<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Health News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usThu, 19 Oct 2017 05:53:34 -0700Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:53:34 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Hepatitis A Outbreak]]> Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:26:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/New_Campaign_Promotes_Hepatitis_A_Vaccines_and_Prevention.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Gov. Calls for More Vaccines in Hep A Outbreak Emergency]]> Fri, 13 Oct 2017 15:39:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hepatitis+A+foto.jpg

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Friday over a widespread Hepatitis A outbreak, citing a need to increase the current adult vaccine supply.

San Diego County is currently experiencing the worst outbreak in the state, with 490 reported cases, 342 hospitalizations and 18 deaths, according to the CDPH's website

"Governor Brown is 100 percent correct. This is an emergency," said California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria, in a statement. "What started as an outbreak of Hepatitis A in San Diego County has snowballed into an epidemic affecting other areas of California like Los Angeles and Santa Cruz. We must contain this epidemic now."

According to the governor's emergency proclamation, this is the worst outbreak of Hepatitis A in the United States since the vaccine first became widely available 22 years ago.

The declaration will allow the state to increase its vaccine supply in an effort to fight the outbreak. The federally-funded supply of vaccines is not sufficient to meet California's current health and safety needs.

Several California counties have declared outbreaks, according to the proclamation. Most of these outbreaks are centered in homeless populations and some illicit drug users.

Santa Cruz has 71 reported cases and Los Angeles has eight. There are no reported deaths in these counties so far.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said the governor’s declaration allows the department to immediately purchase additional vaccines and coordinate distribution to those in the zones most at-risk, including the homeless population in San Diego and across the state.

“Vaccinating people at risk of exposure is the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread of hepatitis A infection during an outbreak,” said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH director and state public health officer, in a statement.

To date, the CDPH has distributed nearly 80,000 doses of the vaccine. The increase is necessary to continue to combat the outbreak, the department said.

As of Oct. 13, the State of California has distributed more than 37,000 vaccines to the County of San Diego, said Gloria. He thanked the governor for the declaration.

Gloria said he will continue working with state agencies to help end the epidemic.

The CDPH said the adult hepatitis A vaccine is different than the one given to children. The one given to children is in ample supply, the agency said.

Since 2006, children have received the Hepatitis A vaccine as part of their vaccinations required to attend school.

Brown's proclamation also allows Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) paramedics in affected areas to administer the appropriate vaccine to at-risk individuals.

More information about the state's outbreak is available on the CDPH website.

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<![CDATA[SDFD Personnel to Help Offer Hepatitis A Vaccines]]> Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:11:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/generic+san+diego+skyline+chopper.jpg

With new emergency protocols put in place by the state, San Diego Fire-Rescue personnel will soon be able to administer vaccines to help stop the spread of Hepatitis A amid the outbreak in San Diego.

Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency due to the statewide outbreak shortly after city officials made the announcement Friday.

The state Emergency Medical Services Authority has temporarily expanded state laws that govern paramedics so they can vaccinate at-risk populations, announced city officials. The process will begin next week.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) Chief Brian Fennessy and the city's ambulance provider, American Medical Response (AMR), launched the new partnership as a result of the emergency protocols.

"Nobody's attempted this before," said Fennessy.

State Assemblymember Todd Gloria advocated for the new protocols in an effort to ramp up the vaccination campaign. The County public health department also appealed to the state for a waiver so paramedics and firefighters could administer the shots, said Fennessy.

"The crews or firefighters are pretty innovative. They’ll figure out ways to approach the community,” said Fennessy. "We're just hoping people will take the offer of these vaccinations."

In the new program, the city will deploy a couple of three-person teams each day. The teams will include a firefighter paramedic, a captain and a registered nurse. They will be deployed to key hotspots determined by the county such as downtown, beach communities and other public areas.

"While cleaning our streets and providing sanitary places for people to go are important, we need to continue delivering vaccinations to this hard-to-reach population to stop this virus in its tracks," Faulconer said, in a prepared statement. "Giving our firefighters and paramedics the ability to provide critical vaccinations will help ensure we get the job done much faster."

SDFD paramedics must complete four hours of training from the County Health and Human Services Agency before they can work in the field, according to the city. The first training sessions were held on Thursday. Next week, the teams will begin vaccinating at-risk individuals.

"Last week, AMR paramedics were granted state and county approval to move forward with this new program," said Michael Murphy, Regional Director for AMR San Diego.

The teams will offer vaccines to at-risk individuals including homeless people, drug users and professionals who have regular interactions with high-risk groups.

