Health Buzz: Health Concerns Loom for Rescued Miners

5 kid-friendly foods with iron; surprising way Patrick Swayze's widow copes with grief.


Photo Gallery: Chilean Miners Rescued


Rescued Chilean Miners Now Face Health Concerns

As 33 Chilean miners are hoisted to safety—in a rescue effort that began early Wednesday—they now may be facing a myriad of physical and mental health issues resulting from being trapped underground for 69 days. The most pressing issues involve the miners' lack of sunlight, poor nutrition, the effects of their confinement, and a lack of sleep and sanitation, CNN International reports. The poor air quality underground, coupled with heat and humidity, may have caused lung problems, including impaired immunity, asthma, or partially collapsed lungs. Many of the miners may also have fungal infections like ringworm and athlete's foot, doctors speculate, and some probably have gum disease. In terms of mental health, the miners might have to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, which can include flashbacks, bad dreams, and difficulty sleeping. Prior to the rescue, they began a liquid diet to prevent vomiting as they were raised more than 2,000 feet to the ground. They were also given special sunglasses to protect their retinas, which could have been damaged by an abrupt flood of sunlight after so many weeks of darkness. "Things are going extraordinarily well so far," Chilean Health Minister Jaime Manalich told CNN International. "We have had very, very minor problems." Some of the rescued miners were immediately taken to the hospital, where they were evaluated by ophthalmologists and dermatologists and given chest X-rays. Others spent time reuniting with relatives before being flown to the hospital.

  • Sanjay Gupta Discusses His Book, 'Cheating Death'
  • Your Eyes Need UV Protection, Too
  • 5 Kid-Friendly Foods With Iron

    Iron deficiency can be a real problem for children. Lack of iron can stunt brain development, permanently lower a child's IQ, and also cause anemia, which saps children's strength, writes U.S. News correspondent Nancy Shute.

    But efforts to improve children's iron intake by fortifying formula and cereals hasn't wiped out iron deficiency; up to 15 percent of babies and toddlers are still iron deficient. Babies between 6 and 12 months old need 11 milligrams of iron a day, and toddlers ages 1 to 3 need 7 mg of iron. To get there, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidelines that recommend iron supplements for all breast-fed babies starting at four months. Breast milk, wonderful as it is, doesn't contain much iron.

    The pediatricians also gave a big vote of confidence to food as the best source of iron for children. Starting at six months old, babies should be chowing down on red meat, they said; bring on the sliders! In truth, there are lots of iron-rich food choices, even if baby burgers aren't on the menu. Many children's cereals are fortified with iron, and many other foods contain iron naturally. [Read more: 5 Kid-Friendly Foods With Iron.]

    • 5 Nutrition Facts About Milk and Healthy Kids
    • Can Red Meat Have a Place in a Healthy Diet?
    • Surprising Way Patrick Swayze's Widow Copes With Grief

      Patrick Swayze's widow still texts her husband when she travels, just like she used to when he was alive. In July, Lisa Niemi sent the actor, who died of pancreatic cancer more than a year ago, a text as she got on a plane, writes AOL Health's Catherine Donaldson-Evans. "I just put what I always did: 'I love you,'" Niemi, 54, told People. "And then I cried for a little bit to myself."

      AOL Health's grief specialist David Kessler said Niemi's way of coping with the loss of her husband is normal and even healthy. "I encourage people to find ways to continue the relationship with the loved one," said Kessler. "If she used to text him all the time, I might expect her to continue that."

      Niemi's ritual is an example of what Kessler and other bereavement experts call "magical thinking"—when someone in mourning believes things can continue the way they were and the deceased loved one is still there. Ironically, Swayze's movie "Ghost" shows his character's wife, played by Demi Moore, engaging in similar behavior as she keeps seeing him and talking to him after he dies. [Read more: Surprising Way Patrick Swayze's Widow Copes With Grief.]