Review Category : Health

Strangers Give Bride Early Wedding So Dad with Cancer Can Walk Her Down the Aisle

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Thanks to the help and generosity of strangers, a New York father with cancer was able to walk his daughter down the aisle.

Alyssa Kamm, 28, a Rochester resident, moved up her wedding after learning that her dad Karl Jones was diagnosed with the disease just three weeks ago.

“It was more than I could’ve ever asked for,” Alyssa Kamm told ABC News of her nuptials. “My dad’s always been a superhero to me, invincible. I’m such a daddy’s girl, so when I heard that about him it just broke my heart. To imagine not having him with me, there to walk me down the aisle, was the worst thought. I would’ve been heartbroken if my dad couldn’t have done that for me.”

Jones was diagnosed with an advanced cancer on Jan. 13.

Kamm said she found out that day while at a conference for work.

“I kept getting cryptic texts and no one was really telling me what was going on,” she recalled. “I knew it was bad but I didn’t know it was going to be as bad. When I got to my parents’ house finally, I cried. My mom told me to go upstairs and talk to my dad, and that’s when he told me. Finally, I just came to terms.”

Jones learned he had multiple myeloma — a cancer of the plasma cells.

Jones has been through two cycles of chemo at Interlakes Oncology and Hematology at Unity Hospital, an affiliate of the University of Rochester Medical Center, Jones’ medical oncologist Dr. Dirk Bernold told ABC News.

“He was starting on chemotherapy that he received on a weekly basis and he’s getting his third dose today,” Bernold said of Jones. “His pain is already improving, his blood cell counts looking like it’s improving. So we are hoping that he has a good response to his chemotherapy and then from here he will go on to a stem cell transplant. We’re hoping that he has an excellent response and many years, so not only did he see the wedding of his daughter, but we’re hoping for the birth of his grandchildren too.”

Alyssa Kamm and her now-husband Michael Kamm had hopes of marrying in 2018, but due to Jones’ illness, she wanted to ensure he’d be there to celebrate.

Jennifer Kamm, Alyssa Kamm’s sister-in-law, posted the family’s story on a Facebook bridal forum. Soon after, messages poured in from wedding vendors in the Rochester area.

All in all, nearly 20 businesses donated their services pro bono, including the Finger Lakes Hotel Wedding and Banquet Center in Farmington, New York, who hosted the couple’s Feb. 4 nuptials.

Venue owner Angelo Prestigiacomo reached out after seeing Jennifer Kamm’s Facebook post.

“It was definitely intriguing to us and it was really sad,” Prestigiacomo told ABC News. “It was a tragic situation and we told them, ‘Whatever we got to do to make it work’ … everyone from the DJ to the flowers — there’s been so many donations, it’s been incredible.”

On the evening of Feb. 4, in front of 100 family members and friends, Jones walked Alyssa Kamm down to her groom. Later, the pair shared a father-daughter dance.

“She wanted to rush this because when you hear ‘cancer,’ you don’t know how long someone has to live and she wanted to make sure that daddy walked her down the aisle,” Jones said. “That was her main thing. I didn’t use the walker that I had. I was in pain, but I said ‘I’m going to walk through this.’ It was wonderful.”

Both Jones and Alyssa Kamm said “there’s no words” to express their gratitude to the vendors that made the special day possible.

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Iranian Baby to Receive Heart Surgery in US After Delay Under Travel Ban

Reshad family photo(PORTLAND, Ore.) — Hospital officials in Oregon said that an infant from Iran, who arrived in the U.S. Tuesday since the travel ban was suspended, will now be able to undergo surgery to correct her dangerous heart condition.

On Tuesday, Fatemeh was allowed to enter the U.S., finally allowing her doctors to evaluate her in person.

“Fatemeh looks well. Our tests this morning have confirmed her diagnosis and the urgent need for treatment,” Dr. Laurie Armsby, associate professor of pediatrics and interim head, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, said in a statement Tuesday. “As we suspected, her heart condition has resulted in injury to her lungs, however the studies today indicate that she has presented to us in time to reverse this process.”

Four-month-old Fatemeh Reshad was born with a life-threatening genetic heart defect, where two main arteries are reversed, according to officials from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The hospital said before she arrived that acting quickly would be important with her condition since it can weaken other organs over time, as well.

