Review Category : Health

What to Know Before Heading to the Beach this Summer

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When you’re frolicking around the beach this holiday weekend, there’s only one thing on your mind: having fun.

That’s why ABC News has created a list of ways to stay safe while on the beach. So remember these tips as you’re working on your tan and hitting the waves:

Beach Flags:

What exactly do those beach flags mean? Although there are some small differences by region, for the most part the flags signal the strength of the current and the height of the tides. Two red flags mean the beach is closed, while a single red flag means you can still swim, but the water is extremely hazardous. A yellow flag means swimmers should exercise caution, while a green flag means the tide and current are conducive for swimming. There’s also two flags — dark blue and purple — that warn of sea creature dangers. If you see these two flags, beware of sharks, jellyfish and other potentially dangerous sea life.

Rip Tides:

More than 100 people each year drown because of riptides in the U.S., according to the United States Lifesaving Association. If you’re caught in a rip tide, first and foremost remain calm. Don’t try to swim against the current. Instead, swim parallel to the shoreline to escape the current. Once you’re safely out of harms way, swim at an angle away from the current and toward the shore. Still, if you can’t swim out, float or calmly tread water.

Lightning:

Mother Nature won’t be stopped even if you planned a fabulous beach day. Instead, the USLA offers these suggestions for staying safe in case lightning strikes: Avoid the water, beaches and pavilions along with any restroom facilities during a storm. Instead, take shelter in “fully-enclosed buildings that are grounded with wiring and plumbing” or “fully-enclosed metal vehicles.”

Sea Creatures:

When swimming on a beach, you may be susceptible to jelly fish, crabs, sharks and a number of other potentially dangerous marine life. Although your beach should offer signs to make you aware of what’s in the water, it’s always best to check with lifeguards on duty who will have the most up to date information regarding anything lurking under the water. The USLA also advises to enter the ocean feet first so you can be aware of what’s in front of you and behind you.

Sun Stroke:

Sun stroke, or heat stroke, is when a person’s temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The results can be fatal and include hot, dry skin, inability to sweat, muscle cramps and shallow breathing. To stay safe, the University of Michigan Health System says to limit your fun in the sun. Along with wearing a wide-brimmed hat, choose light and loose-fitting clothing. Be sure to drink plenty of water regularly, even when you’re not thirsty. And when you’re on the beach, be sure to eat small meals and limit alcohol consumption.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Your Body: What Is ThermiVa?

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

Gynecologists, dermatologists and women alike are excited about the latest option for giving women a way to improve intimacy.

It’s called ThermiVa and it’s a Food and Drug Administration-cleared technique to improve skin tightening, help collagen formation and better blood vessel growth to the lower genital tract.

The device uses temperature-controlled radio frequency technology in an office setting with no discomfort or downtime. It comes with a price tag of several thousand dollars for three treatments.

Though not yet endorsed by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ThermiVa use is growing as part of a mommy makeover and for women after menopause.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Meet Mosha, the Elephant with a Prosthetic Leg

iStock/Thinkstock(LAMPANG, Thailand) — Prosthetic limbs aren’t just for people. They can be for elephants, too.

Mosha the elephant, a permanent resident of the hospital run by the Friends of the Asian Elephant foundation in Thailand, is the first elephant ever to receive an effective and functional prosthetic leg.

Mosha was just 7 months old when she lost her leg to a landmine on the Burmese border, according to the FAE’s website.

As she continued to grow, her missing leg put tremendous pressure on her remaining three limbs and her spine. Luckily, the FAE was able to give Mosha a prosthetic leg, and the organization is continuously designing and creating new molds to accommodate the growing elephant. At the time of her injury, Mosha weighed about 1,300 pounds. Now, she weighs over 4,400 pounds.

When Mosha waits for a new prosthetic leg, she is able to do things like lean against rails in order to relieve some of the pressure, the site says. Designing and constructing her new prosthetic is a very complex process.

Fellow FAE hospital resident, Motola, also has a prosthetic leg. She was right behind Mosha as the second elephant to receive one. Unfortunately, Matola is not quite as comfortable in her new leg as Mosha is due to her growth patterns.

FAE recently added a prosthesis factory to its facility, which will make the process more affordable and efficient, according to the website.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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How to Stay Safe from Shark Attacks over Fourth of July Weekend

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you’re heading to the beach for Fourth of July fun this weekend, remember to be mindful of sharks.

Shark attacks were reported on both ends of the country in the past two months, from Vero Beach, Florida, to Newport Beach, California.

So whether you’re on the East Coast or West Coast this weekend, experts say it’s important to know how to stay safe in the water.

Here are some tips from former Green Beret and survival expert Terri Schappert:

1. Stay calm.

If you see a shark, don’t thrash or scream, Schappert told ABC News last summer. Just turn around, get out of the water and tell everyone else to get out, he said.

Sharks pick up vibrations and smells, but they can’t see you most of the time, Schappert said.

“The more you flail around … [the sharks] are very attracted to that,” Schappert said.

2. Have a plan.

Every beach-goer should have an evacuation plan, which includes knowing where the closest hospital is, Schappert said.

“Just think in your head, what would happen … if someone you love just got bit? What now?” he said. “Don’t be paranoid, but have a procedure. Think about how you’d get out of the water, then think about … the chain of what would happen next.”

“Try not to freak out,” Schappert added. “But know it’s a possibility.”

3. Know first-aid.

Most shark bites are on the limbs, according to Schappert, and when a shark’s mouth hits a swimmer’s arm or leg, “it’s bound to sever an artery.”

“Shark bites are not smooth — they’re jagged — which makes the wound worse,” he said. And the more jagged the wound, the more it will bleed, so it’s important to know first-aid.

“The best thing you can do for that person is to stop the bleeding,” Schappert said, which, if the victim is bit on a limb, means applying a tourniquet.

In 2014, Schappert took ABC News’ Matt Gutman swimming in shark-infested waters off the Bahamas.

To properly learn how to fend off sharks, Gutman pulled on 15 pounds of chain mail armour, and then put clothes on top to simulate real people’s finding themselves stuck in shark-infested waters after a plane or a boat crash.

Gutman and Schappert then did what experts say not to do: flapping around in waters where sharks were feeding, wearing regular clothing.

While they were in the water, Schappert’s advice to Gutman was to:

1. Slow down your movements.

Fast movements give off the signal of prey, he said. Also conserving energy is key to survival in the above scenario.

2. Team up.

If there are two people in the water, Schappert recommended treading water back to back to limit the spheres of control by half, to 180 degrees each.

3. Fight back.

If the sharks begin attacking, fight them off, Schappert said.

He recommended striking the sharks using quick, downward punching motions.

“All you can do is fight and let them know, ‘I am not going down easy,'” Schappert told Gutman.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Get Crazy with Corn on the Cob This Holiday Weekend

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — What’s a Fourth of July cookout without corn on the cob?

When butter, salt and pepper simply aren’t enough, try these four uncommon recipes to jazz up those ears of corn from Health.com.

Naturally, the recipes call for fresh corn to be shucked then boiled or grilled. If boiling, drop the ears of corn in salted water for three minutes; if grilling, use your best judgment but don’t burn them.

Be certain to slather these toppings onto cooked cobs.

Maple Butter Corn on the Cob

4 Tbsp. softened unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
Pinch of course sea salt
Brush 1 to 2 teaspoons on each ear of corn. (Save any extra for toast.)

Creamy Chipotle Corn on the Cob

1 seeded, minced chipotle
1 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
Pinch of salt and pepper
Brush 1 to 2 teaspoons on each ear of corn.

Pesto Parm Corn on the Cob

1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. pesto
1 to 2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Spread on 1 ear of corn.

Classic Boil Corn on the Cob

2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
3/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch of salt
Brush 2 to 3 teaspoons on each ear of corn.

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Man Calls 911 Thinking He Was in Plane Crash, But ‘It Was All Just a Dream’ Possibly Caused by Medication

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A 75-year-old man from Renton, Washington, recently called 911 claiming he was in a small plane crash, only to discover it was all a dream that he says may have been brought on by a prescription sleeping aid he’d taken before bed.

In audio of the emergency call, the man can be heard telling the operator that he’s “pinned in” a plane that was in a “field with trees.” He can be heard adding that there were three other people on board who were unconscious.

Renton firefighters and police were dispatched to the man’s home, where they found the caller not in a plane, but in his bed at home, according to NORCOM, a dispatch agency that services King County, Washington.

The man was embarrassed and told emergency personnel that “it was all just a dream,” a NORCOM spokesman told ABC News today, adding that emergency personnel determined he was OK and left.

