looked straight at my mom and said, ‘He’s not going to live.’”

He added: “I was in the hospital for months. I lived. Whatever I ended up being good at, I would strive to be worthy of the second chance I was given.”

The Azizes, along with Kinnane, created a video titled, “Just Keep Swimming,” which correlated Stanton’s speech with Francis’ journey.

The footage, posted on June 17, was viewed 6.2 million times on Francis William’s community Facebook page.

“It’s a little no overwhelming, but not in a bad way,” Azize said of the video’s popularity. “We’ve received so many other stories from people who have premature children. Some are still in the NICU and have appreciation for life after watching it. I think ultimately that’s been the greatest thing about sharing the video is this appreciation on life.”

In February 2015, while Francis was still in the NICU, Kinnane was stunned to be sitting next to Stanton on a flight from LAX to Oakland.

“I said, ‘Mr. Stanton, I don’t want to bother you, but my sister and brother-in-law have a son that’s in the NICU and your TED Talk really inspired us,'” Kinnane of San Francisco Bay said of the encounter. “I showed him some photos [of Francis] and he couldn’t have been nicer. After seeing some photos he said, ‘Us preemies need to stick together.'”

Can’t stop crying. “Profoundly moved” is an understatement. #GoFrancis

— andrew stanton (@andrewstanton) June 20, 2016

As Kinnane deplaned, Stanton handed him a note for his nephew. It read, “To Francis William, Just Keep Swimming. -Andrew Stanton.”

“I think it’s a really cool story and connection between the events,” Azize said.

In response to the “Just Keep Swimming,” Stanton shared the video on Twitter writing: “Can’t stop crying. ‘Profoundly moved’ is an understatement. #GoFrancis”

“‘Just keep swimming’ and that’s what Francis did,” Azize said in the video. “He just kept swimming throughout the NICU and he continues to ‘just keep swimming’ and thriving. We wanted to give him a chance.”

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

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Dad Gets Tattoo to Match His Son’s Surgery Scar

Courtesy Josh Marshall(WICHITA, Kan.) — A father’s effort to mitigate his son’s insecurity after a cancer surgery left him with a scar on his head is gaining attention across the internet.

Gabriel Marshall, now 8 years old, was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer called anaplastic astrocytoma in March 2015. Surgeries to remove his tumor left him bald with a scar on the right side of his head, according to his father, Josh Marshall.

“My son was very self-conscious after he got his surgery. He felt like a monster,” Marshall told ABC News.

In August 2015, Marshall decided to get a tattoo mimicking his son’s scar. “I said, ‘You know what, I’ll get your scar tattooed. That way, if people want to stare at you, then they can stare at both of us.’”

Gabriel loves his dad’s tattoo and tells people he and his father are like twins.

Marshall’s decision has not only boosted his son’s confidence, but also received an outpouring of praise after he entered a picture to the St. Baldrick Foundation’s #BestBaldDad competition, in which 55 dads who shaved their heads in support of their children with cancer submitted photo entries. Marshall’s picture was captioned: “Me and my son at this year’s St. Baldrick’s event in Wichita, Kansas. Got my son’s scar tattooed to help his self-confidence.”

Marshall and his son received more than 5,000 votes and won first place.

“I never intended for it to be this big,” he said of the attention his photo has received. “It was just a friendly competition between fellow cancer dads and people showing support for their loved ones who have fought cancer.”

Gabriel is doing well, Marshall told ABC News. Though a small portion of the tumor still remains, it hasn’t grown. He receives scans once every three months, with his next MRI scheduled for next week.

Though he could never have anticipated the response, Marshall expressed his gratitude.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “I’m glad that I can kind of spread awareness for the childhood cancer community.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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What We Know About the First Zika Vaccine Trial by Inovio Pharmaceuticals

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A U.S. company has announced the first clinical trial of a Zika vaccine intended to prevent the virus from spreading further.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals announced on Monday it will start a Phase I safety trial of their potential vaccine in the next few weeks. Here’s what we know about this first vaccine candidate.

How does a Phase I trial work?

Inovio Pharmaceuticals has gained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to test the safety of the vaccine in 40 volunteers, according to a statement from the company.

