<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Health News]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego https://www.nbcsandiego.com en-usSat, 18 Aug 2018 10:56:09 -0700Sat, 18 Aug 2018 10:56:09 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Weed Killer in Your Cereal? Maybe, But Don't Panic]]> Fri, 17 Aug 2018 08:13:04 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cereal2.jpg

Social media feeds have been swamped by news that the advocacy organization Environmental Working Group found traces of the pesticide glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, in certain popular breakfast cereals like Cheerios. While the headlines have alarmed parents, there are several reasons not to panic, NBC News reported.

Research by the EWG, which actively campaigns against glyphosate, was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, the amounts found were far below the allowable limits, and most experts in the field say there’s very little evidence that glyphosate causes cancer or any other health problems.

Glyphosate also made headlines because a California jury ordered Roundup maker Monsanto to pay $290 million in damages to a groundskeeper with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Still, American juries do not necessarily rule based on scientific evidence, and they are not required to.

Click here for the full story on NBCNews.com

Photo Credit: PA Images via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[How to Ease Kids' Anxiety About School Safety]]> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 09:07:14 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AdobeStock_113156084.jpg

Given the number of high-profile school shootings last year, both children and adults may be feeling anxiety about school safety. As many kids head back to school, knowing how to speak with them is key in helping to alleviate fear and worry about their personal safety. Here’s where to start, according to Parent Toolkit.

Create a sense of normalcy and return to a routine. Children can feel safer when things are "normal" and they may open up about their thoughts. If they don't open up, encourage them with open-ended questions and let them lead the conversation. Know their concerns and worries are valid and recognize them.

As most schools have active shooter drills or other safety practices, discuss with children why this is necessary and identify any adults they can turn to in those moments. 

Remember to keep these discussions age-appropriate. For elementary school kids, stay brief and simple and remind them they will be OK. For middle schoolers, prepare for more specific questions. For high schoolers, be ready to discuss more opinions and identify reputable online sources to seek information.

<![CDATA[Measles Sickens 107 From 21 States in First Half of Year]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 13:00:42 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-927424104.jpg

More than 100 people from 21 states were reported to have contracted measles in the first half of 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.

There have been a total of 107 cases of measles between Jan. 1 and July 14, 2018. The cases were reported in D.C. and states including California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The majority of people who have contracted measles were unvaccinated, the CDC says

Because measles is common in other parts of the world, including some countries in Europe and Asia, travelers with measles can bring the disease in the U.S. The disease can spread within the U.S. when it reaches a community with groups of unvaccinated people.

Symptoms of measles include high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. A rash also forms three to five days after symptoms begin. The disease very contagious and can spread through coughing and sneezing

The U.S. experienced a record number of measles cases in 2014 with 667 reported cases from 27 states. It was the greatest number of cases since elimination of the disease was documented in the U.S. in 2000.

There was also a large, multi-state outbreak in 2015. It was linked to an amusement park in California, likely originating from a traveler who got infected abroad before visiting the park. A total of 188 people from 24 states and D.C. were reported to have gotten measles.

In 2017, 118 people from 15 states and D.C. A total of 86 people from 19 states contracted the disease in 2016.

Photo Credit: Karl Tapales/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Adele Shares Story of Friend Who Had Postpartum Psychosis]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 09:14:58 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17043839922714.jpg

Adele had a message for new moms when she shared the story of her best friend, who suffered a serious mental illness after giving birth to her first child.

In a Tuesday Instagram post, the singer urged new moms to "talk about how you’re feeling because in some cases it could save yours or someone else’s life."

Adele offered the advice with a photo of herself and the friend, new mom Laura Dockrill. She said Dockrill suffered from postpartum psychosis after childbirth, which Adele wrote was "the biggest challenge of her life in more ways than one."

Postpartum psychosis is a rare mental illness that can affect women after childbirth, according to the U.K.'s National Health Service. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, mania, depression, restlessness and confusion.

It is unlike postpartum depression or other mood changes that can come after giving birth. The NHS says postpartum psychosis should be treated as a medical emergency, and going without treatment could lead to the mother neglecting or harming herself or her baby.

Postpartum psychosis affects 1 to 2 in 1,000 women after childbirth, according to the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health in Boston.

In a candid blog post that Adele shared on her Instagram page, Dockrill described her time with the disease as "hell" and said that after she returned home with her newborn, "I felt like I had pushed out my personality as well as a baby."

She suspected something was wrong but encouraged herself to "stridently continue" anyway.

Still, she wrote, "I didn’t recognise myself and I felt like an intruder in my own life, like a fraud and a complete failure. ... I thought I was going to hurt myself in some horrendous way and I was doing everything to try and avoid that plus I didn’t want my family to see me crumble away before their eyes and watch me turn into an anxious wreck."

Dockrill said she couldn't eat or drink, her skin became "so pale it looked blue" and she suffered from severe anxiety attacks.

In an interview with BBC's Radio 1 Newsbeat, Dockrill said it was Adele who called attention her severe symptoms.

"She recognised it in me," Dockrill told the station. "I was on the phone FaceTiming her and she was the first one to detect what I might have."

With the help of "family, an incredible psychiatrist, medication ... and psychotherapy," Dockrill said she is "healed and recovering more and more each day."

