Get ready. Flu season expected to be bad

Look out, Central Texas, the flu will be coming our way, and those epidemiologists — the experts in disease — believe it’s going to be a rough season. Doctors have  started to see increases of cases in Massachusetts and Georgia and in neighboring states Oklahoma and Louisiana.

drian Tadeo, 7, grimaces a little as he receives a flu shot from nurse Tanya Roland, left, during a visit to St. John’s Clinic Shots for Tots/Big Shots. The flu shot will help lessen the flu symptoms if you get the flu.  (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

In Austin, we’re not seeing a deluge yet, says Dr. Albert Gros, chief medical officer at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. In fact, it’s been light, but with other states seeing increases, he predicts we’ll see them, too.

Why? The holidays. Folks will be traveling in the next two weeks to states with more cases and bringing flu home with them.

What can you do?

Get your flu shot. Even though the vaccine has been shown to be only 10 percent effective in Australia against one strain — the H3N2 — it still can lessen the effects of the flu on people who are vaccinated. “It’s discouraging,” Gros says, “But it’s still better than than nothing.”

Anyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu shot, and children up to age 8 should get two shots the first time, about a month apart. It takes about two weeks after receiving the shot to build up full immunity. For people age 65 and older, there’s now a stronger shot they can get.  

A flu shot is especially important for the very young and the very old as well as anyone who has a disease that compromises the immune system such as diabetes or a malignancy or if they have a respiratory disease.

If you feel sick, see a doctor ASAP. The good news is that the strain of flu that the shot isn’t as effective at preventing does respond well to treatments such as Tamiflu. The catch is that you need to begin taking the antivirals 24 hours to 48 hours of getting the flu. If your doctor can’t see you, head to an urgent care center.

How do you know if it’s the flu? A flu comes with high fever, body aches and often a sore throat. A cold often does not have that high fever or body aches. Cedar fever — that Central Texas allergy plague caused by the juniper trees — doesn’t come with a high fever. It does come with irritated eyes. When it doubt, see a doctor.

If you’re sick, stay home. “You’re not doing any co-workers or classmates any favors,” Gros says, if you come to the office or to school with the flu.

Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often. Sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow, not your hand or the air around you.

Austin boy trying to raise $1 million for Batten disease treatment for sister

When his parents set out to raise $6 million in two years to fund a Food and Drug Administration clinical trial for a possible treatment for Batten disease, Garland Benson, 13, decided last March he was going to raise $1 million of that to help find a treatment for his sister, Christiane. He would do it, he decided, by asking 100,000 people to give $10.

Garland Benson is trying to raise $1 million for a treatment for Batten disease, which his sister Christiane has.

“One day I was like, this takes $6 million. That’s a lot. It’s too much for me to ask for. Let’s start at a million,” he says. “If I can raise $1 million, everyone else can come up with $5 million.”

Everyone else has raised $3.3 million since Sept. 2016 for Beyond Batten Disease Foundation’s Be Project. “They’ve been doing a pretty good job,” Garland says. He’s raised $169,000 for his Be a Hero project. People donate through his website page on BeyondBatten.org or by texting “Hero” to 501501.

He’s had donations from as far away as France. Friends and family have shared it with their friends and family. He and his friends at Hyde Park Middle School have formed a group called Brothers for Batten, which raises money by doing different things including an upcoming garage sale.

“We found a treatment,” he says. “We just need to fund it. It will help a lot. Maybe after that, we could try to find a cure. We haven’t gotten that far yet.”

His sister, Garland says, really loves skiing and playing golf. She loves cooking and painting and Harry Potter, both the books and the movies. She loves to walk her dogs.

“Her personality is so determined,” mother Charlotte Benson says. “She’s so strong-willed. She does not quit trying.”

Christiane was 5 when she was diagnosed 10 years ago. Batten disease is a rare genetic disease in which both parents are carriers of a genetic mutation. It’s a disease in which the lipopigments, which are made of fat and protein, build up in the brain and the person doesn’t have the ability to clear the cells of them. It causes kids to become clumsy, and then become blind, have seizures and become developmental delayed. In Christiane’s type, the life expectancy is sometime in late teens, early 20s.

She is now almost blind and has seizures.

Her parents were told there was nothing they could do when she was diagnosed. There were no treatments. They were told to go home and make their child comfortable.
“This is one of those rare orphan diseases that falls into the abyss,” father Craig Benson says. There wasn’t the funding or attention for research to be done.

The Bensons weren’t going to accept that. “We’ve got to do something to change this,” Charlotte Benson said.

At the time of her diagnosis, Craig Benson was the CEO of Rules Based Medicine, a life science diagnostic company. He had connections to the pharmaceutical industry and to researchers.

They founded the nonprofit Beyond Batten Disease Foundation and hired a chief science officer. They began raising money to start doing research into Batten disease and partnered with other foundations in similar diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s that had more funding and more publicity. Because, Batten disease didn’t have a lot of dollars or energy going toward it, they had to start from the beginning.

“We found ourselves as the global quarterbacks,” Craig Benson says. “We had to fund the tools to be able to allow research.”

They found neurologist Dr. Huda Zoghbi at Texas Children’s Hospital, who knew some Italian researchers, who had  promising treatment possibilities. Beyond Batten funded bringing those researchers to Houston to work with Zoghbi.

The proposed treatment is two components: one an oral medicine and the other a food additive that is given in an IV injection. It’s not a cure, but they believe it could delay the progression.

The Garlands have accepted that their daughter may not live beyond her 20s. They believe, though, that they “were the right people at the right time” to create a change in the treatment for Batten. Charlotte Benson remembers a fellow Batten parent coming up to Craig Benson at a conference after they first formed the foundation. “She said, ‘We’ve been praying for you. We’ve been praying that someone would come along that could do something to help this disease,'” Charlotte Benson says.

One of those right people, is son Garland. “I’m so glad for him that he like us can feel like he’s doing something,” Charlotte Benson says. “He’s just naturally a sweet kid.”

For Garland, he wants to raise $1 million and believes he can. After that, he plans on joining the NBA, or opening up the next Cabela’s, or investing in the oil and gas industry, or possibly become an architect. He’s got time. He just turned 13.

What should you give a teacher for the holidays?

There are certain times of the year when teacher gifts are kind of the thing to do. Think: Teacher appreciation week in May, end of the school year and the Christmas/Hanukkah/winter holidays.

You don’t have to, but it’s good etiquette to do so. Even if you don’t love your child’s teacher or teachers, it’s nice to thank them for putting up with your kid.

Sixth grade teacher Sarita Lakey, left, greets student Brayan Lopez, as he arrives at Austin Achieve public school for the start of a new school year in 2015. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

We hear from our teacher friends about what they are given and what they’d really like to receive. Here are some ideas;

  1. Not food. Why? You might not know if your kid’s teacher has an allergy or is trying to lose weight or be healthier, or just doesn’t like the food item you have provided. (Confession: We break this rule every year when my kids show up with Girl Scout chocolate covered pretzels in December. So, let me apologize right now. The pretzels are doing a good thing, though: This year, the money raised by us buying the pretzels has helped my daughter build a butterfly garden at her school as her Girl Scout Silver Project, which is akin to the Boy Scout Eagle Project.)
  2. Gift cards to something that is not school-related. Think about opportunities for them to pamper themselves. Find out what their favorite restaurant is or favorite store. Try not to make it something utilitarian. The teachers in our life have a tendency to do things like buy supplies for their class rather than pamper themselves.
  3. A pamper-yourself basket: Try to avoid hand lotion and candles because like the food items, teachers get a ton of that and they can be really smelly. Think about some fuzzy socks, a fun magazine, some playing cards or a game — anything your teacher likes to do.
  4. A germ-protection basket: This is the time of the year when your kids are the most germy and think about that times 25 in a class. Fill it with some antibacterial wipes or gel, a funny mug with some tea and honey, cough drops, Airborne gummies, some oranges, tissues, a gift card to CVS or Walgreens. Include a funny apology note in advance if your kid makes them sick.
  5. A thank-you note from you and from your child: That means even more than any material item. Make sure it’s sincere, though. Highlight all the ways they have helped your child and all the things your child has learned. They will keep these notes forever. My mom still has many of the ones she received. The dearest ones to her: The ones that came from the especially difficult child or parent — especially the ones that came years later. These notes are a reminder of how much of a difference she made to that child.