“Certainly the delay of a few days or week is something we can manage,” Armsby had said in a press conference on Saturday. “There is a point in which the changes in the heart and lungs would be irreversible.”

The infant and her parents had been working with lawyers and other officials to enter the U.S. after President Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban most travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations.

“Their original visa appointment was scheduled for 2/5,” the family’s attorney, Jennifer Morrissey told ABC News. “They were informed of the cancellation on 1/27, when the travel ban was announced. So the delay was just a few days, but obviously every day was critical given her medical condition.”

The family was able to enter the country after working with the Department of Homeland Security, according to Morrissey.

“I can just comment that the reach out to us from the Department of Homeland Security was specific to her case,” Morrissey said at a press conference on Saturday. Physicians at OHSU announced Saturday that they would be treating Fatemeh, since no hospital in Iran was able to perform the delicate surgery to fix her heart. The baby has relatives living near the hospital.

With Fatemeh in the U.S., the doctors expect to do further monitoring before she undergoes the major surgery.

Hospital officials released a statement on behalf of the infant’s family after she safely arrived in the U.S.

“Fatemeh’s family, including her grandparents and uncle who live in Portland, Oregon, are deeply grateful for the outpouring of kindness and support they’ve received throughout their journey to the United States,” the statement said, “and would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make their trip possible.”

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Your Body: Is It Possible to Die of a Broken Heart?

iStock/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

The recent untimely death of actress Carrie Fisher and the passing of her mother, film legend Debbie Reynolds, less than one day later, have brought the issues of loss and grief to the forefront — with many asking the question: Is there such a thing as dying from a broken heart?

There have been reported instances of spouses dying within minutes or days of each other. It’s called takotsubo cardiomyopathy — or the so-called “Broken Heart Syndrome.”

This refers to a temporary stunning of the heart muscle in someone with normal arteries in their heart and it’s usually temporary. However, extreme sudden grief can definitely trigger a catastrophic medical event.

Bottom line: It is figuratively and literally possible to die of a broken heart.

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ABC News’ Ginger Zee Shares Her Melasma Journey

ABC NewsBy Ginger Zee

(NEW YORK) — ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee recently blogged about her pregnancy and giving birth to her first child for ABC News. Now, she is back to share some of her post-pregnancy adventures. Zee discusses her battle with melasma, a skin ailment characterized by brownish patches on the face and is especially common for women during pregnancy, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

My son, Adrian, just turned 1. He’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. That said, this kid changed my body, mind and skin forever.

I’m not talking about the still-pink scar that crosses my lower abdomen where I had a c-section. That and the deflated boobs are both parts of me that I have come to accept and love as a badge of honor for becoming a mother.

The day I looked in the mirror and saw a mask over my face, that was the day I said, enough is enough. My skin was brown in patches and bright white in others. It looked much different than it had before I had the baby. One day I saw that Dr. Whitney Bowe was on our show and got her contact from producers and made an appointment. In doing research about the skin disorder I thought I had, I found many links leading me to laser treatment. But that scared me.

Dr. Bowe took me in and was so gentle with her description. I have melasma. A discoloration of the skin thanks to a shift in hormones. Many times women get it during or after pregnancy, but any hormonal shift, including birth control pills, can bring it on.

My melasma was most pronounced on my forehead, down my cheeks. She assured me that we could make major improvements but it would take time. That day, she explained that laser doesn’t work for many with melasma and gave me a chemical peel. I was so nervous that my skin would fall off in sheets and it would burn. Instead, the peel took 30 seconds to apply and barely tingled. She sent me home with strict instructions to wear SPF always, gave me C E Ferulic to mix in with my SPF and then made me a special melasma emulsion to use every other night.

We went on to do three more peels and even intensify the emulsion, and the results are outstanding. I kept dreaming of a day I could go makeup-less like Alicia Keys and while I’ll never have her flawless complexion and gorgeous skin color, I think I look pretty darn good after Dr. Bowe’s help.

What I love about this story is that you don’t have to spend hundreds to achieve improvement with melasma. There are natural ingredients to look for like licorice, vitamin C, kojic acid and soy that can help reduce melasma.

Bottom line, melasma is never cured, but it can be controlled. For now, I’m going out makeup-less. With SPF and a hat on of course.

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Four Couples Married Longer Than 50 Years Spill the Secret to Long-Lasting Love

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Do you want to know the secret to a long-lasting marriage?

