Entries in Water (13)


5 Healthy Reasons to Stay Hydrated

GNL Media/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) -- Summertime means sunbathing on the beach, picnicking with your family and enjoying the outdoors. Naturally, this means spending more time in the sun and trying to beat the hot weather.

When you're packing the sunscreen, make sure to bring some bottles of water too. Here are five reasons why.

It Boosts Brainpower
Next time you feel like you are reacting a bit slow to your friends' jokes, consider drinking some water.

According to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, drinking water when you feel thirsty can help you think and act. The participants who drank water before performing a series of cognitive tasks reacted faster than those who did not.

"If the slower reaction times translated into real world performance, it could mean that people are generally a little slower at performing tasks," says Dr. Caroline Edmonds, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of East London, who was involved in the study.

It Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids
Did you know more than half of your body is composed of water? All this water helps with critical functions like maintaining body temperature, cushioning and protecting vital organs and aiding in digestion.

On hot days, your body loses water through increased sweating. And not drinking about water can interfere with your body's necessary functions. This can lead to dehydration and if untreated, can develop into heatstroke or heat exhaustion.

According to the CDC, it is recommended that women consume 2.7 liters and men consume 3.7 liters of water daily.

It Helps With Appetite Control and Gut Health
Think you're hungry? Think again.

"Our thirst mechanism isn't that good," says Lisa Cimperman, Clinical Dietitian at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. "Essentially, when we think that we're hungry, we're actually thirsty."

So if you feel like you need to eat something, try drinking a glass of water first. A lot of times it will help.

Water may not magically help you lose weight overnight, but substituting higher calorie drinks for water will reduce a large amount of calorie intake. Also, in order to burn calories, an adequate amount of water is needed. Staying hydrated will also keep things in your intestinal tracts flowing.

"You need to have adequate water to have regular bowel movements," says Cimperman. The consequence of not drinking enough water? Constipation.

It Will Improve Your Mood
Lack of sleep isn't the only cause of headaches, irritability and fatigue. Studies suggest that increasing your daily amount of water intake can reduce the duration and intensity of headaches.

When your body is low on water, blood vessels will dilate, causing swelling and worsening the feeling of a headache. According to the NIH, if you're experiencing dizziness, this is a sign of dehydration. You should drink small amounts of water slowly over time.

It Lowers the Risk of Heart Attacks
The heart is one of the most important organs, pumping blood to the rest of the body. So it's important to keep it healthy.

According to the NIH, coronary heart disease, when your arteries clog up with plaque, is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States. A worsening of coronary heart disease can lead to a heart attack. The best way to prevent it? Drink more water.

One study in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that drinking more water is associated with a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease. And drinking liquids other than water actually increased the chances of the disease.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mystery Behind Prune Hands Explained

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- U.K. researchers might have figured out one of the most enduring questions about human anatomy: Why do we get prune hands when sitting in the tub?

A team at Newcastle University has concluded through experiments and testing that wrinkled fingers make it easier for humans to pick up wet, slippery objects.  The researchers suggest in reports published in Britain’s Royal Society journal Biology Letters that as our distant ancestors searched for food in wet land and streams, the creases evolved.

“Upon continued submersion in water, the glabrous skin on human hands and feet forms wrinkles.  The formation of these wrinkles is known to be an active process, controlled by the autonomic nervous system,” the research’s abstract states.  “Such an active control suggests that these wrinkles may have an important function, but this function has not been clear.”

In their studies, the researchers showed that submerged objects are handled quicker with wrinkled fingers than with unwrinkled fingers, and that wrinkles make no difference when trying to manipulate dry objects.

They believe that the research supports their hypothesis that wrinkles might be an adaptation for handling objects in wet conditions.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sewage, Bacteria, Gasoline Found in NYC Floodwater

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Water is everywhere in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy – in basements, on the streets and in transit systems – but the one place it could be most dangerous is in your body.

ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser collected floodwater and drinking water in some of the areas hit hardest by Sandy and had them tested at The Ambient Group lab. The floodwater collected in Lower Manhattan tested positive for gasoline and two types of bacteria found in sewage: E. coli and coliform.

“Very dangerous,” Besser said. “Make sure you wear protective gear if you are coming into contact with flood water.”

