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Friday
Sep152017

94-year-old grandma surprised with hurricane supplies from police

Clearwater Police Department (CLEARWATER, Fla.) -- A 94-year-old grandmother got a surprise visit from police before losing power from Hurricane Irma.

Betty Helmuth of Clearwater, Florida, answered her door on Sept. 7 for Officer James Frederick and his colleagues who greeted her with supplies.

The touching moment was captured on video by Clearwater Police and shared on the department’s Facebook page one week later.

"Oh my gosh,” Helmuth said to the officers. "Oh gosh, you're good-looking!"

Frederick told ABC News that he and his team brought groceries, water and flashlights to Helmuth after her granddaughter, Rachel Copeland of Texas, sent a Facebook message to police asking them to check on her grandmother.

“[Helmuth] was tremendously grateful, thankful and her personality and smile made it well worth it for us,” Frederick said. “She [Copeland] went through Hurricane Harvey and had a desire to be sure her grandmother was OK [in Irma] because of what she went through.”

Copeland said 75 percent of the Texas town she lives in was under water as a result of Hurricane Harvey. When she heard her grandma would be in the path of Irma, she contacted Clearwater police for help.

“I sent them a message and was just pleading with them, ‘Please anything you can do, please help my grandma,’” Copeland told ABC News. “They responded right away. I really can’t say how amazing they were.”

Copeland said her grandmother was thrilled by the visit.

“She still talking about how good-looking they are,” Copeland added, with a laugh. “They’re seriously all of our heroes.”

Frederick has since returned to Helmuth’s home to check on her again. Her power was restored Tuesday, he said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Sep152017

'Growing Pains' star Joanna Kerns reveals she underwent a double mastectomy 

Tibrina Hobson/WireImage via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Actress Joanna Kerns recently revealed in an interview that she underwent a double mastectomy last December to reduce the recurrence of cancer.

The "Growing Pains" star told People magazine she was recently "given an all clear -- the best of the results I could have had."

ABC News reached out to a rep for Kerns, but didn't immediately hear back.

Kerns, 64, was diagnosed last November with ductal carcinoma in situ, a non-invasive cancer where abnormal cells are found in the lining of breast milk ducts. The actress underwent a double mastectomy a month later, following two lumpectomies, "instead of risking radiation and the chance of it coming back," she said.

"Had I not caught my cancer this early on," Kern added, "I would have had to have a year of chemotherapy, and because of the recurrence and aggressiveness of this particular type of cancer, which was non-invasive HER2, I chose to do the mastectomy."

Kerns said the diagnosis was "quite shocking" because "breast cancer does not run in my family."

"I had been vigilant about screenings and exams, except this time I had missed a couple of years in there due to work and family issues, and suddenly I turn around, and it’s two years later, and I hadn’t done it and I have cancer," she told the magazine.

It was even more challenging because Kerns, who played the late Alan Thicke's onscreen wife in "Growing Pains," discovered her diagnosis just one week before he passed away. The two worked together on the hit ABC series from 1985 to 1992.

"It was so devastating," she recalled. "It was just a very, very hard time. I did go to the memorial four weeks out, and I was very happy to see my whole cast and my producers and dear friends."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Sep152017

Rescued shrimp boat captain returns to dry land after near-death brush with Irma

iStock/Thinkstock(TARPON SPRINGS, Fla.) -- Edward Potter, shaken to the core after his harrowing hourslong experience on a lifeboat during Hurricane Irma, returned to dry land and to the embrace of his loved ones Wednesday, but still mourning the loss of his first mate.

Potter is a third-generation shrimper, which his family credits for helping the Tarpon Springs, Florida, man survive the deadly storm as it raged over the Gulf of Mexico.

"He's been on the water since he was with his dad since he was a baby," Jayne Potter, his wife, told ABC Tampa affiliate WFTS-TV.

Edward Potter and his first mate, Carl Sheperd, were in their 75-foot fishing boat named Captain Eddie when they hit troubled waters.

They were about a week into their multiday shrimping trip to the Florida Keys when the storm that they thought they could outrun caught up to them and slammed the boat, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

"They were getting water in the engine room, and Edward was working on the engine room," their friend Rick Shalansky recalled to WFTS. "And we talked to Carl on the phone, and then we couldn't get in touch with them anymore."

Potter made it safely into his lifeboat but his first mate did not.

"Carl Sheperd was the best man ever," Potter told WFTS. "Best man, best friend, and I can't say anything more than that right now but I loved that man. And the city of Tarpon Springs is going to miss that man."

