<![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 Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:43:52 -0600 Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:43:52 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Health Officials Contact 4 of 5 People Exposed to Measles]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 19:51:03 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/generic-measles.jpg

Tarrant County Public Health Department officials say they have contacted four of five people exposed to the measles after confirming that a person who flew from India to North Texas Jan. 6 has the virus.

TCPH said the person flew on Emirates from India to DFW, with a stop in Dubai, on Jan. 6. The person's infectious period ended on Jan. 7.

The CDC helped TCPH identify five travelers from that flight and four of the five have been contacted.

Three of the five travelers provided doctors with their measles vaccination history and a fourth traveler is considered immune due to a previous measles infection.

The vaccination history of the fifth traveler is unknown and TCPH says it is making attempts to contact that person with phone calls and home visits.

At this time TCPH believes the risk of transmission to the public remains very low and no new cases have been reported in Tarrant County.

The Tarrant County resident had minimal contact with people once he arrived at DFW Airport. Health officials are monitoring his six family members, only one of whom was not vaccinated.

Symptoms of measles include fever, cough and sore throat that appear 10 to 14 days after exposure. A rash typically occurs a few days after initial symptoms appear. The incubation period, according to the CDC, lasts 7 to 21 days.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of the virus making a comeback in recent years because parents are relying on herd immunity from others instead of vaccinating their children.

Those who are current on vaccines do not need to worry about contracting the virus, officials said. Children receive their first vaccine at 1 year old and another round at about 5 years old.

This is the third straight year Tarrant County has had a measles case. One resident tested positive last July after attending a Wichita, Kan., softball tournament. And in fall 2013, 16 Tarrant County residents and five Denton County residents got the measles after a visitor, who had recently traveled overseas, visited a Newark-area mega church.

NBC 5's Chris Van Horne contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Researchers identify genetic cause of Sturge-Weber syndrome]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 10:24:32 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_birthmarks0122001_1500x845.jpg Researchers identify genetic cause of Sturge-Weber syndrome, often associated with facial birthmarks, which means new trials and new hope for sufferers.]]> <![CDATA[Doctors, Sisters, Care For Pregnant Mother with Tumor]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 22:51:29 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pregnant+mother.jpg

Two UT Southwestern Medical Center doctors, who happen to be sisters, worked together to save a pregnant mother with a brain tumor and her baby.

Rachel Creed, 26, wasn't sure whether having children was in the cards. She and her husband, Michael, had gotten pregnant but miscarried several times.

"I had to give it to God. That’s something that is in his control. He’s the one who creates life," Rachel Creed said.

So when she got pregnant, she did everything she thought was right.

"When I got a headache, I wouldn’t even take Tylenol," she said.

But the pregnancy took a turn when seizures sent the expecting mother to the hospital. Doctors found a brain tumor during her second trimester.

"We had someone speak to us earlier on when we first found out that I had a tumor. He had just said to us, 'Well, good luck trying find a surgeon who will do surgery on you while you're pregnant,'" recalled Rachel Creed.

The couple was referred to UT Southwestern Medical Center’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Toral Patel.

"Her best chance of her surviving, as well as baby surviving, was to have surgery," according to Patel.

Of course, monitoring the health of their unborn baby was a top priority, and Patel knew the perfect person for the job. Her sister, Dr. Shivani Patel, is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Rachel Creed became the first patient the sisters have shared.

"It's a good experience. It's fun. You can get answers quickly. We're able to provide the Creeds with answers quickly because we're able to communicate faster than when you're not related," said Dr. Shivani Patel.

"They explained very nicely that [the baby]'s just going to go to sleep. I'll go to sleep and we're just going to wake up and everything will be good," said Rachel Creed.

Dr. Toral Patel removed the tumor, while Dr. Shivani Patel monitored baby Creed. A third family member joined them in the operating room as well.

Since UT Southwestern is a teaching hospital, it is standard procedure for a neurosurgical resident to scrub in for the operation. It wasn’t planned, but the resident who scrubbed in was the doctor sisters' brother.

It's a family of doctors whom the Creeds say was a part of the divine intervention they received.

"I think it was something that was meant to happen in a very sweet way," said Rachel Creed.

NBC 5's Kristi Nelson contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Health Officials Monitor Those Exposed to Measles]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:53:04 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/generic-measles.jpg

Tarrant County Public Health Department officials are waiting to see if more people test positive for the measles after confirming that a person who flew from India to North Texas Jan. 6 has the virus.

TCPH doctors said dozens of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport passengers who came into contact with the person are at risk.

“Our health department is waiting on the CDC to provide us with a flight manifest,” TCPH Director Vinny Taneja said on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, public health officials were still waiting on the manifest to determine if there were any local residents that they needed to contact. If none of the passengers who could have been exposed are local, officials will stay focused on people the positive patient met.

The Tarrant County resident had minimal contact with people once he arrived at DFW Airport. Health officials are monitoring his six family members, only one of whom was not vaccinated.

Symptoms of measles include fever, cough and sore throat that appear 10 to 14 days after exposure. A rash typically occurs a few days after initial symptoms appear. The incubation period, according to the CDC, lasts 7 to 21 days.

“Measles is one of the most contagious viruses on the planet,” said Dr. Seema Yasmin, medical expert for The Dallas Morning News. “It stays in the air, it stays on the surfaces for two hours after somebody infectious has been around.”

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of the virus making a comeback in recent years because parents are relying on herd immunity from others instead of vaccinating their children.

Those who are current on vaccines do not need to worry about contracting the virus, officials said. Children receive their first vaccine at 1 year old and another round at about 5 years old.

This is the third straight year Tarrant County has had a measles case. One resident tested positive last July after attending a Wichita, Kan., softball tournament. And in fall 2013, 16 Tarrant County residents and five Denton County residents got the measles after a visitor, who had recently traveled overseas, visited a Newark-area mega church.

NBC 5's Chris Van Horne contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Tarrant County Resident Tests Positive for Measles]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 23:20:32 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Measles-vaccine-0116.jpg

Tarrant County Public Health says Tuesday a Tarrant County resident tested positive for measles after returning home from India.