"I am happy, confident and strong," she wrote. "I am myself."

Along with Adele's advice, Dockrill offered her own: "Take care of yourselves, be patient with others and above all be kind. If anybody is suffering don’t delay on talking to somebody, it can escalate and easily get out of hand."

She warned that "mental health is no joke" and that mental illness is "nothing to be embarrassed about."

Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File
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<![CDATA[FDA Recalls Are Reminder China Controls Much of Drug Supply]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 09:41:01 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/140409167-Generic-drug-generic.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration has recalled certain drugs in recent days, one out of precaution and one due to possible contamination, and the warning has served as a reminder of a drug market that's increasingly outsourced to other countries, NBC News reported

Recent recalls include blood pressure drug Valsartan and thyroid medications Levothyroxine and Liothyronine. The FDA said some Valsartan batches around the world have been contaminated with a potentially cancer-causing chemical. No product sold in the U.S. has been found to be contaminated, but the generic versions could have the potential to generate the chemical. Still, the danger only lies in lifetime exposure and patients can continue taking the drug until they confirm its unaffected or they switch to an alternative.

But the case does illustrate the challenges the FDA must overcome in regulating the drug market and how vulnerable the U.S. is when it depends on other countries, especially China, to make essential drugs. The FDA has ways of ensuring product safety, such as regularly sending inspectors to scrutinize Chinese facilities. The thyroid medications were recalled out of precaution over what the FDA said were deficiencies in the manufacturer's practices.

However, no inspection would have found the potentially cancer-causing chemical, a byproduct of processing foods such as bacon as well as a water contaminant.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[436 Confirmed Sick After Eating McDonald's Salad]]> Fri, 10 Aug 2018 08:33:48 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cms1260.jpg

The CDC is now reporting that 436 people have been diagnosed with an intestinal illness after consuming salads at McDonald’s restaurants. 

The laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis have been reported in 15 states after customers ate salads at the restaurant’s locations.

In its initial announcement July 13, the CDC reported 61 cases. As of last week, there were 395 cases. 

Over 200 cases have now been reported in Illinois and Iowa alone, with 219 cases confirmed in Illinois.  

The most common symptom of the illness is watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include appetite loss, intestinal pain, nausea, and fatigue.

McDonald's released a statement regarding the outbreak, saying "McDonald's is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control." 

Earlier this summer, McDonald’s removed the lettuce blend from 3,000 identified restaurants and distribution centers that had received it.

Affected restaurants were located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri. 

Reported illnesses started on or after May 20. 

In an update Thursday, the CDC said "at this time, there is no evidence to suggest that this cluster of illnesses is related to the Cyclospora outbreak linked to Del Monte fresh produce vegetable trays."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[CVS Health Nasal Sprays Recalled Due to Contamination]]> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 08:52:46 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ucm616192.jpg

Certain bottles of CVS Health’s 12 Hour Sinus Relief Nasal Mist have been recalled after they were found to have had a microbiological contamination, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

The nasal mist, manufactured by Product Quest, was found to have Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Frequent use of the contaminated product could result in infections, which could be life-threatening for users with cystic fibrosis or people who are immuno-compromised, the FDA said on its website.

"To the best of Product Quest’s knowledge, the company has not received any reports of adverse events related to this recall," the FDA said.

The affected nasal sprays come in .5-ounce white bottles. They are packaged in a carton with expiration date September 2019 and lot number 173089J printed on the side. The products have orange labels with “Sinus Relief” in white letters and “CVS Health” in the left corner.

The FDA urges customers with the recalled product to return it to the store where it was purchased or to discard it.

Photo Credit: Food and Drug Administration ]]>
<![CDATA[Inducing Labor at 39 Weeks Reduces Risk of C-Sections: Study]]> Wed, 08 Aug 2018 20:33:43 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/pregnancyGettyImages-136810371.jpg

Inducing healthy first-time mothers at 39-weeks pregnant instead of waiting for them to go into labor does not raise the risk of a cesarean delivery, according to a new study. In fact, it lowers it.

The results of the study, to be published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, overturn the longtime view that inducing labor raises the risk for a C-section, and prompted two leading OB-GYN doctor groups to say it's now reasonable to offer women like those in the study that option.

As NBC News reports, the notion that inductions can lead to C-sections was based on past data comparing a woman who goes into labor spontaneously with a woman who is induced at the same point in her pregnancy — which could be before the 39th week, if complications developed, or when the woman was overdue and had gone past 40 weeks.

For the new study, more than 6,100 women at 41 hospitals were randomly placed in two groups: one had labor induced at 39 weeks; the other waited for labor to start on its own and were induced only if a problem developed or they hadn't delivered by 42 weeks.

Those induced at 39 weeks had lower rates of maternal and fetal complications, including fewer C-sections (19 percent vs. 22 percent); lower frequent preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous pregnancy condition, and hypertension (9 percent vs. 14 percent); and fewer newborns who needed respiratory support (3 percent vs. 4 percent).