RELATED: Think ahead to teacher appreciation week with these ideas

Enter to win tickets to ‘Pitch Perfect 3’

I don’t know why, but this one has my whole family excited. It might be somewhat inappropriate, but I know my whole Girl Scout troop loves this film and their mothers do, too. It’s PG-13, so let that be your guide.

Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and Beca (Anna Kendrick) star in “Pitch Perfect 3.” Quantrell D. Colbe

You can win two tickets to see a 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 screening of  “Pitch Perfect 3” in North Austin.

Send an email to nvillalpando@statesman.com with your name and phone number and tell us who your favorite character is. We’ll take entries through Dec. 14 and notify winners on Dec. 15.

In this “Pitch,” the Bellas return after winning the World Championships and find what many Millennials are discovering, their job prospects aren’t what they thought they would be. They get the chance to reunite for an overseas tour. Look out! A capella high jinks ensues. The movie comes to theaters Dec. 22.

See the trailer here:

 

What will you do with no school Friday? We have 10 ideas

[cmg_anvato video=4245404]

OK, parents, what’s your plan? With Austin, Bastrop, Eanes, Hayes, Manor, Del Valle, Elgin and more districts canceling school on Friday because of the threat of ice, what will you do with the kids?

First, there’s the EEK my kids have no school! We get to sleep in!

Then there’s the EEK my kids have no school and now a three-day weekend. When will the choruses of “I’m bored” hit? (Catch my weekend calendar, here.)

Here are a couple if ideas of what you can do Friday, if you can’t or don’t want to leave the house:

If there’s still snow on the ground, build a snow man. OK, it will be tiny, but why not? One year, we used Mr. Potato Head parts to decorate the one we made.

In 2007, it snowed enough to make a snowman. Ava and Ben Villalpando built a small one in the driveway. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Plan and make a meal together. Haven’t gone grocery shopping and don’t want to brave the store in the rain? No worries. We bet you can scrounge up some ingredients that you have on hand. Get the kids involved to see how creative you can get. This is also the perfect time to teach kids how to bake a cake from scratch.

Make recycled crafts. Dig through your recycling bin and the junk drawer for some found objects. Bring out the glue, the tape, the markers, the glitter, the stickers, the paint. Bragging rights or prizes could be awarded. There could even be judges.

The Little Yoga House

Get some exercise. Search YouTube for yoga for kids and do a session together. Blow up a balloon, move out the furniture in your living room and play volleyball. Play hide and seek. Have a snowball fight if there’s still snow on the ground.

 Make homemade Play-Doh. DIY Natural has this recipe: 

1 cup of flour (whatever kind you have on hand)

¼ cup of salt

½ cup of water

3 to 5 drops of food coloring

Mix together the flour and the salt.

Mix together ½ cup of warm water with a few drops of food coloring.

Slowly pour the water into the flour mixture, stirring as you pour. Stir until combined, then knead with your hands until the flour is completely absorbed. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour until it doesn’t stick at all.

Or make Goop, which is one part water to two parts corn starch. Mix it in a zippered bag. Throw in some food coloring and get to playing.

 

Watch “Moana” again and sing along. Disney

Hold a moviethon in your house. Check out the Netflix, the Hulu, the Amazon Prime for the movies your kids haven’t yet seen, or show them some classics from your childhood. Pop the popcorn and enjoy.

“The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats.

Bring on the books. Story time is great togetherness time. Build a fort out of sheets in the living room and use your flashlights to have a story adventure.

Bring out the board games and cards. Start with Go Fish and work your way up to poker (no betting… OK, maybe just pennies). Our new favorite board game is “The Oregon Trail” based on that computer game I played as a kid in school when they were teaching us how to program on an Apple IIc. We also love some “Apples to Apples” and that game that is about a bull and his excrement.

Make puppets. That sock that is missing its match, that lunch bag or gift bag make a perfect medium. Or eat Popsicles and use the sticks to attach paper characters to. (See we just wanted the Popsicle.) You can even create a play to go with your new puppet friends. If the light goes out, create shadow puppets using a flashlight.

Have a dance party. Oh, yes! Crank up the jams and get grooving. You can even introduce them to something from the 1980s. What?

