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scyther5/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Proper contact lens hygiene is nothing to roll your eyes at: A new government report warns that bad habits (like wearing your lenses to bed) can lead to eye infections and possibly permanent injuries.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined more than 1,000 cases of contact lens-related infections reported to a federal database over the last decade, and found that nearly 1 in 5 of those infections resulted in eye damage—either a decline in vision, a scarred cornea, or the need for a corneal transplant. Yikes.

But the agency also found that by simply using your contacts the way you're supposed to, you can protect your peepers: About 25% of the reported cases involved behaviors known to put a person at greater risk of eye infection.

“Contact lenses are a safe and effective form of vision correction when worn and cared for as recommended,” said Michael Beach, PhD, director of the CDC’s Healthy Water Program, in a press release about the survey. “However, improper wear and care of contact lenses can cause eye infections that sometimes lead to serious, long-term damage.”

Below, six mistakes you might be making, and what to do instead.

You sleep in your contacts

The enzymes and antibodies that protect the surface of your eyes require oxygen to fight off germs. When your eyes are closed at night, the air supply is reduced; wear your contacts to bed and there's even less oxygen available. The bottom line: When the PJs come on, the contacts should come out.

You handle your lenses with dirty fingers

To avoid transferring oil, dirt, and bacteria to your eyes (ew), clean your hands before you clean your contacts.

You're not rubbing your contacts

Even if you use a ‘no-rub’ contact solution, it's still a good idea: Give your lenses a rub in your (well-cleaned) palm to remove germs and protein buildup.

You don't change your solution daily

As Reena Garg, MD, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City, told Health in a prior interview, "That's like doing your laundry in dirty water." According to the CDC, you should always use fresh multipurpose saline solution (never water!), and don't mix old saline solution with new in your contact case. In fact, you should empty the case after putting in your contacts, rinse it with fresh saline, dry it with a fresh, clean tissue and store it upside down on a clean tissue (with the lids off), until you are ready to use it again.

You shower and swim with your contacts in


The CDC advises keeping your lenses away from water (including pool water) to avoid a rare but potentially blinding infection caused by an amoeba called Acanthamoeba, as well as other types of infections. Bacteria and parasites in water can get caught under your lenses. If you're a swimmer, you may want to invest in prescription goggles.

You leave your lenses in too long


When you're at home and on weekends, give your eyes a break and wear your glasses, says Berkeley, Michigan-based ophthalmologist Steven Shanbom, MD. In a prior interview with Health, he recommended that lens wearers keep their contacts in for no more than 12-14 hours a day.

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mvaligursky/iStock/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Two Canadian families are reeling after finding out that their sons were switched at birth.

David Tait Junior, it turns out, was named after the father that raised him, but not after his biological father. DNA tests showed that Tait and childhood friend Leon Swanson were given to the wrong families when they left the hospital.

It's not the first time this mistake was made at the Norway House Indian Hospital though. Last November, two men from another reserve discovered that they, too, had been switched at birth. The government has promised an independent investigation.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The rising cost of EpiPens has led many to wonder whether there are cheaper options available on the market.

The drug epinephrine has been around for decades, but the EpiPen, which is made by Mylan, has become the go-to epinephrine auto injector for many people in the U.S. There are multiple reasons why the EpiPen has become so popular, including diminishing competition and the fact that pharmacists in many states cannot automatically substitute a generic alternative.

Recalls from Mylan's competitors have also boosted sales of the EpiPen. Two other companies, AUVI-Q and TwinJect, have recalled their epi injectors over issues with dosage and the device.

There appears to be one other company making an epinephrine auto injector available in the U.S., according to data available from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That company, Impax Laboratories, creates an epinephrine injector called Adrenaclick, as well as a generic version of the drug.

“The Adrenaclick is at a lower cost than the EpiPen," Mark Donohue, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications at Impax, told ABC News. “Some pharmacies stock it, and if they do not, they should be able to order it in a day or two."

He did, however, acknowledge that the company does not have the ability to manufacture large quantities of the drug.

"We do not have an automated process but we are working on [one],” Donohue said.

The company is “producing as much as we can to provide it at a lower cost to the patient,” he added.