The first trial will be a Phase I trial, which means the goal is to ensure the vaccine is safe to use. The volunteers who get the vaccine will not be exposed to the Zika virus, but researchers will take note of any side effects they develop from the vaccine itself.

“Small groups of people three or four or five in a group are usually [given] different doses in a vaccine,” by researchers, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told ABC News. Researchers, “then test their blood afterwards to see what their response is.”

How does it work?

This type of a vaccine uses a dead version of the virus to prime the immune system to build up a resistance and create specific proteins that target the virus. Part of the virus’ DNA will be injected into the volunteers in the vaccine.

If the vaccine is deemed safe to use from this early trial, it will be expanded to a Phase II trial. It’s during the Phase II and Phase III trial that researchers will look to see if the vaccine is effective at preventing a Zika virus infection.

How long will it take to get results?

The company expects to start administering the vaccine candidate in the next few weeks. The results of this initial study will likely be known later this year.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health, explained Monday at WTOP Radio that Phase I trial results “usually takes maybe four months or so to see if it is safe.”

“This is good news,” Fauci said, speaking about the possibility of finding an effective and safe Zika vaccine.

Schaffner explained it will likely take years before a Zika vaccine can go through the necessary testing to be fully approved.

“It’s still a long tunnel that we get to before we get to any vaccine and one that’s safe,” he explained.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: Regaining Lost Weight

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

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know it could be an up and down battle. This is likely why so many winners of weight loss shows wind up putting the pounds back on.

It’s a concept called metabolic adaptation — or as some people call it, “the defense of fatness.” It means there are actually hormonal and metabolic reasons that people regain lost weight.

It’s not meant to be an excuse, or remove personal responsibility. But it does mean that people who regain their weight are not lazy or undisciplined.

Since becoming board-certified in obesity medicine, I practice a pyramid approach to treating obesity. This means aggressive attention to diet and exercise for everyone, FDA-approved use of weight loss medications for some and bariatric or weight loss surgery for a few.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Some Frozen Vegetables Voluntarily Recalled over Listeria Concerns

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A limited quantity of frozen peas and mixed vegetables are being voluntarily recalled by the National Frozen Food Corporation over fears they could be contaminated with listeria.

Frozen peas and mixed vegetables with the name “Not-Ready-To-Eat” were distributed between Sept. 2, 2015 and June 2, 2016. The National Frozen Foods Corporation detected possible contamination during a sample test, the company said in a statement on Friday. No one has been reported sick as a result of listeria contamination, according to the company.

A full list of the products affected by the recall can be found here. Consumers are recommended to check the date codes on their items and return them for a full refund.

Listeria is a bacteria that can sicken people who consume it through food. It usually causes fever, headache, nausea and diarrhea. In people with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly or those under the age of 5, the bacteria can cause dangerous and sometimes fatal infections. Pregnant women who contract the infection are at risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.

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After Orlando Shooting, First Responders Grapple with Psychological Toll

iStock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO) — When EMT Julio Salgado arrived at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in the early morning hours of June 12, he saw rows of wounded bodies as law enforcement officers dragged victims out of the building — later telling ABC News he’s “never been on a scene like this before.”

There were no medics or emergency personnel allowed inside the nightclub at that time, because the gunman was still firing. So Salgado and his EMT crew approached the injured victims outside with a backboard and stretcher, ducking down behind a shotgun-wielding officer.

“It was like a war scene,” Salgado said. “It was load and go. Just get them out of there.”

First responders train for mass casualty events like the Orlando shooting that left at least 49 people dead, making it the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history and the deadliest attack in the country since 9/11. Despite their training, some struggle with the psychological impact that follows.

Police officers who responded to the shooting were immersed in utter chaos and darkness when they first entered Pulse. The only light came from a spinning disco ball that revealed a dance floor covered in blood, bodies and bullet casings, the officers told ABC Orlando affiliate WFTV.

Screams and gunshots echoed inside the nightclub as they looked for survivors and tried to stop the shooter. Patrons were running out of the building with open wounds, trying to escape. The officers told WFTV they went through the club “going one-by-one, pulling (victims) up and checking for pulses.”

Once the Adrenaline Wears Off

Survivors, family members and friends are all at risk of emotional trauma following a mass shooting like the one at Pulse. For first responders, and the nurses, doctors, and surgeons who raced to the hospital to treat victims, that psychological impact can be especially intense, experts said.

