Five habits that make your allergies worse

HOUSTON -- Sneezes, coughs and sniffles may have started sooner than ever before this year, thanks to an early spring allergy season that may wreak havoc on the health of millions of allergy sufferers. That yellow blanket of pollen outside came quicker and thicker this year because of warmer temps, windier conditions that lifted the pollen from trees and effects of El Nino that created a wet breeding ground for pollen-producing trees and grasses. Given the onslaught of these conditions, physicians at American Family Care have identified the Top Five Habits That Make Allergies Worse. With more than 160 medical centers in 26 states seeing more than 2 million patients a year, AFC evaluates more allergy sufferers than virtually any other health care provider outside of the federal government. "We have a unique perspective on the severity of the season and how to mitigate suffering," says Dr. Jeremy Allen, a board certified family practitioner at American Family Care. "More and more people visit our clinics thinking they have a cold, but in many cases it is an allergy attack." Indeed, visits by allergy sufferers are increasing at AFC clinics, and many of those patients' everyday habits are actually making their allergies worse. Top Five Habits That Make Allergies Worse: 1. Eating certain fruits and vegetables: We are raised to think eating our veggies is good for us. Researchers with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America found proteins in certain foods can cause ragweed sufferers to end up with an itchy mouth. The experts say bananas, melons and tomatoes can cause a cross-reaction. 2. Making your bed : Dust mites love to put down roots in bedding and mattresses. AFCphysicians say at night, while you sleep, moisture from body sweat helps keep the little critters alive. When you make your bed in the morning, you are tucking in those pesky bugs so they cannot escape. Airing out your sheets can make it harder for allergens and bedbugs to stay alive. 3. Wearing Continue Reading

‘Slapped cheeks’ look is a telltale sign of fifth disease, a common childhood illness

If your child has a low-grade fever and looks as though they've been slapped on the cheeks, they might have fifth disease. Don't worry. It sounds worse than it is.Fifth disease is a mild viral infection that is most common in children ages 5 to 15. It is sometimes referred to as "slapped cheek syndrome" because of the telltale rash it causes on the infected child's face.​ It's caused by parvovirus B19 and it spreads from person to person via fluid from the nose, mouth or throat. A child can contract the virus by sharing a drink with an infected individual or coming into contact with droplets in the sneeze or cough of someone who has fifth disease.Symptoms of fifth disease manifest in two distinct stages.Stage one: It's during this stage children are considered contagious. They may have mild flu-like symptoms that can include a low-grade fever, headache, nasal congestion and upset stomach.Stage two: During this stage, children are no longer contagious. At this point in the virus, a bright red rash will develop. The rash often begins on the face and spreads to the torso, buttocks, arms and legs. The appearance of the rash may vary from person to person. For many, the rash begins as a cluster of red spots and takes on a "lacy" appearance as the rash heals and the spots lighten.It may take one to three weeks for the rash to completely heal, and it is not uncommon for it to become temporarily worse during the healing process.There are some less common symptoms of fifth disease to look out for. They include diarrhea, swollen glands, red eyes, a sore throat and swollen joints. This last one is more common in older children and adults.Because fifth disease is a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Infected individuals are encouraged to get plenty of rest.However, treatment can be provided to make the symptoms of fifth disease more manageable. If your child is experiencing troublesome itching or joint pain, consult your physician for a treatment Continue Reading

Okogen, developer of pink eye treatment, raises $10 million

Encinitas-based Okogen has raised $10 million to test a drug originally developed for cancer to treat viral conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.The drug is expected to hasten recovery from the condition, allowing people to return to work or school more quickly. Called OKG-0301, the drug is expected to enter a midstage or Phase 2 clinical trial before the end of this year, said Brian M. Strem, Okogen’s CEO.The money came from Brandon Capital’s Medical Research Commercialization Fund. It’s a collaboration between Australian pension funds, the Australian and New Zealand governments, and research institutes.Conjunctivitis causes itching, burning and tenderness in the eyelids and redness in the whites of the eye. Most of the 6 million cases each year in the U.S. are caused by viruses. While antibiotics treat bacterial conjunctivitis, they’re useless against the viral kind.Viral conjunctivitis usually clears up on its own in about two weeks or so. However, it’s highly contagious. To prevent spreading it, people are advised to stay home until the eye is healed. The drug’s antiviral activity should speed up that process, Strem said.The drug is an eyedrop formation of ranpirnase, which has broad-spectrum antiviral activity. It will first be tested against adenovirus conjunctivitis. The most common form of viral conjunctivitis, it can result in more serious complications.Ranpirnase was discovered in the northern leopard frog, scientifically named Rana pipiens. The drug was originally tested for anticancer activity by Tamir Biotechnology. It has also tested the drug to treat genital warts.Tamir licensed the drug to Okogen for use in the eye, Strem said. Okogen saw a large need for treating viral conjunctivitis. The treatments today only alleviate symptoms.The goal is to reduce the amount of virus present on the eye, along with reducing the amount of time that virus is detectable, Strem said. While bacteria may be normally present on the Continue Reading

The Most Overrated Movies

PrettyFamous found the most overrated movies of all time. Natalie Morin, Graphiq Published 7:03 pm, Tuesday, January 24, 2017 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-30', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 30', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-35', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 35', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-40', placement: Continue Reading

China Air Pollution: ‘Green Necklace’ Project Could Help Beijing’s Smog Problem

Chinese officials are taking a green approach to solving the country’s air pollution problem, starting with a new project in Beijing and the surrounding province of Hebei to plant more trees and shrubs in surrounding wetlands. Hebei’s government said green belts would be planted all around Beijing, creating a “green necklace” to combat the heavy smog engulfing the area. Related: India's Dangerous Air Particles Caused Roughly 1.1 million Premature Deaths Annually More than 22 million people live in Beijing, one of the fastest-growing cities in China. Overpopulation — along with poorly regulated chemical, transport equipment, machinery and metallurgy industries, many of which were once powered by coal fire — has led to hazardous air pollution. In a statement released Thursday, officials said Beijing and Hebei would expand its ecological space and plant more greenery near river systems, mountains and wetlands, creating green belts around Beijing which could combat air pollution. Urban development outside of Beijing and Hebei will be restricted by the environmental project in exchange for more farming and agricultural efforts. Beijing’s public transportation may also face new regulations to help improve air quality, officials said. As for Beijing’s coal consumption, which has been the source of dangerous outbreaks of smog in the city, production and use will see a significant decline since the city decommissioned its last coal-fueled power plant in early March. Aside from creating a green necklace of vegetation around Beijing, city officials said some industries and other “non-capital functions” will be relocated to Hebei within the next few years in an attempt to curb population and pollution in Beijing. Beijing is at the epicenter of the war on smog, having issued its first air pollution “red alert” in December 2015. Schools, factories and Continue Reading

Zika virus linked to a brain disease similar to multiple sclerosis

The buzz around Zika keeps getting scarier. The mosquito-borne virus has been linked to a second autoimmune disorder that is similar to multiple sclerosis, according to a small study released on Tuesday. Scientists at the American Academy of Neurology in Vancouver have now linked Zika to acute disseminated encephalomyeltis, or ADEM, which is a swelling of the brain and spinal cord that affects the coating around nerve fibers. But unlike multiple sclerosis, which is a chronic neurological disorder that can result in blindness and paralysis, ADEM usually consists of a single attack. Most people recover within six months, although in some cases, the disease returns. Doctors were already concerned about Zika’s association with Guillain-Barre syndrome, where the immune system attacks the nervous system and causes paralysis. Don't get stung! What You need to know about the Zika virus The latest study followed 151 patients hospitalized in Recife, Brazil between December 2014 and December 2015 for symptoms associated with Zika, dengue or chikungunya — which are all spread by the same Aedes aegypti species of mosquito. All of the people studied suffered a fever followed by a rash, and some also had red eyes, severe itching, as well as muscle and joint pain. Four of them developed Guillain-Barre syndrome, and two developed ADEM. “This doesn’t mean that all people infected with Zika will experience these brain problems. Of those who have nervous system problems, most do not have brain symptoms,” said study author Dr. Maria Lucia Brito Ferreira in a statement. “However, our study may shed light on possible lingering effects the virus may be associated with in the brain.” This news comes the day after federal health officials called for more money for mosquito control and the development of vaccines and treatments to fight Zika. “Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than Continue Reading

Yankees keep an eye on Manny Ramirez as Teixeira-to-Red Sox stalls

The Las Vegas winter meetings have come and gone, but Scott Boras and the Red Sox still seem to have the gambling itch, as a high-stakes game of poker has developed between the two sides. The pot is Mark Teixeira's future. And the wild card, as far as the Yankees are concerned, is how Teixeira's destination helps shape the market for Manny Ramirez. Boston has been viewed as the favorite to land Teixeira, but after Red Sox owner John Henry, president Larry Lucchino and general manager Theo Epstein traveled to Texas on Thursday night to meet with Boras and the slugging first baseman, Henry issued the following statement in an e-mail to several media outlets: "We met with Mr.Teixeira and were very much impressed with him," Henry wrote. "After hearing about his other offers, however, it seems clear that we are not going to be a factor." Multiple sources familiar with the Red Sox's thinking said that despite Henry's cryptic statement, Boston remains ready and willing to sign Teixeira whenever Boras is ready to make a deal. The Red Sox are still considered by most in baseball to be the favorites to land Teixeira, even after Thursday night's events. Boston executives believe their offer - reportedly eight years at somewhere between $176 million and $184 million - remains the highest on the table. It's possible that Boras tried to overplay his hand, telling Boston of a higher offer that may or may not actually exist. If that's the case, then Henry is simply calling the agent's bluff with his statement that the Red Sox "are not going to be a factor" the rest of the way. Epstein and manager Terry Francona were at a press conference to announce a new airline sponsor for the Red Sox Friday, but neither took any questions about the Teixeira situation. The Red Sox, Angels and Nationals are the three teams locked in the stalemate with Boras, who is waiting for one of them to significantly increase its offer toward the $200million mark. Once Henry Continue Reading

First at Shea, first at Citi? Ex-Mets eye historic toss

Ex-Mets Stephen Dillon and Bill Wakefield last saw each other in 1964, during largely undistinguished big league stints that ended a few years later when both were still in their early twenties. But Dillon, now 65, of Baldwin, L.I., and Wakefield, 67, of San Rafael, Calif., are hoping to reunite in Queens this summer to recall their shared place in Amazins’ lore — pitching in the first night game at Shea Stadium. With Shea now dismantled, the bygone ballplayers want to toss ceremonial first pitches at brand-new Citi Field as a tribute to the team’s early years. “It would just bring back a lot of memories,” Wakefield said. “It would be very nostalgic.” Added Dillon: “It would mean a lot to me.” A Mets spokesman said the team hasn’t made its first pitch plans for the season. But the hurlers are itching to take the mound,  reliving the day Mets manager Casey Stengel tapped Wakefield to start and Dillon to relieve in the first night game at Shea — May 6, 1964. Stengel’s picks proved ironic, since Wakefield grew up in Kansas City, next door to big leaguer Joe Bowman — the losing pitcher in the first night game in major league history in 1935. Three decades after Bowman’s signature feat, Wakefield was preparing for a mighty Cincinnati Reds lineup loaded with Pete Rose, Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson when the lights flickered on at Shea. “It was fun,” Wakefield said. “It was a big deal.” He cruised through the first three innings, allowing just one hit. But Robinson crushed a hanging curve ball for a two-run homer in the fourth, and the Reds got two more runs off Wakefield before he left in the fifth. Three relievers followed Wakefield before Dillon came in to toss a perfect eighth, retiring the legendary Rose on a groundout. The next inning, Dillon’s luck ran out and he surrendered a long lead-off homer that Pinson smacked off the Continue Reading

HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN? Only at Garden could Isiah & Steph outlast Larry

Maybe the old system of player contracts in the National Football League is dying in front of our eyes along with the league's old collective bargaining agreement. But if basketball operated like football, and players weren't guaranteed money and jobs forever, a player like Stephon Marbury would be gone by now, provided the person or persons in charge had a real strategy. When James Dolan met with Knick beat reporters the other day, as truly amazing a single media briefing as we have ever had in sports in New York, he used that word, strategy, a total of 31 times. It was as if Dolan thought that if he said "strategy" enough, the Knicks would suddenly have one. Isiah Thomas is now moving into his third year in New York even though Dolan acts as if it is his first, and he has as much of a strategy to get the Knicks turned around as Marbury had a strategy to beat the Bulls on Friday night. There Marbury was, driving the lane at the end, running the play he wanted to run - him, to the basket - and then stopping to beef at the nearest ref because he thought he got fouled. From Coney Island on, it is all supposed to be about him. Ben Gordon ran down the court and made a three-pointer and the Knicks were going to lose again. It wasn't the first time in the game Marbury, who wants the rock in his hands all the time, had pulled a rock like that. Of course Friday night wasn't all Marbury's fault the way this Knick season isn't all anybody's fault. Larry Brown said yesterday, "You can't look at a team playing the way we're playing and not talk about coaching." But more and more, it becomes painfully obvious the Knicks have no chance to move forward with Marbury. Dolan? He says, "You can't say that Stephon hasn't been a positive for the team. That's just not right." Anybody else who wanted Marbury admits they were wrong now. Not the owner of the Knicks, certainly not Isiah Thomas. He's not wrong. Whatever he says in public, he still thinks he is right about these Continue Reading

Daily Checkup: Skin cancer strikes 1 in 5 Americans, yet it remains highly treatable, especially if caught early

The Specialist As director of the skin of color center at Mount Sinai, Dr. Andrew Alexis specializes in treating dermatologic disorders in populations with darker skin. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. WHO’S AT RISK No family or circle of friends lies outside the reach of skin cancer — 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed in the course of their lifetime. “There are three common types of skin cancer, and for all of them, ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the most important risk factor,” says Alexis. “This is the one risk factor we can all control by avoiding tanning and other intense exposure.” Any intense sun exposure that results in redness, or the appearance of sunburn, is associated with damage to the skin cells. “You can see the damage under a microscope,” says Alexis. “The body has repair mechanisms for undoing this damage, but with repeated and prolonged exposures, some populations of skin cells can continue to grow abnormally, leading to cancer.” The three main categories of skin cancer differ in terms of prognosis and their appearance. “Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are the most common — they usually present as little growths that scab or bleed easily and occur in sun exposed areas,” says Alexis. “Melanoma is the third most common but also the most serious, because it has a higher risk of spreading to other organs and can be fatal.” Sun exposure isn’t the only factor that contributes to skin cancer. “Genetics plays a role in the development of melanoma,” says Alexis. “Other groups at increased risk of skin cancer include people with fair skin and many brown moles, especially when they are different shades and not symmetrical.” Despite a common misconception, patients with darker skin types are also at risk of skin cancer. “Because of low public awareness, many African-Americans are not Continue Reading