• Kelly Daniels/Strollersandstilettos.blog(ATLANTA) -- One expecting mother spent so much time in Taco Bell thanks to her pregnancy cravings that she knew exactly where she'd shoot her maternity photos.Kristin Johnston, who lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia, posed at sunset in front of her local Taco Bell in a bright red floor-length gown and a string of pearls.The now-mother of two said she was inspired to have her maternity shoot there after looking up ideas on Pinterest, where she spotted an elderly couple who shot their senior portraits at the restaurant."I want to do something a little different," Johnston, 33, explained to ABC News. "So I said, 'I have to take my maternity pictures there. I’m spending so much time and money there with my cravings. That's the place I've got to go.'"Johnston -- who was already a mother to a 1-year-old son named Sawyer with her husband of nearly three years, Cody -- tapped her best friend Kelly Daniels to trek to Taco Bell with her for the shoot."She loves everything Taco Bell," Daniels, 33, told ABC News. "I was not at all surprised."Last month, the two met outside of the restaurant at sunset "so it can be really good lighting," Johnston noted.Daniels recalled, "She steps out of her huge mom mobile and she steps out of it in her floor-length red gown and [the Taco Bell is] right at one of the busiest intersections. We got quite an audience every time a red light came around."Johnston, who welcomed the baby -- Theodore Johnston -- featured in the photo shoot last week, said she's thrilled with how the photos turned out. She noted that even her husband was amused by the photo shoot."He can’t wait to get a picture in a frame on his desk," she said.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes the nation is at peak flu season, as the disease is now considered to be an epidemic, based on its medical impact, the federal agency said Friday.The rate of hospitalizations for pneumonia and the flu is continuing to climb amid a CDC warning of several more weeks of significant flu activity."What we're seeing this year -- the influenza season started earlier and seems to be peaking right about now,” Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan, director of the Influenza Division in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) at the CDC, told "GMA" Wednesday."That's about a month earlier than it normally would be peaking," he said, "so lots of cases [are] happening, in lots of states, all at the same time."There were seven pediatric flu deaths last week, bringing the total to 20 for the flu season, the CDC said.Trips to the doctor for flu-like illnesses might be starting to stabilize; 26 states are reporting high-levels of outpatient visits, the same as last week.High flu activity has been reported in New York City as well as Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming, the CDC said.Outbreaks of the flu have closed some schools in states including Alabama, Idaho, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.Antiviral drugs are also approved and recommended for treatment if taken within 48 hours of the beginning of symptoms. They can prevent serious complications from the flu, the CDC said, particularly for people in the highest risk groups: children younger than 5 and adults older than 65.Influenza H3N2 has been the most common strain in this cycle, which is usually more severe, the CDC said."Whenever [H3N2] shows up, it causes lots of disease, lots of hospitalizations, lots of cases and lots of deaths," Jernigan said.Over the past couple of years, H3N2 had not been as prevalent."We know that the influenza vaccine is the best way to prevent, but in this season it is not as effective as it is for the other viruses that circulate," Jernigan said.Though a recent Australian study raised the idea that the vaccine might be only 10 percent effective against this year's flu, he said that estimate does not necessarily apply to the United States, or to other strains of the flu that are circulating."The 10 percent is a very low estimate that came out of Australia over their season last summer," Jernigan said. "The same kind of virus that we had last year was around 30 percent to 33 percent effective for the H3 component. It’s actually more effective for the other parts of the vaccine that are trying to prevent the other flus circulating."The flu vaccine is still recommended, the CDC said, explaining it's not too late to get the shot because many weeks of flu season remain.
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  • ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) -- A new online challenge that involves teens putting Tide laundry-detergent pods in their mouths is raising concerns among experts.
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  • ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) -- Celebrity trainer Latreal Mitchell shared some of her favorite workout moves you can do from home to help get the whole family in shape on "Good Morning America" Friday.
