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Feeling sick? COVID and flu cases are on the rise. Here's how to spot the difference.

Covid variantAs the weather has turned cooler, COVID-19 and flu cases have increased, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health care experts advise getting vaccinated – possibly with both shots at the same time.

Early influenza cases suggest the flu virus is returning to a seasonal rhythm. Whether COVID-19 will be a seasonal virus that spreads mostly during the cold and flu season is still up for debate among scientists.

As the season for respiratory viruses intensifies and fewer people take precautions, the U.S. could see an increase in illnesses after Thanksgiving and into the holidays.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are rising:

In the U.S., there were 18,119 new COVID-19 hospital admissions during the week ending Nov. 18, a 9.7% increase from the week before, according to the CDC.

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If you're having a panic attack, TikTokers say this candy may cure it. Experts actually agree.

Sour candy

Is sour candy the secret to diffusing an anxiety or panic attack? Some TikTokers seem to think so.

In a TikTok video viewed 2 million times, a woman says her therapist told her to eat a Warhead whenever she feels a panic attack coming on. The woman says nothing has taken her out of the throes of a panic attack faster than eating the notoriously sour candy.

Turns out, therapists say using sour candy to ease anxiety symptoms actually isn't a bad idea.

"There is definitely truth and science behind eating sour or spicy candy to ease anxiety and panic attacks," mental health counselor Catherine Del Toro says. "It's a wonderful 'therapy hack' that is practical because you can carry a sour candy with you anywhere."

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Doctor Describes China's Overwhelmed Hospitals: 'Verge of Collapse'

China hospitals on verge of collapseAmid a recent surge in respiratory illnesses in northern China, one doctor has estimated the hospital where she works received two to three times as many daily patients as in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"One doctor would have to handle as many as 180 patients during a single night shift, because so many patients are arriving in the evening and after midnight, recounted Han Tongan, who leads Peking University Third Hospital's pediatric unit, according to a Wednesday report by state outlet China Daily.

Since mid-October, clusters of respiratory infections, mostly among children, have spiked, overwhelming capacity in many hospitals across northern China. The World Health Organization has said data provided by China indicated the illnesses were mostly by influenza, mycoplasma pneumonia, rhinovirus infections, respiratory syncytial virus, and adenovirus.

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FDNY veteran says heart damage from required COVID vax forced early retirement

Firefighter injured from vacccineAn FDNY firefighter says he was forced to retire on half his salary after the city-mandated COVID-19 vaccine left him with permanent heart damage.

now wants a judge to award him a more lucrative disability pension, which would pay three-quarters of his final salary tax-free, according to court papers.

Pastrana, 37, got the jab in October 2021 because the city required it, and had an immediate allergic reaction, including swollen lips, chills and body aches.

Despite three trips to the emergency room, he claims he was forced to get the second Pfizer shot a month later.

“I thought I was going to die after that second dose,” Pastrana told The Post, adding he was again rushed to the ER after the second shot.

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Cases of this COVID variant tripled in just two weeks, CDC estimates

Latest variant cases tripled and growingIncidence of a COVID-19 variant appears to have increased threefold in the U.S. in recent weeks, federal tracking showed.

The BA.2.86 variant – a mutated COVID-19 strain previously thought to be uncommon – is projected to account for nearly one-tenth of circulating viruses, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Nowcast variant tracker posted Monday. Two weeks ago, the variant made up 3% of cases. These figures are based on estimates of circulating variants.

“The numbers are less important,” Dr. Perry Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health in New Jersey, told USA TODAY. “The pattern is more important. And it looks like it's growing.”

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Growing number of US children taking melatonin for sleep

Melatonin given to children in the US

Melatonin use is becoming "exceedingly common" among American children, with nearly one in five under age 14 now consuming melatonin to aid sleep.

Parents are increasingly giving it to younger children. About 18% of children age five to nine are using it as a sleep aid, a new study suggests.

Last year, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a health advisory about melatonin use for young people.

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A new COVID variant, HV.1, is now dominant. These are its most common symptoms

Covid variant HV.1A new COVID-19 variant called HV.1 has become the dominant strain in the United States and now accounts for nearly one-third of cases nationwide.

The highly infectious omicron subvariant has been circulating in the U.S. since the summer. In October, HV.1 rapidly gained speed and overtook other variants, including EG.5, aka Eris, to become the most prevalent strain, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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