Fitness, well-being, disease, medical research and issues related to Seton and St. David's Healthcare, Austin Regional Clinic and other health care providers in Austin and Central Texas

Photo by Sanofi Pasteur

It’s almost time for children to return to school, and students entering kindergarten or pre-K and the 7th grade are required to be vaccinated. Parents may also request an exemption from state vaccination requirements using this form.   

Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services offers vaccinations at two locations in Austin: St. John Community Center on 7500 Blessing Ave and the Far South Health Clinic at 405 West Stassney.  Call 972-5520 to make an appointment. It costs $10, but they won’t turn away people who can’t pay. 

A U.S. appeals court has ruled in favor of 26 states that filed suit to challenge a requirement in President Barack Obama's healthcare law that forced individuals to own health insurance. The law's "individual mandate" portion was declared unconstitutional, according to Reuters.

The court has apparently ruled that the remainder of the law, without the individual mandate, can stand, Reuters reports.

Photo by Kelsey Sheridan

A University of Texas study found that 90 percent of bag lunches brought to school by preschool students were kept at temperatures that could result in food-borne illnesses.

The researchers took the temperatures of 700 preschoolers lunch's at nine different Texas child care centers. Forty-five percent of the lunches had at least one ice pack and 39 percent had none.

Photo courtesy Cargill Meat Solutions

In one of the largest meat recalls in American history, Cargill Meat Solutions is recalling 36 million pounds of ground turkey products that may have been contaminated with a drug resistant strain of Salmonella Heidelberg.  Many of the products are sold at HEB, Randall’s, and other local grocery stores.

Photo by m_morgavan

The federal government has issued a public health alert, warning people about eating ground turkey. The Food Safety and Inspection Service has not named specific brands, but says it is monitoring an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg that appears to be linked to consumption of the meat.

Seventy-seven illnesses, including one death, have been reported in 26 states. But no recall has been issued.

Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

The Austin Child Guidance Center celebrated its 60th anniversary this weekend with an open house at its 45th Street location. The Center has help treat 130,000 Austin children with mental health issues. This year may be one of the most challenging for the Center. Executive Director Russell Smith says 84 percent of the children that come to the Center live at 200 percent the federal poverty level or below. Most can qualify for some type of state health program such as CHIP or Medicaid.

Photo by Hannah Jones for KUT News.

The reality weight loss TV show “The Biggest Loser” came to Austin Saturday in search of new contestants for its thirteenth season. The casting call drew a good crowd to the Long Center where the try-outs were held. Michael Goana waited in line with hundreds of others.

“Life's a game itself,” he said.

Texas Distributor Recalls Papayas Over Salmonella Risk

Jul 27, 2011

Even papayas can spread salmonellla, it turns out.

There's a recall of papayas from Mexico after testing by the Food and Drug Administration found samples from Agromod Produce had the same strain of bacteria seen in outbreaks of salmonella affecting 97 people in 23 states.

McAllen, Texas-based Agromod Produce distributes four papaya brands: Blondie, Mananita, Tastylicious and Yaya.

Photo by Clinton & Charles Robertson

The Texas Department of State Health Services is reporting a high number of rabies cases, especially in Central and North Texas. The extreme heat and drought is causing wild animals to search for food and water for longer periods of time and closer to human habitat, causing clashes with people and their pets.

Photo by Maʝicdölphin

Mass killings dominated the media this weekend with a string of shootings in the United States following just hours after a murderous rampage in Oslo. Some of the violence since Friday included:

A local psychotherapist says the deluge of grim news can be a trigger for people already trying to cope with grief. For those with a history of trauma, mental illness or personal losses, it can actually be harmful, according to two local experts.

Photo courtesy of jennfinley at

One in four gay, lesbian or transgender teens and 15 percent of bisexual teens are homeless, according to a study issued by the American Journal of Public Health. This is in contrast to three percent of heterosexual teens who are homeless. The study was made up of 6,300 Boston, Mass. public high school students.

Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection

A new state law passed by the 2011 Legislature requires any college student under 30 who attends classes on a Texas campus must be vaccinated against meningitis. Previously only students who lived on campus needed one.

An amendment that conservative state lawmakers hoped would wipe out the only taxpayer-funded elective abortions in Texas ultimately might not do much at all.

One of many tacked onto an omnibus health care bill during the Legislature's special session in June, the amendment by Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, aims to remove state funding from any hospital district — a health care system financed by city or county tax dollars – that provides elective abortions.

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A University of Texas study funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services says expanding sexual health education in public schools could help reduce teen births in Texas, a state with one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country.  Texas dropped a health education requirement for high school students in 2009, making it one of the only states in the country not to require it.

Traditionally, it was thought that the best way to prevent teen pregnancy was to encourage kids to wait until they finish school and get a job before having kids. The report found that teens and parents of all ethnic groups tend to agree. Yet teenage girls are still getting pregnant and having babies.

Time to reconsider your post-workout sports drink. When it comes to exercise recovery, chocolate milk may be your new best friend.

According to researchers at the University of Texas in Austin, the sweet dairy beverage many of us remember as an elementary school essential is now considered the ideal drink to consume after a workout.

Photo by Stephen Yeh

When family doctor Bruce Malone was in the intensive care unit at Austin’s Brackenridge Hospital about ten years ago, he saw something that disturbed him to his core: an 11-year-old child who was brain dead after he crashed his bicycle into a culvert. The boy was unharmed from the neck down.

“I know that he would have been okay had he worn his helmet,” Malone told KUT News. “It just makes you angry.”

Photo by DucDigital

San Marcos could hold a referendum this November on whether to ban indoor smoking in public places. The City Council moved a step closer to putting the question on the ballot at its last meeting on Tuesday. But not everyone is sold on the idea.

San Marcos deputy mayor Chris Jones says he’s concerned the measure could harm local business at a time when the city is still recovering from an economic downturn.

Photo by Jessica Lucia

Have you been sneezing more this summer? A victim to itchy, watery eyes? Well, you’re not alone. Dr. Dana Sprute, the Program Director at the UT Southwestern Austin Family Medicine Residency Program, notes allergies in Austin are running higher than usual.

Photo by Nathan Bernier/KUT News

The health reform bill House lawmakers will consider today has drawn an unexpected band of supporters: abortion opponents. The measure — designed to improve health care delivery and cut waste in a system where costs are spiraling — contains a single provision aimed at doing what GOP lawmakers have fought to do all year: restrict funding to Planned Parenthood.

Graphic courtesy USDA

Texas school districts are responding to the newest innovation in nutrition guidelines from the The U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA today unveiled MyPlate. It's a graphic rendition of suggested proportional portion sizes for fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy.

Melanie Konarik, director of child nutrition services for Spring Independent School District, called the design "excellent," saying that teachers and parents can use it to educate young people about the importance of balanced meals.