<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:00:53 -0500 Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:00:53 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Unusual Allergy Reactions Due to Summer Rain]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:50:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/f00b3ac812b9487ca7a82f4a221b61ef.jpg

If your allergies seem out of control, you're not alone.

Tree pollen is the biggest problem right now in the Metroplex, and that has a lot of North Texans sneezing and sniffling.

But, there's another culprit we normally don't have to deal with in the summer -- rain.

"Mold is always a problem when there's a lot of rain, both indoor and outdoor mold. When the humidity goes up both the home and the outdoor environment increases in humidity and that's a great way for mold spores to pollinate and move out," said Dr. Mudita Shah, with Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital.

Things are expected to get a bit worse before improving when Ragweed starts cranking up in just a few weeks.

<![CDATA[Two Americans Isolated Over Ebola Fears]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 06:44:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/6PW_VO_EBOLA_MEETING_KNSD4HOQ_1200x675_313738307967.jpg The US State Department says two Americans who are volunteers with the Peace Corps are not symptomatic but are being kept in isolation after coming into contact with someone who died of Ebola.]]> <![CDATA[Symptoms Improving for North Texas Doctor with Ebola]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 05:46:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Kent+Brantly.jpg

Colleagues of Dr. Kent Brantly, the Fort Worth native who has been hospitalized since contracting Ebola in West Africa last week, said his condition improved Wednesday, though he remains in serious condition in isolation.

Volunteers with Samaritan's Purse said symptoms were improving for the 33-year old medical director for The Ebola Care Center in Liberia.

Brantly recognized the symptoms early and has a better chance of surviving than others might, colleagues said. In many cases, only about 10 percent of people who contract the virus survive.

Brantly's colleagues in Texas continue to pray for him. Those who knew him when he was a student at Abilene Christian University and an intern for the World Wide Witness program said he believed trying to help others in underserved areas of the world far outweighed the risks that come along with the job.

"He is a very intelligent young man," said Dr. Gary Green, ACU's coordinator for the World Wide Witness program. "I'm sure he didn't make any of his decisions quickly. He investigated thoroughly and considered all the options."

Words of praise come from the faculty at Abilene Christian University where Brantly graduated. His compassion while in school transcended into his professional life, a life of giving to others in need.

His mission to Liberia was no surprise to those who know him. But word that he contracted the Ebola virus last week came as a shock.

He remains in serious condition in Liberia, although there have been signs of improvement within the past day, doctors said.

But those who know him said he knew the risks were high when going overseas.

"Kent is the kind of guy that would weigh the benefits versus the risks and try and take himself out of the equation," said Green. "So he would consider, 'What do I bring to the table? Is it going to be so much that the risk is worth it that I can benefit so many people?' That’s just the way he is."

Several people attended a prayer service Wednesday evening at Southside Church of Christ, the Fort Worth church Brantly attended.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Cities Skip Spraying Despite Positive West Nile Tests]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 06:04:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mosquito+Spraying+03.jpg

When mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in some North Texas cities you may not see spray trucks on city streets.

Colleyville had four different mosquito pools that tested positive for the virus, but city officials said they won't spray until there's a human case.

Three of the positive test results came from the Windview Estates near Cheek-Sparger Road. Henry Camperlengo lives in the neighborhood and said he puts on bug spray when he goes out.

"Yes, it concerns me, but I don't know what, other than to protect myself with the insect repellent, I can do," said Camperlengo.

Despite guidelines from the Tarrant County Public Health Department regarding when to spray when there's a West Nile-positive mosquito, Colleyville and a handful of other cities don't.

Many wait until there's a human case, and a Colleyville spokesperson said that's how many residents want it.

Dr. Joon Lee, with the University of North Texas Health Science Center, said spraying "helps."

"We just don't know how much it helps," he said. "The question is always when to spray"

Colleyville uses a larvicide program that involves placing larvicide briquettes in standing pools of water.  The larvicide has the same result as spraying, and that's eliminating mosquitoes.

Camperlengo prefers that method over seeing spraying trucks in his neighborhood.

"I think that the spraying probably kills just as many beneficial insects as it does dangerous insects," he said.

<![CDATA[Cyclospora Cases Continue to Rise in North Texas]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:12:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cyclospora1.jpg

The number of cyclospora cases continues to rise in North Texas and across the state.

The Texas Department of Health Services now reports 110 confirmed cyclospora cases in the state.

Dallas County is reporting a quarter of the cases in the entire state. It now has 27, after 10 more were confirmed Tuesday. Tarrant County continues to have 13 cases, but health officials there expect to see more.

While the cases continue to climb, the search for the cause goes on as well. Tarrant County Public Health said the exact cause of this summer's outbreak is far from being determined, but it's still likely from an imported food that was contaminated in the field or in a factory.

"A lot of these are complex foods. It may be an item that gets associated and put in with other items and you can't tease it out, which one is it?" said Russell Jones, TCPH's chief epidemiologist. "But as we get more cases, we'll get closer to getting an idea as to what the problem is."

Jones told the Tarrant County Commissioners Court on Tuesday that, like last year, North Texas is once again the center of the outbreak.

"That's probably due to distribution channels that we don't understand at this point," Jones said.

Last year, the state saw 351 total cases and, as of Tuesday, had 110 cases in 2014. In previous years, there may have only been single or double digits.