“Once that adrenaline wears off and the muscle memory goes away, how do you deal with the effects of that?” Jason Marquez, President and CEO of First Response Training Groups in Orlando, which offers EMT and paramedic certification programs, told ABC News.

Marquez’s school for EMTs and paramedics sent more than 40 students and even more alumni to the scene of the Pulse shooting. Many of the students were dispatched specifically to tend to the families of victims in the immediate aftermath of the shooting — doing everything from bringing them pizza to offering prayers and someone to communicate with.

“We assigned one student to each family,” Marquez said. “If they want to sit there in silence, we’ll sit in silence. If they want us to pray to whatever God you want to pray to, we’ll do that.”

Recognizing that his students would need this type of support as well, he explained that his school held a gathering the day after the tragedy to provide a forum for people to talk and listen and process their experiences. He said communication is key to manage stress following such an event.

Dr. Daphne Simeon, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, stressed that “everyone has to process in their own way,” adding that no one should be forced to participate in structured group interventions.

“The major predictive factor is social support — it is incredibly effective,” said Simeon. “So, part of the acute interventions is discussing [one’s] social network and enhancing it.”

The Long View

Dr. Louise Buhrmann, a psychiatrist in Orlando, is helping coordinate counseling efforts for the Pulse shooting with the Florida Psychiatric Society. She has been referring patients to the Zebra Coalition, a local LGBT-plus organization, where mental health volunteers are offering counseling.

So far the calls have come primarily from local residents who observed the shootings or have been following them on the news, but Buhrmann said she believes they will hear from more victims and first responders as time goes by.

“There will still be the people who were more involved [in the rescue]; they have been too busy to care for themselves,” she told ABC News. ”Problems can crop up at any time, people with previous trauma events can be reactivated.”

Tony Colombrito, a professional counselor and American Red Cross disaster mental health volunteer, echoed this sentiment that reactions emerge over time. Colombrito was deployed to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, within hours of the December 2012 mass shooting there. He spent about a week providing support to first responders, victims’ families, and residents in the town.

He said some first responders wanted an ear to listen, while others needed a hug.

“Most didn’t want to talk about what they saw,” he told ABC News. “There’s the shock, but afterwards is when I think the real encounter with what happened starts to manifest.”

Dr. Matthew Levy, an emergency medicine physician at Johns Hopkins, said stigma may prevent first responders from seeking care. Levy was a first responder during the 2014 Columbia mall shooting, as well as serving as a paramedic on 9/11 and during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Levy said the most effective way of helping first responders is to train them to recognize distress in their peers.

“They are not alone. There may invariably be a moment when they feel like they are alone but they are not,” he told ABC News.

David Caplan, chief professional officer at American Counseling Association and a former first responder, said emergency personnel are trained to put their feelings aside in order to do their job and save lives. The problem, he said, is allowing themselves to feel after they have done their job so that they can process the experience and heal from it.

“I can tell you from my experience, the absolute most difficult thing was seeing a dead person,” Caplan told ABC News. “The first overwhelming feeling I had was the need to go home and take a shower, that I just needed to go home and wash it all off me.”

Not all first responders will need counseling or will suffer from psychological disorders after responding to a mass casualty event like the Orlando shooting. Dr. Patricia Watson at the National Center for PTSD said most emergency personnel will recuperate mentally on their own over time.

“They might be exhausted and they might be shaken, but it doesn’t mean they need treatment or that they’re going to go on to have a disorder,” Watson said. “These are people who are trained to go toward danger.”

But it’s important for their peers to remain vigilant in offering support months down the road, while also providing options and giving them control over their recovery.

“It’s very, very important for them to feel in control of what happens next,” Watson said. “If they feel like it’s better for them to be on the job, then that should be respected.”

Salgado, the Orlando emergency medical technician, said he doesn’t know whether the two victims he transported to the hospital survived the shooting at Pulse because he never got their names. Wiping tears from his eyes, he told ABC News he’s had trouble sleeping since that night.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Salgado said. “This is what we work for and train for.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Man With Cerebral Palsy to Compete With His Dad in Ironman Triathlon

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — A father-and-son team from Michigan are training to compete at the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, this October.

