Health Buzz: Men and Conception and Other Health News

The salmonella outbreak, what to do if you get sick abroad, and flexible spending accounts.


A Man’s Age May Affect Conception, Too

It's well known that a woman's age affects her ability to conceive a baby, but new research suggests that a man's age may also affect his ability to have a child, Reuters reports. Men over 40 will have more trouble conceiving a baby than younger men, according to findings presented yesterday at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference. In the study, researchers analyzed sperm quality rates of miscarriage, pregnancy, and delivery. Men's influence on miscarriage was found to be stronger when they passed age 40, and many sperm samples contained defects that could lead to miscarriage, according to the findings.

In March, Adam Voiland's On Men column explored whether men should care that male birth control options are languishing. Get the latest in men's health news at the U.S.News Men's Health Center.

Mexico in Question as Source of Salmonella Outbreak

Mexican officials said yesterday that there's no evidence that the salmonella outbreak in the United States is the result of Mexican produce, Reuters reports. But U.S. health officials told CNN that they plan to start testing some foods from Mexico for salmonella before they come into the domestic market. The outbreak has sickened 943 people in 40 states, Canada, and the District of Columbia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last month, Nancy Shute explained how to foil salmonella by cooking your tomatoes.

What to Do If You Get Sick Abroad

Many Americans don't give much thought to what might happen if they became ill or injured while traveling abroad, U.S. News reports. Those who need medical attention may be surprised to find that payment is required on the spot and, in some countries, even before treatment. And forget about reimbursements, as most health insurers—including basic Medicare—will not cover any costs outside the country. Some say they'll pick up the tab after the fact but will apply a higher deductible, provider restrictions, and other limits. And no matter what your plan is, you're generally on your own if you need a medical evacuation, which can cost as much as $100,000.

If you get sick abroad, think about calling the American Embassy. Also, U.S. News explains how to get your sick college kid home quick and how to avoid travelers diarrhea.

Time to Put Your FSA to Good Use

It's time to think about using the funds in your flexible spending account, Michelle Andrews reports. About a third of people with FSAs leave an average of $168 unspent every year, according to Hewitt Associates. (The money is returned to employers if left unused.) Your employer may give you a grace period of up to 2½ months into the following year, but check with your company to see if you have that option. Qualified medical and dental expenses are listed on the IRS website.

In 2006, U.S. News explained how to use your FSA wisely.

—January W. Payne