At Least 10 Pregnant Women in Dallas Have Zika Virus, Officials Say

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By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) — At least 10 pregnant women in the Dallas area have been infected with Zika, Texas officials confirmed Wednesday.

All of the women contracted the mosquito-borne virus while traveling abroad, Dallas Health and Human Services officials told CBS News.

In related news, the U.S. House on Thursday approved a $1.1 billion funding package to combat the Zika threat, the Associated Press reported.

The bill still needs to be approved by the U.S. Senate, and it remains to be seen if President Barack Obama will sign it. Obama originally asked Congress for $1.9 billion, and Democrats and the White House have voiced opposition to certain provisions of the package.

Even though there have been no local transmissions of Zika reported yet in the United States, the number of cases of infection among pregnant women keeps climbing.

As of June 9, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there are 234 cases of pregnant women on the U.S. mainland who have been infected with Zika, which typically involves relatively mild symptoms in most adults. However, it can cause devastating birth defects in babies that include microcephaly, where an infant is born with an abnormally small head and brain.

In Latin America, thousands of babies have already been born with microcephaly. And researchers reported Wednesday that fears over Zika-related birth defects may be driving up abortion rates in Latin American countries affected by the virus.

In Brazil and Ecuador—where governments have issued health warnings on the danger to the fetus from maternal Zika infection—requests for abortion in 2016 have doubled from 2010 rates, the researchers reported.

The other 17 Latin American countries covered by the new study had their rates rise by more than a third during that time, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers noted that because data on family planning in Latin America is often hard to come by, their numbers may underestimate the surge in abortions since Zika’s emergence.

“The World Health Organization predicts as many as 4 million Zika cases across the Americas over the next year, and the virus will inevitably spread to other countries,” noted study senior author Dr. Catherine Aiken, of the University of Cambridge in England.

But no nation has been more affected than Brazil. As a result of the Zika epidemic, almost 5,000 babies have been born with microcephaly there.

However, the CDC warned last Friday that infection rates are rising in Puerto Rico. Testing of blood donations in the U.S. territory—”our most accurate real-time leading indicator of Zika activity”—suggest that more and more people on the island have been infected, according to CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.

“The real importance of this information is that in coming months it’s possible that thousands of pregnant women in Puerto Rico could become infected with Zika,” Frieden stressed. “This could lead to dozens or hundreds of infants being born with microcephaly in the coming year,” he added.

“Controlling this mosquito is very difficult,” Frieden said. “It takes an entire community working together to protect a pregnant woman.”

Because the virus remains largely undetected, it will be months before affected babies begin to be born, Frieden said. Some will have microcephaly or other brain-related birth defects. But many will appear healthy and normal, and there’s no way to know how they might have been affected, he explained.

Zika is typically transmitted via the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. But, transmission of the virus through sex is more common than previously thought, World Health Organization officials have said.

Women of child-bearing age who live in an active Zika region should protect themselves from mosquitoes by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using mosquito repellent when outside, and staying indoors as much as possible, according to the CDC.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on the Zika virus.

This Q&A will tell you what you need to know about Zika.

To see the CDC list of sites where Zika virus is active and may pose a threat to pregnant women, click here.


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5 Healthy Travel Hacks to Help You Stay on Track

www.popsugar.com/fitness/Best-Healthy-Travel-Tips-42873910

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Traveling isn’t always as glamorous as it sounds. Long drives, cab rides, flights, hours in terminals, and the occasional jaunt through a train station can result in major stress — on the body and mind. For me, travel is a fact of my everyday life. The benefit of that, beyond frequent flyer miles and knowing how to pack very quickly, is knowing the simple tricks to staying healthy while on the go.

So how do you make sure your traveling doesn’t interfere with your healthy habits? Here are my five best tips that you can start today to get back on track!

1. Bring Healthy Snacks With You
The stress of traveling can make you hungry, so it’s a good idea to keep something on hand that will satisfy you. Let’s be honest here, there aren’t many healthy options on an airplane, so packing healthy snacks is your best bet. According to Toronto-based culinary nutritionist Keisha Luke, “Try to bring along some mixed nuts, low-sugar or naturally sweetened with raw honey, maple syrup, agave, or even dried fruit granola, protein balls (natural peanut butter, oatmeal, honey, and nuts), fruits, and opt for water when offered a beverage.”

2. Wear Your Exercise Shoes
Heck, wear your sweats, too! Why? Because exercise clothes and shoes are never out of style, plus dressing for fitness means that you’ll be more likely to walk to your destinations. You’re also more likely to go check out the city, the gym, or the mall a few blocks away without calling a cab.