The reality is that no one really knows, but four couples who have all been married for more than 50 years told ABC News exactly what has kept them together over the decades.

From World War II to great-grandchildren, these couples have endured the true tests of time thanks to an enduring love and communication.

We asked each couple the same four questions about marriage and maintaining happiness. Here’s what they said:

Sammy and Macie Waller: 75 Years

The Wallers met when they were teenagers. “We lived on the same street [in Chattanooga, Tennessee],” Macie Waller, 93, told ABC News. Sammy explained that he had borrowed a bike from Macie’s cousin, and when he returned it, he spotted Macie. “I fell in love with her, actually, at first sight,” he gushed. Before Sam, 97, as Macie calls him, was drafted into the Army to fight in World War II, the two wed Dec. 31, 1942, at the local courthouse. They eventually moved to Lancaster, New York, and now have six children, 11 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

What’s the secret to your marriage?

Macie: “I don’t really know if there’s any secrets. We just respect each other and we love each other. We’re best friends.”

Sammy: “We don’t do a lot of arguing. We try to get along most of the time and we got along pretty good. We do things together. We go to the movies — we don’t like the movies anymore — but we just got along. I didn’t go to the bar and leave her home and she didn’t go to places and leave me home. We just hung together. I’m still hanging.

How do you resolve conflict the best?

Macie:
“We just talk it over and try to straighten it out.”

Sammy: “I just normally shut up. I don’t say a word.”

If there was one thing you wish you knew before marriage, what would it be?

Macie: “If there was one thing I wish I knew, it would be to understand the sincerity of marriage. It’s important to remember the vows you said when you got married … and go back to them. This is the person that you said you loved. I didn’t realize that as much when I got married, but through the years that can help carry you through.”

Sammy:
“I never gave it a thought, getting married. There was a war going on and I was what, 21, 22, and I just knew that I was going to get drafted and I wanted to marry her before I left. I figured she might be married before I got back and I didn’t want that to happen.

What’s your advice to younger couples, married or not?

Macie: “Think about the vows that they’ve made. And don’t get angry or upset about something and say, ‘I don’t want to be in this,’ because that’s not what you promised. And always give respect to each other.”

Sammy:
“Don’t get into. .. big arguments. We never had a lot of big arguments and if we did have an argument, I just shut up. She can’t argue by herself. We also had kids at home and if we had a little argument, we wouldn’t ever let them hear us. I just loved her.

Frank and Thelma Hoffman: 67 Years

The Hoffmans met while vacationing, separately, in a resort area in the Catskills, New York. “They put me in a room with five other men,” Frank, 94, then an Army physician, recalled to ABC News. “I met my wife as she was walking out of the dining room [of the resort], and we all stood up and tried to pick a date.” The only problem was Frank’s friend picked Thelma, 91. “But I had a car and he didn’t … so we’d double-date and after a while, we switched it,” Frank said. “She’s my very smart angel!” The two dated for more than a year before tying the knot June 12, 1949. The couple eventually settled in Savannah, Georgia, having two children and two grandchildren.

What’s the secret to your marriage?

Thelma: “Loving one another and a lot of patience, and knowing what’s important in life.”

Frank:
“Love and a wonderful companionship. That’s the great secret. We like to do most of the same things … like go on cruises, go to the movies, go to concerts and socialize with friends.”

How do you resolve conflict the best?


Thelma:
“He doesn’t argue. He doesn’t fight. It’s very difficult to make a point when you’re doing the arguing; he just will not argue.”

Frank:
“Easy! She wins! … But we work it out and we get along. We go forward. We’re both understanding and can appreciate each point of view, and we try to correct those problems. It’s discussed and dropped.”

If there was one thing you wish you knew before marriage, what would it be?


Thelma:
“I don’t know. I really don’t know.”

Frank: “Do well in my medical career [as an ear, nose and throat physician].”

What’s your advice to younger couples, married or not?


Thelma:
“Oh, dear,” she said, laughing. “Make sure — besides loving one another — that you are compatible and you’re willing to give and take.”

Frank: “Love one another and create a companionship. Your relationship should be one that you like to do the same things or you think about doing the same things.”