Looking at the testing containers filled with Manhattan floodwater, Besser said that the yellow in one container meant bacteria was present and the purple in another meant “sky-high levels of sewage contamination.”

Wednesday, he went to Piermont, N.Y., an area hit so hard by the hurricane that it’s under a boil water advisory, meaning residents are instructed not to drink tap water without purifying it with several drops of bleach.

When a power outage knocked out one of Piermont’s water pumps, officials were concerned about tap water contamination. The water company tested water from a hydrant, which initially ran brown, but eventually cleared.

Besser tested the hydrant water as well and saw that it had chlorine in it, which protects it from germs.

He also collected tap water from a family’s home faucet, but the lab results won’t be ready until Thursday. The family is already boiling its water as a precaution.

Water companies are responsible for alerting residents if their water is unsafe to drink. Alerts can also come from town or city officials.

Click here for a list of areas under boil water advisory.

In New York City, for instance, the Department of Environmental Protection announced that its water was safe to drink. Water in reservoirs 125 miles north of the city continue to be monitored closely with extra testing in the wake of the storm.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hospital Fountain Linked to Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak in Wis.

Pixland/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Wisconsin has been linked to a decorative fountain found in a hospital lobby, according to a new study released Tuesday online in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Eight people were tested in 2010 after exhibiting symptoms of the Legionnaires' disease, which include fever, chills, headaches and coughing. All had contracted a severe form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacterium and tested positive for the disease, which is transmitted by inhaling contaminated water.

Interestingly enough, none of the new patients were admitted to the hospital at the time they were exposed, leading experts to question the one common source of water: the lobby fountain.

"Legionella is very tolerant of higher water temperatures, it loves water," said Dr. Christopher Ohl, professor of infectious diseases at Wakeforest Baptist Medical Center.  "It could happen anywhere, in a hotel, in an office building...really any water fountain has a potential of having this happen."

Three of the patients who contracted the disease were visiting the hospital as outpatients, while three others were simply picking up medication.  The remaining two patients were either delivering materials to the facility or waiting in the lobby during a relative's appointment.  Six out of the eight patients remembered passing directly through the lobby and past the fountain.

According to Ohl, Legionella typically effects people whose immune systems are compromised. All of the patients who tested positive for the disease reported underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or alcoholism that would have left them vulnerable to illness.

While Legionella has been reported in other places involving water, Ohl says Americans should not be afraid of walking past decorative fountains in general.

"I don't think people should be afraid of this," he said. "It could just as easily been the water system in your own home, from a shower at the YMCA...It's really impossible to reduce your risk."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Experts Weigh in on How to Prevent a Hangover

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Maybe you overdid it New Year's Eve, and maybe this advice is too late for you, but here are some tips to avoid a hangover.

There's really only one thing that helps: water. Experts suggest you drink water while you're drinking alcohol to prevent a nasty hangover.

Jamie Hirsch of Consumer Reports suggests alternating a glass of alcohol with a glass of water or seltzer.

As for potions and powders that claim to cure, they're probably not the best idea since there is no conclusive evidence any of them work!

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Brain-Eating Amoeba Claims Fourth Victim

File photo. MEHAU KULYK/Getty Images(WINFIELD, Kan.) -- A Kansas resident died last week from what was likely a rare infection by a brain-eating amoeba, after swimming in a lake in August, state health officials said.  It is the fourth death this summer linked to the parasite, which is found in stagnant warm water.

The person, who hasn't been named, likely picked up the infection while swimming in Winfield City Lake in Cowley County, ABC News affiliate KAKE-TV in Wichita reported.

The Sedgwick County resident entered the hospital on Aug. 19 with headaches and developed breathing problems, and died five days later, according to the Kansas City Star.

Notices have been posted at the Winfield lake office and the swimming area, Winfield City Manager Warren Porter told the Star.  Residents have been warned not to swim in bodies of water that have been heated by a nuclear power plant, or dig up sediment in such places, according to the newspaper.

The brain-eating amoeba, also known as the parasite Naegleria, enters through the nose, travels through the sinuses and infects the brain and cerebrospinal fluid.

Though this parasite is very rare, it tends to grow in stagnant, fresh water during high summer temperatures, Barry Inman, an epidemiologist at the Brevard County, Florida Health Department, told ABC News.

