Flu Outbreak Expanding Throughout the U.S.

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Our Saturday green news brings you the latest on health, parenting and cool baby and kid products:healthy pregnancy, ultrasound

  • Flu outbreak expanding throughout the U.S. According to the latest report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a flu outbreak already recorded in 29 states, primarily in the South and Midwest, and rapidly spreading around. Majority of patients who have been hospitalized with severe cases of the influenza are either of a very young or very old age. So far this season, the virus has killed eleven children and schools in Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina were forced to close due to the flu outbreak. Thirteen states reported high levels of influenza-like illnesses, while another six states saw moderate activity. As Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, explains: “There’s almost like a Christmas tree right in the middle of the country of the hot spots for disease.”
  • FDA warns to avoid ‘keepsake’ ultrasounds: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continually warns consumers about avoiding commercial ultrasound businesses for providing services led by untrained technicians, and without any regulation. Such establishments are common in shopping malls, luring expectant parents on “keepsake” images of their future offspring. Although ultrasound is generally safe and valuable diagnostic tool during pregnancy, in some cases, it can also produce very small bubbles in some tissues. Since the long-term effects of the heating are unknown, these unnecessary ultrasounds, which provide no medical information, may pose a small risk to both mother and fetus. As FDA biomedical engineer Shahram Vaezy notes: “Prudent use of these devices by trained healthcare providers is important, outside of a healthcare setting, the number of sessions or the length of a session—often up to an hour—is uncontrolled, and that increases the potential for harm.” For example, recent research focused on ultrasound as a possible method of male contraception, found that ultrasound waves dramatically lower sperm count when applied to the testicles.
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