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Florida toddler fighting polio-like disease in Jacksonville ICU, mom says

3-year-old Florida girl is being treated at a Jacksonville children's hospital for a polio-like virus that's been spreading in states across the country.

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Since Sunday, little Aamira has been in the Intensive Care Unit.

“It’s nerve-wracking. It’s stressful. She can’t understand. She can’t get out of bed and do things for herself,” said her mother, Reba Faircloth.

Faircloth said doctors believe her daughter has acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

It’s a rare paralyzing illness that health officials are investigating following a spike in cases mainly affecting children.

Doctors said the illness comes in clusters and more cases are expected in our area.“They told me it’s a polio-like strand, but it’s not per polio. It hit me hard,” Faircloth said.

Faircloth said her daughter started showing signs of some sort of illness Thursday and it only progressed.

By Sunday, Faircloth said, her once-energetic toddler couldn’t walk.

“It was just like how a baby learns to walk, and she collapsed and fell to the ground,” Faircloth said.

She said doctors have been running tests on the girl since then.

“They told me they have no per se cure or how to get rid of it, they are just going by books, and she had to get plasma infusions,” Faircloth said.

A doctor at the hospital said the illness affects the nervous system and can leave patients paralyzed.

“Some of the symptoms may slowly decrease, but often they are permanent or there is residual permanent damage,” said Jose Irazuzta, of Wolfson Children’s Hospital, who is also a professor of pediatrics at the University of Florida.

Faircloth now has a message for other parents: “If you start to see weakness and everything, go to the hospital,” she said.

Faircloth said her daughter could be in the hospital for up to three weeks.

Doctors said this disease usually affects young children and they are working with researchers to learn more about AFM to find a cure. 

Man in wheelchair dies after 100-foot tumble down escalator at Metro station in D.C.

A man in a wheelchair died Wednesday after he attempted to go up an escalator at a Metro station in Washington, D.C., authorities said. 

The man tried to go up an escalator around 1:30 p.m. at the Columbia Heights Metro Station, a Metro spokesman told NBC 4 in Washington. Security footage showed the man, whose name was not released Wednesday, initially tried to use the elevator.

“A review of camera footage revealed the man waited 10 to 15 seconds for the elevator, which was in service at the time, and then diverted to the escalator,” Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly told The Washington Post

The footage showed that the man tried to steady his motorized chair by holding onto the handrails on either side of him, but the wheelchair tipped backward and fell on top of him, NBC 4 reported

While lightweight manual wheelchairs can weigh as little as 15 to 20 pounds, electric wheelchairs can weigh in excess of 200 pounds, depending on the weight of the motor and other components. 

The Post reported that the victim reached the top of the escalator before tipping over. Fox 5 in D.C. reported that officers estimated the escalator to be about 100 feet long. 

A witness to the aftermath of Wednesday’s accident told the NBC affiliate that several people attempted to help the man, who was lying on the ground, his legs covered with blood. The exact nature of the victim’s injuries were not made public. 

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“Several bystanders and the station manager immediately rendered aid until medics arrived,” Ly told the Post. “The man was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.”

The escalator was shut down for hours as investigators took notes and photos, NBC 4 said.  

The Post reported that while the Metro is considered one of the most accessible public transit systems in the country for people with physical disabilities, the people who must rely on the transit system’s elevators say they often encounter elevators that are out of service. 

Some Metro users voiced that same frustration on social media. 

“Incredibly tragic,” Anthony LaMesa wrote. “This man was likely so inured to #WMATA elevators being broken that he just assumed it would never come.”

Another Twitter user, Christopher Walkup, wrote that D.C. needs to become a more accessible city for everyone. 

A woman responding to a tweet last week about problems within the Metro system wrote about having to be carried up the stairs because the elevator at one station had broken down.

“I had to figure out how to get my wheelchair up & down stairs bcuz no one knew the elevator was broken & knew it wouldn’t be fixed,” wrote the woman, whose Twitter handle is Mama Penguin. “I had to be carried up while someone lugged my chair, just so we could try and find a Metro (with) working elevators late on a weekend. Not that bad my (expletive).”

Another Twitter user wrote that all he sees on Twitter is complaints about how nothing within the D.C. Metro works for the disabled. 

“And now here are your results,” the man wrote, posting a story about Wednesday’s fatal accident.  

