A new study in the Journal of American Medical Association from the University of Michigan asked students in grades eighth, ninth, and 10th if they had ever had a concussion. Almost 20 percent said they had.
What’s going on with our teens? Is it all sports related?
Dr. Robert Vezzetti, a pediatric emergency medicine doctor at Dell Children’s Medical Center, says part of what’s going on is that we’re doing a better job of educating parents, coaches and students about what a concussion is, leading to more diagnoses.
A concussion is basically “taking your brain and shaking it,” he says. That releases inflammatory particles that damage the brain. You might feel nausea or vomit, have a headache, have blurry vision, feel achy or fatigue.
Many people think that if you have a concussion you would pass out. That’s not the case with all concussions, he says.
You also don’t have to one large hit. It could be a series of hits.
Vezzetti also sees plenty of kids come in with concussions that had nothing to do with playing sports. It depends on the time of the year. Yes, in August and September, he might see more kids with sports-related concussions, but in other times of the year it could be hitting your head while diving into a pool, falling from a playground or from a car accident.
“You can get a concussion just by falling down or running into a door,” he says.
If you think your young football player is safe because they have a helmet, know this: a helmet doesn’t protect from concussion. It can prevent a skull fracture or a bleed in the brain, but a concussion is about the movement of the brain within the skull. A helmet can’t protect against that.
Vezzetti does have these recommendations to limit your concussion risk:
Practice good hydration and nutrition and good conditioning.
In football, hit with the shoulders, not with the head and neck.
Be mindful what’s around you; know where the baseball is before it hits you.
If you’re having symptoms, tell someone and don’t go back in and play.
It’s also a good idea to use safety equipment such as mats and spotters in wrestling, gymnastics and cheerleading.
“Between 1998 and 2014, there were 123 unsuccessful attempts to develop drugs to treat Alzheimer’s – or as some call them “failures.” In that time frame, four new medicines were approved to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease; for every research project that succeeded, about 30 failed to yield a new medicine.”
We need to be intervening much sooner, way before anyone is diagnosed, to stop the disease from progressing.
There actually might not be one Alzheimer’s. There might be different kinds and the drug treatments that work for one might not work for all. The drugs we’ve been testing might actually have been effective but only for a subset of the disease.
Paydarfar says we need to get a better sense of what causes Alzheimer’s. He likens it to decades before when researchers thought that smoking was causing ulcers when actually it was bacteria.
“Research might be barking up the wrong tree,” he says. “Is there something that we’re missing?”
We also might be developing treatments that are one size fits all when really we need many different treatments for many different kinds of dementia.
Years ago, anyone with dementia was given an Alzheimer’s designation and then researchers started figuring out that in one kind of dementia that is now called vascular dementia people were actually having damage from a series of ministrokes. It wasn’t what we thought of as Alzheimer’s at all.
To make more breakthroughs in treatment of Alzheimer’s or what we’ve been calling Alzheimer’s, Paydarfar is looking at better predicting with certainty down to the exact person who will get the disease. He and other researchers are trying to find biomarkers. Knowing with certainty that a person is going to get Alzheimer’s will help scientists develop treatments that are preventative rather than restorative.
He’s also looking at improved imagery of the brain that will allow us to better track the progression of the disease as well as to better track the progress of treatments.
He also wonders if the disease is not a reaction by the body’s immune system to an infection or inflammation. He points to people with vascular dementia who experience a worsening of symptoms every time they have a minor infection.
While there’s nothing coming down the pipe from drug developers that has gotten beyond stage two or stage three in trials, he remains an optimist. In his career as a neurologist, he has seen remarkable strides made in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and in the treatment of strokes.
“I came into neurology at a time when there were very few treatments for any neurological diseases,” he says. He remembers hospitals with entire wards of people with MS. Now they are getting treatment at home.
And in strokes, “prevention and treatment when it’s happening has just been breathtaking.”