 

A perfect weekend for finding some holiday fun in Austin, Dec. 8-10

The sun will come out again this weekend and the weather will be warmer. There’s so much to do this week: many trails lined with lights, holiday plays, Santas to see. How will you choose?

Friday

Pictures with Santa. 10:30 a.m. Friday. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

Friday Movie Matinee “Home Alone.” 3 p.m. Friday, Old Quarry Branch.

Little Thinkers Club. Amazing Animals. Make art and do yoga inspired by animals. 9:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Fridays through Dec. 15. $20 per class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

People explore a light tunnel during the Winter Wonderland event at Circuit of the Americas. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Friday-Saturday

Winter Wonderland at the Circuit of the Americas. See lights, go skating, enter the petting zoo and Santa’s workshop and more. 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $16, plus additional fees for some activities. circuitoftheamericas.com/winter-wonderland.

“The Elves and the Shoemaker.” For ages 5 and older. 3:30 p.m. Friday, Howson Branch; 2 p.m. Saturday, Hampton Branch.

Ballet Austin’s production of “The Nutcracker.” Choreography by Stephen Mills. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Friday-Sunday

Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker.” 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $15-$98. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Luminations. It’s back. See the Wildflower Center outlined in luminarias. 6 to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday. $15. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. Ride a hay ride to the Christmas tree grounds and select your tree. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com

Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm. Buy Christmas trees through Christmas Eve. Noon to dark daily, except Saturdays, when it opens at 10 a.m. Weekends there’s s’mores making and pine cone painting, too. 242 Monkey Road. evergreen-farms.com

Trail of Lights. 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, through Dec. 28. Free. EmilyAnn Theatre, 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org

Mozart’s Christmas Light Show. 6 to 11 p.m. nightly through Jan. 1. Mozart’s Coffee Roasters at Oyster Landing, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd. mozartscoffee.com

Go skating at the ice rink at Whole Foods downtown.
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Whole Foods Skating on the Plaza. Go ice skating 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. now through Jan. 15. Closed Christmas Day. $10 per person. Whole Foods Market, 525 N. Lamar Blvd. wholefoodsmarket.com

Zilker Tree. The tree will be lighted every night from through Dec. 31. Zilker Park. austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree

Meet & Greet with Santa. Come meet Santa at the Hill Country Galleria. Noon-6 p.m. Sunday, 4-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday. Plus a synchronized tree lighting every half hour 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd. hillcountrygalleria.com

 

Saturday

Story time with Mrs. Claus. 11 a.m. Saturday. Hill Country Galleria Central Plaza Pavilion. hillcountrygalleria.com

Winter Fest. 10 a.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.

Baby Bloomers. Learn all about winter. For infant to 3. 9 a.m.  Saturdays. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Holiday Open House. 11 a.m. Saturday, Willie Mae Kirk Branch; noon Saturday, Pleasant Hill Branch; 1 p.m. Saturday, Howson Branch; 2 p.m. Saturday, Manchaca Road Branch.

 

 

 

 

Blanton Museum of Art. Holiday Family Day. Road trip-inspired activities. Free with admission. Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. blantonmuseum.org

Toybrary Austin. Date night babysitting. For ages 1-5. $25 first child, $10 siblings. 5-8 p.m. Saturdays. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com

“Holiday Heroes” at Zach Theater has become a holiday tradition. Kirk Tuck

“Holiday Heroes.” Zach Theatre’s annual Christmas family tradition. 11 a.m. Saturday. $18-24. Topfer Theater, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org

Contemporary Austin. Families Create: Gingerbread Villas. Make your own candy home. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Zach Theatre presents “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.” Head to Narnia in the C.S. Lewis tale. 11 a.m. Saturday. More shows through Feb. 10. $18-$24. Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road. zachtheatre.org

Harry Potter Fest. “Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Deathly Hallows Part 1.” 6 p.m. Saturday. Various prices. Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In. 12419 Lowden Lane, Manchaca. bluestarlitedrivein.com

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Big Golden Book.” .

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie. 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch; Mornings with Moxie. 10 a.m. Saturday, Manchaca Road Branch.

