NEW ORLEANS — Hundreds of thousands of households have been impacted by Hurricane Ida, either displaced or left without power, food, water, and shelter. Those impacted may need to talk to someone for mental health help.
Ochsner Health is offering free urgent care telemedicine visits via Ochsner Anywhere Care to Louisiana and Mississippi residents who have been displaced due to Hurricane Ida through Monday, September 6.
The code for a free appointment is: IDA
Louisiana Healthcare Connections launched a 24-hour, toll-free crisis hotline for those impacted by Hurricane Ida.
If you were impacted by the hurricane and would like to speak to a licensed clinician, please call 1-866-595-8133 and follow the first prompt.
“This line is staffed by licensed mental health professionals who provide counseling as well as referrals to other local resources,” a statement from the company said. “This service is free to the public; you do not have to be a member of Louisiana Healthcare Connections to call. Remember: for a medical emergency, always dial 9-1-1 directly.”
He cited two Israeli-based studies that showed a decrease in infections among people who got a third or booster shot.
There was good reason to believe that a third dose “will actually be durable, and if it is durable, then you’re going to have very likely a three-dose regimen being the routine regimen,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a briefing Thursday.
It’s ultimately up to the US Food and Drug Administration to decide whether Americans should get three doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, Fauci said. The agency is considering the question later this month after Moderna and Pfizer both applied for FDA authorization for a third dose either six months or eight months after getting the second dose.The recommendation for the booster doses will likely lead to availability for a broad portion of the population, and doses could begin rolling out as early as the week of September 20, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Thursday.
“At some point down the line, we may have a way of telling who needs an extra shot, and who doesn’t,” Murthy said on a call hosted by US Health and Human Services’ Covid-19 Community Corps.
“Right now, we don’t have that indicator, which is why we’re recommending that not only people get vaccinated across the board — regardless of whether they were infected in the past or not — but also when it comes to getting these extra doses to sustain and extend your protection, that we do that broadly,” he said.
Additional doses were granted emergency use authorization by the FDA this month for those who are immunocompromised.
Even though the doses are not yet available to the public, local health departments nationwide have seen a recent surge in calls from people wanting to make appointments, according to the National Association of County and City Health Departments.
But the emphasis remains on increasing vaccination rates among the US population to help overcome the pandemic. Approximately 52.7% of the total US population are fully vaccinated. But of the 10 states with the worst Covid-19 case rates over the past week, seven of them also had among the 10 best vaccination rates, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Schools and universities enact safety measures
The risk of Covid-19 spread at schools and campuses remains critical, and recent research demonstrates how unmasked behavior among the unvaccinated can lead to outbreaks.
A study published Thursday described a Covid-19 outbreak among more than 150 students at a Chicago university after many unvaccinated students traveled during spring break, despite university policies that advised against it.
To prevent similar outbreaks, some universities have instituted mandates to attend classes in-person.
Virginia Tech disenrolled 134 students for failing to comply with the university’s requirement that students be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and “did not submit vaccination documentation or receive a medical or religious exemption,” according to a statement on Monday.
The University of Virginia has also disenrolled more than 200 students for failing to comply with their vaccine mandate, according to a statement last month. Vaccinations in teens and adults can not only stave off infections at schools but can also protect children under 12 who are ineligible for the vaccine.
“Communities with high vaccination coverage are seeing lower pediatric cases and hospitalizations,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
Along with vaccinations, mask-wearing is also beneficial to curbing Covid-19 spread, evidence shows.
The state of New York will require weekly Covid-19 testing for teachers and other school employees, with an opt-out for those who are vaccinated, and will continue their mask mandate for everybody in a school building, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.
In Florida, districts will be able to institute mask mandates following a judge signing a written order Thursday that ruled against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on such mandates in schools. DeSantis said he will appeal.
New Mu variant is under observation
A new coronavirus variant designated as Mu by the World Health Organization is being monitored as a “variant of interest,” but federal health officials say they don’t consider it immediately dangerous.
