Flu season getting worse, as illness has 'lot more steam' than expected

Jan 21, 2018 13

The flu season that’s already been the worst in nearly a decade is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, according to the latest report released Friday from the nation’s health protection agency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the flu that is blanketing every state except Hawaii is growing more intense and deadly. So far this season, the flu has claimed the lives of at least 30 children, according to the latest CDC report.

“The peak of flu season is in February, so we have about a month for things to get worse,” Dr. Manny Alvarez, Fox News Senior Managing Health Editor, said Sunday on “America’s News HQ.”

Thirty-two states reported high patient traffic last week, up from 26 the previous week. That is how the CDC gets a measure of the season based on how many doctor or hospital visits are because of cough or other flu symptoms. Overall, the health agency said it was the busiest week for flu symptoms in nine years.

FLU DEATHS PROMPT WARNINGS FROM VICTIMS’ FAMILIES AS OUTBREAK CONTINUES

“This is a season that has a lot more steam than we thought,” Dr. Dan Jernigan with the CDC told the Associated Press.

The virus that’s predominating this year is Influenza A (H3N2), and that tends to be more severe. It affects the elderly and the very young, epidemiologist Lynnette Brammer, who leads the CDC’s Domestic Influenza Surveillance Team, told Fox News.

In this Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 file photo, Ana Martinez, a medical assistant at the Sea Mar Community Health Center, gives a patient a flu shot in Seattle.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

In a bad season, there are as many as 56,000 deaths connected to the flu. In the U.S., annual flu shots are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older. Alvarez said Sunday some of the best ways people can protect themselves are to get a flu shot, wash their hands, and hydrate themselves if they get sick.

HOW TO AVOID THE FLU ON AIRPLANES

The flu became intense last month in the U.S., and the last two weekly reports from the CDC show flu widespread over the entire continental United States, which is unusual.

In Oklahoma and Texas, some school districts canceled classes this week because so many students and teachers were sick with the flu and other illnesses.

In Washington state, flu deaths spiked dramatically in the last week, Q13 FOX reported. The Washington State Department of Health reported 86 deaths so far have been linked to the flu as of Friday.

In Mississippi, flu outbreaks have hit more than 100 nursing homes and other long-term care places, resulting in some restricting visitors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

Dad's plea for kidney during Disney World trip results in transplant in NY

Jan 21, 2018 22

The single father of five who wore a “In Need of Kidney” T-shirt to Disney World over the summer underwent a kidney transplant last week in New York.

Robert Leibowitz, 60, of New Jersey, never imagined how magical his family’s vacation trip to the Magic Kingdom would be after securing a kidney from a stranger– thanks to another stranger’s viral Facebook post about his special hand-made T-shirt.

Leibowitz suffered from chronic kidney disease and was going to dialysis three days a week. He had been in need of a kidney for three years, Inside Edition reported.

“I thought ‘You know, if I can get one person who’s my blood type to just respond and maybe that’s my match…You know it’s worth the $35 investment for the shirt,’” Leibowitz told CBS News. “This amazing couple, Rocio and Juan Sandoval, took a picture of it and said do you mind if I post it? Within the first week 90,000 Facebook shares. Three days walking around the park… my phone wouldn’t stop ringing.”

DAD’S PLEA FOR KIDNEY DONOR DURING DISNEY TRIP GOES VIRAL

Rocio Yanira Sandoval posted the photo of Leibowitz’s T-shirt on her Facebook page.

Richie Sully, 39, a father of two from Fort Wayne, Ind., was one of those who saw the post.

“I have an extra kidney, it’s not like I need them both,” he told CBS.

He and Leibowitz were reported doing well after the surgery Thursday at New York-Presbyterian Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan.

“There are no words, no matter how much I say how much I appreciate,” Leibowitz told NBC4 New York days before the surgery.

The station reported that Leibowitz plans to take his donor and Sandoval to Disney World to celebrate his fairy-tale ending.

Utah State University student hospitalized after eating Tide Pod, latest in dangerous online craze

Jan 21, 2018 20

A Utah State University student was rushed to a hospital Saturday after ingesting a Tide Pod, the latest incident from the social media craze that’s motivated teens to dare each other to eat the miniature, neon, detergent-filled pods.

Campus police initially called the incident a “Tide Pod overdose,” but Eric Warren, director of media relations at USU, told FOX 13 Salt Lake City the female student ingested a Tide Pod.

Warren said it was unclear what motivated the student to ingest the Tide Pod while in on-campus housing, but added, “For students and members of our university who are feeling overwhelmed, we have services available. There are people here to talk to you.”

The female student was taken to a local hospital, but details about her condition were not immediately available.

The incident comes after doctors warned people earlier this month  not to eat the laundry pods due to health concerns. The warning was sparked by social media posts and online videos of people participating in the “#TidePodChallenge” that involves eating the pods and filming the reaction.

“I look at memes every day; they can be very fun, but they can also be very harmful,” USU Student Donald Ray Corwin told FOX 13. “I just think it’s a very present culture. In our society, it’s unfortunate that happened, but i can see it’s an evident problem.”

The challenge appeared to begin as a joke in an article in The Onion, a satirical news organization. In 2017, College Humor posted a satirical video of a man eating the pods because they looked inviting and delicious, USA Today reported.

DOCTORS WARN AGAINST EATING TIDE PODS IN LATEST SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGE

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, which compiles numbers on poison control calls, poison control centers in 2016 and 2017 handled 39 and 53 cases of intentional exposures, respectively, among 13- to 19-year-olds.

In the first 15 days of 2018 alone, the AAPCC said poison centers have already handled 39 such intentional cases among the same age demographic.

“The ‘laundry packet challenge’ is neither funny nor without serious health implications,” AAPCC’s CEO and Executive Director Stephen Kaminski said in a statement. “The intentional misuse of these products poses a real threat to the health of individuals. We have seen a large spike in single-load laundry packet exposures among teenagers since these videos have been uploaded.”

As the challenge picked up traction earlier this year on social media, Tide’s parent company Procter & Gamble quickly took action. On Jan. 12, they released a cautionary video starring New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski scolding viewers of even thinking of snacking on Tide Pods.

YOUTUBE BANS TIDE POD CHALLENGE VIDEOS

A P&G spokesperson told Fox Business they are working with leading social media networks to remove harmful content from the web, and detailed actions taken to reduce accidental exposure to the product since its debut in 2012.

“Each year laundry pacs have been on the market, we’ve taken meaningful steps to reduce accidental exposure,” the spokesperson said. “We have co-led the development of industry standard since its initiation and taken actions including adding child resistant closures to the bags and tubs and adding bittering substances to the packets to deter accidental ingestion. We’ve also worked with organizations like Safe Kids Worldwide to educate parents and caregivers on safe use and storage.”

YouTube has also stepped up, banning all challenge videos as they violate community guidelines.

“YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Daily Meal on Jan. 18. “We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies.”

Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce and Jeanine Puhak contributed to this report.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

Louis Tomlinson gives $10G to sick girl confined to wheelchair

Jan 19, 2018 32

Louis Tomlinson donated $10,000 to help one of his fans with cerebral palsy pay for her medical care. The former One Direction singer-songwriter gave the generous gift to 9-year-old Rylee Sanford, who suffers from bilateral close-lipped schizencephaly, a condition that leaves her confined to a special type of wheelchair.

9-year old Rylee Sanford suffers from bilateral close-lipped schizencephaly, a condition that leaves her confined to a special type of wheelchair.  (Courtesy: YouCaring)

Rylee’s family, who is from Chatsworth, Georgia set up a YouCaring page to help raise money to modify their home for her special needs and provide her with medical treatment. 

