Review Category : Health

New Warnings About Hidden Playground Dangers During the Summer

Blend Images/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND, Tenn.) — A new warning is out from a mom who wants parents to know about a summer danger you can’t even see.

Ashley Elizabeth Brown posted photos to Facebook this week showing her 14-month-old’s hands that were blistered from second-degree burns. She said her son got them from playing on a slide at La Petite Daycare in Cleveland, Tennessee, in 90-degree heat.

“What does plastic/rubber equipment do in the sun? IT HEATS UP BEYOND THE OUTSIDE TEMPERATURE,” she wrote in the post. “What happens when you put your skin on extremely hot surfaces? IT BURNS. Where were his teachers? Why didn’t anyone think to check with their own hands how hot those surfaces were, knowing that babies (that tumble down every now and then) were playing there?”

A statement from the daycare’s corporate office obtained by ABC News affiliate WKRN-TV said, “As caregivers and parents ourselves, we’re heartbroken that this has happened. Safety is of the utmost importance to us. We’re keeping the children engaged in indoor activity [Saturday] as we partner with licensing to find a solution that will continue to meet state safety regulatory requirements and prevent this from happening again.”

According to another Facebook post from the father, the 14-month-old is now being treated at a burn center in Georgia.

Health experts tell ABC News that parents should be extra careful with children who are under 2 years old because their skin is thinner and more susceptible to burns.

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Fourth of July: Tales From the ER

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Between the sizzling barbecues, flowing beers, and cacophony of fireworks exploding, it’s not hard to understand why the July Fourth holiday can be a wild ride for emergency room doctors and nurses.

With patients rushed in due to boating accidents, fireworks gone awry, and a litany of other injuries that you almost have to see to believe, the holiday has earned a reputation as the most dangerous holiday in the U.S.

Fireworks cause more than 8,500 injuries every year, with more than 40 percent occurring in children under age 15, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The injuries skyrocket around this time of year -– CPSC estimates about 230 people per day go to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries in the month around July Fourth.

Dr. Jennifer Stankus, an emergency medicine physician at Madigan Army Medical Center, used to be an ER doc in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She remembers an episode where a man strolled into the emergency room through the ambulance door, walking in calmly with his bike. The emergency room at that hospital was always packed, and the doctors told the man he had to go back to the front door and sign in with everyone else -– but then the man said he had been shot.

“He said that he was riding his bike on the sidewalk, immediately across from the [emergency department] when he felt something strike him in the back, and he figured he was shot,” Stankus said. “Well, we looked, and sure enough, he was.”

Apparently in Albuquerque, it is a tradition to shoot off real guns into the air, along with fireworks, as part of the celebratory noisemaking.

“Well, what goes up must come down,” Stankus said. “And a stray bullet just happened to come down and hit this guy in the back, right across from the ED … crazy.”

The man on the bike recovered just fine from his injuries, but if it wasn’t clear from this story, Stankus firmly advises against firing real bullets into the sky to make festive fireworks noises, as the bullets do ultimately come back to Earth and can endanger innocent bystanders.

Dr. Lorrie Metzler, who has practiced emergency medicine in both Louisiana and Mississippi, says she sees a lot of water sports injuries around July Fourth.

“There are so many bayous here, bordering the Gulf of Mexico,” she said. “The population can be very fun-loving and sometimes throw care to the wind and get reckless with jet skis and boats and things like that.”

She has really seen it all –- from a man on a jet ski who hit a pier and became a human projectile, to motor blade injuries and boat collisions.

She urges everyone to keep their wits about them this July 4 –- follow boating safety rules, never drink alcohol and drive a boat, and abide by safety lanes marked in different areas.

“Always wear life preservers, keep a safe distance from other boats, don’t get caught up in the wake of very large ships,” she said. “It’s a real problem getting people to wear life vests -– they save lives,” especially if someone gets knocked unconscious and falls into the water, she added.

In terms of fireworks hazards, ER doctors have seen it all: Burns, lacerations, and eye injuries are extremely common, they say. Fireworks can also be deadly.

Dr. Brad Uren, an emergency medicine physician at the University of Michigan, says he understands that people putting on fireworks shows feel pressure to “act like they’re a star” and impress crowds. But he says he has seen so many injuries from people trying to handle large, commercial-grade fireworks that he advises people to play it safe — especially if a firework seems to be a dud.

“I understand the temptation is to creep up and take a look down that tube -– the show must go on,” he said. “But there’s not a backyard fireworks show that’s worth your eye, your vision, or your life.”

Even with seemingly harmless sparklers, parents should use great caution and think twice before handing them to children –- they can reach 1000 degrees while burning.

The CDC has a list of firework safety tips: never allow young children to play with or light fireworks, avoid buying fireworks packaged in brown paper because they were likely made for professional displays, always watch fireworks from a safe distance, never inspect duds up close, and call 911 immediately for any fireworks-related injury. Keeping water on a hand is also a good idea.

Drinking and driving is as much of a threat on July 4 as any other holiday – these ER docs urge people to never put others and themselves at risk by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

“Drinking and fireworks is also an issue,” Uren said. “Have a designated lighter. You wouldn’t get behind the wheel if you had too much to drink, but a lot of people think they can operate fireworks.”

There are also some Fourth of July injuries that are less visible, but equally intense.

“The loud explosion noises from fireworks may remind you of summer barbecues, warm wind, and good times with the family,” said Texas-based emergency room physician Dr. Sudip Bose. “But for an injured soldier –- or anyone with PTSD –- that can remind them of memories from the battlefield.”

Bose is an emergency physician, who served in the Iraq War, and devotes a lot of his time to working with injured veterans. He served one of the longest combat tours by a physician since World War II, and founded a nonprofit called The Battle Continues to help veterans, who return to civilian life and deal with feelings of alienation and PTSD.

He said he knows that fireworks bring joy to millions of people, but that if you live an in area with a Veterans Administration hospital or where you know there are a lot of veterans, “maybe just be a little considerate and cognizant of that” this July 4.

Uren will be spending this July Fourth working in the emergency room. He hopes that people will be extra careful this holiday weekend, emergency physicians are the one group who “don’t mind putting themselves out of business” if it means people will stay safer, he said.

“Unfortunately, every year I’ve worked I’ve seen some kind of fireworks injury, but I would be glad if this was the first year that I don’t,” he said.

All of the emergency medicine physicians quoted are members of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

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Demi Lovato Talks Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Philymack(NEW YORK) — At one time, pop star Demi Lovato doubted whether she would make it to age 21. Now, the former Disney star, 23, is not only topping the charts, but speaking out on the mental health, addiction and body image issues.

In an interview with American Way magazine, Lovato opened up about the struggles she has faced and how they continue to shape her career to this day.

“I lived fast and I was going to die young,” she explained in the interview, pointing to her troubled childhood as a source of her past problems.

Lovato grew up in Texas with two parents battling their own demons, she said. Her father, Patrick Lovato, struggled with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and alcoholism while her mother, Dianna Lee Hart, battled bulimia.

At the age of 7, Lovato began her career in pageantry. Though her issues with body image began before that, she still “attributes a little of [her] insecurities to being onstage and judged for [her] beauty.”

Only a couple of years later, at age 9, Lovato began to binge eat and purge.

In the years following, Lovato would continue performing, eventually landing a role alongside the Jonas Brothers in the hit Disney movie “Camp Rock.” Her stardom would skyrocket from there, bringing with it behavioral problems for the young star.

It was at this time that Lovato began to lose control, indulging in drugs, such as cocaine and OxyContin, and alcohol. She dismissed any attempts her mother and stepfather made at disciplining her.

It wasn’t until she punched a backup dancer in the face that Lovato came to terms with her situation and decided to seek help. She abruptly left her tour with the Jonas Brothers and admitted herself into rehab, where she addressed her bulimia and bipolar disorder. Lovato recalled feeling as though she was “just another stereotype” upon entering rehab.

Once her mental illness was addressed and under control, Lovato tackled her drug and alcohol problem. She checked herself into a sober living facility, a decision that was largely kept under wraps until 2013. She said she hasn’t had a drink since 2012.

In the years since, Lovato has become an advocate for mental illness, inspiring fans with her song lyrics and her openness.

“As a pop star, I can say, ‘Hey, I’ve got bipolar disorder — it’s nothing that anyone can be ashamed of,’” she said in the interview.

Though she never expected to be an inspiration, Lovato has become a role model for many young women facing the same difficulties she once did. Lovato told American Way about the countless girls she has met at meet-and-greets who thanked her for aiding in their recovery from depression and addiction. She added, “Hearing those things gave my life new meaning.”

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General Mills Expands Flour Recall After More Reports of Illnesses

General Mills(NEW YORK) — A major flour recall has doubled after reports of more illnesses.

General Mills pulled its Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchens flour off the shelves at the end of May when an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that some cases of E. coli O121 had reported using those General Mills brands.

A statement from General Mills said the recall was expanded “due to a newly-reported illness that appears to have stemmed from the consumption of raw dough or batter linked to flour produced last fall.”

“The original recall was more than 10 million pounds and this one is an additional 20 million pounds,” a General Mills spokesman told ABC News.

According to the CDC, there are now four new reports of people getting sick from the flour, bringing the total number of cases to 42.

The E. coli O121 strain can cause intestinal bleeding, or hemorrhage, and is potentially deadly.

Consumers who have any of the flour that’s subject to the recall are advised to throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased. ABC News Health Editor Dan Childs also says consumers should clean up their kitchens after baking with affected flour.

“Consumers should also clean up thoroughly after baking with any kind of flour just to make sure that they don’t further expose themselves to any contaminated flour – and they should get in touch with their doctors if they feel like they are experiencing the symptoms associated with E. Coli,” he said.

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Mother Photographs Her Own Labor

Lisa Robinson(NEW YORK) — As a professional photographer, Lisa Robinson-Ward usually captures all of her family’s portraits herself. But when giving birth to her daughter six months ago, she took it a step further and photographed her own labor.

Though she admits the idea started out as a joke, the California-based photographer told ABC News that after giving it some thought, she decided it might be worth a try.

“I was pretty flexible with the plan,” she said. “If it became impossible I was fine with not doing it but fortunately I had a really easy and amazing birth experience.”

Robinson-Ward hoped that by photographing the experience, she would be able to capture special memories for her family. Robinson-Ward gave birth to daughter Anora and indeed managed to photograph the momentous occasion.

The recent attention she’s received over the photographs came as a surprise to Robinson-Ward. “I’m really happy for all the positive feedback,” she said. “Everyone has been very supportive and I’m glad that I had the chance to share my experience and give a different perspective on birth photography.”

The complete collection of photographs from the special day can be viewed here.

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These Instagram Famous ‘Fit Moms’ Dealt With Backlash for Sharing ‘Six Pack’ Pregnancy Photos YORK) — Nothing will prevent Stacie Venagro from getting to the gym – not even pregnancy.

The 31-year-old personal trainer has spent much of her life training for fitness competitions and she was crowned Miss World Pro three times.

Now she has become famous for being a so-called “fit mom.”

She is part of a group of mothers and mothers-to-be on Instagram who have gained social stardom for their highly ambitious workout routines – with or without a baby on board.

“They’re working out, whether it’s walking everyday or doing Crossfit everyday. That’s what a ‘fit mom’ is,” Venagro said.

Venagro, who gave birth to her first child, Aidan, in March, said she worked out for the full duration of her pregnancy up until the day she gave birth.

“I was fit beforehand so my doctor had told me do what you can do but do not strain,” she said. “You know your body best, you know when you can work out and when you can’t. So I consistently worked out, every single day.”

She said her workout regimen “consisted of six days a week of weight training” and “three days a week of cardiovascular,” which included walking and “a little biometrics.”

“I was doing box jumps, things like that,” Venagro said. “As long as I felt good I would do that.”

She decided to document her progress on her Instagram account, sharing her workout videos and belly progression photos with her 13,000 followers.

“Because a lot of people look up to me and they seem me as inspiration, I felt like this next chapter in my life I have to show them like you can still work out when you’re pregnant as long as you feel good,” she said. “If that’s going to motivate somebody else to get off the couch, then I’m going to keep doing it.”

Putting herself in the spotlight also brought backlash. The more attention she received, Venagro said, the more criticism she got in return.

Venagro shared comments that users posted on her photos, using words like “gross,” and “As a woman who has battled her weight her entire life and whose pregnancy has made her battle even more challenging, it’s kind of hard to view this without wincing.”

Sia Cooper, another fit mom who also worked out throughout her pregnancy, said she too knows what it’s like to feel the internet’s wrath.

“Some of the comments I’ve gotten was basically my baby is going to die… and I’m scaring my baby and I’m selfish,” Cooper said. “There were comments that I wasn’t eating enough and that was crazy and unhealthy.”

Like Venargo, Cooper said she also worked out until the day of her child’s birth. “I did about 30 minutes on the treadmill. And I did barbell curls, I did barbell squats.”

The new mom shared every step of the way on Instagram with her 200,000 followers.

“A lot of the ladies that follow me, they see inspiration in keeping fit during pregnancy,” Cooper said. “I wanted to let them know that just because you’re pregnant, it doesn’t mean that you have to let your body go…I wanted to be the encouragement and the push that they need to find out.”

Body image expert Dr. Robyn Silverman said social media provides a shroud of anonymity that fuels shaming culture.

“It creates a community that shouts rather than simply says what’s on their mind,” Silverman said.

It used to be that women were criticized for gaining what some say is too much weight. Celebrities like Jessica Simpson, Kelly Clarkson and Kim Kardashian West are often the easiest targets. But these fit moms were seeing the focus shift the other way.

“Women tend to shame other women for a variety of reasons,” Silverman said. “People may shame because they truly believe that if it is the case that a woman can be thin and pregnant, that perhaps they have themselves not done a good enough job while they are pregnant.”

Venagro was called out for her “six pack” stomach while pregnant, and was criticized for being too in-shape.

“Somebody wrote, ‘She didn’t let her body stretch for the baby to grow. She will end up with a muffin top and probably have to have surgery to correct it,'” Venagro said.

Another “fit mom,” lingerie model Sarah Stage, had a similar experience. She, like the others, documented and shared photos of her barely-there baby bump on Instagram for her 1 million followers to see.

“Taking a selfie in the mirror in lingerie, I was doing that before I was pregnant,” Stage said. “So to show my belly I was excited.”

“I don’t think it was anything odd or strange or unique. A lot of people, a lot of women, they document their pregnancy,” she continued. “They want to share it with their friends or their followers.”

But she said she never expected her posts would cause a social media uproar, with people posting hateful comments, including, “Where’s the baby hiding at? Definitely not in her tummy,” and “I’m confused is she giving birth to a pickle.”

Stage said the comments were not only uncalled for but also rude. “There’s been some really bad ones, like, ‘Oh your baby is probably dead inside of you,'” she said.

“I just don’t know how someone could say that to a pregnant woman,” she added. “And my baby is healthy so thankfully he’s healthy and we’re happy and my doctor is so amazing.”

Even at nine months pregnant, Stage was still working out with a trainer twice a week and managed to keep her defined abs even with a pregnant belly.

“I feel great when I work out. I have more energy,” she said. “I think it’s the healthiest thing for the baby for me to work out.”

Her obstetrician Dr. George Matsuta, who is located in Pasadena, California, explained that every woman’s body responds differently to being pregnant, adding that Stage was perfectly healthy.

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, exercising is recommended during pregnancy, and that, “Physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery.” But the organization recommends that mothers get the green light to exercise from a health care professional first.

“I think people are stuck in this old age thinking that pregnant women should not work out,” Cooper said. “Some of my readers had asked me, ‘Can you post pictures of yourself after birth, can you post pictures of yourself after losing the baby weight?’ And I said sure, absolutely. So I posted three days, five days, seven days, 10 days postpartum. And yeah I got backlash.”

In fact, Cooper, who gained 30 pounds while she was pregnant, said she received the most flak for getting back into exercise after having the baby.

“It mainly comes from the women that weren’t able to work out, that were on bed-rest, saying I’m shaming them,” she said. “And the fact is, I’m not shaming them.”

Cooper attributes most of her postpartum weight loss to watching what she ate, rather than intense workouts.

“It’s been almost six weeks and I haven’t been cleared for a workout yet so I’ve been doing little things like core strengthening exercises and it’s mainly a clean diet that’s gotten the rest of the pounds off,” she said.

Stage gave birth to a healthy baby boy a year ago, and is proud of her body that she displayed on Instagram, a sentiment shared by fit moms everywhere.

“I’m just doing me,” Stage said. “I did this before I was pregnant. I want to do this after. I don’t feel like I should have anything to hide and be ashamed of. I’m so excited. I’m so happy. So why not share it with everybody?”

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Author Calls for Women to Share Swimsuit Photos to Celebrate Positive Body Image

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Bestselling author Jennifer Weiner has called for women of all shapes to celebrate positive body image by sharing their swimsuit photos on her Facebook page.

In a Facebook live video Friday, Weiner explained how she heard some young girls talking about how they were self-conscious about their body image when they wear a swimsuit.

“The other day I was listening to them talk about swimsuits and hearing them say things like ‘I don’t want to wear a tankini, my tummy is too big,'” Weiner said in the video, “and these are like really little girls, girls who are way too little to be caring.”

She then called for all the viewers to post pictures of themselves in their swimwear on her Facebook page, “I want this to be a smorgasbord of positivity.”

Weiner is the author of many novels, including “Good in Bed,” “In Her Shoes” and “Best Friends Forever.”

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Girl Takes First Breath Without Tube Thanks to Breakthrough Surgery

Seattle Childrens Hospital(SEATTLE) — A Washington girl is enjoying finally breathing without a tube after undergoing breakthrough surgery.

Hannah Schow was born with Treacher Collins syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects the development of a baby’s bones and other tissues in the face before birth. It affects one out of 50,000 births, according to Seattle Children’s Hospital, where Hannah was treated.

The condition not only affected Hannah’s facial features but her airway. To save her life as an infant, doctors performed a tracheostomy, where an incision is made in the windpipe and a plastic tube is used to get air into the lungs. As a result, it’s difficult for people with a tracheostomy to speak and they are prone to infections.

Dr. Richard Hopper, surgical director of Seattle Children’s Craniofacial Center, said that Hannah’s case of Treacher Collins was severe.

“Her face was rotated up,” said Hopper. “The breathing passage was squished like [there was a] big tennis ball in her jaw.”

Having a tracheostomy meant that Hannah spent the first nine years of her life having difficulty talking and being unable to do activities like swimming or hiking. Hopper also said having the tracheostomy can be dangerous, especially if it becomes plugged and blocks the airway.

A traditional surgery that moves the lower jaw would not have been enough to help Hannah, Hopper said. Instead, doctors planned on multiple invasive surgeries that would affect her skull. Hannah began undergoing a series of surgeries last summer. Earlier this year, she underwent the biggest surgery to remake her airway.

Hannah’s parents said that after raising her for years with her tracheostomy, they were prepared to go through the grueling surgery. Hopper, along with 45 other medical staff, carefully planned out the invasive surgery that would help create an airway. A portion of Hannah’s face would be rotated to help her breathe easier.

The rotation “swings forward and brings up whole airway,” explained Hopper. “It’s a big surgery.”

After the surgery and weeks of healing, Hannah was finally able to take out her tracheostomy earlier this year.

“It was pretty special moment for our whole family,” Hannah’s mother, Jennifer Schow, told ABC News.

Hopper said the 9-year-old girl is already excited to do activities she had been unable to do before.

“She’s doing fantastic the last time I saw her was after her tracheostomy was removed,” Hopper told ABC News. “She was this bouncing ball of energy constantly wanting to show everyone what she can do.”

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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.


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.

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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.

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