He hopes for a substantial breakthrough in the next five years. “I’ve seen it happen twice now,” he says. “With the right investment, leadership and talent, I feel very optimistic.”
Women of the world know, pee happens. You laugh, you pee. You cough, you pee. Does it have to be that way?
A new program through Dell Medical School at the University of Texas is helping more women be seen by people who treat pelvic floor disorders such as pelvic organ prolapse, bladder pain, and urinary or fecal incontinence. It started as a pilot program this summer to add another urogynecologist at CommUnityCare’s Women’s Health Care Clinic as well as provide more access to nurse practitioners, physical therapists and behavioral health specialists.
Now it’s become a larger program opened to everyone through the UT Health Austin clinic.
“We’ve created care pathways,” says Dr. Amy Young, chair of Dell Medical School’s Department of Women’s Health.
The initial pilot program, which saw patients from ages 35 to 80, cut the average wait time at the CommUnityCare clinic from 55 days to 24 days, but it also gave women more of a full picture of what is available to them.
“We’re giving patients shared decisions on the treatments they want,” she says. That might mean choosing physical therapy instead of surgery or opting for medications. The mental health aspect of that is also important, she says.
When women have pelvic floor disorders, “they don’t come forward. With the stigma of the diseases, they won’t talk about them because of embarrassment and the shame,” she says.
Yet, 30 percent to 40 percent of women who are post-menopausal have one of these conditions, and 40 percent of all women will have one of these conditions at some point in her life, Young says.
“These conditions of a woman are really important and speaks volumes to the Community Care Collaborative that recognizes that it’s a problem that affects quality of life,” she says. The Community Care Collaborative is a a nonprofit partnership between Central Health and the Seton Healthcare Family.
Having these issues is more about genetics than the act of giving birth, Young says. Sometimes it’s pelvic floor weakness, but sometimes it’s overactive muscles near the bladder.
“They don’t have to leak in many cases, or the amount of leaking they do could be reduced,” she says.
Dell Medical School will study the program and ask patients to assess their satisfaction in the care they receive and whether they felt like it helped them.
The hope is that the pilot and continuing program will help make this the standard care for women.
Why are diapers such a big deal? They are one of those things not covered by the Women, Infant and Children Program (WIC) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or what we like colloquially refer to as food stamps. They also aren’t covered by benefits like Medicare or Medicaid (unless you are a child who has incontinence passed the age of which you should be potty trained).
So, if your family is living in poverty or you’re an older adult on a fixed income, you don’t get help with buying diapers without having a program like the Austin Diaper Bank. The bank collects diapers and delivers them to 40 different local nonprofit groups from Georgetown to San Marcos. Since it started in 2013, it has donated 750,000 diapers locally.
This week is Diaper Need Awareness Week and to call attention to the need out there, the Austin Diaper Bank is having an open house 4-7 p.m. Friday at its offices at 8711 Burnet Road, Suite B-34. www.austindiaperbank.org
“Diaper Need Awareness Week is a great time for the public to learn how the diapers distributed year-round by the Austin Diaper Bank make a difference for thousands of Central Texas families who struggle to afford diapers,” said Holly McDaniel, the bank’s new executive director, in a press release. “Diaper need impacts an estimated 12,000 babies and toddlers in Travis County alone, in addition to a growing number of adults.”
Without clean diapers, babies cannot attend childcare programs, which means that their caregivers cannot go to work. Adults and babies without clean diapers also are at risk for infections and disease.
Come to the bank Friday, drop off some diapers and learn more about the need.
Little Thinkers Club.Get Into Shapes.9:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Fridays, through Oct. 27. $20 per class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Fridays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick your own pumpkins and more. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday through Nov. 8. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, Marble Falls. sweetberryfarm.com
Pollyanna Theatre Company presents “A Moon of My Own.” A young girl goes on an adventure with the moon. For kids kindergarten through second grade. 9:30 a.m. Oct. 2, Oct. 5-6; 11:30 a.m. Friday, Monday, Oct. 5-6; 2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, Oct. 7-8. $10.50-$13.50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
Engineer’s Day. Practice engineering with many hands-on activities led by engineers. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Free admission for the first 75 visitors. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. https://www.facebook.com/events/1507043482723110/
Baby Bloomers. Learn about colors. For infant to 3. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
Nature Play Hour. Play in the Family Garden. 11 a.m. Saturdays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
Toybrary Austin. Date night babysitting. For ages 1-5. $25 first child, $10 siblings. 5-8 p.m. Saturdays. Rainbow Party. Milly McSilly tells stories in this rainbow-themed party. $10. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com
BookPeople Story times:Hello Autumn. 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturday story time at all locations:“Runny Babbit Returns.”
Literature Live Presents: “Strega Nona.” 1 p.m. Saturday, Recycled Reads.
Lantern Festival. Release lanterns, dance, eat s’mores and more. $7-$60. Saturday-Sunday. 3 p.m. to past dark. Cotton Bowl Speedway, 1175 County Road 202, Paige. thelanternfest.com
Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin picking. 10 a.m.-8 pm. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday through Nov. 5. $14, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. bartonhillfarms.com
Zach Theatre presents “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.” Head to Narnia in the C.S. Lewis tale. 11 a.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. More shows through Feb. 10. $18-$24. Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road. zachtheatre.org
“Rosita y Conchita.” See this bilingual Día de los Muertos play about two sisters who try to reunite. $8-$12. 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, plus more shows through Oct. 29. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org
Austin School Expo. See what different preschools, private schools and charter schools are available to you. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday. Pan Am Rec Center, 2100 E. Third St. and Austin Sports Complex, 1420 Grande Toro Blvd. Free. austinschoolexpo.com
October is full of family-friendly events to try. Set your calendar for these events:
Lantern Festival. Release lanterns, dance, eat s’mores and more. $7-$60. Sept. 30-Oct. 1. 3 p.m. to past dark. Cotton Bowl Speedway, 1175 County Road 202, Paige. thelanternfest.com
Austin School Expo. See what different preschools, private schools and charter schools are available to you. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 1. Pan Am Rec Center, 2100 E. Third St. and Austin Sports Complex, 1420 Grande Toro Blvd. Free. austinschoolexpo.com
Dress up for Littles. Kids ages 1-5 can play dress up in different costumes. 10 a.m. Oct. 2. Brentwood Social House, 1601 W Koenig Lane.
Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. This month’s theme: Spooked. Free. 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 4. Reservations required. domainnorthside.com
Starry Nights. See a star show in the mini-planetarium and see how the Ancient Greeks saw the universe. 5-7 p.m. Oct. 5 Free. Girlstart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane. girlstart.org
Child safety car seat check. 9 a.m. Oct. 3. Free. Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive. 9 a.m. Oct. 9, CommUnity Care Clinic, 211 Comal St. 9 a.m. Oct. 18, Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane. Register at 512-972-7233. austintexas.gov.