Even more remarkable than embarking on the 140.6-mile swimming, cycling and running journey, father Jeff Agar will push and pull his son, Johnny, who was born with cerebral palsy, during the entire triathlon so that the two can earn the Ironman title together.

Jeff Agar, 53, told ABC News Monday that he and his son have competed in six marathons together, and that they train every day for the Ironman World Championships.

Agar explained that he pulls Johnny on a chariot during the biking and running portion, and on a boat during the swimming portion of the triathlon. Agar told ABC News he is working with a professional trainer in order to not only finish the race, but to complete it with a 150-pound chariot in tow.

“He is constantly cheering for people as we go along,” Agar said of his son. “We get people who want to run with us just because of the cheering that they get from Johnny.”

“Johnny’s big goal in life is as a disability advocate,” Agar told ABC News. “He created a website like Yelp for handicapped people. It is about spreading information about how accessible a location is so you know before you go there.”

Johnny Agar, 22, told ABC News Monday how much he looks up to his father.

“He is just the biggest inspiration to me, because you wouldn’t necessarily think of a kid who has cerebral palsy, which is what I have, being able to participate in a triathlon of that magnitude, with some of the best athletes in the world,” Johnny Agar said. “He is willing to pull me and push me in the race for 140.6 miles so I get to know the feeling of what it feels like to cross the finish line.”

Becki Agar, Jeff’s wife, told ABC News that she is incredibly proud of her son and husband.

“Johnny has always wanted to be an athlete, he has always looked up to his dad in that way, but it was so hard for Johnny to participate in organized sports,” Becki Agar said. “I don’t think Jeff will do it otherwise. Johnny is quite a motivator for Jeff.”

She added that her husband will try to finish the Ironman World Championships ahead of the 17-time limit, despite pushing and pulling Johnny the whole way, so that Johnny has time to walk the last mile of the race.

“For him, walking a mile is like you or me running a marathon,” Becki Agar told ABC News. “He has to think about every movement he makes in order to get his leg where it needs to be.”

“Jeff is very focused, he never complains. He knows it is something Johnny wants to do,” she added, noting that her husband and son have inspired people in their community, who will often make signs and cheer for Johnny when he walks during a race.

The father-son team will compete in the Ironman World Championships on Oct. 8, you can follow the family’s training at their team website.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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After Flint Water Crisis, Pediatricians Call to Better Protect Children From Lead

iStock/Thinkstock(FLINT, Mich.) — A national pediatrician group is calling for the medical community and government leaders to make major changes to reduce the amount of lead to which children can be exposed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement in the journal Pediatrics calling for stricter regulations and expanding federal resources to help prevent poisoning and exposure to lead — a known cause of brain damage — in children. The announcement comes as the city of Flint, Michigan continues dealing with the aftermath of a change in the source of its municipal water system that resulted in elevated lead levels, exposing children to the neurotoxin.

Dr. Aparna Bole, Medical Director of Community Integration at University Hospitals at Rainbow Babies & Children’s in Cleveland, said that the Flint crisis helped draw the public’s attention to the ongoing problem.

“What this policy statement is calling out is that primary prevention is what we should be focusing on,” Boyle told ABC News. “Many of our efforts responding to lead poisoning, we wait for the child to be identified before we intervene.”

“We need to take stronger steps to prevent that exposure in the first place,” Boyle added.

While the AAP has said in the past there is “no safe” level of lead, previous AAP guidelines had identified 10 micrograms of lead per deciliters of blood as a “level of concern.”

However, the group now believes even half that amount can pose problems. They said new studies have shown children have increased risk for multiple developmental and behavioral problems including lowered IQ, hyperactivity and aggression, when they have under 5 microcrams of lead per deciliter of blood.

“We now know that there is no safe level of blood lead concentration for children, and the best ‘treatment’ for lead poisoning is to prevent any exposure before it happens,” Dr. Jennifer Lowry, chair of the AAP Council on Environmental Health and an author of the policy statement, said today. “Most existing lead standards fail to protect children. They provide only an illusion of safety. Instead we need to expand the funding and technical guidance for local and state governments to remove lead hazards from children’s homes, and we need federal standards that will truly protect children.”

