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Girl pulled into water by sea lion treated for rare bacterial disease

A girl in Canada who was dragged into a harbor by a sea lion is undergoing treatment for a rare bacterial infection, officials at the Vancouver Aquarium said.

The incident went viral on YouTube, showing a sea lion grabbing a girl’s dress as she sat on the edge of the harbor and then pulling her into the ocean. The YouTube video has already received more than 24 million views since it was posted on Saturday. 

The girl was rescued quickly by a man who jumped in to help her.

>> Read more trending news

Aquarium officials said the girl could be at risk for contracting a rare infection called “seal finger,” ABC News reported.

The infection is caused by a mycoplasma bacteria that lives in the mouths of sea mammals. Bacteria can get into a person’s body by a cut in the skin and can lead to loss of fingers and limbs if it is untreated, ABC News reported

An aquarium spokeswoman told ABC News that the disease “can be painful and debilitating.” 

“She did get a superficial wound, and she's going to get the right treatment,” the spokeswoman told ABC News. 

WATCH VIDEO HERE:

Mom warns other parents after baby burned by sunscreen

A Canadian mother is warning other parents after her young daughter suffered a second-degree chemical burn attributed to a popular sunscreen for children.

Rebecca Cannon posted the warning on Facebook on May 8, including photos of her daughter Kyla's burned face. Cannon said she used the spray version of Banana Boat SPF 50 Broad Spectrum Kids Sunscreen, and her daughter had a bad reaction to the product.

>> Read more trending stories

Cannon posted on May 11 that a dermatologist confirmed that Kyla had suffered a second-degree chemical burn. She said she contacted Banana Boat and the company offered to reimburse her for the cost of the product.

In 2014, Consumer Reports warned parents to not use spray sunscreen products on kids.

WATCH: Young girl left temporarily paralyzed illustrates dangers of tick bites

A 3-year-old girl in Oregon awoke on May 13 to find herself unable to stand or use her arms.

>> Read more trending news 

Evelyn Lewis’ mother, Amanda Lewis, filmed her daughter’s failed attempts to stand with help from her husband. 

WGHP reported that the parents took Evelyn to the emergency room, where a doctor discovered a small but dangerous reason for her condition.

After combing through Evelyn’s hair, the doctor discovered a tick, diagnosing her with a condition called “tick paralysis.”

“The doctor talked to us for a minute and said over the past 15 years he had seen about seven or eight children her age with identical symptoms and more than likely she had a tick,” Amanda Lewis wrote on Facebook. “It can affect dogs also and can be fatal. I’m glad we took her in when we did and that it wasn’t something worse and that we found it before it got worse.”

According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, tick paralysis attacks a person’s muscles and results in symptoms like muscle pains and numbness of the legs. These begin after a tick has attached itself to a host, generally on the scalp.

>> Related: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals

Fortunately, Evelyn is now doing much better, as her mother wrote on Facebook that she “is now pretty much completely back to her feisty little self. She complains a lot about her head itching but otherwise, she’s just fine.”

Here’s how much fruit juice children should drink, according to new guidelines

Next time you're grocery shopping for your kids, think twice before adding a carton of fruit juice to your basket. The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidelines on all juices, advising parents to pull back on how much they serve their little ones.

» Related: What Atlanta dietitians feed their kids 

Previous recommendations said parents should wait to give their babies juice until after six months, but its latest update is suggesting that they wait one year. 

In fact, infants should only be fed breast milk or infant formula for the first six months. After six months, moms and dads can then introduce fruit to their diet, but not fruit juice. 

>> Read more trending news

“Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories,” said Melvin B. Heyman, MD, FAAP, co-author of the statement. “Small amounts in moderation are fine for older kids, but are absolutely unnecessary for children under 1.”

» Related: Should we slap a tax on sugary drinks? 

Scientists laid out instructions for older children, too. Toddlers who are ages 1 to 4 should only have one cup of fruit a day. Four ounces of that can come from 100 percent fruit juice, but it should be pasteurized and not labeled “drink,” “beverage” or cocktail.” 

For children ages 4 to 6, fruit juice intake shouldn't exceed four to six ounces a day. 

The amount increases just slightly for children ages 7 to 18. They can have up to two and a half cups of fruit servings, but only eight ounces of it should be juice. 

At least 5 contract botulism, potentially fatal poisoning, from gas station nachos

Multiple Californians have contracted botulism, a rare and potentially deadly poisoning after eating nachos purchased at a local gas station. 