The California Department of Public Health suggests anyone who has been exposed to the virus, and who has not been previously immunized for Hepatitis A, should consider getting vaccinated no later than two weeks after exposure.

"The biggest, best way to prevent the spread is vaccination," added Fennessy.

As part of the effort to combat the spread of Hepatitis A, the city has expanded 24-hour access to public restroomsinstalled handwashing stations with the county's help and started sanitizing public sidewalks with chlorine bleach solution three times per week.

Although it is peak fire season in San Diego County, Fennessy said this partnership should have a minimal effect on fire resources because they will use staff regularly assigned to administrative jobs. They also will only be using four SDFD staff members per day, out of nearly 1,300 members in their department.

According to the city, this effort will not cost any additional funding. Faulconer said the city has already spent millions of dollars on combatting the outbreak in an effort to save lives and may continue to do so.

On Monday, more than 200 women and children moved into new homeless shelters in Golden Hill. Faulconer said the effort to combat the outbreak by getting homeless individuals off the streets appears to be helping.

Click here to see a timeline of San Diego County's Hepatitis A Outbreak.

For more information, go to the county's website.


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<![CDATA[Local Soil Kitchen to Test Dirt for Metals]]> Fri, 13 Oct 2017 08:18:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Local_Soil_Kitchen_to_Test_Dirt_for_Minerals.jpg

NBC 7 Gaby Rodriguez reports.

Many Southern California homeowners work to develop a lush garden that lasts throughout the year. A successful vegetable or rose garden begins in the soil. Sometimes, there is something dangerous right under our feet.

Soil can contain dangerous levels of metals including lead.

High levels of lead can be found in dirt and could be harmful to you and your child’s health, according to researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

“It’s one of the mechanisms for children and adults actually to become poisoned by lead which can have a lot of negative impacts in our lives like in children, they can have lower IQ and you can have behavioral problems,” said Jane Willenbring Associate Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

This Saturday, a Soil Kitchen will be open for locals to bring a cup of soil from their gardens to be analyzed.

A gun acting as an X-ray will be used to determine the levels of metals in the soil.

The issue of harmful metals in soil is most prominent in urban areas, a fact suggested by the results of a recent study that named Philadelphia among the top 5 cities with high lead levels.

The event begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 14 at 4540 Ocean View Boulevard. Get more information here.

 

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<![CDATA[America's Obesity Epidemic Reaches Record High: Report]]> Thu, 12 Oct 2017 22:23:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_668885564479.jpg

Almost 40 percent of American adults are obese, the highest rate ever recorded for the United States, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly 20 percent of adolescents are obese, also a record high, NBC News reported. That comes out to one in five adolescents aged 12-19. Meanwhile, one in five kids aged 6-11 and one in 10 preschoolers aged 2-5 are obese.

"It's difficult to be optimistic at this point," said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. "The trend of obesity has been steadily increasing in both children and adults."

Obesity is medically defined as having a body-mass index of more than 30. Overweight and obese children have a higher risk to stay obese and childhood obesity is linked to a higher chance of early death in adulthood.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File]]>
<![CDATA[Experts Say Trump Order Could Upend Health Care System]]> Thu, 12 Oct 2017 13:02:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17285593800516.jpg

With Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare stalled, President Donald Trump issued a new executive order on Thursday that could undermine the law without Congress.

Experts say it has the potential to upend the current health care system for small businesses and individuals by opening up cheaper options for some customers, while spiking costs for others and encouraging more insurers to flee Obamacare’s exchanges.

Healthier customers, especially those making too much to qualify for subsidies, could abandon the exchanges for skimpier association plans, prompting insurers to hike premiums for the remaining sicker pool of customers.

Insurers and their customers won’t know the full effect of the executive order any time soon. It will likely take months, perhaps even a year or more, for agencies to examine the issues, propose new rules and then finalize them.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci]]>
<![CDATA[18 Die From Hep. A, Emergency Declaration Extended: County]]> Tue, 10 Oct 2017 17:44:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/generic+san+diego+skyline+chopper.jpg

The San Diego County Health and Human Services extended the local health emergency declaration and updated the number of people infected with the Hepatitis A virus Tuesday.

Eighteen people have died, and 490 cases have been confirmed as of Oct. 10, according to county officials. Of those cases, there have been 342 hospitalizations. 

County officials announced that the local health emergency declared on Sept. 1 will remain in effect for another two weeks, while they work to get a handle on the outbreak.

After a review of the current health situation, the County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to extend the declaration through Oct. 24. The board is required to review the declaration every 14 days.

The county will keep increasing its efforts to provide the public with vaccinations, sanitation and education, said the county's public health spokesperson Wilma Wooten.

