Health Buzz: Thousands at Risk of Fungal Meningitis

8 beauty emergency bailouts; hungry vs. healthy: the school lunch controversy

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CDC: Thousands May Have Received Contaminated Steroid Linked to Meningitis 

About 13,000 patients across 23 states may have been injected with a potentially contaminated steroid that's linked to a national meningitis outbreak, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. Typically used to relieve back pain, the steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, was made by New England Compounding Center in Framingham (NECC), Mass., where a leafy mold likely contaminated the product. Reuters reports that since the September 25 recall of three lots of the steroid, 105 cases of the fungal meningitis and eight deaths have been confirmed nationally.

Tennessee has been hit hardest by the outbreak, with 35 cases and four deaths so far. Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center in Nashville received 2,000 vials from the recalled steroid supplies. "We've seen upwards of 40 to 50 patients a day since last Monday through the emergency room that have had to be extensively evaluated," Robert Latham, St. Thomas's chief of medicine, told Reuters. Two people have died from the outbreak in Michigan, as well as one person each in Maryland and Virginia. Cases have been reported in six other states. Meningitis symptoms include severe headache, dizziness, nausea, and fever, and possibly slurred speech and difficulty walking and urinating.

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  • 8 Beauty Emergency Bailouts

    Quick: You've just been invited to the White House for dinner tomorrow, but your nails are a wreck, your skin is dull, and you have a pimple the size of a planet! What do you do? Below, experts weigh in on recovering from typical beauty misfortunes quickly and healthfully so you can look and feel your best every day—and, especially, when a special occasion arises.

    Here's what to do if:

    1. You wake up with a pimple so big it has its own zip code: Do not—we repeat—do not pop it. "You can cause more damage with your fingers and fingernails with the pressure of squeezing out the contents than you can by simply letting it go through its natural process," says Dawn Davis, a dermatologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Plus, she adds, popping a zit makes it more likely to become infected. The best thing to do is wash your face with a mild soap, and apply an oil-free moisturizer, she says. "You can also apply a damp, warm compress for a few minutes to try to open up the pore on its own to help expedite its own evacuation," she says. Afterward, Davis recommends treating the pimple with an over-the-counter acne product that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Need to cover the spot fast? Go for a hypoallergenic concealer.

    2. You slept in your makeup and now your skin looks sallow: Dawn DaLuise, owner of Dawn DaLuise Skin Refinery in Los Angeles, says sleeping in makeup is toxic for your skin. "When we sleep is when our skin rejuvenates and heals. The pores open during our sleep, and if they're swallowing dirt and perspiration and makeup, that's going to invade the pores for quite some time." [Read more: 8 Beauty Emergency Bailouts]

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    • Hungry Vs. Healthy: The School Lunch Controversy

      Last week, I was invited to be a guest on ABC's 20/20 to comment on a YouTube video depicting high schoolers expressing their dissatisfaction with the newest school lunch regulations, writes U.S. News blogger Bonnie Taub-Dix. While it captured the attention of hundreds of thousands of viewers, the fact remains that although some students complain of going "hungry," boxes of food get tossed every day from school cafeterias across the country. Is it really that these kids are hungry or are they not used to foods that are healthy?

      The background: The new regulations released in August, which were championed by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her "Let's Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity, trimmed down the carbs and gave them a little color by emphasizing whole grains instead of white flour. Fruits and veggies were placed in a leading role supported by a cast of protein foods like chicken, lean meat, cheese, and so on. The calories of school lunch meals have not changed appreciably, with previous guidelines for children in grades 7 through 12 weighing in at 825 calories and the newest regs ranging from 750 to 850 calories for the same age group. What has changed significantly, however, is what's being served.

      Corrected 10/9/2012: An earlier version of this article misidentified Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center.