While health departments continue to track the spread and the source, they also say the best way to prevent the parasite is to simply wash everything before eating it, even if you think it's already been cleaned.

And while only 13 cases are listed in Tarrant County, it's likely far more people have actually gotten sick.

"You figure there's quite a few more for every case we get," Jones said.

Jones said people either don't go to doctors or get treated clinically and are never tested for the parasite.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Number of Cyclospora Cases Rises]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:51:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cyclospora1.jpg The number of cyclospora cases continues to rise in North Texas.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Consumer Reports Hot Car Danger]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:12:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Consumer_Reports_Hot_Car_Danger_1200x675_313395267527.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Consumer Reports: Hot Car Danger]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:13:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/hot+car+cr.jpg

44 children died last year from heat stroke inside cars. Accidentally leaving a child behind in a hot car has happened to parents from all walks of life—a CEO of a hospital, a vice principal, a preacher and so many others. Fatigue, anxiety or distractions can throw anyone’s life off course.

On an 80-degree day, Consumer Reports engineers found even with the windows partially open, the temperature jumped to 110 degrees in just eight minutes. And be aware that children are especially vulnerable to heat stroke because their body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s. So even leaving children in a car for just a few moments is very dangerous.

Consumer Reports evaluated a car seat, the I-Alert, that’s supposed to sense a child’s weight and alert you once you turn off the car. But these technologies are not quite there. They are somewhat inconsistent, unreliable and the car seat isn’t manufactured anymore.

Mobile apps like Baby Reminder and Infant Reminder are also supposed to alert parents. But Consumer Reports says ideally technology should be integrated into the car seat or car. There are bells that remind us that we are low on gas, that we didn't buckle our seat belts and why not one to remind us that we left our child in the car?

For now, Consumer Reports recommends keep something you need like your cell phone in the back seat to remind you to check for your child.

KidsandCars.org has a petition you can sign until August 13 to help prevent child deaths in hot vehicles.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Invents Hot Car Safety Device]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:28:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/The+Hot+Seat.jpg A teenager in New Mexico hopes her new invention will help save lives and stop people from leaving children in hot cars. ]]> <![CDATA[Feeling the Pain of Lightning Strikes, Again and Again]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 07:38:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/72814+Lightning.jpg

Jeryll Hadley and a friend were trying to set up a tent over a campfire along California’s Gualala River 25 years ago, their hands on the metal center pole, when lightning struck the tree next to them, throwing them about 30 feet apart.

Both still standing, they looked at each other and he said, “’I think we’ve been zapped,’” she said. “The only thing I remembered during the event was my left hand, the one on the pole, was neon blue.”

“Of course I heard the loud noise, but it just felt like an implosion, very strange,” she said. “But other than that I didn’t feel anything and we went on through our camping trip.” 

Hadley, 67, of Ukiah, California, was left with burn marks on her throat and forehead, she said. Only later did she start having terrible pains in her shoulders, short-term memory loss, and a new anger that once led her to throw a wooden salt shaker at her first husband.

“That is not me,” she said.

On Sunday, a 20-year-old man from Los Angeles, Nick Fagnano, was killed and eight others hospitalized after a rare lightning storm on the beach in Venice.

“Those people that got hit, their life is going to be much different, I hate to say,” said Sandra Hardy, another California woman who survived a lightning strike. “It isn’t a one-time event.”

Sixteen people have been killed by lightning across the United States this year, according to the National Weather Service. Six of the deaths were in Florida, two in Colorado, and the others in Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Mississippi and Georgia.

About 10 percent of those who are struck die. Survivors, who primarily suffer from an injury to the nervous system, can have symptoms ranging from mild confusion and dizziness to long-term problems processing new information, chronic pain form nerve damage and depression.

Hadley did not start attributing her symptoms to the lightning strike until attending a conference with survivors. She is now on medication for her anger, sometimes garbles her speech and said that a doctor once compared her experience to an electric lobotomy. On the other hand, all symptoms of polycystic kidney disease that she had have disappeared, she said.

“For the most part I’m living a normal life,” she said.

Last year was a record low for lightning fatalities. Twenty-three people died, fewer than in any other year on record, data from the National Weather Service showed. That contrasted with the 432 people killed in 1943, the deadliest year.

Officials attribute the drop to a variety of factors, from better lightning protection to fewer corded phones to more awareness among emergency medical providers and advances in medical treatment. CPR and defibrillators are keeping people alive, said John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Weather Service.

"We feel very glad that we've brought the number down but there's still many people out there that are unnecessarily either killed or injured by lightning," Jensenius said. "If they would just simply follow the simple guidelines, if you hear thunder you need to be inside, the simple saying, 'When thunder roars, go indoors,' there would be many more lives that would be saved and fewer injuries."

More than 9,200 people have been killed by lightning in the United States since 1940, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began keeping records, NBC News reported. In the last 30 years, there have been 51 deaths on average each year.

The ground current is what kills or injures most people, Jensenius said.

"When lightning strikes a point, it doesn't disappear deep into the ground, it spreads out along the ground surface," he said.

Hardy, now 70, was driving home from California’s Mammoth Mountain in June 1998, when she got caught in a heavy rainstorm in Owens Valley.

“I could see the lightning strikes coming down on the ground, coming straight down, it was a heavy, heavy rainstorm, so I took off my watch, took off my glasses, I took the collar off my dog,” she said.

