Americans binge 17 billion drinks a year, CDC estimates

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 7:44 AM

Parents Dining With Kids Limited To One Alcoholic Beverage At NY Restaurant

College students have a reputation for binge drinking, but it’s not just them. Americans drink massive amounts of alcoholic beverages, according to a new report

>> On AJC.com: Even one drink per day can increase your risk of cancer, study warns

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Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study, published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, to determine how much booze United States citizens down. 

To do so, they examined information from the CDC’s 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which included self-reported data on individuals’ liquor consumption habits over 30 days. They calculated the annual binge drinking by “multiplying the estimated total number of binge drinking episodes among binge drinkers by the average largest number of drinks consumed per episode,” the authors wrote. 

>> Read more trending news 

After analyzing the results, they found the Americans guzzled 17 billion drinks in 2015. That equals 470 total binge drinks per binge drinker.

“This study shows that binge drinkers are consuming a huge number of drinks per year, greatly increasing their chances of harming themselves and others,” co-author Robert Brewer said in a statement.

>> On AJC.com: Do you drink too much? Here's what a new study says

The prevalence of binge drinking was more common among young adults ages 18-34, but more than half of the binge drinks consumed annually were by adults 35 and older.

Furthermore, about 80 percent of the drinks were consumed by men. And those who made less than $25,000 a year and had educational levels less than high school drank “substantially more” a year than those with higher incomes and educational levels. 

The researchers said the results “show the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to prevent binge drinking, focusing on reducing both the number of times people binge drink and the amount they drink when they binge.”

>> On AJC.com: Alcohol better than exercise to live past 90, study says

With their findings, the researchers hope to implement prevention tactics such as reducing the number of alcohol outlets in a geographic area and limiting the days and hours of sale.

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5 things every parent should know about immunization

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 11:51 AM

Researchers from Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta plan to grow their own cold viruses in the lab for the vaccine.

Within the first few months of your child's life, your pediatrician will likely start talking to you about immunizations. Even if your house is stocked with hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap, it's important to know what options are out there to keep your kid safe from diseases that could have harmful consequences.

»RELATED: Your child needs a flu shot sooner than you think, according to new report

With all of the talk out there about the pros and cons of getting your child immunized, here are five things you need to know about how the process works and why doctors recommend it:

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What is immunization? 

TheWorld Health Organization defines immunization as the process that makes a person immune or resistant to an infectious disease. The most common way to achieve this is by giving the person a vaccine. Over the past 200 or so years, doctors have been able to use vaccines to fight diseases that used to kill millions of people, including young children, every year.

How does immunization work? 

Vaccines are usually given through a needle injection, though Verywell noted there are some that can be given through the mouth or the nose.

According to WebMD, once a vaccine enters the body, it helps the immune system develop antibodies that fight the virus or bacteria that causes that specific illness. (The process can take a few weeks, so your child won't instantly become immune.) The next time your child runs into that virus or bacteria, his body will have the tools it needs to fight off the illness.

Does my child really need to be vaccinated?

If you plan to enroll your child in a daycare or school, there may be minimum vaccination requirements before they can get started. According to he National Vaccine Information Center, exceptions can be made based on certain medical or religious grounds, but an application is required.

If you don't have any medical or religious concerns, vaccines are strongly encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control to help slow the progress of infections. When more people get vaccinated against a certain disease, outbreaks can be prevented because the germs won't be able to travel as fast through the population. This is called community immunity.

Which vaccines are recommended for kids?

The CDC website lists 16 potentially harmful diseases that their recommended vaccines can protect against. Those diseases are:

Each vaccine should be taken during a specific age range, so be sure to talk to your child's doctor to find out the right time to bring them in for their shots.

What are the risks involved with vaccines?

KidsHealth says the most common reactions to vaccines are fever and redness, swelling and soreness where the shot was given. In rare cases, patients have had seizures or severe allergic reactions. If you're concerned about side effects, Parents Magazine has some tips for easing the sting and making your child's first immunization experience as comfortable as possible.

If you have questions about vaccines or side effects, it's best to talk to your child's doctor.