The caller, who wished not to be identified by name, told ABC News today that the incident happened in May after a recent surgery. He said he had been having trouble sleeping, so his daughter gave him half a pill of the sedative.

“It was a bad, terrible experience,” he said.

The 75-year-old added that he will “never again” take the drug and that he now just wants to put the scary episode behind him.

The drug’s developer says it has a 20-year track record and is perfectly safe when as directed.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Growing Number of US Clinics Marketing Unproven Stem Cell Treatments, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Stem cells represent for some the promise of a cure from disease or relief from chronic pain conditions — and businesses have taken notice, opening clinics that market different stem-cell treatments directly to consumers.

While the use of unapproved stem-cell therapies is commonly associated with international “stem cell tourism,” a new analysis in the journal Cell Stem Cell indicates that this marketplace may be much larger in the United States than previously thought.

By using internet key word searches, text mining, and content analysis of company websites, UC Davis stem cell researcher Paul Knoepfler and University of Minnesota bioethicist Leigh Turner found a total of 351 U.S. businesses offering stem-cell treatments in 570 clinics throughout the United States. Clinics were found throughout the country, with California, Florida and Texas having the highest number of clinics. Similar clusters were also seen in certain cites, most notably Beverly Hills, followed by New York and San Antonio.

The majority of clinics advertised autologous treatments, which means using stem cells that come directly from the patient, usually from fat cells or bone marrow. However, an estimated one in five clinics marketed treatments with stem cells derived from other people, and two clinics offered “bovine amniotic cells” to patients — meaning cells derived from the amniotic fluid of cows.

The purported treatments offered by these clinics were varied, with the most common interventions advertised for orthopedic issues, followed by pain, sports injuries, neurologic conditions, and immune disorders. The authors note specific concern about the marketing of treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, for which there is currently no consensus from the medical community that there are safe and effective stem cell treatments.

James Hendrix, director of Global Science Initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association, shares these concerns.

Although there are clinical studies being conducted to assess the safety and efficacy of stem cells in the treatment of disease and injury, he stressed that it is important to “make the distinction between what is research, and what is ready to be sold and marketed and provided to patients.”

The treatments offered in these clinics “are unproven and not tested appropriately at this point,” Hendrix added. “There’s no way to confirm that any of these clinics are providing stem cells, let alone whether they actually work.”

His points echo those made by Turner and Knoepfler, who note that some clinics may not be meeting federal regulations regarding cells and tissues.

“From around 2009 to the present, businesses have been entering the marketplace on a routine basis, they’ve been coming in making marketing assertions about stem cells treating 30-40 different diseases, and no one’s taking meaningful regulatory action,” Turner said in a statement.

“Does that mean that people are getting access to safe and efficacious interventions or is there basically unapproved human experimentation taking place where people are going to these businesses and receiving experimental investigational cell-based interventions without being given a meaningful account of the lack of knowledge and evidence that they’re being charged for?” Turner added.

For now, it seems additional discussions into the ethical, legal and medical ramifications of these clinics are needed. Per Hendrix, stem cells and stem cell research “may lead to really great new understanding of disease as well as new therapies,” he said. But “that is a step separate from what these clinics are doing today.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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What Your Job Says About Your Suicide Risk

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When it comes to jobs that are detrimental to your health, experts often refer to the three Ds — dirty, dangerous and dull.

But jobs in the three Fs — fishing, forestry and farming — had the highest suicide risk, according to a report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report examined suicide rates in different occupations in 2012.

Workers in the farming, fishing and forestry industries had a suicide rate of 84.5 per 100,000, while the lowest suicide rate was found in people working in education, with a rate of 7.5 per 100,000, the study found. That’s more than a 10-fold difference in suicide risk. Of the 12,313 reported suicides, 77.2 percent were male while 22.8 percent were female.

While suicide can occur for a variety of reasons, the report found certain factors such as social isolation and access to lethal materials could contribute to suicide risk. The report is not conclusive when it comes to the reason behind the higher suicide rates seen in some professions.

“Previous research suggests that farmers’ chronic exposure to pesticides” may “contribute to depressive symptoms,” according to the report.

Other occupational groups with high suicide rates include maintenance/repair, construction and management. The report cited reasons such as lack of steady employment and work overload as possible factors that could contribute to suicide risk. However, the occupational risks for suicide were slightly different for women, with those in protective services such as law enforcement and firefighting having the highest rates of suicide, the study found.