Texas doctors perform successful surgery on baby inside mother's womb

A team of doctors performed successful open surgery on an unborn baby boy in his mother’s womb, the first procedure of its kind in north Texas, WFAA reported.

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The “open fetal surgery” on Uriah in June helped repair the spine of the infant, who was diagnosed with spina bifida when his mother was 18 weeks pregnant, the television station reported.

“It's amazing, it's a great feeling," Sarah Prowell, Uriah's mother, told WFAA.

Prowell and her boyfriend, Sean Kirby, were distressed to learn her unborn baby was diagnosed with the birth defect that prevents the spinal cord from properly forming and can lead to paralysis.

"We were both pretty distraught at first because I was just worried about his life -- the road ahead of him," Kirby told WFAA.

However, doctors at the Fetal Care Center at Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas saw an opportunity.

"Back when I was in medical schools none of this was being done," Kevin Magee, a specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine, told WFAA. "To think that this could be done today and to be done with this quality of outcomes is really exciting -- exciting not for the physicians but exciting for the families and for that little child.”

"We can intervene and save the baby’s life or prevent ongoing injury to the babies organs that's going severely compromise them for the rest of their lives," Timothy Crombleholme, of the Fetal Care Center, told the television station.

The surgery, while successful, did not eliminate the defect but repaired damage before it became irreparable, WFAA reported.

Uriah was born premature and had to remain in the hospital for a month. He came home two weeks ago.

"I think the most emotional part of this whole process was sitting in the hospital waiting for him to come home, that was really hard on me,” Prowell told the television station. “Now, I'm just happy that he is here.”

Study: Children who use hand sanitizers missed fewer days of school

A study released Monday asserted that children who cleaned their hands with sanitizer instead of soap and water missed fewer days of school and had fewer respiratory infections, CNN reported.

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The study by researchers in Spain was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The researchers observed 911 children ages 3 and younger who attended 24 day care centers in Almeria, Spain. The children, their parents and day care centers were divided into three groups: One group used a hand sanitizer and the second group used soap and water; the third group, the control group, followed its usual pattern of cleaning hands, CNN reported. The study was conducted over an eight-month period.

The researchers found that the students had 5,211 respiratory infections that led to 5,186 days of day care, CNN reported. The group using the hand sanitizer missed 3.25 percent of time at day care centers, while the soap-and-water children missed 3.9 percent. The third group missed 4.2 percent of days from day care, the study found.

The researchers also discovered that the soap-and-water group had a 21 percent higher chance of getting a respiratory infection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, washing hands with soap and water remains the best way to avoid infection. However, the CDC said that the use of hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol was a good alternative.

Chance the Rapper pledges $1M to Chicago's mental health services

Chance the Rapper pledged $1 million for mental health in Chicago and an additional $100,000 for 20 public schools in the city, WLS reported.

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The rapper made his announcement on Twitter and in front of Chicago’s health care experts and the city’s educators, the television station reported.

"I'm proud to announce I am pledging $1 million to mental health services in Chicago," Chance told the audience as he introduced his new initiative, “My State of Mind.”

Supporting Chance and his non-profit SocialWorks were stars like Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman and Oprah Winfrey, WLS reported.

"This year, 20 more schools will get $100 K ..." Chance told the audience. "We will be upping the game in terms of equity, in terms of what is rightfully yours. Principals, teachers, we got your back."

Frozen embryos mistakenly destroyed at Seattle hospital 

Dozens of women hoping to have children are dealing with heartbreaking loss after their frozen embryos were mistakenly destroyed at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.

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Tina Mankowski, director of strategic communications for UW Medicine, confirmed that 31 patients were affected and that the destruction happened in 2014.

The mistake was not known publicly, however, until one of the couples recently filed a complaint for damages.

According to their attorney, "When these embryos are developed, they’re like extensions of themselves.” 

She said her clients felt their frozen embryos were “living beings.”

“To have them destroyed without their consent, without their knowledge -- it was devastating for this couple," the attorney said.

The lawsuit lawsuit filed by the plaintiff’s lawyer alleges that the existence of a UW Medicine letter is proof of medical negligence.

Arizona to open first US medicinal marijuana kitchen in Tempe

The first full-service cannabis kitchen will open in Arizona on Oct. 5, KSAZ reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The Mint Dispensary is launching the kitchen in Tempe, and Arizona residents with a medicinal marijuana card will be able to buy a meal customized with a dose of cannabis, KNXV reported.

The breakfasts, lunches and dinners will be prepared by chef Carylann Principal, a cancer survivor, and her five-member staff, according to KSAZ. Restaurant officials said there would also be plenty of snacks available.

"We saw a large unmet need from patients who were regularly visiting our dispensary; they were looking to access fresh and healthy cannabis-infused foods," Eivan Shahara, CEO of The Mint Dispensary, told KSAZ. "We know the right kinds of healthy foods can help people to battle a variety of illnesses, from cancer to epilepsy to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. We're using our knowledge about food and nutrition to help patients in their search for fresh, healthy snacks and infused meals.”

The dispensary will serve the cannabis-laden food daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., KNXV reported. In mid-November The Mint Dispensary will offer catering services for birthdays, weddings and funerals. Home delivery will be offered during the holiday season, the television station reported. Everyone in these larger caterings would need to present a medical cannabis card.

‘Skeeter syndrome’ can cause allergic reaction in children

Mosquitoes not only are annoying, but they also can make you sick. 

>> Read more trending news 

“Skeeter syndrome” is not just a clever name. It’s a description for an allergic reaction to proteins in mosquito saliva that can cause problems, particularly for children, Health Magazine reported.

That red and itchy swelling that can be painful is sometimes mistaken as a secondary bacterial infection caused by scratching and broken skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Symptoms include inflamed skin around the bite shortly after the mosquito bites a person. Other symptoms include fever, soreness and redness around the bite area, and in some cases, even blistering, Health Magazine reported.

Purvi Parikh an allergist and immunologist with the Allergy & Asthma Network, said that Skeeter syndrome victims typically have the same reaction.

“Most people get some type of reaction — a small bump and a little redness – but for some people it’s really extreme,” Parikh told Health Magazine.

Parikh said people who develop Skeeter syndrome can get relief by using an oral antihistamine, like Benadryl, or by applying an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream directly on the bite. A cold pack or cool, moist cloth also can help, according to the Mayo Clinic

FDA cautions about rare genital infection linked to diabetes medication

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning diabetes patients that some drugs could cause a flesh-eating bacterial infection of the genitals, the agency posted on its website Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news 

The condition, called Fournier's gangrene, has been reported in connection with sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, the FDA said.

According to the FDA, the drugs help the body lower blood-sugar levels through the kidneys. Excess sugar is excreted in a patient’s urine, and urinary tract infections are a known side effect, the FDA said.

SGLT2 inhibitors approved by the FDA include Johnson & Johnson's Invokana, Eli Lilly & Co's Jardiance, as well those from Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca Plc, Merck & Co and Pfizer Inc. 

Fournier’s gangrene is rare but can be a life-threatening bacterial infection, the FDA said. The bacteria usually enters the body through a cut or break in the skin, and then spreads and destroys the flesh it infects.

The FDA said from March 2013 to May 2018, 12 cases of Fournier's gangrene in patients taking one of the inhibitors were identified. The cases included seven men and five women, who all were hospitalized and required surgery.

Back-to-school selfies may spread super lice, expert says

Parents may want to add super lice remedies to the back-to-school shopping list.

A 2013 study in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that in North America, most head lice has evolved into a new, more powerful strain that is immune to traditional lice treatments, hence the name “super lice.”

Canada had been experiencing an alarming rise in cases, and there have been multiple outbreaks across the U.S. in recent years.

>> Read more trending stories

Because super lice can be difficult to get rid of, prevention is key, and that’s where those popular selfies come into play.

Any activity that brings kids’ heads within close contact with one another, or involves sharing combs, hats, etc. will raise the risk of contracting lice. Dawn Mucci, founder of Lice Squad, told Global News in 2016 that she is seeing a growing number of lice cases among teens, likely due to the selfie craze.

Despite the scary name, Lice Clinics of America cautions that combing and nitpicking can still be effective treatments. The clinics also provide a lice remover kit for super lice, and AirAllé, an FDA-cleared lice device for professional lice treatments.

Still, the best way to prevent infestation is to keep your head away from other heads.

Parents should consult a medical professional on the most effective, safe treatments for super lice.

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