<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health News]]> Copyright 2015 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, 26 Feb 2015 16:56:03 -0600 Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:56:03 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[WATCH: Body Bags Are Getting Bigger]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:56:06 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/NC_bigbodybags.jpg With more than one third of U.S. adults overweight, coroners are having problems with standard body bags sizes being too small.]]> <![CDATA[Hand Washing Dishes May Prevent Allergies: Study]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:24:46 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dishwashingAllergy-529008409.jpg

Washing dishes might be the best chore for a kid.

Doing dishes by hand instead of using a dishwasher might prevent or reduce allergies in children, according to a Swedish study published in the journal Pediatrics yesterday.

The study of more than 1,000 children from Sweden found that those living in homes where dishes were washed by hand were 40 percent less likely to develop allergies compared to those in homes with a dishwasher.

A questionnaire asked parents about their dishwashing practices as well as whether their 7- or 8-year-olds had asthma, eczema or seasonal allergies.

The researchers suggest that allergy development was reduced due to increased microbial exposure from the bacteria left on dishes, and that the exposure is good for children because it may stimulate their immune systems.

The report references a German study from 2004 that compared hand-washing techniques and dishwashers and found that half of the subjects did not clean as well as a dishwasher. That study also found that milk products have the potential to stay on utensils enough to pose health risks.

"People whose immune systems are no longer busy fighting infection become disregulated and allergic,” Susan Wasserman, professor of medicine at McMaster University in Canada, told Live Science. Wasserman referred to the "hygiene hypothesis," a theory that the immune systems of children not exposed to as many microbes do know how to fight off allergens such as pollen.

The new study of Swedish children found that the development of allergies in children was reduced even more once the researchers analyzed other lifestyle factors. Eating fermented foods, living in crowded situations, and being a part of an immigrant family all prevent or reduce the development of allergies.

In the commentary of the study, two physicans at University of California, San Francisco, said that dishwater usage and other lifestyle choices should be researched further.

Photo Credit: Illustration/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Study Finds Obesity, Diabetes Link]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:26:17 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/UC-San-Diego-generic_6.jpg

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, believe they have discovered the "root cause" of Type 2 diabetes — a molecular link between obesity and diabetes that may lead to new treatment.

Inflammation that results from obesity leads to insulin resistance, the first step in developing Type 2 diabetes, the study found.

One inflammatory molecule in particular, LTB4, is released by immune cells living in extra fat, called macrophages. Positive feedback then signals for the body to release more macrophages, which then release more LTB4 into the fatty cells in the liver, researchers found.

"This study is important because it reveals a root cause of type 2 diabetes," the study's senior author Dr. Jerrold M. Olefsky, professor of medicine and associate dean for scientific affairs, said in a statement. "And now that we understand that LTB4 is the inflammatory factor causing insulin resistance, we can inhibit it to break the link between obesity and diabetes."

Those LTB4 then bind to nearby cell surfaces, the researchers found. In people who are obese, those cells become inflamed and the body becomes resistant to insulin.

In the UC San Diego study, Olefsky and his team of researchers used genetically engineered mice to look for ways to reverse insulin resistance.

The team created genetically engineered mice that did not have the LTB4 receptor. Without the receptor, the health of obese mice “dramatically improved.”

The study was authored by Pingping Li, Da Young Oh, Gautam Bandyopadhyay, William S. Lagakos, Saswata Talukdar, Olivia Osborn, Andrew Johnson, Heekyung Chung, Rafael Mayoral, Michael Maris, Jachelle M Ofrecio, Sayaka Taguchi, Min Lu. All of the researchers are at UC San Diego.

The research was funded in part by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Merck Inc.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Study Examines Peanut Allergy]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:45:57 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/peanut+butter+recall.jpg

A groundbreaking study released Monday argues that the key to preventing peanut allergies in children may lie in early and regular exposure to the food, but some parents aren't quite ready to expose their children.

Researchers at King’s College London found introducing peanut snacks to children at high-risk for the allergy made them less likely to develop it by the time they turned 5 than kids who avoided peanut snacks completely.

"Consumption rather than avoidance seems to protect against developing peanut allergy," said Dr. Gideon Lack, of King’s College.

But the news doesn't provide relief for parents of kids who already have a potentially fatal peanut allergy. 

"We just can’t take a chance. We don’t eat out. We don’t travel on planes. We have to live differently than the normal family," said Debbie Adler, whose 6-year-old son suffers from allergies.

Adler first discovered her son’s allergies when he experienced a severe reaction after eating frozen yogurt.

"He started vomiting profusely. I had never seen anything like this. Nonstop. Nonstop. Went on and on until he turned blue and passed out in my arms," Adler said.

In addition to milk, doctors found Adler’s son also had a peanut allergy. Allergies like his are not only a nuisance, but they can also be deadly. In some cases, just smelling peanuts is enough to cause a child to go into anaphylactic shock.

Adler’s son is not alone: More than 2 percent of kids in the United States are allergic to peanuts and that number is only climbing, according to the Associated Press. However, the King's College study could help reverse this upward trajectory.

Researchers enrolled 640 children under age 1 who were at high risk for peanut allergy. Half were given a peanut snack at least three times a week, while the others were told to avoid all peanuts until five.

Although counterintuitive, the results confirmed avoiding peanuts did not help ward off peanut allergies. In fact, 17 percent of the kids who avoided peanuts developed an allergy by age five. However, only three percent of the kids who ate the peanut snacks developed the same allergy.

"You need to be introduced to these proteins very early in life," Lack continued.

There is also a new patch designed to desensitize peanut allergy patients by exposing them to a small dose of peanut protein. The common thread appears to be that a little bit of exposure and consumption seems to teach the body that peanuts are not an enemy.

Adler hopes this technique will free other families from the debilitating effects of nut allergies.

"It would change our lives significantly is he could eat all of the things he’s allergic too."

