<![CDATA[NBC10 Boston - Health News]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcboston.com/news/health http://media.nbcboston.com/designimages/clear.gif NBC10 Boston https://www.nbcboston.comen-usSun, 22 Jul 2018 03:13:18 -0400Sun, 22 Jul 2018 03:13:18 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[40 Hospitalized in Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Turkey]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 14:38:57 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/072018CDC.jpg

Ninety people in 26 states have been infected with salmonella in the midst of an outbreak that has been connected to raw turkey products, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

There haven’t been any reported deaths, but 40 people have been hospitalized.

Salmonella cases have been reported in Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, the CDC said in a news release.

While the outbreak hasn’t been linked to a single supplier, the salmonella strain has been found in samples of raw turkey products including pet food and live turkeys, the CDC said.

The agency hasn’t instructed retailers to stop selling raw turkey products and hasn’t told consumers to stop eating properly cooked turkey products.

To avoid being infected with salmonella, the CDC recommends frequently washing your hands, cooking raw turkey thoroughly and avoiding raw diets for pets.

“Always handle raw turkey carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning,” the CDC said in the release. “This outbreak is a reminder that raw turkey products can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and can make you sick.”

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Swiss Rolls Recalled Over Salmonella Concerns]]> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 16:08:59 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/0ce6b8dd-e353-4aaa-9d35-e9e7c063a211_1.jpg

A popular snack treat is being recalled nationwide over potential salmonella concerns.

Swiss Rolls, sold under a variety of brand names including H-E-B and Great Value, are being voluntarily recalled by the manufacturer over the possible presence of salmonella in one of the treat’s ingredients.

Mrs. Freshley’s, Food Lion, H-E-B, Baker’s Treat, Market Square, and Great Value brands are all impacted by the recall nationally, and several southern states are impacted under the Captain John Derst’s Hold Fashioned Bread brand name.

Salmonella can cause serious, or even fatal, infections in young children and the elderly. No human cases have yet been reported in connection with the recall.

For a full list of brand names, UPC label numbers, and Best By Dates, you can visit the Flowers Foods website, or use this list: 

Mrs. Freshleys - 4 count/7.2 ounces 
UPC: 072250011907 
Best By Dates: Through 10/19/18 

Mrs. Freshley's - 6 count/12 ounces 
UPC: 072250903233 
Best By Dates: Through 10/14/18

Food Lion - 6 count/13 ounces
UPC: 035826092779
Best By Dates: 10/16/18

H-E-B: 6 count/12 ounces 
UPC: 041220296483
Best By Dates: 09/19/18

Baker's Treat: 6 count/13 ounces 
UPC: 041498188382
Best By Dates: 9/21/18 through 9/28/18

Market Square: 6 count/12 ounces 
UPC: 087381760556
Best By Dates: 309 8194 B

Great Value: 6 count/13 ounces 
UPC: 078742147550
Best By Dates: 9/17/18 through 9/25/18

Captain John Derst's Old Fashioned Bread
UPC: 071316001180
Best By Dates: 7/16/18 through 7/28/18

Photo Credit: Walmart]]>
<![CDATA[Deaths From Liver Disease Are Up, and Drinking Is to Blame]]> Wed, 18 Jul 2018 23:23:15 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-119707164.png

Deaths from liver disease have risen sharply in the U.S., and doctors say the biggest factor is drinking — especially among young adults.

A study published Wednesday found a 65 percent increase in deaths from cirrhosis of the liver since 1999, NBC News reported. The biggest increase is among millennials: the team found that deaths from cirrhosis are rising 10 percent a year among people aged 25 to 34.

People so young might not even realize that they can drink themselves to death so quickly, but they can, said liver specialist Dr. Haripriya Maddur of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

“Surprisingly, it only takes about 10 years of heavy drinking to actually lead to cirrhosis,” said Maddur, who was not involved in the study.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How to Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard]]> Tue, 17 Jul 2018 17:58:48 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/How_to_Keep_Mosquitoes_Out_of_Your_Yard.jpg

Mosquitoes are not just an annoyance, but also a health hazard. There are a few things you can do to keep them out of your yard.

