Flu virus spread by breathing, study finds

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 1:06 PM

New Study Finds the Flu is Spread by Breathing

Most people believe that the influenza virus is spread through the coughs and sneezes of infected people, but new research published Thursday suggests that the flu virus is spread more easily than previously thought.

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Medical professionals believe that the virus is spread most often by “droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But researchers studying how the virus spreads recently found large amounts of the virus in the breath of people suffering from the flu, according to the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health.

>> Related: Influenza surveillance map: Where is the flu in my state? 

The researchers -- from the University of Maryland, San Jose State University, Missouri Western State University and the University of California, Berkeley -- published their findings Thursday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We found that flu cases contaminated the air around them with infectious virus just by breathing, without coughing or sneezing,” said Donald Milton, professor of environmental health in the University of Maryland School of Public Health and lead researcher for the study.

Milton and his team examined the virus content in the breath of 142 people who were diagnosed with flu as they were breathing normally, speaking, coughing and sneezing. Researchers found that a majority of those who participated in the study had enough of the infectious virus in just their regular, exhaled breath to possibly infect another person.

A review of the data collected from the coughs and sneezes of infected participants showed that neither action appeared to have a large impact on whether or not the virus was spread.

>> Related: 11 things parents need to know about the flu, the vaccine, how long kids need to stay out of school  

“People with flu generate infectious aerosols (tiny droplets that stay suspended in the air for a long time), even when they are not coughing and especially during the first days of illness,” Milton said.

The study’s authors said the results highlighted how necessary it is for people who have the flu to stay at home.

>> Related: What is the H3N2 flu and how bad is flu season this year? 

“The study findings suggest that keeping surfaces clean, washing our hands all the time, and avoiding people who are coughing does not provide complete protection from getting the flu,” said Sheryl Ehrman, the dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San Jose State University. “Staying home and out of public spaces could make a difference in the spread of the influenza virus.”

<p>5 Reasons to get a Flu Shot</p>(Bryan Erdy/News | WHBQ)

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Don't ever eat raw cookie dough, FDA warns

Published: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 @ 10:53 AM

FDA Warning Says Never Eat Raw Cookie Dough

If you just can't resist eating the last bits of raw cookie dough from the bowl while baking, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a message for you: don't.

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As holiday bakers took to kitchens nationwide last week, the FDA reminded people to refrain from eating raw cookie dough or face the possibility of getting sick.

The warning comes after the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local and state officials investigated an E. coli outbreak linked to raw flour that in 2016 sickened 63 people in 24 states.

The outbreak started in December 2015. The CDC determined at least half of those who fell ill made something at home with flour. Subsequent tests linked the outbreak with General Mills flour produced in Missouri, and the company issued a voluntary recall of 10 million pounds of flour.

<p>What is E. coli and how to avoid it</p>(Bryan Erdy/News | WSBTV)

Although many people know about the danger of getting salmonella poisoning from raw dough, fewer people may be aware that eating raw flour carries its own risks.

"Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria," Leslie Smoot, a senior advisor in the FDA's Office of Food Safety, said last year.

The bacteria is killed during cooking or processing through boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving or frying. However, raw dough does not go through any of those "kill steps," according to the FDA.

For anyone who still hopes to use raw cookie dough in something like homemade cookie dough ice cream, authorities suggest using commercially made dough.

"Manufacturers should use ingredients that include treated flour and pasteurized eggs," FDA officials said.

The FDA released the following food handling tips for handling raw flour:
  • Do not eat any raw cookie dough, cake mix, batter, or any other raw dough or batter product that is supposed to be cooked or baked.
  • Follow package directions for cooking products containing flour at proper temperatures and for specified times.
  • Wash hands, work surfaces and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough products.
  • Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that may be present from spreading. Be aware that flour may spread easily due to its powdery nature.
  • Follow label directions to chill products containing raw dough promptly after purchase until baked.

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'Tide Pod Challenge': Georgia teen among those sickened in dangerous trend

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 6:04 AM

‘Tide Pod Challenge’ On Social Media Alarms Doctors, Parents Warned

Don’t do the Tide Pod Challenge. Seriously.

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That’s the message poison control officials are urging people after a bizarre trend spread like wildfire online.

The challenge involves people popping the small laundry detergent packs in their mouths and posting videos online of themselves chewing and gagging on the oozing product.

Dozens of people have been taken to the hospital after doing the challenge. 

>> Doctors warn parents about dangerous 'Tide Pod Challenge'

Dr. Gaylord Lopez, the director of Georgia's Poison Control Center, confirmed to WSB-TV that the center has handled one case involving a teen.

“This year, we had a call about a 13-year-old. In fact, it was the mother who called us because the kid was getting sick and vomiting,” Lopez said.

While there's only been one confirmed “Tide Pod Challenge” case in Georgia, Lopez said this is a good reminder about the dangers of detergent pods in general.

There are still hundreds of children under the age of 5 getting sick from them.

“When you’ve got a young child picking up a packet, like I have in my hand, thinking it might be candy or food, you could see why kids are attracted to them,” Lopez said.

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Lopez also wants parents to be aware of the latest social media craze.

“Parents need to know that if their young teens are getting into them, they can easily have problems ranging from just mild upset of the stomach to this stuff getting into their lungs and causing far more problems,” Lopez said.

Last week, YouTube and Facebook announced they are removing “Tide Pod Challenge” videos from their sites.

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High-salt diet could cause dementia, study finds

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:49 AM

Research Shows High-Salt Diet May Cause Dementia

Consuming too much salt can be dangerous for your health. It can cause your blood pressure and cholesterol to skyrocket, but it might also cause memory loss, according to a new report

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Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York recently conducted an experiment, published in the Nature Neuroscience journal, to determine if salt was linked with memory loss.

To do so, the researchers observed mice, which were split into two groups. One group was given food containing 4 percent salt, and the other was fed food with 8 percent salt. The amounts represented an “8- to 16-fold increase in salt compared to a normal mouse diet” and was comparable to a high-salt diet for humans, scientists noted. 

>> On AJC.com: These 5 'healthy' foods may have more salt than you think 

After eight weeks, they examined the animals using magnetic resonance imaging, which captured photos of the anatomy and physiology of the brain. 

They discovered the high-salt diet reduced resting blood flow to the brain, causing dementia. They saw a 28 percent decrease in the blood flow in cortex and a 25 percent decrease in the hippocampus, which are two areas of the brain associated with learning and memory. 

Analysts also administered a recognition test, and the mice that consumed more salt performed significantly worse, compared to the mice on a regular diet. Mice with salty diets spent less time building nests and gathering materials. This was the case even for mice that had healthy blood pressure levels. 

>> Related: These are the best diets for 2018

“We discovered that mice fed a high-salt diet developed dementia even when blood pressure did not rise,” senior author Costantino Iadecola said in a statement. “This was surprising since, in humans, the deleterious effects of salt on cognition were attributed to hypertension.”

Why is that?

The researchers discovered that the high-salt diet prompted an immune response in the gut, which increased a protein called interleukin 17. Its job is to regulate immune and inflammatory responses. But high levels of interleukin 17 can cause a reduction in the production of nitric oxide, which affects brain functions. 

>> On AJC.com: Here’s what we always get wrong about salt 

Luckily, the scientists revealed they were able to reverse the immune signals by discontinuing the high-salt diets and prescribing drugs to lower the interleukin 17 levels.

Scientists now hope to continue their investigations by further exploring interleukin 17 and other ailments associated with it.

They said their findings may be able to “benefit people with diseases and conditions associated with elevated IL-17 levels, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other autoimmune diseases.”

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Oklahoma family seeking medical marijuana for child hopes for legalization

Published: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 5:43 AM

Via FOX23.com
FOX23.com
Via FOX23.com(FOX23.com)

As Oklahoma voters prepare to make a decision on legalizing medical marijuana, one family is using cannabis oil to help a young girl with a rare medical condition.

>> Watch the news report here

>> On FOX23.com: Oklahoma Gov. Fallin sets election date for medical marijuana measure

KOKI has been following the story of Jaqie Angel Warrior for years now. Her mother, Brittany Warrior, said she needs cannabis oil to help with the seizures she has every day.

>> On FOX23.com: New poll finds 62 percent of Oklahomans support medical marijuana measure

Jaqie Angel Warrior suffers from a rare and potentially deadly form of epilepsy. Traditional pharmaceuticals haven't worked well for her, the family says.

She started having seizures at 5 months old. At 20 months old, the family put her on cannabis oil at the advisement of her neurologist. Since then, she has been weaned off all pharmaceuticals.

Jaqie's mother, Brittany Warrior, said they were losing all hope before they tried cannabis oil.

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"Prior to starting cannabis, Jaqie had anywhere from 150 to 300 seizures a day. She was catatonic and life was fading out of her before my eyes," she said.

The family has traveled back and forth, and even temporarily moved to states with legalized medical marijuana.

Now that State Question 788 is on the ballot in Oklahoma, Brittany Warrior hopes that voters will support the measure to help her child.

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