James and Virginia Wilson: 63 Years

The Wilsons met in seventh-grade. “We haven’t had any other boyfriend or girlfriend,” James, 88, boasted to ABC News. His wife Virginia, 88, added that the two “courted all the way through high school until [James] went away to college.” The two wed in 1954 after they had both graduated from college. Settling in Orlando, Florida, they are parents to two daughters.

What’s the secret to your marriage?

Virginia: Communication. We try to communicate with each other. In our earlier years, he was a band director — for 40 years — which means that he was busy, busy, busy. And I was an elementary school teacher … so we had to communicate often.”

James: “Well, we love each other. And we come from parents who were church-going folk and they taught us [about marriage] and we respected them so we had no problems. We lived the example they put forth for us.”

How do you resolve conflict the best?


Virginia:
“Talk it over. If you don’t get it done today, talk about it the morning, talk about it in the afternoon.”

James: “We have so few conflicts, but we talk about it. She expresses her side and I express mine.”

If there was one thing you wish you knew before marriage, what would it be?


Virginia:
“Well, I had an example of my mom and dad. My dad was a country minister and they had six children so I came up in a family of six, so we always saw that.”

James: “I don’t know, my love was so strong for her. She couldn’t do anything wrong.”

What’s your advice to younger couples, married or not?

Virginia: “Try to understand each other and try not to go to bed angry with each other.”

James: “Trust in the Lord and trust in each other. And try to do the right thing all the time. The wrong thing is the more attractive thing, so be careful.”

John and Betty Mattocks: 51 Years

The Mattocks’ met while attending Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. The two dated for “about a year,” according to John, 76, before getting married June 26, 1965. John and Betty, 74, eventually settled in Silver Spring, Maryland, and have three kids and five grandchildren.

What’s the secret to your marriage?

Betty: “You have to have a sense of humor and not take things too seriously … also keep communication open.”

John: “I would say exactly the same thing.”

How do you resolve conflict the best?

Betty: “You have to hear what the other person has to say and try to put yourself in their shoes and try to feel the way the other person is feeling.”

John: “I had to realize, like everybody else, there’s an alternative point of view and I’m not always right.”

If there was one thing you wish you knew before marriage, what would it be?

Betty: “When we got married, I moved from Lawrenceville, Virginia [where he was teaching], to Detroit, Michigan. I wish I had known a little bit more about that area. It was very, very cold and I must’ve gotten a cold every other month during the winter. I got really homesick that first year.”

John: “Over the years I realized marriage is definitely a partnership and definitely something that you have to work at in order to keep everybody happy. So we work well together.”

What’s your advice to younger couples, married or not?

Betty: “Try to be aware of how the other person feels and try not to be all about yourself. And try not to stay angry over little things. In other words, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff.'”

John:
“I’ve learned over time that the best thing I can do to keep the peace is to pick the cars and the electronics and leave the rest to the wife. … It’s been great. I would definitely would do it again.”

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88-Year-Old Woman Fulfills Lifelong Dream of Earning High School Diploma

Lewisville Independent School District (LEWISVILLE, Texas) — At 88 years old, Frankie Sprabary has finally fulfilled her lifelong dream of earning a high school diploma.

Sprabary, who was born and raised in Lewisville, Texas, had been set to graduate from the town’s high school nearly 71 years ago in May of 1946.

But just a few months before, she was badly injured in a car accident that left her homebound and unable to finish school.

“Life just happened, and I never got the opportunity to go back and get my diploma,” she told ABC News Tuesday. “It was the one thing I had wanted all my life.”

Paul Sprabary, Frankie Sprabary’s youngest son, said he only found out his mother never got to finish high school during a recently family dinner in mid-January.

“When she was telling her story, I could just hear the pain in her voice, and the regret,” Paul Sprabary, 50, told ABC News Tuesday. “I wanted to be able to help her close that chapter of her life.”

Putting his words into action, Paul Sprabary said he called Lewisville High School, told them the story and asked if there was any way they could help get her an honorary diploma.

“I thought maybe we could get her one in a nice frame and gift it to her, but what actually happened totally exceeded what I could have expected or dreamt of, he said.

On Monday, Lewisville High School recreated an entire traditional high school graduation ceremony, complete with a march to “Pomp and Circumstance,” speeches from school district officials and a full auditorium packed with hundreds of students.

“If we were going to do this, we wanted to do this right,” said the high school’s principal, Jeffrey Kajs.