On Tuesday, WHO designated the B.1.621 variant as a “variant of interest” because it carries mutations that could help it partially evade vaccines and treatments such as monoclonal antibodies. WHO named it Mu under its system to designate important variants using the Greek alphabet.
“This variant has a constellation of mutations that suggests that it would evade certain antibodies,” Fauci said Thursday of Mu. “Not only monoclonal antibodies, but vaccine and convalescent serum-induced antibodies. But there isn’t a lot of clinical data to suggest that — it is mostly laboratory, in vitro, data.
“Not to downplay it — we take it very seriously. But remember, even when you have variants that do diminish somewhat the efficacy of vaccines, the vaccines still are quite effective against variants of that type. Bottom line, we’re paying attention to it. We take everything like that seriously. But we don’t consider it an immediate threat right now,” he said.
The Delta variant still accounts for more than 99% of Covid-19 cases diagnosed and sequenced in the US, Walensky said Thursday, while Mu is rare.
“We are watching it carefully,” she said.
When temperatures rise, staying hydrated can be especially challenging. Taking in enough water is one of the smartest things you can do for your day-to-day comfort and overall good health. Our bodies need water to deliver nutrients to our cells, regulate body temperature, prevent infection, lubricate our joints and keep our organs running in tip-top shape. Good hydration also helps with mood, sleep and cognition.
Dehydration is the opposite: the body does not have sufficient water to operate properly. It doesn’t take much dehydration for you to feel the effect. Losing as little as 1.5% of your body’s water can result in symptoms like headache, muscle cramps or a dry or sticky mouth. Some less-common indicators that you may be dehydrated include bad breath (when you don’t produce enough saliva bacteria can overgrow) or food cravings, especially for sweets. Our bodies use water to release glycogen from our energy stores. When you are dehydrated, you also lose salt and potassium, AKA electrolytes, which help your body do all the things: talk, walk, breathe, think and move.
Your body is mostly water. Newborn babies are about 78% water; one-year-olds are about 65%. Adult women are about 55% water; adult men clock in at 60%. Your muscles and kidneys are 79% water, skin is 64% … even our bones are 31% water. Water also serves as a shock absorber for your brain and spinal column.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recommends 11 cups of water per day for women and 16 cups a day for men. If you’re active, you’ll need to add more, about a cup for every 20 minutes of physical activity.
If the thought of guzzling water all day seems like a lot, remember that not all of your water has to be from plain cups of water. Plenty of foods have lots of water in them and eating those counts against your water total for the day. Sugary drinks do not count and should be avoided. These beverages can be harmful to our health and also condition us to expect our food and drink to be overly sweet.
Here are 20 foods, many of which are summer faves, that contain at least 80% water, so go forth and stay hydrated!
Soup. Summer soups, though perhaps less familiar, are just as delicious and filling as their cool-weather cousins, and soup is nearly 100% water. Try a tomato or watermelon gazpacho, a cold cantaloupe-and-yogurt soup or the classic French vichyssoise.
Cucumbers. These babies are more than 96% water! They also contain potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and a little bit of calcium. They contain nutrients called cucurbitacins which may have an anti-diabetic effect, and fisetin, which is an anti-inflammatory substance and may promote brain health.
Apples. Best known perhaps for their wallop of healthy fiber (a large apple can deliver up to 5 grams), apples are also more than 80% water. A portable, sweet-tart crunchy snack, apples are a good source of potassium, vitamins B6 and C and magnesium.
Watermelon. At 92% water, this sweet summer treat is a great source of hydration. Nutritionally watermelon is no slouch, either. It brings a nice dose of vitamins A, B6 and C, plus lycopene and antioxidants to the table. Toss cubed watermelon with a little crumbled feta, olive oil, salt, pepper and shredded basil for a sweet-savory, satisfying salad.