A lightning strike hit power lines at the side of the road and her car, she said.

“It just paralyzed me,” she said. “It killed the engine to the car and the car just rolled off to the side and I couldn’t really move or anything and a motorist came up behind me right away and he’s pounding on my door to open up the door.”

Hardy, who was a facilities manager for the Los Angeles County schools, could barely talk or remember how to get home and her kidneys were hurting her, she said.

“From that day on my body started to deteriorate,” she said.

Hardy, of Manhattan Beach, developed problems with her hearing, her vision, her bladder, her memory and by October of 2002, had acute symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Her dog survived a year, but died after developing tumors, she said.

“The myth that you’re safe in a car, it should be corrected,” she said. “It’s not going to kill you but you’re not safe.”

The conference that Hadley attended was organized by Steve Marshburn, who was himself struck in 1969 in Swansboro, North Carolina, when lightning hit the drive-through window of the bank where he worked. He was sitting inside and it broke his back, he said. Other injuries became evident over the years, he said.

At the time there was little information for lightning strike survivors, but since then he has formed a group, Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors.

“There is help out there,” he said.


Photo Credit: Joey]]>
<![CDATA[Friends Pray for Fort Worth Doctor Diagnosed with Ebola]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:34:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/072714+Brantly+family.jpg

A relief group official says two American aid workers have tested positive for the Ebola virus while working to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease at a hospital in Liberia.

Ken Isaacs, a vice president of Samaritan's Purse, told The Associated Press on Sunday that 33-year-old Dr. Kent Brantly was stable and in very serious condition.

Brantly is the medical director for the group's Ebola care center on the outskirts of the Liberian capital of Monrovia and has been diagnosed with the very disease he was trying to help fight.

Isaacs identified the second American, Nancy Writebol, as a worker with an allied aid group SIM, or Serving in Mission, which runs the hospital. He said she was in stable and serious condition.

He said both Americans have since been isolated and are under intensive treatment.

Friends of Brantly told NBC 5 he is not only  a great person but is also a great doctor.

“Kent is a humble family man, soft-spoken yet deep thoughts and very intelligent,” said Jason Brewington, a friend and colleague from John Peter Smith Hospital.

Brewington helped supervise Brantly during his four–year residency in maternal health and family medicine at JPS Hospital in Fort Worth. But, their story doesn’t start there. The men’s wives were friends years before the Brantlys moved to North Texas. Brewington describes his friend as man devoted to the Lord.

“In this case when you’re called to do something, to go somewhere, you have two options — either to answer that call or not,” Brewington said.

Brantly, a father of two, answered. Brewington said he worked on various missions all across the world but most recently worked in Haiti, Nigeria and Tanzania.  

“He and his wife, I think before they even met, knew they wanted to do missions, and they have always lived their lives with that in mind at some point they would be on the mission field in a hospital doing what no one else wants to do,” Brewington said.

“That’s a calling not everyone has — it’s a passion that not everyone has and I’m glad to be a part of Kent and Amber’s family in that regard.”

At the Southside Church of Christ where the Brantly Family are members, Brantly has been added to the prayer list.

“When we heard about the fact that he had come down with the virus we were all very touched, and one of the first things that we do is get him on a prayer list because we believe the avenue for this healing of this particular virus, which there is no cure for, is God," said Keith Crow, member of Southside Church of Christ.

"God is going to have to pull him through it."

<![CDATA[Ebola 101]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 23:31:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/10p_Ebola_101_1200x675_312840259607.jpg NBC 5's Kevin Cokely shows you the symptoms and the history of the deadly Ebola virus.]]> <![CDATA[Officials Urge Early Back-to-School Vaccinations]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:29:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Measles00000000.jpg

Health officials in Tarrant and Dallas Counties continue to watch for more measles cases.

A resident in northeast Tarrant County was confirmed to have the highly contagious disease earlier this week.
It's a diagnosis officials hope will get more people vaccinated.
Tarrant County Public Health's La Gran Plaza Immunization Clinic is seeing kids and their parents get their required shots.
The need for vaccinations is once again getting attention with that rare case of the measles popping up. The diagnosed person didn't not get the vaccine as a child.
So the message from public health officials is to check your records, adults and children alike, and get protected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says if one person has the measles, 90 percent of those people they're close to, who aren't immune, will get it, too.
"We'll probably get a few more cases. I do expect some, and then it'll die out," said Russell Jones, chief epidemiologist for Tarrant County.
While this isn't anticipated to be a big outbreak, it is a reminder that shot season is just around the corner as kids head back to school.
"Now is a good time when the rush is on not to go ahead and get those school required vaccinations," said Clint Bond, spokesman for Fort Worth Independent School District.
Without the shots, students can't enter the school doors one month from now, because they are required by state law. Fort Worth ISD informed parents at the end of last school year whether their child required shots before this coming year starts.
"We've told them we're running a campaign right now in the middle of the summer, and, of course, people will start to think of it as we get back closer to the start of school," Bond said.
Public health officials believe they do have this measles outbreak confined but say they never know if someone was missed. That's why they've alerted doctors to watch for rashes and urge for vaccinations.
Immunization clinics are already opening for back to school shots. While Fort Worth ISD doesn't offer any clinics, it does post them on its website.
Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks is sponsoring a clinic on Saturday in Fort Worth.
<![CDATA[N. Texas Men Get 'Brotox' Injections to Stop Sweating]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:36:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/BOTOX+SWEATING.jpg

With triple-digit temperatures back in the forecast, some people are going to 'unusual' lengths to stop summer sweating.