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Fails Drug Test After Eating Poppy Seed Bagel]]> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 12:22:31 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_poppyseedbagelmom_1920x1080.jpg

Some of you may remember the claim that when you eat poppy seeds, your drug test comes back positive. One Maryland woman paid the price for her breakfast choice the morning her daughter was born. WBAL's Theo Hayes reports

<![CDATA[Could EPA Proposal Lead to New Uses for Asbestos?]]> Wed, 08 Aug 2018 02:56:24 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/asbestosGettyImages-53246562.jpg

Decades-old research has identified asbestos as a dangerous carcinogen, but the Environmental Protection Agency is now proposing a framework that could allow new uses for the toxic chemical in manufacturing, NBC News reported

The proposal, known as a "significant new use rule," was released in June. It details how companies can find new ways to use asbestos that will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Some of the products that could now involve it include adhesives, sealants and pipeline wraps. 

Asbestos-related disease advocacy groups have come out as strongly critical of the proposal, arguing that use of the chemical is undeniably dangerous. The EPA said the new rule "would prohibit companies from manufacturing, importing, or processing for these new uses of asbestos unless they receive approval from the EPA."

Strict regulations on asbestos have been imposed in the United States, rather than a ban — a move made by dozens of other developed nations. The chemical was used in construction until the 1970s, when research linked it to lung cancer and mesothelioma, among other diseases. 

Photo Credit: Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Expands Recalls of Blood Pressure, Heart Drugs]]> Mon, 06 Aug 2018 10:34:45 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/080618bloodpressire.jpg

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expanded its voluntary recall of several medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure over concerns that an active ingredient in the drugs could be contaminated with a cancer-causing agent.

The agency reported that traces of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a "probable human carcinogen," was found in the active ingredient valsartan in the recalled products. The FDA noted not all products containing valsartan are contaminated and being recalled. A third-party supplied the valsartan contained in the recall. 

The FDA updated the list of products included in the recall and the list of those unaffected

"FDA is working with drug manufacturers to ensure future valsartan active pharmaceutical ingredients are not at risk of NDMA formation," the FDA said. "The agency reminds manufacturers to thoroughly evaluate their API manufacturing processes, and changes to those processes, to detect any unsafe impurities."

Patients are urged to look at the drug name and company name on the label of their prescription bottle to determine whether a specific product has been recalled. If the information is not on the bottle, patients should contact the pharmacy that dispensed the medicine to find out the company name.

If a patient is taking one of the recalled medicines, they should follow the recall instructions each specific company provided, which will be available on the FDA’s website.

If a patient's medicine is included in the recall, they should contact their health care professional to discuss their treatment options, which may include another valsartan product this recall doesn't affect or an alternative option.

The agency encourages patients and health care professionals to report any adverse reaction to the FDA’s MedWatch program.

"The FDA’s review is ongoing and has included investigating the levels of NDMA in the recalled products, assessing the possible effect on patients who have been taking them and what measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate the impurity from future batches produced by the company," the FDA said in a news release.

The presence of NDMA is "thought to be related to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured," the agency said.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rat Lungworm Parasite Infected 12, Including Toddlers: CDC]]> Thu, 02 Aug 2018 12:50:12 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/t-gondii.jpg

Twelve people in the continental U.S., including some toddlers, have been infected in recent years by a parasite called rat lungworm, which has the capacity to get into people’s brains, federal health officials said Thursday.

Because the parasite can be found across several states and often doesn’t cause severe symptoms, some additional cases might have gone unreported, NBC News reported.

After rat lungworm infected two people in China who ate raw centipedes last month, the parasite made headlines. People in the U.S. can catch it by eating snails or vegetables out of a home garden, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Six of the cases identified by the CDC since 2011 were in people living in the southern U.S., including Texas, Tennessee and Alabama, the CDC said. The rest were in travelers who may have eaten the parasite overseas.

Photo Credit: CDC/ Dr. L.L. Moore, Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Man's Limbs Amputated After Contracting Infection From Dog Saliva ]]> Thu, 02 Aug 2018 14:24:32 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dog+Lick+Amputation.jpg

A Wisconsin man had part of his arms and legs amputated after a medical emergency caused by a bacteria found in dog and cat saliva.

Greg Manteufel began feeling ill in late June and within hours went into septic shock, according to a GoFundMe account created to raise money to help the family through his recovery. 

He was admitted to the hospital, where doctors said Manteufel had contracted an infection caused by bacteria commonly found in the mouths of dogs and cats, called Capnocytophaga canimorsus.

His wife, Dawn Manteufel, told a local news station her motorcycling-riding, loving 48-year-old husband had been around dogs his entire life, but that doctors suspect a lick may have caused the infection.

Though the bacteria is most often transmitted to humans through dog bites, the US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health reported rare cases where scratches, licking or other contact with dogs or cats transmitted it.

The bacteria seeped into Manteufel's bloodstream and caused sepsis, or blood poisoning from the infection, and within days of being admitted to the hospital, doctors were forced to amputate both of his feet, the GoFundMe page details.

A second surgery removed more of Manteufel’s legs, up to his kneecaps. He then later lost both of his hands up to his mid-forearm.

Dawn Manteufel reported her husband told doctors to “take what you need but keep me alive.”

Manteufel will need several more surgeries, but family members reported he was "so thankful to be alive today and is taking one day at a time."

The GoFundMe page for the Manteufel family has raised over $67,000 of its $100,000 goal as of Thursday morning. It notes that the recovery will be a long process, including months of surgeries and the need for prosthetics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes adults 40 years old and older are more likely to contract an infection, and risk factors include alcoholism and weak immune system related to cancer, HIV and diabetes. Another key risk factor is not having a spleen.