TCPH said the person flew on Emirates from India to DFW, with a stop in Dubai, on Jan. 6. The person's infectious period ended on Jan. 7.

The TCPH said the last recorded case of measles in Tarrant County was in July 2014. This case has no apparent ties to the current Disneyland-related measles outbreak in California.

"The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is determining the number of exposed passengers on the international flight. TCPH is investigating who might have been exposed in Tarrant County. So far, the investigation has revealed a limited exposure to area residents," TCPH said in a news release Tuesday.

Here's more from the TCPH on the disease:

Measles is an airborne disease spread by coughing and sneezing. It causes a reddish rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. It usually lasts one to two weeks. The rash begins on the face and head and then proceeds downward and outward to the hands and feet. It fades in the same order it began, from head to feet.

“We take the health of any traveler who returns to Tarrant County with signs or symptoms of a disease seriously,” said TCPH Health Director Vinny Taneja. “We are receiving cooperation from everyone involved in this case and feel confident the public is safe.”

TCPH would like to remind residents that measles is a vaccine-preventable disease and that most people born after 1957 in the United States have had at least one dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).

“Measles is one of the most contagious viruses on the planet,” said Dr. Seema Yasmin, medical expert for The Dallas Morning News. “It stays in the air, it stays on the surfaces for two hours after somebody infectious has been around.”

TCPH will work with the state and the CDC to get a flight manifest and find out who was on board the flight with the infected passenger and who could be at risk.

“They normally look three rows ahead and three rows behind the person who had measles as well as contacting anyone who had a baby in their arms and was walking up and down the aisles,” said Dr. Yasmin.

Those who have been vaccinated against the measles should be fine, said Dr. Yasmin.

“It should protect you for a good number of years,” she added. “The problem is if you’re not vaccinated, you’re 35 times more likely to get measles.”

That’s not a big concern for the Saul family. Their 14 month old hasn’t been vaccinated.

“It's not a big worry for us. We might change our behavior a little bit,” said Gerald Saul.

The family wants to raise their child in the most natural way possible and is avoiding vaccines. Still, they say they will take precautions.

“The first three months after he was born we didn't even go to family functions and stuff, just because there was going to be a lot of people around and we didn't know who might have what,” said Saul.

Dr. Yasmin said symptoms of measles typically show up 7-14 days after exposure. Symptoms include a runny nose, fever and cough, and the measles can be deadly.

There was no comment from Emirates on Tuesday.

<![CDATA[From Afghanistan to the O.R., Denton Sailor Gets Back to Work]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 14:06:35 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/LCDR+Rick+Coffman.jpg

When we first met Lt. Commander Rick Coffman back in October, he was taking on the tough task of surprising two daughters in one day with an early homecoming.

Gone for 14 months in Afghanistan, Coffman got an early ticket home and showed up at both younger daughter Libby and older daughter Hailey's schools in the Northwest Independent School District for assemblies and tearful reunions.

Now, fast forward three months where Coffman is making his next return: the return to civilian life.

This month he returned to work at Texas Health Presbyterian Denton where Coffman is Director of Surgical Services.

"It's definitely an adjustment," Coffman said on his ninth day back. "You know, being gone for 14 months, it's a big deal. Being gone for 14 months and then coming back there's so much that's changed; so many practice standards, so many different policies, and procedures."

Coffman's experiencing what a lot of U.S. Service members are right now as operations scale back in Afghanistan and they face the next step.

According to the Department of Labor, unemployment rates for veterans have improved in the past few years, but it still remains a challenge for many. Coffman also noted many of his fellow service members dealing with the emotional and mental toll of active duty while trying to get back to normal.

The Naval Lt. Commander considers himself fortunate for having a strong support system including that at Presbyterian. He said several of his friends in Afghanistan also worked in the hospital system and looked forward to getting back to that.

"I know it's a big deal for a hospital to give up their time to let somebody go," he said. "With the support I've been able to receive I feel like we're getting where we need to be."

To show his thanks for the team's support, Coffman brought his co-workers at Presbyterian an American flag that flew in Afghanistan on September 11.

Other nurses at the hospital said he also returned with a lot of valuable experience that will serve their operating room well.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Measles Exposure at OC School]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:17:47 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/web_measles_vara_90_1200x675_386439747568.jpg

Twenty students who have not been vaccinated against the measles are not be allowed on the campus of Huntington Beach High School for three weeks after a possible exposure to the virus, officials confirmed Monday.

A student with measles was on the Orange County campus in early January, and could have potentially spread the highly contagious disease according to a letter sent to parents.

Students who have been exposed and do not have the necessary vaccination to guard against the disease were sent home for three weeks, according to county health officials. They will not be allowed to attend school until Jan. 29, according to the Orange County Department of Education.

Some parents said the district was going overboard.

"I'm not a doctor so I can't say, but that seems extreme to me," one parent said. "I mean, I had the measles and I think I was out for three days."

However Orange County Department of Education Health and Wellness Coordinator Pamela Kahn  told NBC4 Tuesday that keeping the students away from school is the only thing they could do to prevent the disease from spreading further.

As carriers are contagious both four days before and four days after developing a rash, and as students could be at school for as long as 21 days before a rash develops, it is essential to keep unvaccinated pupils away from school for that period to minimize the exposure of other students from the disease.

The county has confirmed 16 cases of the disease, among 46 confirmed cases in California.

In late December an outbreak was reported among people who had visited Disneyland, but health officials in San Diego and Orange county have now confirmed the outbreak has spread beyond the initial cases.

Measles is spread through the air or contact with an infected person and is highly contagious.

It is characterized by fever, rash, cough and red, watery eyes.

Doctors advise that anyone who thinks they may be infected call their doctor immediately.

Michael Larkin and Annette Arreola contributed to this report

<![CDATA[5 Myths About the Flu Debunked]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 21:58:16 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/denver-FLU-460977406.jpg

Flu is widespread across the United States, in a season made even more severe by a disappointing vaccine that's not very effective at battling the predominant strain that's now making people sick.