They're putting needles full of toxins straight into their armpits.

Jim Lawson is a guy who sweats a lot in the summer. It doesn't bother him when he's out on his bike--he's an avid rider--but when he's at work giving a presentation or trying to lure new clients, it's a different story.

"I get pretty nervous when I'm in a meeting with several people, and it always bothered me that I'd get all sweaty," said the Dallas insurance salesman.

So every few months, Lawson rides his bike to the Luxury on Lovers Med-Spa on Lovers Lane to get botox injections in his armpits.

"It definitely helps. I don't sweat so much," he said "This just gives me a bit more confidence, I know I'm not going to get sweaty, my shirt won't look wet."

It's a growing trend in Dallas.

The med-spa owner, Lisa Cobb, said three years ago, she only had a handful of men come in specifically for underarm botox. Now, she has about three dozen male clients in the summer.

"People expect sweat when they're working out. In fact, they want to sweat when they're working out, but they don't want to sweat in a professional environment. When they're giving a presentation or have a big meeting at work," said Cobb.

"It's hard in the summer, especially for men, because they're usually having to be in long-sleeve shirts and ties and jackets," Cobb said.

Cobb said many of her male clients don't call it botox...they call it 'bro'tox.

"Most of my male clients want to come in after they work out," she said.

Botox is a toxin, and it must be kept cool. It works by blocking the nerve transmitters that cause sweating. A treatment costs between $900 to $1000 and it is effective for up to six months.

"It's definitely taking off now. But botox in the underarm area isn't a new thing. Doctors have been using this as a tool against excessive sweating for a long time, actually," said The Dallas Morning News medical expert Dr. Seema Yasmin.

Still, she cautioned some people may have an allergic reaction to the procedure or may find the discomfort worse than the sweating.

"For some people it can cause swelling, redness, severe itching in the underarm area. And also because botox paralyzes muscles, it can weaken the muscles in the underarm area," she said.

Lawson says it's worth every penny. And after two dozen tiny needle-pricks, he's as confident closing new clients as he is riding around town.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Researchers: Beware of Itchy Moles]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:46:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap2011070517h49m00s146_722x406_2042816754.jpg

People with moles that are itchy or painful may want to ask a doctor about the possibility of cancer.

Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center found that more than a third of skin cancer lesions are itchy, and more than a quarter involve pain.

The study included nearly 300 patients.

Researchers say the signals may be an easy way for dermatologists to determine whether moles should be looked at more closely.

<![CDATA[Cook Children's Doctors Urge Swimming Safety]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:31:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pool16.jpg

It is well known across Texas that the state leads the nation in childhood drownings. Tarrant County is one of the top counties in the state for such pediatric deaths.

Those who know the pain and grief families suffer in such tragedies want to change that after witnessing three deaths in the last week and a half.
Staff in Cook Children's Medical Center's emergency department say they've seen three young children die between July 12-18, ages two to four.
"The devastation for these families is immeasurable," said Dr. Kimberly Aaron, Cook Children's medical director emergency services. "There's no way to even begin to comprehend the impact that this is having on families."
The three families impacted had the drownings happen in backyard swimming pools and the staff certainly shared in their grief when the children didn't pull through.
"Last week was quite tough on the team, " Aaron said.
Aaron says that while her staff often deals with such tragic ends, these deaths particularly stay with them in part because they can be avoided.
"These deaths are preventable and, importantly, they can happen to anyone," Aaron said.
The emergency staff hopes to prevent more deaths like these from happening by trying to raise awareness and educate parents about some of the little things they can do to prevent such tragedies.
Dana Walraven is the community health outreach manager for the hospital, she says life vests, water alarm bracelets and things like water watcher cards to remind parents kids are in the pool could easily save a life.
"We want parents to prepare for back-to-pool as much as they do for back-to-school," Walraven said. "The big piece there is the more layers of protection you put into place, the safer the child."
For the adults who see the worst come through the emergency department doors that's what they want, too, for families to take precaution so that no one else has to deal with these tragic losses.
"It seems like these things often come in waves, and it's like when is it going to stop and prevention is the key," said Cameron Brown, a hospital chaplain.
And prevention is what the hospital hopes comes out of these latest tragedies.
Experts say it takes just two seconds to turn your back for a child to get into trouble and that drownings are silent. 
For more information on drowning prevention click here.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Health Experts Look for Cyclospora Cause]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:12:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/82256656.jpg

As the number of cases of cyclosporiasis grow in North Texas, health officials are working to find the cause.

"Typically with this particular organism, it is distributed on a produce item. People are getting it at different places. They are getting it at a market, they are getting it at a restaurant, they are getting it at a grocery store," said Russ Jones, chief of epidemiology at the Tarrant County Health Department.

Judy Hiltunen thinks she got it at a restaurant when she ordered salad. For three weeks, she was down for the count.

"No energy. I had no energy. Running to the bathroom. Just wanted to sleep, sleep, sleep," said Hiltunen.

When someone tests positive for cyclospora, expect to hear from the health department. The chief of epidemiology for the Tarrant County Health Department took NBC 5 through how they look for a cause.

First, investigators get basic information from people who have tested positive, and then they go through where they shop and have eaten.