The agency also reported that Capnocytophaga can cause serious illness in pregnant women and their fetuses. Infection during the last few weeks of gestation can lead to inflammation of the membranes surrounding the fetus, and sepsis, a bacterial infection in the bloodstream or body tissues, in the newborn. It has also been linked to low birth weight.

Capnocytophaga infections are rare, and doctors told Dawn Manteufel her husband's case is a "crazy fluke," The Washington Post reported.

Photo Credit: Dawn Manteufel via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Google Glass Helps Kids With Autism Make Eye Contact: Study]]> Thu, 02 Aug 2018 07:16:05 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/autism-google-glass-study.jpg

Most children with autism who wore Google Glasses equipped with facial expression-interpreting software made improvements in holding eye contact with their families, according to a study published Thursday.

The lead author of the Stanford University School of Medicine study, Dennis Wall, told NBC News that the Superpower Glass trial — the first outside of a laboratory — used technology that turns emotion reading into a game that's "an opportunity for fun and engagement."

Donji Cullenbine said her 9-year-old son Alex didn't make much progress through therapy. But when he took part in the trial, he was suddenly making frequent eye contact.

"It was thrilling," she said. "I tried to incentivize him to look at me for so many years, but had no movement. Then in two weeks, it was like a flip switched. He said, 'Mommy, I can read minds.'"

Photo Credit: Steve Fisch/Stanford University School of Medicine]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Undermining Obamacare Violates Constitution: Lawsuit]]> Thu, 02 Aug 2018 03:07:02 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/acaGettyImages-869078956.jpg

A new lawsuit being filed Thursday argues that President Donald Trump’s efforts to make good on his promise to "let Obamacare implode" on its own violate the U.S. Constitution, NBC News reported.  

Trump has “waged a relentless effort to use executive action alone to undermine and, ultimately, eliminate the law,” the complaint says, according to a draft obtained by NBC News. The lawsuit is being filed in Maryland federal court by the cities of Chicago, Columbus, Cincinnati and Baltimore.

The suit specifically argues that he is violating Article II of the Constitution, requiring the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

Since his first executive order directing federal agencies to claw back as much of the Affordable Care Act as possible, Trump’s directives have increased health coverage costs and depressed enrollment, the complainants say.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[MAP: Thousands of Violations Issued for Unsafe, Unclean Pools]]> Tue, 31 Jul 2018 08:00:44 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/generic+swimming+pool+water.jpg

Three out of four pools in San Diego were issued official notices of health and safety violations during the last six months, according to county pool inspection records. More than 600 pools in the region failed inspections and were ordered to close.

Though the most common violation was for failing to have safety signs posted, more than 30 pools or spas were cited for not being “free from vermin and animals.” And at least 50 pools failed a serious violation for not meeting “healthful, safe and sanitary" requirements.

For example, during the past six months, county inspectors issued 13 violations to the pool in the apartment and condo complex Mission Greens, which is off Friars Road. Inspectors ordered the pool to close twice for improper levels of sanitizers like chlorine and bromine.

This is a map of health and safety violations issued to community pools in the San Diego area. The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health completed some 7,000 inspections between January 2018 and June 2018 and issued thousands of violations. Check your local community pool to see if it received any violations.

At Mission Greens Monday, some residents said they weren’t too concerned about the violations, while others said they found the news disturbing.

“My family and I swim in the pool on a weekly basis almost. We’re in there a lot,” said Thomas McConnell. “Hearing news like this is upsetting because obviously it’s a safety concern and nobody wants to get sick.”

Other neighbors at Mission Greens said management was taking steps to correct issues. 

"There was a patch that needed to be done at the bottom of the pool," said James Kahn. "I think they're handling it in the proper way and if it's not correct, they'll work to fix it again." 

NBC 7 reached out to the management of Mission Greens, but have not yet heard back from them.   

The San Diego County’s Department of Environmental Health completed more than 7,000 inspections of pools and spas between January and June of 2018, according to data provided to NBC 7 by the County of San Diego. Like inspections of restaurants, the agency inspects pools to help people stay safe and healthy in public areas.

Area pools were issued violations at least 60 percent of the time during those inspections, according to an NBC 7 review of the county inspection records.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the trend is mirrored nationally.

Researchers with the CDC collected data on pool inspections in five states and published the findings in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The research found that most inspections of public aquatic venues – almost 80 percent – identified at least one violation.

The study also found 1 in 8 inspections resulted in immediate closure because of serious health and safety violations.

“Swimmers and parents of young swimmers can take a few simple but effective steps to help protect themselves and their families from germs and maximize fun at the pool,” said Michele Hlavsa, RN, MPH, epidemiologist and chief of the Center for Disease Control’s Healthy Swimming Program.

Hlavsa recommends keeping children out of the pool if they are sick with diarrhea and checking your local pool’s latest inspection score.

A national study conducted by the Water Quality & Health Council found 63 percent of adults have never checked health inspection reports before swimming in a public pool, with another 15 percent checking those reports only sparingly.