A third of the cases involved people who used illicit drugs and are considered homeless. Of the cases, 25 percent are neither homeless or drug users.

Officials said 68,500 Hepatitis A vaccines have been given by health care systems or pharmacists to date, including nearly 54,000 to people at high risk. Local health care systems, community clinics and pharmacies provided more than 36,000 out of those vaccinations. Mass vaccination events, mobile vans and foot teams handed out about 21,600.

Additionally, local food handlers and at-risk professionals received 10,800 shots.

The City of San Diego has installed new bathrooms in the East Village to help curb the spread of the virus. That area has a high concentration of transients. Those restroom facilities will be maintained at least twice a day, and will be monitored by full-time security, the city said. 

There are currently 22 public restroom facilities in downtown San Diego, as listed here

City crews have also sanitized sidewalks in the downtown area and installed hand-washing stations.

Currently, there are 99 handwashing stations around the county, said county officials. The majority are located in the City of San Diego.

County health officials have also notified 14,000 food facilities in the area as well as agricultural growers and public pools. An extensive education campaign is underway with food handlers and restaurants.

The groups most at risk are the homeless and illegal drug users, as well as people who work with homeless individuals, men who have sex with men, people with chronic liver disease, travelers to certain countries and people with clotting disorders, according to the county.

More than 6,400 hygiene kits were handed out to the at-risk population, said county officials. Those kits included hand sanitizer, cleansing wipes, bottled water, a waste bag and information pamphlets on Hepatitis A prevention.

Due to the ongoing outbreak, health officials have also encouraged food handlers and people who work with the homeless to get vaccinated.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus that is highly contagious. The Hepatitis A virus can be contracted by touching objects or eating food that someone with the Hepatitis A infection has handled or by having sex with someone who has an HAV infection.

Some people get the virus but have no symptoms. Signs of infection include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, and diarrhea. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children.

The California Department of Public Health suggests anyone who has been exposed to the virus, and who has not been previously immunized for Hepatitis A, should consider getting vaccinated no later than two weeks after exposure.

Click here to see a timeline of San Diego County's Hepatitis A Outbreak.

For more information, go to the county's website.


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<![CDATA[Whole Foods Recalls Its Raisin Bran for Undeclared Peanuts]]> Mon, 09 Oct 2017 10:32:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/whole-foods-recall.jpg

Whole Foods Market has recalled some of its 365 Everyday Value Organic Raisin Bran across the country because the cereal contains undeclared peanuts, the Food and Drug Administration and grocery chain said. 

Boxes of the cereal contained Peanut Butter Cocoa Balls, the recall announcement said. Peanuts can cause a serious and sometimes life-threatening reaction for people who are allergic to the nuts. 

Whole Foods' voluntary recall is for 15 oz. boxes labeled "365 Everyday Value Organic Raisin Bran" with UPC code 9948243903 and a best-by date of June 4, 2018. The items were sold across the United States and online through Amazon.com. No reactions have been reported, Whole Foods and the FDA said on Friday. 

Customers can receive a full refund at stores with a valid receipt. Those with questions may call 1-844-936-8255 from 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. CST on weekdays, or between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekends.

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<![CDATA[14 Desperate Days: Anatomy of an Opioid Overdose Outbreak]]> Mon, 09 Oct 2017 07:34:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/fentanyl+10-09.PNG

An alert Georgia emergency room doctor who saw three strange overdose cases apparently related to the drug Percocet sounded the alarm to the Georgia Poison Center this June, NBC News reported, likely saving lives in an epidemic that began when a man arrived in Macon with a batch of little yellow pills.

Over two weeks, health officials dealt with 40 more cases like the first woman's, who took four hours to be revived after Narcan was administered. Six resulted in deaths.

When that first patient came to, she ripped a breathing tube out of her throat. "In the slightest of a whisper, she said she took a Percocet," Dr. Gregory Whatley said.

But after Whatley scrambled the poison center, which alerted local and federal investigators, toxicology tests determined that the pills weren't the opioid Percocet, but a new type of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that can be 50 times stronger than heroin.



Photo Credit: NBC 7, File]]>
<![CDATA[FDA: Drug Shortages Possible Due to Puerto Rico Power Outage]]> Fri, 06 Oct 2017 16:45:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PRmedicine_1200x675.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday warned that U.S. drug shortages are possible because power outages in Puerto Rico have stopped or limited production at many medicine factories there.

Nearly 10 percent of the medicines used by Americans, plus numerous medical devices, are made in Puerto Rico, which lost most electricity when it was hit hard by Hurricane Maria about two weeks ago.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement that the agency is working to prevent shortages of about 40 crucial medicines. He has declined to identify those medicines but said Friday that the FDA would disclose any shortages if they occur; drug shortages are routinely listed on the FDA's website.