“Lewisville High School has been here for 119 years, and we have a lot of history, tradition and pride,” Kajs told ABC News Tuesday. “One thing that’s been consistent throughout time is that we always look out for each other and seize opportunities to our school family.”

Paul Sprabary said his favorite moment from the ceremony was right after his mother received her diploma.

“I just saw her look out upon the hundreds and hundreds of students and smile,” he said. “Just to see that smile and watching her take in that moment was the best feeling. She was finally able to close that chapter of her life and heal.”

Though Frankie Sprabary has finally fulfilled her lifelong dream, she has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

“I’m hoping to publish a personal cookbook soon,” she said. “I like to keep some projects going for myself. My doctor said that’s the reason why I’ve been able to accomplish what I have because I’m always planning something interesting to do. It’s important.”

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Formerly Conjoined Twins Get Send-Off at Hospital Where They Were Separated

Driscoll Children’s Hospital(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) — Nearly a year after being separated, formerly-conjoined twin sisters got a special send-off at the hospital where they had the life-changing surgery.

Scarlett and Ximena Hernandez-Torres were celebrated by the staff at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Monday night as their family prepared them to finally head home after nearly two years being treated or getting rehab there, hospital officials said.

The girls were born in May 2015 and were rushed to Driscoll Children’s Hospital as newborns because they were conjoined. They have been either patients at the hospital or living nearby for rehab for virtually their entire lives. The hospital and the girls’ family had a celebration on Monday to say goodbye before the move back to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

“We are delighted that the twins are doing great,” Dr. Haroon Patel, a pediatric surgeon who helped separate the girls, said in a statement. “We are happy that they are going home to their loved ones, and will miss taking care of them here in Corpus Christi.”

During their going-away party, the girls got to play on a special playground at the hospital and spend time with the doctors, nurses and other medical staff who treated them when they were still conjoined and also after the surgery as they went through rehabilitation.

“Since discharge from Driscoll Children’s Hospital, the children have been seen multiple times per week by physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology staff,” Susan T. Fields, director of rehabilitation services at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, said in a statement Monday. “They have progressed well and are learning how to navigate their world as independent toddlers.”

The girls will still be seen at satellite clinics closer to their home, hospital officials said.

The girls were born joined at the waist, sharing a colon and bladder, according to the Driscoll Children’s Hospital. They were born as triplets with a third sister who is not conjoined — a 1 in 50 million occurrence.

Scarlett and Ximena were separated last April during a 12-hour surgery with dozens of medical personnel present during the operation, according to hospital officials. Doctors used a special scanner called a “spy camera” during the surgery to understand the complicated blood flow between the girls and help them stay healthy during the long ordeal. Additionally, doctors used a 3-D model from a specialized MRI, designed to help them map out the surgery.

The girls’ mother, Silvia Hernandez, said through an interpreter last year that she could already see the girls’ personalities coming through.

“Scarlett likes to dance, sing and she smiles a lot,” Hernandez said. “Ximena is most of the time sleeping but she smiles a lot.”

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Mumps Outbreak Reaches 367 Cases in Washington State; Numbers Expected to Rise

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) — An ongoing outbreak of the mumps virus has continued to grow in Washington state, with at least 367 people either diagnosed or suspected of having the mumps, according to the Washington State Health Department.

The vast majority of those infected have been school-aged children, according to Paul Throne, manager of the Washington State Immunization Program. Of the school-aged children infected in this outbreak, 87 percent were up to date on their mumps vaccinations, Throne said Tuesday, but lower vaccination rates among school-aged children in general may be contributing to the growth of the outbreak.

Despite the large number of mumps cases, health officials believe the vaccine is providing protection against more serious mumps complications, Throne told ABC News.

“We do think it’s still protecting people who get sick. We have not seen the serious side effects that you might expect in an outbreak,” he said.

The state health department has been grappling with the ongoing outbreak since October and has asked people in multiple counties to get vaccinated against the virus or stay home from school in the hopes of stopping the spread of the virus.

The mumps spreads through small droplets of water in the air, similar to the seasonal flu. The virus can be spread via sharing drinks, food or being in close contact with an infected person. Mumps can cause swelling of the salivary glands, resulting in enlarged cheeks and jaws. Additionally, it can cause fever, headache and tiredness. In rare cases, it can lead to meningitis, swelling of the brain and deafness. It can also cause death.

The Washington State Health Department is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine if the current strain of the virus has changed at the DNA level, which could mean the vaccine is less effective, Throne said.

“We don’t know if the mumps virus that we’re seeing has shifted or drifted from strain in the vaccine. That’s something that we’re looking at,” Throne explained. “It’s possible that the exact genotype is not a perfect match.”

However, health officials believe the vaccine is broad enough to provide some protection against the virus, Throne said.

A full two doses of the mumps vaccine — given as part of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine — provides approximately 88 percent protection, while a single dose can provide 78 percent protection against mumps, according to the CDC.

However, diminished MMR vaccination rates among school children over the age of 5 in Washington state may be a contributing factor in the ongoing outbreak, Throne said.

Since the mumps vaccine is 88 percent effective even when properly administered, it can mean people can be infected with the virus even if vaccinated. If 12 people out of 100 vaccinated people can get the virus, when others in the community decide not to get vaccinated, then it can dramatically increase the chance that the virus can spread even among vaccinated people, Throne noted.

“We have a lot of children in Washington whose [parents] have chosen to exempt children from vaccine” requirements, Throne said. “These are kids who are vulnerable to be exposed and to spread disease before they know they are sick.”

The nature of the virus itself has also made it difficult to stop, Throne said. A sick person can be contagious seven days before they show symptoms and eight days after. As a result, an infected person can infect many others at school or work before exhibiting symptoms.

Additionally, the health department has also had to educate medical providers about early signs of mumps, since many physicians had never seen the disease in a patient before, Throne said.

“We hadn’t had mumps in Washington in a long time,” prior to the current outbreak, Throne said, noting that the outbreak is expected to keep growing, despite the health department’s best efforts.

“It’s been a continuous upwards track,” Throne said of new cases. “Until we reach a point where no more vulnerable people are exposed, it may continue to grow.”

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Flu Takes a Toll in NYC with Four Children Reported Dead

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The flu season has been particularly rough in New York City this year with four pediatric deaths from the virus reported in the city, all in January, according to New York State Health Department.

The flu has been spreading across the country, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeing epidemic levels of flu activity late last month.

There have been 15 flu-related pediatric deaths in the nation during this current flu season, the CDC reported last week.

New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania all reported high levels of flu-like activity, according to a CDC flu report last week.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said while the deaths are tragic, the New York cases are not unusual for the flu season. The New York State Department of Health did not disclose the ages of the children or whether they had been vaccinated or had an underlying condition that would have put them at additional risk for complications.

“Every year in our pediatric emergency room come children who are otherwise clearly healthy and they are seriously ill with the flu,” Schaffner said of Vanderbilt. “The lesson is that flu can strike even healthy children.”

During the previous flu season, a total of 89 pediatric deaths related to the flu virus were reported in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Public health experts have been concerned about vaccination rates since pediatricians may have had difficulty getting some children to get vaccinated against the flu if they have an aversion to needles, Schaffner noted. While in the past doctors could vaccinate needle-averse children with a flu mist vaccine, they were advised not to use the flu nasal spray this year, since it was found less effective than a vaccine injection.

“It’s clear that the substantial majority of children who die from influenza every year have not been vaccinated,” Schaffner said, clarifying that he was speaking generally and not about the recent deaths in New York.

Flu can cause symptoms of headache, fever, joint pain and cough. The seasonal flu generally spreads across the U.S. from November till March, with the peak number of cases often occurring in February.

The number of people affected every year can vary widely, but generally, the CDC reports that “millions of people are sickened, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu every year.” Children under the age of 1 are at increased likelihood of developing complications if they contract the flu.

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Your Body: Boosting Your Immune System

iStock/ThinkstockDR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Cold and flu season is here. And none of us wants to be caught in the crossfire, right?

So before you find yourself curled up on the couch with a big box of tissues, here are some things you can do right now to help your body fight off infection:

  • First, live well. Remember that healthy immune systems live inside healthy bodies. Make sure to get plenty of exercise and sleep about seven hours a night.
  • Next, eat a balanced diet. You need to have a well-rounded diet full of lean protein, grains, fresh fruit and veggies.
  • Get your shots. Immunizations are important.
  • If you smoke, try to stop immediately.
  • And finally, everything in moderation. So have fun but don’t overdo it.

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