Next comes the tricky part. They want to know what the people have eaten for two weeks before they got sick.

"It is not the last place you ate that got you sick, especially for this. It usually takes a couple of days," Jones said.

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis may include weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cyclosporiasis Cases Climb in Dallas, Tarrant Counties]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:27:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Washing+produce.jpg

The number of cases of cyclosporiasis are contining to climb in Dallas and Tarrant counties.

As of 3 p.m. Friday, more than 30 cases of cyclosporiasis have been reported in DFW including 17 cases in Dallas County and 13 in Tarrant County. Those numbers are up slightly from Tuesday.  The number of cases in Collin and Denton counties are five (since May) and two, respectively.

Past cyclospora outbreaks in the U.S. have been associated with the consumption of imported fresh produce, including fresh cilantro, prepackaged salad mix, raspberries, basil, snow peas and Mesclun, including an outbreak affecting Texas in 2013.

No common exposure source for the latest outbreak has been identified, though investigators are working to determine a common source among the afflicted.

Thorough washing of fresh produce is recommended as a precaution, though it may not eliminate the risk of transmission since cyclospora can be difficult to wash off all types of produce.

Infection is generally not transmitted directly from person to person and can be treated with Bactrim, an antibiotic. But even if you've had those symptoms and you never go to the doctor, they will go away eventually.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Chikungunya: What You Need to Know]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:40:24 -0500 Aedes aegypti mosquito.]]> Aedes aegypti mosquito.]]> http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/181*120/tlmd_virus_mortales_03.jpg

A person caught the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya in the United States this month, health officials say — marking the first time mosquitoes in the U.S. are believed to have spread it.

Other cases of the illness, which is relatively new to the Americas, have been reported in travelers returning home to FloridaNew YorkTexas and elsewhere, often after trips to the Caribbean.

Here is some key information about chikungunya and the virus that causes it.

How do you get chikungunya? Mosquitoes transmit the virus between people. The two species usually responsible, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, bite mostly during the day. In the U.S., they are found in the Southeast and in some parts of the Southwest, though Aedes albopictus also is found up through the Mid-Atlantic and in the lower Midwest.

What are the symptoms? The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain, often in the hands and feet; also possible are muscle aches, headaches, joint swelling and a rash. Symptoms, which can be severe, usually begin three to seven days after a person is bitten. Most people feel better within a week, and death is rare, though joint pain can persist.

How do you treat chikungunya? There is no specific treatment and no vaccine. Medicines like ibuprofen, naproxen, paracetamol and acetaminophen can relieve fever and pain, though.

How do you avoid getting chikungunya? To protect yourself, try to avoid being bitten. Use air conditioning or window screens. Use insect repellant, and if possible, wear long sleeves and pants. Get rid of standing water, where mosquitoes can breed.

Who is most at risk for a severe case? Newborns exposed during delivery, people 65 and older and those with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease are at the highest risk.

What does the name mean? It is derived from a word in the Kimakonde language, spoken in southern Tanzania, where the virus was first detected. It means to become contorted or bent, describing the stooped appearance of someone suffering from joint pain.

Where has it been reported? Outbreaks have occured in Africa, Asia and Europe and on the islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans. The first case transmitted in the Americas was reported in the Caribbean in late 2013.

How do you pronounce chikungunya? Like this: chik-en-gun-ye.

Source: Centers for Disease and Prevention, World Health Organization

Photo Credit: wikicommons]]>
<![CDATA[Saginaw Woman Describes Cyclosporiasis Illness]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:54:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Judy+Hiltunen.jpg

After seeing a television news story about cyclospora Tuesday night, Judy Hiltunen is sure she just had it.

“I just looked at it and said, 'Oh my gosh,' and my daughter called me and said, 'Mom, that is what we have. We had every symptom,'” said Hiltunen.

She and her daughter went out for dinner and ordered salads three weeks ago. The next day or so, they were both really sick.

“I have never had anything like it in my life before. It was miserable,” she added.

Hiltunen had just left for vacation.

“No energy. I had no energy, no appetite, Hultunen said. "Running to the bathroom. Just wanted to sleep, sleep, sleep the whole time. Stomach pains. Every time I ate something, my stomach would hurt,” said Hiltunen.

As soon as she got home from vacation, she went to the doctor, who prescribed antibiotics.

Finally, this past Monday, Hiltunen started to feel better.

“If you have it, go to the doctor because it won't get better if you don’t,” she said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Saginaw Woman's 'Miserable' Cyclosporiasis Experience]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:42:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Judy+Hiltunen.jpg After watching NBC 5's news story about cyclospora, Judy Hiltunen knew had it.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Babies Get Herpes After Ritual: DOH]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 04:10:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_Circumcision0906_722x406_2119014932.jpg

Two more infants were diagnosed with herpes in New York this month after undergoing ritual Jewish circumcisions, the Health Department says.

In both cases, the infant boys were born to mothers with full-term pregnancies and normal deliveries. They were circumcised using the direct oral suction technique practiced by some Orthodox Jews eight days after their birth, and developed lesions on their genitals shortly thereafter, the Health Department said.

Their conditions Wednesday weren't immediately clear.

NYC to Require Consent for Oral Suction Ritual

There have been 16 confirmed cases of herpes since 2000 in newborn boys after circumcisions that likely involved direct oral suction, including three in 2014, according to the Health Department. 

