5 medical breakthroughs bound to make kids of the future way healthier

We may soon be looking at strep, flu, and even Ebola much differently.

Know any parents who would love it if they never had to worry about their kids getting strep throat?

I do. And if science has anything to do with it, that day is coming.


My throat doesn't hurt! Let's boogie.

There are so many amazing things happening with vaccine research right now that will save many lives, a bunch of money, and make us all happier and healthier. Here are five of them:

1. We may soon be able to say goodbye to that yearly flu shot.

When the weather turns cooler and the leaves begin to fall, there are three things to expect: football games, pumpkin spice overload, and the constant reminder to get a flu shot.

And considering flu kills an estimated 36,000 people and hospitalizes 200,000 more in the U.S. each year, all the flu talk makes sense. But it just might get easier on us.

Image via iStock.

Scientists are developing a "universal" flu vaccine that would consist of one shot to (hopefully) prevent flu for the rest of your life. ONE SHOT AND DONE. What!

As it currently goes, we're encouraged to get a new flu shot every year because there are so many strands of flu virus, and they are constantly mutating. It's hard to keep up.

But two independent teams have reported studies in Science and Nature Medicine the ways they've been fighting whole groups of viruses rather than just a single strain. They are making big strides toward a flu vaccine with much broader protection. Win!

2. We're on the verge of having an Ebola vaccine. Seriously!

Ebola: It was the terrifying "E" word of 2014. But a new vaccine trial is a positive sign we'll be able to contain and stop it in the future. The World Health Organization reports that the results from an Ebola vaccine trial in Guinea have shown to be highly effective.

"This is an extremely promising development," said Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO. "The credit goes to the Guinean government, the people living in the communities and our partners in this project. An effective vaccine will be another very important tool for both current and future Ebola outbreaks."

Think of how many lives could be saved!

Ebola health care workers assisting a patient. Image via bhossfeld/Pixabay.

3. A new vaccine is able to protect girls and boys against HPV better than ever before.

HPV (human papillomavirus, if you're fancy) is bad — and common. It's so common, actually, that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. The virus can cause genital warts and a variety of cancers, most commonly cervical cancer in women.

We have two main vaccines that are effective against it, but now there's a vaccine that's even better than before. Instead of only being able to protect against two or four strains of HPV, new research from the New England Journal of Medicine shows a new vaccine, Gardasil-9, can protect against nine strains.

Take that, cervical cancer. BAM, POW!

4. HIV treatment and prevention is becoming even more effective.

"What's really exciting about HIV prevention in 2015 is that we have options; we have several tools that we can use," Jonathan Volk, a San Francisco-based infectious disease doctor, told ABC7news.

Volk just got done leading a study on the drug Truvada where it proved to be 100% effective on more than 600 patients. None of them tested positive for HIV after almost three years of being on it.

That type of news mixed with other studies showing hope for an actual HIV vaccine paint a very different picture from what we would have seen 30, 20, even five years ago. Progress.

5. Peace out, strep throat. A vaccine might be able to prevent it altogether.

As reported in a Upworthy article, a new vaccine called StreptAnova is being tested to prevent group A streptococcal (GAS) infections, which is the category strep falls into. The vaccine would be particularly beneficial to children and teens, who are most susceptible to the illnesses.

I know more than a few moms who would be quite happy for their kids never to have a 104-degree fever and the extreme sudden sickness that lands them in the ER at 2 a.m. with strep throat.

How cool that there is a strep vaccine on the horizon?

I smell fewer sick days. Image via iStock.

So much progress is unfolding right before our eyes. And if we keep trusting science and putting kids first, we're going to be in great shape.

Here's to thinking forward and setting ourselves up for the best future possible! Huzzah!

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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