Potter drifted alone in the life boat for hours until a Carnival Cruise Line ship spotted him Sunday and rescued him.

Potter is thankful for the rescue, he told WFTS, but he still mourns the death of Sheperd.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Sep142017

What parents should know about sleep apnea in children

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Medical experts are warning parents that if you hear your young son or daughter snoring, it could potentially be a sign that the child is suffering from sleep apnea.

"It should raise a flag," Dr. Sydney Butts, an ear, nose and throat doctor in New York City told ABC News. "You should think about watching some other signs and symptoms that may kind of sound the alarm."

"It's not a problem restricted to adults," Butts added of sleep apnea. "It's actually one of the most common reasons why children need their tonsils or adenoids removed."

If untreated, sleep apnea can lead to chronic heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity and other health problems, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA).

Kevin and Amanda Cook told ABC News that three months after they brought home their infant son, Caden, he started to have episodes during which he would stop breathing. They later learned that he had sleep apnea.

Amanda Cook said she watched as her child became "just completely limp, non-responsive."

Cook said she'd have to "hold him and say, 'Caden, Caden, Caden.' "

"Finally, you know, he'd start breathing," she said. "And it just got worse and worse."

When Caden was 6 months old, the Cooks took him to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, California, to undergo a sleep study. Doctors there diagnosed Caden with both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when something is blocking your airway, such as your tonsils. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, according to ASAA.

Sleep apnea is not uncommon in newborns, but even after Caden was past the infant stage, he was still not getting better. His tonsils were not enlarged, so doctors did not recommend surgery, his parents said.

Symptoms of sleep apnea in children include snoring, hyperactivity, trouble focusing in school, depression or anger, and even bed wetting. Some of these symptoms can often be confused with those of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to Butts.

"Many kids" may get labeled as being hyperactive, Butts said. "And I think it's important to look at a variety of different causes that could be contributing to that. It may not be that sleep is the only cause, but if there's a worry about the child's sleep, it should definitely be investigated."

ABC News Senior Medical Contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said the fact that sleep apnea can be misdiagnosed as ADHD in children speaks to the importance of sleep for your overall health. She added that sleep apnea can be treated with a CPAP machine, which forces air into your mouth and keeps your airways open as you sleep.



Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Sep132017

San Diego steps up containment battle as Hepatitis A outbreak kills 16

sudok1/iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- Private cleaning crews and public health workers are mobilized on the streets of San Diego, working to stop a Hepatitis A outbreak that has claimed at least 16 lives so far.

San Diego city and county officials said they are collaborating on solutions to the aggressive outbreak –- which has at least 421 known cases in San Diego county, including 292 hospitalizations, since last November. They have stepped up containment plans, which now include everything from street cleaning and vaccination to distributing flyers and planning possible temporary housing for the California city’s homeless, who have been hard-hit by the virus.

"We must continue to work collaboratively to stop this crisis and save lives," San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said in a statement Wednesday.

On Monday, the city of San Diego increased its sanitation measures. The city hired a private contractor to spray the streets with a bleach and a water solution to kill bacteria, began installing outdoor hand washing stations and earmarked 14 bathrooms to stay open 24 hours per day to aid the sizable homeless population, who officials say make up the majority of the outbreak's victims.

San Diego County declared a public health emergency on Sept. 1 and has an active campaign to contain the virus including vaccinations, increased sanitation and distributing educational materials.

The virus has been steadily declining across the U.S. over the past decades. The last reported figures of Hepatitis A from the CDC, in 2014, showed a total of 1,239 cases nationwide.

The Hepatitis A virus is easily spread from person-to-person, usually through fecal matter, so hand washing after using the bathroom is paramount in controlling it's spread, health officials say.

Symptoms of infection include nausea, anorexia, fever, malaise, or abdominal pain and patients may show outward signs like jaundice and pale stools.

Immunization is effective against the virus and San Diego County has deployed health workers to vaccinate people in communities and run vaccination events. The county said they have vaccinated approximately 19,000 people so far.

Hepatitis A has an incubation time of 15 to 50 days and can go undetected for some time, which officials caution may stretch containment efforts over several months.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Sep132017

Seven-year-old with 3-D printed hand to throw first pitch at Game 4 of World Series 

(Courtesy: Yong Dawson) Hailey Dawson, a 7-year-old from Nevada, has thrown the first pitch with her 3-D printed hand for two major league baseball teams and hopes to reach her goal of 28 more. (NEW YORK) -- A girl with a 3-D printed prosthetic hand, whose dream of throwing the first pitch at every major league ballpark has been widely shared, is now scheduled to throw the first pitch at Game 4 of the World Series, the MLB confirmed to ABC News today.

"I cried when they told me," 7-year-old Hailey Dawson's mom, Yong Dawson, told ABC News. "She knows that it’s a huge event for her."

Major League Baseball was inspired by her story, after many teams responded that they would love to have her throw out a first pitch, and offered her a chance to pitch during their biggest event: The World Series.

"Hailey’s inspirational story captured our attention and our teams have overwhelmingly embraced her goal to throw a first pitch at every MLB ballpark," Tony Petitti, MLB Chief Operating Officer, told ABC News. "We are very happy that Hailey will begin her quest by throwing the ceremonial first pitch at Game 4 of the World Series. We’re all looking forward to meeting her and the Dawson Family at the Fall Classic."

Hailey Dawson has Poland Syndrome, a rare birth defect that caused her to be born missing three fingers on her right hand. The 7-year-old uses a special 3-D printed hand that was developed by engineers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"She's a little firecracker," Dawson of Henderson, Nevada, said. "She's very spunky. She's got no fear pretty much, with the hand, without the hand, she'll try anything. Socially, she's got all the confidence in the world."

Hailey, a big baseball fan, threw the first pitch for a local minor league team in Las Vegas in 2015. That year, she also threw the first pitch at Camden Yards for her favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles and, in June 2017, she threw the pitch for the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.

She also asks the ball players to sign her hand, Dawson said.

"She was so excited and kept asking, 'When am I going next? What team am I pitching for? Where can I go?'" Dawson added.

The proud mom said her son Zach, 12, suggested the goal to pitch at all 30 MLB stadiums to Hailey, who hopes to someday break the world record for the most first pitches thrown at separate, major league ballparks. Hailey has not been afraid to ask.

"This is a really crazy question to ask, to throw a pitch for a major league ball team," Dawson said, "But she did do it [twice]."

On Sept. 7, sports news website Bleacher Report shared a video of Hailey and reported her goal to throw out the first pitch at every MLB stadium.



Soon, offers came rolling in from up to 26 different MLB teams inviting Hailey to their ballparks, Dawson said. A few of the teams tweeted their invitations to Hailey.

The Atlanta Braves confirmed that they have scheduled Hailey to pitch at their stadium, after they earlier tweeted that they would love for her to come.

“We have been in touch with Hailey’s mom and are coordinating a date during the 2018 season to host her,” an Atlanta Braves spokeswoman wrote to ABC News. “We can’t wait to show her SunTrust Park and the southern hospitality of Braves Country!”

The Boston Red Sox also tweeted an invitation.

"Looks like we need to get you to Fenway, Hailey!" the Boston Red Sox wrote. "Just DM us with your info and we're in!"

Dawson said Hailey can continue working toward her goal next summer once school is out. Another of Hailey's dreams is to pitch to Chicago Cubs' third baseman Kris Bryant, her mom said.

"The joy, the way she acts on the field, is so great to see as a mom," Dawson said.



Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Sep132017

Why hurricane preparation, recovery is especially difficult for many senior citizens

Trudy Lampson(NEW YORK) -- Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have shown the tremendous risks to the health and livelihoods of millions at the hands of dangerous storms. For the elderly who live in hurricane zones, severe storms pose even more of a threat since many have disabilities and medical conditions for which they need special care.

Because many seniors also have trouble getting around, they can often find themselves more vulnerable in disaster conditions. Protecting elderly loved ones when a hurricane strikes and in its aftermath requires special attention and planning.

Even independent seniors can suffer disproportionately from natural disasters like hurricanes, especially when basic necessities like food and water are hard to find.

“The frailest of the adults are unlikely to manage the money stressors and the aftereffects of a hurricane,” said Dr. Anne Fabiny, a UCSF School of Medicine professor working at the San Francisco VA center. “Be it using a cane, a walker or being consigned to a bed, the elderly cannot respond to adversities like this without help.”

Here are few of the major challenges faced by the elderly –- and how best to overcome them:

Access to the necessities: Food, water and medications

Access to safe food and water is a challenge during natural disasters. The elderly tend to run an increased risk of dehydration because they may not feel thirsty, a lack of sensation that becomes more problematic as people grow older.

Those caring for elderly loved ones should make sure they have access to potable water and make sure they are actually drinking it. Also, because the elderly tend to take more medications, it is vitally important to ensure that they have access to all essential medications, whether at home or in a shelter.