The Water Quality & Health Council is offering free pool test kits through its Healthy Pools awareness initiative. Swimmers can use the kit to measure chlorine levels and pH in backyard or public pools.

They can also drop them in luggage to check hotel, motel, and theme park pools while on vacation.

Mission Valley resident, Alexander Lieras said he plans to buy a pool testing kit from Home Depot. 

"I can learn how to do it myself," said Lieras. "That means I can swim in the pool again." 

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Teen Infested With Hookworms After Trip to S. Florida Beach]]> Sat, 28 Jul 2018 07:13:38 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/072618+kelli+dumas+michael+dumas+hookworms.jpg

A Tennessee woman says her son became infected with hookworms after a visit to a South Florida Beach.

Kelli Dumas posted photos of her 17-year-old son Michael's infected feet to Facebook after he visited Pompano Beach during a mission trip last month. She said he was buried in the sand and became infected, along with four other people on the trip.

Hookworms are often contracted by coming into contact with soil that has been contaminated by animal feces. Walking on the soil barefoot can lead to contracting the hookworms, according to the CDC

"He was buried in the sand for fun and it has become our nightmare," she wrote.

The Florida Department of Health in Broward County on Friday said it launched an investigation after receiving four reports of animal-associated hookworm infections.

Kelli Dumas said the painful hookworms have required a number of medications that have cost more than $1,300. Her son has also had to visit a pediatrician four times as well as a dermatologist.

She told NBC 6 her son is still under doctor's care "and will be for a long time."

"Never be buried in sand or allow your children to be either! I am only showing a few pictures because it is so disturbing," she said. "He is in pain."

Photo Credit: Facebook/Kelli Dumas
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<![CDATA[Why the Food Recalls Might Not Stop With Goldfish and Ritz ]]> Mon, 30 Jul 2018 05:54:57 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/072619recallsplit.jpg

Bill Marler arrived at his Seattle home one night this week and began searching through the cupboard for something to eat. Toward the back, the food poisoning attorney spotted a bag of Goldfish, then remembered news reports about a new recall. Sure enough, he owned one of the more than 3 million packages that had been recalled on Monday. 

The back-to-back recalls of household staples Goldfish and Ritz crackers, along with earlier recalls of the Kellogg's cereal Honey Smacks and other cases, have prompted social media users to question which snacks are safe to eat. The short answer: we don't know yet, though no one has fallen ill from consuming recently recalled snack products linked to one supplier of whey protein.

Pepperidge Farm issued its voluntary recall for four types of its Goldfish crackers after the whey powder manufacturer Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) announced a recall of its own due to the “possible presence” of salmonella. Another company, Mondelez, recalled several of its Ritz cracker products over the weekend for the same reason.

Last week, Flowers Foods recalled its Swiss Rolls sold under various brand names. The company mentioned the whey powder ingredient in a news release. A Hungry Man frozen dinner also used AMPI's recalled powder. 

AMPI spokeswoman Sarah Schmidt noted that "all products shipped into the marketplace tested negative for Salmonella as part of AMPI’s routine testing program.”

But because "additional product tested positive for Salmonella under AMPI’s routine test and hold procedures," the recall was a precautionary move. 

"At AMPI, we are dedicated to producing dairy products that meet the highest quality and safety standards," Schmidt said. "We will continue to work cooperatively with the FDA." 

In a high-profile recall not linked to AMPI, Kellogg's flagged Honey Smacks last month due to the possible presence of salmonella. Seventy-three people became ill after eating the cereal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whey powder isn't an ingredient in Honey Smacks, Kellogg's said in an email to NBC. 

Marler, who represents some of the people who fell ill from salmonella after consuming Honey Smacks, said companies that alert customers before anyone gets sick have adopted the best approach to managing the issue.

With Ritz, Goldfish, Swiss Rolls and Hungry Man — products the FDA has linked to AMPI — there haven’t been any reported illnesses. Other manufacturers who use AMPI's whey powder might begin issuing recalls in the coming days, Marler predicted, based on how past recalls have played out. 

"I would expect it to be potentially dozens of products," Marler said. "This kind of recall is the system working properly. It's common and actually a good thing."

Here's how the system operates: ingredient and product testing is not regulated or required by the government. Companies often test their products according to their own food safety plans, said Martin Bucknavage, a senior food safety associate at Penn State’s college of agricultural sciences.

When an ingredient supplier identifies possible contamination, it contacts the manufacturers it works with. The supplier also files a report with the FDA explaining the recall using the agency's reportable food registry portal.  

In AMPI's case, the powder they provide for dairy and baked products is also a common ingredient used to coat cereals and other snacks, said Randy Worobo, a professor in Cornell’s department of food science. 

AMPI declined to release its complete list of whey powder customers,  confirming only that four manufacturers it works with have issued voluntary recalls as of Wednesday. It said it doesn't release proprietary customer lists.

An FDA spokesman said the agency had the list but wouldn't provide it. NBC has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to determine which companies receive whey powder from AMPI. 

Salmonella is a bacteria that causes 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC. Food is the cause of 1 million of those illnesses and 380 deaths. 

In 2007 and 2008, Peanut Corporation of America discovered salmonella contamination in its ingredients that were used in other manufacturers’ products but didn’t immediately issue a recall, according to The New York Times. Nine people were killed and more than 700 were reported ill as a result.