"We're keeping a close watch on the most critical medical products," Gottlieb said.

The FDA is working with drugmakers and device manufacturers, who are trying to restore partial operations with backup generators, according to the statement. In the most urgent cases, the FDA is helping companies get fuel to keep their generators running and ship finished products.

At a news conference Thursday, Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello said power has been restored to 9 percent of customers. The government hopes to have the power back on for a quarter of the island within a month, and for the entire territory of 3.4 million people by March.

Gottlieb said the power disruptions could cause new medicine shortages and exacerbate shortages that existed before Hurricane Maria, and Irma before that, slammed the island.

At least for now, drugmakers say they should be able to prevent shortages by moving around inventory and, in some cases, increasing production at factories in other locations already making those products.

Medicines made in Puerto Rico include AstraZeneca's cholesterol drug Crestor, antibiotics and drugs for inflammation from Pfizer and Roche's Accu-Chek blood sugar test strips for diabetics. Eli Lilly makes the active ingredient for its diabetes medicines on the island. And Amgen, a huge biotech drugmaker, produces most of its medicines there, including widely used rheumatoid drug Enbrel, a number of cancer drugs, heart failure drug Corlanor and osteoporosis drugs Prolia and Xgeva.

Hurricane Maria didn't cause major damage to the roughly 80 medicine and device factories but many have needed cleanup and some repairs, according to several companies contacted by The Associated Press. The companies said operations were also hampered because workers couldn't get to factories and they were dealing with damage to their homes.

The medical products industry, which set up a large base in Puerto Rico decades ago to take advantage of since-expired tax advantages, is key to the financial health of the debt-laden territory. The FDA said medicines and medical devices account for about 30 percent of Puerto Rico's gross domestic product, and about 80 percent of those products are used by residents of Puerto Rico and the 50 states.




Photo Credit: AP/Ramon Espinosa, File]]>
<![CDATA[UC San Diego Team Works to Save Earth a Step at a Time]]> Fri, 06 Oct 2017 11:01:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Developing_Biodegradable_Flip_Flops.jpg

A group of UC San Diego researchers is working to save the environment, one step at a time.

Two years ago, a team of UCSD students, led by biology professor Stephen Mayfield and Skip Pomeroy, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry. created the world’s first algae-based surfboard.

Then, they began to look at other things made with polyurethane, including flip-flops.

According to the MacArthur Foundation, by the year 2050, there may be as much plastic in the ocean as fish, by weight.

Mayfield said a lot of that plastic comes from lost or discarded flip-flops.

“What a lot of people don’t understand is that as you travel around the world, they’re sort of one of the top 2 or 3 pollutants on the planet,” Mayfield said.

In fact, Mayfield said, more than three billion flip-flops are manufactured and sold worldwide, each year, and they are the number one shoe in China, India, and Africa.

The UCSD team is now working to create an algae-based flip-flop that is both renewable and biodegradable.

“Meaning that when we’re done with these things, some organism can eat them,” Mayfield said.

After months of research, the team unveiled a prototype this week that is 50 percent renewable and biodegradable. They hope to eventually get to 100 percent.

“We can do something about that, and we’re going to,” Mayfield said.

His goal is to have them in stores by next summer.

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<![CDATA[Timeline of San Diego's Hepatitis A Outbreak]]> Wed, 04 Oct 2017 15:39:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Hepatitis_A_Concerns.jpg

Here's a look at the 2017 Hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego - how it began, how it expanded and where we are now. 

For mobile users, click here to see timeline. 


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<![CDATA[20 More Hep A Cases Reported in San Diego]]> Wed, 04 Oct 2017 18:28:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SD-Transitional-Camp-1004.jpg

San Diego’s hepatitis A outbreak is far from over: 20 more cases of the infection have been reported since last week, bringing the tally for the countywide outbreak to 481 cases.

San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts on Wednesday said the latest tally includes 17 deaths and 337 hospitalizations in the hepatitis A outbreak that’s expected to last several months.

Meanwhile, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the City Operations Yard, located at 1484 Caminito Center and 20th and B streets, will be temporarily converted into a “transitional camp area” for the homeless.

The camp – set to open on Monday – will provide shelter for more than 200 people and their pets living on San Diego’s streets, plus access to bathrooms, showers, hand-washing stations, and storage for their belongings. Local nonprofit Alpha Project will help maintain operations at the camp. Shuttles will help transport people to and from the shelter.