This year's vaccine is only 23 percent effective because the H3N2 strain of influenza A, a different strain from the one the vaccine protects against, began circulating just after the vaccine was created. When H3N2 is the dominant strain, it can cause more serious illness than other types of flu.

With several weeks of flu season left, here are some myths about the flu, and what you should know about them.

This year’s vaccine isn’t effective, so there’s no point in my getting it now.

Not so, medical professionals say. Even a less effective vaccine can still prevent hospitalizations and deaths, particularly among older people and young children. And it still might protect against strains that are not yet circulating.

I don’t need a flu shot year after year.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you get a vaccine every year even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed. Your immune protection from the vaccination will decline over time.

I’m afraid the flu shot will give me the flu.

A flu shot will not cause the flu because the viruses either have been inactivated and are no longer infectious or were made with no viruses at all. The nasal spray vaccine also won’t give you the flu because the viruses have been weakened.

Even if I do get the flu, it won’t kill me.

Flu can be a serious illness, particularly for young children, senior citizens and those with such chronic conditions as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. On average thousands die each year from the flu, a number that can fluctuate depending on which strain is circulating. The CDC has estimated from a low of 3,000 deaths to a high of 49,000 between the 1976-1977 and 2006-2007 seasons.

There are no effective treatments against the flu.

There are three antiviral drugs approved for treatment: Tamiflu, Relenza and Rapivab.

Source: The Centers for Disease Control

Photo Credit: Denver Post via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wendy's Drops Soda from Kids Meal]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:35:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/SodaBan.jpg

Wendy's has won praise from children's advocacy groups for its recent move to stop displaying soda on its children's menus.

Groups such as MomsRising.org, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and the Center for Science in the Public Interest have long urged Wendy's and other fast-food chains to take soda off the children's menu as part of a push to get the restaurants to offer more nutritional meal options.

Last fall, Wendy's decided to make the change, the chain's spokesman confirmed in an email. The menu boards both in stores and online now show only low-fat white or chocolate milk, bottled water and 100 percent juice drinks, said spokesman Bob Bertini, who added that soda was never the default drink choice for the meal. 

The groups calling for the changes argue that soda is not an appropriate beverage choice for children, citing “reputational” health problems and risks that sugary drinks cause like diabetes, heart disease, obesity and tooth decay.

"While parents bear most of the responsibility for feeding their children well, restaurant chains also need to do their part," Jessica Almy, CSPI senior nutrition policy counsel, said in a statement. "Restaurants should not be setting parents up for a fight by bundling soda with meal options designed for kids.”

Almay added that Wendy's move is a “responsible step” that aims to improve the health of children and for parents to make healthier food choices for them. She hopes other food-chains including Burger King, Applebee's and IHOP will follow suit.

In 2013, McDonald's agreed to drop soda from its Happy Meal menus. That policy goes into effect this year. The moves by Wendy’s and McDonald's leaves Burger King as the only one of the top three fast-food chain to still include soda in meals for children, according to CSPI.

The groups said that next step Wendy's should take is to offer more nutritious menu options for both children and adults. This, they said, should include whole grain rolls, fruits and vegetables, and also reducing sodium across the menus. Frostys, the fast-food chain’s signature frozen dessert that is made from Grade A milk and rich cream, should also be dropped from the children's menu, the groups said.

Bertini signaled more changes could come, saying Wendy's does "intend to continue working to enhance our Kids’ Meal offerings to provide even more nutritious, great-tasting products that children enjoy and that parents feel good about serving."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Super Snack Bars]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 17:33:02 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/snack+bars+cr.jpg

The most overcrowded section of your grocery store may well be the snack bar aisle. Snack bars are a handy, grab-and-go food. But there’s a difference between those that are healthy and the ones that have a lot of sugar and saturated fat.

Consumer Reports evaluated 28 bars and rated them for nutrition and taste.

Lots of bars boast about their protein content. But watch out for “soy protein isolate,” when it’s listed as the first ingredient. It’s a processed ingredient that manufacturers put in to boost the protein content. It’s better to get most of your protein from natural sources, like nuts.

Testers found some standouts like the Kind Plus Cranberry Almond bar. It’s top-rated and costs $1.25. It has whole almonds, macadamia nuts and dried cranberries. The nuts add some fat, so eat in moderation.

Abound Pomegranate and Cranberry from CVS is a Best Buy at 80 cents. The bars are chewy, with a mix of oats, almonds, cranberries and blueberries, and rated “Very Good” for nutrition.

The Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate bar from Raw Revolution is $1.60. It’s dense and chewy, with a good balance of chocolate, peanuts and dates. It has 6 grams of protein, and while it does have 12 grams of fat, very little of it is saturated fat.

If you’re tempted to grab a snack bar instead of breakfast or lunch, Consumer Reports says make it a real meal by pairing it with a banana and a small container of yogurt. You’ll get the healthy benefits of a meal for about 400 calories.

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[Boy Finally Breathing on His Own After 65 Surgeries]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 10:22:50 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_batteryboy0112001_700x394.jpg

After 4 years and 65 surgeries, an Arizona boy who swallowed a button battery is finally able to talk and breathe on his own.

When Emmett Rauch, of Peoria, was 1-year-old, he swallowed the nickel-sized, lithium battery from a DVD remote, NBC Affiliate AZCentral reported. It burned his esophagus and closed off his airway after becoming lodged in his throat.

In one of the major surgeries Emmett, who is now 5, underwent to correct the damage, surgeons used half his stomach to recreate his esophagus, his mother Karla Rauch wrote in an article published on "Today." However, the “tissue was so damaged it didn’t hold up.”

But with additional surgeries and recovery, Emmett had his tracheostomy tube removed in December  and now he is breathing on his own, AZCentral reported.

"I mean he can go and be a little boy and not have this thing sticking out of his neck," Karla Rauch told AZCentral. She also wrote that he "is relearning how to swallow and can almost eat a whole piece of pizza.”