The more you walk during your time away from home, the better you will feel. Take the long way, take the stairs, whatever you’ve gotta do to keep moving, do it.

3. Order à la Carte
Most meals are already put together for you on many menus, and most of the time you’ll have no idea what the calorie content is. Luke told us to keep it simple: “Order things you know are healthy. For dinners, pick a lean cut of meat and choose sides that are as simple as possible such as steamed veggies, brown rice, quinoa, or a side salad.”

For lunches, choose turkey wraps, salads, or other lighter fare and opt for more simple dressings. Say no to fries as a side, and choose sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, or even a small salad instead. Remember: there’s no law that says you have to finish everything they put in front of you. We won’t tell your mom, honest!

Breakfast can be tricky with all the sweet treats offered such as pancakes, french toast, and more, so choose wisely and go for good old eggs and oatmeal if you have to. Even a cup of yogurt can be a great option here.

For drinks, stick to water or unsweetened tea. If you drink alcohol, keep it to a minimum and choose wisely. No cola in your mixed drinks; go for unsweetened grapefruit juice or seltzer and lime as a mixer.

4. Bring Your Personal Trainer and Nutritionist With You
Literally! With today’s technology making it possible, you can still travel and complete your sessions with a personal trainer or fitness apps. Either plan ahead with your trainer for some Skype sessions to stay on track, or as certified personal trainer Heather Neff told us, “Use LiftSession.com; all you need is a laptop or tablet and some WiFi (which is usually available and free at hotels) to get in a great workout.”

Mobile personal trainer apps and sites allow you to connect with a live online personal trainer and never miss a workout while you are traveling. You can do it from the comfort of your own hotel room (or mom’s guest bedroom).

You can do the same thing with your nutrition. Either seek out food delivery services that will get your meals to you no matter where you are, or seek out a culinary nutritionist in the city you plan on visiting to give your diet a new kick.

5. Do Your Best and Don’t Dwell on a Mistake
You’re traveling, after all. This is supposed to be an exciting time where you get to try new things and let loose a little. My best advice would be to never eat two bad meals in a row, keep moving as much as you can, and enjoy your time away. In addition to that, try to de-stress and have a little fun. You deserve it.

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Sugary Drinks and 'Bad' Carbs May Increase Risk of These Types of Cancer

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By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — People who consume a lot of processed carbohydrates—think snack foods and sweets—and sugary drinks may face heightened risks of breast and prostate cancers, a new study suggests.

Researchers said the study, reported Tuesday at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting in San Diego, does not prove that “bad” carbs cause cancer.

But given that breast and prostate cancers are two of the most common cancers in the United States, the connection gives more reason for people to cut processed foods from their diets, said lead researcher Nour Makarem.

“The carbohydrate quality of your diet matters for a number of reasons,” said Makarem, a Ph.D. candidate in nutrition at New York University.

In general, health experts already recommend limiting sugary drinks and processed carbohydrates, and eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, fiber-rich whole grains, and “good” unsaturated fats.

So the new findings—considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal—add more weight to that advice, Makarem said.

She pointed, in particular, to the link her team found between sugar-sweetened drinks (both soda and fruit juice) and prostate cancer risk. Compared with men who never drank sugary beverages, those who had them a few times a week showed more than triple the risk of developing prostate cancer.

And that was with other factors—including obesity, smoking, and other diet habits—taken into account, Makarem said.

Still, it is difficult to weed out the effects of particular diet habits on cancer risk, said Marji McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society.

“Few dietary factors apart from alcohol and/or obesity have been consistently related to postmenopausal breast cancer and prostate cancer,” McCullough said.

The question of whether carbohydrate quality affects cancer risk—independent of obesity—is important, according to McCullough. But it’s also a “challenging” one to answer, she said.

The new findings are based on nearly 3,200 U.S. adults whose diet habits and cancer rates were tracked for more than 20 years. During that time, 565 people were diagnosed with cancer.

At first glance, higher carb intake was tied to a lower risk of breast cancer. But the picture changed when carb quality was considered, Makarem noted.

She said that women whose diets emphasized healthy carbs—vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes—were 67 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, compared to women who favored refined carbs. Refined carbs include many baked goods, white bread and white potatoes.

When it came to prostate cancer risk, men who regularly drank sugary juices or soda were more than three times as likely to develop disease versus men who steered clear of those drinks, the findings showed.