Two of the infants died and at least two others suffered brain damage.

During the ancient ritual, the person performing the circumcision attempts to cleanse the wound by sucking blood from the cut and spitting it aside. Authorities say the saliva contact could give the infant herpes, which is harmless in adults but could kill newborns.

In 2012, the Board of Health voted unanimously to require anyone performing circumcisions that involve oral suction to obtain written consent from a parent or guardian. The consent form delineates the potential health risks outlined by the Health Department. 

A group of Orthodox rabbis sued in an attempt to block the regulation, but a judge sided with the city.

The parents have to sign a form acknowledging that the city Health Department advises against the practice because of risks of herpes and other infections.

<![CDATA[First Case of Chikungunya Confirmed in Dallas County]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:58:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP702217698660.jpg

Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed Tuesday the first case of imported chikungunya virus in the county.

The patient was infected during a recent trip to the Caribbean, DCHHS said, and was diagnosed after returning home to Dallas County.

For patient confidentiality reasons, no further information about the patient will be released.

"Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The virus causes high fever and severe joint pain that start suddenly. It can also cause headache, muscle pain and rash. CHIKV does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be disabling, and some people may get severe complications. There is no specific medication available to treat CHIKV and there is not a vaccine. Avoiding mosquito bites is the key to avoid CHIKV," DCHHS said in a news release.

Earlier this month, the Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed the first human case of chikungunya in the state in Williamson County north of Austin.

Tips to avoid contracting chikungunya are similar to those used to avoid West Nile virus. Experts advise people take steps to reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes by observing the 4 Ds.

  • Drain standing water around their homes to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.
  • Dress in pants and long sleeves when outside, but avoid becoming too hot.
  • Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET to exposed skin and to clothing when outdoors.
  • Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cyclosporiasis Cases on the Rise in North Texas]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:03:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cilantro-generic.jpg

A growing number of cases of cyclosporiasis are being reported as a cyclospora outbreak continues to spread across North Texas.

As of noon Tuesday, more than two dozen cases of cyclosporiasis have been reported in DFW including 10 cases in Dallas County, nine in Tarrant County, four in Collin County and two in Denton County.

Past cyclospora outbreaks in the U.S. have been associated with the consumption of imported fresh produce, including fresh cilantro, prepackaged salad mix, raspberries, basil, snow peas and Mesclun, including an outbreak affecting Texas in 2013.

No common exposure source for the latest outbreak has been identified, though investigators are working to determine a common source among the afflicted.

Thorough washing of fresh produce is recommended as a precaution, though it may not eliminate the risk of transmission since cyclospora can be difficult to wash off all types of produce.

"I go back over again with a brush and brush it underneath the water so that way anything it's pulling off is immediately going off," said Andrew Metcalf, with the North Richland Hills Farmers Market.

Metcalf added that knives could carry bacteria between fruits and vegetables if they all aren't washed properly before being cut.

Increased numbers of cyclospora cases are also currently being noted elsewhere in Texas. Within the past month, 61 cases of cyclosporiasis have been reported statewide to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

By comparison, only 12 cases of cyclosporiasis were reported in Dallas County between 2008 and 2012, but 38 cases were reported in the county last summer. In 2013, the state reported 278 cases to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while nearly 130 cases were recorded in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties.

The CDC eventually traced most if not all of those cases to fresh cilantro from Mexico.

According to Dr. Seema Yasmin, medical expert for The Dallas Morning News, symptoms of cyclosporiasis usually begin two to 14 days after ingestion of contaminated food or water. Diarrhea can last weeks to months and may relapse. Symptoms may include weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever.

Dr. Glenn Hardesty, with Texas Health Resources Arlington, said that's what can make this so tricky.

"It's not at the top of our list. There are many other causes of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea that can range anything from food poisoning to other infectious agents," he said.

Infection is generally not transmitted directly from person to person and can be treated with Bactrim, an antibiotic. But even if you've had those symptoms and you never go to the doctor, they will go away eventually.

NBC 5's Kevin Cokely and Ben Russell contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Fruit Sold at Trader Joe's, Costco Recalled]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:02:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/07-21-2014-peaches-recall.jpg

If you love stone fruits, there's a new recall you should know about.

Wawona Packing Company, based in California's Central Valley, is recalling white and yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines, and plum varieties.

The whole fruits were all packed between June 1 and July 12, and shipped to Trader Joe’s and Costco stores.

The concern is the fruit could be contaminated with listeria. The bacteria can cause dangerous, flu-like symptoms. Children, pregnant women and the elderly are especially susceptible.

More information – including a list of the specific products recalled – is available on the FDA website.

Photo Credit: FDA]]>
<![CDATA[Stomach Illnesses Linked to Cyclospora]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:22:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Lettuce+072214.jpg

Health care providers are being urged to test patients for cyclosporiasis if they have diarrheal illness lasting more than a few days, according to the Tarrant County Public Health Department.

Within the past month, 61 cases of cyclosporiasis have been reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Eight of those cases have been reported to the Tarrant County Public Health Department.

According to Dr. Seema Yasmin, medical expert for The Dallas Morning News, symptoms usually begin two to 14 days after ingestion of contaminated food or water. Diarrhea can last weeks to months and may relapse.

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis may include weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever.

No common exposure source has yet been identified with this increase.

"At the moment, in North Texas, public health departments are still investigating. They're trying to find out what's the cause in the increase in numbers," said Yasmin.

Past outbreaks in the U.S. have been associated with the consumption of imported fresh produce, including fresh cilantro, prepackaged salad mix, raspberries, basil, snow peas and mesclun lettuce.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Protecting Your Child's Skin in the Summer Heat]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:55:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Kids+Skin+Care+072114.jpg Dr. Carolyn Kim from Dermone Dermatology Centers has some tips for protecting your children in the summer heat.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Teen's Death Creates Warning Against Caffeine Powder ]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 12:17:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/powdered+caffeine.JPG

The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to avoid pure powdered caffeine sold on the Internet after the death of an Ohio teen.

Even a teaspoon of the powder could be lethal - it is equivalent to 25 cups of coffee. A recent autopsy found that 18-year-old Logan Stiner had a lethal amount of caffeine in his system when he died May 27 at his home in LaGrange, Ohio, southwest of Cleveland.

A coroner said the prom king and wrestler had as much as 23 times the amount of caffeine in his system found in a typical coffee or soda drinker.

The FDA said it was investigating caffeine powder and would "consider taking regulatory action." In the meantime, the agency said, it is recommending that consumers stay away from it.

Teenagers and young adults may be particularly drawn to the powder, which is a stimulant. Caffeine powder is marketed as a dietary supplement and is unregulated, unlike caffeine added to soda.

FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Dooren said those who drink coffee, tea or soda may be aware of caffeine's less serious effects, like nervousness and tremors, and may not realize that the powdered form is a pure chemical.

"The difference between a safe amount and a lethal dose of caffeine in these powdered products is very small," she said.

The powder is also almost impossible to measure with common kitchen tools, the FDA said. Volume measures like teaspoons aren't precise enough and a scale may be needed.

The agency added that the products may carry minimal or insufficient labeling. Consumers may not be aware that even a small amount can cause an overdose.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg recently said that the agency needs to better understand the role of the stimulant, especially on children. The agency is investigating the safety of energy drinks and energy shots, prompted by consumer reports of illness and death. FDA is also looking at caffeine in food as manufacturers have added caffeine to candy, nuts and other snack foods in recent years.

Consumer advocate Jim O'Hara of the Center for Science in the Public Interest praised the FDA's warning, but said the agency needs to go further to keep powdered caffeine off the market. The powder is easily available on Amazon.com and other online sites.

"The overuse and misuse of caffeine in the food supply is creating a wild-West marketplace, and it's about time the sheriff noticed and did something," O'Hara said of the FDA.

Symptoms of caffeine overdose or toxicity include rapid or erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation.

<![CDATA[Frisco to Host Blood Drive ]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 11:02:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/207*120/053114+Girl+Scout+blood+drive.jpg

North Texas is currently in desperate need of blood donations with hospitals in a shortage of several blood types.

Saturday, Frisco Police and Fire Departments are holding a blood drive. They will set up at city hall, the police department and fire station.

Potential blood donors may visit the blood drive centers from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

<![CDATA[North Texas Girl's Recipe Earns Trip to State Dinner]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:15:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ariel.jpg

An 8-year-old girl from Tarrant County hung out with first lady Michele Obama at the White House on Friday.

Ariel Derby was in Washington, D.C. for the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' "State Dinner," which is part of the first lady's "Let's Move!" initiative.

Derby's recipe for baked falafel and tomato cucumber salad won a spot in the first lady's new healthy e-cookbook.

Entries had to represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe.

Derby said there's a special reason she likes to cook.

"My favorite part was spending time with my mom, actually," Derby said. "We always bake together, but if she's at work, it's always me and my grandma."

The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge received more than 1,500 entries this year featuring wholesome, tasty ingredients.

Derby represented Texas in the contest, along 53 other winners.

Here's Ariel Derby's recipe:

Baked Falafel & Tomato Cucumber Salad

Ingredients for baked falafel:

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Splash of lemon juice
Dash of cayenne, if desired

Garnishes: Lettuce leaves, plain, low-fat Greek yogurt

Ingredients for the Tomato Cucumber Salad:

3 large tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice


To make the falafel:
Preheat the oven to 425°F, blend all ingredients in a blender until the texture is like a very fine meal. Transfer to a large bowl. Form
2-inch balls, like meatballs, and place onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, turn them over, and bake 10 more minutes, or until lightly browned
Serve wrapped in a lettuce leaf with Greek yogurt and the salad

To make the Tomato Cucumber Salad:
In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and toss.

Makes four servings • 325 calories • 14g fat • 42g carbohydrates • 12g protein

CLICK HERE to view the winners and download the free e-cookbook.

<![CDATA[Consumer Reports: Not So Natural Cosmetics]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:54:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CR+Cosmetics.jpg

Sales of cosmetics and personal care products labeled “natural” have soared recently. But “natural” on the package does not necessarily mean natural inside. This according to a year-long investigation by Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine, which found many body care products with potentially harmful ingredients, such as coal tar color, triclosan, and chemicals that release formaldehyde. Prolonged use of these ingredients may pose an increased risk of cancer or other health issues.

For instance, Naturtint hair color says it’s made “with ingredients of Natural Origin”, but it contains a petroleum-derived coal-tar color—p-phenylenediamine—plus hydrogen peroxide. That combination may be carcinogenic based on preliminary animal studies.