Now, Emmett’s parents have made it her mission to spread awareness about the dangers of button, coin and cell batteries. They have helped start a campaign with Safe Kids and National Poison Control to support the cause.

“I am grateful that there is some sort of silver lining and that is helping to save other children from suffering and possibly losing their lives,” Karla wrote to “Today.”

<![CDATA[Texas-Based H-E-B Issues Tortilla Recall]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 19:25:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/heb-recall.jpg

H-E-B has issued a voluntary recall specifically for the H-E-B Homestyle White Corn Tortillas due to the possible presence of foreign material.

The Texas-based company discovered the issue on January 13, 2015 during quality assurance product reviews at its manufacturing facility.

This recall is specific to only the 12 count and 30 count packages of H-E-B Homestyle White Corn Tortillas with a Best Buy Date of January 22, 2015 and earlier.

The affected products include:

  • H-E-B Homestyle White Corn Tortillas 12 ct. packages with Best By dates of January 22, 2015 and earlier
  • H-E-B Homestyle White Corn Tortillas 30 ct. packages with Best By dates of January 22, 2015 and earlier

No other H-E-B tortilla products are impacted by this voluntary precautionary recall.

There have been no reported illnesses related to this recall.

"H-E-B takes every precaution necessary to ensure the integrity and quality of the products sold in our stores," said Winell Herron, Group Vice President of Public Affairs and Diversity. "These voluntary recalls have been issued in an abundance of caution to maintain the highest standards of food safety for our customers."

Any products purchased from the list above should be returned to any H-E-B store for a full refund.

Customers with concerns or questions may contact H-E-B Customer Relations at 210-938-8357 or 1-800-432-3113 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Click here for H-E-B's website.

<![CDATA[Health Experts Look to Link Enterovirus-D68, Paralysis]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 13:14:14 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Bryan+Sotelo+enterovirus+68.jpg

Health experts are working to find out how enterovirus-D68 is connected to paralysis.

Doctors suspect the virus has been around for years and they're now trying to determine if there is any link between the two after as many as eight American children with paralysis also tested positive for enterovirus-D68, including one child in North Texas who is now re-learning how to walk.

“This was the first year we saw a big spike in the numbers and we don’t know why,” said Dr. Benjamin Greenberg, with Children’s Health and UT Southwestern.

Greenberg is among several doctors across the nation trying to find a link between the virus and paralysis.

“If we find the virus directly damaged the spinal cord of patients, then we as a community need to develop drugs that treat the virus,” Greenberg said.

One of the cases doctors may study is that of 11-year-old Bryan Sotelo. In November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed he had EVD-68 after doctors first suspected it back in July when he first came to Children’s Medical Center and could barely move.

Now, Bryan is slowly recovering.

“What's concerning to us is, was it a hit and run? Or are we going to see this virus year after year? And if it's causing paralysis then we need to do something about the virus itself,” Greenberg said.

Greenberg said many of the children sickened with the virus are recovering from their paralysis but very slowly.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[MorningStar Farms Recalls Veggie Burgers]]> Mon, 12 Jan 2015 15:21:44 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/morningstar-recall.jpg

MorningStar Farms has issued a voluntary of some of its products.

The company is recalling certain code dates of Spicy Black Bean Burgers and Chipotle Black Bean Burgers because they may contain undeclared peanut.

MorningStar Farms stated that one of the spice ingredients used in Black Bean Burgers and Chipotle Black Bean Burgers may contain peanut, an allergen that is not declared on the products’ ingredient statements.

Consumers who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Click here for a list of the affected products.

These products were distributed nationwide in the U.S. at both retail stores and through foodservice channels.

No illnesses have been reported in connection with this recall.

Consumers may contact the company's Consumer Response Center using the Contact Us feature on its website or by calling 1-800-962-0120 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Flu Cases Take Dip in Early January]]> Fri, 09 Jan 2015 22:31:05 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/flu+shot1.jpg

The worst of the flu season could be behind North Texas now, but health experts are not ready to breathe a sigh of relief quite yet.

Doctors at Children’s Health said they have seen a decrease in flu activity so far this month compared to the hard-hit month of December.

Through the first week of January, Children’s Health has administered 301 rapid flu tests, and 12 percent of those came back positive. Children’s Health says that’s about half as many cases as it had last month.

“This is because Dallas was one of the hardest hit in December across the country, and that means we'll probably see fewer cases in the next few weeks,” said Dr. Ray Tsai, with Children’s Health.

New figures from Dallas County show the first week of January there were about 600 fewer tests administered compared to the last week of December.

“There’s many reasons why Dallas was hit hard this December from flu-A. It could be because many people didn’t get vaccinations, because of other events this fall,” Tsai said.

Still, doctors are forecasting flu type-B to pop up in the coming weeks.

“Flu-B usually lags a few weeks to months later, so it’s not too late to get your flu vaccine,” added Tsai.

Even if you have had the flu type-A strain, the vaccine also covers the type-B strain of the flu, so it’s still worthy to get the shot, he said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Hospitals Work to Keep Most Vulnerable Flu-Free]]> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 19:13:42 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/flu+shot+generic.jpg

Doctors and nurses in the Texas Health Presbyterian Denton Neonatal Intensive Care Unit aren’t taking any chances with the widespread flu outbreak in North Texas.

The NICU cares for premature and still developing newborns in Denton. The patients are often some of the youngest and most vulnerable who simply can’t be exposed to the flu virus.

"They don't have the resistance to infections that adults do,” said Neonatologist Dr. Richard Sidebottom.

So, the NICU is one of the “high risk” areas of the hospital taking on extra precautions right now to keep the flu epidemic out.

The area is always locked down in a building separated from most of the hospital’s population.

Also, normally only family is allowed in to interact with their baby and are required to scrub their hands for three minutes in an isolation room before entering and wear protective masks and gloves if they show any sign of illness.

Now with the nasty flu season, the hospital has cut down the visitor limits to only allow parents and grandparents into the ward and only if they’ve had a flu shot.

All staff in the NICU, and hospital wide, are also required to have a flu shot with few exceptions.

