Health

Courtesy of Dr. Chris Kelly

When did you last look up your symptoms online? Medical tomes and doctors visits were once necessary for diagnosis; now the internet makes medical knowledge — both amateur and professional — available to the masses.

People playing a game at the state fair
Brianna Ladd / WUNC

A North Carolina fair is banning the use of hand-held mist fans to guard against an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease like the one that happened at another fair last month.

Bacteria
CDC/ Dr. Francis Chandler

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services continues to investigate an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease believed to be contracted at the Mountain State Fair held in Fletcher, North Carolina last month.

BCBS President and CEO Dr. Patrick Conway
Courtesy of BCBSNC

Updated Sept. 26 at 9:23 a.m.

The chief executive officer of Blue Cross North Carolina has resigned amid pressure from the state's top insurance regulator after the executive's DWI charge.

Ballen and his son.
Courtesy of Dwayne Ballen

Dwayne Ballen spent the early years of his childrens’ lives jetting between the East and West Coasts. He worked as a sportscaster in Los Angeles, but his family lived in the Triangle. When his eldest son Julian was diagnosed with autism, everything changed.

A doctor holding a stethoscope.
Pxhere

North Carolina did not expand the number of adults eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but the state is pursuing other avenues of healthcare reform. The state Department of Health and Human Services and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina have teamed up to work on a program to shift how healthcare is paid for.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services headquarters at Dorothea Dix in Raleigh.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

A portion of North Carolina's Medicaid population won't shift to managed care coverage this fall due to the extended state budget stalemate, the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Tuesday.

One of the vape juice's packaging looks like a juice box, others have unicorns.
Courtesy of the North Carolina Attorney General's Office

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced lawsuits against eight electronic cigarette companies earlier this week. He alleges that their marketing practices and flavor selection specifically target kids and teens.

a doctor
Hamza Butt / flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/VQGLoP

North Carolina's Democratic governor said Sunday that a bipartisan health insurance measure will become law without his signature.

Wikimedia

Hippocrates, the Greek father of medicine, wrote “all diseases begin in the gut.” He continued the line with the famous advice: “let medicine be thy food and food thy medicine.” New research confirms Hippocrates’ thinking, showing the human gut does much more than just process food.

A tan hand holding an IUD.
Sarah Mirk / Creative Commons

Planned Parenthood pulled out of the Title X program Monday after the Department of Health and Human Services ruled that clinics receiving Title X funding may not refer patients to abortion providers. After months of threats, Planned Parenthood refused to abide by the ruling and opted to give up federal money in favor of maintaining abortion services.  In North Carolina, Planned Parenthood affiliates were stripped of federal funding in May.

Pickett measures her patient's height.
Courtesy of UNC Greensboro

When Stephanie Pickett was a nurse at Duke University Medical Center, more than 90% of the patients she saw with kidney failure were black. This shocking racial health disparity both bewildered her and inspired her to take action.

A picture of a man using an e-cigarette.
www.vaping360.com / Vaping3650/Flickr

State health officials are investigating a series of hospitalizations possibly related to vaping. Three patients in North Carolina have been treated for a severe lung illness since July.

Volunteers in blue vests escort women into a clinic in the face of protestors.
Lindsay Beyerstein & Martyna Starosta / ReWire.News

In their budget, Republican state lawmakers proposed $2.6 million in funding for crisis pregnancy centers and anti-abortion organizations. This funding would quadruple the amount given to one particular nonprofit, despite a report from the state Department of Health and Human Services that does not recommend expanding the program.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a campaign to educate parents about vaccinations.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Fresh-faced Kindergartners entering school this year will almost certainly be surrounded by a higher percentage of peers whose parents have actively avoided obtaining their vaccinations.

Across the state, numbers of unvaccinated children have been creeping up. While numbers for the 2019-20 school year won't be available for months, looking at data for the past eight years suggests the trend is not likely to reverse.

Image of hydrocodone pills.
USDA

The opioid epidemic has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans in the past few decades. A newly-released Drug Enforcement Administration database provides insight into how and why this might be happening. The database tracks 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills distributed from 2006 through 2012, and new analysis from The Washington Post draws connections between the number of pills shipped to a particular area and opioid overdose deaths.

Kim Pollard

My mom was at home when the gunfire started.

"It was so hard," my mom recalls. "It was so hard as a mom to be strong because all I wanted to do was scream."

Image of Ralph Snyderman with the Dalai Lama.
Courtesy of Ralph Snyderman

Ralph Snyderman is known as “The Father of Personalized Medicine.” He used to oversee the selection of medical students at Duke University in his role as chancellor for health affairs at Duke University and Dean of the Duke School of Medicine. He focused on admitting students who showed a clear desire for empathy and to serve the needs of others.

Duke Health's Raleigh Hospital
Duke Medicine

N.C. Treasurer Dale Folwell relented in his fight with the state's major hospitals to lower costs and increase transparency.

The sign of the Ocracoke Health Center.
Erin O'Neal

Ocracoke Health Center CEO Cheryl Ballance estimates that anywhere from 8,000-10,000 people visit Ocracoke Island on any given summer weekend. Many visitors catch a ferry back to Cape Hatteras after less than a day, but hundreds of vacation rentals and hotel rooms are consistently filled from late spring to early fall. During those months, the staff of the tiny clinic are stretched to their limits.

UNC Hospital
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Monday night at midnight is the new deadline for doctors and hospitals to sign on to the refined State Health Plan. Those that don't would go out of network, leaving the more than 700,000 North Carolinians on the plan to stare at potentially significantly larger hospital bills in 2020.

Ernest Grant standing at a podium.
Courtesy of the American Nurses Association

As a boy Ernest Grant was enchanted by the nurses who attended his church in Swannanoa, a small area in western North Carolina. He often overheard them talking about their work at a local tuberculosis sanitarium and vividly remembers their stories of caring for patients.

An older couple holds hands.
Pxphere

The myths and realities of aging have created an industry rich with people offering a fix to stop or slow down the inevitable. Inevitably, the body changes and so too do relationships. On this episode of the series “Embodied: Sex, Relationships and Your Health,” The State of Things guest host Anita Rao explores the impact aging has on intimacy, and offers a decade by decade look at shifts in bodies, relationships and attitudes.  

David Bjorgen

State Treasurer Dale Folwell wants to move the State Health Plan to a government-priced model he calls the Clear Pricing Project. As the debate escalates, the more than 727,000 North Carolinians on the State Health Plan face uncertain healthcare coverage and costs in the new year.

A child looks out a window at Knightdale High School, which has been converted into an evacuation shelter for people affected by Hurricane Florence in Knightdale, N.C., Sunday, Sep. 16, 2018.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

It’s been nearly a year since Hurricane Florence slammed into North Carolina’s coast. After a major storm, the focus is often on the material needs of communities: food, shelter and clothing. But what about how these communities are grieving and coping with natural disasters?

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services headquarters at Dorothea Dix in Raleigh.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Hundreds of families with children with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities will soon receive robust help from the state.

Lawmakers have approved an expansion to the Innovations Waiver program, which pays for services that help families and individuals with IDD.

Dr. Joanne Fruth of Avance Primary Care at the Oberlin Road office.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Dr. Joanne Fruth knocked on the exam room door and walked in with a warm smile on her face.

"Hi Jamie, it's Doctor Fruth, it's so good to see you," she said. "So you're here for a wellness visit?"

minority obese
Courtesy of the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity

New research from Duke University suggests discriminatory housing and development policies that have shaped predominately minority neighborhoods may be contributing to higher obesity rates in those communities.

Creative Commons / https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1019274

Many people learn the basics in sex education classes — how men and women procreate and how to avoid contracting sexually transmitted infections. However, the science of sex goes well beyond basic textbook diagrams. In recent decades, researchers have developed a deeper understanding of the interplay between our brains and our bodies and about the mechanics of sexual desire.

Courtesy of Dan Ariely

Summer is filled with temptation. We know that fresh fruit is a healthier choice than ice cream. A ripe watermelon can be just as sweet, but often times we pass it by for a double scoop in a waffle cone. The barrage of pool parties and cookouts combined with summer vacation may leave many struggling to make and keep health commitments.

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