Money raised will go toward her medical care and to making the house more handicapped-accessible.  (Courtesy: YouCaring)

Her page read: “She loves Zayn, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt. She is a true warrior and always has a smile on her face….Thank you for any amount you are able to give”

CHILD WITH CEREBRAL PALSY REPORTEDLY FACES DEPORTATION AFTER
SURGERY

Earlier this week, Tomlinson went on the site and donated $10,000 with a sweet message that read “Sending you all the love!’”

Former One Direction band-member Zayn Malik also shared a link to Rylee’s page with his 26.4 million Twitter followers, which led to even more donations.

According to the fundraising page, money will go toward medical care and to making the house more accessible to the handicapped child.

TEEN WITH CEREBRAL PALSY GETS HELPING HAND FROM ‘MODERN FAMILY’ STAR ERIC STONESTREET

The rest of the post on Rylee’s YouCaring page reads:

“Our next goal would be stem cell treatments as there have been a lot of great results. However, insurance will not cover most of this, and it is pretty expensive. Please help Rylee reach her full potential and achieve her dreams!!! Any donations will help!!!”

Brave 5-year-old boy donating bone marrow to little brother with cancer

Jan 19, 2018 37

A five-year-old British boy is coming to his brother’s rescue. Finley Cripps will undergo a bone marrow transplant for his little 3-year-old brother, Ollie, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. 

Following months of chemotherapy, the cancer-stricken toddler has relapsed and is in desperate need of a transplant.

All three of Ollie’s siblings were a match, but doctors believe Finley is the best candidate.  ( © SWNS.com)

Doctors tested all of Ollie’s siblings, Finley and twin sisters Ellie and Evie, to see if they were bone marrow matches, according to news service SWNS.

“We were very nervous to say the least, as they had informed us that there was a one-in-four chance that one of the siblings would be a match,” said Fiona Cripps, the boys’ mother.

US CLEARS FIRST ‘LIVING DRUG’ FOR TOUGH CHILDHOOD LEUKEMIA

Surprisingly, results showed that all three siblings were a match.

The 26-year-old mother described the relief as “unreal.”

Before the transplant, three-year-old Ollie must go through two more rounds of chemotherapy.  ( © SWNS.com)

“Ollie’s consultant and the doctors were astonished, as it doesn’t happen.”

Big brother Finley was the doctor’s first choice over his sisters because he is the oldest and of the same sex.

26-year old mother Fiona Cripps said “the relief was unreal” when doctors said all three children were a match.  ( © SWNS.com)

Before the transplant, Ollie must go through two more rounds of chemotherapy.

CANCER RETURNS IN TODDLER WHO OVERCAME DISEASE WITH
IDENTICAL TWIN AS INFANT

In support of his older brother, Finley asked his hairdresser to shave his hair off, like Ollie — but his parents said he should first help raise money for the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, through a fundraising page they have set up. 

Construction worker impaled by two iron rods, one inches from heart, miraculously survives

Jan 19, 2018 40

Two iron rods impaled Mumbai construction worker Rajendra Pal when he slipped and fell onto them at a building site, with one of the rods going straight through his liver.

Somehow, Pal survived.

Once on the scene, emergency crews had to saw the two rods off the pillar they were attached to just to get the 21-year old worker to the hospital.

“The patient was conscious when he was brought to the hospital.  Dr Jitendra Sankpal, senior surgeon at GT hospital told India news agency Newslion.

Emergency crews had to saw the two rods off the pillar they were attached to.  (© Newslions / SWNS)

Sankpal said the two iron rods measuring two-and-a-half feet each pierced his abdomen and chest.

“However, the man was lucky as the rods did not puncture his lungs or other vital organs,” he said.

The doctor added that “It was a very difficult operation. The first rod that came out though his chest barely missed the patient’s heart by one inch.

The surgeon said his patient “is out of danger now” following a three-hour surgery.

SThe two iron rods measuring two-and-a-half feet each pierced his abdomen and chest.  (© Newslions / SWNS)

Rajendra had arrived in Mumbai from West Bengal just two days before the accident. His cousin Dhan Parmar told Newslion, “He wanted to take up the job. So, we permitted him to come to Mumbai.

“We are scared this has happen only in two days. Luckily, my relative has survived.”

Scientists prolong adolescent years to 24 years old, report says

Jan 19, 2018 40

Young people continuing their education for longer, as well as delayed marriage and parenthood, has redefined common perceptions of when adulthood starts, the BBC reported.

Societal and biological changes have prolonged the adolescent years from the ages of 10-19 to now ending at 24 years old, scientists said, leading to a debate about whether new policies would be benefit or “infantilize” the older adolescents.

Puberty used to occur around age 14, but now has lowered to the age of 10 because of improved health and nutrition in much of the developed world, the BBC reported.

As a result, the average age for a girl’s first menstruation has become younger by four years in industrialized countries like the U.K. in the past 150 years.

Young people are also getting married and having children later, the report said. In 2013, the average age for a man to enter their first marriage was 32.5 years and 30.6 years for women across England and Wales, the report said, citing U.K.’s Office for National Statistics, which represented an increase of almost eight years since 1973.

Other biological arguments for why the definition of adolescence should be extended include that the body continues to develop, the channel reported. For example, the brain continues to mature past the age of 20, working more efficiently.

Professor Susan Sawyer, director of the centre for adolescent health at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, calls the dynamic “semi-dependency.”

“Although many adult legal privileges start at age 18, the adoption of adult roles and responsibilities generally occurs later,” she said.

Sawyer said the current definition of adolescence is “overly restricted.” She told the channel that this social change needs to inform policy, including extending youth support services until the age of 25.

“The ages of 10-24 years are a better fit with the development of adolescents nowadays,” she said.

Adolescence these days starts at age 10 and continues to 24, scientists say

Jan 19, 2018 25

Young people continuing their education for longer, as well as delayed marriage and parenthood, has redefined common perceptions of when adulthood starts, scientists wrote in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

Societal and biological changes have prolonged the adolescent years from the ages of 10-19 to now ending at 24 years old, scientists said, leading to a debate about whether new policies would benefit or “infantilize” the older adolescents.

Puberty used to occur around age 14, but now has lowered to the age of 10 because of improved health and nutrition in much of the developed world, the BBC reported.

“Although many adult legal privileges start at age 18, the adoption of adult roles and responsibilities generally occurs later.”

– Prof. Susan Sawyer

As a result, in the past 150 years the average age for a girl’s first menstruation has become younger by four years in industrialized countries like the U.K.

Young people are also getting married and having children later, the report said. In 2013, the average age for a man to enter their first marriage was 32.5 years and 30.6 years for women across England and Wales, the report said, citing U.K.’s Office for National Statistics, which represented an increase of almost eight years since 1973.

Other biological arguments for why the definition of adolescence should be extended include that the body continues to develop, the channel reported. For example, the brain continues to mature past the age of 20, working more efficiently.

Professor Susan Sawyer, director of the center for adolescent health at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, calls the dynamic “semi-dependency.”

“Although many adult legal privileges start at age 18, the adoption of adult roles and responsibilities generally occurs later,” she said.

Sawyer said the current definition of adolescence is “overly restricted.” She told the outlet that this social change needs to inform policy, including extending youth support services until the age of 25.

“The ages of 10-24 years are a better fit with the development of adolescents nowadays,” she said.

Aetna to pay $17 million after mailing revealed patients' HIV meds

Jan 18, 2018 34

Aetna has reached a $17 million settlement after a class action lawsuit argued the health insurer breached the privacy of thousands of customers who take HIV medications.

Court documents state the company sent patients envelopes with large, clear display windows that revealed they were prescribed HIV medications.

AETNA REVEALED HIV PATIENTS’ PERSONAL DATA, LEGAL GROUPS ALLEGE

The mailing, sent on July 28, was sent to about 12,000 customers in at least 23 states.