Father-Daughter Dance. $10 per family. 6 p.m. Oct. 19, Virginia Brown Recreation Center, 7500 Blessing Ave. austintexas.gov
Barton Hill Farms.Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin picking. 10 a.m.-8 pm. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 5. $14, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. bartonhillfarms.com
Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick your own pumpkins and more. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 8. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, Marble Falls. sweetberryfarm.com
Halloween Carnival and Haunted House. $0.75 games, $1 haunted house. 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 12. Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St. austintexasgov
Pumpkin Carving. Free pumpkins based on household size, plus games, face painting and more. 11 a.m. Oct. 28. Saturday, Carver Center, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov
Boo at the Zoo. Dress up and enjoy the zoo with Halloween-themed activities. 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October. $17.50. Austin Zoo, 10808 Rawhide Trail. austinzoo.org
First Saturdays at the Carver Museum. Enjoy family events. Free. Noon Oct. 7. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov
Bullock Museum. H-E-B Free First Sunday.Go West. Free family fun around westward expansion. Noon Oct. 1. Living History Days. Reenactors stroll through the museum. 10 a.m. Oct. 5. Little Texans: My Favorite Things. 10 a.m. Oct. 12. Science Thursdays. 10 a.m. Oct. 19. Story time: Cowboys and Cowgirls. 10 a.m. Oct. 26. Spooktacular. Come dress for Halloween activities. 5 p.m. Oct. 27. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com
Thinkery.Community Night: Disability Awareness. 4-8 p.m. Oct. 11. Free, but donations go to Variety — the Children’s Charity of Texas. Little Thinkers Club. 1,2,3 … Paint with Me. Learn about painting. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds. Wednesdays, through Oct. 25. $20 per class, $140 for the series. Little Thinkers Club.Get Into Shapes. 9:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Fridays,through Oct. 27. $20 per class, $140 for the series. Monster Masterpieces. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds. Oct. 9. $20. Sensory Friendly Hours. Play from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Oct. 22, then head to The Alamo Drafthouse at Mueller for a sensory friendly screening of “Trolls” at 10:30 a.m. Made possible for free by Variety, but reserve your theater seat with a $5 voucher for food and drink.Family Night: Halloween Hootenanny.Come in costume and ready for fun. $15 adults, $13 children. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 27. Baby Bloomers. Learn about fall on the farm. For infant to 3. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Whisks and Wizards. Make Halloween-themed food. For ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Oct. 7-9, Oct. 21-22. $8. Costume Design. Make your own costume. For ages 4 and up. $8. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Oct. 14-15, Oct. 28-29.Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
Texas Museum of Science & Technology.Wee-Searchers for children 5 and younger. Learn about science through song, play and stories. 9 a.m. Oct. 11 and Oct. 25. Science Saturday: HalloweenSTEAM. Noon-4 p.m Oct. 28. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org
Wildflower Center. Movies in the Wild: “Flight of the Butterflies.” See the movie outside. $12, free for kids younger than 4. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 6. Tracks, Scats & Signs. See how animals have been busy in the garden. $15 adults, $10 children. Noon-2 p.m. Oct. 7. Nature Nets. See what’s in the ponds. Noon-2 p.m. Oct. 14. Afternoon Explorers: Nature Journaling. Create journals for writing and sketching. $15 adults, $10 children. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Oct. 27. Botanical Drawing. Create art based on the garden, for ages 10 and up. $40. 1-4 p.m. Oct. 28. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Nature Play Hour. Play in the Family Garden. 11 a.m. Saturdays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
Toybrary Austin. Gardening Class. 10:45 a.m. Tuesdays except. Oct. 17. Free. Date night babysitting. For ages 1-5. $25 first child, $10 siblings. 5-8 p.m. Saturdays. Daddy & Me Story Time. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 7. $7. Staci Gray Outdoor Concert. 6 p.m. Oct. 14. $10 per child. Peppa Pig visits. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 21. Halloween Party with Slime! 10: 30 a.m. Oct. 26. $10 per child. Pinkalicious Story Time with Paramount Theatre. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 28. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com
That’s My Face: Youth and Young Adult Film Series: “I am not Your Negro.” Free. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov
Alamo Drafthouse events. “Ghostbusters” Party. 7 p.m. Oct. 1, Mueller. “The Adams Family” Party. 4 p.m. Oct. 15, Mueller. “Goosebumps” with introduction by R.L. Stine. 4 p.m. Oct. 21, Mueller. Alamo for All, sensory-friendly screening of “Trolls.” 10:30 a.m. Oct. 22, Mueller. Free, but $5 food voucher required. drafthouse.com.