Saturday-Sunday

Austin Trail of Lights. The annual tradition begins. 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free admission Saturday. Zilker Park. austintrailoflights.org

Teddy Bear Tea. Tea, carolling and a reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” with Santa. Bring an unwrapped new teddy bear to donate to Dell Children’s Medical Center. While you’re there, don’t miss the gingerbread village. $30-$45. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 17. Four Seasons Hotel Austin, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. Make reservations by calling 512-685-8300. fourseasons.com/austin

“A Christmas Carol.” 10 a.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 17. $8-$10. EmilyAnn Theatre, 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org/productions

Alamo Drafthouse events: Kids Camp: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Lakeline, Slaughter Lane. PBS Kids Holiday Mix. 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Lakeline. drafthouse.com

“Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells.” Junie B. is ready to take on her nemesis May in this holiday story. 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday, Saturday. $10-$15. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org

Thinkery Gingerbread House Workshops. Traditional or Tot (ages 5 and younger) 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 2:45 p.m., 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. $12 per person plus $20 house kit. Gingerbread Art and Architecture for ages 7 and older. 10:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $12 per person plus $30 house kit. Candy Chemistry for ages 7 and up. Make candy to go on your house. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $12 per person plus $30 house kit. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Gingerbread House Workshop at The Candy Jar. 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $50 per house; children younger than 6 must have an adult with them. The Candy Jar, 12700 Hill Country Blvd. Suite 110. Register at thecandyjartx.com.

Sunday

Hideout Theatre Presents: “Monster Holidays.” 2 p.m. Sunday. $5. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave. hideouttheatre.org

An Afternoon with Santa. Take photos, make crafts and eat cookies. 3 p.m. Sunday. Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St. driskillhotel.com.

Holiday Cookie Decorating Class. 6 p.m. Sunday, Windsor Park Branch.

Austin Ukestra. 1 p.m. Sunday. Recycled Reads Bookstore.

 

 

 

 

Buying toys for Christmas? Follow these safety tips

In the 1983 Christmas movie “A Christmas Story,” everyone warns Ralphie: “You’ll shoot your eye out,” when he asks for a Red Ryder B.B. gun. And so, when he wakes up on Christmas morning and he is given a Red Ryder B.B. gun from Santa, what happens? He shoots his eye out … well, not really, but he does injure himself and break his glasses.

Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) visits a department store Santa (Jeff Gillen) as part of his campaign to find a BB gun under his tree in the classic holiday film ‘A Christmas Story.’ MGM

Want to avoid that this Christmas morning or Hanukkah night? The American Academy of Pediatrics offer these tips:

Make sure the toy is age-appropriate and fits the child’s abilities. Can they play with the toy by themselves?

Choose toys that work on building skills such as fine motor skills and cognitive abilities.

Read warning labels on the toy and the age level that is on the box.

Make sure all toys say “nontoxic.”

Make sure all electronic toys say “UL Certified.” The UL is a company that evaluates products for safety, including for choking hazards and toxicity.

Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission for recalls.  

Show your child how to use the toy the right way. 

Take off tags and strings before giving a toy to a child.

Avoid toys that are too loud and could affect their hearing. If they really want that toy, disable the sound mechanism if you can or remove the batteries.

Prevent choking by making sure all the toys and parts are larger than your child’s mouth. Children younger than age 3 cannot have parts less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/4 inches long.

Avoid toys that shoot objects in the air. Remember “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

Be cautious about toys containing button batteries or magnets. Kids eat them, and they can cause stomach and intestinal problems, even death.

Children younger than age 10 should not be given toys that need to be plugged in. Instead choose toys with batteries that have a battery case that they cannot get into.

Make sure stuffed toys are well-made. The seams and edges are secure, there are no loose ribbons or seams, the stuffing is not the small bean-like pellets. It should also be machine washable.

Make sure toys with pull-strings do not have strings that are longer than 12-inches. 

Do not give children younger than age 8 broken or uninflated balloons. They are a choking hazard.

 

Make sure plastic toys are sturdy and not made of thin plastic that will break easily.

Skip the hobby kits and chemistry sets for children younger than 12 years old. Do you want your 5-year-old around chemicals and things that can set the house on fire?

Skip the crib toys. All crib toys need to be removed from the crib as soon as your baby can push up on his hands and knees or is 5 months old.

If you’re thinking about giving kids screens, follow these new guidelines:

 

 

  • Children younger than 18 months of age: Avoid the use of any screen media except video chatting (with grandparents, for example).
  • Children ages 18 months to 24 months: Introduce high-quality programs or apps, but do it with your children to create a dialog about what they are seeing and how it relates to the world around them.
  • Children ages 2 to 5 years: Limit screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programs that you view with your children.
  • Children ages six and older, place consistent limits on time spent using media, the types of media and make sure that the use of media does not take the place of sleeping, exercise and other healthy behaviors.
  • Designate media-free times together such as during dinner or while driving as well as media-free locations at home such as bedrooms.
  • Have ongoing conversations about what it means to be a good citizen and be safe online and offline.

 

 

 

Store toys in a designated location and by age. Make sure the younger kids cannot get into the older kids’ toys.

Avoid toy boxes with lids that locks or a lid that is heavy. Use an open bin or open shelves in a bookcase that is anchored to the wall. If you do use a box, make sure the box has ventilation holes.

Find more tips at healthychildren.org.

 

 

 

 

Uterus donation offers new hope for women to get pregnant

Just up the road in Dallas, a family is celebrating the birth of a new baby. That baby lived for nine months inside a uterus in her mommy’s abdomen, just like most babies, but that uterus originally lived in another woman.

Will more women be able to become pregnant with a transplanted uterus? Photos.com

You see, Baylor University Medical Center, has a uterus transplant program for women who were either born without a uterus or have a severely damaged one. The trial was called the “absolute uterine factor trial” and was mostly for women who have Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome.

Time magazine gives the details in this story.

What’s really cool is that this new mom got her uterus from a mother who knew that she wouldn’t be using hers any more. The donor was done having kids, but wanted to help another woman carry a child.

The doctor, Robert T. Gunby Jr., who delivered the baby by Caesarean section remarked to Time: “When I started my career we didn’t even have sonograms. Now we are putting in uteruses from someone else and getting a baby.”

Fertility science has come along way. We recently wrote about what doctors at Texas Fertility Center are doing here in Austin, including genetic testing of embryos before implanting them, figuring out when the best day for implanting embryos is, rethinking the viability of some embryos, figuring out when the uterus takes over feeding the baby from the sack around egg follicle and more.

We’ve also written about pregnancy by surrogacy, miscarriage, egg donation, and a couple who wrote about their infertility struggle.

A uterus transplant seems magical, but just like all fertility treatments, it isn’t 100 percent. Baylor University Medical Center has done eight transplants out of the 10 it plans. Three have failed, it told Time, and one more has resulted in a pregnancy.

The procedure wasn’t inexpensive either. Time reports that it costs about $500,000 and the hospital got donations for the study participants.

Would this be something you would do? Would you donate your uterus?

Need diapers? Save the date for Austin Diaper Day

The Austin Diaper Bank is planning on distributing 200,000 diapers to the public Dec. 8.

From 1-3 p.m. next Friday, you can get a package of 100 children’s diapers at Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive.

Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center volunteer, Melinda Cook packs stacks of diapers for distribution on Thursday July 14, 2016 at the Austin Diaper Bank. The warehouse has expanded to a 1700 square foot building and does most of its distributions on Thursdays. Jessalyn Tamez / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

“The Austin Diaper Bank was recently blessed with large donations of diapers, and we want to give them to Austin area families who need them most this holiday season,” said Executive Director Holly McDaniel. “Our mission is to ensure that no child suffers because their family struggles to afford a sufficient supply of diapers to keep them clean and healthy.”

The bank estimates that 12,000 infants and toddlers in Travis County don’t have access to enough diapers. Diapers are not covered by federal assistance programs like SNAP (aka food stamps) and WIC (food and nutrition service).

The diaper bank’s typical distribution model is to give it to 40 community service organizations from Georgetown to San Marcos.  This will be the first time it’s giving diapers directly to the Austin public.

Since it was founded in 2013, the Diaper Bank has given more than a million diapers locally.

It also played a huge roll in relief efforts during Hurricane Harvey, giving 780,000 diapers to affected areas that first month.

Find out how to donate diapers of all sizes including adult sizes, wipes and diaper rash creams, or to donate money go to www.austindiaperbank.org.