Aside from the isolated areas like the NICU, Texas Health Presbyterian is also stressing hand washing and sanitizing throughout their facilities as they stay very busy with flu patients right now.

"The best way to decrease infections is to wash your hands,” said Sidebottom. "Not that much disease is passed even through coughing. It's usually through hand contact."

Sidebottom and staff are also stressing the flu shot to all patients, but especially to expecting moms right now. He said it’s another safe-guard to keep the flu away from newborns and also, hopefully, pass some of its antibodies onto the child.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Doctors Brace for More North Texas Flu]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 18:31:52 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/FW+Flu+Fight+010914.jpg

After peaking in December, health experts forecast another boost in the number of North Texas flu patients as holiday vacations end.

Dallas County Health Department figures show a high of 1,475 positive flu tests the week of Dec. 13, then 1,359 the week of Dec. 20 and 1,187 the week of Dec. 27.

Health Director Zachary Thompson said cases typically rise when people return to places where they are more likely to come in contact with the flu.

“People were on vacation. Now people are returning to Dallas County, going back to school. The true numbers will come out as we move forward in the next two weeks,” he said. “Hopefully no one is going back to work or school sick, and so that’s the key point to reduce the transmission of the virus.”

Care Now clinics in North Texas saw the number of flu patients peak around Christmas.

Waiting rooms were full and staff worked overtime, according to Dr. Martin Jones, medical director for 23 Care Now clinics in North Texas.

“I doubt that we’ll see anything like this, but there will be a bump that comes about a week after kids start school,” Jones said.

Medication is available to treat the flu but Jones said it works best when started within 48 hours of getting sick.

“So, if somebody comes in much later than that, the medicine we have for it is less effective,” he said.

Experts say it is still not too late to get protection from a flu shot, even though this season’s shot is not as effect against some flu strains going around.

Thompson and Jones agree some protection is better than no protection. And Jones said patients who came down with the flu even after a shot seemed to have milder cases than those who had no shot at all.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[The DMN's Dr. Seema Yasmin: The Flu]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:51:27 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dmn_flu_1200x675_380611139938.jpg The Dallas Morning News health expert Dr. Seema Yasmin discusses the flu amid concerns about how quickly it will spread with school back in session.]]> <![CDATA[Doctors Urge Parents: Keep Sick Kids at Home]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:43:39 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/flu+shot+generic.jpg

The number of flu cases is spiking just as kids are returning to school from winter break, and school officials urge parents to keep sick children at home.

Doctors recommend that kids who haven't fully recovered from the flue or seem like they're becoming sick should not go to school. They also suggest reminding kids to frequently wash their hands and not share food or drinks.

"The biggest risk to getting the flu is being exposed to the flu," Highland Park Emergency Center's Jeff Erdner said. "Schools are an area where everyone keeping those kids home will be the most helpful."

Even those who received a flu shot are susceptible, as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said this year's shot is less effective because of a virus mutation.

Officials with several school districts told NBC 5 that they have cleaning crews disinfect the schools daily, especially areas like drinking fountains and doorknobs.

"Washing your hands, covering your mouth whenever you cough and sneeze, all those are habits that have been taught to the children," Daffron Elementary School principal CIndy Guinn said. "Our custodians do a great job keeping our building clean. And teachers remind students daily to use their anti-bacterial."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Reports 7th Case of Chikungunya]]> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 19:51:58 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP702217698660.jpg

A seventh case of chikungunya has been reported this season 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 Honduras.

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[Dallas County Reporting Four Flu-Related Deaths]]> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 22:42:19 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-000054.jpg

Four adults have died in Dallas County as a result of the flu this season, according to the latest figures from Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The latest two deaths have been reported since mid-December, and no further details were released other than they were Dallas County residents.

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

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

The busiest place to be in Dallas County these days appears to be an emergency room.

Dr. Cedric Spak deals with infectious diseases at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and just wrapped up a shift Friday night.

“They come in with fever, chills, cough,” said Dr. Spak.

New numbers from county health officials show many doctors are seeing patients with the flu or flu-like symptoms.

More than 4,000 people were tested for flu last week, and of those 28.6 percent tested positive and 128 had to be hospitalized.

Most are getting sick with a strain of influenza Type A, not covered by the vaccine.

“Individuals who consider themselves healthy who resist getting the flu shot are actually

contributing to the success of the flu, leading to people getting sicker,” said Dr. Spak.

Perhaps the silver lining is Dallas County notes there has been a small dip compared to earlier in the month.

“We probably are right at the peak. Sometimes the flu will even fool us and do a second spike,” explained Dr. Spak.

Doctors say it is still better to get the flu shot to give yourself a layer of protection. It could also help in preventing you from getting terribly sick, if you do indeed get the flu.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Doctors, Pharmacies Busy With Post-Holiday Rush]]> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 18:47:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP100805142492.jpg

North Texas pharmacies and doctor’s offices are seeing an after-the-holidays rush as they reopen for business.

“The biggest trend is going to be distinguishing between a cold and the flu,” said pharmacist Dr. Crystal Blade of Texas Star Compounding Pharmacy in Plano.

While the flu is still prevalent, Blade and Dr. James Pinckney of Diamond Physicians in Dallas say early numbers may show a peak to the season that happened the week of Christmas.

They warn, however, that would be an early peak, and remain cautiously optimistic.

“Moral of the story – if you haven’t gotten your flu shot, that’s the best way to prevent it. The flu is definitely going around,” said Blade.

However, the over-the-counter allergy medicine shelves at Texas Star Compounding Pharmacy are selling out of medicine quickly.

Along with normal Texas ragweed, the forecast predicts juniper and mountain cedar, which can lead to “cedar fever”, an allergy reaction common in Austin.

“That could be the common cold, it could be the flu or it could be run of the mill sinus allergies,” said Pinckney, who is seeing all three in his practice.

While allergies and the common cold can produce a fever, patients with the flu have a higher temperature that can last for days.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Top Treadmills and Ellipticals]]> Thu, 01 Jan 2015 17:27:38 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/treadmills.jpg

You want to exercise, but can’t find the time. That’s one of the most common reasons people skip their workouts. Consumer Reports just tested treadmills and ellipticals for your home, which will save you commute time to the gym. But you want one that you’ll keep using for years to come.