Impax only acquired the rights to Adrenaclick in March 2015, according to Donohue. Market share of Adrenaclick has since grown from 2 percent to the high single digits.

While Mylan has come under fire for raising the price of EpiPen from approximately $100 in 2009 to more than $600 in 2016, it's difficult to tell how much cheaper either Adrenaclick or its generic alternative will be for the consumer. Two pharmacies in Chicago said Adrenaclick costs approximately $500. On GoodRx.com, which compares drug prices at local pharmacies, the generic injector was listed between $144 to $379 with the use of a coupon. The price for Adrenaclick was $466 to $496 with a coupon.

The EpiPen is covered by Medicaid and other insurance plans, so most consumers do not pay full price for it. At least two health insurance companies partially cover the cost of the generic version of Adrenaclick. It was not clear if the generic version was also covered by Medicaid.

However, even if a generic version of the EpiPen was widely available, patients and pharmacists would still face barriers to switching epi injectors. An EpiPen is classified as both a drug and medical device by the FDA. As a result of this classification, pharmacists in 29 states can't simply switch a generic epi injector for an EpiPen the way they could with medications that do not require a device, such as antibiotics.

Dr. Brian Vickery, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics and a pediatric allergist at UNC-Chapel Hill, pointed out another complication for patients: Young children have to be properly trained to use an EpiPen or another epi injector. If a patient or doctor wants to change devices, it means the patient and family members have to re-learn how to use a new device safely.

"There was a time not long ago where there were other drugs on the market ... and they could be substituted and that was an issue because this is a specialized device that requires training and each functions differently," said Vickery.

Since allergists usually recommend that patients have multiple injectors handy, changing epi devices can become burdensome and dangerous. Different devices may be confusing during an anaphylactic allergy attack.

The device is used "in the context of a rapidly evolving, unpredictable and nerve-wracking situation where a patient or the individual with them is turned into a first responder and they have to make a pretty time sensitive reaction," said Vickery. "The last thing we want is for them to pull out a device they don’t know how to use or misuse it.”

In general, epi injectors have become more commonplace after a 2013 law offered grants to schools if they trained personnel on how to use the devices and kept a supply of epinephrine on hand. While the law pertains to epinephrine auto injectors broadly, on the White House website it's called the "EpiPen Law."

Vickery said he expects more doctors and patients will consider switching to a generic option if possible.

Mylan recently said it has given 700,000 EpiPens to schools for free.

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iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- A Venezuelan woman who gave birth in the U.S. to a daughter with birth defects related to Zika infection, said she is frustrated that there is so little known about the long-term effects of the virus.

Maria Fernanda Ramirez Bolivar spoke to reporters Friday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, as her infant daughter Micaela spent most of the time sleeping in her arms.

Bolivar's physician, Dr. Ivan Gonzalez, of UHealth Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Jackson Memorial Hospital, said Bolivar first come to the hospital while pregnant and was concerned that she may have contracted Zika in Venezuela. Gonzalez said doctors immediately decided to check and see if her unborn daughter had sings of microcephaly through an ultrasound. However, before tests could be concluded, Bolivar went into labor.

When Bolivar's daughter, Micaela, was born, doctors found that the infant did not have microcephaly, but they were still concerned the Zika virus could have affected the child.

"The Zika is like a moving target as new information comes out," Gonzalez said. "We decided to go ahead and look for abnormalities."

After doing further tests with a variety of specialists, they found the infant had calcification in her brain and eye damage on her retina. Doctors will continue to monitor the child to see if she develops other issues related to Zika infection in utero.

Bolivar spoke about the fear she felt while pregnant and her frustration in being unable to know more about her daughter's prognosis.

"They keep telling her we don’t know because the virus is too new," Gonzalez said, translating Bolivar's words for reporters. "She’s thankful the baby was born here and the baby has been a blessing for her."

Dr. Delia Rivera-Hernandez, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Jackson Memorial Hospital, said the infant may be at risk for developing hearing loss or issues with motor skills, but so far doctors haven't found any extreme developmental issues. Rivera-Hernandez said since the infant is so young, she may be able to bounce back from the brain damage.

"We have faith because of plasticity the brain of the young child can regenerate," Rivera-Hernandez said. "Some of the damage if not reversed can at least be compensated -- that’s our hope."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The chief executive of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, which makes the $600 EpiPen allergy treatment, defended her company’s pricing policies in an interview published Friday in The New York Times, saying, “I am running a business.”

CEO Heather Bresch has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks over the soaring cost of the company’s popular epinephrine injector, which is used to help counteract life-threatening allergic reactions. The drug has risen in price to around $600 from about $100 in 2009, according to medical literature and GoodRx, which lists drug prices at various pharmacies.

But Bresch made no apologies for such pricing: “I am running a business,” she told The New York Times. ”I am a for-profit business. I am not hiding from that.”

Mylan has priced the EpiPen to recover the company’s investment in the product, she told the newspaper.

But even her own father, a U.S. senator, has weighed in on the onslaught of criticism over the EpiPen.

"I am aware of the questions my colleagues and many parents are asking, and frankly, I share their concerns about the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., said Thursday in a statement. “Today I heard Mylan's initial response, and I am sure Mylan will have a more comprehensive and formal response to those questions.

"I look forward to reviewing their response in detail and working with my colleagues and all interested parties to lower the price of prescription drugs and to continue to improve our health care system."

The company did not immediately respond Friday to ABC News’ request for comment.

But in response to the widespread criticism, Mylan Thursday promised to expand a discount program for the medication.

The company released a statement saying it was taking steps to reduce the cost of the EpiPen for uninsured or underinsured users by, in part, providing a savings card to offset the cost by up to $300.

"We recognize the significant burden on patients from continued, rising insurance premiums and being forced increasingly to pay the full list price for medicines at the pharmacy counter,” Bresch said in the company's statement Thursday. “Patients deserve increased price transparency and affordable care, particularly as the system shifts significant costs to them. However, price is only one part of the problem that we are addressing with today's actions.”

The company Thursday said that it will issue a savings card to cover up to $300 for the EpiPen two-pack — 50 percent of the full retail price — and that it will change the eligibility for its patient assistance program to double the number of people covered.

That action, Bresch told The New York Times, would help customers in a way that has the biggest impact: by cutting what they spend out-of-pocket.

Some say, the Times reported today, that her brash leadership has helped patients get the medications they need and improve drug standards.

“I think we mean what we say: You can do good and do well, and I think we strike that balance around the globe,” Bresch told the newspaper.

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Tomasz Gierygowski/Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is recommending that all donated blood and blood components in the U.S. be tested for the Zika virus as an extra safety measure.

The recommendation comes after dozens of non-travel related cases of Zika have been identified in Florida.

"There is still much uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of Zika virus transmission," Director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks said. "At this time, the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for all individuals who might need transfusion."

In February, the FDA recommended testing donated blood and blood components in areas with active Zika virus transmission. So far, the agency says, all areas with active transmission are currently in compliance with that guidance.

Dr. Luciana Borio, the FDA's acting chief scientist, said that as the agency gets new scientific information about the disease, additional precautionary measures become necessary.

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Hannah Foslien/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- The Minnesota Vikings will kick off its first pre-season game this weekend at a brand new stadium that is already raising questions about its noise level.

The U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where the Vikings will face the San Diego Chargers Sunday, hosted a Metallica concert last week that left many of the 50,000 attendees complaining about the noise levels.

"I think I've suffered long-term hearing damage," one concertgoer said on Twitter. "My ears are still ringing," another tweeted.

The stadium claims to have the “largest, transparent ethylene-tetraflouroethylene (ETFE) roof in the nation,” according to its website.

According to the stadium, which is owned and operated by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the ETFE roof “should make the stadium louder.” ETFE is described as a “more acoustically reflective material.”

Minneapolis-based audiology specialist Dr. David Geddes told ABC News that noise levels can reach up to 105 decibels inside the U.S. Bank Stadium, a level 10 times louder than other NFL football stadiums.

Geddes says any loud noise over 85 decibels could be potentially harmful if a person is exposed to it for a long period of time.

"The thing to remember with noise exposure is it's cumulative," Geddes explained. "So after several decades of attending concerts, football games, you can wind up with a permanent, noise-induced hearing loss."

Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium boasts the world record for the loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium with 142.2 decibels. To put that number into perspective, it is just over two decibels louder than a jet engine at takeoff.