>> Read more trending news

According to CBS News, Lavinia Kelly, a mother of three, was one of at least five people hospitalized when she contracted botulism after consuming contaminated nacho cheese from a gas station in Northern California last month. 

Kelly called her sister for help when she noticed something was wrong.

“My phone rings, and I pick up the phone, and it’s her. And she can’t articulate a word,” said Kelly’s sister, Theresa Kelly. “And she’s basically saying, ‘Sister, I need you here now.’”

Lavinia Kelly could barely breathe or open her eyes. 

“Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. But then symptoms that start are typically in the face with neurologic manifestations, so difficulty swallowing, difficulty speaking. Maybe one eyelid is dragging,” Dr. Sean Townsend at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco said of botulism symptoms, WABC reported. Blurry vision and slurred speech are also symptoms.

“It’s really scary. And to think if her and my mother had eaten there,” Theresa Kelly said, according to KTXL. “My mom’s older. If my mom had eaten there, I don’t know if we would have lost both of them.”

According to CBS News, Lavinia Kelly purchased Doritos at Valley Oak Food and Fuel in Walnut Grove, California, on April 21. She drizzled the chips with cheese sauce before consuming them.

Botulism, caused by a toxin found in bacterial spores, can cause paralysis in its worst cases. Between 5 and 10 percent of botulism cases are fatal, according to the World Health Organization.

Lavinia Kelly is now in intensive care. She has been in the ICU with minimal function for three weeks, CBS News reported. According to WABC, she cannot open her her eyes and has no motor functions.

Her family says she’s expected to recover. They plan to take legal action against the gas station, CBS News reported.

“Somebody needs to be accountable. Somebody needs to pay attention to what the heck they’re ... doing, you know? It’s crazy,” Dawn Kelly, Lavinia Kelly’s mother, said, according to KTXL.

The Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station stopped selling food and drinks May 5 after the county Department of Environmental Management temporarily revoked its permit, The Sacramento Bee reported. 

Hand injuries involving avocados prompt medical group's call for safety labels

Some avocado lovers are seeing red instead of green and yellow when they slice into the fruit, and the rising number of hand injuries is a concern to physicians.

According to The Times, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons wants to see safety labels put on the fruit, in response to a growing number of hand injuries related to avocado preparation that surgeons have seen in UK emergency rooms. The Times reported that some of the injuries involved serious nerve and tendon damage and required surgery.

>> Read more trending news 

The California Avocado Commission also reports seeing a fair share of hand injuries. A hashtag, #avocadohand, is documenting the trend on Twitter. The commission has posted safety tips for consumers on how to properly slice and dice avocados. 

Removing the large avocado seed in the middle of the fruit is a common source of injury. Experts recommend removing it with a spoon, and never poking or prodding it with a knife.

4 ways to protect yourself from wildfire smoke

Health officials in Florida are urging residents to take precautions to protect themselves from smoke being produced by the West Mims wildfire.

The West Mims fire is 12 percent contained. It has burned more than 144,000 acres, officials said at a Thursday morning news conference.>> Read more trending stories

Smoke was so bad in Duval on Thursday that school officials canceled all outdoor and after-school activities.

SOUTH GEORGIA WILDFIRE COVERAGE

>>WSB: 100,000-acre fire in wildlife refuge forces evacuations in Georgia

>>AJC: South Georgia wildfire picks up steam

The Florida Department of Health in Duval County wants people to take precautions when in areas affected heavily by smoke.

Officials said the smoke can cause scratchy throats or irritated eyes and noses. Smoke can also worsen asthma and other chronic lung or heart conditions.

Health officials said people can protect their families in several ways:

  • Avoid prolonged outdoor activities in areas heavily affected by smoke. This is especially important for children and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Stay indoors and run your air conditioner. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. For best results, run the air conditioning with recirculated air.
  • Help keep particle levels lower inside. When smoke levels are high, try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves and candles. Do not vacuum, which stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice about taking medicines and following your asthma management plan if you have asthma or other lung diseases. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen. Pay attention to local air quality reports (www.airnow.gov), news coverage or health warnings related to smoke.

Study: Young children using handheld devices could have speech delays

Children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years are more likely to experience speech delays if they use handheld devices like smartphones, tablets and electronic games, according to a study released Thursday.

>> Read more trending news 

The study was presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco, CNN reported.

"I believe it's the first study to examine mobile media device and communication delay in children," Catherine Birken, the study's senior investigator and a pediatrician and scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, told CNN. "It's the first time that we've sort of shone a light on this potential issue, but I think the results need to be tempered (because) it's really a first look."

The study involved nearly 900 children. Parents reported the amount of time their children spent using the screens at age 18 months. Researchers then used an infant toddler checklist to assess the children’s language development, CNN reported. The checklist included whether a child uses sounds or words to get attention, and how many words the child uses.

Twenty percent of the children spent an average of 28 minutes a day using screens, according to the study. Every 30-minute increase in daily screen time was linked to a 49 percent increased risk of what the researchers call expressive speech delay, which is using sounds and words, CNN reported. The study did not find any link between use of a handheld device and other areas of communication, such as gestures, body language and social interaction.

Birken said more research is needed to determine what content the children are viewing, and also whether they are using the devices with a parent or caregiver present, CNN reported.

"I think in order to actually develop the evidence to inform parents and clinicians about what to recommend, we need more definitive research," Birken said. "You need trials. You need good evidence, at least longitudinal studies, but this, at least, this finding is identifying an association and it does support the current recommendation" from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

That group recommends no screens at all, other than video-chatting with family, for children younger than 18 months, CNN reported.

For kids between the ages of 18 to 24 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents choose high-quality programming and watch it with their children to help them understand what exactly they are seeing.

Nearly 40 percent of children under age 2 have used a mobile device, an increase of 10 percent in 2011, according to a 2013 study by Common Sense Media.

What is tetralogy of Fallot – the disorder Jimmy Kimmel's son has?

On Monday, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel told viewers in an emotional monologue that his newborn son had been diagnosed with a heart defect and underwent open heart surgery.

Kimmel said his son Billy, born on April 21, was discovered to have a disorder called tetralogy of Fallot (teh-TRAL-uh-jee of fuh-LOW), a congenital (meaning present at birth) disorder where the wall that separates the two sides of the heart is missing. 

Kimmel said his son had surgery last Monday and is now home recovering. 

Here’s a look at tetralogy of Fallot and pulmonary atresia, the other problem Kimmel said his son is suffering from.

What was Kimmel’s son diagnosed with?The disorder is called tetralogy of Fallot. It is a rare condition – only about 5 children out of 10,000 are diagnosed with it each year.

What is it?The disorder happens because of a structural problem with the heart. Tetralogy of Fallot is caused by a combination of four heart defects that are present at birth.

What are the defects?

According to the Centers for Disease and Control, the defects are:

1. A hole in the wall between the two lower chamber – or ventricles – of the heart. This condition also is called a ventricular septal defect.

2. A narrowing of the pulmonary valve and main pulmonary artery. This condition also is called pulmonary stenosis.

3. The aortic valves, which opens to the aorta, is enlarged and seems to open from both ventricles, rather than from the left ventricle only.

4. The muscular wall of the lower right chamber of the heart (right ventricle) is thicker than normal. This also is called ventricular hypertrophy.

What happens because of the problems?

The structure of the heart is affected and the defects cause blood that is oxygen-poor – meaning it has gone through the body and is being pumped back to the heart for recirculation – to be incorrectly routed through the body. Oxygen-poor blood is usually moved to the lungs to be infused with oxygen then routed through the heart to the brain and other organs. 

With tetralogy of Fallot, the blood mixes in the heart, sending the oxygen-poor blood throughout the body. Because the blood does not have enough oxygen, it leaves a baby’s skin with a blue tinge.

What is the treatment?

Surgery is needed soon after birth. During the surgery, doctors widen or replace the pulmonary valve and place a patch over the ventricular septal defect to close the hole between the two lower chambers of the heart. 

The surgery is incredibly delicate. Dr. Jennifer Ashton on “Good Morning America” Tuesday, offered this perspective on the complicated nature of the surgery: Try to imagine operating on an organ the size of a walnut with veins the diameter of angel-hair pasta.

Is it always diagnosed at birth?

No, not always, but usually. Sometimes it is diagnosed when the baby is still in the womb. Sometimes it is not diagnosed until later in life.

What about the other problem Kimmel mentioned – pulmonary atresia?

Pulmonary atresia (PULL-mun-airy ah-TREE-sha) is a birth defect of the pulmonary valve. That valve controls the blood flow from the right lower chamber of the heart into the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs. Pulmonary atresia means that no pulmonary valve ever formed in the baby’s heart.

What caused these problems?

The cause of the defects is not known. Some are caused by gene or chromosome changes, some by something the mother and baby are exposed to – environmental factors or food, drinks or medication the mother uses. 

What is the prognosis? Can children with this lead normal lives?

The baby needs surgery not long after birth to repair the problem if possible. When the defects are caught early and the child is treated, most lead fairly normal lives. Usually, three surgeries are required to fix the defects. 

(Sources: Centers for Disease and Control, Mayo Clinic;

University of California San Francisco)

 

Running Short On Time, Covered California And Insurers Seek Obamacare Answers From GOP

With a deadline looming, California’s health exchange and a major insurer pressed Republican leaders in Washington to clear up confusion over their commitment to key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Health insurers participating in the Covered California exchange for individuals and families must submit initial rates for 2018 on Monday. Peter Lee, the exchange’s executive director, warned in a conference call Thursday that rates could jump by more than 40 percent if the Trump administration and Republican-led Congress walk away from crucial elements of the health law.

In the meantime, House Republicans are looking to revive their Obamacare replacement bill and rally more support among moderate lawmakers in hopes of holding a vote soon.

In addition to Covered California, the chief executive of Molina Healthcare, a Long Beach-based insurer, implored Congress and the Trump administration on Thursday to act quickly to stabilize the exchange markets.

At issue are the continued federal funding of subsidies that reduce low-income consumers’ deductibles and copays and the enforcement of the individual mandate to purchase health coverage or pay a penalty.

Premiums in Covered California plans could increase by 42 percent, on average, if those subsidies aren’t funded and the mandate isn’t enforced, according to an analysis released Thursday by the exchange. Covered California has about 1.3 million customers.

Lee said it is imperative for leaders in Washington to clear up the uncertainty to avoid damaging insurance markets nationwide and hurting consumers. He said statements this week by the Trump administration that it would continue funding the cost-sharing subsidies haven’t specifically addressed whether that applies to all of 2017 or 2018.

“Health plans need to know now what are the rules of the road,” Lee said. “Insurers are considering their participation in the face of unprecedented uncertainty.”

Much of the debate this week in Washington has centered on House Republicans amending their Obamacare replacement bill, the American Health Care Act. But Lee said addressing the current market rules should be a priority ahead of crafting broader legislation.

Lee declined to comment on the latest legislative proposal from House Republicans, but he noted it still faces a long road ahead in Congress before it would win approval. “Health plans need to submit bids for today’s reality. Policymakers need to address that reality,” Lee said.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and other congressional leaders, Molina Healthcare CEO J. Mario Molina said the cost-sharing reduction subsidies are essential for making coverage affordable for many consumers. Those subsidies cover out-of-pocket costs for exchange customers with incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. They are separate from the tax credits that subsidize premium costs.

Without that federal funding, Molina wrote, “we will have no choice but to send a notice of default informing the government that we are dropping our contracts for their failure to pay premiums and seek to withdraw from the marketplace immediately.”

Molina said his company currently serves more than 1 million people through insurance exchanges in California and several other states. Molina had nearly 69,000 enrollees in Covered California as of December, state data show.

Anthem, California’s largest for-profit health insurer and a key player on exchanges nationally, issued a similar warning this week. During an earnings conference call on Wednesday, Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish said the insurer may exit some state exchanges or resubmit for higher rates if the fate of the cost-sharing subsidies isn’t resolved by early June.

Anthem has more than 310,000 customers in the California exchange, or nearly 25 percent of the market. Rival Blue Shield of California is the leader in state enrollment with 389,480, or 31 percent market share.

Republican leaders in Congress say they will address these concerns and move quickly to aid consumers by replacing the ACA with a plan that will reduce premiums and expand options for coverage.

The health law “is collapsing,” Ryan said at a news conference Thursday. “The American health care system in the individual market is in peril right now. We have a moral obligation to prevent people from getting hurt, to stop the damage from being continued.”

Many conservative Republicans oppose the Trump administration’s decision to continue to pay the cost-sharing subsidies, calling the subsidies unconstitutional because they lack congressional approval. House Republicans successfully sued to block the payments, but a judge put the ruling on hold while the Obama administration appealed the case. It’s not yet clear how President Donald Trump will handle that appeal.

Amid this political uncertainty, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told insurers this week they could submit two sets of rate filings on Monday for their exchange business. One filing would reflect continued funding of cost-sharing subsidies and enforcement of the individual mandate. A separate filing could assume the opposite.

“In light of all the actions taken by the Trump administration and House leadership to undermine the ACA, I expect that health insurers will consider filing significant rate increases for 2018,” Jones wrote in a bulletin to insurers this week.

For 2017, rates in Covered California rose by 13.2 percent, on average, statewide. The state exchange is one of the few that actively negotiates rates with insurers. Premiums for the next year usually are announced in July.

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