Dr. Bruce’s Advice: If your kid has a lot of allergies, speak with a doctor and begin exposing them to tiny amounts of the allergens under supervision. If your child gets a rash or other symptoms, stop.

<![CDATA[New Smoking Ordinance to be Decided]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:06:02 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/tlmd_3_quit_smoking_636002_133899343275_484x363.jpg

Smokers in Cleburne may soon get a clear signal whether or not they can smoke in local businesses.

The City of Cleburne announced today that the City Council is to consider a new smoking ordinance. City officials said the proposed ordinance lets business owners to choose whether to permit smoking or not in their businesses.

"After wrestling for some time with how to balance the rights of smokers, non-smokers, and how to allow the free market to drive business, this proposed ordinance was the solution I was seeking," stated Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain.

A revised smoking ordinance will deal with city properties, but is unique in how it deals with privately-owned businesses that cater to the public.

Under the proposed ordinance, city officials said businesses allowing smoking will not allow anyone under 18 years old. The other two options of non-smoking or smoking in designated areas are similar to smoking ordinances in other cities, officials said.

The ordinance will levy a fine up to $500 for people who violate a business's choice to be non-smoking. A sign displaying the smoking preference must also be displayed near the business's entrance.

"This is another way of addressing competing rights without taking away from the free market approach to business," Mayor Cain said in a written statement.

The decision on whether or not to adopt the new ordinance will be made at Tuesday night's City Council meeting in Cleburne.

<![CDATA[New Rules to Combat "Superbugs"]]> Sat, 21 Feb 2015 01:35:50 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/web_superbug_gordon_5p_1200x675_401693763890.jpg

Doctors and administrators at Ronald Reagan-UCLA Medical Center said Thursday that new procedures for cleaning a medical device used in some exams will prevent the "superbug" that led to two deaths and five other infections from spreading to anyone else.

Officials also faced tough questions as many wondered why it had taken them until yesterday to tell the public about an outbreak that began more than a month ago.

"It takes a little bit of time to identify the patients who are at risk for the procedure," said Dr. Zachary Rubin, the hospital’s medical director of infection prevention.

In mid-December, a UCLA patient received a gallbladder exam using a device called an endoscope.

The patient, whose identity was not disclosed, developed immediate symptoms of the "superbug" bacteria, doctors said. The patient had a fever, chills and then a massive infection.

Doctors tested the scope to make sure it was used and sterilized properly.

The devices are difficult to sterilize completely, and even feature warnings from the manufacturer. Doctors found two of the scopes may have transmitted the bacteria.

Researchers then found seven other cases of the infection stemming from the CRE bacteria, which is fatal in as many as half of those whose bloodstreams are exposed to it.

The bacteria exists naturally in many people’s intestines and will not affect them, but once it enters the bloodstream it can be deadly.

"We do do surveillance on a regular, routine basis for CRE, and we've actually done additional investigation over the past few years," Rubin said.

But the bacteria did not turn up when the first patient was admitted, the one who may have been a "carrier."

While researching any possible exposure, the hospital implemented new and stricter requirements for sterilizing the scopes.

Checking records to find out which endoscopies were performed on which patients with the two contaminated devices took time, said doctors.

They also didn't want to alarm all patients who'd had endoscopies if they weren't exposed to the same contaminated instruments.

Ultimately, they discovered 179 patients total who may have been exposed during procedures between October 2014 and Jan. 28.

Doctors are continuing to reach out to patients who may have been affected. Rubin said they have called and emailed patients out of an “abundance of caution.”

"What we're doing now is trying to identify any patients that have 'carrier state,'" Rubin said.

<![CDATA[Students and Faculty of Tarleton University to be Tested for Tuberculosis]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:43:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/doctor-health-generic-1200-03.jpg

A reported tuberculosis case at Tarleton University is leading the Department of State Health Services and Tarleton Health Services to conduct TB tests on a number of students.

All affected students and faculty are being individually notified. Student Health Services will conduct TB evaluations for people who had ongoing, close contact with the infected individual. Anyone not identified as a close contact is not recommended for testing.

Tarleton and the DSHS want to provide accurate information regarding tuberculosis. Below are facts about TB.

  • TB is easily prevented and cured with medication.
  • TB is an illness caused by bacteria, and the disease is spread when someone with "active" tuberculosis coughs out the germs, and someone else breathes them in.
  • Most people who are exposed to the bacteria will never get sick because their body can keep the germs from growing.
  • Some people will develop "active" tuberculosis disease. This means they become sick with symptoms like coughing for more than three weeks, unexplained weight loss, fever, night sweats and coughing up blood.
  • Only people with "active" TB are capable of spreading the disease to others.
  • It is not easy to contract TB. Spreading the disease requires continued close contact in a confined space. Sitting near someone on a bus or in a restaurant is not usually enough for the disease to spread. TB does not spread via surfaces like doorknobs or by sharing a water bottle or utensils.
  • There are about 1,500 cases of active tuberculosis disease in Texas every year.
  • TB is completely curable with modern antibiotics.

If you have further questions, you may call the Texas Department of State Health Services at 817-264-4500 or visit www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/basics/ to learn more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FW Hospital Sees Spike in Admitted Children]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 06:19:50 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/emergency+room+hospital.jpg

Officials at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth said their emergency rooms have been packed with sick children.

Hospital officials said they average 400 patients per day in the emergency room. The average number of admitted children jumped from 20 to 30 in December to 40 to 50 in February.

"Our ED is running beyond full capacity and has been since December," Emergency Department Assistant Medical Director Dr. Corwin Warmink said. "But in the last few weeks we're seeing a larger number of very ill children than even during flu season."

Doctors also said there has been a 60 percent increase in the number of children who need critical care compared to last year.

"It's common for us to experience a brief interval of a lot of a certain illness," Warmink said. "We'll have flu, then RSV, then gastroenteritis illness. Right now, we're experience all three together."

Doctors suggested that parents consult with their pediatrician or an urgent care clinic and only take their children to the emergency room only in case of emergency.

NBC 5's Todd L. Davis contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Warning: Traces of Peanuts Found in Cumin]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 10:52:15 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cumin-86069470.jpg

Hundreds of products are being pulled from store shelves after traces of peanut were found in cumin spice — a life-threatening danger to some people with peanut allergies.

The recall has been ongoing since December, as more retailers identify products that contain the cumin. The Food and Drug Administration is now warning all people with peanut allergies to avoid cumin and products that contain cumin.

While such large allergy-related recalls are rare, undeclared allergens like peanuts are the leading cause of food recalls in the United States. That can be very unsettling to people who are keeping a close watch on what they or their children eat, since food allergies can be a matter of life or death.

"You might do all of the things you are supposed to do and read the label, but there could still be undeclared allergens," says Dr. Michael Pistiner, a Boston-based pediatric allergist. "It's challenging to know that and still feel comfortable."

Pistiner says he sees the recalls as low-risk, since often the amount of the undeclared allergen is very small. "But the highest risk is to our comfort," he says.

According to the group Food Allergy Research and Education, or FARE, 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 1 in 13 children. Eight foods account for more than 90 percent of the allergies — peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.

Since 2006, those allergens are required by law to be listed on food packages if they are ingredients. The law is less clear when it comes to cross- contamination, however — companies aren't required to list on the label if peanuts or another allergen are processed in the same facility or on the same equipment.

Little is known about how many people may have reactions to allergens that accidentally make their way into food. Those reactions are hard to track — much harder than a pathogen like salmonella, for instance, which can be identified in a person's stool and traced directly to the same strains in a food manufacturing facility or on a farm.

The FDA said it had 428 reports of "adverse events" related to undeclared allergens between January 2012 and December 2014, including reports of three deaths. The agency would not release any detailed information on those reports, which are made by consumers and can't always be confirmed by the agency.

The agency said it has had at least seven reports from consumers related to the cumin recall. Hundreds of products have been recalled since December, from spice mixes to black beans to meats with marinades that include cumin. The spice is often used in Tex-Mex and Indian dishes. The FDA declined to provide any further details on how it happened or what company added peanuts or peanut residue to its cumin spice.

The FDA said packaged foods may not have enough of the affected cumin to trigger a reaction — but those who are sensitive should be careful just in case. Some products may not actually list cumin, but list "spices" instead.

Multiple recalls have spanned a two-month period. The first was on Dec. 26, when Texas-based Adams Foods recalled several of its cumin spices. On Feb. 9, the retailer Whole Foods recalled more than 100 products that potentially contained the cumin. Last Friday, Goya Foods recalled some brands of its black beans and black bean soup. Several other foods have been pulled off store shelves as well.

FARE, the allergy group, routinely notifies its members of what recalls are out there so they can keep track. And the group is pushing the FDA to ensure that allergens are treated as importantly as pathogens like salmonella and E. coli when the agency issues final food safety rules later this year.

"Requiring food processors and manufacturers to identify potential allergen hazards and develop plans to avoid those hazards is critical," the group told the FDA in comments on the rule.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Frisco Middle School Team Creates Prosthetic Hand]]> Wed, 18 Feb 2015 18:46:44 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Frisco+3D+Hand+021815.jpg Five Frisco seventh graders are gaining national attention for their work in 3D printing. Using plans they found online, the group of "Scienteers" at Pioneer Heritage Middle School produced and assembled a prosthetic hand that can grip, throw, and pick up items. The team has been selected as a finalist in the Lexus Eco Challenge. You can help them try to win by viewing their YouTube video.

CLICK HERE for YouTube video

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Blue Zones Fort Worth Kicks Off on Saturday]]> Sat, 21 Feb 2015 20:28:42 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Blue+Zones+FW+021815.jpg

From bus bench ads to guerilla marketing in high traffic areas, it's hard to miss the signs that read "Live Long Fort Worth" across town.

The signs, including the hopscotch guerrilla ads, are for the Blue Zones Project, a new initiative aimed at improving Cowtown's health and it's attractiveness to residents and businesses alike.

Blue Zones has been in Fort Worth for about a year and a half, but on Saturday Feb. 21 the program officially kicks-off and building health neighborhoods workshops will begin within in days. The workshops are just one of many events and activities Blue Zones employees are putting together.

"Blue Zones is about making healthy choices easier in Fort Worth and we look forward to bringing a lot of value to the community by improving walkability, livability and all around making Fort Worth, and keeping Fort Worth, a wonderful place to live, work and play," said Suzanne Duda, vice president for Blue Zones Fort Worth.

Blue Zones was created by author Dan Buettner after he studied ways in which people live longer, happier and healthier lives. Fort Worth is the largest city to become a Blue Zones demonstration city, with a goal of becoming a Blue Zones certified community.

But the project isn't just focused on eating better and staying active. Blue Zones also wants to help people find what their purpose is, how to improve their social lives, how to de-stress from financial issues and make communities safer to live in.

"It's encouraging people to know their neighbors, to go to a front porch community as we use to say," said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

Mayor Price helped sign the city on as a sponsor of the program. The city has been joined by Texas Health Resources, the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, Tarrant County, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Cook Children's Health Care System and the United Way of Tarrant County.

Blue Zones was a natural fit for the mayor, as the Fit Worth campaign has already shown results with the obesity rate dropping by four-percent at Fort Worth Independent School District. Offering fit options has become a priority for Mayor Price and the city.

"One of the reasons that it is, is that it's great for the city," Mayor Price said. "It's about great community engagement. It's about economic development, if nothing else. Businesses come in and they want to know about the healthier community."

It's a big effort that will find success with how many people and businesses join in, but Duda says it's really about the little things.

"Look for small things we can do in our daily lives to improve our own health and well-being," she said.

The Blue Zones kick-off happens Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Will Rogers Memorial Complex in Fort Worth.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Ice Cream Recalled Over Undeclared Almonds]]> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 19:14:34 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/breyers-ice-cream-recall.jpg

The makers of Breyers ice cream are recalling a limited number of tubs of Breyers No Sugar Added Salted Caramel Swirl because they may contain almonds which are not listed on the ingredient label.

Anyone with an allergy or sensitivity to almonds could have a life-threatening allergic reaction if they eat the ice cream.

While no reactions have been reported, Unilever United States, Inc. says the affected ice cream comes in 1.5-quart paperboard tubs marked with the UPC of 7756738393, with a best before date of NOV2915GB, located on the bottom of the tub. No other best before dates are affected.

If you purchased the affected ice cream you're asked to keep the outer box and call 877-270-7402 to get a replacement coupon. The phone number is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

No Breyers brand gelato, ice cream, or other frozen dairy dessert products are affected by this limited voluntary recall.

More: FDA.gov Safety Recall Information

Photo Credit: Unilever]]>
<![CDATA[The DMN's Dr. Seema Yasmin on Menopause]]> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:39:44 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DMN_-_Menopause_1200x675_400396355586.jpg The Dallas Morning News medical expert Dr. Seema Yasmin discusses what new research indicates about menopause.]]> <![CDATA[Baylor Hospital Live Tweets Heart Transplant]]> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 09:33:45 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/baylor+heart+transplant.jpg

A North Texas woman got a new heart Monday and the entire procedure was covered live on Twitter.

The surgery took place at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and the hospital said it was believed to be the first time a heart transplant was covered live on social media.

The patient, whose real name will not be released, agreed to the live social media access to her surgery. Identified only as "Jane," she is from North Texas and is in her 30s. She is married and has one teenage child.

According to hospital officials, Jane has been living with cardiomyopathy since she was a baby. In the past year, her heart condition deteriorated to the point where doctors determined she needed a transplant.

She was put on the transplant waiting list earlier this month and received the call that a matching donor was found on Monday morning.

Jane’s surgery went as planned, and, according to @BaylorHealth’s tweets, she was resting Monday evening in the intensive care unit.

According to a statement from Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas:

The surgeon performing today’s transplant is Juan MacHannaford, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Dallas. Also in the operating room to help us tell Jane’s story will be Gonzalo V. Gonzalez-Stawinski, MD, chief of heart transplantation for Baylor Scott & White, and Brian Lima, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Dallas.

The doctors are members of the second largest heart transplant program by volume in the country — and first in Texas — with survival rates that exceed the national average.

In 2011, NBC 5's Deborah Ferguson was the first television reporter to live-tweet during a kidney transplant when NBC 5 anchor Kristi Nelson donated an organ to her mother.

Deborah was with Kristi as doctors removed her kidney laparoscopically, then followed surgeons to a nearby operating room where they implanted the healthy kidney into her mother, Helen.

Photo Credit: Baylor University Medical Center
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<![CDATA[ER Wait Times Grow As More Children Get Sick]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 06:19:05 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/emergency+room+hospital.jpg

It’s still technically flu season, but that’s not the only illness that has families flocking to the emergency room at Cook Children's Medical Center.

Respiratory and fever issues, from RSV to gastroenteritis with vomiting, diarrhea and severe dehydration, are also bringing kids to the ER.

Doctors say children are sicker now than they’ve ever been.

“Our [Emergency Department] is running beyond full capacity and has been since December. But in the last few weeks we’re seeing a larger number of very ill children than even during flu season,” said Dr. Corwin Warmink, assistant medical director of the Emergency Department at Cook Children’s. “The sicker the child, the longer it takes to diagnose, treat and properly care for them.”

The hospital says its emergency department is averaging nearly 400 patients a day, and during its busiest times a new patient will check in every two minutes.

Overall, children appear to be sicker this year. Compared to this time last year, Cook Children’s has seen a 60-percent increase in the percentage of children who need critical care.

As the number of patients admitted and treated in the Emergency Department increases, so does the time physicians spend with each child, which contributes to the much longer waiting times.

“Families could spend anywhere from five to 10 hours or longer in our waiting room, depending on the day they visit. We are actively bringing in extra doctors, nurses and support staff to try and improve these times,” said Warmink.

Warmink advises parents that Sundays and Mondays are the busiest days of the week in the emergency room. Evenings after 5 p.m. are also typically busy.

The first line of defense is your child’s pediatrician. If your child isn’t experiencing emergency symptoms, making an appointment with a child’s doctor may help avoid a long wait at the ER.

Cook Children’s also has several urgent care clinics for non-emergent needs.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Deadline for Health Care Nears]]> Sun, 15 Feb 2015 18:33:14 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Affordable_Care_Deadline_0215.jpg

Time has run out to get health insurance.

Sunday was the last day for consumers to sign up for an Affordable Care Act Health Plan for 2015.

"We really need it. My daughter and I, we really need it," Maribel Rodriguez told NBC 5.

The enrollment window closed at midnight Monday morning.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Report: Complexities of Dallas Ebola Quarantine]]> Sat, 14 Feb 2015 16:37:36 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ebola-uc-davis.jpg

Dallas County officials undertook a herculean effort last fall to quarantine some 179 people possibly exposed to Ebola, according to a federal report released this week.

The contact tracing that ensued after Liberian visitor Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with the disease could prove useful for other sites where there are cases of Ebola from "lessons learned" in Dallas, according to the report, written by Ebola response teams from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Dallas County health department.

Under monitoring were 149 health care workers who had contact with the three Ebola patients, 20 people who had "community contact" with Duncan and 10 others who were exposed to the ambulance that had delivered Duncan to the hospital, deemed inadequately cleaned, The Dallas Morning News reported Friday.

Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola less than two weeks after flying into Dallas from Monrovia, the Liberian capital, to visit his girlfriend, Louise Troh, and relatives. He was hospitalized and died Oct. 8.

Two nurses who treated Duncan contracted Ebola and were hospitalized, but survived.

The 21-day quarantine was particularly hard on the seven families that comprised the community contacts, the newspaper reported.

Six of them needed financial support to pay their rent and utilities. Others needed food, diapers and prescriptions refills, the report said.

The contact-tracing team worked with school districts to provide the eight school-age children who were isolated with textbooks, laptops and assignments to be done at home.

Charities provided financial aid for rent and utilities. The Dallas-area Liberian community furnished Duncan's quarantined family and friends with special food and clothing.

Under the government's rules, each person was visited daily for a temperature reading, followed by a phone call later in the day to get a second temperature. Fever could be a sign of the virus.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who oversaw the effort, described it as a "successful defense against Ebola."

Photo Credit: KCRA-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Allen Students Help Boy Battling Enterovirus]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 20:50:22 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Bryan+Sotelo+enterovirus+68.jpg

Students in the Allen Independent School District are using an annual tradition to help a boy they call their “Superman.”

It’s the 35th anniversary of Love Week at Allen High School, an annual fundraiser that raises money for one member of the community.

This year, the students have chosen Bryan Sotelo, a 12-year-old Allen boy who, doctors say, contracted the rare enterovirus-68 over the summer.

The virus left Sotelo paralyzed and confined to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas for months.

He’s home now and going through therapy to regain his ability to walk, but the family says medical bills are mounting.

That’s where a group of Allen High School seniors stepped in.

“We, as a community, know that this is really hard, and we’re here,” said student Brianna Flynn.
Over the past week, the group has sold out of 1,300 T-shirts and 500 buttons, ordered to support Bryan.

The merchandise bears a Superman “S,” in honor of Bryan’s favorite superhero and one of his nicknames in the hospital.

All proceeds go to help the Sotelo family.

While the district doesn’t have a full count of the funds raised yet, they estimate it’s “in the thousands.”

“Originally, it was just supposed to be a service project, but now I feel like it’s had an impact on my life,” said senior Garrett Kelly, who met with the Sotelo family to help plan the event.

On Friday night, Allen ISD is hosting “Loveapalooza,” a fundraiser, concert and auction at Allen High School.

The event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Reporting Two Flu-Related Deaths]]> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 11:01:44 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-000054.jpg

Two adults have died in Dallas County as a result of the flu in the past week, according to the latest figures from Dallas County Health and Human Services.

No further details were released other than they were Dallas County residents.

So far, 14 adults have died from flu-related complications this season, which began in late September.

Health officials said influenza activity is declining in Dallas County, as are influenza-associated hospitalizations.

“Although we’re seeing a decline in flu reported cases, the flu is still circulating in Dallas County and we need to take precautions,” said Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson.

Flu was blamed in 58 deaths in Dallas County during the 2013-2014 flu season, including three children who died in March and April 2014.

No influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported in Dallas County during the 2014—2015 season.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, although there’s a decline. Definitely it's flu season and so everyone needs to take precautions,” said Thompson.

Flu season in North Texas normally lasts through April.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know for the Obamacare Deadline]]> Sun, 15 Feb 2015 02:19:50 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Obamacare-Signup.jpg

If you're not insured, there's still time to sign up for health coverage this year under Obamacare before the official deadline.

The official deadline to sign up for HealthCare.gov is 2:59 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, which is just before midnight Sunday on the West Coast.

The Obama administration projects that more than 9 million Americans will sign up by Sunday's deadline. That's up from the 7 million it estimates got insurance through the Affordable Care Act last year, cutting the number of uninsured from 17 percent at the end of 2013 to 12.9 percent at the end of 2014.

Here are six things to know about Obamacare enrollment before the Feb. 15 deadline.

Enrollment Is Off Without a Hitch

The 2015 enrollment effort is running more smoothly than it did when the insurance marketplaces first debuted in 2013.

The federal HealthCare.gov website and state-based sites experienced no major meltdowns during the current enrollment period, and wait times at call centers have improved, too.

But there are other concerns and issues to keep in mind when signing up for health care.

You May Have Trouble Getting Covered If You Miss the Deadline

In the first open enrollment period, from late 2013 to early 2014, insurance exchanges extended deadlines for many people, mostly due to technical glitches that slowed the application process.

Since the system is running more smoothly this time around, it may be more difficult to get the deadline extended.

Still, there are some exceptions if you miss the deadline. Certain life events — like getting married, having a child, becoming a legal resident or citizen of the U.S. or being denied Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — can qualify you for a special enrollment period. 

The next open enrollment period is expected to begin in October and may end in December, rather than extending into 2016.

The Obamacare Law Faces a New Threat

The Affordable Care Act offers subsidized private health insurance to people who don’t have access to coverage at work, but about 8 million people could lose that financial assistance later in the year.

The Supreme Court is set to consider a case, King v. Burwell, in which Obamacare opponents argue that the law's wording lets the federal government pay health care subsidies only in states that have set up their own insurance exchanges, according to The Associated Press — something that most states haven’t done. The people who wrote the law, however, say it provides subsidies to people in every state.

Should the plaintiffs win the case, people in the 37 states where the federal government is running insurance markets could lose their subsidies. The court is expected to rule on the case in late June.

Some Could Face Stiff Premium Hikes

Many consumers who already signed up for Obamacare may experience a sticker shock during this enrollment period. They could see their premiums increase sharply if they automatically re-enroll in their current plans, instead of choosing new, lower-priced versions.

Learn if you qualify for lower costs on health insurance coverage here.

There's a Tax Penalty This Time

This is the first year consumers have to consider their health insurance at tax time. If you don’t have health care coverage in 2015, you’ll have to pay a penalty when you file your 2015 federal income tax return in 2016.

Federal health officials predict that 2 to 4 percent of taxpayers will end up paying a fine, which amounts to $95 per adult ($47.50 per child), up to $285 for a family, for the 2014 tax year. The penalties go up to a minimum of $325 per adult for the 2015 calendar year and $695 per adult for the 2016 calendar year.

There are exemptions from the fee for not having health care coverage — for instance, if you're uninsured for only one or two consecutive months of the year, if you were covered by May 1 of last year, or if the cheapest available coverage would have cost more than 8 percent of your household's income.

You Must Be Able to Prove Your Legal Status

You must be able to prove your legal status to qualify for Obamacare, health officials have warned.

About 200,000 people will be dropped from insurance policies at the end of February because they have been unable to prove they are legally living in the U.S., the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. That's in addition to 112,000 people were dropped from their plans in September.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Food Recall, Possible Salmonella Risk]]> Thu, 12 Feb 2015 14:09:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dog-food-recall.jpg

A voluntary recall has been issued for a brand of dog food because of a possible health risk, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Tuffy's Pet Foods, Inc. has recalled specific lots of 4 lbs. bags of Nutrisca Chicken and Chick Pea Recipe Dry Dog Food because they have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products, as well as putting humans at risk from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

The recalled product was distributed in the 4 lbs. bags nationwide to distributors, brokers, retail stores and internet retailers.

The recalled product has the UPC Code "8 84244 12495 7" (found on lower back of the bag).

Products included in the recall are identified by the below first 5 digits of the Lot Code (found on upper back of the bag) and "Best by Dates" (found on upper back of the bag).

No other bag sizes or other Nutrisca dog food, cat food, biscuits/treats, supplements or other products, are affected by this recall.

First five digits of Lot Codes:

4G29P, 4G31P, 4H01P, 4H04P, 4H05P, 4H06P

Best By Dates:

Jul 28 16, Jul 30 16, Jul 31 16, Aug 03 16, Aug 04 16, Aug 05 16

The recall was initiated after a routine sampling program by the Ohio Department of Agriculture revealed the presence of salmonella in one 4 lb. bag of product. The company is coordinating this voluntary recall with the FDA, and is issuing the recall action out of an abundance of caution.

Consumers who purchased the product should stop using the it, discard it in a safe manner and contact Nutrisca at the number below for further information.

For consumer information or questions regarding this voluntary recall, please contact Nutrisca at 1-888-559-8833 or the company's website.

Photo Credit: Flickr]]>
<![CDATA[Reporting Issue Exaggerates Denton Co. Vaccination Exemptions]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 08:56:38 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vaccinations.jpg

After the recent measles outbreak in California, Texas Department of State Health Services officials are looking at how many people are protected from a potential outbreak.

The state released the number of people who opted out of vaccinations in 2014, but North Texans might be more protected than the numbers suggest. For most counties in North Texas, about 1 percent of people opt out of vaccinations for reasons of conscience. Denton County, though, reportedly had more than 4 percent of people opt out.

Officials said Denton County's number was incorrectly calculated when several schools counted the number of "shots not given" instead of the "students not vaccinated." County officials said they're recalculating and that the number is closer to 1.5 percent.

Denton County Director of Public Health Matt Richardson said 1.5 percent is still too high.

"We don't really know why parents are opting out," Richardson said. "We do know antidotaly that parents sometimes are getting their research and information from sources that aren't necessarily scientifically based."

Richardson said people are trusting articles on Facebook instead of science when it's been proven vaccinations are the best protection against disease.

For More Information:

State Conscientious Exemptions Data

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[The DMN's Dr. Seema Yasmin on Measles]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 12:14:39 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DMN_-_Measles_11a_021015_1200x675_396856387874.jpg The Dallas Morning News' medical expert Dr. Seema Yasmin talks about the rise in measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.]]> <![CDATA[North Texas Couple, Newborn Stuck in Peru for 35 Days]]> Mon, 09 Feb 2015 18:03:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Baby+Back+020915.jpg

What started as a dream vacation, turned into 35 nightmarish days for Russell and Marie Luttrell.

The McKinney couple agreed to be in a friend's Peruvian wedding before they found out they were pregnant with their first child.

Twenty-eight weeks into their pregnancy, doctors cleared Marie Luttrell fit to travel to Peru. The Luttrells thought it would the honeymoon they had never had.

Within 48 hours of landing in Lima, Peru Marie found herself being wheeled into a hospital for an emergency C-section with doctors she did not understand.

"They wouldn't let Russell go back there with me, so I came out of surgery and no one could tell me if [the baby] was alive, where Russell was and no one spoke English so it was absolutely terrifying," said Marie.

Weighing just two pounds, baby Turner Grace arrived with a hole in her heart, undeveloped lungs and more.

"She looked frail and was so tiny," said Marie. "It was a very frightening thing."

"For the first couple of days we didn't know anything about anything," said Russell. "The doctors would try to talk to us and we'd get as far as 'Bueno' — meaning things are good today."

Marie also came down with a serious infection and for 16 painful days was unable to hold her newborn.

Local laws kept the newborn — a Peruvian resident — from leaving the country and medical bills had to be paid up front.

"We just put our faith and trust in the doctors and God and prayed for the best and we're very fortunate that we are where we are today."

Family and friends raised thousands of dollars to fly the Luttrells home to Medical City in Dallas. It is the same hospital where three years earlier Marie was told she had AML Lukemia and most likely would never have children.

"She's here and she is a miracle," said Marie. "We are just so grateful and humbled by everyone's generosity."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[New Device Helps Paralyzed Patients Walk]]> Sun, 08 Feb 2015 22:50:30 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/%5BDFW%5D+Exo+Skeleton+Gym.jpg

A new device is changing the lives of people who are paralyzed. It is called the Rewalk and it was unveiled in Dallas this weekend. Rewalk can give people who were not even able to stand, the ability to walk again.

“The first time I stood up I felt powerful,” said Marcela Turnage, who has a spinal cord injury.

Turnage had not walked in 12 years after a nasty car accident left her paralyzed.

“It’s just amazing to walk again and do things in a different position,” said Turnage.

She is now able to walk again with the help of the robotic exoskeleton. Rewalk is the first and only FDA approved device of its kind and there's only four in Texas.

“We are super lucky to have Marcela here today,” said Kendell Hall to room of men and women bound to wheelchairs. “She is a very inspiring young lady.”

Hall is director at React, a spinal cord injury recovery gym. React now has one of the four Rewalks at their facility in Dallas.

“With this injury you’re in your chair all the time,” said Hall, who is also disabled at the legs. “To be able to be up and to be able to be walking around is just…you really can’t put any words with it.

The words are hard to find, but the experience of walking again is liberating.

“It has changed my life,” said Turnage. “It has given me a different perspective about life.”

The Rewalk allows a person to set their own pace as they get accustomed to walking again. The robotic exoskeleton costs about $70,000.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Inside the New Parkland Hospital]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 22:49:07 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/New+Parkland+Exterior.jpg

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the new Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Recently, Parkland CEO Dr. Fred Cerise gave NBC 5 an exclusive tour of the $1.3 billion facility. "This is going to put us in a position to take care of patients for many years to come," Cerise said.

The state-of-the-art facility is one of the largest hospitals under construction in the world.

New Parkland has:

  • 862 single patient rooms with private bathrooms
  • 17 floors
  • 2 helipads
  • 27 operating rooms
  • 154 ER treatment rooms
  • 44 labor and deliver rooms

The new Parkland Hospital replaces a 1950s era building. Construction on the new building started in 2010, and it will open to the public on August 20.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Texas Lawmaker Wants to Block "Conscientious Exemptions"]]> Wed, 18 Feb 2015 15:13:13 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/measles+vaccination.jpg

A Texas Republican wants to stop parents from using personal or religious objections to get their  children out of school immunization requirements.

State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, said Friday he will propose legislation on Monday that would eliminate the two exemptions because diseases like measles and whooping cough have been attributed to growing numbers of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.

"It's so important right now because we're beginning to see the re-emergence of diseases that we haven't seen in decades," he said. "They should have been eradicated many, many years ago."

The move comes after a measles cluster was reported at a day care in Chicago this week and a measles outbreak tied to Disneyland.

"There are cluster outbreaks that have occurred and that has filtrated itself into the population of the public school system. We want to make sure that our kids are protected by ensuring that all children are properly immunized before they go to the public schools."

Villalba said he's been circulating the two-page bill to eliminate the two exemptions because of personal beliefs or religious grounds and thinks he has enough to support to get it to the governor's desk to make it law before school begins in the fall.

"This is an important measure, this is not about eliminating the civil rights of individuals. We understand there will be objections to this from the religious community and from civil libertarians," Villalba said.

"And we're not saying that we're forcing people to get vaccinations, we're saying that if you want to send your kids to the public schools, we're asking you to get them vaccinated so that they don't end up causing disease in the general public school population."

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Suspected Measles in NJ]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 19:36:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/Measles_Generic_722x406_19018080101.jpg

The Jersey City Department of Health and the state Department of Health are investigating a suspected case of measles in a 1-year-old baby who has not yet been vaccinated.

The baby has recovered, but out of an abundance of caution, residents in the building where the baby lives have been notified of the potential exposure. 

The latest time a person could become ill due to exposure in this case would be Feb. 7.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus and is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Measles can lead to serious side effects and, in rare cases, death. Measles symptoms usually appear in 10 to 12 days, but can occur as late as 18 days after exposure. Symptoms generally appear in two stages.

Anyone who's not vaccinated and may have been exposed to measles should contact their doctor if they show symptoms like rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red watery eyes. They should call ahead in order to limit exposure to anyone else in a doctor's office or hospital. 

The first measles vaccine is not given until a child is between 12 and 15 months old.

This would mark the first case of measles in New Jersey this year. 

New York state has had three cases of measles this year. Last week, a college student who took an international flight into New York City and then an Amtrak train out of Penn Station was diagnosed with measles at Bard College in Dutchess County. 

<![CDATA[Smartphone Attachment Tests for HIV in 15 Minutes]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 02:34:22 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/Samiksha+Nayak+1+copy.jpg

Want to test yourself for HIV? You may soon be able to do that with your smartphone.

A team at Columbia University has created a smartphone attachment that is capable of testing blood for HIV and syphilis, relaying those results through an app.

The $34 “dongle” attachment, which delivers results in only 15 minutes, replicates finger-prick blood testing performed by devices that typically cost over $18,000, according to Science Daily

The attachment is able to analyze the blood sample and report the presence of HIV and syphilis antibodies. You can see it in action in the video above.

“The results that we have gotten with dongles are comparable to results that you can get in the lab,” Samuel K. Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering and the leader of the team, told NBC. 

It also receives power and information through a smartphone’s audio jack, making it compatible with many different brands of smartphones. 

Sia said the device could mean preventing millions in impoverished countries from being infected by sexually transmitted diseases.

“A technology like this is useful around the world,” Sia told NBC. “A lot of patients don’t have access to these tests at all. It could make a huge impact in developing countries and that was our motivation.” 

The Columbia University team obtained funding from a Saving Lives at Birth transition grant (USAID, Gates Foundation, Government of Norway, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Bank) and Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

Sia said the team hopes to take the device to the market for both global health and for consumer health back in the U.S.

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<![CDATA[Stress in U.S. Proportional to Income: Study]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 01:39:16 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/donated+money.jpg

Money can’t buy you happiness, but the lack of it can buy you stress.

Americans living in lower-income households have a higher level of stress compared to Americans overall, according to a new study released by the American Psychological Association. 

The study conducted in August 2014 found that 72 percent of Americans reported feeling stressed about money at some point in the last month, while 22 percent said they experienced extreme stress about financial matters. 

But the study reflected an income gap, with those earning less than $50,000 per year reporting higher overall stress than those earning more. In 2007, a similar study found that income had no direct impact on stress levels. 

Age is also a factor into stress levels, as 77 percent of parents feel high levels of stress about money compared to 75 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 35 years old) and 76 percent of Gen Xers (ages 36 to 49-years-old).

“All Americans and particularly those groups that are most affected by stress — which include women, younger adults and those with lower incomes — need to address this issue sooner than later in order to better their health and well being,” APA CEO and Executive Vice President Norman B. Anderson, PhD, said in a statement.

But, the good news is that overall stress is spiraling down since the APA first started gathering their research in 2007. The average person reported stress level is 4.9 on a 10-point scale, lowered from 2007 when it was at 6.2.

<![CDATA[Federal Health Officials Discuss Vaccinations]]> Tue, 03 Feb 2015 12:43:58 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458535190.jpg Top federal health officials will discuss this year's flu season, the current measles outbreak and the growing debate about whether to vaccinate.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dangerous Respiratory Cases on the Rise in Kids]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 22:55:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/stethoscope+rsv+baby+health.jpg

Children’s hospitals in North Texas are filling up with babies suffering from respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

“We’re seeing a lot of RSV right now,” said Kelly Ann Hoselton, a nurse practitioner at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. “It's difficulty breathing, it’s a lot of nasal congestion and it's fever.”

The potentially deadly virus targets children under the age of two.

“There’s no specific therapy for RSV, and there’s no vaccine for RSV,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, with Children’s Medical Center. “So it’s just a matter of keeping these kids alive until nature takes its course and they start to heal.”

The number of cases at Children’s has doubled in the past few weeks, causing nearly every bed in the hospital to be filled.

Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth reports the number of RSV cases there has tripled since December, with doctors now seeing as many as 60 cases each week.

“If they are not eating, if they are not having wet diapers, if they look dehydrated or they’re having increased breathing and their suctioning does not help at all, they need to come in,” said Hoselton.

RSV is a seasonal virus, and doctors don’t expect to see a drop in cases for weeks.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[High-Tech Asthma Inhaler Now Available In North Texas]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 18:34:13 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/asthma+tracker.jpg

A new Bluetooth inhaler is improving treatment and reducing asthma attacks for North Texas kids.

For 10-year-old Mercedes Jones, just a few minutes in the North Texas air could restrict her breathing. The changing weather can trigger a serious asthma attack.

“I use to have a lot of asthma attacks when I went outside,” said Jones.

But the attacks are now decreasing thanks to a new inhaler she started using a few months ago.

“She can now sleep at night,” said her guardian Cynthia Garcia. “She can go out and play when she didn’t use to because she had these attacks.”

The inhaler is called Propeller and right now is only offered in North Texas through Children’s Health. FDA-cleared, the inhaler works like a regular asthma inhaler except it has Bluetooth technology. Paired with a smartphone, every time the inhaler is used vital information is recorded, then sent to the doctor’s computer. Parents and kids can also access the information.

“[The sensor] records where they are, what time of day and it will also pick up what the pollen count was that day, if it was high,” said Pam Rogers, a respiratory therapist with Children’s Health.

The program administrators call the new inhaler a game-changer.

“You’re able to get real time data as to where the child may be – whether it be at school, work, play, at home or at a birthday party,” Rogers said.

Respiratory teams can track that data, look for trends and triggers and alter medications based on a spike. Warning signs can be detected to prevent a serious attack.

“We can stop them before it gets too far,” said Rogers.

Program administrators have also noticed it’s making kids take a more active role in their health.

“Kids love technology,” said the program’s administrator, Julie Hall-Barrow. “Kids respond to texts. This application is able to text them reminders. It’s able to text them education.”

Right now the program is undergoing a test period, but Children’s Health hopes to expand the program to all its pediatric asthma patients.

For more information on how to get the Propeller inhaler and the asthma management program offered through Children’s Health, visit the asthma management program website or call 214-456-LUNG (5864).

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Reports 11th Case of Chikungunya]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 17:19:50 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP702217698660.jpg

An 11th case of chikungunya has been reported in Dallas County, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Officials said the patient was infected with the virus during a recent trip to Puerto Rico.

Further details on this case were not released due to medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons.

Chikungunya is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, and it can cause sudden fever and joint pain, as well as rashes.

While most people infected with chikungunya recover, there is no vaccine, and it can become disabling.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Preventing Winter Allergies]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 10:18:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_winterallergies0130001_1500x845.jpg Winter season offers a break from pollen, but there are other allergens that can still cause suffering.]]> <![CDATA[Doctors Watching for Signs of Measles Outbreak]]> Sun, 01 Feb 2015 23:19:54 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/measles-sbowl.jpg

Doctors and nurses in North Texas are now looking for any sign of measles in their patients.

"Fever, high fever, coughing runny nose and pink eye," said Nurse Practitioner Connie Lin with Children’s Health in Dallas, "and then they’ll also develop a very distinct pink ash."

With more than 100 cases in 14 states now tied to Disneyland in Southern California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now warning of a “large outbreak” nationwide.

There are no cases so far in Dallas County, but health providers have been put on alert.

"The concern is unvaccinated children in North Texas," said Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson.

"That phenomenon, of the number of people who are opting out is growing. And let me be very clear – if that number continues to grow, we’ll see not only measles outbreak but other situations," said Thompson.

The CDC said the vaccine is safe and effective and remains the best way to prevent measles from spreading.