The Kansas victim is the first person to have died from a brain-eating amoeba infection in Kansas.  Earlier last month, two children in Virginia and Florida died from the deadly parasite.  Another death was reported in Louisiana.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Houston Drought, Heat Wave Brings Plague of Bugs, Broken Pipes

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Houston is suffering through its worst drought in decades, and the misery is being compounded by a plague of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus, infestations of fleas, and a cascade of bursting water pipes that are spilling the city's precious water supply.

Most worrisome for the city is the sudden surge in the number of mosquitoes carrying West Nile.

"This summer we had an incredibly dry, very hot summer and so that will do nothing but increase the positive number of mosquitoes," said Kristy Murray, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center, who has studied the West Nile virus for nine years.

More than three times the number of mosquitoes as last year have tested positive for West Nile virus, she said.

With so little water and such high temperatures, mosquitoes and birds are coming into more frequent contact as they seek out the same limited water sources.  The birds, which carry West Nile, transmit the virus to the mosquitoes when the birds are bitten, Murray said.

So far only four cases of West Nile have been reported in humans this year, but Murray said she expects even more cases in her state.

"Usually 80 percent of cases occur in August and September in humans," she said, adding that people sometimes don't show symptoms right away.

West Nile Virus causes inflammation of the brain and meningitis, and can be fatal.

For some reason the drought and heat wave has also increased the activity of fleas in Houston.

Murray said her dogs have fleas, something that can be attributed to the climate.

"I have been using every flea product on my dogs, from oral to topical, and they still have them," she said. "Fleas have never been a problem for my dogs before."

Murray said she had heard similar stories from neighbors, who have had to treat their pets for infestations for the first time.

Just as Houston is trying to preserve its dwindling supply of water, its system of water pipes are bursting at a rate of 700 a day, up from the usual rate of 200 a day at this time of year.

The heat wave has dried out the ground so much that the soil is shrinking, leaving gaps around the pipes.  At times, the pipes sag and crack.  At other times, the increased use of water bursts through older, worn out pipes at a spot where the soil has fallen away the from pipes.

With so much water spilling into streets, the city is having trouble maintaining water pressure and instituted water rationing this week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Elderly Couple Refuse Food, Water to Die; Get Evicted from Facility

Courtesy Compassion & Choices(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- At 92 and 90, Armond and Dorothy Rudolph's bodies were failing them.

He suffered severe pain from spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column.  She was almost entirely immobile.  Both suffered from early dementia, according to their son Neil Rudolph.  They wanted to die.

The Rudolphs, married for 69 years, decided to refuse food and water to end their lives.  Although they lived in The Village at Alameda, an assisted living facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, they maintained they had a right to die on their own accord.

Three days into their fast, the couple told their plan to staff at the facility.  Administrators immediately called 911, citing an attempted suicide.

The Village evicted the couple, and the next day, the Rudolphs moved into a private home, where they again stopped eating and drinking.  Ten days after he began the fast, Armond Rudolph died.  Dorothy Rudolph died the following day.

"Both knew that they didn't want to endure a lingering decline," Neil Rudolph said.  "Neither wanted to lose their independence."

The Village at Alameda staff refused to comment on the Rudolphs' eviction.

Now, Neil Rudolph, in conjunction with Compassion & Choices, an organization that seeks to improve care and expand end-of-life choices, is launching a campaign called "Peace at Life's End. Anywhere."  The initiative is meant to spread awareness of options, including the right to voluntarily stop eating and drinking to end one's life.

"Nearly one million Americans live in these facilities, yet most don't know how their end-of-life rights could be infringed upon as my parents' were," said Neil Rudolph.  "Their eviction shocked me.  I think it's inhuman for mentally competent adults to be overruled at the end of their lives by an assisted living facility administrator, or by anyone else."

"Stopping eating and drinking is peaceful and painless and people throughout the country don't avail themselves of it," said Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, in a press conference meant to kick off the campaign.  "They turn to violent means and suffer needlessly, when this is legal and safe and available in every step."

Coombs Lee stressed that Americans who are mentally capable of making an end-of-life decision should have the ability to die peacefully and with dignity, at home, surrounded by family and friends.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


How One Woman May Bring Safe Water to Millions, Colo.) -- When Cynthia Koenig, from New York, realized that one in six people lack reliable access to water, she wanted to do something about it.