Consumer Reports evaluates exercise range because you want a machine to be able to keep up with you as your fitness level increases. Testers also look at how easy the machines are to use.

The recommended $3,700 Precor TRM-243 treadmill has a screen that looks like a tablet. And the buttons on the top-performing, $2,300 Sole TT8 are easy to read and push while you’re on the move.

For a lot less, consider the $1,500 NordicTrack Commercial 1750. While it did show a little wear in Consumer Reports’ durability tests, it offers excellent exercise range. Plus it folds up so it’ll save space, too.

As for ellipticals, Consumer Reports says ergonomics are key. A good machine like the Schwinn 470 smooths out the pedaling. It also offers 29 different pre-set workouts and is a Consumer Reports Best Buy at $800.

Whatever exercise equipment you buy, Consumer Reports says it’s a good idea to bring your sneakers to the store to try it out and make sure the machine is comfortable for your body.

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[Making Weight Loss Goals a Reality ]]> Thu, 01 Jan 2015 16:54:03 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/weight-scale-generic.jpg

Dieting. It’s easily one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions. However, many health experts say, when it comes to "going on a diet," most people go about it all wrong.

We decided to look into some of the most popular diets out there, explain them-and have two health experts weigh in on them.

We started with the Atkins diet. This by far one of the most long standing and popular diets. it requires you to significantly lower your intake of carbs. The problem according to many experts is most people take it to the extreme and completely cut out carbs.

Jarett Nobles is a personal trainer at Trophy Fitness in Dallas. He is certified by the National Association of Sports Medicine. "Cutting carbs all the all the way is where a lot of people fall into trouble," said Nobles. "You have the instant success of pulling carbs, so you lose weight, but then there are the cons," he said. "Your body is constantly running on nothing . There are a lot of health risks with no carbohydrates, hormonal damage can show up and that’s going to slow your metabolism more."

The gluten free diet has picked up a lot of steam in recent years. NASM certified trainer Elisa Jacobo is the lead trainer at Trophy Fitness. "The craze is, if I stop eating glueten and breads, I’ll lose weight,” she said.

According to Jacobo, the gluten free diet is great for people who have gluten allergies or celiac disease, but leaves something to be desired for most others. "Everyone just started saying, 'oh, well when I stopped eating bread, I felt better,' well, a lot of times, it’s not about the bread, its about what you put on the bread.”

Her final verdict, many who try the gluten free diet end up cutting carbs, which cuts energy, which forces your body to take from your muscles, slowing your metabolism. She also said, it’s an expensive diet to maintain.

The Paleo diet is also very popular among people who do crossfit training. It’s referred to as the cave man’s diet. Nobles said, the trouble with the Paleo Diet is, it eliminates food groups, which in the long term can leave your body lacking certain nutrients, which he says can be dangerous and unsustainable.

"A lot of times, the issue with that is, you start running into eliminating nutrients, like vitamins, and we start losing some of those, and fibers, and that is going to ultimately have the health concerns on the back end of it," he said.

Juicing is also a popular diet for people trying to lose weight. Jacobo says, similar to other diets, it definitely has its merits. It’s when people take it to the extreme, like living exclusively on juices for long periods of time, that things can go wrong. According to Jacobo, "Your body is constantly in survival mode, so the more you deprive it of what it needs, the more you’re harming it.”

On diets in general, Jacobo says, "Our body will look for the route of least resistance, so it’s going to hold on to fat if you try to deprive it of fat, because it’s protecting the organs.”

Both Jacobo and Nobles agree, if you’re going into the new year with hopes of health and sustained weight loss, the best moves you can do right now are drink lots of water, get lots of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and don’t be afraid to reach out to a trainer or other health expert for a consultation. You might be closer to your goals than you think.

According to Nobles and Jacobo. 

Biggest Mistakes men make when it comes to building muscle and losing weight according to Jarett Nobles

"Guys tend to focus in on one or two body parts and hammer it out. To actually increase your hormones and stimulate muscle growth and fat burn, you need to train your whole body, and you need to actually feed it. Since men have a higher

muscle content, we want to make sure that your proteins are up, along with your healthy fats from red meats, mono unsaturated fats from avocados and nuts, that will optimize your cholesterol and testosterone levels and really keep your

body functioning on all levels".

Biggest Mistakes women make when it comes to weight loss according to Elisa Jacobo

"Women need more calcium and we need more fat. We naturally have that in our bodies, so when we cut those out, our bodies go into shock. Women need to lift weights and take in protein. Protein gives us better skin, hair, and we need

those fats to get the proteins to where they need to go."

"Cutting things out of your diet to lose weight is going to be more harmful in the long run, so you might lose a ton of water and cut a lot of muscle off, but your muscle is what keeps your metabolism going. I think women have this idea

that if they take their calories down to nearly nothing, physically they’re doing themselves good, but you’re actually going in the opposite direction. Women have to be more accountable to what their bodies need." 

Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[CDC: Flu Reaching Epidemic Levels ]]> Wed, 31 Dec 2014 06:19:20 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_1_flu.jpg

The Centers for Disease Control says the flu has reached epidemic levels and caused the deaths of 15 children around the country.

This happens every year, but Dallas County doctors say it’s happening sooner than it did last year. A snapshot of the flu numbers in Dallas County shows that last week there were 1359 flu cases last month. During the week ending Nov. 22, that number was at 326.

Doctors at Children’s Health System of Texas in Dallas said they see hundreds of cases daily.

“It was really early- to mid-January before we saw that many positive cases last year,” said Dr. LeAnn Kridelbaugh.

Doctors at Children’s Health said they see a lot of influenza-A, and the strain of the virus not covered by the flu vaccine.

“I know one day last week or the week prior, we had over 600 children come through the emergency room,” she recalled. “That's a lot of children to put through one emergency room in a 24-hour period.”

Still, the CDC recommends people get the vaccine as it “can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death,” according to a CDC statement.

Also, a new drug is being added to treat flu symptoms. Doctors said it’s best to discuss this with your own physician.

Statement from the CDC:

The United States experiences epidemics of seasonal flu each year and right now, all of CDC’s influenza surveillance systems are showing elevated activity. P&I (the surveillance system that tracks mortality) shows that we are in the midst of this season’s flu epidemic, but so does the influenza-like-illness (ILI) surveillance system, which has been over baseline for the past 5 weeks, as well as our virologica surveillance system, which is showing increases in the numbers of influenza virus detections, and our hospitalization surveillance systems, which shows increasing hospitalizations rates, especially in people 65 and older. During influenza season, ILI increases first and then hospitalizations increase and then increases in deaths occur so what we are seeing is a typical pattern for the flu season.

At this point, CDC is still recommending that unvaccinated people get their flu vaccines. While some of the viruses spreading this season are different from what is in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death. CDC also is reminding clinicians and the public that people with high risk factors who get flu symptoms should be evaluated for possible treatment with flu antiviral drugs. It’s very important that antiviral drugs are used early to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at higher risk for flu complications based on their age or underlying medical conditions (older people, young children, pregnant women, people with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, etc…). Please note that previously, the neuraminidase inhibitors oseltamivir and zanamivir were the only recommended influenza antiviral drugs, but on December 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Rapivab (peramivir) to treat influenza infection in adults. Our web content is still being updated to reflect that change.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Flu Deaths in U.S. Reach Epidemic Level: CDC]]> Tue, 30 Dec 2014 16:33:53 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/104718836.jpg

Fifteen children have died from flu complications, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to formally declare the latest rise in the virus as an epidemic.

Of all deaths reported in a survey of 122 cities this flu season, 6.8 percent were linked to pneumonia and influenza.

Since the agency's last weekly report, the number of states that have reported escalating illnesses has also risen from 13 to 22.

“The United States experiences epidemics of seasonal flu each year and right now, all of CDC’s influenza surveillance systems are showing elevated activity,” CDC spokeswoman Darlene M. Foote said in an email. These surveillance systems monitor the numbers of virus detections, hospitalizations, and deaths across the U.S.

The report also specifically pointed to the H3N2 strain of the virus as the culprit in the latest outbreak.

This year’s flu vaccine protects against three to four strains of flu, H3N2 being one of them. However, the strain of H3N2 causing many to get sick has mutated and only about half of cases match the vaccine, the CDC has said.

“At this point, CDC is still recommending that unvaccinated people get their flu vaccines,” Foote wrote. “While some of the viruses spreading this season are different from what is in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.”

Although an average of 24,000 Americans die each flu season, the CDC prefers to use a range to convey how variable the flu can be. It estimates that from the 1976-1977 flu season to the 2006-2007 season, flu-related deaths in America ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.

The latest report of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths follow a typical pattern for a flu season, the CDC said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Urgent Care Centers Deal with Flu Rush]]> Mon, 29 Dec 2014 18:50:29 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/flu+shot+generic.jpg

Every exam room was full and the lobby was packed at the Denton Regional Medical Center Urgent Care Monday afternoon, and it was no secret to the nurses inside why.

“The flu,” said nurse manager Patrick LaFontaine. “Anybody who’s presenting with any sort of flu-like symptoms are automatically getting swabbed for the flu, and many times it is coming back positive.”

LaFontaine’s clinic at Rayzor Ranch in Denton has seen a big flu spike in the past few weeks.

They report a more than 40-percent increase in cases from this time last year.

Other urgent care centers in town report similar situations.

Crews at Minor Emergency of Denton said Monday that they were packed and seeing patients all day; the majority with flu symptoms. Other clinics and work places had to work short-staffed Monday as many of their own employees called in sick after the holidays.

In the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday, Texas continued to be listed as “widespread” with flu cases, as did the majority of the United States.

The report, which covered the week ending Dec. 20, showed that total new flu cases reported dipped slightly, but Denton County Chief Epidemiologist Juan Rodriguez pointed out that doesn’t necessarily mean the flu has spiked. He said the report also shows that the percent of flu tests coming back positive remains on the rise.

“Everything looks like it’s still trending upwards,” said Rodriguez.

Denton County’s latest count showed about 241 cases in a single week, up from 183 the week previous and the first time this season the county has seen a report of at least 200 new cases.

Rodriguez said the last few years have produced early flu peaks and he’s hopeful that may be in sight for this year as well.

“I definitely think there will be an early peak, so probably in the next couple weeks we might be seeing the worst of the flu season,” he said.

However nurses like LaFontaine say they aren’t dropping their guard, because even if flu season peaks in coming weeks, it won’t likely end until early Spring.

“Busy days ahead of us,” said LaFontaine. “It will put you down and out for sure.”

Health officials continue to stress good hand washing, coughing into your arm and other common flu prevention methods. They also still recommend the flu shot for people who haven’t gotten one yet.

LaFontaine said they’ll continue to treat the flu aggressively.

“Treating them with Tamiflu and supportive therapy which includes rest, fluids, fever control,” he said.

However, his top advice: if you do get sick, stay home and help prevent the illness from spreading.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[244,000 Pounds of Meat Products Recalled In Texas]]> Mon, 29 Dec 2014 16:14:08 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/recalled-meat.jpg

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported three Texas companies recalled nearly a quarter of million pounds of meat sold recently due to misbranding and undeclared peanut allergens in seasoning.

People with allergic reactions to peanuts can have a life-threatening reaction if they consume the following products


San Antonio-based H-E-B issued a statement concerning the precautionary recall of more than 83,000 pounds of pork products, including:

  • H-E-B Bulk Tray Pack Chorizo - Random Weight Sell By 11/4/2014 through 12/28/14
  • H-E-B Retail Tray Pack Chorizo - Random Weight Sell By 10/25/2014 through 1/4/2015
  • H-E-B Cryovac Pork Al Pastor - Random Weight Sell By 10/31/2014 through 1/9/2015

For questions or concerns, call 210-938-8357 or 800-432-3113. The Customer Service phone lines will be staffed weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. according to H-E-B.

Garcia Foods, Inc.

San Antonio-based Garcia Foods, Inc., issued a statement about the recall of more than 190,000 pounds of pork products, including:

  • 12-oz. vacuum-packed, raw pork sausage link pieces of “HILL COUNTRY FARE CHORIZO.”
  • 8-oz. vacuum-packed, raw pork sausage chubs of “HILL COUNTRY FARE CHORIZO.”

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 13205A” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were shipped to retail locations in Texas.

If you have questions or concerns, call Pete Santos, SQF Practitioner at 210-349-6262, Ext. 224.

J & B Sausage Company

Dallas-based J & B Sausage Co. issued a statement about the recall of more than 45,000 pounds of chicken and beef products, including:

  • 5-lb. packages of fully cooked “Chefs-In-A-Bag CHICKEN TACO FILLING.”
  • 1-lb. packages of HEB “FULLY COOKED Texas Style BEEF CHILI No Beans.”
  • 1-lb. packages of HEB “FULLY COOKED Taqueria Style PICADILLO Seasoned Ground Beef with Potatoes, Onion, Tomatoes and Peppers.”
  • 1-lb. packages of HEB “FULLY COOKED CARNE GUISADA Seasoned Beef in Gravy.”

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 7066 or P-7066” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were shipped to H-E-B retail locations in Texas and the Garland Independent School District.

For questions or concerns, call Bonnie Hyman, Risk Management at 830-203-9002.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Pharmacies Could Have Tamiflu Shortages]]> Fri, 26 Dec 2014 22:36:53 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Tamiflu+Image.jpg

On the day after Christmas, clinics across North Texas were full of patients with flu-like symptoms. But one of the most popular drugs used to fight the flu could be difficult to find in stock.

Some pharmacies have reported temporary shortages in the liquid form of Tamiflu.

At CityDoc in Uptown Dallas, one doctor said Friday was the second busiest day of the flu season, only trailing the day after Thanksgiving.

“It started right at 8 a.m. this morning. Everybody was coming in through the door, and it keeps going, and I suspect we will still be busy probably until late this evening,” said Dr. Chin Vu.

Pete Marino was one of the people seeing a doctor Friday morning. He started feeling sick the day before Christmas, but many urgent care clinics were closed on Christmas Day.

“Started to get the fever and the chills. Temperature went up on the 24th so I was supposed to go to family's but of course I didn't want to bring any of that to the kids,” said Marino.

Marino was treated with Tamiflu, and the need seems to be growing.

NBC 5 checked with both CVS and Walgreens about their supplies of the flu-fighting drug.

A spokesperson from Walgreens said right now, they are meeting the demand. But he added they are seeing an increase in flu activity, and some locations may experience a temporary shortage. He suggested patients call ahead to confirm availability.

A spokesperson from CVS told NBC 5 there have been intermittent shortages of the liquid version of Tamiflu, but not the capsules, due to the suppliers' challenges to meet the current demand.

He added that if the liquid option is out, patients can speak to the pharmacist about the option of having capsules compounded to a liquid suspension.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News ]]>
<![CDATA[Flu Keeps North Texas Doctors Busy on Christmas]]> Thu, 25 Dec 2014 19:43:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Sneezing+allergy.jpg

It has been a tough flu season in North Texas and the virus doesn't take a holiday. Texas is one of dozens of states reporting widespread flu activity this Christmas.

“I’ll trade in the Care Bears, I’ll give you the Connect Four back, we’ll give you the fuzzy socks, anything for our stockings. You can have it just for Tamiflu,” said Paige Chenault.

Chenault thinks she is coming down the flu, but her husband, Colin, believes he’s had it for a couple days. The couple set out in search of a doctor, but the Chenault’s found most doctors and urgent care clinics closed on Christmas.

So instead, they stopped by the 24-hour Preston Hollow Emergency Room.

“I listened to my wife and daughter play with all the new Christmas stuff this morning from the other room while I was sleeping off and on, and it’s not fun, it’s not fun,” Colin Chenault said.

“I’m just trying to get ahead of the flu at this point,” Paige Chenault said. “My husband is down and out and I feel like it is right on the cusp, and being Christmas day, I’m just trying to get into the prevention mode before it really strikes.”

But, after spending on gifts this holiday season, the Chenaults decided to skip paying for emergency care and head back to bed instead.

Dr. Jeff Erdner with Preston Hollow 24-Hour Emergency Room in Dallas said the ER ran at least five or six positive flu tests Christmas Day. He said they included the typical flu symptoms people are complaining about: chills, body aches, sore throat, cough, congestion and fever.

Erdner said it’s important to seek care early and stay hydrated. Tamiflu is most effective when given within the first 48 hours.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Collin County Family Welcomes 'Miracle Baby']]> Wed, 24 Dec 2014 17:44:55 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Prater+family+St+Paul+Texas.jpg

A North Texas family is celebrating their early “Christmas miracle” this holiday season.

June Lane Prater came into the world healthy – and screaming, her parents say – about three weeks ago.

“We’re just really happy that this little miracle is here and healthy,” said mother Julie Prater, sitting next to her husband, Luke, and their 19-month-old son, Judd.

June’s birth was the end of a marathon 36-week pregnancy for Julie Prater, who at eight weeks along began having seizures.

The diagnosis from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center was grade IV glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain tumor.

Julie Prater waited until the beginning of her second trimester to go through surgery, and she postponed radiation until later in the pregnancy to protect her growing baby.

“There’s a God who performs miracles and I think she’s one of them,” Julie Prater said. “We went through neurosurgery together, two almost threatened miscarriages and radiation. When everyone leaves the room and she was in me. I think she’s a little miracle.”

Julie Prater has now started oral chemotherapy since her daughter’s birth.

She’ll continue with that line of treatment for the next year and said she and her family are enjoying every day that they have together.

The Praters are starting Head4Hope, a nonprofit for brain tumor research and awareness.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>