<![CDATA[Can You Overdo Healthy Food?]]> Mon, 16 Jul 2018 19:22:45 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Overdoing_Healthy_Food.jpg

Are you trying to follow a healthy diet? Consumer Reports nutrirtion experts say you can overdo some healthy foods, even fruits and veggies. It's best to eat a wide variety because sticking to just a few may mean you don't get all the nutrients you need, and you could get too much of some. Health reporter Kristy Lee has more on the importance of moderation.

<![CDATA[FDA Recalls Blood Pressure, Heart Drugs Over Cancer Concerns]]> Mon, 16 Jul 2018 18:50:30 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-6837401591.jpg

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a voluntary recall of several medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure over concerns that an active ingredient in the drugs could be contaminated with a cancer-causing agent.

The agency reported that traces of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a "probable human carcinogen," was found in the active ingredient valsartan in the recalled products. The FDA noted not all products containing valsartan are contaminated and being recalled. The valsartan contained in the recall was supplied by a third-party.

Companies that have recalled valsartan products are: Major Pharmaceuticals, Solco Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. Additionally, Solco Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals are also recalling medicines with the combination valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide.

"We have carefully assessed the valsartan-containing medications sold in the United States, and we’ve found that the valsartan sold by these specific companies does not meet our safety standards. This is why we’ve asked these companies to take immediate action to protect patients," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Patients are urged to look at the drug name and company name on the label of their prescription bottle to determine whether a specific product has been recalled. If the information is not on the bottle, patients should contact the pharmacy that dispensed the medicine to find out the company name.

If a patient is taking one of the recalled medicines, they should follow the recall instructions provided by the specific company, which will be available on the FDA’s website.

If a patient's medicine is included in the recall, they should contact their health care professional to discuss their treatment options, which may include another valsartan product not affected by this recall or an alternative option.

The agency encourages patients and health care professionals to report any adverse reaction to the FDA’s MedWatch program.

"The FDA’s review is ongoing and has included investigating the levels of NDMA in the recalled products, assessing the possible effect on patients who have been taking them and what measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate the impurity from future batches produced by the company," the FDA said Friday in a news release.

The presence of NDMA is "thought to be related to changes in the way the active substance was manufactured," the agency said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Cultura RF, File]]>
<![CDATA[61 Sick in Parasite Outbreak Linked to McDonald's Salads]]> Sat, 14 Jul 2018 00:32:21 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/AP_18193696359447.jpg

At least 61 people in seven states have been made sick in an outbreak of Cyclospora linked to McDonald’s salads, federal health officials said Friday.

The fast-food chain has stopped selling the salads, but more people may become sick, the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Salads at McDonald’s restaurants in at least 14 states may have been contaminated, the CDC and FDA said.

“We understand how important it is to quickly identify the cause of this foodborne outbreak to help reduce additional illness and we’re working closely with our colleagues at CDC and state partners to get more answers,” FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File]]>
<![CDATA[Illinois Probes Intestinal Illness Linked to McDonald's Salads]]> Thu, 12 Jul 2018 23:43:38 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/AP_18193696359447.jpg

Nearly 100 cases of an intestinal illness connected to McDonald’s salads throughout Illinois, the state’s health department said Thursday.

Around 90 cases of cyclosporiasis, caused by the microscopic Cyclospora parasite, have been reported since mid-May, according to the Illinois Department of Health.

“The initial investigation indicates a link to consumption of McDonald’s salads produced for McDonald’s restaurants,” officials said in a statement Thursday. “Approximately one-fourth of Illinois cases reported eating salads from McDonald’s in the days before they became ill.”

The Iowa Department of Health has reported a similar increase in cases, Illinois officials said.

"Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald’s restaurants in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources,” said Nirav D. Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “If you ate a salad from McDonald’s since mid-May and developed diarrhea and fatigue, contact a health care provider about testing and treatment.”

Officials said the fast food chain is “fully cooperating” with state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

“McDonald’s says it is in the process of removing these salads from its restaurants and distributions centers,” officials said. “McDonald’s say it is re-supplying restaurants with salads from other suppliers.”