Companies that issue voluntary recalls before anyone gets sick will likely be viewed by customers in a positive light, said Tom Meyvis, an NYU marketing professor who studies consumer behavior.

“There’s an advantage to [the recall being connected] to one supplier,” Meyvis said.

Marler, the food poisoning attorney in Seattle, said that between recalls for romaine lettuce and Del Monte vegetables and illnesses linked to McDonald’s salads, the number of food-related ailments this year is alarming.

The FDA disputes that characterization. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement that there haven't been an increase in the number or scope of recalls.

"Our tools for detecting them are much better, and our policies for how and when we alert the public lean in the direction of more and earlier communication," Gottlieb said. 

The FDA recommends that people discard or return recalled products to the stores where they're purchased. 

Photo Credit: Pepperidge Farm/Getty Images/AMPI]]>
<![CDATA[Cheesecake Factory, Uno Dishes Earn 'Xtreme Eating' Awards]]> Fri, 27 Jul 2018 12:54:24 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-142585668.jpg

Imagine eating seven McDonald's Sausage McMuffins in one sitting. That's what it would be like to finish just one breakfast burrito from The Cheesecake Factory, and the massive meal has topped the 2018 list of "Xtreme Eating Awards."

The list, released Thursday from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, purports to highlight some of the most unhealthy dishes at popular restaurant chains. 

Cheesecake Factory's breakfast burrito, recognized for being the "Worst Way to Start the Day," comes in at 2,730 calories, 73 grams of saturated fat and 4,630 milligrams of sodium. It's stuffed with eggs, bacon, chicken chorizo, cheese, potatoes, avocado, peppers and onions and smothered in spicy ranchero sauce. Sour cream, salsa and black beans come on the side.

The Health Department's Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. It also suggests consuming less than 10 percent of daily calories from added sugars and less than 10 percent from saturated fats.

While daily calorie recommendations vary based on sex and age, a 1,800-calorie diet is suggested for 31- to 50-year-old females and a 2,200-calorie diet is suggested for males in the same age range.

The Cheesecake Factory defended its menu, saying customers don't have to eat its hearty meals if they don't want to.

"With more than 250 menu items, The Cheesecake Factory has always been about choices," the company said in a statement to NBC News. "Many of our guests come in and want to celebrate and not be concerned with calories… For our calorie-conscious guests, we have our award-winning Skinnylicious menu…"

The Chicken Parmesan "Pizza Style" from Cheesecake Factory also won an award: "Worst Adapted Pizza." Its 10-inch, circular chicken breast is breaded and covered in marinara sauce and cheese. Angel hair pasta in Alfredo sauce his piled on top, bringing the dish to a whopping 1,870 calories. 

The "Worst Visceral Effects" award went to Uno Pizzeria & Grill's Deep Dish Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese. The heaping bowl has 2,320 calories, 59 grams of saturated fat and 4,530 milligrams of sodium — nutritionally equivalent to three orders of cheese ravioli from Olive Garden.

"For those looking for lighter fare, we have a smaller version of this award-winning Mac & Cheese… at less than half the calories," Uno said in a statement to NBC News. "We offer over 100 menu options, from indulgent treats to more healthful choices, so our guests can have whatever they’re in the mood for…"

The Bavarian Legend Soft Pretzel from AMC  earned the "Worst Cinematic Snack" with 7,600 milligrams of Sodium, and the Peanut Butter S’mores Pizookie from BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse got the "Worst Makeup" award with an estimated 135 grams of added sugar. The latter is nutritionally equal to a 14-oz. container of Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream and two cups of marshmallow Fluff.

BJ's also cited its large menu as a reason for customers to enjoy its food, saying, "We have something for everyone."

"While our very popular ... dessert is high in calories, it ... is perfect for sharing and typically ordered for a party of two or more," the company said in a statement to NBC. "That said, we do offer our Guests a full menu of Enlightened Entree items that are low in calories and made with high-nutrition ingredients for those eating on the healthier side."

AMC did not immediately return requests for comment. Yard House, Chili's and Shake Shack dishes also received awards, and the companies did not immediately respond to requests for comments as well.

Photo Credit: George Rose/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Superhero Masks Empower Young Cancer Patients]]> Fri, 27 Jul 2018 10:26:14 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_masks0726_1500x845.jpg

At the Proton Therapy Center in St. Louis, Missouri cancer is in for a fight. It's not 11-year-old William Cosby lying on the patient table, it's the Black Panther. Child Life Specialist Hannah Heimos wanted to empower kids who have to wear masks during proton therapy.

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Eating 'Xtreme': Restaurant Excess Exposed]]> Fri, 27 Jul 2018 09:52:27 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/extreme-eating-thumb.png

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has released its annual "Xtreme Eating Awards" highlighting some of the most unhealthy menu options in America.

<![CDATA[Nearly 300 Confirmed Sick After Eating McDonald's Salads]]> Thu, 26 Jul 2018 20:19:41 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_18193696359447.jpg

The CDC is now reporting that nearly 300 people have been diagnosed with an intestinal illness after consuming salads at McDonald’s restaurants.

In a new report, 286 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis have been reported in 15 states after customers ate salads at the restaurant’s locations.

Over 200 cases have now been reported in Illinois and Iowa alone, with 123 cases confirmed in Illinois.  