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Does your child have a food allergy? Here's how to tell

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 12:26 PM

Mom Criticized For Feeding Child Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich at Target

Food allergies are a growing problem, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in the cases of children, an allergic reaction to something as simple as sandwich could potentially be life-threatening.

About 4-6 percent of children in the U.S. have food allergies, and it's important to know whether your child is among this group.

»RELATED: 8 most common food allergies

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Here's what will help you determine if your child has a food allergy:

The definitive guide to alt-milks like almond, soy and even banana

Common triggers

The most common food allergies in children are reactions to peanuts and milk. Allergies to eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat and tree nuts (such as pecans, walnuts and cashews) are also very common. Children can outgrow some allergies, but the most severe ones can last throughout their lifetimes. Allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish are often the most severe and the most likely to persist.

Delaying food allergies

You can't prevent your child from developing a food allergy, but you can sometimes delay it in infants by doing the following:

  • Breastfeeding for the first six months if possible
  • Delaying solid foods until your child is at least six months old
  • Avoiding cow's milk, wheat, eggs, peanuts and fish until your child is over one year of age

»RELATED: Food allergies may be linked to baby wipes, study says

Symptoms

When your child is very young, you'll have to be observant to pick up on signs of food allergies that he or she may not be able to communicate. In some cases, a baby can even have an allergic reaction to a food they're exposed to through breast milk. As your child gets older, they'll be able to describe the symptoms better but still may need to be asked questions about how they feel.

»RELATED: Is this pill the answer to severe peanut allergies?

Common symptoms of a food allergy you should watch out for include the following:

  • Tingling or itching in the mouth
  • Hives, itching or eczema
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, face or other body part
  • Wheezing, congestion or difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness, light-headedness or fainting

Identifying the allergen

When your child is young, introducing one new food at a time can help pinpoint a potential allergen (allergy-causing substance) more easily. A visit to an allergist or pediatric allergist can definitively identify (or rule out) the food – or foods – your child is allergic to by using a skin or patch test or another method.

(An EpiPen, used to treat anaphylactic shock. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group/TNS via Getty Images))

What are the next steps?

Since there's no medication available to treat food allergies, the goal is to avoid foods that cause your child's symptoms, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. You'll have to learn what foods to help your child avoid and depending on which foods he or she can't eat, vitamin and mineral supplements may be recommended.

Some children can be given certain foods carefully in a few months, but only under the direction of a health care provider. This will help you know if your child has outgrown the allergy.

If your child has a food allergy, the doctor will probably recommend an emergency kit that contains epinephrine. This medication, which can be purchased under the brand name EpiPen or as a generic medication, can help stop a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

You, your child (if he or she is old enough) and any caregivers should know how to administer epinephrine if needed. If your child is school age, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) offers tips to help keep them safe while they're at school, starting with a Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan that you can download in English as well as Spanish.

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Man dies after eating raw oysters at Florida restaurant, report says

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 2:00 AM

How To Avoid Vibrio Vulnificus

A man died from a Vibrio vulnificus bacterial infection after eating raw oysters at a Florida restaurant, health officials say.

>> Texas woman dies after contracting flesh-eating disease from raw oysters

The 71-year-old man reportedly died two days after eating the raw oysters in a Sarasota restaurant. Health officials have not said which restaurant.

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>> On ActionNewsJax.com: Restaurants are swapping out seafood — and it could make you sick 

"We have an individual that consumed some raw oysters and to the best of our knowledge had no exposure to salt water, became severely ill and passed away," said Michael Drennon, disease intervention services program manager at the Sarasota County Health Department.

Vibrio vulnificus bacteria is found in salt water and raw or undercooked shell fish. Health officials warn against eating raw or undercooked shell fish or getting into salt water with open wounds. 

The Florida Department of Health's website says symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain or fever.

>> Read more trending news 

The health department's website also reports 16 confirmed cases of Vibro vulnificus this year, three of them fatal. 

According to WTVT, the health department is working with the restaurant to gather information during their investigation into this death. 

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5 signs your relationship is hurting your mental health

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 11:24 AM

7 Signs Your Marriage May Be Over

Everyone in a relationship knows how easy it is to accuse a partner of something they didn't do. It's their fault, you tell them, whether the spat is about towels on the bathroom floor, an angry mother-in-law or a missed restaurant reservation.

Sometimes you know you're wrong the second these words leave your mouth; other times you recognize your mistake in the days to come.

»RELATED: Which ‘down-and-dirty’ men should you spring-clean from your life?

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But the same people often miss a much more critical aspect of their relationship, despite repeated examples and gut feelings that something is wrong. It's far more difficult to realize that your partner may actually be at fault when you suffer from mental health issues.

"Some have the power to uplift our spirits, to lend comfort during life's strains and stresses, to weave fun and playfulness into our day, and to imbue life with a profound sense of purpose," psychologist and Harvard lecturer Holly Parker, author of “If We're Together, Why Do I Feel So Alone?,” told Bustle. "Sadly, others can pull us downward, drain our energy and emotional reserves, fill us with heartache and erode our happiness."

Some of these woeful partners contribute to a condition, like depression, that may have already been present. Others push a person with relatively strong mental health into a rapid decline.

In both situations, it's all too easy to miss the signals. Bustle writer Suzannah Weiss, for example, started obsessive hair picking (trichotillomania), had trouble concentrating on work and wasted lots of time watching television for a good while before she realized an emotionally abusive partner was the root cause of her mental anguish. 

You owe it to yourself to figure out if you're having a toxic reaction to a relationship, psychologist Andrea Bonior told Health.

"Keeping a finger on your own emotions can help you develop insight about the people in your life, so you can choose healthier situations," she said.

And while each person has to weigh a relationship's worth for themselves, there are common signs that indicate a partner's actions are hurting your mental health:

Your self-esteem is slipping. If you can honestly say you were more confident and felt better about yourself before this relationship got going, your partner could be the one lowering your self-esteem, Parker said. The routine might be subtle, like a partner who talks about themselves constantly while asking you very few questions, which can lead you to feel less interesting. (This could also be a symptom that you are in a relationship with one type of narcissist.) Or it could be more obvious, a constant barrage of overt insults that reaches emotional abuse proportions.

"When one of the people you're closest to is making you feel inferior, you may start to believe you are," Weiss noted.

You're always walking on eggshells. A controlling relationship partner can do plenty of damage even without physical threats or violence. "It can simply be that you feel frightened to share your opinions—you're constantly walking on eggshells because you're afraid of your partner's emotional reactions," Bonior noted.

»RELATED: 6 signs it's time to break up with your workplace friend

Your physical health has tanked since the relationship started. Sure, it could be a coincidence. But Parker warned that an unhealthy relationship can cause headaches, insomnia or muscle pain. The link to mental health? If one of those physical problems has erupted due to your relationship, it may indicate an underlying mental issue as well.

You're relieved when your partner checks out. Of course you could just be losing interest, but a physical sense of relief when your partner leaves after you've spent substantial time together could indicate your partner's causing you stress. Give this observation even more credit if your relief when your partner departs is accompanied by "a sense of weight and physical tension in the parter's presence," Parker noted.

When it comes to finding a relationship, experts say timing is everything. In fact, Match.com says it now knows the exact date and time when singles are most likely to meet their, well, match online. Oli Kellett/Taxi/Getty Images(Nedra Rhone/Talk of the Town)

You go to great lengths to distract yourself from the relationship. This is a psychological arc: when you are in a relationship with someone, you will make every attempt to avoid negative thoughts about them. When the negativity threatens, it can cause you so much cognitive dissonance you will do anything to push it to the back of your mind. Some of the distraction techniques can wear away mental health, like oversleeping or playing video games for long hours. 

Of course, eliminating the relationship is not going to magically erase your mental health problems, but it could have a positive impact. "Although many stressors in life can undermine emotional health, the possible role of relationships should not be dismissed," Parker said. "If a romantic relationship is having a negative impact on your psychological well-being, it's vital to turn attention to that."

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