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  • (Courtesy of Holly Butcher/Luke Ashley-Cooper) Holly Butcher posted this photo to her Facebook account on March 27, 2017.(NEW YORK) -- A 27-year-old Australian woman who lost her battle with a rare form of cancer had asked her family to share the last letter she wrote on her deathbed.Holly Butcher's last words soon went viral on Facebook after being posted on January 3, one day before she passed away, with more than 131,000 people sharing it on the social network.Butcher, who resided in Grafton in New South Wales, Australia, began her lengthy note by saying that she planned to write "a bit of life advice.""It’s a strange thing to realize and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore," she started. "The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; until the unexpected happens."Continuing, she wrote, "That’s the thing about life. It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right. I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands."Butcher then encouraged her family and friends to stop whining "about ridiculous things.""Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it," she suggested. "It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively effect other people’s days."Butcher also advised that people don't "obsess" over their bodies and what they eat."I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go," she wrote. "It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole."After advising her family and friends to use their money "on experiences" instead of presents, Butcher closed her letter by encouraging them to give back."Oh and one last thing, if you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start regularly donating blood," she wrote. "It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives."Butcher then closed by writing: "'Til we meet again."Butcher's older brother Dean Butcher said he's proud that his sister's message has resonated with so many around the world."I would say Holly’s words have made our family immensely proud," he told ABC News."In her final weeks," Dean Butcher, 30, continued, "I sat at Holly’s bedside and asked her if she had any big picture dreams that she wanted me to work towards on her behalf. She happily replied, ‘No. I was going to live a simple life. I didn’t have big plans, I just wanted to live happily.’"Dean Butcher added that "it is therefore incredibly ironic that a woman content with life’s simplicities ... has had such a huge impact.""She left us with a powerful message that has resonated with people from all walks of life and from countries across the world. That will always be her legacy," her older brother noted. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Hyrma/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  First, it was juicing. Then it was souping. In 2018, it's raw water.Selling for as much as $15 a gallon, raw water is all the rage in this basic life necessity. Like black water and boxed water before it, some people are jumping on the trend.But unlike the other so-called health trends that came before it, raw water from an unknown source has many potential health hazards, Dr. Sarang Koushik, a resident in ABC News' medical unit, said."Raw water is essentially untreated or unfiltered water, containing natural minerals,” Koushik said. “This water is absent of the additive fluoride. Raw water can be found in springs, rivers or wells.“Unfortunately, this water could contain dangerous pesticides, bacteria, and animal waste products."Translation: If it hasn’t been tested, it may have contaminants that can make you very sick."Raw water may contain bacteria and parasites such as E. Coli, giardia, or cholera,” Koushik added. “The health effects can range from diarrhea and dehydration to organ failure.”But what about raw water sold in stores? People are buying it in droves. The New York Times reported that Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco is regularly sold out.Live Water, the company that provides the raw water to places like Rainbow Grocery, also delivers in a small area of Northern California, the company says. In response to questions about its bottled water, Live Water posted this statement on its website:“Opal spring where we source our water is from an ancient aquifer that we have extensively tested and has shown no harmful contamination what so ever. Water is collected from the covered spring head, so there is no chance for surface bacterias to enter the water. Our bottling facility is a sterile environment in which we triple rinse and wash our glass jugs. We also test each batch for harmful bacteria, and no one has ever gotten sick from drinking the water we bottle. The town of Madras Oregon trusts the water so much that they have been drinking unprocessed Opal Spring Water from the tap for over half a century.”But for those outside the delivery area, the company also offers to sell customers a jug to "collect living water yourself.""Imagine going to collect your water and receiving the earths [sic] wisdom in any space that you travel through," the Live Water website reads.But going to untested and untreated water sources is potentially dangerous, Koushik said, because raw water does not undergo surveillance and testing by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.Koushik said, "The role of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect and purify the public water supply. Per CDC [Centers for Disease Control] data in 2013-2014, there were 124 hospitalizations and 13 deaths related to water contamination. Compare this to the developing world where clean water access is sparse and outbreaks of waterborne illnesses occur in the millions."And while enthusiasts and purveyors of the trend claim health benefits ranging from increased brain function to increased beauty, Koushik said, there is "currently no scientific evidence demonstrating any benefit from raw water consumption." Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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