The Vikings plan to distribute free earplugs at Sunday's game.

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Nothing ruins a good car trip like an upset stomach or, even worse, vomiting from car sickness.

Motion sickness is a disturbance of the vestibular balance system, which includes the inner ear. It’s as if your ears are sensing one movement but your eyes are not sensing that same motion. This mismatch can make you feel sick.

Symptoms of motion sickness can include nausea, headache, dizziness, excessive sweating and increased salivation.

Here’s my prescription for some ways to avoid getting sick:

  • Sit in the front seat or the center of the backseat so you can see straight out the window.
  • Try to avoid strong scents of tobacco or perfume.
  • Chewing gum, looking towards the horizon and using those acupressure wristbands may also help.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — According to a study by anthropologists Ryan Schacht and Karen Kramer from the University of Utah, cities with higher male populations often have higher levels of marriage.

Schacht looked at family formation in eight villages in Guyana for his doctoral dissertation in 2014.

He conducted interviews with over 300 people and found that villages with higher female populations had lower rates of commitment from men, but in villages with higher concentrations of males, the men preferred long-term monogamous relationships with one partner.

Schacht also reviewed the available statistics on both Western and non-Western populations and found that rates of monogamy were highest in communities with higher male populations.

Schacht and Kramer tested this against U.S. Census data to gauge the association between male to female population and family dynamics in 2,800 counties in all 50 states. Schacht said that each state had counties with male-dominant and female-dominant populations, but the results from his Guyana study matched the U.S. There were higher rates of marriage in counties with male-heavy populations as opposed to female-biased counties.

According to Schacht, “You get more unmarried men when there are fewer of them. Men may be less interested in committed relationships when they are relatively rare and partners are abundant. Men may be less interested in settling down with a single partner when there are multiple options available.”

“It’s not the excess women who are driving the elevated levels of instability,” he says. “It’s more likely to be from the relatively high proportion of unmarried men.”

Still, the causal link between gender ratios and societal outcomes requires more research, Schacht believes.

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moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Texas officials are working to understand why more women across the state have been dying either during pregnancy or shortly after. A study published this month has found that maternal mortality rates doubled in Texas between 2011 and 2012 compared to the years before and a new state task force is attempting to understand why the increase occurred.

Dr. Daniel Grossman, Professor at Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at University of California San Francisco and Investigator at the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, said the findings gave him pause.

"Some of the increase in recent years may be related to better reporting...[and] changes in the way they catch this on death certificates," he explained. But "it does really seem like this is a real increase -- and it's really very concerning."

Researchers at the Population research Center in Maryland uncovered the significant finding about Texas while they were analyzing maternal deaths in the U.S. between 2000 and 2014, according to the study published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In Texas, the rate of maternal mortality doubled to 18.6 deaths per 100,000 live births, between 2009 and 2010, to approximately 36 deaths per 100,000 births between 2011 and 2012, according to the study.

The researchers did not find a specific cause for the sudden uptick in deaths, but called for more study to be done both in Texas and nationwide, so that researchers can better understand maternal health.

A state sponsored task force, the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force (MMMTF), reported in July 2016 that cardiac events and elevated blood pressure complications were first and third causes of death. Death related to drug overdose emerged as the second leading cause of maternal death between 2011 and 2012.

Black women have had the largest risk for maternal death, according to the study – accounting for nearly 30 percent of pregnancy-related deaths in that year.

Based on these findings, and the known problem of collecting proper data nationally, the MMMTF recommended programs for awareness of health disparities and improving health access.

They also note that "mental and behavioral health issues, lack of continuity in access to services, and geographic, racial and ethnic health disparities" likely affected these maternal death rates.

The state senate created the multidisciplinary task force in 2013 to address the problem. State-appointed physicians, nurses, researchers, and community advocates studied and reviewed cases, trends and provided recommendations.

They found that 189 women in Texas died from pregnancy related complications between 2011 and 2012.

Grossman said it’s vital that more study is done in Texas to look at both pregnant women’s access to health care during pregnancy and if the nationwide opioid crisis could have affected the increase in mortality rates.

"Whether part of the spike might be related to epidemic of opiate use that might be somehow concentrated, that merits further examination," he told ABC News today. "The other aspect of this that is concerning is the increase started around the same time that women's health services were really being systematically dismantled."

Grossman pointed out that, starting in about 2010, funding for family planning services as well as for Planned Parenthood was diminished in Texas.

"It's definitely something that needs to be explored in more depth," Grossman said of the increasing maternal mortality rate.

In the study published in the Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers said the research and reporting on maternal mortality needs to be improved. Researchers said it is an "international embarrassment" that the United States has been unable to provide national maternal mortality data since 2007.

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SYRedCrescent/Twitter(NEW YORK) --  Syrian conjoined twins who were evacuated from their war-torn town in Syria for medical treatment died of heart failure Wednesday, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent announced.

The boys, who were conjoined at the chest, also suffered from cleft lip and cleft palate (facial and oral malformations) and liver distortions, the nonprofit humanitarian group said. They were receiving care at a hospital in the country before they could travel abroad for surgery, the BBC reported.

On Aug. 12, the 2-month-old twins, Nawras and Mou'az Al-Hashash were evacuated from the besieged Syrian town of Ghouta to a private hospital in Damascus, Syria, after doctors appealed to the World Health Organization for help. They were immediately placed in intensive care as they waited for permission to leave the country, Red Crescent said. The BBC reported that the babies would die if they were unable to undergo surgery.

 The twins were born on July 23 in eastern Ghouta, according to Red Crescent. Official authorities approved for them to be evacuated the next day, but the supervising medical staff in Ghouta refused to let them out.

It has been difficult for humanitarian aid to reach areas juts north of Damascus, such as Ghouta, due to heavy fighting and prolonged shelling since the war began, the BBC reported.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Though they are designed to help deter teen pregnancies, school programs that involve the use of "baby simulators" may have the opposite effect, according to an Australian study published Thursday.

The investigators found that girls enrolled in schools that employed infant dolls and education sessions that simulate what having a baby might be like, were about 36 percent more likely to have a pregnancy -- at least one birth or abortion by age 20 -- compared to those in schools that only employed the standard school curriculum.

"We were very surprised" Sally Brinkman, lead author and associate professor at Telethon Kids Institute at University of Western Australia told ABC News. "It’s one thing to get results to say it doesn't work, it’s another to get results that does the opposite."

The study, published in the journal The Lancet, followed more than 2,800 teen girls, age 13 to 15 years old at 57 schools in Australia tracking them until the age of 20.

Brinkman said this is the first study to link actual medical and birth data to a study that evaluates the use of simulator dolls and its effect on teen pregnancies.

The infant dolls, central to these baby simulator programs, are designed to look and behave like real babies. They can cry and burp and require diapering, feeding and care throughout the day and night.

A set of lessons -- including education sessions, workbooks and a video documentary of teenage mothers talking about their own lives -- supplement the experience by exploring "the physical, emotional, social, and financial consequences of becoming pregnant and dealing with parenthood," according to the doll manufacturer Reality Works.

Reality Works did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Both students and school staff who complete the program ended up liking the experience, according to the study.

"A lot of the teenagers become attached to their fake babies" and it allows the administrators "to engage the teenagers," the study said.

However, according to Brinkan, teen girls were not only more likely to be pregnant, but also more likely to keep their pregnancy if they participated in the infant simulator program.

The findings held true even after they took into account various factors, including socioeconomic status, education, family type, prior sexual experience, psychological distress, prior responsibility for caring for a baby and toxic habits.

While the study was done in western Australia, more than 89 countries use these simulators, including the U.S.

"School is starting, this is a really good time to be talking about sex education," Dr. Cora Collette Breuner, a professor of adolescent medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital and chair of the Committee on Adolescence at the American Academy of Pediatrics told ABC News.

However, she said there’s wasn’t enough evidence to cite the programs as a cause of increased pregnancy rates, at this point.

Breuner said it was unclear if different socioeconomic backgrounds or changing education levels may have played a role in pregnancy rates, as well.

"I welcome controlled studies looking at teen pregnancy prevention trials," she said. "I am grateful people are looking at this."

Though she believes there should be more research into the programs, she said school administrators should not panic.

"If I were an educator and had this in my school, I wouldn’t stop doing [the program] based on this article, but I would take a look at it."

She added that this study helps “pull the lens back" on the programs and that educators and researchers should "take a long hard look at it and consider that [they] may not be an effective intervention or taking a look at the way [they are] done."

While the study does not explore the reasons behind the spike in teen pregnancies associated with the electronic infants, the study cites other smaller studies that suggest few girls believed caring for their own infant would be the same as caring for a simulated infant.

The teen who found it difficult to care for the simulator tended to believe it would be much easier to look after their own baby, the study said.

Another paper mentioned in this research suggested that girls at risk of becoming pregnant enjoyed the attention they received while looking after their doll, which may have reinforced the desire to have a baby of their own.

"The main thing to get out is, even though people like these programs, it doesn't seem to work,” Brinkman said.

After an initial cost of $500 for a starter pack, each baby costs approximately $1,000, she noted.

"It is a high cost to the schools and the education system," Brinkman said. "Even worse, they may be doing harm. Seems like a very silly waste of public funding."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As children head back to school, the temptation to share your excitement with a first day photo on social media is understandable.

But Donna Rice Hughes, the president & CEO of Enough Is Enough, a non-profit organization that seeks to maximize Internet safety for children and families, is urging parents to think carefully about the information they post.

First and foremost, Hughes encourages parents to double check their privacy settings, and make sure that only friends can view their posts. But, she notes, private posts can still be shared outside of the protected network.

As a rule of thumb: "Don’t assume that any information will not be shared publicly."

Though it's become popular to post photos of kids posing with a sign including information like their name, age, grade, school district, favorite activities and some other cute factoids, Hughes recommends keeping details to a minimum.

"Think before you post, nothing is truly private," Hughes said. "There are unsafe people online."

For that reason, if you feel inclined to share information about your rising star on social media, Hughes suggests keeping it to grade only, and not mentioning details like school district, which could disclose where your child can be found.

"The more information you give [predators], the easier you make it for them to find your child," she added.

As parents adjust to the ever-evolving Internet, Hughes reminds us that staying safe online is a team effort.

"If you see a friend not being as careful, warn them," she said. "We need to help protect each other and help protect each others kids."

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The New England Journal of Medicine(NEW YORK) -- Just in time for cold and flu season, MIT researchers are showing you exactly what a sneeze looks like in slow motion.

Lydia Bourouiba, of the MIT Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory, managed to film a real live sneeze at 1,000 frames per second.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the sneeze cloud shows how quickly sneeze droplets can travel.

Bourouiba reported that large droplets tended to land within 1 to 2 meters (about 3 to 6 feet) and that small droplets could get as far as 6 to 8 meters away (19 to 26 feet). She found that the sneeze itself transitions into a "freely evolving turbulent puff cloud" as it travels through the air.

All the more proof that you should absolutely cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Getting students to apply themselves in school isn’t always easy. As the summer ends and thoughts turn to a return to school and classes, some parents may be wondering how to help their children fall in love with learning from a young age.

It turns out that there may be an app for that.

Q Wunder, an app launching in September, uses games, fun, songs and celebrity interviews to try to teach the critical skills children need.

“There are decades of research show that social and emotional skills are a stronger correlate to school readiness and to life success,” said Sofia Dickens, the founder of EQtainment/Q Wunder.

Dickens said the app teaches children discipline, grit, resilience, focus, problem-solving skills as well as how to make eye contact and cope with everyday social situations.

Liz Kolb, an education technology specialist and professor at the University of Michigan School of Business, explained the significance of learning those skills early on.

“In kindergarten ... preschool, they focus on social needs, emotional needs of children. In particular, they focus a lot on things like cooperative play and working together,” she said.

And as the educational environment is changing for children, parents need to keep up.

Bibb Hubbard, the founder of Learning Heroes, which helps parents’ understanding of their children’s education, explained why, saying: “It’s really critical that parents are connected to what’s happening in their child’s classroom and know what they can do to help support their children at home.”

Data from "The Nation's Report Card," issued by the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress, shows that 33 percent of eighth-graders are proficient in math, and 34 percent in reading. But Hubbard’s organization says 90 percent of parents believe their child is at or above grade level.


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