Bob McElroy, of Alpha Project, said fences and trailers will be brought into the space Wednesday, with tents to follow.

Faulconer said the facility will serve the homeless as the City of San Diego works to install three temporary shelters in downtown San Diego, Barrio Logan and the Midway District within the next 60 to 90 days.

A spokesperson from Faulconer's office said this camp, plus the forthcoming shelters, will cost millions of dollars.

The camp and shelters are part of efforts by city leaders to provide sanitary living conditions for San Diego’s homeless population amid the spread of hepatitis A.

As of last week, local health officials said about one-third of the hepatitis A cases have involved people who used illicit drugs and are considered homeless. Of the cases, 25 percent are neither homeless or drug users.

County officials have not identified the locations of cases but did report last week to the County Board of Supervisors that there have been 38 cases in the unincorporated jurisdiction of the county. Of those, half were homeless, illicit drug users or both. 

As of Sept. 23, more than 42,000 vaccines have been administered in San Diego County. Close to 700 people were given the vaccine as a precaution after exposure to the virus.

Officials said 22,406 were given by health care systems or pharmacists but 15,662 vaccines were given by county staff in the field, in jails or detention centers or the county psychiatric hospital.

The City of San Diego has installed new bathrooms in the East Village to help curb the spread of the virus. That area has a high concentration of transients. Those restroom facilities will be maintained at least twice a day, and will be monitored by full-time security, the city said. There are now 22 public restroom facilities in downtown San Diego, as listed here

City crews have also sanitized sidewalks in the downtown area and installed hand-washing stations.

County health officials have also notified 14,000 food facilities in the area as well as agricultural growers and public pools. 

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus that is highly contagious. The Hepatitis A virus can be contracted by touching objects or eating food that someone with the Hepatitis A infection has handled or by having sex with someone who has an HAV infection.

Some people get the virus but have no symptoms. Signs of infection include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, and diarrhea. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children.

The California Department of Public Health suggests anyone who has been exposed to the virus, and who has not been previously immunized for Hepatitis A, should consider getting vaccinated no later than two weeks after exposure.

For more information, go to the San Diego County Hepatitis A Outbreak website. 



Photo Credit: Audra Stafford/NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Helping Your Family Cope with Catastrophes]]> Wed, 04 Oct 2017 07:12:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Helping_Your_Family_Cope_with_Catastrophes.jpg

Clark Smith, M.D. offers some advice for those who may be experiencing disaster fatigue.

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<![CDATA[How to Deal With Tragedy And Talk About It With Family]]> Tue, 03 Oct 2017 09:13:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/20171002+Hug.JPG

Feeling overwhelmed, powerless or angry as you watch news of another mass shooting, this one in Las Vegas? Those feelings are normal, even for people who don't have ties to Nevada or anyone there, according to counselors. 

There are tools that can help in handling those emotional reactions. NBC10 Philadelphia's Tracy Davidson spoke to a counselor in the area Monday about what you and those you love can do.

Q: I feel overwhelmed by the news. How do I process this?
A: Each person's reaction to a tragedy is unique to that individual and that's OK, said Dana Careless, a counselor from the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services.

Some people disconnect and shut off communication while others are active on social media, looking for answers and trying to stay informed. No matter how you deal with tragedy, it is important to take care of yourself. If you start to feel overwhelmed, "take a step back, take a deep breath, and disconnect if you need to," Careless said.

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Q: What things can I do to take care of myself?
A: Self-care is doubly important while we try to cope with trauma. Do what makes you happy or calms you down. Careless runs; some people choose yoga or swimming. Others need quiet time meditating, praying or listening to music. Careless said journaling can help some people.

Q: What should I do if I start to feel overwhelmed?
A: "It can be really, really easy to get caught up in all the information, to keep clicking and clicking," Careless said. She suggested people focus on staying grounded. Using your five senses can help you settle into the moment, she said; wherever you are, find five things you see, four things you hear, three things you touch, two things you smell and one thing you taste. Remember to take your time and breathe — in through your nose, out through your mouth, she said. 

Q: What if my children ask me about the event?
A: Careless suggested parents be open with children, if children want to talk. Don't shut down conversation or tell them to "get over it," she said. Try to normalize the discussion and reiterate to them that it is okay to be upset or confused by the tragedy. On the other hand, if they don't want to talk, give them some space until they feel like engaging. If your children seem to be struggling more than usual, consider reaching out for help or following up on their condition.

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Q: How long will it take to heal and move on?
A: Every person’s process is different. The way you begin to heal is individual, so do what is necessary to help start the process. If you or a loved one start to have irregular habits, such as lack of sleep or oversleeping, that continue past two weeks, consider talking to someone who can help.

The federal government's mental health agency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, has a 24-hour Disaster Relief Helpline. If you would like free support or counseling, contact them at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Do You Know Your County's Plan In Case of a Nuclear Attack? ]]> Thu, 28 Sep 2017 18:35:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/506044646-fire.jpg

In light of recent threats, southern California counties want citizens to know that there are nuclear bomb and terrorism emergency readiness plans in place. 

In the event that North Korea launches a missile towards Los Angeles, San Diego County and nearby Ventura County both have extensive plans to accomodate millions of people. 

"Each and every San Diego County School has an established safety plan to confront a variety of emergency situations, including terrorist attacks or war," said Music Watson, Chief Communications Officer of the San Diego County Office of Education. "This includes closing and sealing doors, windows and vents to prevent exposure to airborne contaminants and sheltering in place." 

The County of San Diego has a plan in case a bomb is dropped in or near the area. It includes alerting residents through their smart devices, part of the 'AlertSanDiego' system. 

In Ventura County, Dr. Robert Levin, Medical Director for the county, developed a 243-page nuclear response plan that includes strategies for a mass exodus in which millions would have to flee Los Angeles, and safety tips on how to stay healthy if there is radiation in the air. 

"You first will want to get into a concrete building or underground if it's possible," said Dr. Levin. "Invite anyone outside to come in with you, make sure they remove any clothes they were wearing and put them into a plastic bag, as there could be radioactive materials on them." 

Dr. Levin says the person potentially exposed should shower with soap and water thoroughly and use shampoo, but not conditioner. 

"There's evidence that conditioner will bind radioactive material to your hair, so don't use it," added Dr. Levin. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How to Properly Wash Your Hands]]> Thu, 28 Sep 2017 13:30:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_HAND_WASHING_092817-150661973354700002.jpg

It may seem simple, but you may not be properly washing your hands. Follow these simple steps to keep your hands clean.

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<![CDATA[City Begins Sanitizing Sidewalks in Multiple Neighborhoods]]> Fri, 29 Sep 2017 17:14:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/9-27-17-Crew+Power+Washing+Bleach+Ocean+Beach+Hep+A+OUtbreak.JPG

The City of San Diego has begun sanitizing streets with bleach in different neighborhoods as the county fights one of the worst Hepatitis A outbreaks in its history. 

City crews were out cleaning up the San Diego Riverbed on Friday, while offering shelter opportunities to the homeless people who live there.

Meanwhile, cleaning crews power washed sidewalks with a bleach treatment in Hillcrest and North Park.

Across San Diego County, 17 people have died and 461 cases have been confirmed, according to county officials. Of those cases, there have been 315 hospitalizations. 

On Wednesday, crews began cleaning parts of San Diego's Midway, Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach neighborhoods. Crews will tackle Uptown and Mid-City on Friday. 

"We know downtown is not the only area that is impacted by individuals at risk and where there is a concern. So we want to address that in all other areas, so we're starting in beach communities and Midway areas where reports have come in a very strong way," said Katie Keach, Director of Communications for City of San Diego.

The city is using an outside contractor to clean at-risk sidewalks with a bleach and water solution in order to kill the virus.

It's a two-step spraying process. The solution is sucked up right away after it is sprayed so the solution does not get stuck in storm drains. 

The new streets targeted Wednesday include the popular Garnett Avenue in Pacific Beach, Rosecrans in the Midway District, and Newport in Ocean Beach.

The neighborhoods will be sprayed Monday, Wednesday and Friday every other week. 

Business owners in the area expressed approval. 

"I really like that idea and I think it's going to help with the spread of diseases. I think it's a good start," Tina Sabouri, general manager at The Joint, said.

As of September 23, more than 42,000 Hep A vaccines have been administered in San Diego County. Close to 700 people were given the vaccine as a precaution after exposure to the virus.

Officials said 22,406 were given by health care systems or pharmacists, but 15,662 vaccines were given by county staff in the field, in jails or detention centers or the county psychiatric hospital.

The city continues to install more public bathrooms. There are now 22 public restroom facilities in downtown San Diego, as listed here

City crews have also sanitized sidewalks in the downtown area and installed hand-washing stations.

County health officials have also notified 14,000 food facilities in the area as well as agricultural growers and public pools. 

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus that is highly contagious. The Hepatitis A virus can be contracted by touching objects or eating food that someone with the Hepatitis A infection has handled or by having sex with someone who has an HAV infection.

Some people get the virus but have no symptoms. Signs of infection include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, and diarrhea. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children.

The California Department of Public Health suggests anyone who has been exposed to the virus, and who has not been previously immunized for Hepatitis A, should consider getting vaccinated no later than two weeks after exposure.

For more information, go to the San Diego County Hepatitis A Outbreak website. 



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego
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<![CDATA[Scientist Gets $10.8M Grant to Study Treatment for Addiction]]> Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:17:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/smoking-stock-generic-73160938.jpg

A local scientist has received a $10.8 million grant to pursue research that may result in a new class of medicine to treat cocaine and nicotine addiction.

The researcher, Nicholas Cosford, will be working with a team of scientists at two San Diego academic centers – the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and UC San Diego. The team will also collaborate with Camino Pharma, a San Diego biotech co-founded by Cosford, to carry out toxicity tests and other lab work.

The three-year grant will be used to pursue early-stage research — the kind of experiments done in animals and in test tubes — before the drug can be tested in humans.

Cosford said experimental evidence has linked cocaine and nicotine-seeking and relapse behavior with an increase in glutamate transmission in the brain. The team’s objective is to reduce glutamate transmission with a new class of drugs. If the team can accomplish this, it would be a boon for those treating substance abuse disorders.

“Cocaine addiction remains a major public health problem without any FDA-approved medications for treatment,” said Dr. Robert Anthenelli, professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego and collaborator for the study. “Cigarette smoking, the largest preventable cause of morbidity and mortality among adults worldwide, has several FDA-approved medications to reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawal, but there is a need for more effective options.”

If the findings from early-stage research are promising, the drug will go on to human trials. The intellectual property for the research belongs to SBP, meaning SBP would receive royalty payments on its sales if a new medicine emerged from the research.

The grant was awarded to Cosford by the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health.

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Photo Credit: FILE/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[City of Santee Takes Precautions as Hep A Outbreak Grows]]> Tue, 26 Sep 2017 20:55:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/El_Cajon_City_Works_to_Prevent_Spread_of_Hepatitis_A.jpg

The City of Santee has begun taking precautions -- like adding hand washing stations and disinfecting public areas -- to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A amid the worst outbreaks in County history. 

Across San Diego County, 17 people have died and 461 cases have been confirmed, according to county officials. Of those cases, there have been 315 hospitalizations. 

Eleven of the total cases have been in the City of Santee. 

A third of the cases involved people who used illicit drugs and are considered homeless. Of the cases, 25 percent are neither homeless or drug users.

As a preventative measure, the Sheriff’s Department Homeless Outreach Team has been reaching out to homeless people in Santee and giving them information about the outbreak. Officials have been giving inoculation shots to those who consent as well. 

City officials have added three hand-washing stations in parks adjacent to the San Diego River near homeless encampments. 

Additionally, city crews have been disinfecting public areas like restrooms and picnic shelters weekly. 

As of September 23, more than 42,000 vaccines have been administered in San Diego County. Close to 700 people were given the vaccine as a precaution after exposure to the virus.

Officials said 22,406 were given by health care systems or pharmacists, but 15,662 vaccines were given by county staff in the field, in jails or detention centers or the county psychiatric hospital.

The city continues to install more public bathrooms. There are now 22 public restroom facilities in downtown San Diego, as listed here

City crews have also sanitized sidewalks in the downtown area and installed hand-washing stations.

County health officials have also notified 14,000 food facilities in the area as well as agricultural growers and public pools. 

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus that is highly contagious. The Hepatitis A virus can be contracted by touching objects or eating food that someone with the Hepatitis A infection has handled or by having sex with someone who has an HAV infection.

Some people get the virus but have no symptoms. Signs of infection include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, and diarrhea. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children.

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The California Department of Public Health suggests anyone who has been exposed to the virus, and who has not been previously immunized for Hepatitis A, should consider getting vaccinated no later than two weeks after exposure.

For more information, go to the San Diego County Hepatitis A Outbreak website. 


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<![CDATA[17 Die in San Diego's Hepatitis A Outbreak]]> Tue, 26 Sep 2017 19:51:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/New_Campaign_Promotes_Hepatitis_A_Vaccines_and_Prevention.jpg

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be coming to San Diego next week to discuss ways to fight the region's deadly Hepatitis A outbreak.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services updated the number of people infected with the virus Tuesday.

Seventeen people have died and 461 cases have been confirmed, according to county officials. Of those cases, there have been 315 hospitalizations. 

A third of the cases involved people who used illicit drugs and are considered homeless. Of the cases, 25 percent are neither homeless or drug users.