Plain yogurt. One cup of plain yogurt is about 88% water. It’s also a fantastic choice for a dollop of protein, gut-healthy probiotics, calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Top with a handful of berries for some fiber, extra vitamins and even more hydration.
Zucchini. Your beloved zoodles do double duty when the weather heats up. Zucchini is 95% water, and there’s almost no limit to what you can do with it. Slice it raw onto a sandwich, toss it with pasta, or grate it and bake zucchini bread. Zucchini is also a good source of potassium, vitamins A and C, manganese and folate.
Peaches. One medium peach, 88% water, also contains 2 grams of fiber, a gram of protein and 15% of your vitamin C needs, all with just 50 calories. A fresh, sweet peach tastes like summer. Peaches are also wonderful additions to salsas and, grilled, are a fun way to liven up a salad.
Iceberg lettuce. The primary nutritional benefit of iceberg lettuce is its 96% water content. It’s just 10 calories per cup and can be a source of vitamins A and C. Add a cup of shredded iceberg to your other salad greens to up your hydration, or use iceberg leaves as wraps or buns.
Grapefruit. Low in calories, high in nutrients, flavorful and more than 90% water, grapefruits are also rich in fiber. A whole grapefruit brings you 4 grams of dietary fiber, more than 120% of your daily vitamin C plus a little bit of calcium, magnesium and protein.
Potatoes. Waxy varieties pack more water, as much as 80%. Potatoes are also a good source of potassium, provide 70% of your daily vitamin C, nearly five grams of fiber and a host of minerals. Enjoy them baked or roasted with skins on to keep as much of their potassium intact as possible.
Tomatoes. Almost 95% water, tomatoes are the taste of summer for many. Sliced onto sandwiches, sauteed into pasta toppers, blended into a nice, cool gazpacho…tomatoes are as versatile as they are nutritious and delish. They’re a great source of the cancer-fighting carotenoid lycopene, vitamins A and C and potassium.
Cantaloupe. 90% water, plus packed with beta-carotene (an antioxidant that’s great for eyes and skin) and vitamin C, cantaloupe is great on its own, chopped into fruit salads or smoothies, or even blended into chilled soups. It’s got 1.6 grams of dietary fiber per cup and is sweetly satisfying.
Strawberries. Sweet, plump and 92% water, strawberries are wonderful any way you can get your hands on them. A cup of fresh strawberries has just 49 calories, about 150% of your daily vitamin C, 3 grams of fiber, plus iron, vitamin b6, folate and magnesium.
Raspberries. With a water content of 87%, raspberries are little nutritional powerhouses. One cup has juts 65 calories, yet packs 8 grams of dietary fiber, 53% of your daily vitamin C and, 5% of your iron and vitamin B6 and 6% of your magnesium.
Blueberries. A cup of delicious blueberries, 85% water, gives you a nice hit of dietary fiber plus vitamin C, iron, magnesium and even a gram of protein. Blend them into smoothies, sprinkle them on salads or grab a bowl to munch while you watch TV.
Pineapple. At 86% water, pineapple is a great hydrator. It’s also packed with vitamins B and C, magnesium, potassium, manganese and an anti-inflammatory enzyme called bromelain. One fresh pineapple contains about 2.3 grams of dietary fiber per cup.
Celery. This crunchy favorite is 95% water and contains a flavonoid called luteolin which may inhibit cancer cell growth, and apigenin, which can stop breast cancer cells from spreading and multiplying. One serving of celery (2 medium stalks) contains a mere 15 calories and is a good source of vitamin K, folate, potassium, fiber and a micronutrient called molybdenum.
Broccoli. Roasted, steamed, sauteed or raw, broccoli is a hydration champion, clocking in at 91% water. It’s also chock full of phytonutrients (natural, health-enhancing chemicals), antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins. Versatile and virtuous!
Cauliflower. This versatile vegetable is 92% water and packs an excellent 3.5 grams of fiber per cup. Cauliflower is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamins B6 and C. Rice it, use it to thicken a potato or other creamy soup or drizzle a whole head with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast it.