That does not prove sweet drinks directly contribute to prostate cancer, Makarem acknowledged. Still, she said, many studies have implicated the beverages in the risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes—so there are other reasons to cut back.

“Plus,” Makarem said, “it’s an easy change to make in your diet.”

The American Beverage Association took issue with the findings.

“The authors of this study abstract acknowledge their findings do not show that beverages cause any disease,” the group said in a statement. “Moreover, the study was limited to one demographic group that is not reflective of the population of the United States.” (Most study participants were white.)

The beverage association also said that the American Cancer Society cites multiple potential risk factors for breast, prostate and colon cancer, so singling out diet is difficult. The group also said that because the study hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal, “very few study details are available” and it’s therefore tough to draw firm conclusions.

Sugary drinks weren’t the only diet factor that mattered, though, according to the researchers. Prostate cancer risk was also heightened among men whose diets were generally high in “glycemic load”—which, Makarem said, basically means they ate a lot of refined carbs.

The study also implicated “processed lunch foods,” including pizza, deli meats, and burgers. Men who ate those foods four or more times a week were twice as likely to develop prostate cancer, compared to men who had them no more than once a week, the researchers found.

According to McCullough, it’s hard to know whether certain foods, per se, contribute to breast or prostate cancers—or whether, for example, it’s overall calorie intake and weight gain that are the true culprits.

But the bottom line, Makarem said, is that whole, “high-quality” foods are a generally healthier choice than processed ones.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on diet and cancer risk.


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13 Things You Need to Know About the Zika Virus

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By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

What is Zika?

Zika is a virus first discovered in 1947 and named after the Zika forest in Uganda. The first human cases of Zika were detected in 1952, but until last year there had been only isolated outbreaks occurring mainly in tropical locales.

How is it transmitted?

Zika is spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by drinking the blood of a person infected with Zika, and then spread the disease to other people.

A man infected with Zika can transmit the virus through sexual intercourse. Also, people can be infected if they are given a blood transfusion tainted with Zika.

Who faces the greatest health risk from Zika?

Four out of five people infected with Zika do not develop any symptoms. Those who do most often suffer from mild symptoms that include fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes.

The true risk of Zika is to a developing fetus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that Zika can cause terrible birth defects if a pregnant woman is infected with the virus.

What kind of birth defects does Zika cause?

Microcephaly is the most common birth defect caused by Zika, and it involves abnormally small development of the head and brain. Zika also causes other brain-related birth defects, and can result in miscarriage, according to the CDC.

What are the chances Zika exposure during pregnancy will cause microcephaly?

Not every fetus exposed to Zika develops a birth defect. Women infected with Zika have given birth to apparently healthy babies, although health experts can’t guarantee that these babies won’t develop problems later in life. No one knows what the odds are that a birth defect will occur. This is one of the CDC’s ongoing areas of research.

What can a woman who’s pregnant or trying to get pregnant do to protect herself?

Women of child-bearing age who live in an active Zika region should protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using mosquito repellent when outside, and staying indoors as much as possible.

Women should use condoms or refrain from sex with a male partner if they are living in an active Zika area. They also should follow these precautions for at least 8 weeks if the man has traveled to an active Zika area, or for at least 6 months if the man has been diagnosed with Zika.

What can be done if a pregnant woman is infected with Zika?

There is no cure or vaccine for Zika. Pregnant women infected with Zika will be monitored by doctors, who will closely track fetal development.

Will a Zika infection threaten all future pregnancies?

The CDC has said there’s no evidence that a past Zika virus infection will endanger future pregnancies. It appears that once the virus has been cleared from a person’s bloodstream, it poses no risk to any subsequent pregnancies.

What other illnesses can Zika cause?

Zika has been associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a rare disease of the nervous system in which a person’s immune system attacks nerve cells. The disease causes muscle weakness and, less frequently, paralysis. Most people recover fully, but some have permanent damage and about one in 20 die.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden has said it is very likely that Zika causes GBS, given that the syndrome also is triggered by a number of different bacterial or viral infections. However, the link has not been confirmed. The CDC is investigating.

Where in the U.S. is Zika likely to become active?

Zika already is active in the territory of Puerto Rico, where one death has been reported, as well as American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Public health officials expect Zika to strike first in the continental United States in Florida, Louisiana or Texas, once the mosquito season gets underway. The A. aegypti mosquito can range as far north as San Francisco, Kansas City and New York City, although health officials have said infections that far north are unlikely.

What can I do to reduce the risk of Zika becoming active in my neighborhood?