The U.S. distributor of Naturtint told NBC 5 she believes Consumer Reports' accusations are unfounded. In response she said all ingredients used in Naturtint have been approved to be used by all governmental agencies and there is full disclosure of all ingredients on the Naturtint box.

Unscented Arm and Hammer deodorant, which says it has “natural” deodorizers, contains triclosan, an antibacterial. It may contribute to bacterial resistance and animal studies show it’s a potential hormone disruptor that may affect reproductive and developmental health.

Checking body washes that claim to be “natural” and “nourishing,” there are ingredients like quaternium 15 and DMDM Hydantoin. When combined with water they can release formaldehyde, which is a human carcinogen if it’s inhaled.

Fortunately, some manufacturers and retailers are taking steps to reduce or eliminate potentially risky ingredients from their personal care products.

The best label to look for in beauty products is USDA Organic. Another option, if you shop at Whole Foods, look for their “Premium Body Care” seal. Those products are certified free of more than 400 risky ingredients.

Besides the word “natural” Consumer Reports says when looking for cosmetics don’t put much weight into the claims “dermatologist tested” or “hypoallergenic”. They aren’t independently verified. 

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reportswebsite.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[2 Human Cases of West Nile Fever in Dallas County]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 23:03:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/WNVtesting022613.jpg

Dallas County Health and Human Services confirms the first two human cases of West Nile virus in Dallas County for the 2014 season.

Two people are fighting West Nile fever, the less severe form of West Nile virus.

One resident lives in the 75019 zip code, which is Coppell, and the other lives in the North Dallas zip code of 75230.

Because of medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons no other information was available.

"We want our residents to know the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are here and they're active," Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director said in a news release. "Our mosquito surveillance program and the county and municipal abatement teams are taking appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our residents. However, it is important for residents to take the necessary precautions."

Those precautions include removing standing water, limiting outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, wearing long, loose, light-colored clothing as well as using insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

"Since there is no vaccine or antiviral treatment for WNV infection, residents should adhere to preventive measures to protect themselves and their loved ones," said DCHHS medical director Dr. Christopher Perkins.

More: DCHHS WNV Website

Doctors are warning these two cases are a reminder for folks to not let their guard down.

"We are gonna talk about them in the office, the doctors will get aware and be looking out for patients who come in with the symptoms that we've described: the fever, the headache, the rash, joint pain," explained Dr. Michelle Ho, with Baylor Health. "Particularly in patients who are at risk, there we are looking at people who have chronic disease, cancer, diabetes."

Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Sunscreen for Kids: Consumer Reports]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 17:16:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/sunscreen3.jpg When you choose a sunscreen for your child, what do you look for? According to a Consumer Reports, you don't need to buy a separate formula for babies and children.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Concerns About Diseases From Immigrants ]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 16:58:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Immigrant+Children+09.jpg With thousands of immigrants coming into Texas, many people are concerned about the spread of diseases. The Dallas Morning News medical expert, Dr. Seema Yasmin, dug into the facts.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Sunscreens for Kids]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 17:30:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/sunscreen3.jpg

When you choose a sunscreen for your child, what do you look for?

About a third of us buy a sunscreen that claims to be for kids. And many choose one that’s doctor-recommended, according to a Consumer Reports survey.

You don’t need to buy a separate formula for babies and children.

Consumer Reports Health Editor, Trisha Calvo says, “There is no safer ingredient just for kids. Manufacturers use the same active ingredients in kids’ sunscreens as they do in adult sunscreens.”

For example, comparing Coppertone Ultra Guard and Coppertone Water Babies side-by-side shows the ingredients are the same. And what about Coppertone’s claim that it’s the number one pediatrician-recommended brand? Coppertone says it surveys pediatricians to find out which brand they recommend.

You might think that ‘pediatrician-tested’ or ‘pediatrician-recommended’ means that the sunscreen is safer, but those terms aren’t regulated. The FDA does not hold kids’ sunscreen to a higher safety standard than adult sunscreens.

Sunscreens that claim to be sting-free or tear-free may leave out ingredients that bother the eyes. But be careful. Any sunscreen that gets into the eyes may cause stinging.

And while spray-on sunscreens are a popular choice, Consumer Reports says don’t spray your kids. Kids are likely to squirm around. And that means that they risk breathing in the sunscreen. That can be a lung irritant. And some sprays contain titanium dioxide, and if you breathe in those sunscreens it could be a potential cancer risk.

Another risk: sprays can be flammable, if they haven’t dried and you’re near an open flame.

Consumer Reports says a lotion is a better choice for children. One to look for is Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50 from Walmart. Consumer Reports’ tests show it’s a good, affordable choice for the whole family.

Consumer Reports tests show Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 is very effective against harmful UVA and UVB rays. But it costs more than twice as much per ounce as Walmart’s Equate, which Consumer Reports named a Best Buy.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reportswebsite.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Beating the Triple Digit Heat in NTX]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 17:32:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Texas+Sun+Shot+071114.jpg Triple digit temperatures are expected this weekend. Here are some safety tips for North Texas families.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Extreme Heat Health Dangers]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 17:07:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/generic+hot+sun.jpg North Texas extreme summer temperatures can be dangerous. Dr. Seema Yasmin, a professor in practice at the University of Texas at Dallas, explains what to keep in mind while outside.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>