Carrots. High in fiber and 90% water, carrots are good for your eyes due to their richness in beta carotene, which our bodies use to make vitamin A. Vitamin A helps our eyes convert light into a signal sent to the brain, allowing us to see better in dim light. A half-cup of carrots gives you 73% of your daily vitamin A, 9% of your vitamin K, 8% of your potassium and fiber and 2 grams of fiber.
Long-term use of these medications could increase your risk of colon cancer, researchers say.
“While in many cases antibiotic therapy is necessary and saves lives, in the event of less serious ailments that can be expected to heal anyway, caution should be exercised. Above all to prevent bacteria from developing resistance but, as this study shows, also because antibiotics may increase the risk of future colon cancer,” said study author Sophia Harlid, a cancer researcher from Umeå University in Sweden.
However, there’s no reason to panic, she added.
“There is absolutely no cause for alarm simply because you have taken antibiotics. The increase in risk is moderate and the effect on the absolute risk to the individual is fairly small,” Harlid explained in a university news release.
This link to colon cancer might be due to the impact that antibiotics have on the intestinal microbiome, or gut bacteria, according to the study.
The researchers analyzed data on 40,000 patients in the Swedish Colorectal Cancer Registry, and compared them with a control group of 200,000 cancer-free people in Sweden’s general population.
Investigators also examined antibiotic use data in Swedish Prescribed Drug Register.
They found that both women and men who took antibiotics for over six months had a 17% higher risk of developing cancer in the ascending colon — the first part of the colon to be reached by food after the small intestine — than those who didn’t take antibiotics.
The increased risk of colon cancer was already evident five to 10 years after taking antibiotics. Even though those who took the most antibiotics had the greatest increase in risk, there was a small but statistically significant increase in the risk of colon cancer after a single course of antibiotics, according to the study.
There was no link between antibiotics and an increased risk of cancer in the descending colon or an increased risk of rectal cancer in men. Women taking antibiotics had a slightly reduced risk of rectal cancer, according to the researchers.
The study, published Sept. 1 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, confirms the results of an earlier smaller British study.
FORT WORTH, Texas — Most children who contract the coronavirus experience mild illness, but some of them go on to develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome, more commonly known as MIS-C.
It’s a rare but potentially dangerous condition if left untreated. More than 4,400 kids in the U.S. have come down with the syndrome as of July 25, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including 37 who have died.
It typically affects school-aged children about four weeks after their initial coronavirus infection subsides. However, much remains unknown about the syndrome’s long-term health consequences.
A new study published Monday points in a positive direction.
Medical records of 68 children in the U.K. hospitalized with MIS-C following COVID-19 diagnoses show most of them recovered well with “no significant” medium- or long-term consequences. All the patients included in the study were admitted to intensive care units before May 2020 and were checked up on until April 2021.
None of the children died or needed respiratory support once back home from the hospital; just two were readmitted to an ICU within a year of being hospitalized, according to the study. Kids spent a median time of 10 days in the hospital.
Of the 19 children who developed aneurysms in their hearts — the swelling or weakening of an artery — 14 recovered within a year. Aneurysms can occur in the heart, brain, back of the knee, intestine or spleen and often don’t show symptoms until they rupture, which can result in internal bleeding, stroke or death.
Of the 10 kids who had abnormal arteries in their heart, nine of them returned to normal. And all of the 39 patients who experienced “impaired function” of the heart without an aneurysm recovered within a year.
“It’s a good sign that the sickest patients had such a high rate of full recovery,” study lead author Dr. Patrick Davies, a pediatric intensive care physician at Nottingham Children’s Hospital in England, told the Wall Street Journal. “There’s a certain amount of reassurance here.”
MIS-C was first identified among kids after bouts with COVID-19 in April 2020 by doctors in the U.S. and U.K., according to experts with Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The condition shares features with toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease, both of which trigger inflammation in the body. MIS-C has been found to affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal organs.
Doctors don’t yet know exactly what causes the syndrome, but symptoms typically appear between two to six weeks after coronavirus infection and can include fever, rashes, red eyes, diarrhea and vomiting.
MIS-C is treatable and most kids fully recover.
The Delta variant is more infectious and is leading to more COVID-19 cases in children than previous strains.
Many parents are wondering whether Delta is making kids sicker, and how to care for their children if they get COVID.
It can be a nerve-racking time for parents, but there are practical things you can do to make your child more comfortable if they’re ill.
How common is COVID in kids, and how sick do they get?
There have been more than 50,000 confirmed COVID cases in Australia.
Of these, 4,625 cases have been in children aged 0-9, and 6,325 among those aged 10-19 — totalling approximately 20% of all Australian cases.
Symptoms in children are often like those of other viral infections and may include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy.
A small number of children have other symptoms such as tummy pains, chest pain, headache, body aches, breathing difficulties or loss of taste or smell. Up to half of children with COVID may be asymptomatic.
Despite evidence the more-infectious Delta variant is causing more severe illness in young adults, there’s no convincing evidence it has caused more severe illness in children to date.
Most children can be cared for at home. Hospital networks, including children’s hospitals and local networks, are helping parents and carers to support this care at home.
In some cases, children and families may be transferred to special health accommodation to provide safe isolation and care.
How can I best care for my child at home if they get COVID?
Caring for a child with COVID will look similar to the general supportive care for children with other viral infections.
Children should be dressed in appropriate clothing, so they’re comfortable — not sweating or shivering.
Parents and carers should make sure the child drinks lots of fluids. They can also take paracetamol or ibuprofen if they are uncomfortable with pain or fever. These medicines should be administered as directed in the product information or by a health professional.
Warning signs of deterioration include prolonged fever (for more than five days), difficulty breathing or chest pain.
Some children get severe abdominal pain, vomiting and/or diarrhoea. It’s important to encourage these children to frequently drink fluids. It’s a concern if they’re drinking less or passing urine less than half of what they normally would, or if they are excessively sleepy or irritable.
For these or other serious concerns, parents and carers should seek urgent advice from their care team. In an emergency, they should request ambulance assistance, informing the operator the child has COVID.
Don’t some children end up in hospital or intensive care?
Yes, there’s a small risk of severe disease from COVID in children but this is very uncommon, even in children who have medical vulnerabilities.
Children and adolescents can develop inflammatory complications after COVID, though this is rare. Symptoms include persistent fever and rash, among others. These conditions, termed “Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)” or “Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PIMS-TS)” have been reported mainly in the United States and Europe.
Estimates from the US suggest these occur in around one in 3,000-4,000 cases of COVID in children. There’s only been a handful of cases reported in Australia to date.
Do children get ‘long COVID’?
There has been increasing concern about prolonged symptoms after COVID infection, sometimes called long COVID, even with mild disease.
Fortunately, this is rare in children. In a study of more than 150 children with mild or asymptomatic COVID in Australia, most symptoms resolved in 4-8 weeks and children generally returned to their baseline health within 3-6 months.
What if some people in the home aren’t infected?
The SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads easily from one person to another, particularly in close contact and for those living in the same household as someone who has the virus.
You can reduce the risk of spread by:
- keeping more than 1.5m distance where possible
- getting the child to use a separate bathroom, if this is available
- wearing a mask (for adolescents and older children); younger children and others who cannot wear a mask can be encouraged to observe the other behaviours
- covering coughs and sneezes
- performing regular hand hygiene with soap and water or hand sanitiser.
Good ventilation is also a factor in reducing transmission, but not everyone can modify this in their living situation.
If someone in the household has COVID, high touch surfaces such as door handles, kitchen bench tops, switches and taps should be regularly cleaned.
Personal household items such as cutlery, dishes and towels should be washed before being shared. Regular household disinfectant is sufficient.