Getting to a safe place, even when moving around is a challenge


Many elderly require a wheelchair, a walker or some other kind of assistive device to get around. They may also need hearing and visual aids. So provisions should be in place for transportation of the elderly along with their assistive devices during a storm. For the elderly living in assisted living and nursing homes, the facilities should have an emergency plan to transport the elderly, if necessary, to a safe shelter with all their medications and assistive devices.

Power outages can cause an even more dire situation for some seniors. Many pieces of specialized medical equipment used disproportionately by the elderly rely on electricity. One example: a 2005 study showed that about half of Americans needing dialysis were aged 65 years or older. A blackout is far more than just an inconvenience for these patients –- it could create a life-threatening situation.

Psychological effects: Dealing with the devastation

While many of the dangers posed to seniors by natural disasters are limited by the duration of the event, the psychological effects can often last long after the physical threat has passed for seniors.

“There is a high risk of delirium and confusion in the elderly,” Fabiny said. “This could be brought on by a number of factors, including missed medications and dehydration.”

The signs of delirium, which call for immediate medical attention, are easily confused with dementia. Caregivers, family members and medical professionals at the shelters should watch for abrupt changes in their mental status and seek medical care immediately if present.

The loss of a home can have a special impact on seniors, as well, as it come with a fear of institutionalization. Seniors may need reassurance that serious damage to their homes does not mean they will be sent to facilities.

“The best way to combat the fear is to be clear regarding the resources available and the next steps in place to help them cope better,” Fabiny said, adding that community support is also important in helping the elderly through the grieving process while recovering from the storm and getting back to normal life.

Local resources and agencies that can help

For seniors with special needs, some additional resources exist, including evacuation assistance programs and special needs shelters for the elderly, some which provide transportation.

After a disaster, seniors can reach out to local aging service providers for assistance with food stamps, FEMA services and housing. In Florida, the Department of Elder Affairs works in conjunction with local area agencies on aging to ensure all their clients are safe and all their needs are met. Many retirement communities also have arrangements for special food and water distribution centers that help these people avoid long lines, as well as emergency workers who deliver supplies to homebound elders.

For family members attempting to get in touch with elderly relatives in Florida, the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) can help track them down and confirm that they are safe.

Lastly, many older adults are reluctant to ask for help for the fear of exposing their disabilities and vulnerabilities. It never hurts to reach out and offer assistance to seniors, even if they don't indicate need.

This article was written by Monisha Shah, M.D., a pediatric medicine resident at UT Houston.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Sep132017

Yolanda Hadid says 'invisible' struggle with Lyme disease led her to contemplate suicide

ABC(LOS ANGELES) -- Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Hadid opened up about her battle with Lyme disease -- which she called an "invisible disability" -- revealing how, at one point, the pain it caused was so severe that she contemplated taking her own life.
 
"This is such an invisible disability, where you look beautiful on the outside yet you're dying on the inside," Hadid said in an emotional interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts. "That's what people are judged with every day."

"It didn't just happen to me; it happens to everyone who suffers from Lyme," Hadid added of the judgment she received from those who don't understand the disease. "Including my own daughter, who's on the cover of magazines, yet people don't know how much she really struggles behind the scenes."

Hadid said her supermodel daughter Bella Hadid, as well as her son, Anwar Hadid, also suffer from Lyme disease. Her oldest daughter, supermodel Gigi Hadid, does not suffer from the ailment.

"Anwar -- he’s OK," Yolanda Hadid said. "He's been treated for two years and he's really good. But Bella -- it's something she deals with every day of her life."

Yolanda Hadid said she currently feels about "90 percent" well.

"I still have some brain issues, where my scanner is off, where sometimes I have a hard time with word retrieval and things like that," she added.

The former model said she struggled with her health during the entire time she filmed The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

"The minute I got on the show, I got sick. I've never worked on that show with a normal brain," she said. "I was always struggling and always trying to hold on, and keep my job."

The mother of three also revealed that, at one point, her pain was so severe that she even contemplated taking her own life.

"I think in that moment I was so desperate, and in so much pain, like sweating on the bathroom floor in some hotel in Florida, trying to please other people," she said. "I remember laying in the ocean and going, 'Just take me. I just cannot live one more day.' "

"In the same moment that I thought that, the picture of my kids came up, and I'm going, like, 'What are you thinking?,' " she said, adding that she wanted to be "honest" about that moment because there could be others who "throw your hands up in the air and go, 'I've tried everything. I just cannot go one more minute.' "


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Sep122017

Tips for moms who struggle with back-to-school sadness 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The last group of children head back to school this week and judging from the celebratory posts and memes on social media, it may seem like every mother is overjoyed to be free of her children for a few hours each day.

But not every mom is joyful this time of year. In fact, many deal with feelings of sadness and anxiety when their children return to school.

"The start of school can often trigger extra reflection on how quickly time passes and how much things change," Jill E. Daino, a social worker and New York City-based therapist told ABC News. "Time is one of many things we have no control over so whether someone is ready or not the start of the school year is here. For some moms whose identity is profoundly shaped by being a mom the start of a new school years marks another step in that child's move toward independence."

Mom Mia Carella of the site ThisMomWithaBlog.com shared on Facebook her struggles with her daughter's first days of first grade.

"They said it would get easier. They said last year would be the hardest, being the first time and all," she wrote. "They said this year would be better; that I'd be happy to see her go back to school after a long summer. Nope."

She told ABC News, "Social media is full of posts from parents so excited for their kids to head back to school, but I know I am not alone in how I am feeling. I think it is perfectly normal not to be jumping for joy at the bus stop. If you are, that's great. And, if you are like me, that's OK, too. I wanted to put that out there in my post and let other parents know their feelings are normal."

Carella's daughter was born with a congenital heart defect and has some developmental delays, she said. But the feelings she expresses are not specific to mothers of kids with additional needs, experts say.

"Most of my clients are moms and many of them experience sadness and anxiety around their children growing up," Limor Weinstein, a mental health counselor and parent coach told ABC News. "Many moms are attached to their kids and have a challenging time separating from them. The separation anxiety issue that so many children experience when leaving their parents is sometimes just as prevalent with moms. This is natural."

"Letting our hearts - our whole worlds - walk out into the world alone without us is never easy," Carella wrote in her post. " We have to trust that the world will treat them as we would. Trust that they will have everything they need. Trust that we can loosen our white-knuckled grip that we think is holding everything together, and let them go."

Weinstein said anxiety can surface this time of year.

"Anxiety can also manifest itself in fears for your child, a fear that something bad will happen to them that you can’t protect them from," she said. "Other seemingly unrelated factors can also contribute to this anxiety and sadness. If you have a general feel of losing control in other areas of your life, your kids going back to school could exacerbate that."

Weinstein recommends moms experiencing sadness this time of year reach out to a friend. "Community support is so important. Talking to other moms and realizing you are not alone will help ease your mind," she said. She also recommended beefing up on hobbies, connecting with other moms at the school and journaling feelings."

She also said a therapist who practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and positive psychology can be helpful for mothers.

Daino echoed the need to reach out to friends and family. "Often women can feel alone with these feelings if they perceive themselves as the only ones. So to have a supportive, nonjudgmental person in their life is important. At the same time, as a therapist I would want to help them begin to understand what their particular feelings are about bc it will have unique aspects for each individual."

As for Carella, whose daughter started school a few weeks ago, she said her daughter is happy at school and every day gets easier. Still, she wants other parents to know she understands their feelings well.

"Let them grow," she wrote in her Facebook post. "But, it is hard - one of the hardest things I've ever done. To all the moms and dads having trouble letting go this year, you are not alone. So, so not alone."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Sep122017

Does your dog sleeping in the bedroom hurt the quality of your sleep?

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Jennifer Ashton (NEW YORK) -- Millions of Americans have dogs and these beloved pets are often considered families’ four-legged fur babies. But researchers at the Mayo Clinic are now investigating whether dogs should be sleeping in the bedroom with their owners.

A small study followed 40 adult dog owners, using activity trackers to monitor the humans' and dogs' sleeping patterns over seven nights. The results? Having a pup in the bedroom doesn't seem to disrupt owners' sleep.

But there’s one catch: The study suggests that owners who actually share their beds with their dog may experience a decrease in sleep quality.

ABC News’ Chief Medical Contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said this study depends on three major factors: “It depends on the size of the dog, the size of the bed, and the size of the person sleeping with the dog,” she said on “Good Morning America” Tuesday.

Ashton said she’d like to see the study be done with cats and multiple dogs sleeping in the bed, rather than just one human and one dog that the study focused on.

“Obviously if the human quality of sleep is disrupted, that is a hard line in the sand in my opinion medically, because our sleep is already not-so-great as a country,” she said. “But I think if the dog provides comfort and you get a better night’s sleep, then that’s definitely good for humans.”

"GMA" asked our viewers on Twitter if they think dogs belong in the bedroom. The resounding answer was yes.

But there were some critics, citing allergies, privacy and some commenting that sharing the bed with your fur baby is just plain “gross.”

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