To combat lead exposure in children, the AAP has made multiple recommendations including having the federal government provide more resources and funding for housing agencies to continue lead poisoning prevention, for the CDC to monitor national lead exposures and help formulate interventions and for local and state governments to collect, analyze and publish blood lead test results.

The AAP is also calling for state and federal governments to provide resources for children found to have raised lead levels in their blood, above 5 micrograms per deciliter.

For doctors, the AAP now recommends pediatricians screen children between 12 and 24 months for elevated blood lead concentrations if they live in areas where 25 percent or more of housing was built before 1960. The AAP estimated approximately 37 million homes in the United States still contain lead-based paint.

“Eliminating lead from anywhere children can be exposed to it should be a national priority,” AAP President Dr. Benard Dreyer, said in a statement today. “The drinking water crisis in Flint was just one indication of how our country’s aging infrastructure is jeopardizing children’s health, especially in areas already dealing with toxic effects of poverty.”

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Many Sports-Related Concussions May Go Untreated in Children, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Nearly 2 million children may be suffering sports- and recreation-related concussions (SRRCs) every year, and many of those may go untreated, according to a new study published Monday.

Researchers from the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Research Institute, together with colleagues at the University of Colorado, found that between 1.1 and 1.9 million children may suffer an SRRC every year.

The researchers came to these findings, published in the medical journal Pediatrics, after analyzing three national databases that contained injury information reported to various healthcare settings, including emergency departments, inpatient and outpatient medical providers, and certified high school athletic trainers.

Alarmingly, researchers estimated that between 511,590 and 1,240,972 SRRCs went untreated in children under 18 each year.

The study comes as concerns over concussions and their long-term effects on the brain have increasingly gained attention, especially as related to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Concussions, which are a mild form of traumatic brain injury, can be the result of any direct blow to the head. They can also be caused by any impact to the body that is strong enough to shake the brain inside the skull.

Dr. Steven Flanagan, chair of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and an expert in traumatic brain injuries including concussions, said more attention needs to be paid to concussive injuries and identifying teens or other children with these injuries early.

He pointed concussive impacts can cause bruising of the brain or can cause the nerve cells to twist or stretch, causing injury. Whenever a concussion is suspected, the athlete should be taken out of play until they are evaluated and cleared by a healthcare provider. This is to avoid what Flanagan calls “second impact syndrome,” which occurs when a child or adolescent sustains another concussion without fully recovering from the first. Although extremely rare, this can lead to massive brain swelling that can lead to severe brain damage, according to Flanagan.

However, Flanagan stresses that “the most important aspect with regards to concussion is recognizing it.”

So what signs should parents be aware of? It’s important to remember that a concussion is not always accompanied by a loss of consciousness. Symptoms that may occur at the time of injury include feeling dazed or confused, blurred vision, or amnesia for the time of the injury. Additional symptoms later on may include difficulty paying attention, becoming more irritable, or sleepiness. Most people with a concussion will get better within days to a couple weeks.

Certain symptoms indicate a need for immediate evaluation by a healthcare provider. These include nausea, vomiting, worsening headache, trouble staying awake, or if symptoms don’t clear up after a few days.

“Many folks get worried about concussions, and rightfully so, but the vast majority really do well over a short period of time,” said Flanagan. However, he notes that parents know their children best, and advises that “when in doubt, seek out professional help.”

According to Flanagan, the most generally accepted treatment early on is physical and cognitive rest, which includes limiting time spent watching TV or reading.

Dr. Alex Diamond, a pediatric sports medicine specialist and director of the Program for Injury Prevention in Youth Sports at Vanderbilt, said that the significance of this study lies in the fact that “the number of concussions that we’ve all been reporting is probably less than what it is in reality. There is an entire vulnerable population of kids that we’re missing.”

While high school athletes have easy access to people trained in recognizing concussive symptoms, many children may be injured during free play or during recreational sports.

Per Diamond, “What we have to do is address this population group and provide better ways for parents or other people involved in recreational sports or play to understand what the potential signs and symptoms are, how to better recognize and respond to them.”

He also noted that there is a disparity in the amount of money and resources provided to children not participating in an organized sport versus those who are, especially as medical providers are increasingly promoting more physical activity for all children and adolescents.

