TIME

Measles Outbreak in U.S. Tops 150 Cases

A single dose of MMR for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella at Kaiser Permanente East Medical offices on Feb. 3, 2015 in Denver, CO.
Joe Amon—Denver Post via Getty Images A single dose of MMR for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella at Kaiser Permanente East Medical offices on Feb. 3, 2015 in Denver, CO.

Most people with the disease are not vaccinated

The number of measles cases in the U.S. has reached 154, according to new numbers released Monday.

Between Jan. 1 to Feb. 20, more than 150 cases in 17 different states have been reported to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC). The majority of these cases are tied to an outbreak linked to Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, Calif.

Some have blamed the latest outbreak on parents who don’t vaccinate their children for measles — or anti-vaxxers — and the CDC reports that the majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated. Travelers from other parts of the world where the disease is still prevalent could also be bringing it into the U.S., the CDC said.

There are currently three simultaneous outbreaks of the virus, the largest connected to Disneyland and the other two in Illinois and Nevada. In 2014, the U.S. experienced a major outbreak of measles that totaled 383 cases and was primarily spreading among an unvaccinated Amish community in Ohio.

Two doses of the measles vaccine (MMR) are nearly 100% effective at preventing the disease, which is highly contagious. The CDC recommends all children get their first dose of the vaccine at ages 12 through 15 months and the second dose at ages 4 to 6.

TIME Health Care

Medical Marijuana May Soon Be Marketed as Kosher

Medical Marijuana
Colin Brynn—Getty Images

A certification agency is open to the possibility

Medical marijuana may soon come with a kosher seal of approval.

The Orthodox Union that offers kosher certification is in early discussions with parties interested in offering kosher medical-marijuana products, according to the Jewish Daily Forward.

In the past, the Orthodox Union has refused to certify cigarettes and e-cigarettes because of their clear health risks, but Rabbi Moshe Elefant, who leads kosher certification at the Orthodox Union, said it “would not have a problem” certifying medical marijuana since it has health benefits.

Since marijuana is a plant, it would appear that the certification would not be necessary. But in New York State, where medical marijuana will go on sale next year, cannabis could be distributed in other forms like edible substances and capsules, which would need a kosher seal. Many Orthodox rabbis are still strongly against its use.

[The Jewish Daily Forward]

TIME Drugs

11 Wesleyan Students Hospitalized After ‘Molly’ Use

Q - Dance Ecstasy Pills
Getty Images

One student is in critical condition

Eleven students at Wesleyan University were hospitalized after experiencing bad reactions to the party drug “Molly”, Bloomberg reports.

The school announced that one of the eleven students is in critical condition. On Sunday, seven of the students were transported to the hospital and four students took themselves.

Molly, also known as MDMA, is a psychoactive drug that has effects that can last around 3 to 6 hours. The controlled substance increases neurotransmitter activity in the brain, and in some cases, it can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. The drug has also been found to cause long-lasting confusion, depression, and sleep abnormalities.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse writes: “Ecstasy tablets and even capsules of supposedly pure “Molly” sometimes actually contain other drugs instead or in addition. These substances are harmful alone and may be particularly dangerous mixed with MDMA. Users who intentionally or unknowingly combine such a mixture with additional substances such as marijuana and alcohol may be putting themselves at even higher risk for adverse health effects.”

The school has not released any further information about the conditions of the students.

[Bloomberg]

Read next: How Colleges Are Dealing With Legal Pot

 

TIME food and drink

This Is The Most Surprising Thing About Bacon-Wrapped Pizza

Little Caesars Bacon Pizza
Tony Segielski—Little Caesars

It's not as bad for you as you might think

Little Caesars caused a storm last week when it unveiled its bacon-wrapped pizza, which is available starting Monday. But the pie might not be as bad for you as it seems—at least when it comes to calories.

A slice of Little Caesars’s culinary masterpiece/travesty reportedly has 450 calories. That’s actually fewer than what you’ll find in several popular fast food orders, like a McDonald’s Big Mac or a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme.

In fact, it’s far from the most calorie-heavy dish that you’ll be able to find at popular fast food joints. Take, for example, Burger King’s 1,160-calorie Triple Whopper.

So if you’re craving a slice of bacon-wrapped goodness, here’s a calorie comparison with other fast food items that will make you feel a little less guilty:

But this isn’t to say that the bacon-wrapped pizza is healthy—that’s a whole other story.

 

TIME health

The Vaccine Everyone Wanted

Salk Cover
TIME Jonas Salk on the Mar. 29, 1954, cover of TIME

Feb. 23, 1954: The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine takes place, in Pittsburgh

In the midst of the contentious debate between anti-vaxxers and those who side with mainstream science, it can be hard to imagine a time when Americans almost universally embraced vaccination.

That time was the 1950s, when the very real, utterly devastating effects of polio overshadowed any hypothetical questions of vaccine safety. In 1952, the worst polio outbreak in American history infected 58,000 people, killing more than 3,000 and paralyzing 21,000 — the majority of them children. As TIME reported, “Parents were haunted by the stories of children stricken suddenly by the telltale cramps and fever. Public swimming pools were deserted for fear of contagion. And year after year polio delivered thousands of people into hospitals and wheelchairs, or into the nightmarish canisters called iron lungs.”

When Dr. Jonas Salk’s vaccine debuted its first mass inoculation against polio on this day, Feb. 23, in 1954, the only fear most parents felt was that it wouldn’t become widely available fast enough to save their kids.

Children from the Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, where Salk ran his research lab, took part in the first “field test” of the new vaccine, although Salk had already tried it on volunteers — starting with himself, his wife, and their children — who’d successfully produced polio antibodies without getting sick. By June, nearly two million schoolchildren in 44 states had been inoculated, and a year later the vaccine was officially licensed.

During its initial testing, the most salient safety question about Salk’s vaccine centered on the potential danger of injecting humans with monkey tissue. To make his vaccine, Salk’s team harvested kidneys from live monkeys and injected them with live polio virus, which quickly multiplied in the kidney cells. Then the team used formaldehyde to kill the virus before injecting it into humans.

But the traces of monkey kidney present in each dose of the vaccine were so minute that they posed no health risks, as Salk told the New York Times.

Instead, the greatest safety threat came not from monkeys but from human error: One of the labs licensed to produce the vaccine accidentally contaminated a batch with live polio virus in 1955. That batch killed five people and paralyzed 51.

With stricter oversight, however, the vaccine continued to be the lifesaver it was initially hailed as. Within the first few years, it cut polio cases in the U.S. by half. By 1962, the number of new cases had dropped to fewer than 1,000. And by the time of Salk’s death at age 80, 20 years ago, polio was already virtually extinct in the U.S. and dwindling worldwide.

Read the 1954 cover story about the polio vaccine, here in the TIME archives: Closing in on Polio

TIME infectious diease

2 Superbug Deaths Reported in North Carolina

The bacteria is thought to kill 50% of those infected

Two North Carolina residents have died in recent months from a deadly “superbug,” out of the approximately 15 who have been treated.

Carolinas HealthCare System told the Associated Press it has begun an aggressive effort to combat the superbug, formally known as Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, which includes isolating the infected and using special cleaning procedures in rooms where they have stayed. Hospital officials cited patient privacy laws to explain why the deaths were not reported earlier.

The bacteria, which is thought to kill 50% of those infected, was recently revealed to have infected two patients who died in a California hospital. More than 100 more were thought to have been potentially exposed.

MORE: What You Need to Know About the California ‘Superbug’

[AP]

TIME Research

This ‘Peanut Patch’ Could Protect Against Peanut Allergies

peanuts
Getty Images

Half of those who used the largest patch saw their peanut tolerance increase 10-fold

A small skin patch applied to patients with peanut allergies appears to safely and effectively protect against the sometimes life-threatening condition, researchers said Sunday

“This is exciting news for families who suffer with peanut allergies because Viaskin represents a new treatment option for patients and physicians,” study author Hugh A. Sampson, a doctor at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai, said in a statement.

The patch exposed patients to a small dose of peanut protein, ranging from 50 to 250 micrograms, for the course of the study. The study, which evaluated more than 200 patients with peanut allergies for a year, found that the treatment worked, particularly for patients who used the 250-microgram patch. Half of those who used the largest patch saw their peanut tolerance increase 10-fold. Tolerance increased 19-fold for some children treated with the 250-microgram patch.

The researchers, who presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, reported no serious side effects to the treatment.

“EPIT appears safe, well tolerated and effective,” Sampson said. “That’s good news for families who suffer from food allergies.”

Read next: 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Gluten

TIME Research

Why Washing Dishes by Hand May Lead to Fewer Allergies

168849264
Getty Images

A new study shows kids in families who hand-wash their dishes have fewer allergies

Households worldwide now have extra incentive for getting family members to do the dishes: It could prevent the development of allergies.

A new and preliminary study, published in the journal Pediatrics, adds to an increasing body of evidence that suggests getting a little dirty does the immune system some good. That thinking is known as the “hygiene hypothesis,” which speculates that the reason kids develop so many allergies today is because their environments are just too clean. Without exposure to bacteria early in life, children’s immune systems don’t become as hardy as they could be.

Research over the years has linked a variety of early lifestyle factors, like having pets, eating fish and living on a farm to a significantly lower risk of developing allergies. Now this new study suggests that hand washing dishes might be the next behavior to add to the list.

“If you are exposed to microbes, especially early in life, you stimulate the immune system in various ways and it becomes tolerant,” says study author Dr. Bill Hesselmar of Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. “We thought [hand washing dishes] might be important, but we didn’t know, so we asked that question.”

Hesselmar and his team surveyed the parents and guardians of 1,029 Swedish children ages 7 to 8. They discovered that children in homes where the family hand-washed the dishes instead of using a machine were less likely to have allergies. Only 23% of children whose parents used hand dishwashing had a history of eczema, compared with 38% of kids whose families mainly used machine dishwashing. The researchers also found that the result was amplified when kids ate fermented food or food bought directly from farms.

Though the study is only observational and can’t confirm causality, Hesselmar and his team have a few speculations.

It’s not necessarily that the kids are washing the dishes themselves and becoming exposed to bacteria. That might be one form of exposure, but as Hesselmar notes, some of the kids might be too young for that chore. Instead, it could be that long-term use of hand-washed dishes does the trick. Prior research comparing the cleanliness of dishes washed by hand to those washed by machine has shown that machine washing is more efficient and leaves fewer bacteria behind. Living in a household that hand-washes means family members are eating off of plates and cutlery that have more bacteria, and therefore more microbial exposure.

Families who hand-wash may also have other lifestyle factors that contribute to a lower allergy risk. The researchers note that overcrowded housing, low socioeconomic status and immigration status can also be linked to fewer allergies, as well as possibly different modes of dish washing.

“The study was really well done and caveated well, while simultaneously suggesting new areas of research and interesting models,” says Jonathan A. Eisen, a professor at the University of California at Davis. Eisen, who was not involved in the study, is an expert on exposure to microbial communities.

The study still leaves a few questions unanswered, like why hand washing was only associated with a lower likelihood of eczema and not other allergy-related symptoms like asthma, or why the effect was so significant even though dish washing requires the use of soaps, possibly even antibacterial products. Hesselmar says they are asking the same questions and hope to continue looking into the link.

Read next: This ‘Peanut Patch’ Could Protect Against Peanut Allergies

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Infectious Disease

New Killer Virus Found in Kansas

They're calling it Bourbon virus

Scientists are reporting on a new virus, never seen before anywhere, that apparently killed a Kansas man last year.

They’re calling it Bourbon virus, after the county in Kansas where the previously healthy man lived. He’d been bitten by ticks before he got sick so doctors believe the virus is carried by ticks.

“We were not looking for a new virus,” said Charles Hunt, Kansas state epidemiologist, who helped report on the new virus.

“We are surprised. We really don’t know much about this virus. It’s important to find out more from a public health perspective. It is possible that other persons have been infected with this and not known it?”…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Diet/Nutrition

The Best and Worst Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

sick-woman-sofa
Getty Images

A symptom-by-symptom guide to the eats that will soothe (or strengthen) your symptoms

When you’re under the weather, the last thing you want is to eat something that makes you feel worse. But what if the last thing you want is chicken soup or crackers, and you’re craving ice cream or a glass of wine? It depends on what’s wrong with you, experts say. Here are common symptoms and expert suggestions on foods that help—and hinder—relief.

You’ve got the runs

For diarrhea caused by a stomach virus or a meal that didn’t agree with you, try the BRAT diet, says James Lee, MD, gastroenterologist with St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. “Many different things can cause diarrhea, such as Crohn’s disease or colitis,” he says, so see your doctor if symptoms continue for longer than two weeks or sooner if signs of dehydration appear, or if diarrhea is accompanied by fever, blood, severe pain, or severe nausea and vomiting.

Best foods: The BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Oatmeal, boiled potatoes, saltine crackers, and baked chicken or turkey without skin are also safe bets.

Worst foods: Sugarless candy and gum containing sorbitol or other artificial sweeteners, which aren’t digestible and can trigger diarrhea. Other foods that can cause gas and bloating include onions, apples, broccoli, cabbages, and beans. Dairy may also aggravate diarrhea, as well as alcohol and caffeine.

You’re constipated

Constipation can occur when not eating enough fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and veggies, which stimulate digestion. “Adults need between 25 and 30 grams of fiber a day,” says Dr. Lee.

Best foods: High-fiber whole grain breads, nuts, beans, prunes, oatmeal, flaxseed, broccoli, pears, and apples. (Here are the 20 best foods for fiber.) Drinking six to eight glasses of water per day also helps get things moving, says Dr. Lee.

Worst foods: Chocolate, dairy products, iron supplements, narcotics (pain medications) and some blood and anti-depression medications may worsen constipation.

Read more: 10 Ways to Soothe a Sore Throat

You’re feeling nauseous

Feeling queasy makes all foods sound unappealing, but the right ones can ease symptoms by calming stomach acids, says Dr. Lee. “In general, keep food portions small and odors to a minimum.”

Best foods: Saltine crackers or pretzels can help, says Dr. Lee, as does small quantities of dry toast or cereal. Ginger or lemon tea, fresh or frozen lemon slices, and peppermint also work.

Worst foods: Greasy, spicy, or oily foods, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks can make nausea worse.

It hurts to swallow

When you have a sore throat, several foods can coat your throat and soothe the pain, says Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers.com and author of The Little Book of Thin (Perigee 2014).

Best foods: Combine peppermint tea (lukewarm, not hot)—which has analgesic and anesthetic effects—and Manuka honey, which is known for its wound-healing properties. Soft, creamy foods such as cream soups, mashed potatoes, yogurt, scrambled eggs, and custards are also soothing.

Worst foods: Avoid hot liquids and hard, scratchy foods such as potato chips, nuts, and granola. The acidic juices from raw fruits and vegetables, as well as orange juice, grape juice, and lemonade can also irritate a sore throat.

Read more: 12 Strange-But-True Health Tricks

Your entire body aches

Foods that ease muscle aches depend on the specific reason for the body aches, says Kristine Arthur, MD, internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif. “For general muscle aches, food containing magnesium or calcium may help ease soreness,” she says.

Best foods: Magnesium-containing foods include nuts, bananas, beans, leafy greens, and avocados. Foods high in calcium such as canned salmon, yogurt, dark-green leafy greens, and orange juice fortified with calcium also lessen muscle cramping and pain.

Worst foods: Anything that dehydrates you can worsen muscle aches, says Dr. Arthur, particularly alcohol and caffeine.

Your head hurts

Dehydration is one of the leading causes of headaches, says Dr. Arthur, so it’s best to treat that cause first and see if it relieves your pain.

Best foods: Water and other fluids are your best bet. “Drink a bottle of water and wait 20 minutes to see if you feel better,” says Dr. Arthur. Caffeine is known for drying you out, but ironically, it can help in small doses. “But for each cup of tea or coffee, drink an equal amount of water to avoid dehydration,” Dr. Arthur says.

Worst foods: Headache-triggering foods include artificial sweeteners, MSG (found in sauces and soy sauce), aged cheeses (blue, stilton) that contain tyramine, plus chocolate, red wine, hot dogs, deli meats, and dried fruit. MSG is metabolized to glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, says Dr. Arthur. Tyramine links to increased blood pressure, which can trigger headaches.

Read more: 12 Worst Habits for Your Mental Health

You have an earache

Earaches typically accompany other symptoms, says Dr. Arthur, “so they’re not correlated with any food in general.” Since they occur most often with upper respiratory infections, however, foods that clear up congestion can help earaches as well.

Best foods: Clear fluids and chicken soup ease congestion by loosening up mucous in nasal passages. Omega-3s found in salmon and nuts decrease inflammation, and vitamin C found in dark leafy greens, berries, and citrus boost the immune system, says Dr. Arthur.

Worst foods: Dairy can thicken phlegm and worsen congestion, with the exception of yogurt, which contains probiotics, says Dr. Arthur. “Stay away from processed and packaged foods, too, which increase inflammation and lengthen the recovery process.”

You’re red and itchy

A rash could be a symptom of an allergy, says Dr. Arthur. “Keep a detailed food journal to look for links to foods that seem to trigger a rash.”

Best foods: Omega-3 containing foods such as fatty fish (salmon, sardines) and walnut and flax seed oils, as well as foods high in protein are all important for skin health, says Dr. Arthur. “Skin is made up of proteins, so a diet adequate in protein is necessary for skin protein synthesis.”

Worst foods: The most common foods that cause itching are nuts, chocolate, fish, tomatoes, eggs, berries, soy, wheat, and milk, says Debra Jaliman, MD, dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist ($9, amazon.com).

Read more: 20 Things You Should Throw Away for Better Health

You have a runny nose

When you have a cold, the worst symptom might be a nose that just won’t stop running. Aside from taking a steamy shower, Slayton suggests drinking warm tea—it may not slow down the drip, but a soothing tea will make you feel better.

Best foods: Try Wakaya ginger tea, suggests Slayton. Ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help clear up a cold faster than just waiting it out. “Apple cider and lemon in water works well, too,” she says.

Worst foods: Spicy foods can cause an immediate runny nose (which then turns into congestion), as may alcohol.

You’re stuffed up

A cold, flu or sinus infection can irritate and inflame blood vessels in your nose, making it hard to breathe. Aside from inhaling steam from a hot shower or using a humidifier, if you’re stopped up due to mucous, some foods can help.

Best foods: Slayton recommends “golden milk,” which includes turmeric, a spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Place 2 cups of coconut or almond milk in a saucepan with 1 tsp dried turmeric, 1 tsp dried ginger, a dash of black pepper and honey to taste. Bring to a simmer, allow to sit for 10 minutes and serve warm.

Worst foods: Skip dairy, spicy foods, and sugar, all of which can aggravate symptoms, says Slayton.

Read more: 13 Ways Inflammation Messes With Your Health

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser