Health Buzz: Yosemite Extends Hantavirus Warning

What you can do about gray hair at 25; whole grains make for a whole diet

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Yosemite Extends Hantavirus Warning 

Yosemite National Park is doubling the scope of its hantavirus warning. On Thursday, officials warned some 22,000 past visitors that they may have been exposed to the deadly mouse-borne disease, Reuters reports. The number of confirmed cases has hit eight, including three deaths. One of the cases originated in the park's high country; all others had been confined to the Curry Village campground. Hantavirus is a rare disease spread by coming into contact with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents—specifically, deer mice. Symptoms, which show up one to six weeks after exposure, are flu-like at first such as fever, headache, and muscle pains. After two to seven days, many have severe breathing difficulty. 

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  • Gray Hair at 25? Yes. Here's What You Can Do

    There's something to be said for turning into a silver fox. They're distinguished. Dapper. And … 25?

    Indeed. Even teens and young adults can go gray, from a few streaks here and there to a full-on head of white. 

    Anne Kreamer was in her 20s when she started noticing gray strands. She spent 20 years concealing it with colors like magenta, until a eureka moment hit when she took a second look at a photo of herself. She returned to her gray roots and says she won't touch hair dye again. 

    "We live in very rough economic times—in an ageist culture," says Kreamer, author of Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else that Really Matters. "Each person has to make their own decision at different points in their lives. If you're 40 and totally gray and unemployed, you might make a different decision than if you're 25 and have just a few gray strands, or if you're 55 and a stay-at-home writer." 

    The bad news: The premature graying problem is largely genetic. Hair follicles contain pigment cells that produce melanin, which gives your tresses their color. When your body stops generating melanin, hair presents itself as gray, white, or silver. (Melanin also provides moisture, so when less is produced, hair becomes brittle and loses its bounce.) "If your parents or grandparents grayed at an early age, you probably will too," says David Bank, director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic, and Laser Surgery in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. "There's not much you can do to stop genetics." [Read more: Gray Hair at 25? Yes. Here's What You Can Do

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    • Whole Grains, Whole Diet 

      When we turn the calendar page to September, thoughts of crisp weather and colorful leaves come to mind. Not whole grains. But September is Whole Grains Month, so get ready to add some flair to your sandwich, pasta dish, and breakfast cereal. 

      More and more Americans are saying yes to whole grains, writes U.S. News blogger Bonnie Taub-Dix. Since 2010, roughly 55 percent of consumers have ditched white bread for whole-wheat or whole-grain varieties, according to the Shopping for Health 2012 Survey, released in July by the Food Marketing Institute and Prevention magazine. And 2010 also gave rise to something unprecedented: Sales of whole-wheat bread eclipsed sales of white bread, as noted by supermarket guru Phil Lempert. 

      Why the trend? Perhaps because consumers are becoming more aware of the health benefits of whole grains over white. Among the reasons to make the switch: 

      • Whole grains are chock full of fiber, key for proper digestion and bowel function. Aim for a product that has 5 grams of fiber or more per serving. 

      • They're heart-healthy. Soluble fibers in whole grains like oats and barley can lower levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, thereby reducing risk of heart disease. [Read more: Whole Grains, Whole Diet

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      • Angela Haupt is a health reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at ahaupt@usnews.com.