The most common symptom of the illness is watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include appetite loss, intestinal pain, nausea, and fatigue.

McDonald's released a statement regarding the outbreak, saying "McDonald's is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control." 

Earlier this summer, McDonald’s removed the lettuce blend from 3,000 identified restaurants and distribution centers that had received it.

Affected restaurants were located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri. 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File]]>
<![CDATA[Backlash Builds Against Straw Bans]]> Thu, 26 Jul 2018 08:46:20 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_straws0726_1500x845.jpg

Cities and businesses across the U.S. are moving to ban plastic straws in an effort to ease the burden of plastic waste on the environment. But those bans may also make life more complicated for disabled people.

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Pepperidge Farm Recalls 4 Varieties of Goldfish Crackers]]> Thu, 26 Jul 2018 08:00:40 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PF-8548-GFFBXtraCheddar.jpg

Pepperidge Farm says it has been notified by one of its ingredient suppliers that whey powder in a seasoning that is applied to four varieties of crackers has been the subject of a recall by the whey powder manufacturer due to the potential presence of salmonella.

Pepperidge Farm initiated an investigation and, out of an abundance of caution, is voluntarily recalling four varieties of Goldfish crackers. The products were distributed throughout the United States. 

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No illnesses have been reported. No other Pepperidge Farm products in the U.S. are subject to this recall.

The following four varieties with the indicated codes are subject to this recall:

  • Flavor Blasted® Xtra Cheddar
  • Flavor Blasted® Sour Cream & Onion
  • Goldfish® Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar
  • Goldfish® Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel

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Different packaging options are included in this recall. Consumers are encouraged to read this chart.

Consumers who have purchased these products should not eat them. Recalled products should be discarded or may be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may visit www.pepperidgefarm.com/GoldfishUpdate or call Customer Service at 800-679-1791, 24 hours a day, for more information.

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Photo Credit: Pepperidge Farm]]>
<![CDATA[Healthy Breakfast While You're on the Run]]> Thu, 26 Jul 2018 07:07:37 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Breakfast+Sandwich+01.JPG

During the week, do you enjoy a healthy breakfast at home? Or are you more likely to grab food from your favorite coffee place or fast-food drive-through on the way to work?

Consumer Reports’ food experts tasted 48 breakfast items and collected nutrition data, looking for healthier and tasty options.

Consumer Reports checked out the offerings at six popular chains, tasting 48 items that stood out on the menu as better choices, including sandwiches, oatmeal, smoothies, and other morning favorites. And they analyzed the nutritional information. It can be tough to find items with lower amounts of fat, calories, sugar, and sodium.

Quick breakfast sandwiches can span the nutrition spectrum.

The Starbucks Chicken, Sausage and Bacon Biscuit has over 1,100 milligrams of sodium. A better sandwich choice would be Panera Bread’s Avocado, Egg White and Spinach on a sprouted grain bagel flat, with nearly half the sodium. Our tasters found it fresh tasting and flavorful.

More and more chains now have oatmeal as an option. These whole-grain breakfasts can be a great source of antioxidants and dietary fiber. But watch out for added sugars. The best ones are unsweetened oatmeal with toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, and raisins.

CR says that if you have to grab and go, there are good choices available, and you can upgrade almost anything you pick. Consider choosing multigrain bread over a croissant. And have your egg sandwich without the bacon or ham.

Research shows that people who eat breakfast have lower rates of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes than people who skip “the most important meal of the day.”

So it’s a good idea to make healthy choices first thing in the morning.

Photo Credit: Bob Hansen, NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[How Healthy is your Hummus?]]> Thu, 26 Jul 2018 07:06:59 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/207*120/Baba+Ghanouj+Mamas+Bakery-1.jpg

Hummus. It’s not the most popular dip around; salsa’s got it beat by a landslide. Yet over the past several decades, hummus has been increasingly making its way into people’s shopping carts.

But have you ever wondered if the chickpea-based dip is really good for you? The nutrition team at Consumer Reports took a look.

If there was a nutrition contest for dips, hummus would win the top prize in the “best all-around” category. Each 2-tablespoon serving packs quite a nutritional punch, including heart-healthy fat, 2 to 3 grams of protein, and about 3 grams of fiber.

Most of the health benefits come from the chickpeas. They’re chock-full of key nutrients such as B vitamins, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. And they’re part of a class of legumes called pulses, which have been shown to offer several health benefits.

Research suggests that people who eat a lot of pulses tend to weigh less. And they tend to have lower blood pressure, lower levels of bad cholesterol, and even a reduced risk of certain diseases, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. But be aware that a 2T serving of hummus can have 50, 60, or even 70 calories depending on the brand. So be mindful when you’re dipping.

When you’re buying store-bought hummus, Consumer Reports suggests paying close attention to the sodium content. Some brands add more than others, so read labels and look for a brand that has no more than 140 mg per serving.

Photo Credit: Bob Hansen, NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[CDC: Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Backyard Chickens]]> Wed, 25 Jul 2018 08:57:31 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-659477980.jpg

A salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 200 people in 44 states is linked to backyard chickens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.    

As of July 13, 2018, 212 cases of salmonella infections have been linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks, according to the agency. A quarter of the reported cases are children under the age of 5.

More than 70 percent of those sickened in this outbreak, which includes several strains of salmonella, reported coming into contact with chicks or ducklings in the week before their illness started, the CDC said. The live poultry was obtained from several sources, including feed supply stores, hatcheries, relatives and from online merchants. 

The illnesses began between Feb. 15 and June 21, and at least 34 people have been hospitalized. The CDC said no deaths have been reported.

"People can get sick with Salmonella infections from touching live poultry or their environment," the CDC said on its website. "These birds can be carrying Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness."

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Diagnosing the illness requires a blood or stool sample, as other illnesses cause similar symptoms.

The CDC suggested tips for handling live poultry: Always wash your hands with soap and water after touching live poultry or their environment. Children under five years old should not touch live poultry without adult supervision. Wear separate shoes when caring for poultry, and leave them outside. Do not allow live poultry inside the house or around food.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Clean, Green Public Spaces Make Us Happier, Study Finds]]> Wed, 25 Jul 2018 09:39:32 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/earl_richardson_park2.jpg

People feel happier and less depressed when vacant lots in their neighborhood are cleared of trash or "greened up," according to what might be a first-of-a-kind study of public space's effects on mental health.

NBC News reported that Philadelphia residents who lived near vacant lots that were filled in with trees and grass or simply cleaned up reported to University of Pennsylvania researchers a decrease in feelings of depression, poor mental health and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.

Renee Holly, a 54-year-old custodian, is in charge of keeping her greened-up North Philadelphia lot in good condition after the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society cleaned it up.

"It's a beautiful thing to have a clean lot, it makes me happy," she said. "Now, our neighborhood kids don't have to play in a lot with glass and trash."

Photo Credit: Sarah Glover/NBC Philadelphia, File]]>
<![CDATA[A Parasite May Help Us Overcome Fear of Failure: Researchers]]> Wed, 25 Jul 2018 08:06:42 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/t-gondii.jpg

A parasite that makes rodents unafraid of cats could be giving people the courage to become entrepreneurs, researchers told NBC News.

People infected with Toxoplasma gondii were more likely to have majored in business and started their own business, according to a new paper published by University of Colorado management professor Stefanie Johnson and colleagues in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

People get the T. gondii parasite from handling cat droppings or eating poorly cooked meat. It's already linked to a greater risk of "car accidents, mental illness, neuroticism, drug abuse and suicide," according to the paper.

Johnson said she plans on studying the parasite further, to see "if all the businesses started by toxoplasma-positive people fail," among other things.

Photo Credit: CDC/ Dr. L.L. Moore, Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Taco Bell Salsa Con Queso Recalled Over Botulism Risk]]> Wed, 25 Jul 2018 07:24:52 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/taco-bell-cheese-dip.jpg

The Kraft Heinz Company is recalling about 59,000 jars of its Taco Bell Salsa Con Queso Mild Cheese Dip that could potentially lead to botulism if eaten.

Kraft is voluntarily recalling 15-ounce glass jars with "best when used by" dates of Dec. 27, 2018, and Jan. 23, 2019. The affected items are showing signs of product separation, which can allow for the growth of the bacteria that causes botulism, the company said on its website.

Botulism is rare but can be fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness can cause difficulty breathing and muscle paralysis. Symptoms include blurred or double vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, a thick-feeling tongue, dry mouth and muscle weakness.

Kraft said there have been no complaints or reports of illness related to the products. The company said it is working with the Food and Drug Administration.

The affected items were produced and distributed by Kraft in the U.S. The company urged customers not to eat the dip and return it to the store for an exchange or refund.

Photo Credit: Kraft Heinz Company]]>
<![CDATA[Flowers Foods Recalls 2 Products; Milk Supplier Eyed]]> Tue, 24 Jul 2018 20:30:51 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/fdaGettyImages-496532228.jpg

Flowers Foods is voluntarily recalling two of its bread products, the Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday, the latest foods to be recalled in recent days due to concerns about salmonella in an ingredient from the same supplier.

Swiss rolls — sold under the brand names Mrs. Freshley’s, Food Lion, H-E-B, Baker’s Treat, Market Square and Great Value — and Captain John Derst’s Old Fashioned Bread are the recalled Flowers products, CNBC.com reported.

On Saturday, Mondelez issued a voluntary recall of some of its Ritz Cracker and Ritz Bits products. Pepperidge Farm, owned by Campbell Soup, recalled 3.3 million units of Goldfish Crackers on Monday.

Photo Credit: CQ-Roll Call,Inc.]]>
<![CDATA[Walmart Drug Program Often Cheaper Than Medicare: Study]]> Tue, 24 Jul 2018 04:45:23 -0700 https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/140409167-Generic-drug-generic.jpg

It's often cheaper for some Medicare patients to buy prescription drugs through Walmart's $4 generic program than through their own health insurance, according to a study out Monday.

The study's lead author told NBC News it's more evidence that patients can't always rely on health insurance for reasonable prices on their prescriptions.

"Twenty percent of the time, at least, we should go to Walmart," said Dr. Joseph Ross of the Yale School of Medicine.

The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was informed by discussion about pharmacy gag rules, Ross said. Those rules prevent pharmacists from telling patients about possible savings on drugs, like by not using health insurance.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>