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Summer ‘Skin Detox’ Tips from Celebrity Nutritionist Paula Simpson

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It’s the first day of summer, but your skin is stuck in mid-winter? How to freshen up fast? A skin detox — from the inside out — might do the trick.

“Most of the time when we hear about detoxes, we assume we are talking about a liver detox,” said Paula Simpson, Celebrity Beauty Nutritionist. “If your skin isn’t looking as good as you’d like, a skin detox may help improve its condition and help you look more radiant and healthy for the summer months,” Simpson said.

Simpson shared with ABC News her top skin detox tips. Though you don’t need to follow every tip below, Simpson says the more you follow, the better the results. For best results, your skin detox should last four weeks.

Bonus: since this skin detox cleanses from the inside our, you should expect to not only look better, but feel better too.

1. Feed your Gut.

“Through food and supplementation, certain strains of probiotics have been shown to re-balance and detoxify intestinal microflora that indirectly have a positive effect on several skin conditions, known as the brain/gut/skin axis,” Simpson said. One of the best known probiotic foods is live-cultured yogurt, she said. Bonus if you can make it at home, because, according to her, “many popular brands are filled with high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors.”

Simpson also recommends miso “one the mainstays of traditional Japanese medicine and is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator.”

Also from Asia, she suggests Kimchi, n Asian form of pickled sauerkraut typically served alongside meals in Korea. “Kimchi is also a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 and B2,” she said. Other options: asparagus, garlic and beans – these foods are fuel for good bacteria.

2. Eat your Antioxidants

“Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid and a very strong skin antioxidant that protects your body’s cells from dangerous free radicals,” Simpson said. Zeaxanthin is found in leafy green vegetables, yellow and orange peppers, corn, and eggs. “Consuming antioxidant rich foods such as deep-colored berries, peppers, beets, tomatoes help to ward off reactive free radicals that can depress skin immunity and slow down skin metabolism and cellular renewal.”

3. Start with Lemon

Start your day off with warm water and squeezed lemon, Simpson suggests. “Lemons are a staple of many detox diets, and there is good reason. They’re packed with antioxidant vitamin C and have an alkaline effect on the body, so it can help restore the body’s pH balance, benefiting the immune system.”

4. Get your Greens

Kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard — any dark leafy green will get the job done. Because, Simpson said, they are “rich in detoxifying chlorophyll that binds and neutralizes lingering heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides. Full of vitamins and minerals, greens alkaline-ize the body to re-balance pH and reduce acidity, which is often associated with congested skin.”

5. Drink your Tea

Get your green tea daily. “Clinical studies have shown that drinking green tea daily supports skin antioxidant defense against environmental stressors. Teas like nettle, ginger, dandelion, cranberry, and burdock root are known to support digestion, liver, kidney function and stimulate circulation all helping to speeding up toxin removal. Drink two cups of these teas a day for at least one week.”

6. Do Supplement

“I love ZSS Clear Skin,” she said, “because it’s a complete nutrition based skin detox system working from the inside and out. The formulation includes exclusive naturally derived antioxidants, healthy probiotics and botanicals targeted to support the detoxification organs to bring out skin that is clear, balanced and glowing.” Stars like Lisa Vanderpump of Vanderpump Rules and Orange is the New Black’s Dasha Ploanco are said to use the product.

7. Do a Mud Mask

Mud masks pull toxins and waste materials out of your skin, unclog pores, and revitalize dull skin, so they’re good for purification anytime, according to Simpson. “To supersize them for a summer skin detox, slather them on, then step into a steaming hot bath to work the ingredients further into skin.”

8. Exfoliate

“Whenever you need to slough away dead skin cells and encourage new, younger looking cells to emerge, you need to exfoliate. Try exfoliating a couple of more times than your usual routine for one week. After one week go back to your usual regimen.”

9. Go Sweat

Exercise gets your heart beating and your skin sweating, which helps to cleanse toxins from your body. Hot yoga, saunas or steam rooms help to draw out built up toxins in the skin, she said.

10. Cleansing bath

Use your bath to detox your skin by adding a cup of Epsom salts and calming essential oil such as lavender three times per week. “These will draw dirt and other impurities out of your pores, helping your skin to start over fresh.”

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