Zach Theatre presents “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.” Head to Narnia in the C.S. Lewis tale. 11 a.m. Sept. 30, Oct. 21; 2 p.m. Sept. 30, Oct. 1, Oct. 21, Oct. 28, Oct. 29. More shows through Feb. 10. $18-$24. Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road. zachtheatre.org
“Rosita y Conchita.” See this bilingual Día de los Muertos play about two sisters who try to reunite. $8-$12. 11 a.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 8, 14-15, 22 and 28-29; 1 p.m. Oct. 14-15, Oct. 22, Oct. 28-29. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org.
“Paw Patrol Live!” See the TV show come to the stage. Your favorite toys come to life on the stage. $23-$74. 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Oct. 28, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Oct. 29. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
Halloween Concert. Hear Halloween-themed music from the Austin Symphony. $14-$19. 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Oct. 29. Austin ISD Performing Arts Center, 1925 E. 51st St. austinsymphony.org.
Austin Kiddie Limits. Hear kids music plus build things, make art and dance. Free for kids 10 and younger with parent with a wristband. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 6-8, Oct. 13-15. Zilker Park. aclfestival.com/kids.
Big Don Kid Show. It’s a hip-hop storytelling show, plus CD release party. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 1, Cherrywood Coffeehouse, 1400 E. 38th 1/2 St.
BookPeople events.Events: Julie Fogliano and Christian Robinson read “When’s My Birthday?” 11:30 a.m. Oct. 1; Katherine Applegate reads and signs “Wishtree.” 6 p.m. Oct. 4; Tara Dairman, Jeannie Mobley and Christina Soontornvat read “The Great Hibernation,” Bobby Lee Claremont and the Criminal Element” and “In a Dark Land.” 2 p.m. Oct. 8. Marit Weisenberg reads “Select.” 7 p.m. Oct. 10. Will Kostakis and Adi Alsaid read and sign “The Sidekicks” and “North of Happy.” 6 p.m. Oct. 22. Story times: New books, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 3; Baby Signs, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 4; Monsters are our Friends, 11:30 a.m. Oct. 7; Milly McSilly, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 10; Ms. Staci Gray, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 11; Diwali, 11:30 a.m. Oct. 14; Armstrong Community Music School, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 17; Tiny Tails to You Petting Zoo, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 18; Paramount Theatre Pinkalicious, 11:30 a.m. Oct. 21; Princess Adventures, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 24; Modern First Library, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 25; Best Friends Forever, 11:30 a.m. Oct. 28; Halloween Trick-or-Treat for Books, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 31. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
Barnes & Noble Events: Lego Make and Take Ninjango. 4 p.m. Oct. 7, all locations; 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations: “The Poky Little Puppy,” Oct. 7; “After the Fall,” Oct. 14; “Good Day, Good Night,” Oct. 21; “Mary McScary,” Oct. 28.
Sew Happy, for ages 10 and up. 5 p.m. Oct. 3, Manchaca Road Branch.
Bow Wow Reading with Aussie. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 4, North Village Branch. Bow Wow Reading with Roo. 4:30 p.m. Oct. 4, Oct. 11, Oct. 18, Oct. 25; Little Walnut Creek Branch. Bow Wow Reading with George. 3:45 a.m. Oct. 11, Pleasant Hill Road.
We love when kids play sports. They are getting physical fitness, and they are learning important lessons about working with other people, perseverance and mental toughness.
But coming in contact with so many other people on the field can help spread infectious disease, says a report released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The report found that about 10 to 15 percent of injuries that keep college athletes off the field are infectious diseases.
Some of the common concerns for high school football and wrestling is Methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA), Group A Streptococcus; herpes simplex virus; tinea capitis (ringworm); tinea pedis (athlete’s foot); scabies and lice.
Coaches should also worry about varicella zoster virus (chicken pox), measles and mumps — all which can be prevented by vaccinations.
The report recommends that kids do these things:
Shower after practice.
Wash hands frequently.
Avoid sharing water bottles, mouth guards, towels and other personal items.
Be current in vaccinations.
Be screened for skin conditions and other infections at the physical.
Coaches can do these things:
Teach student athletes proper personal hygiene, including proper laundering of uniforms and avoiding sharing of drinks or personal products, such as razors.
Develop a plan for cleaning and maintenance of sporting environment using guidelines such as those published by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Pay special attention to proper management of blood and other bodily fluids, just as hospitals have concentrated on preventing hospital-associated infections.
Routinely screen athletes during practices and before and after competitions.
“The best thing coaches can do is identify the problem early, even if it is something as benign-looking as a cold sore, so they can prevent its spread,” Said Dr. Stephen G. Rice, a member of the AAP Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, in a press release. “We want the students not only to participate in sports, but to have a good experience.”
The study actually didn’t find any link, says Dr. Sina Haeri, director of perinatal research and co-director of maternal-fetal medicine at St. David’s Women’s Center of Texas. “The devil’s in the details,” he says. Researchers in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention were looking retrospectively at data and the first time they did so, they found no association, he says. The second time when they looked at different data, they found a slight risk, but nothing to cause doctors to stop recommending flu shots for their pregnant patients or patients who are thinking about becoming pregnant.
The worry with the flu is the high fever that comes with it. In the first trimester it can cause malformations such as spino bifida, Haeri says.
It’s also not safe for a baby to be at those higher temperatures as the pregnancy progresses. Some of the medications doctors might give to treat the symptoms of the flu also might not be healthy for the baby to have.
In the third trimester or right after a mother gives birth, it’s also dangerous for her to have the flu. This is a time her body is working harder and is more vulnerable to illnesses.
That third trimester is also a time when the baby is pushing up into her lungs. This makes having a respiratory disease especially concerning. Doctors worry about pneumonia, which is not something you want, especially when you’re about to give birth or have just given birth.
Haeri also knows this about his patients: “Healthy women are less likely to get care.”
If they have been otherwise healthy, they don’t worry about the symptoms they are feeling with the flu. They will put off going to the doctor until after it becomes more serious.
If you’re pregnant and haven’t had the flu shot, but are around someone with the flu, Haeri would like you to go ahead and take a flu preventative like a Tamiflu to lessen the chances of getting or lessening the severity of it if you do get it.
Stronger Austin is a private, public partnership launching Saturday with the goal of shining a light on the disparities between neighborhoods that would earn the “fittest city” designation and neighborhoods that would not.
Stronger Austin Day on Saturday at Turner Roberts Recreation Center will include field activities, a Zumba class, health screenings, boot camp, a cooking demonstration, a three-on-three basketball tournament, and a community walk.
Working with neighborhoods in ZIP codes 78724, 78741, 78744, 78745, 78752 and 78753, Stronger Austin is a collaboration between It’s Time Texas, Austin Parks and Recreation Department, the Austin Public Health Department, My Brother’s Keeper Austin, and the University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.
The initiative will spend $250,000 this first year to provide more classes on fitness, nutrition and cooking for all age groups and fitness levels as well as create fitness groups. It will both create new opportunities as well as make the neighborhoods more aware of existing programs.
One of the first things will be to increase the number of It’s Time Texas after-school Teach Healthier classes in schools. All of the classes should be accessible to a neighborhood by walking, which is why Stronger Austin is putting its programs in schools, churches, parks and recreation centers.
The goal is to “help them to improve their health behaviors and improve their health outcomes,” Harrell says. UT School of Public Health will measure things like participation and level of satisfaction at first and then do more comprehensive monitoring of behavior changes and physical changes in participants.
“We are collectively committed to this long-term,” Harrell says. “This is not a short term intervention.”
The goal is to make Austin a community where health is important for everyone, Harrell says. Just like we keep Austin weird, he says, we want to keep Austin healthy.
Stronger Austin Day
When: 10 a.m. to Noon Saturday
Where: Turner Roberts Recreation Center, 7201 Colony Loop Drive