ABC - Health News
Subscribe To This Feed

noipornpan/iStock(NEW YORK) -- How is a man supposed to act? What is masculinity and when does it become toxic? And how should psychologists approach the concept of masculinity when seeing patients?

These are questions an increasing number of psychologists must consider as dialogue around toxic masculinity, sexual abuse and harassment and the #MeToo movement continues across the country.

Most recently, an ad for the razor company Gillette prompted many men to throw away their Gillette products in a defensive protest. The ad asked men to be better, to stand against toxic masculinity and stop excusing sexual harassment, bullying and fighting as “boys will be boys.”

The ad was released just days after the American Psychological Association (APA) published new guidelines that are meant to help mental health professionals with treating boys and men. They are the latest in a series of guideline updates from the APA dating back to the 1960s, and were not a direct response to the #MeToo movement.

Although the guidelines aren’t intended for the general public, they generated their own controversy after an accompanying APA article said that “traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful.”

In a tweet linking back to the article, the APA added that these claims were supported by “more than 40 years of research showing that traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful and that socializing boys to suppress their emotions causes damage.”

ABC News spoke to Ryan McKelley, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin and president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity, the division of the APA that published the guidelines. Here's what he had to say about them:

The guidelines are not 'anti-masculinity.' The APA's view is more nuanced.

McKelley said that the APA’s tweet was viewed as a definitive stance against masculinity, when the APA actually sees masculinity as multifaceted.

“Unfortunately, when the guidelines came out, the tweet said something about traditional masculinity being harmful, and what we saw was that people latched onto that. ... It got out of hand,” he said.

Leadership abilities, confidence, assertiveness and courage. These are all aspects of traditional masculinity that are positive, healthy and pro-social in most circumstances, McKelley said. However, he also said that when these qualities are taken to their extremes -- like many other behaviors and attitudes -- they can cause problems.

Men should also be able to express their emotions more freely, he added. Those who aren’t able to might find themselves acting out harmfully.

“Rigid emotional inexpression, a rigid belief that aggression and violence are ways to solve problems or a rigid belief that you can’t show weakness or ask for help. The men and boys who adhere to these extreme stereotypical attitudes are the ones at most risk for physical, psychological and social problems,” McKelley said.

He emphasized that masculinity isn’t under attack, but also said that “in a perfect world, we wouldn’t describe traits as belonging to one gender or another, because all of these things...all humans experience [them].”

The controversy distracts from real medical and mental health challenges that boys and men face.

Men are more likely to die from cancer and cardiovascular disease than women are, and it’s likely because they aren’t seeing doctors for preventive screenings as much as women, McKelley said, noting that this could be because they are taught to appear strong and that they shouldn’t ask for help when a problem comes their way.

That same train of thought -- in which men suppress their needs and emotions -- might also contribute to the higher rates of suicide among men when compared to women in the U.S.

“That is a public health problem. Men are less likely to seek help along the way or earlier on in the process, so it becomes the last, final resort of overwhelming emotional pain,” McKelley said.

Additionally, more men are perpetrators of violence than women and men are more likely to die by murder than women, McKelley said.

“If some boys and men are socialized to respond to conflicts or extreme emotional stress by reacting with aggression and violence, that puts themselves and others at risk,” he said.

The guidelines are intended to help clinicians adapt to a variety of issues and needs in men.

They are designed to help psychologists think about men in more complex ways and talk to their clients about things they might not have been trained in or thought about before, McKelley said.

“It’s important to recognize that certain masculine traits can be helpful in some situations, but harmful in others," he said. "For example, stoicism and a tough demeanor might help someone who is in a crisis situation, like a first responder… But those same qualities can destroy a romantic relationship. We are encouraging psychologists to think about how to support men in more adaptive ways.”

Like all humans, men are complex. The guidelines, McKelley said, recognize that there are both men who have high amounts of privilege and men who are struggling, men who are overworked and men who experience consistent racial discrimination, bias and oppression.

The guidelines offer psychologists ways to “understand that complexity and open traditional conversation, or ways to think about some of the problems that men and boys face,” he said.

Many men, for example, might not realize that they have depression because of societal expectations to not talk about their feelings.

"If a man comes into my office and says, 'I don't feel right,' and he doesn't look like a classic clinical representation of depression… If I don't pay attention to other ways he might be experiencing distress, such as overworking, substance use, or irritability, I could miss the depression," McKelley said. "The guidelines say, 'If you've got a male client, here are some things to consider.'"

Although the guidelines are for psychologists, there are other organizations working to help men directly.

The Men's Story Project, founded by public health researcher and educator Jocelyn Lehrer, is an organization that uses storytelling and community dialogue to explore ideas around masculinity.

Lehrer told ABC News that she started the organization because she felt that many of society's problems, such as violence, bullying and sexual health, were being impacted by the ways that boys and men are taught about masculinity.

After meeting many boys who had been negatively affected by toxic masculinity -- both as the aggressors and as the victims -- she told ABC News that “people have to realize, they’re not alone.”

The Men’s Story Project allows men to share their personal stories with each other and live audiences and then have a group discussion about them. Representatives in the audience are also available to connect people with resources that pertain to the topics discussed.

"Masculinity is a socially made construct. People tend to learn attitudes and behaviors from peers and role models,” Lehrer said, and her organization offers opportunities for men and boys to do that.

Her organization gives men and boys the opportunity to meet role models who can teach them new ways to cope with their emotions, and she said that since she started the Men’s Story Project in 2008, many other groups have popped up across the U.S. and the world. They are making a positive impact.

One participant at the Men’s Story Project, for example, told Lehrer that the project had made him realize he wasn’t the only man having trouble understanding his masculinity. Another one told her about how he learned that “being a man” doesn’t have to be defined in any specific way.

“I learned more about gender identity and how fluid that can be,” he said, “and I learned more about what it means to be a man, and not the type of man that society has created.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Kardashian family is known for their famous curves and there are plenty of fans who want to achieve similar looks.

So when Khloé Kardashian shared some "booty" secrets on her former blog -- crediting kettlebell weights, a boss balance trainer and The DB Method Machine for her figure -- ABC News had to investigate.

The DB Method Machine is "a booty sculptor that you can easily fold up and store out of sight??? Yassss, please!” she wrote enthusiastically to her followers.

What is The DB Method?

The DB Method is a machine that "sets the body in the correct form to do the perfect modified squat," according to the company's website.

Squats are a standard workout move that targets the glutes. The company says the device's "patented design is revolutionary because it shifts your body's center of gravity, setting your body in the correct position to activate and effectively target the primary muscle of the glutes — the gluteus maximus, the muscle responsible for a toned, tight and lifted butt."

Founder Erika Rayman told ABC News' Good Morning America that she came up with the idea for The DB Method after working with a trainer to target her glutes. Realizing there wasn’t an at-home machine for it, she said she "decided to invent it" herself.

Rayman said she designed it to build “toned legs, a lifted rounder booty and a flatter stomach.”

The DB Method can also give you a full body workout, she explained: "Not only is it a squat machine to get your dream butt, but you can use the machine to work your arms, your abs, your obliques, your chest, it’s a full body workout machine in your living room."

With just 10 minutes a day for 30 days, Rayman said you should be able to see noticeable results.

GMA Day producer Dani Kipp tried out the DB Method for 30 days.

She said she "definitely noticed a difference" and she plans to keep using the machine.

Despite Dani's results, personal trainer Mark Langowski, CEO of Body by Mark Wellness, told GMA that you can achieve similar results without buying a machine like this, which costs $299.

"It is absolutely 100 percent possible to get a great booty without the use of machines like this one," Langowski told GMA.

Langowski said squats, lunges and deadlifts will also build the muscles in your lower body. And if you want to imitate the position that the machine puts your body in, hold onto something that's fixed into place.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

zeljkosantrac/iStock(NEW YORK) -- As anyone who has ever worked in a fast food -- or any -- restaurant can tell you, the smell of unhealthy food can put you off the stuff.

Scientists have now confirmed that a great way to fight your craving for fries, pizza and other junk food is to be exposed to the smell of the stuff for a few minutes.

The study, conducted by scientists at the University of Florida and published in the Journal of Marketing Research, used a series of experiments where people of various ages were exposed to the smell of junk food -- specifically, pizza and cookies -- or alternatively, healthy foods, like strawberries and apples.

Some of the test subjects were students, and the scents were piped in through a cafeteria. Other subjects were in a supermarket.

In every case, the test subjects that got a whiff of the junk food made better choices when it came to buying food. Those who smelled the healthier stuff craved the guilty pleasures.

The findings were backed up by the same experiments conducted in a lab.  

"Ambient scent can be a powerful tool to resist cravings for indulgent foods," says lead author Dipayan Biswas, in a release. "In fact, subtle sensory stimuli like scents can be more effective in influencing children’s and adults’ food choices than restrictive policies" -- like diets or mandated healthy school lunches.

The study's authors added, "In essence, if reward structures and areas representing craving in the brain can be satisfied with olfactory inputs instead of actual gustatory consumption of unhealthy foods, this can help with fighting food urges."

In other words, if you're hungry at 3 a.m., instead of ordering pizza, try standing outside a Domino's and just inhaling for five minutes.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Pixel_away/iStock(SADDLE BROOK, N.J.) -- Two patients from a New Jersey surgical center have tested positive for hepatitis, their attorney said Thursday.

The HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook warned thousands of patients last month about potential exposure to dangerous infections after what it called a “lapse in infection control.”

Attorney Michael Maggiano said one of his clients is a patient who tested positive for hepatitis A and the other client is a patient who tested positive for hepatitis B. Both are a blood-borne diseases that can cause serious liver damage if left untreated. Neither strain is immediately deadly but can lead to rare, delayed health consequences.

"All of these people are suffering shame, embarrassment, humiliation, given the news they received over the holidays," Maggiano said at a news conference.

The infections may have come from the lapse in infection control. There are medical laboratory tests that can be done to help indicate whether an infection is more recently acquired or present for a longer time.

There are now at least three patients that have indicated they contracted hepatitis at the facility and that their attorneys were preparing lawsuits, though according to a statement on Thursday from a Healthplus spokesman, “No reported infection is attributable to an exposure at HealthPlus that we know of.”

More than 3,000 patients who underwent a procedure at the HealthPlus center between January and September of 2018 may have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis, the New Jersey Department of Health said last month. Officials urged them to get a blood test. Most of the 3,778 patients possibly exposed are from New York and New Jersey.

Maggiano filed a lawsuit against HealthPlus alleging negligent care but said he has not yet received a response. There are other lawsuits pending in different jurisdictions.

The HealthPlus Surgery Center did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Remains/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has named people who oppose vaccination among the top 10 "threats to global health" this year.

"Vaccine hesitancy -- the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines -- threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases," such as measles, polio and cervical cancer, the WHO, the global public health arm of the United Nations, said in a list released this week.

"Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease," the WHO said. "It currently prevents 2 to 3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved."

Vaccine hesitancy is a complex global issue; but complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines and lack of confidence are the key underlying reasons, according to a vaccines advisory group to the WHO.

An estimated 100,000 young children have not been vaccinated against any of the 14 potentially serious diseases for which vaccines are recommended, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in October. Although most children are routinely vaccinated, the number of children who have received no vaccines by age 2 has been gradually increasing.

The WHO has vowed to ramp up work this year to eliminate cervical cancer worldwide by increasing coverage of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. The agency said 2019 may also be the year when transmission of wild poliovirus stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are two of only three countries in the world where the highly infectious disease remains endemic and which have come agonizingly close to zero cases.

Meanwhile, polio has been eradicated in the United States since 1979 due to widespread vaccination nationwide, according to the CDC.

The WHO also deemed air pollution and climate change another top threat to global health this year. Nine out of 10 people breathe polluted air every day, according to the agency, which said it considers air pollution "the greatest environmental risk to health" in 2019.

Microscopic pollutants in the air can penetrate the lungs and enter the blood stream, damaging the lungs, heart and brain. An estimated 7 million people die prematurely each year due to exposure to these fine particles in polluted air that lead to diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease and lung disease, according to the WHO.

"Around 90 percent of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries, with high volumes of emissions from industry, transport and agriculture, as well as dirty cookstoves and fuels in homes," the agency said.

The main cause of air pollution -- the burning of fossil fuels -- is also a major factor in climate change, which is detrimental to people's health as well.

"Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress," the WHO said.

Ebola virus disease, which causes an often-fatal type of hemorrhagic fever, was also on the WHO's list of 10 threats to global health in 2019.

The Democratic Republic of Congo saw two separate Ebola outbreaks last year that both spread to major cities. The second outbreak began in August in the eastern part of the nation, just a week after one in the country's west was declared over.

The latest outbreak is ongoing and has become the second-largest, second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. One of the outbreak's hot spots where people are infected is in an active conflict zone.

"This shows that the context in which an epidemic of a high-threat pathogen like Ebola erupts is critical," the WHO said. "What happened in rural outbreaks in the past doesn’t always apply to densely populated urban areas or conflict-affected areas."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Rawpixel/iStock(NEW YORK) -- This year, Good Morning America is bringing you the exclusive Indie Beauty Expo's "Best in Show" 2018 winners.

Indie Beauty Expo was founded by celebrity esthetician Jillian Wright and entrepreneur Nader Naeymi-Rad in 2015 to "recognize, showcase and celebrate independent beauty brands and to support the growth and success of the entrepreneurs behind them." The expo started in New York and has since been expanded to Los Angeles, Dallas and London.

Wright told GMA her goal is to get, "better made beauty into the hands of more people at all different price points."

She also hopes the expos are a place to, "educate people on how they can upgrade their skin care and body routine without necessarily breaking the bank."

More than 280 brands and 350 products were nominated for the 30 categories, from best moisturizer to best clean ingredient brand.

The nominees were selected from those exhibited at the 2018 Indie Beauty Expo shows in Los Angeles, Dallas, New York or London.

According to the Indie Beauty Media Group, a panel of professional beauty experts evaluated the products based on, "functionality, efficacy, texture, durability, packaging, scent, ingredients, performance, design and social responsibility."

For more information on these winning products and where to purchase the full collection made up of more that $1,000 worth of products, visit Indie Beauty Expo.


Winner: Level Naturals
Vanilla Activated Charcoal Bar Soap

Price: $8

Soothe your soul with the sweet and smoky sensation of warm vanilla and a deep cleanse of dark charcoal. Pure plant oils and extracts help to relax the senses while detoxing the body.

Nominees: Ari Rose™, Brother’s Artisan Oil, Cosmydor, Indie Goat Soap, The Seaweed Bath Company, Vervan, Woodlot


Winner: HoneyBelle

Nominees: Enfusia, Holistic Hemp Company, Kanya Life, Laki Naturals, Level Naturals, Magic Organic Apothecary, Makana, Olverum, Shea Terra Organics, The Seaweed Bath Company, Verdant Alchemy


Winner: Restorsea
Retexturizing Body Butter

Price: $120

Specially formulated to provide instant relief and comfort as well as intense, long-lasting nourishment to the most dehydrated areas of the body such as feet, elbows and knees.

Nominees: Ayuna, Basd Bodycare, Ellie Bianca, Kanya Life, Kreyol Essence, Mademoiselle Provence, Max and Me, Olive M, OSEA Malibu, Pistache


Winner: SpaRitual
Instinctual Sand Scrub

Price: $49

Harnessing the rejuvenating powers of Bora Bora White Sand and Volcanic Black Sand, the scrub effectively exfoliates skin, while a blend of organic Moroccan Argan Oil and Coconut Oil deliver a veil of essential moisture.

Nominees: Evolve Beauty, First Salt After Rain, Fytt Beauty, Laki Naturals, Sumbody, True Wild Botanics, Visha


Winner: Province Apothecary

Nominees: Au Naturale Cosmetics, Ayuna, Blüh Alchemy, Brother’s Artisan Oil, Ere Perez, Ethique, Fitglow Beauty, Innersense Organic,Beauty, Kaibae, Kanai, Max and Me, Pangea Organics, Shaffali, Shea Terra Organics, Tracie Martyn, YuYo Botantics


Winner: Ere Perez
Beetroot Cheek & Lip Tint

Price: $25

A vegan lip and cheek tint that adds a natural pop of color to your complexion.

Nominees: Ellis Faas, Fitglow Beauty, Gabriel Cosmetics, Hue Noir, Jane Iredale, Jet Cosmetics, RealHer, Rouge Bunny Rouge, Saint Cosmetics, Sarya, STARE Cosmetics, The Organic Skin Co


Winner: Brother’s Artisan Oil
Artisan Oil Deodorant

Price: $24

Be confident in every hot circumstance with Brothers Artisan Oil Deodorant in Jasmine & Geranium. Made with natural ingredients that truly work.

Nominees: Black Chicken Remedies, Cleo & Coco, EiR NYC, Ethique, Everyday for Everybody, Evolve Beauty, FatCo, Honestly Phresh, Kanai, LaVigne Natural Skincare, Little Moon Essentials, Smarty Pits, Sumbody, Type A, WAY OF WILL, Zatik


Winner: Elate
Elate Cosmetics Essential Mascara

Price: $28

Whether it’s a long day at the office, an afternoon of downward dog, or a night out dancing, this is the only mascara you’ll ever need.

Nominees: Able, Au Naturale Cosmetics, Clove Hallow, Ere Perez, Fitglow, Jane Iredale, RealHer, Saint Cosmetics, Sarya


Winner: Beauty By Earth

Nominees: Anjali MD, Blüh Alchemy, Circ cell, Herbal Dynamics Beauty, Jenetiqa, Olive M, Restorsea, Zatik


Winner: Apoem

Nominees: Aveseena, Cocoon Apothecary, Evolve Beauty, Herbal Dynamics Beauty, Lovinah, O’o Hawaii, Pangea Organics, Ranavat Botanics, Shaffali, Shunly, SpaScriptions, taila, Terra Beauty Bars


Winner: Crave Skincare, Code of Harmony

Nominees: Alder New York, Amaranthum, Bryt Skincare, Coco Ensoleille, Emma Hardie, FREEDOM Naturals, Moss Skincare, O’o Hawaii, Sahara, Rose, Scändic, Shunly, SkinKick, Snow Fox


Winner: Restorsea

Nominees: Amaranthum, AveSeena, Cannabliss Organic, Dr. Macrene 37 Actives Skin Results, Ethique, Herin, OSEA Malibu, Primal Dermam, Skin Dewi, Snow Fox, Venn


Winner: O’o Hawaii
Bird Seed Detoxifying Face Scrub

Price: $95

As the Hawaiian O'o bird would forage for wild seeds, fruits and exotic nuts, our Birdseed Detoxifying Face Scrub features a foraged collection of Hawaiian nutrients that have been formulated into exfoliation magic.

Nominees: Awake Organics, Aavrani, Blüh Alchemy, Kanai, Krisana Vigus, LANATURALE COSMETICS, Pure Nut, Seaweed Bath Company, Shaffali, SkinKick


Winner: Dr. Macrene 37 Actives Skin Results

Nominees: Aveseena, Black Chicken Remedies, Blüh Alchemy, Carter and Jane, Code of Harmony, Dr. Wang Herbal Skincare, Everyday for, Everybody, Immunocologie, Le Prunier, Naya, Skin Authority, Skin Dewi, Sunia K., The Sunscreen Company, Undefined Beauty


Winner: Way of Will

Nominees: Balade en Provence, IYOU, Parodi, Sparitual


Winner: Flora Remedia

Nominees: 18.21 Manmade, LUA Skincare, Raw Chemistry, Raw Spirit, The LyfeStyle Company, The Sage LifeStyle, Villa of the Mysteries, Zodica


Winner: Sweat Cosmetics
Skin-Balancing Cleansing Towelettes

Price: $20

Cleanse and balance your skin on the go with these vitamin and mineral-enriched towelettes from Sweat Cosmetics.

Nominees: Alka Glam, Ducalm, EiR NYC, Hum Nutrition, Jane Iredale, Ogee, Olika, SPHYNX, Yuni Beauty


Winner: Eleni and Chris

Nominees: 18.21 Manmade, ECRU, From Molly With Love, Groh, Copperhed, ikoo, Innersense Organic Beauty, LaVigne Natural Skincare, Loba, Mane, Spoolies, TruHair, Velvette Organics


Winner: Elvis & Elvin

Nominees: Balade en Provence, EssenHerb, Gallinee, Karite, Lifetherapy, Mademoiselle Provence, Marin Bee, Parodi, Vervan, Yuni Beauty


Winner: Olika
Birdie Boy Band

Price: $24.99

Birdie’s function is to help you stay clean. He is 3 inches tall and 2 inches wide. Birdie contains two level of cleaning power: a spray and wipes. Birdie is TSA friendly containing 20 mL of sanitizing liquid.

Nominees: Beauty Steep, Flickable Lip Glosses, Glamcor, Indaia, Kiss Your Cravings Goodbye, Make Up Eraser, My Magic Mud, Petitie Amie, PMD Beauty, Prana SpaCeuticals, SPHYNX, The Good Patch, The Mighty Patch, The Vanity Project


Winner: Hum Nutrition
Daily Cleanse

Price: $25

Helps clear your skin & body from toxins. Cleanses your skin, liver, bowel, kidneys and lungs.

Nominees: Hair Detox, Holistic Hemp Company, La Sirène (Marine Collagen), Ora Organic, SkinTe, The Tonik, Vital Proteins, FiTONIC


Winner: Ogee
Ogee Sculpted Tinted Lip Oil

Price: $26

A silky, solid blend of organic cold-pressed Jojoba Oil and Butters that melt instantly onto lips to moisturize and nourish, with an emollient layer of beauty-enhancing, buildable natural color.

Nominees: Au Naturale Cosmetics, Axiology, CLE, CLOVE HALLOW, ECRU, Fitglow Beauty, Hickey Lipsticks, Impromptu, Luk Beautifoods, Muskaan, Nude Envie, RealHer, Saint Cosmetics, STARE Cosmetics, The Organic Skin Co.


Winner: Big Boy
Big Boy Beard Balm

Price: $30

The highest quality Beard Balm handcrafted in Sicily, in an Artisan Lab near Palermo.

Nominees: 18.21 Manmade, AndMetics, Brayden, Brother’s Artisan Oil, Groh, Hair Detox, Malechemy, Raw Chemistry, Vitruvian Man, Way of Will


Winner: SpaRitual
Nail Lacquer

Price: $12

SpaRitual Nail Lacquer gives your nails a classic appearance with long-wear.

Nominees: Dermalect Cosmeceuticals, Gloss Naturals, *hype nail, Karma Organic Spa, Piggy Paint, Sara Elizabeth


Winner: Alka-White Mouthwash LLC.
Alka-White Alkaline Mouthwash Tablet

Price: $19.99

Rinsing and brushing with the portable effervescent tablets increases salivary pH to create an alkaline oral environment, which strengthens enamel, freshens breath, and makes teeth less sensitive.

Nominees: Black Chicken Remedies, First Salt After Rain, My Magic Mud, Pursonic, Terra Beauty Bars, The Vanity Project, VIP Smiles Dentistry


Winner: Girl Undiscovered
Stumbled Across Paradise Face Mask

Price: $45

Our velvety, energizing exfoliant mask has been formulated to leave your skin blissfully radiant and renewed.

Nominees: Alder New York, Arôms Natur Skincare, Cannabliss Organic, Everyday for Everybody, Flora Remedia, O’o Hawaii, Olika, The Sage, LifeStyle, Zodica


Winner: Groh

Nominees: ECRU, Eleni and Chris, Elvis Elvin, Ethique, Innersense Organic Beauty, Lena Japon, Loba Mane, Marinella, Ola Tropical, Apothecary, Sumbody


Winner: When

Nominees: AVARELLE, Bawdy, Bio Republic, Eleni and Chris, Elvis & Elvin, Florapy Beauty, FROWNIES, IYOU, Kaibae, KNESKO, Knours, MidFlower, Milu, Petite Amie, Snow Fox


Winner: Prep Cosmetics

Nominees: Beauty By Earth, DNARenewal, EiR NYC, Everyday for Everybody, KlenSkin, Love Sun Body, Moss Skincare, New Heights Naturals, Prana SpaCeuticals, Sara Elizabeth, UnSun, Zatik


Winner: Sahajan

Nominees: Adsorb, Cannabliss Organic, IYOU, Kreyol Essence, Lavigne, Lovinah, Magic Organic Apothecary, Naya, Pili Ani, Restorsea, Science Serum, Temana Skincare, Venn, Zaman Skincare

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

PeopleImages/iStock(NEW YORK) -- At a time when more than six million people in the U.S. have had the flu so far this season, ABC News' Good Morning America explored some apps that can help keep you and your family informed and healthy this winter.

Of course, always remember to consult your doctor if you're feeling sick and to read the fine print when downloading any app.


Smart thermometers have been increasing in popularity in recent years, and Kinsa is one of many currently available on the market. You have to buy one of their thermometers for $20 (it's available on places like Amazon or Walmart), but you can download the Kinsa app for free.

The app lets you build a profile for you and your family, and it allows you to track their symptoms if they're not feeling well.

You can also plug in symptoms such as cough, earache or fatigue, and it can tell you steps you can be taking to feel better.

The app is especially helpful for parents because you can plug in children's symptoms and it can offer guidance based on their age. For example, it can tell you when you should consult a doctor and give you guidance on how to soothe children's symptoms. A fever for a 1-year-old means something very different than a fever for a 10-year-old, so this app can help give your child the care they need.

Good Rx

If you're not feeling well that might mean you need to go pick up a prescription, and according to one recent study, prescription drug prices are rising faster than inflation rates in the U.S.

Good Rx is an app that can help you save money by finding the cheapest options out there for the drugs you need.

For example, the app can help you find a generic version of common drugs such as Tamiflu, possibly saving you more than $100.

The app is free to download.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

South_agency/iStock(NEW YORK) -- On Monday, police in Mankato, Minnesota, responded to a report of a 2-year-old who was found in the middle of the road and still strapped to a car seat. The child, who was uninjured, was properly fastened to the car seat, but the car seat was not properly installed inside the vehicle, the city said.

Placing a child in a car seat correctly can help decrease the risk of death or serious injury by more than 70 percent, according to nonprofit child safety organization Safe Kids Worldwide and the American Academy of Pediatrics. But installing the car seat properly is equally as important as safely strapping a child in, according to Lorrie Walker, a technical adviser at Safe Kids.

"It's the whole package," Walker told ABC News' Good Morning America. "It's just as important to have the car seat installed correctly in the car as it is to have your child placed and harnessed into the car seat correctly. They work together."

Here are the car seat checkup tips to ensure your child is properly protected, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

Ensure your child's car seat is facing the right direction

In 2018, the AAP issued new car seat safety guidelines encouraging parents to keep their children's car seats in the rear-facing position until they have reached the manufacturer's height or weight limits in order to protect their developing heads, necks and spines in the event of a crash. Previous guidance for rear-facing car seats was age 2.

When a child has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car seat, the child should then use a forward-facing seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.

Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, lead author of the AAP policy statement and chair of the AAP council on injury, violence and poison prevention, said that car seat manufacturers now produce seats that allow children to remain rear-facing until they weigh 40 pounds or more, "which means most children can remain rear-facing past their second birthday."

When a child's whose weight or height is greater than the forward-facing limit for their car seat, parents should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, "typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are 8 through 12 years of age," according to the AAP.

Children should remain in rear seats until the age of 13, the AAP added.

Use LATCH or a seat belt to secure a car seat inside a vehicle

LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) is an attachment system that can be used instead of the seat belt to install a car seat. LATCH can be found in nearly all car seats and passenger vehicles made on or after Sept. 1, 2002.

Parents may use LATCH or a seat belt, but Walker said to choose "one or the other" and remember to take your time.

"They're both equally safe, but sometimes you find when you do the installation [one over the other] has a tighter, better fit," she added. "That's the one to go with if it works for your car, car seat and child."

Properly installing the seat

The reality is, and Hoffman agrees, installing a car seat isn't the easiest task.

"We know that over three-quarters of car safety seats are installed with critical errors that may impact the way the car seat works and lead to increased risk of injury for children," Hoffamn told GMA Wednesday. "We know that over 95 percent of families leaving hospitals with newborns also make serious mistakes. This is not the family’s fault, as I said, car seats are hard."

To use LATCH, the AAP advises fastening the lower anchor connectors to lower anchors located in between where the back seat cushions meet. All lower anchors are rated for a maximum weight of 65 pounds, or the total weight of the car seat and child. As always, check the car seat manufacturer's recommendations or car seat label for the maximum weight a child can be to use lower anchors.

Following your car seat's instructions, pull LATCH strap tightly, applying a significant amount of weight into the seat. The same should be done if using a seat belt.

The top tether from the car seat improves safety provided by the seat, the AAP says. Use the tether for all forward-facing seats and check your vehicle owner's manual for the location of tether anchors.

Always follow both the car seat and vehicle manufacturer instructions, including weight limits, for lower anchors and tethers. Weight limits are different for different car seats and different vehicles.

After the car seat is installed, it should not move more than an inch side to side, or front to back. If the car seat shifts, it's not tight enough.

"We want the car to do most of the work in terms of absorbing all of the force in a crash," Hoffman said. "A loose car safety seat will transfer more of that energy to the child, and the risk for injury will go up."

"Each seat in each vehicle are a little different, and there are tricks that can be learned to achieve a tight installation regardless," Hoffman added. "One check that I will often use is to put my knees on the seat and press it into the cushion as I’m tightening either the vehicle seat belt or the lower anchors."

If you install the car seat using the vehicle's seat belt, make sure the seat belt locks to keep a tight fit. Check your vehicle owner's manual and car seat instructions to ensure you are using the seat belt correctly.

On their website, Safe Kids Worldwide offers an ultimate car seat safety guide complete with car seat buying tips, safe installation tips and more. All the information is based on your child's age and weight.

Strapping in your precious cargo

While buckling your child into their car seat, test that the harness is snug enough where you cannot pinch any slack between your fingers and the harness straps over your child's shoulders.

The harness chest clip should be placed at the center of the chest and even with your child's armpits.

The fire station myth

Walker said many parents may have heard the rumor that every fire station knows how to properly install a car seat into a vehicle, but that's not always the case.

Walker said it's important to ask each facility if they have Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) who are certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to properly install a car seat. Certified technicians can sometimes be found at fire stations, hospitals, GM dealers, police stations or Safe Kids events, according to Walker.

Know your car seat's history

Both Walker and the AAP say not to use a car seat if you don't know its history.

Walker said that when a car seat has been involved in any sort of crash or collision, it needs to be replaced to ensure it'll meet all safety standards.

"Do not use a car seat that has been in a crash, has been recalled, is too old (check the expiration date or use 6 years from date of manufacture if there is no expiration date), has any cracks in its frame or is missing parts," the AAP states on its website.

You can find out if your car seat has been recalled by calling the manufacturer or the NHTSA vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or by going to the NHTSA website at

Read more about the AAP's car safety guidelines for children here.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Cn0ra/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A few weeks into January can be a time New Year's resolutions starts to die.

People are no longer saying "happy New Year," the reality of being back at work and school has sunk in and it's easier to grab a glass of wine than go to the gym or write in your journal.

If you find yourself in that grind, there are four things you can do to reset your 2019, according to Dana Cavalea, author of Habits of a Champion.

Cavalea trained some of the world's top athletes, including Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera, in the 12 years he spent as the New York Yankees' performance coach.

He learned goal-setting from the very best, including that you don't have to make it complicated.

Here, in his own words, are Cavalea's four tips to make 2019 your best year yet:

Tip #1: Connect your goal to something bigger

Resolutions almost never work without a true commitment to something greater than vanity goals like making X more money or losing that 10 to 20 pounds you most desire.

You must create links and associations to those goals you desire.

Meaning: I am sluggish and tired most days. I am tired of being sluggish and tired since I know it is costing me my raise at work, the desire to exercise and get fit and the energy to play with my children.

So, if I start eating well, exercising even 20 minutes each day and drinking more water, I will then not be sluggish and tired most days.

This translates consciously and subconsciously, too: By taking care of myself each day, I will have more energy, and as a result, I will work harder, be more productive, feel healthier, get that raise and lose that stubborn 20 pounds.

Just saying you want to lose weight or make more money and not connecting it to anything bigger never works. You must always link your goal to something bigger than just you.

Tip #2: Focus on one goal

We can only focus on one goal and one to two actions at a time max.

For example, say your singular health goal is, "I want to lose 10 pounds over the next 90 days."

Action one is, "I am going to do cardiovascular exercise Monday through Friday for 20 to 30 minutes before work."

Action two is, "Monday through Friday, I will not eat starch and sugar-based carbohydrates like bread, muffins and baked treats."

After 90 days, you will continue doing what you have been doing for your physical health goal, and use the same process again to work on your next set of goals (possibly career, business, family, relationships or faith).

Tip #3: Start with a health goal

I always believe in starting with health goals because if you feel better and look better, you will have the energy and excitement to do more. You will feel so energized and proud of yourself that you will be ready to take on the next set of goals.

Remember, nothing happens over night. Stay patient. The results will showcase themselves with consistent behaviors.

Tip #4: Remember these 4 steps

These are the steps that will take you places you have been dreaming of:

1. Plan for success by determining what it is you most desire and creating clear associations and action steps.

2. Schedule your daily actions (similar to the above example where Monday to Friday you will do your morning cardio and stay starch and sugar free).

3. Do it. Take action on those action steps daily. Do not miss your scheduled action. If something comes up and you have to miss it, make up for it on the weekend. Without consistent action, you will never form the habits you need to become a true goal-setting, resolution achieving champion.

4. Celebrate it. Not just the big victory, but each day that you take action. We love rewards. For many of use, just telling ourselves we did a great job and stuck with the plan is enough. We have to be our biggest fan. Celebrate the process, since the process gets us closer each day to our desired outcomes.

Apply the steps above, along with patience and daily celebration, and you will be surprised how exciting it is to win 2019.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

WoodysPhotos/iStock(NEW YORK) -- New court documents from the Massachusetts attorney general claims to offer proof that the family that owns the company that makes the powerful opioid drug OxyContin was behind years of efforts to deceive doctors and patients about the safety of the drug and increase profits.

The Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, the company that makes OxyContin, “made the choices that caused much of the opioid epidemic,” according to a court document filed by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

The Sacklers “directed deceptive sales and marketing practices” at Purdue Pharma for more than a decade and “are responsible for addiction, overdose and death that damaged millions of lives,” the documents say.

Purdue Pharma did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

However, in a broader statement, it called the accusations “biased and inaccurate characterizations” of the company and its executives, and said that it would “aggressively defend against these misleading allegations."

“In a rush to vilify a single manufacturer whose medicines represent less than two percent of opioid pain prescriptions rather than doing the hard work of trying to solve a complex public health crisis, the complaint distorts critical facts and cynically conflates prescription opioid medications with illegal heroin and fentanyl,” the company said.

More than 11,000 people in Massachusetts died from opioid-related overdoses in the past decade, and over 100,000 people survived overdoses that were not fatal, “but still devastating,” the documents say, blaming Purdue and other drug companies. Nationally, opioid-related overdoses killed 72,000 people in 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Several executives at Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty in 2007 to misrepresenting the dangers of OxyContin but the Healey’s lawsuit directly implicates members of the Sackler family. The Sacklers weren’t personally accused of any wrongdoing in that lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed in June last year but the newly filed documents quote Richard Sackler — the son of the company’s founder — boasting about a “blizzard of prescriptions” at an OxyContin launch party, despite warnings from a Food and Drug Administration official and the drug’s inventor about the need for controls.

“The prescription blizzard will be so deep, dense and white,” he said, according to the court documents.

Years later, evidence of the growing abuse of OxyContin began to surface, according to the lawsuit. A sales representative for Purdue told a reporter that they were directed to lie about the drug. Another sales rep pleaded with Richard Sackler after attending a community meeting at a local high school in January 2001, where mothers spoke out about their children who had overdosed. And a month after that plea, the documents say, a federal prosecutor reported 59 deaths related to OxyContin in a single state.

In response to the mounting evidence, Richard Sackler advised blaming the addicts.

“We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible,” the lawsuit quoted Sackler as writing in an email. “They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.”

From 2007 to 2018, the Sacklers doubled down on pushing for increasing sales, according to the documents, directing sales reps to visit the most “prolific prescribers” and to encourage them to prescribe more of the highest doses of the drug to gain the most profit. They also allegedly studied “unlawful tactics to keep patients on opioids longer.”

Richard Sackler even went into the field to promote the drug to doctors with sales reps, a level of micromanagement that led the vice president of sales and marketing to write to the CEO of Purdue.

“Anything you can do to reduce the direct contact of Richard into the organization is appreciated,” they wrote, according to the documents.

The attached court filing represents the first evidence presented by the attorney general to tie the Sackler family to Purdue Pharma’s campaign of deception. There is a hearing on Jan. 25 to eliminate the remaining redactions.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he believes everyone should have a right to health care.

"Let's face it, the emergency room is the family doctor now for millions and millions of Americans," de Blasio said in an interview on ABC's The View on Wednesday. "And tax dollars pay for it. It is expensive, it's backwards and it means people get really, really sick before they ever seek help."

That's why de Blasio said he unveiled a new health care program last week that would guarantee health care to all city residents, regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status.

The program will be called NYC Care, and will provide health care for an estimated 600,000 New Yorkers who currently don't have health insurance, including about 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers "who are our neighbors," de Blasio said.

"If they get sick, everyone gets sick. If the whole community isn't healthy, then we all suffer," de Blasio said. "That's the blunt reality of this country — undocumented immigrants are part of our economy."

Undocumented New Yorkers will receive a health care card and have access to a primary care doctor through the program, de Blasio said. Co-host Meghan McCain questioned how well NYC Care will work compared to flaws in federal-run health care programs, like the Veterans Administration's.

"We're closer to the ground and we're accountable to our own people," de Blasio said in response.

Eric Phillips, De Blasio's press secretary, tweeted that while the city already has a public option for health insurance in place, NYC Care will pay "for direct comprehensive care… for people who can’t afford it, or can't get comprehensive Medicaid."

Correct. NYC already has a public option. This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs) for people who can’t afford it, or can’t get comprehensive Medicaid - including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers.

— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) January 8, 2019

The program, which will begin this summer, is starting in the Bronx and will have a 24-hour hotline available. It's estimated to cost the city $100 million a year, but de Blasio said he thinks it will save the city money in the long run.

"Right now we're hemorrhaging money because we’re giving healthcare the backwards way," he said.

The mayor has also recently proposed legislation that would give two weeks of paid time off to all workers. If the City Council approves de Blasio's proposal, New York City would be the first U.S. city to require paid vacation.

De Blasio also touted the city's reduction in traffic fatalities last year to the lowest it's been since 1910, with the addition of miles of bike lanes throughout the city.

As announcements of presidential campaigns begin to ramp up, de Blasio has been eyed as a potential 2020 candidate.

When asked by co-host Sunny Hostin if he was running, de Blasio didn't rule out the possibility but said he's focused on his job.

"I'm mayor of New York City," de Blasio said. "That's what I'm focused on."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

anouchka/iStock(NEW YORK) -- New research suggests that people’s illusion of knowledge could be fueling the broader population’s opposition to genetically modified (GM) foods. “Extreme views often stem from people feeling they understand complex topics better than they do,” said Phil Fernbach, the lead author of the study, in a press release.

The study, titled “Extreme opponents of genetically modified foods know the least but think they know the most,” found that as a person’s opposition toward genetically modified (GM) foods became more extreme, their objective knowledge of the science and genetics dropped.

Fernbach called the results “perverse,” but said they were “consistent with previous research on the psychology of extremism.” GM foods are foods that have been genetically altered in a way that doesn’t occur naturally, according to the World Health Organization. By modifying these foods, they fulfill “some perceived advantage either to the producer or consumer… This is meant to translate into a product with a lower price, greater benefit (in terms of durability or nutritional value) or both.”

Some the most common foods to be genetically modified include soybeans (82 percent of global total crops), cotton (68 percent of global crops) and maize (30 percent of global crops). In the United States, more than 95 percent of food-producing animals consume GM feed.

WHO says each GM food and its safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and that it’s not possible to make a blanket statement on all GM foods. It also said that it’s confident in the products that end up in your supermarket.

“GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by general population in the countries where they have been approved,” according to the WHO website.

Despite the consensus among the scientific community that GM foods are safe, they have been met with tremendous opposition in the public eye. Since the introduction of GM foods in the 1990s, discussions surrounding the topic have been riddled with skepticism, misconceptions and concern. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, 37 percent of people said they believed eating GMOs was generally safe, while 57 percent said it was unsafe.

For the study, over 2,000 adults in Europe and the United States were surveyed on their opinions of GM foods by business and psychology researchers at the Leeds School of Business; the University of Colorado, Boulder; Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Toronto and the University of Pennsylvania. Over 90 percent of the survey respondents reported some level of opposition to GM foods.

Researchers then asked the participants how much they thought they knew about the subject and compared those results to an objective test so that they could determine how much they actually knew. The test asked them to say whether scientific statements, such as “all plants and animals have DNA,” were true or false. (The answer is true.) Their questions came from the National Science Foundation’s Science and Engineering Indicators Survey.

They found that many people did not know the answers, with those who thought they knew the most actually knowing the least. The complex nature of the subject lends itself great potential for misinformation, and prior attempts by the scientific community to bridge the gap in knowledge have largely been unsuccessful. The findings of this study shed light on a major barrier to achieving a consensus on the subject.

“Those with the strongest anti-consensus views are the most in need of education, but also the least likely to be receptive to learning; overconfidence about one’s knowledge is associated with decreased openness to new information,” the authors wrote. Because of the potential public health, agricultural and nutritional benefits GM foods offer, the scientific community is pushing to change people’s attitude toward GM food through education.

“Our findings suggest that changing people’s minds first requires them to appreciate what they don’t know,” said study co-author Nicholas Light, a Ph.D. candidate in marketing at Leeds School of Business, in the press release. “Without this first step, educational interventions might not work very well to bring people in line with the scientific consensus.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

UPMC Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh(PITTSBURGH) -- On Bodie Blodgett's last day in the neonatal intensive care unit at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, he was dressed in an adorable cap and gown for his graduation ceremony, celebrating his last day in the NICU.

Bodie was carried through the hallway of the hospital surrounded by his doctors, nurses and many others from the hospital staff as "Pomp and Circumstance" played.

"It was really special," Bodie's father, Todd Blodgett, told GMA. "We will look back on this day for many years to come."

The cleaning staff, different therapists, secretaries at the front desk and other hospital employees lined the hallways to join the celebration.

"We sometimes forget that the families who are at the bedside build relationships with not just the nurses, but also people around the hospital," Dr. Melissa Riley, associate medical director of the NICU at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, told GMA.

"Everybody there is kind and there for you," Bodie's mother Nicole Blodgett shared with GMA. "It feels like I left another family behind there. You can never have enough love for your child, so to have this was incredible."

The hospital's NICU has been hosting graduation ceremonies for the past six months as a celebration for the families and hospital staff that helped the babies who have been in the unit the longest.

"You see the tiny little baby who has such incredible resistance, but it might not have started that way," Riley said. "If you take all of the medical assistance and technology, all of those things add up to give you the healthiest, strongest baby."

Nicole shared that she felt "relieved" that in 60 days, Bodie went from not being able to breathe on his own to being able to be taken home.

"[The ceremony] felt bittersweet," she said. "I'm leaving my support team that kept him alive, but I can't wait to be home and be a mom to him."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

nehopelon/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The foods we should be eating -- fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats -- are well-known, but many don't realize that the timing of when you eat affects how you feel and how healthy you are too.

The idea that timing matters when it comes to food is the focus of a new book, What to Eat When, by Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, and Dr. Michael Crupain, chief of the medical unit at The Dr. Oz Show.

"Your circadian rhythm changes your metabolism throughout the day and it gets your body ready to eat the right thing at the right time," Crupian told ABC News' Good Morning America. "The job of your circadian rhythm is to get your body to do the right thing at the right time, so you want to align what you eat with when you eat it."

"Then you're really hacking your metabolism get better health, sleep better, to have more energy and to even help you lose more weight," he added.

Crupain and Rozin shared with GMA what they learned while writing the book, from how long to wait to eat between meals to why they like to eat dinner for breakfast. Watch the video below to learn more:

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Motortion/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest in history and the worst the country has ever seen.

At least 658 people have reported symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in the Central African nation's eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, which share borders with Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan. Among those cases, 609 have tested positive for Ebola virus disease, according to a daily bulletin from the country's health ministry on Tuesday night.

There have been 402 deaths thus far, including 353 people who died from confirmed cases of Ebola. The other deaths are from probable cases of Ebola.

"No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are currently experiencing," the country's health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said in a statement Nov. 9.

The rising number of cases in the ongoing epidemic has exceeded that of the 2000 outbreak in Uganda, making it second only to the 2014-2016 outbreak in multiple West African nations that infected more than 28,000 people, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The development comes six weeks after the World Health Organization (WHO), the global health arm of the United Nations, concluded the current outbreak does not yet meet the criteria for an international public health emergency -- a proclamation that would have mobilized more resources and garnered global attention.

Here is what you need to know about the deadly virus:

What is Ebola?

The Ebola virus is described as a group of viruses that cause a deadly kind of hemorrhagic fever. The term "hemorrhagic fever" means it causes bleeding inside and outside the body.

The virus has a long incubation period of approximately eight to 21 days. Early symptoms include fever, muscle weakness, sore throat and headaches.

As the disease progresses, the virus can impair kidney and liver function and lead to external and internal bleeding. It's one of the most deadly viruses on Earth with a fatality rate that can reach between approximately 50 to 90 percent. There is no cure.

The WHO has received approval to administer an experimental Ebola vaccine, using a "ring vaccination" approach, around the epicenter of the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some 37,000 people, including children as well as health and frontline workers, have been vaccinated in the outbreak zone since Aug. 8, according to the country's health ministry.

The vaccine, which was developed by American pharmaceutical company Merck, has proved effective against the country's previous outbreak in the western province of Equateur.

How is it transmitted?

The virus is transmitted through contact with blood or secretions from an infected person, either directly or through contaminated surfaces, needles or medical equipment. A patient is not contagious until they start showing signs of the disease.

Thankfully, the virus is not airborne, which means a person cannot get the disease simply by breathing the same air as an infected patient.

Where have people been infected?

In this current outbreak, people have been infected in North Kivu and Ituri, which are among the most populous provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and share borders with Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.

Those two provinces are awash with conflict and insecurity, particularly in the mineral-rich borderlands where militia activity has surged in the past year, all of which complicates the response to the outbreak. There is also misinformation and community mistrust of the medical response, partly due to the security situation, and some residents delay seeking care or avoid follow-up.

Ebola is endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is the 10th outbreak the country has seen since 1976, the year that scientists first identified the deadly virus in the small northern village Yambuku near the eponymous Ebola River.

This outbreak in the country's eastern region was announced on Aug. 1, just days after another outbreak in the western part of the country that killed 33 people (including 17 who had confirmed cases of Ebola) was declared over.

Where did the virus come from?

The dangerous virus gets its name from the Ebola River in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was near the site of one of the first outbreaks. The virus was first reported in 1976 in two almost simultaneous outbreaks in areas that are now South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreaks killed 151 and 280 people, respectively.

Certain bats living in tropical African forests are thought to be the natural hosts of the disease. The initial transmission of an outbreak usually results from a wild animal infecting a human, according to the WHO. Once the disease infects a person, it is easily transmissible between people in close contact.

An outbreak that began in the West African nation of Guinea in March 2014, and soon spread to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone, was the largest in history, infecting 28,652 people and causing 11,325 deaths. The outbreak, which the WHO deemed a public health emergency of international concern, was declared over in June 2016.

Who is at risk?

The virus is not airborne, which means those in close contact can be infected and are most at risk. A person sitting next to an infected person, even if they are contagious, is not extremely likely to be infected.

However, health workers and caregivers of the sick are particularly at risk because they work in close contact with infected patients during the final stages of the disease, when the virus can cause internal and external bleeding.

In the current outbreak alone, 55 health workers have been infected so far and at least 18 of them have died, according to the WHO.

There are also a high number of young children infected in the current outbreak. Children, who are at greater risk than adults of dying from Ebola, account for more than one-third of all the cases, while one in 10 Ebola patients is a child under the age of 5, according to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund.

"We are deeply concerned by the growing number of children confirmed to have contracted Ebola," Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF's regional director for West and Central Africa who returned this week from Beni, said in a Dec. 12 statement.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


On Air Now
Deb Michaels
Deb Michaels
6:00am - 10:00am
The Greatest Hits Of All Time

Brought To You By:

Alpena, Alcona Area Credit Union


HIT'S FM 103.3 & 94.9

Has all your School Closings, Delays,

Event Cancelations, Business Closings

and More!

Hits FM Facebook