People can help reduce their area’s risk by eliminating mosquito habitats from their property. Get rid of any source of standing water, such as buckets, plastic covers, toys or old tires. Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools and potted plants once a week. Drain or fill with dirt any temporary pools of water, and keep swimming pool water treated and circulating, according to the CDC.

Report any mosquito activity in your neighborhood to your local mosquito control program.

What should I do if I think I’ve been exposed to Zika?

The CDC recommends that people contact their health care provider if they are suffering from Zika-like symptoms, particularly if they are pregnant. Tests are available that can confirm Zika infection.

Is there a vaccine for Zika?

No, but the CDC is working with pharmaceutical companies to ramp up research into a vaccine for the virus.


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Spicy quinoa lettuce cups

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Looking for healthy lunch ideas? Try these yummy spicy quinoa lettuce cups by our January 2017 cover model, Tiffiny Hall.

 

// Prep: 10 min // Cook: 30 min

Ingredients (Serves 2) Prep: 10 min // Cook: 30 min

  • ¾ cup mixed quinoa
  • 1 ¾ cup vegetable stock
  • 125g tin four bean mix, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into 1 cm dice
  • ¼ bunch coriander, finely chopped
  • 4 large cos lettuce leaves

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Place quinoa into a saucepan with 1 ¾ cup vegetable stock, simmer for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Drain quinoa and spread onto a baking tray. 

3. To the baking tray, add bean mix, spices and garlic and mix through. Place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is slightly crunchy. 

4. Meanwhile, mash avocado and lemon juice together and set aside. 

5. Remove quinoa from oven, toss tomato and coriander through quinoa and bean mix.

6. Spoon quinoa mix into lettuce leaves and dollop on avocado to serve. 

Get Tiffiny’s full work out and meal plan in the January 2017 edition of Women’s Health and Fitness Magazine.

Find more healthy recipes in our extensive recipe collection.

 

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Men Exposed to Zika Virus Should Use Condoms for Next 6 Months, Says CDC

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By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 25, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Men who know they’ve probably been infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus should not have sex without a condom for six months, according to new federal health guidelines released Friday.

Numerous cases of sexually transmitted Zika infection—which is thought to cause severe birth defects in some cases—have been confirmed in the United States, said officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Mounting evidence supports a link between Zika and microcephaly, and possibly other problems such as miscarriage,” Dr. Denise Jamieson, co-lead of the Pregnancy and Birth Defects Team of the CDC’s Zika Virus Response Team, said during an afternoon news conference.

“The rate of these conditions is not known yet,” she said. “We know there is a risk, but it is important to remember that even in places with active Zika transmission women are delivering apparently healthy infants.”

The goal of the latest CDC guidelines is to give doctors the best advice possible to share with their patients about pregnancy planning and sex, Jamieson added. However, they are are based on the best evidence to date, and not on a definitive understanding of Zika, she noted.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that’s been tied to thousands of cases—mainly in Brazil—of a severe birth defect called microcephaly. In microcephaly, a newborn’s head is smaller than normal, with the potential for long-term neurological damage.

While the bulk of Zika cases leading to microcephaly may occur via maternal infection during pregnancy, cases of sexual transmission from a man to his female partner have come to light, the CDC said.

A team led by CDC investigator Alexandra Oster notes that, as of March 18, there are now “six confirmed cases of sexual transmission in the United States associated with this outbreak.”

Just how long might the Zika virus linger in semen? According to the report, semen collected from one man still showed signs of the virus 62 days after he began to exhibit fever linked to Zika infection.

Zika infection is usually a transient, mild illness in adults, and many cases may occur without symptoms, experts say. However, because of the risk to babies, the CDC is advising that men with known or suspected infection with Zika refrain from sex—or only have sex with a condom—for six months after a diagnosis.

The agency also advises that, for couples involving a man who has traveled to or resides in an area endemic for Zika:

• the couple refrain from sex, or use condoms during sex, throughout the duration of a pregnancy.

• they refrain from sex, or use condoms during sex, for eight weeks if the man has returned from travel to a Zika-endemic area but has not shown signs of infection.

• for couples living in a Zika-endemic area, they refrain from sex or engage in sex only with a condom for as long as active Zika transmission persists in that area.

The latest guidelines also recommend that women who know they’ve been infected, have no symptoms but have recently been to a Zika-endemic area, or think they might have been exposed via sex, should wait at least eight weeks before trying to get pregnant.

The CDC has also advised that all pregnant women consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If a pregnant woman must travel to or live in one of these areas, she should talk to her health-care provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.

On Friday, CDC officials also said that 273 U.S. residents in 35 states have now tested positive for infection with the Zika virus.

“All are travel-related or sexually transmitted cases,” Jamieson said. “In addition, there have been 261 cases reported from Puerto Rico, 14 cases from American Samoa and 11 cases from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of these, 99 percent are presumed to be locally transmitted by mosquitoes in the territories.”

In the majority of Zika infections, symptoms included rash (97 percent of cases), fever and joint pain.

“Zika virus disease should be considered in patients with acute onset of fever, rash, arthralgia [joint pain], or conjunctivitis [pink eye] who traveled to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission or who had unprotected sex with someone who traveled to one of those areas and developed compatible symptoms within two weeks of returning,” the CDC said.

And earlier this month, scientists reported more evidence supporting a link between the Zika virus and microcephaly.

Researchers now believe that one in every 100 pregnant women infected with the virus during the first trimester will give birth to a baby with the birth defect.

The Zika virus is suspected of causing an epidemic that started last spring in Brazil, where there have been more than 5,600 suspected or confirmed cases of microcephaly.

Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, an immune system disorder that can occasionally lead to a fatal form of paralysis.

Speaking earlier this month, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said that “we are learning more about Zika every day. The link with microcephaly and other possibly serious birth defects is growing stronger every day. The link to Guillain-Barre syndrome is likely to be proven in the near future, and the documentation that sexual transmission is possible is now proven.”

First discovered in Uganda in 1947, the Zika virus wasn’t thought to pose major health risks until last year, when it became clear that it posed potentially devastating threats to pregnant women.

Meanwhile, the virus continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean.

It is not expected to pose a significant threat to the U.S. mainland, federal health officials have said in the past.

In Puerto Rico, however, the situation is “of great concern,” Frieden said.

“Puerto Rico is on the frontline of the battle against Zika,” said Frieden, who had just returned from the island. “And it’s an uphill battle.”

By next year, Frieden said, there could be hundreds of thousands of cases of Zika in the territory, and “thousands of infected pregnant women.”

In a separate report released Friday, the CDC stressed that effective contraception needs to be made much more readily available to Puerto Ricans. In a statement, the agency noted that, “approximately two-thirds of pregnancies in Puerto Rico are unintended, indicating a potentially unmet need for access to birth control.”

The agency said that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will boost its efforts at family planning education in Puerto Rico, so that women can help prevent unintended pregnancies — especially those jeopardized by Zika infection.

The Zika virus has now spread to over 38 countries and territories, most in Latin America and the Caribbean. The World Health Organization estimates there could be up to 4 million cases of Zika in the Americas in the next year.

More information

For more on Zika virus, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To see the CDC list of sites where Zika virus is active and may pose a threat to pregnant women, click here.


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Weight Loss

Before you start changing the size of your waistline you initial have actually to adjustment the thinking in your head. If you are determined and committed to dropping weight and you have actually the ‘exactly what ever it takes’ attitude after that you should pay close focus to exactly what I going to tell you in this article. This is not the current fad diet where you’re instructed to consume nothing yet carrots and tomatoes all of day or consume a pound of bacon placing your system in to an…

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Mini Meatloaves with Green Beans & Potatoes

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Mini Meatloaves with Green Beans & Potatoes Recipe
Mini Meatloaves with Green Beans & Potatoes
This healthy meatloaf recipe and side dishes are all made in the oven on two sheet pans so that everything’s ready for the dinner table at the same time. The potatoes go into the oven first to start roasting while the mini meatloaves and green beans are prepped and added to the oven partway through.

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Smoked Turkey, Kale & Rice Bake

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Smoked Turkey, Kale & Rice Bake Recipe
Smoked Turkey, Kale & Rice Bake
This hearty one-skillet dinner is loaded with celery, kale, tomatoes and quick-cooking brown rice. It’s easy to make the recipe vegetarian by substituting smoked tofu for the turkey.

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Hoppin' John with Orange Bell Peppers

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Hoppin' John with Orange Bell Peppers Recipe
Hoppin' John with Orange Bell Peppers
Loads of ham hocks, cured pork belly or even smoked turkey wings are usually key ingredients in this Southern dish. In this healthy Hoppin' John recipe, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper bring on the flavor. Ounce-for-ounce, these two spices contain roughly 2 1/2 times the beta carotene of boiled sweet potatoes. Serve as a main-dish stew or serve a smaller portion as a side along with some brown rice.

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