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Entries in Summer (16)

Tuesday
Aug142012

Hot Car Hazard: Parent Forgetfulness Can Be Deadly

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- One hot summer day, Brandi Koskie strapped her 2-week old daughter Paisley into her rear-facing car seat and drove off to run some errands. As her daughter slept peacefully, Koskie parked, got out of the car, locked the door and walked away.

Fortunately she remembered within a minute that she had left her baby behind.

"I ran back, unbuckled her and held her. I was sobbing and shaking for probably 10 minutes afterwards," said Koskie, who is from Wichita, Kansas. "I kept thinking about how the worst might have happened."

Most parents think they could never make the mistake of leaving their baby in the car in sweltering heat. Yet according to the advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide, Koskie was right to be upset. The outcome can be tragic.

In the first week of August alone, according to another group, Kids and Cars, eight children across the United States died from heatstroke in hot vehicles; nearly 40 children die this way each year.

Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, happens when the body's thermostat is overwhelmed with heat. Safe Kids USA says children are at the greatest risk because their bodies heat up 3 to 5 times more quickly than an adult’s.

What sort of parent could be so negligent? Although often portrayed as monsters in the media and sometimes even charged with manslaughter or child abuse, Jeff Brown, an assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says they are often otherwise loving and attentive parents who feel hassled, distracted and confused.

"It can happen so easily if someone is overwhelmed and hyper-focused on what they have to do. When you're trying to multitask and do too many things, the brain goes on overload. The responsibility of caring for your child just slips from your mind," he says.

One San Francisco University report that recorded 424 heat related deaths of children in 12 years found that slightly more than half occurred because the parent simply forgot the child was in the car.

Jeanne Cosgrove, the Sunrise Children's Hospital coordinator for the Safe Kids Coalition in Las Vegas, adds that kids are also more likely to be left behind when there is a change in routine and the other parent has responsibility for the child. "They go about their normal day not realizing the baby is still in the back seat," she says.

Rear-facing car seats may also be a contributing factor in parent's forgetfulness. While experts agree that a rear-facing seat increases a child's safety during a collision, the website Parent Central says, "the last time experts pushed a new campaign to put more children in rear-facing seats - in the 1990s, to cut the chances of being killed by air bags - the number of children who died in hot cars spiked."

Brown says some tricks that can help spaced out parents: Leave your purse or briefcase in the back seat so you have to retrieve it before leaving the car, play children's music on the radio as a reminder that your bundle of joy is along for the ride, and set your phone alarm with reminders that it's your day to babysit.

In some cases, parents believe it's OK if they run a quick errand and hustle back to the car. They don't want the hassle of unbuckling a seat belt and wrestling with a squirming child. But they may not realize how quickly the inside of a car can become an oven. Cosgrove says a car can heat up at a rate of more than two degrees a minute. And opening the windows does little good because much of the heat radiates off seats and dashboards.

While being in a hurry is understandable, experts agree that it's no excuse for negligence.

Richard Gallagher, an associate professor at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU Langone Medical Center, says he believes the solutions for time-strapped parents are obvious -- either leave your children at home or get them out of the car and bring them with you, even if you only plan on being gone for a few minutes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul232012

Expert Tips for Healthy Summer Hair

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Looking for ways to keep your hair looking healthy and vibrant all summer long? Rodney Cutler, owner of Cutler/Redken Salons in New York and Miami, shared some secrets exclusively for ABC’s Good Afternoon America viewers.

Rodney’s Tips for Maintaining Sexy Summer Locks:


  1. Always use a product that has UV protection.
  2. Wear a hat.
  3. Put conditioner on your hair before you jump in the pool or the ocean.  It will create a barrier and fill up the hair shaft so the color molecules can’t escape. It will also help retain moisture. Choose a really thick cream conditioner or mask.
  4. Chlorine, salt, and sun exposure are the worst.  Any way you can protect against those will help save your hair.
  5. Braids are great. They can go from wet to dry with little or no maintenance.
  6. Head scarves look chic and protect your hair from the sun. For a very ’50s style, tie the knot in the front near your part, or wear the scarf as a headband.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul102012

Top Seven Summer Health Risks

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The heat facilitates a great deal of summer fun, but it's also the culprit behind many threats to your health.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, causing more deaths annually than floods, lightning, hurricanes and tornadoes combined.

In 1980, a U.S. heat wave claimed more than 1,200 lives, and about 50,000 Europeans died in a 2003 heat wave. North American tends to have at least one heat wave each summer, according to NOAA.