McDonald's confirmed to NBC 5 the company had been in contact with public health authorities from both Illinois and Iowa regarding the illnesses.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier," McDonald's said in a statement. "We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers – which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest."

According to Illinois health officials, people can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces that contains Cyclospora. The parasite is not spread directly from one person to another.

Symptoms usually begin about a week after exposure, official said, but some people who are infected may not have any. Symptoms may include:

  • Frequent bouts of watery diarrhea (the most common symptom)
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Cramping, bloating, and/or increased gas
  • Nausea (vomiting is less common)
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever

The infection can be treated with specific antibiotics, officials said. If not treated, the illness may last for a few days to a month or longer.

Previous cyclosporiasis cases have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce including raspberries, basil, snow peas and lettuce.

"McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control," the fast-food company said. "We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with state and federal public health authorities as they further investigate."

Photo Credit: Rogelio V. Solis/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Heart Disease Linked to Food, FDA Says]]> Fri, 13 Jul 2018 10:12:44 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/491435570-Dog-Food-Store.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration is warning that dogs are developing an unusual condition that can cause an enlarged heart after being fed food based on peas, lentils or potatoes, NBC News reported.

The condition, canine dilated cardiomyopathy, is turning up in breeds that don't usually get it, the FDA said, though it's not naming the breeds.

Symptoms of DCM include lethargy, weight loss and sometimes a cough, and the condition may be fatal. Hearts enlarged because of DCM can struggle to work properly and may fail.

"The FDA is investigating the potential link between DCM and these foods. We encourage pet owners and veterinarians to report DCM cases in dogs who are not predisposed to the disease," FDA Dr. Martine Hartogensis said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tingling in Woman's Legs Turns out to Be a Worm in Her Spine]]> Thu, 12 Jul 2018 23:21:02 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/tapeworm1.jpg

A Frenchwoman whose symptoms started out as “electric shocks” in her legs got an even bigger shock when she found out that she had a tapeworm in her spine, NBC News reports.

The parasite caused enough swelling in the woman’s spine to affect her ability to walk and ride a horse, French doctors reported in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“A 35-year-old woman presented to the emergency department with weakness, a feeling of electric shocks in both legs, and repeated falls,” Dr. Marine Jacquier and Dr. Lionel Piroth of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Dijon wrote.

"She reported that the symptoms had been progressing, and she noted that she had had difficulty riding her horse for the preceding three months.”

Photo Credit: New England Journal of Medicine]]>
<![CDATA[Rochester, NH Residents Want Recovery Center to Move]]> Wed, 11 Jul 2018 20:56:53 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Neighbors_Push_for_Recovery_Center_to_Move.jpg

Dozens of Rochester, New Hampshire, residents are signing a petition against an addiction recovery center in the downtown area.

The center has been open for two years, and residents say it's bringing an undesirable crowd into their neighborhood.

Inside the SOS Recovery Center, Director John Burns says lives are turned around.

"People are getting well because of the center," he told NBC10 Boston on Wednesday.

Robin Ricker says she's proof the program works. A year ago, she was suffering from severe depression and mental illness.

"If it wasn't for SOS, I wouldn't still be on this earth," she said.

But according to a recently filed petition, some Rochester residents think the center is doing more harm than good.

Peter Laines is one of the 66 people who signed the document. He says he has witnessed people doing drugs on the premises of the First Congregational Church, which houses the center.

"You have a lot of people congregating in one area, and people start yelling and start fights," Laines said.

Shawn Hooper has owned Moe's Sandwich Shop for the last 15 years. He didn't see the petition before it was filed, but says he would've signed it.

"Look at the empty buildings downtown," he said. "It may have impacted other people thinking about coming into downtown."

The petition is asking officials to move the recovery center to the outskirts of the city.

"I just don't think it's something that belongs in the center of town," Hooper added.

But Burns says the central location is critical to provide easy access to help for those who need it most.

"To reduce stigma, we need to educate people who don't understand, and frankly, that's all this is," Burns said.

Despite the petition, nothing is going to change. That's because SOS is an accredited recovery center and is in compliance with all zoning regulations, so the city has no authority to relocate it.