County officials have not identified the locations of cases but did report to the County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that there have been 38 cases in the unincorporated jurisdiction of the county.  Of those, half were homeless, illicit drug users or both. 

As of September 23, more than 42,000 vaccines have been administered in San Diego County. Close to 700 people were given the vaccine as a precaution after exposure to the virus.

Officials said 22,406 were given by health care systems or pharmacists but 15,662 vaccines were given by county staff in the field, in jails or detention centers or the county psychiatric hospital.

The City of San Diego has installed new bathrooms in the East Village to help curb the spread of the virus. That area has a high concentration of transients. 

Those restroom facilities will be maintained at least twice a day, and will be monitored by full-time security, the city said. 

There are now 22 public restroom facilities in downtown San Diego, as listed here

City crews have also sanitized sidewalks in the downtown area and installed hand-washing stations.

County health officials have also notified 14,000 food facilities in the area as well as agricultural growers and public pools. 

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus that is highly contagious. The Hepatitis A virus can be contracted by touching objects or eating food that someone with the Hepatitis A infection has handled or by having sex with someone who has an HAV infection.

Some people get the virus but have no symptoms. Signs of infection include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, and diarrhea. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children.

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The California Department of Public Health suggests anyone who has been exposed to the virus, and who has not been previously immunized for Hepatitis A, should consider getting vaccinated no later than two weeks after exposure.

For more information, go to the San Diego County Hepatitis A Outbreak website. 


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<![CDATA[City Adds More Bathrooms to Fight Hepatitis A Outbreak]]> Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:54:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hepatitis+A+foto1.jpg

The City of San Diego has installed new bathrooms in San Diego's East Village to help combat the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak that has resulted in 16 deaths.

Four new portable restrooms were installed in Tailgate Park at 14th and L streets, according to the City of San Diego. That area has a high concentration of homeless locals and had a high need for the restrooms based on the availability in East Village. 

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Those restroom facilities will be maintained at least twice a day, and will be monitored by full-time security, the city said. 

“We hope these restrooms are well used to help prevent the spread of hepatitis A,” said Jonathan Herrera, the City’s Senior Policy Advisor on Homelessness Coordination, in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the restrooms and ensure they remain operational.”

The city said the addition of these four restrooms brings the tally to 22 public restroom facilities in downtown San Diego, as listed here. Tailgate Park is the third location where the City has added restrooms since Sept. 15. More restrooms will be added in the coming weeks.

Downtown property owners who have space for portable restrooms can reach out to the city to offer their site. If the location checks out, the city will arrange for the installation, maintenance, and security of each restroom.

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The city previously announced that dozens of bathrooms in areas like downtown San Diego, Balboa Park, Mission Bay, and shoreline and regional parks, will now stay open 24 hours to allow the city’s at-risk population access to clean, safe bathrooms.

The bathrooms are part of the city’s efforts to help prevent the further spread of hepatitis A. Over the past couple of weeks, city crews have also washed and sanitized sidewalks in the downtown area and installed hand-washing stations.

Free hepatitis A vaccines are being offered at City of San Diego libraries, too, including the Central Library in the heart of downtown, which will host a clinic on Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Earlier this week, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the city would build three temporary “bridge to housing” homeless shelters over the next few months to give people access to showers and beds and get them on the path to permanent housing. The facilities will each have 100 or more beds, and provide meals and supportive services.

The shelters will be located in downtown’s downtown's East Village and in the Midway District: one in the parking lot on the Father Joe's Villages campus at 14th and Commercial streets, one in a vacant lot on Sports Arena Boulevard, and one on a vacated street at 16th Street and Newton Avenue.

At last count this week, there have been at least 421 cases of hepatitis A reported in San Diego’s outbreak. Of those cases, 16 people have died, and 292 have been hospitalized.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus that is highly contagious. The Hepatitis A virus can be contracted by touching objects or eating food that someone with the Hepatitis A infection has handled or by having sex with someone who has an HAV infection.

Some people get the virus but have no symptoms. Signs of infection include fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes (jaundice), stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, and diarrhea. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children.

The California Department of Public Health suggests anyone who has been exposed to the virus, and who has not been previously immunized for Hepatitis A, should consider getting vaccinated no later than two weeks after exposure.

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For more information, go to the San Diego County Hepatitis A Outbreak website. 


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<![CDATA[Protesters Removed From Senate Health Care Bill Hearing]]> Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:10:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/US-Health-Care-2-CR-150637884759400002.jpg

Protesters chanting "No cuts for Medicaid, save our liberty!" were forcibly removed from the Senate Finance Committee room Monday as lawmakers attempted to convene a hearing into the Republican Graham Cassidy health care bill.

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