Aetna said in a statement the company is “implementing measures designed to ensure something like this does not happen again.”  (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Aetna agreed in the settlement, which requires court approval, to pay at least $500 to customers whose privacy was breached through the revealing envelopes. The company also agreed to pay $75 to customers whose names were improperly disclosed to a mail vendor.

Aetna said in a statement the company is working to remedy the situation.

“Through our outreach efforts, immediate relief program and this settlement, we have worked to address the potential impact on members following this unfortunate incident,” the statement read.

“In addition, we are implementing measures designed to ensure something like this does not happen again as part of our commitment to best practices in protecting sensitive health information,” the company stated, noting it’s taking steps to prevent other mishaps.

CVS TO BUY AETNA FOR $69 BILLION

The lawsuit originated in Pennsylvania with a 52-year-old Bucks County man whose sister learned he was taking HIV medications when she saw the Aetna letter mailed to him.

Aetna’s July mailing, according to a Legal Action Center press release, “was an attempt to address privacy concerns raised in two lawsuits filed against the insurer in 2014 and 2015.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

Ham-and-cheese choking episode turns into life-or-death nightmare for teen

Jan 18, 2018 0

A 14-year-old boy from Kaiser, Missouri spent 106 days fighting for his life after a scary episode with a plain old ham and cheese sandwich.

Alec Hebblethwaite was diagnosed with a rare immune system disease eosinophilic esophagitis after choking on bread.  (© Kasey Hunter / SWNS)

Alec Hebblethwaite was rushed to the hospital with acute chest pain after he started choking on the bread as he was eating between soccer games back in May.

Alec told SWNS “I don’t remember most of my time in hospital but there was a time when I wasn’t able to walk, which was very scary.”  (© Kasey Hunter / SWNS)

After months in the hospital and exhaustive exams, doctors ended up discovering the strange episode was really masking an underlying disease called eosinophilic esophagitis.

The boy was saved after several operations and weeks in intensive care — but for the rest of his life he will have to a strict diet of soft foods.

INDIANA GIRL NEARLY CHOKES ON FIDGET SPINNER, FIREFIGHTER SAYS

Thirty-five year old mother, Kasey Hunter told news service SWNS, “To stand there and look at your kid and there is nothing you can do for them… You just want to take it all away but you’re not able to” 

Alex had a chest tube and drain inserted in to his chest to help get rid of the infection, and later had surgery to remove his gallbladder.  (© Kasey Hunter / SWNS)

When surgeons decided to repair the esophagus, they discovered it was ripped so badly it had developed sepsis, a dangerous syndrome that could shut down organs. They immediately closed him up and transferred him to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City.

Alec spent the entire summer in intensive care fighting to get rid of the nasty infection.

Physicians in the pediatric intensive care unit inserted a chest tube and drain and later removed his gallbladder, which was also infected.

Alex still goes to the hospital every few weeks to get a balloon inserted into his esophagus to stretch it, so he doesn’t choke.  (© Kasey Hunter / SWNS)

“I don’t remember most of my time in hospital,” he recalled, “but there was a time when I wasn’t able to walk, which was very scary.

“I knew things like this could happen but I didn’t ever think it would happen to me,” he said.

STIFLED SNEEZE RUPTURES MAN’S THROAT, MEDICAL STUDY
ENCOURAGES SNEEZERS TO LET IT ALL OUT

Alec was finally discharged from the hospital in September, but it wasn’t until November he was diagnosed with the rare condition.

According to the Mayo Clinic, eosinophilic esophagitis causes white blood cells to build up in the lining of the tube connecting the mouth and stomach, which can lead to tearing and choking.

Alec still goes to the hospital every few weeks to get a balloon inserted into his esophagus to stretch it, so he doesn’t choke.

Looking back, the boy’s mother says she first suspected something was wrong when her son threw up blood in April after eating a cracker.