<![CDATA[Happy Couple Mulls Divorce to Pay for Daughter's Health Care]]> Wed, 11 Jul 2018 19:41:11 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/tdy_news_gadi_healthcare.jpg

A couple in Texas is considering getting divorced just to be able to pay for their daughter's spiraling health care costs, "Today" reported.

Jake and Maria Grey of Sanger are happily married but his $40,000 salary means the family doesn't qualify for Medicaid, which they say is the only way they can afford treatments and care for their 6-year-old Brighton, born with the rare genetic disorder Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.

Because of insurance limitations, the Grey's say they pay about $15,000 a year in out-of-pocket medical costs.  

"It's easier to say what they don't cover than what they do," said Jake Grey, an Army veteran.

After nine years of marriage, divorce is something they are considering. By doing so, Maria would qualify for Medicaid as a single, jobless mother of two.

"We've done everything we can do to try to keep her afloat, and we're going to reach a point where we can't do it and we won't have another option. We don't know what to do," said Jake Grey, an Army veteran.

His wife said they don't want donations, just to get the benefits from the state that they need.

Photo Credit: "Today"
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<![CDATA[Pfizer to Lower Drug Prices Following Talk With Trump]]> Wed, 11 Jul 2018 02:22:16 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/pfizerGettyImages-655297240.jpg

Following a discussion with President Donald Trump, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced Tuesday that it would roll back planned drug price increases for July, NBC News reported

The president said he met with Pfizer CEO Ian Read, as well as U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, to discuss Trump's "drug pricing blueprint" and came away with a vow from the company to roll back price increases "so American patients don’t pay more."

Pfizer in a statement said its prices would be "deferred" to levels seen 10 days ago, "as soon as technically possible, and the prices will remain in effect until the earlier of when the president’s blueprint goes into effect or the end of the year — whichever is sooner."

Trump praised the move, writing on Twitter, "We applaud Pfizer for this decision and hope other companies do the same. Great news for the American people!"

Photo Credit: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Texas Scientists Find Alzheimer's 'Big Bang': Study]]> Wed, 11 Jul 2018 01:18:51 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2016-01-22-16h52m55s32.jpg

Despite billions of dollars spent on clinical trials through the decades, Alzheimer's disease remains one of the most devastating and baffling diseases in the world, affecting more than 5 million Americans alone.

But Dallas scientists say they've made a major breakthrough in the fight.

They have discovered a "Big Bang" of Alzheimer's disease — the point at which a healthy protein becomes toxic, but has not yet formed deadly tangles in the brain.

According to a study from UT Southwestern's O'Donnell Brain Institute, scientists found the shape-shifting nature of a tau molecule just before it begins sticking to itself to form larger aggregates. 

The tau protein is believed to be the key driver of Alzheimer's disease. 

The revelation offers a new strategy to detect the devastating disease before it takes hold and has spawned an effort to develop treatments that stabilize tau proteins before they shift shape. 

Doctors involved in the research call it the biggest finding in Alzheimer's research to date.

"New treatments have failed to stop the progression of Alzheimer's. What we are hoping to do is design a treatment that would actually stop the disease before it even manifests in a person," said Dr. Marc Diamond, director for UT Southwestern's Center for Alzheimer's and Neurodegenerative Diseases.

"In the case of other diseases that are due to a shape-shift protein, it's been possible to design a drug that is approved that helps prevent that shape shift from occurring. If it's been done in other diseases, it could possibly be done in Alzheimer's," Diamond said.

Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Alzheimer's has no current cure.

Any drug resulting from the discovery of the disease origin would still be years away, Diamond said.

Taylor Parker, of Arlington, was diagnosed two years ago and is now supported by her husband Stan.

"After a while, I realized that I was slowly losing Taylor. Most days, I was okay. Some days, I was not okay. Some days, I cried," Stan Parker said.

Despite the fact that any possible drug likely won't help Taylor in time, they say they're happy that she's still able to enjoy life with as much joy as possible. Diamond's team's next steps are to develop a simple clinical test that examines a patient's blood or spinal fluid to detect the first biological signs of dementia.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Picking a Healthy Option for Breakfast on the Go]]> Tue, 10 Jul 2018 18:43:04 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Picking_a_Healthy_Option_for_Breakfast_on_the_Go.jpg

Consumer Reports sought out healthier and tastier options for your quick breakfast fix.

<![CDATA[Couple Uses Plastic Trash to Make Prosthetic Limbs]]> Tue, 10 Jul 2018 17:53:02 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Turning_Plastic_Trash_Into_Prosthetics.jpg

Trash on beaches is a problem everywhere. And while many communities are taking steps to reduce plastic waste, a Washington couple has taken matters into their own hands and is also helping people who have lost limbs with their Million Waves Project.

<![CDATA[Pain Patients Beg FDA for More Options, More Access to Opioids]]> Tue, 10 Jul 2018 11:13:37 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/864753692-Chronic-Pain.jpg

The Food and Drug Agency Administration, aiming to be more accommodating to chronic pain patients, held a meeting this week to hear people's stories about their pain, NBC News reported.

Several dozen people traveled to FDA headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the room was full of very unhappy people. One lay on the floor, another eased her back on the wall, another paced.

"Suicide is always an option for us," said Mariann Farrell, a Pittsburgh resident who says she has multiple conditions, including fibromyalgia.

The agency is considering how to account for the needs of people with chronic, intractable pain while also dealing with the opioid addiction crisis.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Southwest Is Nixing Peanuts on All Flights, Citing Allergies]]> Tue, 10 Jul 2018 10:39:40 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/southwest-airlines-peanuts.jpg

Peanuts often come to mind as the quintessential airplane snack. But no more, Southwest Airlines announced.

The Dallas-based airline is ending the tradition on all flights beginning August 1, citing the need to keep passengers with peanut allergies safe.

“Our ultimate goal is to create an environment where all customers -- including those with peanut-related allergies -- feel safe and welcome on every Southwest flight,” the airlines said in a statement, in part.

Passengers can still snag free pretzels and other snacks on longer flights.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News Southwest Airlines]]>
<![CDATA[Where Does Trump's Supreme Court Pick Stand on Abortion?]]> Tue, 10 Jul 2018 05:27:23 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/roeAP_18191096666415.jpg

Many have voiced concern over the future of legal abortion in the United States following Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, but the president's nominee to fill Kennedy's seat, Brett Kavanaugh, has a relatively thin record of public comment and legal decisions on abortion rights, NBC News reported

Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, is a solidly conservative jurist who is unlikely to side with the court's liberal wing on social issues. But with a limited amount of comment and legal decisions regarding abortion, it's hard to tell whether he would vote to overturn the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in 1973. 

In his confirmation hearing in 2006, however, he said he would follow Roe v. Wade "faithfully and fully" when asked by Sen. Chuck Schumer whether he considered the case to be an "abomination." When pressed by Schumer, he would not directly share his personal opinion on the case. 

Photo Credit: Cliff Owen/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Keeping Ticks Out of Your Backyard]]> Mon, 09 Jul 2018 16:54:49 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Keeping_Ticks_Out_of_Your_Backyard.jpg

Ticks remain a threat this summer, and personal protection methods are essential. But there are some other things you can do to reduce the number of ticks in your own backyard.

<![CDATA[What Is Dry Drowning? Recognizing the Symptoms]]> Thu, 05 Jul 2018 09:05:07 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/10AdobeStock_147011167.jpg According to health authorities, every day about 10 people in the U.S. from drowning, including the strange phenomenon known as "dry drowning."

Photo Credit: pichitstocker/Adobe Stock]]>
<![CDATA['Photo Shoot for Cure' Aims to Raise Money for Parkinson's]]> Tue, 03 Jul 2018 18:28:02 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Photo_Shoot_for_Cure_Aims_to_Raise_Money_for_Parkinsons.jpg

An estimated 60,000 people will be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease this year in the United States. Although there is no cure, one Boston-area photographer is hoping to change that statistic by raising money for Parkinson's research with an event in honor of her mother who is living with the degenerative disease.

<![CDATA[Officials Working to Keep Seniors Cool in Hot Weather]]> Tue, 03 Jul 2018 16:39:30 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Generic+fan.JPG

With temperatures soaring into the 90s this week, it's important to check on the elderly who can be more prone to heat stress.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat can impact people over 65 due to chronic medical conditions that change normal body responses to heat and the fact prescription medicines can affect the body’s ability to control temperature or sweat.

At the Brookline Senior Center in Massachusetts on Wednesday, the temperatures may have been in the 90s outside, but it was a comfortable 70 degrees inside.

"If they don’t have air conditioning, come here and enjoy it," said Brookline resident Eleanor Small.

"I love heat, but this is the first year I felt I better be careful," added Brookline resident Kathryn Kilpatrick.

Brookline Senior Center Director Ruthann Dobek said the facility serves as an area cooling center.

"For people who may not have air conditioning, we’re an official cooling site where people can come and get comfort," Dobek said.

Doctors like Brigham and Women’s Emergency Room Medical Director Chris Baugh say seniors and those caring for them need to pay special attention to heat-related symptoms.

"Those patients are more vulnerable to those heat emergencies. They're often having more chronic health problems, as well as their body physiology is less resilient to manage dehydration and extreme temperatures," Baugh explained.

In Boston, the Elderly Commission focuses on making sure the senior population is aware of the extreme heat and where to seek help.

"The mayor put a call out to more than 30,000 older adults in Boston — in three different languages — in English, Chinese and Spanish, just making sure that folks in the community knew what they could do to stay safe and stay hydrated," said Emily Shea, Commissioner of the Elderly Commission.

The CDC recommends the following during times of extreme heat to avoid heat-related illness:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If you don't have air conditioning, locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area
  • Drink more water than usual
  • Don't use the stove or oven to cook as it will make your house hotter
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down

Photo Credit: NBC10 Boston]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Family Tells of Firework Burning Baby in Stroller]]> Mon, 02 Jul 2018 20:44:38 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/baby+burned+fireworks+jala+smith.jpg

Thousands of people are hurt every year in fireworks-related accidents, according to the National Fire Protection Association, and as one Brooklyn family knows all too well — they don't all happen on the Fourth of July.

Jala Smith was only 1 month old when her family brought her to a block party in Brooklyn in September 2016. In a festive mood, someone at the party decided to light illegal fireworks.

"He lit the rocket. It went into the air but it didn't get all the way into the air," recalled Jala's mother, Quanisha Smith. "The wind must have shifted it because it went straight into the wall." 

The firework bounced off the wall, then screamed straight into Jala's stroller as she sat strapped inside. 

"It hit the stroller and I saw a spark," said Quanisha Smith. "The stroller is on fire with the baby in it, and it was just panic." 

Jala's legs were burnt: "They were black to a crisp," her mother said. 

Jala was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital Northwell Health, where Dr. Michael L. Cooper and his team cared for the baby at the burn unit. They also care for an average of 15 fireworks injury victims each year around the Fourth of July. 

"The dangers are there," said Cooper. "These are explosives, they can cause scars." 

"Sometimes these patients don't get back to work. Sometimes those patients will avoid going out because they're too self-conscious or emotional or traumatized by the disfigurement." 

Two years after being severely burned by the illegal firework, Jala is running around like any other toddler, smiling and laughing and telling her parents, "I love you." But not everything is normal. Jala still has pain, bears a scar, and her six brothers and sisters are also traumatized. 

"They're scared of fireworks now, so they don't even want to be around it," said Quanisha Smith. "They don't even want to hear it. When they hear it, they run and hide." 

Which is why Quanisha Smith wants to spread the message about fireworks on this July 4th holiday: "Please don't light it. Don't play with fireworks at all. Any bottle rockets, any fireworks. It is so dangerous to everyone." 

Photo Credit: News 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Warns of Hot Playgrounds After Daughter Suffers Burns]]> Mon, 02 Jul 2018 13:03:09 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/playground+equipment+kshb.png

Warning: Images below are graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers.

A Missouri mom has a warning for parents about the hidden dangers of playgrounds in the heat.

With temperatures soaring in the Midwest, Dawna Wright thought back to Memorial Day, when she took her four-year-old daughter Asia to a splash park near their home.

"She saw a bunch of children playing on the play equipment and she kept wanting to go over there," Wright said in an interview with NBC affiliate KSHB last week.

"We went to go back to the water and she ran from me and went on the slide and that's when she instantly was burned."

Wright posted photos on Facebook of the back of her daughter's legs, showing second-degree burns from the dangerously hot slide. 

"You could tell that the skin was just gone. It just completely took her skin away," Wright said.

When checked, the temperature of the plastic slide in direct sunlight was more than 150 degrees.

With signs on the playground for proper attire and a warning of hot equipment, Wright said she has faced criticism for not monitoring her daughter more - but maintained that the incident could happen to many families.

"I just assumed that it was safe because all these children were playing and they were playing just fine," she said.

"I never would have that thought about that until now, so now I will definitely be more aware," echoed Rebekah Singh, another mother at the same park last week.

With plenty of hot weather to come this summer, Wright said she hopes other families learn from her story.

"I just hope and pray that no other baby gets burned like that because it's not fun at all," she said.

Photo Credit: KSHB
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<![CDATA[Childhood Cancer Rates Highest in Northeast: New CDC Map]]> Fri, 29 Jun 2018 11:10:42 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/AP_354132073702-pediatric-cancer.jpg

A new government cancer map shows that rates of childhood cancer are highest in the Northeast United States and lowest in the South, NBC News reported.

Rates of pediatric lymphoma and brain cancer are higher in the Northeast while leukemia is more common in the West, according to the map.

It isn't clear why the rates vary and, since pediatric cancer is so rare, it's unclear what patients and parents should take away from the data. Its main value, according to the team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that wrote the report, is in keeping doctors, hospitals and the government vigilant on pediatric cancer.

It could simply be that some areas have better systems for detecting cancer, the team said.

Photo Credit: J Pat Carter/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[US Charges Hundreds in Health Care Fraud, Opioid Crackdown]]> Fri, 29 Jun 2018 06:48:43 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-517239628+edited.jpg

The Department of Justice on Thursday announced charges against 601 people, including doctors, for taking part in alleged health care frauds resulting in over $2 billion in losses and which, in some cases, contributed to the nation's opioid epidemic, Reuters reported

The department said the arrests are part of the the largest health care fraud takedown in U.S. history. It includes 162 doctors and other suspects charged for their alleged roles in prescribing and distributing addictive opioid painkillers. 

The fraud crackdown occurs every year, but this year, officials sought to emphasize their efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, which federal health officials say caused more than 42,000 deaths in the United States in 2016.

"Some of our most trusted medical professionals look at their patients — vulnerable people suffering from addiction — and they see dollar signs," U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

Photo Credit: John Moore/Getty Images, FIle ]]>
<![CDATA[Abortion Rights Advocates Sound Alarm on Kennedy Exit]]> Thu, 28 Jun 2018 07:36:25 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/062718kennedy.jpg

Upon news of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, fear for the future is spreading among abortion rights advocates, NBC News reported. At the same time, anti-abortion groups predicted a once-in-a-generation opportunity to remake the court. 

Kennedy was a swing vote who sometimes sided with the liberal wing of the court on social issues.

President Donald Trump has long vowed to nominate justices to the Supreme Court who would work to overturn Roe vs. Wade, a landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide. Now, he has his chance to nominate someone to help make that happen. 

The "right to access abortion in this country is on the line," the Planned Parenthood Federation of America said.

Kennedy's retirement "marks a pivotal moment for the fight to ensure every unborn child is welcomed and protected under the law," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, whose political action committee backs anti-abortion-rights candidates.

It remains unclear, though, whether opponents of abortion rights would actually have the votes to overturn Roe, regardless of Kennedy's replacement. 

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Could Pellet Therapy Make You Feel Young Again?]]> Wed, 27 Jun 2018 17:50:23 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Could_Pellet_Therapy_Make_You_Feel_Young_Again.jpg

Everyone experiences changes in their bodies as they age from feeling more tired or even dealing with "brain fog". But now there are hormones in the form of a tiny pellet that could make you feel sharper and younger. NBC10 Boston's Kristy Lee explains.