One limitation of the study was that the data was collected from 17 states, so it’s unclear if these suicide rates would match up with national rates, the researchers noted. The 17 states were Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, explained that the people at risk are often in rural areas with reduced access to mental health services and are often working alone.

“Aloneness and disconnection is often associated with greater distress and a harder time coping,” he told ABC News.

For those in rural areas, accessing help through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or the Crisis Textline can help people even if they are not in crisis, Draper said.

“About three out of four people who contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are not suicidal, they’re people in emotional distress,” said Draper, who was not involved in this CDC study. “There’s a significant reduction not only in suicidality but in emotional distress,” after people call a hotline.

The findings of the study could be used to help people at risk of suicide, according to the study authors, who noted that prevention activities directed toward specific groups can “enhance social support, community connectedness and access to preventive services.” And workplace wellness programs can promote coping skills, the study authors noted.

The five occupation groups with the highest suicide rates per 100,000 workers

Farming, fishing, forestry 84.5
Construction and extraction 53.3
Installation, maintenance and repair 47.9
Production 34.5
Architecture and engineering 32.2

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Breastfeeding Bride Speaks Out Against Critics

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When mom of two Christina Torino-Benton’s 6-month-old daughter Gemma wouldn’t stop fussing, she just did what she would normally do.

She breastfed her.

Never mind that Torino-Benton was in the middle of her wedding ceremony to childhood crush Danny Benton and no matter that she was as dressed up and glammed up as a bride could be.

“It wasn’t even a thought that crossed my mind to not feed her,” Torino-Benton told ABC News. “It’s always my reaction when she gets upset. It was the only thing to do. That’s what she wanted. So I complied. I always do. It was so natural and instinctive. When I looked at Danny to let him know that’s what was happening, it was more of a giggle between him and I, rather than a discussion. He is just as on board as I am when it comes to caring for our baby.”

She posted to popular Facebook page Breastfeeding Mama Talk. From there, it took on a life of its own.

“I have shared a few breastfeeding bride photos in the past,” the page’s founder, Kristy Kemp, told ABC News, “but what made this one different is it was during the actual ceremony. I think it shows a mom willing to put her child ahead of her even on a day where it’s generally supposed to be all about her.”

Because baby Gemma was crying, Torino-Benton said, “I was in no way able to concentrate on my wedding because I never ever let her cry. So I just turned to my mom and asked her to give her to me. I was able to discreetly pull down one side of my gown and feed her. And she fell asleep within five minutes.”

No one reacted, she said.

“I’m pretty certain nobody even knew what was going on. It was only after the fact that they had asked me if I breastfed her during the ceremony. And when I answered yes, everyone said ‘awesome!’ Or something similar. Our family is very supportive, always.”

And though most of the public has been supportive too, there have been critics.

“I had never felt judged or anything before now when it came to breastfeeding,” Torino-Benton said. “I’ve heard of people coming down on breastfeeding women and I thought that was just so horrible, but now that I’ve experienced it first-hand, and widely, from people all around the world, I now truly know what an issue this is.

“I hope that my photo, along with the photos it has helped inspired to come forward, really changes the views some people may have. Or at least let the women who still feed in the bathroom stalls know that it’s okay, you can come out. We’re all just feeding our babies.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Don’t Eat Raw Cookie Dough, FDA Warns After E. Coli Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Cookie dough may be tempting to taste before it’s been baked, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning people to resist that temptation due to concerns that the dough could be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

Dozens of people have been sickened due to an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121 linked to flour, prompting the FDA to issue a warning on Wednesday to avoid eating raw cookie dough or batter — whether it’s for bread, cookies, pizza or tortillas.

The E. coli outbreak in at least 20 states, likely caused by flour, was reported earlier this month by the CDC and led General Mills to voluntarily recall 10 million pounds of flour.

The products were sold under the names Gold Medal, Signature Kitchen’s and Gold Medal Wondra. At least 38 people have been infected with E. coli in the flour-related outbreak, including 10 people who were hospitalized, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flour produced at a General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri, is believed to be the source of the outbreak, CDC officials said earlier this month. General Mills said that the FDA has confirmed one sample from its recalled flour tested positive for E. coli O121.

“Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria,” Leslie Smoot, a senior adviser in the FDA’s Office of Food Safety and a specialist in the microbiological safety of processed foods, said in a statement.

E. coli can be killed through common cooking methods, including baking, boiling, roasting or frying. Symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and, in rare situations, kidney failure.

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