"King Nut" Peanut Butter Likely Source of Outbreak
Two kinds of peanut butter are being recalled after public health officials pegged them as the most likely source of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 399 people in 42 states. King Nut Cos., which distributes but does not manufacture the peanut butter, sold to institutions like schools and hospitals, said it would recall all King Nut and Parnell's Pride brand peanut butter. The company, based in Ohio, also said it would work with the manufacturer of the peanut butter, Peanut Corp. of America, to "inform others of this problem."
This particular outbreak of salmonella has been going on since last fall. The bacteria cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps and can lead to serious illness or death in young children, the elderly, and people with impaired immune systems. Here's how to reduce the risk of getting sick, based on advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and infectious-disease experts. Salmonella is one of the more common kinds of food poisoning. By being a smart shopper and taking some precautions in the kitchen, you can lower your family's risk of getting sick.
No COBRA Bargains for the Unemployed
There's no way most laid-off workers, using COBRA, can afford to hang on to their employer's health insurance on the strength of their weekly unemployment checks, reports U.S. News's Michelle Andrews. According to a report released last week by Families USA, the average monthly premium for family health coverage under COBRA, the federal law that allows workers to continue with their former employer's health insurance, is $1,069. The average unemployment benefit, meanwhile, is $1,278 a month. That means that COBRA family coverage eats up 84 percent of a worker's unemployment check, on average. Single workers are somewhat better off: The bite for COBRA coverage is "only" 30 percent of their check. One potential, if extreme, solution: get married for the insurance benefits. Laid-off baby boomers have other options, too, including these 7 tactics for finding health insurance.
Parenting Tips for the MySpace Age
Recent news that about half of 500 teens' publicly available MySpace profiles contain references to sex, violence, and substance abuse may have made some parents' stomachs churn. And while the research was led by a doctor, you don't have to be an M.D. to make a similar discovery—an informal survey of the various social networking sites will turn up comparable results—of snapshots of teens passed out on bathroom floors; photos of teens guzzling booze or flaunting lingerie; or mention of 4:20 (code for smoking marijuana) and other drug-related salutes. If you're worried your teen is revealing too much on MySpace, Facebook, or other online sites, you can check out these 10 tips. Clueless about MySpace and other social networking sites? Here's how parents can decode them and also how teens can avoid bogus health information online.
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