If you need even more reason to get your flu vaccine during pregnancy, researchers have found a possible link between flu exposure during pregnancy and the child's risk of developing bipolar disorder in adulthood. This study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published online in JAMA Psychology on May 8th, found that the children born to women who were diagnosed with the flu while they were pregnant were four times more likely to develop bipolar disorder as adults.
A similar study previously found a link between flu in pregnancy and schizophrenia, showing that children born to mothers that had the flu while they were pregnant were three times more likely to develop schizophrenia.
If you have concerns about getting the flu vaccine when you are pregnant, you can see how it works and why it is recommended here:
Although it is spring in the United States, there are still plenty of cold viruses circulating and making people sick. It may have slowed down slightly since the winter months, but people are still getting colds and even the flu.
Since spring also mean allergies for many people, symptoms can often be confused for one or the other. If you aren't sure what is causing your symptoms, start here:
You can also learn more about the differences between the two and how to treat your symptoms depending on what is causing them here:
If you believe you have a cold, you probably already know that there is no "cure" and the only thing you can do is wait for it to go away. But that doesn't mean you have to suffer with no relief. Although you can't cure your cold, you can treat the symptoms so you don't feel quite as miserable while you are waiting for the virus to run it's course.
We all get headaches from time to time, but how do you know if you headache is caused by something as simple as a cold or stress or if it's something more serious? Our latest "Check Your Symptoms" guide covers all things headache.
You can see what might be causing your headache, when you should be concerned about it and steps you can take to relieve it.
If you have concerns about other common symptoms, we have guides for those too.
Check Your Symptoms:
You may have heard by now that a new type of bird flu has been found in both birds and humans in China. The new strain of avian flu is H7N9, rather than the H5N1 bird flu that has made people sick in the past. At this point, most people that have been diagnosed with H7N9 bird flu have had exposure to birds that also have the virus, but some have not, leading scientists to believe there may be limited person to person transmission.
Scientists and public health officials are watching this new strain of the flu very closely because it has caused very serious symptoms and has a high mortality rate. As of April 26th, China reported 109 cases of H7N9 bird flu. Of the 109 people that were diagnosed with the virus, 23 have died. If H7N9 were to develop the ability to spread easily and rapidly from person to person, it could lead to a serious and potentially very deadly flu pandemic.
To learn more about H7N9 bird flu and find out what health officials are doing to protect us from it, read: What Is H7N9 Bird Flu?
As a parent, one of my worst fears is that something will happen to one of my children. One of my children has special needs and several medical problems and making sure he is as healthy as possible is extremely important to me.
I know what to watch for when he gets sick, but the signs that a child is having difficulty breathing are not as obvious as you might think. A child doesn't have to be gasping for air to be in serious danger of not getting enough oxygen.
If you have a child, ever care for children or think you might ever be around a child - sick or not - you need to know what difficulty breathing looks like in a child. There are several ways you can check to see if a child is having trouble breathing. Some of these signs require immediate medical attention (as in, call 911 right now) and others are indicators but aren't necessarily emergencies. Find out what you need to know so you will be prepared if you are ever caring for a child that is in respiratory distress.
Sore throats can be very painful. They occur with several illnesses that affect your upper respiratory system. Most of the time they are just annoying and go away on their own within a few days, but sometimes a sore throat can be an indicator of something serious or require more intense treatment.
If you have a sore throat, check out our new step by step guide to help you figure out what could be causing it, how serious it might be and what you can do to make it feel better.
While you are at it, if you have other common symptoms of a cold or other virus, we have guides for those too.
Check Your Symptoms:
April is Stress Awareness Month and today, April 16th, is officially Stress Awareness Day. Getting sick causes a lot of stress and if you are having a hard time dealing with that stress, it can be even more difficult to recover from your illness.
About.com's Stress Management Guide, Elizabeth Scott, has put together an amazing resource for how to deal with stress no matter which illness or condition is causing it.
She also has a great article about how stress relief from Guides across the About.com network. Find out what you can do to relieve your stress by doing some of your favorite activities - or discover a new one!
If you are suffering from a cold, the flu or other common illness, I can help you deal with the stress of your illness and get back to feeling healthy again in no time.
Spring is here and for many of us, that means allergies. But there are still plenty of germs out there causing colds as well. So how do you know if your runny nose, sore throat and itchy eyes are caused by allergies or a cold?
Fortunately, we have a quick and easy 10 question quiz that can help you figure it out. Find out what might be causing your symptoms and then see what you can do about them.
It's now April. Does that mean cold and flu season is over? Or at least getting close to ending? Unlike our real seasons, cold and flu season don't have defined start and end dates. They aren't even the always the same each year. But they do tend to taper off in the spring and start up again in the fall. Which means they should be coming to an end soon! Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you won't get sick during the summer.
To find out more about cold and flu season, read:
Update: On April 4th, Rich Products announced that the original recall was being expanded to include all products packaged at it's Waycross, GA plant sold under the Farm Rich, Market Day and Schwan's brand names. The recalled products have best by dates ranging from January 1st, 2013 to September 29th, 2014. For a full list of recalled products, see the USDA recall website.
On March 29th, the CDC announced that a 15 state E. coli outbreak appears to be linked to several types of frozen foods manufactured and sold under the Farm Rich brand. The company, which is based in New York, voluntarily recalled 196,222 pounds of frozen products that may be contaminated with E. coli.
Products that have been recalled include:
- Frozen chicken quesadillas
- Frozen mini pizza slices
- Frozen philly cheese steaks
- Frozen mozzarella bites
If you experience symptoms of an E. coli infection such as stomach cramps, diarrhea or vomiting and you have eaten one of the recalled products, contact your health care provider. Be sure to tell her that you have concerns about E. coli and that you believe you may have consumed a product involved in the recall.
So far 24 people in 15 states have been diagnosed with the rare strain of E. coli known as O121. Typically, we see E. coli outbreaks caused by O157. Different strains may be more or less severe than others but the symptoms are typically the same.
You can find more information about what to do if you have a recalled product but are not sick on the Farm Rich website or by calling their toll free number at 888-220-5955.