Frightening Flu Facts
It’s shocking but true: The flu virus can kill. Every year, the flu kills between 3,000 and 49,000 people. A shocking new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 40 percent of children who died from the flu were perfectly healthy prior to being infected. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains that when your body is infected with the flu, your immune system puts all its attention toward fighting the virus, making you more susceptible to contracting secondary illnesses, like pneumonia or bacterial infections, which can result in death.
The Doctors are joined by Dr. Joseph Bresee, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch at the CDC Influenza Division, who describes how a healthy person could potentially die from the flu virus. He emphasizes the importance of receiving the flu vaccine, particularly for children who are 6 months of age or older and pregnant women.
This year, a new vaccine has been made available that protects against four strains of the flu, instead of the standard three strains. The CDC doesn’t recommend one vaccine over the other, and Dr. Bresee notes that any protection is helpful, as the traditional vaccine still protects against type A flu, which is the strain that is potentially lethal.
• Learn more about the flu.
April, 31, started to notice a discoloration on the skin above her upper lip about three years ago. At first, she says she thought she just needed to get her lip waxed, or that it was a weird tan. As she became more self-conscious about it, applying makeup every day to hide it, she decided to seek help. A dermatologist diagnosed her with melasma — a hyperpigmentation of the skin, often associated with hormonal changes — and began a laser treatment, which ultimately, she says, sent her skin into shock and burned it.
After a disappointing first treatment, April then sought a second opinion from dermatologist Dr. Asher Milgrom, who has been treating April for the last few months. Dr. Milgrom explains that the first step to treating melasma is to figure out what caused it. He says that we all have pigmented cells in our bodies that sometimes go “nuts” and produce too much pigment, for instance, during pregnancy. While hormonal fluctuations are a common cause, the condition can also appear as a result of skin irritations, such as excessive waxing or cystic acne. Furthermore, the more melanin you have in your skin, the more prone you are to getting melasma. Once the cause of the condition is understood, Dr. Milgrom says, the laser treatment can be customized for each patient’s particular skin type.
Learn more about melasma, and watch as April receives an onstage treatment from Dr. Milgrom.
Dr. Rachael Goes Back to School
Family medicine physician and sexologist Dr. Rachael Ross surprises a group of young female students at South Shore High School in her hometown of Chicago to answer their most pressing health questions. The students express their fears about everything from gun violence and bullying to teenage pregnancy, all of which pose an everyday threat to their plans for a bright future. When Dr. Rachael asks how many of the girls have lost family members to gun violence and know a teen who has had a baby, she’s astounded by the number of hands raised.
Each year, almost 750,000 women in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant, making the U.S. teen pregnancy rate the highest in the developed world, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
One student that Dr. Rachael bonded with in particular was Samantha, a junior at South Shore with dreams of owning her own chain of hair salons. To help her on her path to success, The Doctors flies Samantha out to Hollywood and introduces her to celebrity hair stylist and salon owner Kim Vo.
To Mix or Not to Mix
Dr. Travis and physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist Dr. Ian Smith share at-home safety tips you need to know.