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A summary of important health news from the past week.

Nothing to sneeze at: Global warming triggers earlier pollen

By: The Associated Press

In a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences journal, pollen season is starting 20 days earlier than that of 1990. This is largely due to global warming, the study says. The increasing amount of carbon dioxide causes the temperature of the environment to increase at quicker rate, causing flowers and other plants to release pollen earlier. Studies have shown that allergies may be correlated with poor test-taking skills in students, and early-onset allergies may lead to an increased risk in asthma.

False Rumors About Vaccines That Are Scaring Women

By: Alice Lu-Culligan and Akiko Iwasaki

Among the newest COVID-19 vaccine conspiracies that have surfaced in recent weeks are novel and unfounded claims targeting nursing mothers and women of reproductive age. The exclusion of pregnant and lactating women from COVID vaccine clinical trials, invariably leading to a lack of safety data for this group, has fueled new conspiracy theories linking the vaccines to infertility and health threats for nursing children. Emerging public health data and lab studies suggest otherwise.

Keep paying attention to your kids’ mental health in this pandemic

By: Lisa Selin Davis

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll among children and adolescents ages 10-19. Navigating the new normal of school from home and dealing with social isolation has been associated with an increase in suicide-related behaviors. According to a prepublication article in the journal Pediatrics, months with elevated COVID-19 related stressors appear to correspond with significantly higher rates of suicide-related behaviors. Parents will have to keep a watchful eye on their children during this ongoing pandemic and contact their pediatrician should they notice drastic shifts in behavior.

Should Schools Reopen Before Teachers are Vaccinated?

By: Meagan Drillinger

Controversy over whether schools should reopen arises again as the Biden administration prepares to release guidelines on how schools can reopen safely. The CDC released its guidelines for reopening schools on Feb. 12. These guidelines include five mitigation strategies for safely returning to in-person schooling: universal and correct wearing of masks, physical distancing, handwashing, cleaning facilities, and upgrading ventilation, contact tracing, quarantining, and isolation. This plan, however, does not include mandatory teacher vaccinations. studies have shown that elementary-aged children going for in-person learning and in-person education have been relatively safe, and that virus transmission between children or between children and adults is lower than between solely adults. However, when teachers over 60 and teachers with co-morbidities are taken into account, the risk of transmission rises. Considering the new strain of coronavirus that has been confirmed in 30 states, this risk of transmission is even greater. Experts worry that opening schools may not be 100% safe.