Her solution was a 25-gallon drum that can be pushed or pulled and takes away much of the burden of carrying water on the head, which is the traditional method women use in many parts of the world.

Koenig considers herself a social entrepreneur, a new breed of entrepreneur which has innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems and still desires to make a profit.

ABC News caught up with her at The Unreasonable Institute in Boulder, Colo., where 24 other social entrepreneurs were living in a house and being mentored on how to bring their ideas to scale. Here is our discussion:

ABC News: Tell us about the Wello WaterWheel.

Cynthia Koenig: The WaterWheel is a 25-gallon drum that moves five times the amount of water possible than traditional methods, which is five gallons on the head. So not only is it alleviating women and girls from this tremendous physical burden of water collection, but it's also reducing the time burden; women and girls spend about 25 percent of their time each day collecting water. So by using the WaterWheel it frees up their time to spend their time on more productive activities like work or school.

ABC News: Where are you testing it out?

Koenig: We spent this past summer in Rajasthan, India, doing product testing co-creating design with members of their target demographic -- women and girls who live on less than $2 a day.

ABC News: What's it like right now for women in the developing world when they go about collecting their water?

Koenig: What water collection means for women and girls is that five gallons of water weighs 42 pounds. So if you have ever tried to lift an office water cooler into its stand you know that 42 pounds is pretty heavy. An analogy I like to use is it's like getting off an airplane in LaGuardia, putting your checked baggage on your head and walking to the Brooklyn Bridge and that's something that women and girls in the developing world face every day. That's the approximate distance, the time they're spending and the weight that they're carrying. There are a billion people globally that lack access to resources of safe water.

ABC News: Where do you plan to bring the Wello WaterWheel?

Koenig: Initially we're focusing on the Indian market, 75 percent of Indian households don't have piped water in the home. And we're targeting with our pilot a market of approximately 100,000 people.

ABC News: Is there anywhere else Wello would be beneficial?

Koenig: I just got back from Haiti, where we did testing of the WaterWheel in rural areas; people were living on far less than the recommended amount to maintain a basic level health. This enables people to gain access to reliable sources of safe water and in Haiti with a cholera epidemic being so widespread sources of safe water are becoming more and more scarce.

ABC News: What's your vision, do you have a long-term plan for the Wello WaterWheel?

Koenig: Wello's mission is to deliver clean water to a thirsty world. So, initially we're going to market with our WaterWheel, which is a water transportation tool, and then in the coming months and years we'll be adding in filtration, drip irrigation kits, even a cellphone charger that uses the rotation of the wheel to charge the battery of the cellphone, so we really see it as a platform that enables people to get access to not just clean water but other really important essentials like communication and education, and even the ability to run sustainable businesses like water delivery services, so in the long-run my vision for Wello is that it helps lift families out of the cycle of poverty.

Interview has been edited.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Waterlogged America: Do We Drink Too Much?

Comstock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- How much water should we drink?  It's a debate that seems to never be put to rest in part because doctors and health organizations send conflicting messages.

Many physicians will offer up the eight-glasses-a-day adage, though there is no actual research suggesting why this amount should be a goal.  For our skin, for our waistline, for our kidneys -- little snippets of advice seem to be perpetually passed around, all consolidating in a singular chant: drink more water, it's good for you.

But why?  This is the question that a group of dissenting medical opinions have been posing over the past few years.  In a nutshell, their argument is this: there's no evidence that drinking more water helps our health, so shouldn't we just drink when we're thirsty?

That's the take-home message Dr. Margaret McCartney, a Scottish physician, is putting forth in her opinion piece published in the British Medical Journal Tuesday.

The concept that we must drink six to eight glasses of fluids a day to prevent dehydration is "not only nonsense, but is thoroughly debunked nonsense," she writes.

McCartney is up in arms about the western world's tendency to over promote water in large part because she feels that promotion is guided by the beverage industry, not by medical science.

"We can emphasize non-evidenced based things too much," she told ABC News, which detracts from the real health messages we should be sending about exercise diet, and not smoking.

McCartney also calls out several water myths that are currently promoted by European bottled water producer, Danone: that drinking water will help you lose weight, that kids need to drink more water in order to concentrate in school, and that the lack of those eight glasses a day will lead to health problems.

"There is still no evidence that we need to drink more than we naturally want," she writes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio