Coronavirus: California Update After Second US Case Announced

Coronavirus: California Update After Second US Case Announced

In California, health screenings of incoming passengers at Los Angeles International and San Francisco International airports are underway.

As health officials around the world respond to the outbreak of the new — and potentially deadly — coronavirus, the California Department of Public Health is doing the same.

As of Friday morning, two cases of coronavirus 2019-nCoV have been confirmed in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control reported. The first case was confirmed Tuesday in the state of Washington. A second case was reported Friday in Illinois. In both, the patients had been to Wuhan, China, according to the CDC.

In California, health screenings of incoming passengers at Los Angeles International and San Francisco International airports are underway to identify people who have symptoms that could be due to coronavirus infection. The two large airports have the most arrivals into the state from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China — the region where an outbreak of the respiratory illness began last month and “continues to expand in scope and magnitude,” according to the CDC.

Los Angeles International and San Francisco International are the only California airports where coronavirus screenings are underway, a CDPH spokesman told Patch Friday morning.

Worldwide, there are more than 830 confirmed cases of infection, and at least 26 people have died. A total of 8,420 people are reported to be under observation, according to a report Friday from the Washington Post.

A traveler landing at Los Angeles International Airport was hospitalized this week after exhibiting symptoms consistent with coronavirus, Patch reported Thursday. However, as of Friday morning the CDPH told Patch it had no coronavirus cases to report in California, but screenings and tests are continuing.

Additionally, in Alameda County, which is near San Francisco International Airport, Patch reported that while health officials continue screening people, there were no confirmed coronavirus cases in that county.

“The state will continue to monitor the situation, work with partners to identify any possible cases, provide information and consultation to ensure that possible cases are managed safely, support laboratory testing, and implement recommendations from the CDC,” according to the CDPH.

While originally thought to be spreading from animal-to-person, there are growing indications that limited person-to-person spread of the virus is happening. “It’s unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people,” the CDC reported. The agency is recommending that people avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan, including buses, subways, trains, and the international airport.

Information for travelers to other parts of China is available at:

Contributor: Toni McAllister, Banning-Beaumont, CA

Avoid These Five Risk Factors and Live Longer, Study Says

Avoid These Five Risk Factors and Live Longer, Study Says…

How would you like to add seven to 10 healthy, disease-free years to your life as you age?

Try eliminating these five bad health habits: smoking, not exercising, being overweight, drinking too much alcohol and eating an unhealthy diet.
That’s the takeaway from a new study that analyzed the impact of those behaviors on the chance of living a longer life free of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.
“We found that following a healthy lifestyle can substantially extend the years a person lives disease-free,” said senior author Dr. Frank Hu, who chairs the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
“In particular, women who practiced all five habits gained over 10 years of disease-free life, and men who did so gained almost eight years,” Hu said.
Additional data
The research is an extension of a study published last year that followed more than 38,000 men for 28 years and 73,000 women for 34 years.
That research found women who adopted all five healthy habits at age 50 lived 14 years longer than women who did not; men who were following all five lifestyle factors at age 50 lived 12 years longer than men who followed none.
This new study, published Wednesday in the journal BMJ, examined the same data to see how chronic disease affected the quality of life during the study period.
The research was designed to see how five healthy behaviors interacted to affect disease risk: never smoking, keeping a healthy BMI below 25, doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, drinking alcohol moderately and eating a good quality diet.
Women who practiced four or five of the healthy habits over the next 20 to 30 years, Hu said, had an additional 10.6 years of disease-free living compared to women who adopted no lifestyle changes. When broken down by disease, the healthier women gained an average of eight years free of cancer, 10 years with no cardiovascular disease and 12 years without diabetes.
Men who practiced four to five healthy behaviors gained 7.6 years’ longer life expectancy; an average of six more years without cancer, almost nine more years free of heart issues and over 10 years without diabetes.
The results held true even after adjusting the data for age, ethnicity, family medical history and other potentially influential factors,
Not surprisingly, men who were heavy smokers — defined as 15 or more cigarettes a day — or obese men and women with a BMI of 30 or more had fewer years without disease.
What happened if a person was diagnosed with a disease during the study? The data showed half of people diagnosed with cancer lived an additional 23 years if they adopted four of five healthy practices. Among those who didn’t change, half only survived an additional 11 years. The same patterns were seen for both heart disease and diabetes.
“This is a positive health message because it means healthy lifestyle habits not only prolong life, but also improve the quality of life and reduce sufferings related to chronic diseases,” Hu said.
The study had some limitations, including that the data on adherence to the five lifestyle factors were all self-reported, making an outcome vulnerable to measurement errors.
What if you’ve not eliminated these five bad habits from your life?
“it is never too late to adopt these habits,” Hu said. “For smokers, the single most important thing that one should do is to stop smoking. For nonsmokers, eating a healthy diet and being physically active are important for keeping a healthy weight.”

Contributor: Sandee LaMotte-CNN Health

Calories Per Serving or the Whole Package? Many Food Labels Now Tell Both

Calories Per Serving or the Whole Package? Many Food Labels Now Tell Both

For decades, consumers have often been puzzled by what a “serving” means on Nutrition Facts labels on foods.

Well, things might have just gotten a bit clearer. New labeling regulations went into effect in January, and on many products, you’ll now see the total amount of calories (and various nutrients) per serving, as well as for the whole package.

“With the introduction of the new Nutrition Facts label, a variation that consumers are seeing is the dual column label for some foods that can reasonably be consumed in one meal or snack,” said Claudine Kavanaugh, director of the Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The new label has “two columns, one for listing the nutritional facts related to a single serving and one listing the nutritional facts for the contents of the entire package,” Kavanaugh explained in an FDA news release.

“We know that Americans are eating differently, and the amount of calories and nutrients on the label is required to reflect what people actually eat and drink,” she said.

Not every food manufacturer has to adopt the new labels right away, but many of the products consumers buy will be affected, since the January deadline applied to all manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales. Manufacturers with sales below that amount have an extra year to adopt the new labeling. The changes to the Nutrition Facts label were first finalized in mid-2016.

Nutritionist Audrey Koltun applauded the changes, saying they’ll “make the nutrition information much clearer to consumers.”

“Some small packages of chips, pretzels, cookies, crackers, etc., look like one serving but the label may say it has 2 to 3 servings per package. Many eat the whole thing assuming it is an individual serving package,” Koltun explained. She’s a registered dietitian in the division of pediatric endocrinology at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

And Koltun noted that the Nutrition Facts panel has changed in other constructive ways.

“The serving sizes listed on the old Nutrition Facts labels can be confusing. Sometimes the serving size was listed in grams or ounces. Also, the print can be so small, one cannot read it,” she said. “The new Nutrition Facts label shows the serving size (and for some foods, the serving size has been changed to reflect what consumers are really eating), and the calories in larger, darker font, which is helpful and it stands out more.”

And there’s one more important addition for folks watching their waistlines and their health.

“Another feature of the new label that I like is the addition of ‘grams of added sugar,’ which means how much sugar is added during processing versus the natural sugar already found in the foods, such as milk and fruit,” Koltun said.

But she stressed that all this new information is helpful “only if one is interested and actually looks at the label.”

If millions more Americans did so, however, it might “really allow them to see how much they are actually eating and make educated decisions about what and how much they desire to eat,” Koltun said.

Contributor: E.J.

Five ways to improve your mental health in 2020

5 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health in 2020

It’s a difficult birth for this new decade. The year 2020 kicks off under the shadow of divisive politics, international security threats, a spate of hate crimes, and a planet in environmental peril, plus all the reasons we’re stressed individually: work, health problems, life changes and more.

No wonder so many of us are anxious or depressed.
But you can take scientifically validated steps to improve your mental outlook, and — because the mind and body are entwined — these behaviors also will improve your overall health.

1. Practice optimism
The studies are positive: Looking on the bright side of life really is good for you. Optimists have a 35% less chance of dying from heart attack or stroke; are more likely to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly’ have stronger immune systems; and even live longer. In fact, a 2019 study found people with the most positive outlook had the greatest odds of living to 85 or beyond.

Now, let’s get real: Being an optimist doesn’t mean you ignore the stress of daily life. Who can do that? It simply means that when
crummy things happen, you don’t blame yourself unnecessarily. If you face a challenge or obstacle, you’re more likely to see it as temporary or even positive, allowing you to learn and grow.

Optimists also believe they have control over their fate and can create opportunities for good things to happen.

Not a natural optimist? No worries. Science has shown you can train your brain to be more positive. Only about 25% of optimism is programmed by our genes anyway.
“There is research which indicates that optimism can actually be enhanced or nurtured through certain kinds of training,” neuroscientist Richard Davidson said. Davidson is the founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds and has done groundbreaking work on the link between mental attitudes and physical health.

“When these kinds of mental exercises are taught to people, it actually changes the function and the structure of their brain in ways that we think support these kinds of positive qualities,” Davidson said. “And that may be key in producing the downstream impact on the body.”
According to a meta-analysis of existing studies, using the “Best Possible Self” technique is one of the most effective ways to increase your optimism. It’s based on exercises that ask you to imagine yourself with all of your problems solved in a future where all of your life’s goals were achieved.

In one study, people who did this for only 15 minutes a week over an eight-week period became more positive and remained that way for nearly six months. What do you have to lose?

2. Start volunteering
A prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi tell us, “It is in giving that we receive.”
Turns out he was scientifically right. Studies have shown that putting the well-being of others before our own without expecting anything in return, or what is called being altruistic, stimulates the reward centers of the brain. Those feel-good chemicals flood our system, producing a sort of “helper’s high.”

There are physical benefits, too: Studies show volunteering minimizes stress and improves depression. It can reduce the risk for cognitive impairment. It can even help us live longer.
Even if you have little time to offer, just the act of giving has been shown to improve our health, possibly by temporarily reducing our sense of pain.
A new study found that people who said they would donate money to help orphans were less sensitive to an electric shock than those who declined to give. In addition, the more helpful people thought their donation would be, the less pain they felt.
Looking for ideas? CNN has a country-by-country list of aid organizations around the world.

3. Be grateful
We heard a lot about the benefits of thankfulness in the last decade, and that is backed by science: Counting our blessings protects us against anxiety and depression and boosts optimism. Need more proof? Middle-schoolers who practiced gratitude exercises had less problem behavior. (Did you read that, parents of adolescents?)
One of the best ways to make thankfulness a part of your life, say experts, is to keep a daily journal. Before you go to bed, jot down any positive experience you had that day, no matter how small.

But you can also do this via the practice of mindfulness, or a purposeful self-regulation of attention to stay in the moment. One of Davidson’s favorite mindfulness exercises cultivates gratefulness.

“Simply to bring to mind people that are in our lives from whom we have received some kind of help,” Davidson told CNN. “Bring them to mind and appreciate the care and support or whatever it might be that these individuals have provided.”
If you do that for one minute each morning and evening, he added, that sense of appreciation can broaden to others in your life and bolster optimism and better mental health.

4. Bolster your social connections
“People who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community, are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected,” said Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger in his popular TEDx talk.
The proof for this comes from the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which tracked 724 Boston men for more than 75 years and then began following more than 2,000 of their offspring and wives.

“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period,” Waldinger said.
And you don’t have to be in a committed relationship or have scores of pals to get this benefit. Instead, it’s the quality of the relationship that matters, he said.
“High-conflict marriages, for example, without much affection, turn out to be very bad for our health, perhaps worse than getting divorced,” Waldinger said. “And living in the midst of good, warm relationships is protective.”

5. Find your purpose
Finding a sense of purpose contributes greatly to well-being and a longer, happier life, experts tell CNN.
University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman, who co-founded the field of positive psychology, says a sense of purpose will come from being part of something bigger than ourselves. He points to religion, family, and social causes as ways to increase meaning in our lives. (See No. 2 on volunteering.)

It doesn’t have to be a traditional religion to be effective, according to Lord Richard Layard, one of Britain’s most prominent economists and the author of several books on happiness.
In his landmark book, “Happiness: Lessons From a New Science,” he says spiritual practices can range from meditation to positive psychology to cognitive therapy.

“If your sole duty is to achieve the best for yourself, life becomes just too stressful, too lonely — you are set up to fail. Instead, you need to feel you exist for something larger, and that very thought takes off some of the pressure.”

Contributor: Sandee LaMotte, CNN