A number of other health issues come with the summer heat. While not all are necessarily fatal, in many cases they are serious enough to send you scrambling for a remedy.

Here's how to avoid and treat seven common summer heat ailments:

Swimmer's Ear
When you get out of the pool this summer, make sure not to let any water stay behind in your ears. Swimmer's ear -- an infection of the ear canal --  most often develops with the help of water, which facilitates the growth of bacteria. The infection can be extremely painful and disfiguring, but it is eminently avoidable, says Dr. Iyad Saidi, an otolaryngologist at Metropolitan ENT in Alexandria, Va. Use a towel, not a Q-tip, he says, and treat the infection with antibiotic drops and by cleaning the ear canal. "The most important thing is to make sure all the water comes out," Saidi says.

Sunburn
As many have learned the hard way in this scorching summer, sunburns do not only strike at the beach. In fact, many are vulnerable to sunburns even when the sun is hidden behind clouds, partly because of the common misconception that clouds provide enough protection from the sun's rays. "I see the worst burns on cloudy days," says Dr. Doris Day, a professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. Day advocates the daily use of sunscreen — lots of it. Cover every inch of skin that will be exposed to the sun, she says, and use enough to make the most of your lotion's SPF rating. If you do get sunburn, get to some shade as quickly as possible, she says. Take a lukewarm bath, with whole milk mixed in if desired, and cool off.

Heat Rashes
The people most at risk for sunburn are also most vulnerable to heat rashes, which emerge when heat irritates the skin, particularly around body folds. The result looks much like hives, but this is no allergic reaction. To treat heat rashes, Dr. Day recommends using powder to absorb extra moisture — though not corn starch — and staying in the air-conditioned indoors.

Tick and Mosquito Bites
Camping trips are not the only times to worry about bug bites. Lyme disease-carrying ticks exist in all 50 states, and not only in wooded areas, says Dr. Day. The most troubling part: only half of people who contract Lyme get the telltale rash associated with it. Others get symptoms like headaches, but the disease remains under-recognized and under-treated, according to Day. If untreated long enough, the disease can become debilitating. Mosquitoes also pose an increased threat as the amount of clothing covering people's skin decreases. Among the mosquito-borne dangers to watch out for is the West Nile virus, Day says. While insect repellant is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal, she says, beware that mosquitoes may develop resistance to them. And be sure to check your body for ticks after you come in from the outdoors.

Grill Burns
Most Americans dusting off their grills this summer do not suspect that they are inviting any dangers. But grill burns tend to happen suddenly — in a rush to save the burgers from burning, for instance. If you are burned, do not apply ice to the burn, says Dr. Day. Doing so might result in an "ice pack burn." Cortisone and aloe work to soothe the inflammation, with the latter also serving as an anesthetic to quell the pain. Honey may also help, Day says. If the burn is deep and painful, head to the emergency room for proper wound care. The key, Day says, is caution and preparedness. Even if you're in a hurry, take care to avoid touching the grill, and make sure you have a cooking glove nearby at all times.

Jellyfish Stings
If you are stung by a jellyfish at the beach this summer, vinegar or urine should do the trick, right? Wrong, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Those two acidic liquids do not work nearly as effectively as hot water and painkillers, the study said. In particular, the study recommended painkillers containing lidocaine, which appears to inhibit the poison sacs left behind by jellyfish from spreading their venom. Hot water helps to denature the sacs. The trick, according to the study, is to avoid rupturing the sac, as may easily happen in an attempt to wipe the affected area off with a towel.

Food-Borne Illnesses
The heat is also a culprit in the rise of food-borne illnesses during the summer. Of course, industrial and agricultural mishaps account for outbreaks of food-borne illnesses throughout the year, but the hot temperatures allow bacteria to thrive, making food more vulnerable to contamination, says Dr. Jeff Bender, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. There are three main steps consumers should take to avoid food-borne bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter, Bender says: prevent cross-contamination (for example, allowing meat juice to come into contact with food that will not be cooked), refrigerate foods appropriately, and cook meats thoroughly. A meat thermometer is a great help for the last step, Bender says. The symptom common to infections by all three of the above bacteria is diarrhea. If diarrhea persists for three days or longer, or if you develop a fever, Bender recommends a hospital visit.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul062012

Five Ways to Stay Warm in a Cold Office

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's hot out. It's one of the hottest summers in quite a while. But while it's melting outside, you may be freezing inside. Of course, getting the office and your co-workers to agree on the ideal inside temperature is unlikely, and getting the building to make a thermometer change is even more unlikely. But you can take matters into your own hands.

Here are some of the best ways to stay warm in those blistering cold offices this summer:

Sweaters, Snuggies, Shawls
We're going to start with the most obvious solution: bring an extra sweater or jacket with you to the office. If that doesn't seem warm enough (which is the case for many!) you can also invest in a wonderfully comfortable Snuggie and keep it at your desk. Snuggies can be found at Target, CVS, and other retailers for $20. You also might want to order the brown version from MySnuggieStore.com, rather than pick up a bright pink or blue one, which is what you'll usually find on store shelves. If you want a more stylish option, a woolen shawl is always a good route and you can use a nice pin to keep it in place. Scarves are also a stylish way to go.

Space Heater
The next option is a bit more aggressive. Yes, many people actually buy space heaters and keep them under their desks for warmth. Hey, what better way to fight blowing cold air than by blowing warm air? You can pick up a space heater for as little as $25. Just make sure to turn it off at night and not to position it near any paper or anything flammable. Also, you might want to check with your office manager to see if they are permitted on premises.

Stairs
Sometimes the only option is to get up and move around. You can go outside, but sometimes the shock of going from cold to hot or vice versa isn't great on the immune system. Instead, get up and walk around the office or up and down the stairs in your office building. Not only will it warm you up, it will give you some time away from the computer screen and your office chair!

Fingerless Gloves, Socks
Of course, you'll have to return to that keyboard soon, and your fingers, as you might know, can suffer the most from the cold air. If you're working on a laptop that gets warm that might help some, but you might actually want to invest in a pair of fingerless gloves. There are plenty of pairs for under $5 on Amazon.com. Also, since you are already at a desk and near a computer, you could also go with a pair of USB heated gloves, which actually heat up your hands. And while you are shopping you might want to pick up a pair of warm socks if you happen to wear sandals or open shoes to the office. Slip on the socks under the desk and no one will ever know!

Hot Coffee
One of the best parts of summer is iced coffee or iced tea, but if you're stuck in a cold office you might be better off getting a mug and filling it up with a hot drink and holding it in your hands.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May302012

Top 5 Summer Allergy Triggers

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Summer is unofficially on, which means three months full of sun, heat and allergy triggers.

The fully bloomed trees and green grass may appear nice, but the pollen they harbor can bring allergy sufferers misery during the spring and summer months. And it's not just that ubiquitous powdery substance that can trigger sniffling, sneezing and itchy eyes during the hotter months. Experts say the following allergy triggers can also be common during the summer:

Mold:  Outdoor mold is the culprit behind many allergic reactions starting in late summer and fall when there is a peak in the amount of some types of mold spores, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Stings:  Avoiding a painful encounter is just one reason to steer clear of stinging insects. Insect stings are also a well-known summer allergy trigger that can lead to a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Poison ivy and sunscreen:  While not especially common, poison ivy and sunscreen do pose allergy hazards during the warmer seasons.

Seasonal fruit:  Allergic reactions to food can happen at any time, but for some people, summer fruits and vegetables can be more than just juicy and delicious.

Pollen:  No matter what the season, pollen is in the air, ready to set off allergy attacks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar222012

Survey: Majority of Americans Not Ready for Bathing Suit Season

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The unusually warm weather in many parts of the U.S. has lots of people thinking summer, but a new survey reveals most people feel they’re not ready for bathing suit season.

A Nutrisystem survey conducted by Harris Interactive finds 59 percent of Americans saying they’re not ready to put on a bathing suit, with 24 percent indicating they feel pressure to lose weight.

Among the survey's additional findings:

-- 67 percent of women don’t feel ready for bathing suit season.
-- 50 percent of men and 33 percent of women say they are ready for bathing suit season.
-- Single adults have a higher level of bathing suit “readiness” than married adults, 50 percent vs. 39 percent.
-- People who live in the West are more likely to feel pressure to lose weight than those who live in the Northeast, 29 percent compared to 20 percent.

The Nutrisystem/Harris Interactive survey involved 2,211 U.S. adults.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug152011

Did Deadly Parasite Kill Florida Teen?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- A deadly brain parasite contracted during a swim in a local river is thought to be the culprit behind the sudden and tragic death of 16-year-old Florida teen Courtney Nash.

Nash had gone for a swim Aug. 3 with her cousins in St. Johns River and within a week began suffering from headache, stiffness, fever, and nausea -- all telltale signs of amoebic meningoencephalitis, a parasitic infection that attacks the brain and spine, Barry Inman, an epidemiologist with the Brevard County Health Department told ABC News.

The parasite enters through the nose and then travels through the sinuses and infects the brain and cerebrospinal fluid. Though this parasite is very rare, it tends to grow more in stagnant, fresh water during high summer temperatures, Inman said.

Nash was taken initially to a local hospital and then to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, but despite every attempt at treatment, she died Saturday afternoon.

Though doctors at Arnold Palmer identified the amoeba Naegleria fowleri in her system before her death, Florida health officials are still awaiting official confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control that this was in fact the cause of death, Inman said.

Nash's is only the third case of amoebic meningoencephalitis in Brevard County since 1985, Inman said. Nationwide, there are usually one to three cases each year of this rare and dangerous parasitic infection. Only one person has survived the infection since the 1970s, he added.

Though chances of contracting this parasite are about one in 10 million, said Inman, people in the area are aware that there is some risk in swimming in certain fresh water ponds, lakes, and rivers.

Inman said that anyone suffering from the symptoms of this parasitic infection -- fever, nausea, stiff neck, and a frontal headache -- should seek medical attention.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Aug132011

Back to School: Parents Should Plan Ahead to Reduce Child’s Stress

Comstock/Thinkstock(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- The transition from summer to fall is never an easy one, and may be especially difficult for those anticipating their first day of school.

HealthDay reports that children who are excessively worried for a prolonged period of time— more than two weeks—may suffer from trauma and may need to seek outside help, according to experts.

Vivian Friedman, a child-adolescent psychologist and professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said there are ways parents can prepare their child for school to help alleviate their stress:

• Scheduling a play date with a child from the new school.
• Visiting the school playground during the summer.
• Taking a tour of the school before classes start.

Most importantly, Friedman encouraged parents to stay positive.

"Character styles are persistent, not permanent. A child who approaches life with fear may also be a cautious adult," said Friedman. "An easy-going child is likely to continue to approach life with a positive attitude. Help your child to see the glass half-full rather than half-empty.”

Friedman encouraged parents to be wary of the following symptoms that are indicative of an underlying issue:

•    Whining.
•    Threatening to run away or hurt themselves.
•    Having nightmares or other sleep disturbances.
•    Renewed bedwetting.
•    Having generally anxious behavior or startling easily.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul182011

Summer Scorcher! Here Are Some Ways to Beat the Heat

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As temperatures continue to rise across parts of the country, the National Weather Service has offered some safety tips for adults looking to keep cool:

  • Slow down. Try to reduce or cancel any strenuous activities, or reschedule them for the coolest part of the day.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect sunlight and heat.
  • Eat lighter foods. Meat and other proteins increase metabolic heat production and could cause even more water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water, but avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
  • Spend more time in air conditioned places. If you don't have an air conditioner in your home, go to a library, store, or other location for part of the day to stay cool.
  • Avoid getting too much sun. Sunburn can reduce your body's ability to release heat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul052011

Summer Season Can Be Painful for Migraine Sufferers

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There are numerous triggers that can make summer an especially painful time of year for many people prone to migraines.

Some research has suggested that summer is the worst time of year, but experts say it really depends on what factors set off migraines.

"Some people do experience more migraines in the summer but, for others, the winter is worse," said Dr. Joel Saper, founder and director of the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor.

Those who suffer in the summer might experience a migraine when exposed to some of these common triggers:

Dehydration

Losing a lot of water and sodium through sweating can trigger migraines.

"If a lot of sodium is lost when sweating, it can dilute the bloodstream a bit and when sodium goes down to a certain point, it can be very headache-provoking," Saper said.

A similar effect can happen if people drink too much water.  Over-hydration can also throw off the balance of electrolytes, which can lead to a migraine.

Lazy Days of Summer

"Migraines can happen at a time of a let down from stress.  When a person has a chance to relax, it may be the time for headaches to happen," said Dr. Andrew Charles, director of the Headache Research and Treatment Program at UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles. "The first days of vacation or the start of the weekend are common times for migraines to occur."

Changes in sleep patterns can also cause migraines in some people.  The longer days often cause people to go to sleep later than usual.

Migraines can also be caused when people don't eat at their normal times, which tends to happen in the summer.  Maintaining consistent sleeping and eating patterns is key, Saper said.

Environmental Factors

Summer allergens, such as grass pollen, can also trigger migraines.

Humidity can increase the levels of some allergens in the environment and can also cause migraines in other ways.

"Humidity can trigger migraines because when it's humid, you can pick up odors you wouldn't smell on a less humid day," Saper said.

Other summer migraine triggers include the heat, which can cause changes in body temperature, alcoholic beverages, and higher altitudes some people might experience when they go camping.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio