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Flu kills 15-year-old Georgia high school student

A DeKalb County, Georgia, student died from the flu on Sunday, the second teenager in metro Atlanta killed by the virus.

>> Watch the news report here

School district officials are reminding students and staff to continue taking precautions as flu season may not have reached its peak.

District officials confirmed Monday afternoon that the 15-year-old Cross Keys High School student died Sunday. Principal Jason Heard sent a note Monday morning, shortly after classes started, to inform staff of Miguel Jaimes Martinez’s death.

>> Texas teacher dies from flu after spurning medicine that cost $116

Heard said counselors would be making classroom visits and students who needed immediate attention could receive it at the school’s media center.

“The entire DeKalb County School District is saddened by the news that one of our own has passed away due to illness,” Superintendent Steve Green said Monday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the student’s family, loved ones and peers in this unfortunate and trying time.”

>> How does the flu kill healthy people?

The teen, a sophomore, is survived by his mother and three siblings.

His death is one of only a handful of confirmed flu deaths of children in metro Atlanta. Coweta County officials confirmed that 15-year-old Kira Molina died in late January of a flu-related illness. Five-year-old Elijah Snook died in late January after being hospitalized Jan. 13 with flu-like symptoms, WSB-TV reported.

At least 66 Georgians have died during this flu season, and schools have seen absences spike in recent weeks. Some districts have asked teachers to help clean common areas to limit contamination and spreading the virus.

This season’s predominant flu strain is H3N2, which causes the worst outbreaks of the two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses that are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.

>> When can you go back to work or school if you have the flu?

“Of the viruses we hate, we hate H3N2 more than the other ones,” said top CDC flu expert Daniel Jernigan. “This strain, which has been around for 50 years, is able to change more quickly to get around the human body’s immune system than the other viruses targeted in this year’s seasonal flu vaccine.”

JoAnn Harris, DeKalb Schools’ lead nurse, said the district is using guidelines from the county’s health department and advising parents to keep children at home as symptoms present themselves. In the case of a fever, officials suggest keeping the student home at least a day after the fever breaks and a day after using fever-reduction medication.

The number of flu hospitalizations in Georgia surpassed 1,000, with 120 of those patients hospitalized last week alone, according to figures released Friday by the state Department of Public Health. In Georgia, flu had killed two people between ages 5 and 17; seven between 18 and 51; eight between ages 51 and 64; and 49 people 65 and older.

>> 5-year-old Georgia boy dies from flu complications

Although this year’s flu vaccine is far from perfect, experts urge people to get it if they haven’t yet. Although it’s believed to be less effective than those from other years, it can lower the severity of the flu if you do get sick.

Hospitals, swamped with flu patients, are asking people to be prudent.

Some people need to be in the emergency room, but some just need a doctor or clinic, and some need home treatment.

A group representing Georgia hospitals on Monday cautioned people to check their symptoms for real emergency signs before they drive off to the emergency room.

“Those who do not have the flu, but go to the ER, risk catching it from those who do,” the Georgia Hospital Association said in a press release Monday. “However, anyone who is concerned about a serious or life-threatening illness should go to the ER.”

>> Flu virus spread by breathing, study finds

The state Department of Public Health has been getting calls from hospitals that they’re inundated, a GHA spokeswoman said. People are crowding hospital ER’s that don’t have the warning signs for ER treatment. The hospitals, in turn, are having to spend money and work staff more to deal with the influx.

Emergency warning signs for people to go to the ER include:

• trouble breathing

• chest pain

• persistent vomiting

• flu-like symptoms that improve, but return with fever and worse cough

There is more information listed on the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

>> Read more trending news 

“There is, I don’t want to say panic, but extra concern out there this year,” said the spokeswoman, Erin Stewart. “Of course, always be safe. Go to the CDC website, assess your symptoms.”

If people are unsure whether they need more care, they can contact their doctor or a clinic.

“Hospitals are working diligently to make sure each patient receives timely and efficient care,” said GHA President Earl Rogers.

WATCH: Police officers rescue freezing puppy found under Florida bridge

Police in Daytona Beach, Florida, released video of two animal control officers rescuing a pit bull puppy who was left under a bridge in freezing temperatures.

>> Click here to watch

In the video posted on the Daytona Beach Police Department’s Facebook page, you can see the puppy shaking uncontrollably because she was so cold. The animal control officers did everything they could to warm her up.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

A passer-by called police after seeing the puppy in the cold water.

The animal control officers found her under the Seabreeze Bridge in mid-January when the temperatures had fallen to below freezing.

>> Read more trending news 

One of the Daytona Beach police officers adopted the puppy, now named River, and she is safe and in a loving home.

Valentine's Day 2018: 6 ways to eat for free or cheap

From flowers to a gift to dinner out, Valentine's Day can be an expensive holiday.

>> White Castle will offer romantic Valentine’s Day package, reservations again

To help you save some money, these restaurants are offering some cheap or free Valentine's Day meals.

Hooters

If you're without a significant other this Valentine's Day – or even if you've found a new sweetie and want to score some free wings – participating Hooters locations will help you shred your ex. Shred online and print a coupon to take to the restaurant or bring in a photo of your former love and let Hooters shred it. In return, you can buy 10 boneless wings and get 10 free – and maybe a bit of catharsis. Learn more at www.hooters.com.

Fogo de Chão

If you make a reservation and dine at a participating Fogo's location anytime from Feb. 10 through Feb. 17, you'll be able to save on a return visit. You'll receive a complimentary churrasco dining card that you can use next time you're in the restaurant. (As is usually the case, "certain restrictions apply.") Learn more at http://fogodechao.com. 

Qdoba Mexican Eats

Take advantage of the restaurant's "Qdoba for a Kiss" promotion, and you'll be able to buy one entrée and get one free at participating restaurants on Feb. 14. Bring your significant other to kiss, smooch a photo of your favorite celebrity on your cellphone or even pucker up to a burrito – anything goes! 

On top of that sweet deal, from Feb. 6-28, if you share a kissing photo on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #QdobaForAKiss, Qdoba will donate $1 to No Kid HungryFor more information, visit www.qdoba.com.

Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse offers a Valentine's Day meal for two at participating restaurants from Feb. 12-16. For a special price (which varies by location), a couple can share a Bloomin' Onion, choose two entrees (center cut sirloin, grilled salmon or Alice Springs chicken), two sides, two salads and cheesecake for dessert. Learn more at www.outback.com.

California Pizza Kitchen

Enjoy a "Sweet Deal for Two" at participating California Pizza Kitchen locations from Feb. 14 to 18, and you'll get an appetizer, two entrees and a dessert from their special menu for $35. Choose from among three appetizers, 10 entrees or four desserts. As a further incentive, if you tag your sweetie or best friend in California Pizza Kitchen's Facebook post with the hashtag #CPKgiveaway, you'll be entered to win a $100 gift card. Learn more at www.cpk.com.

Waffle House 

Waffle House probably isn't the restaurant you think of when you're picturing a candlelit dinner with cloth napkins and tablecloths, but that's just what they're doing on Valentine's Day. You can enjoy alcohol-free champagne as the lights are dimmed, and choose from breakfast favorites or special offerings like ribeye and eggs. Many locations are participating, so check for your location's phone number and contact person for reservationsLearn more at ww.wafflehouse.com.

>> Read more trending news 

>> Table for two: Waffle House offers romantic dinner for Valentine's Day

Table for two: Waffle House offers romantic dinner for Valentine's Day

Couples looking for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day don’t need to book a table at a fancy, high-priced restaurant. For the 11th year, Waffle House is taking reservations.

>> Read more trending news

Waffle House? 

“I would kill you if you took me there for Valentine’s Day,” my wife said, narrowing her eyes and casting them toward the living room couch.

OK, it’s not for everyone, but Waffle House takes its Valentine’s Day dinners seriously. At 170 locations across 17 states across the Northeast, South, Midwest and as far west as Texas, Waffle House will dress up its restaurants with candlelights, tablecloths and flowers. 

"A perfect Valentine's dinner consists of soft music, great food and a welcoming atmosphere," Walt Ehmer, Waffle House CEO, said in a news release. "And we have all three waiting for those who are ready."

>> Waffle House to host romantic Valentine’s Day dinner

Waffle House began its Valentine’s Day tradition in 2008 at its location in Johns Creek, Georgia. Ehmer said the concept is growing every year.

“It’s really a bucket-list experience,” he said in the release.

So, if Bert’s ChiliAlice’s Iced Tea and Waffle House’s traditional fare of eggs, bacon, ham, sausage and hash browns make you dewy-eyed and sentimental, now is the time to make reservations.

. So, go ahead and scrap the box of chocolates you were planning on buying, make a reservation at Waffle House, and serve your sweetheart Papa Joe’s pork chop, Bert’s Chili, or the cheesesteak omelet of their dreams.

Here is the full list of locations.

WATCH: Choir students sing national anthem from all floors of Kentucky hotel, wowing guests

A man woke up to a lot of commotion in the lobby of a Hyatt Regency in Louisville, Kentucky, days ago, but when he realized that the “noise” was actually a stunning rendition of the national anthem, he made sure to have his camera rolling.

>> Watch the video here

>> On Rare.us: No players knelt during the Super Bowl national anthem

Garrett Mager soon learned that the Kentucky State Choir Finals were to explain for all of the youthful voices collected in one place.

He said that he witnessed a “proud #American moment tonight” when he heard the performance live, and it seems many others who watched Mager’s video agreed.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Not only has the video been shared more than 600,000 times since Wednesday, Feb. 7, it’s also been watched more than 24 million times.

>> Read more trending news 

“Had a proud #American moment tonight. Woke up in my hotel hearing a lot of noise outside in the lobby. I went out and found this. The Kentucky State Choir Finals schools are all staying at my hotel,” Mager wrote on Facebook. “They decided to sing the National Anthem together on every single floor. #Amazing.”

The comments on Facebook were overwhelmingly positive, with many saying the performance brought tears to their eyes and gave them chills.

>> On Rare.us: Pink nails National Anthem despite flu diagnosis

Others echoed Mager’s thoughts, saying they were proud to be an American.

WKYT reported that the performance is an annual tradition and that more than 650 students took part.

Ginger Zee of 'Good Morning America' welcomes baby boy

Congratulations are in order for “Good Morning America’s” Ginger Zee, who just welcomed her second child – a baby boy – with husband Ben Aaron.

>> On Rare.us: Omarosa goes to war with Robin Roberts after being called out on live TV

The meteorologist gave fans a first look at her bundle of joy Saturday when she shared a photo of her newborn’s feet.

“8lbs 7oz, 21.5,'” she captioned the post, adding three blue heart emojis.

>> See the post here

>> On Rare.us: Ginger Zee revealed the startling amount of weight she lost during 'Dancing with the Stars'

On Friday evening, just one day after appearing at the Red Dress / Go Red For Women Fashion Show in New York City, Zee announced the news on Twitter with a photo of her oldest son Adrian, writing, “Scrubbed in, delivered a healthy baby boy and got a cookie to celebrate. It’s been a good day.”

>> See the post here

Zee announced her pregnancy in August while she was delivering the national weather forecast.

>> Read more trending news 

“This is the breaking news part. There’s a lesser-known visual phenomenon that’s about to happen on our maps only for the next five months,” she teased viewers at the time while the southwest and southeast portions of the country were highlighted on the screen behind her. “These areas are going to have a shadow from my belly because I’m pregnant.”

On Thursday, her “GMA” costars threw her an on-air baby shower to celebrate and to shower the happy mom with lots of love.

Internet cat community mourns death of Oskar the Blind Cat

Oskar the Blind Cat, who touched and entertained people around the world, has died. He was six years old.

Oskar’s death was sudden, his owners reported Monday on their social media channels. The cause of death was likely heart failure. Oskar showed no signs of illness before his death. 

>> Read more trending news 

Oskar was born in May 2011 on a farm in Iowa. He was born with a severe form of microphthalmia, a genetic condition which prevented his eyes from fully developing. Oskar was adopted the same year by Mick and Bethany Szydlowski, a couple in Nebraska who began to chronicle life with a blind cat on social media. The couple have another cat, Klaus, a former stray who quickly became Oskar's sidekick. A YouTube video of Oskar playing with the air from a hair dryer went viral, launching him into internet stardom.

In addition to sharing the antics of Oskar and Klaus, the Szydlowskis use social media to promote adoptions of special needs animals across the country. The couple and both cats moved to Seattle in 2012.An outpouring of condolences from other internet cat celebrities and their owners followed the news of his death.

People with depression are more likely to use certain words — here’s how they express themselves

How a person talks and types can tell you a lot about their mental health.

» RELATED: 5 signs you should ask your doctor about depression

According to new research published in the journal “Clinical Psychological Science,” certain language may help identify whether someone is suffering from depression.

For their study, the researchers conducted a computerized text analysis of 63 internet forums including more than 6,400 members in total.

>> Read more trending news 

They hypothesized that individuals in “anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation” forums would have a “more black and white view of the world,” study author Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi wrote in an academic article. The researchers believed this view of the world would manifest itself in absolutist language, using words such as "always," “nothing” or “completely.”

» RELATED: When love isn’t enough: A daughter’s suicide leaves a grieving father searching for answers

When compared to 19 control forums, Al-Mosaiwi wrote that that the prevalence of such absolutist words was approximately 50 percent greater in anxiety and depression forums, and approximately 80 percent greater for suicidal ideation forums.

In addition to absolutist language, the scientists found that those with symptoms of depression used significantly more first person singular pronouns, such as “me,” “myself” and “I.” They used significantly fewer second and third person pronouns − “they,” “them” or “she.”

» RELATED: The suicide rate for teen girls is the highest it’s been in 40 years — Is social media to blame? 

“This pattern of pronoun use suggests people with depression are more focused on themselves, and less connected with others,” Al-Mosaiwi wrote. “Researchers have reported that pronouns are actually more reliable in identifying depression than negative emotion words.”

That doesn’t mean everyone who uses the language associated with depression is actually depressed. Researchers note it’s how you feel over time that determines whether you are suffering.

But the new findings are a testament to using machine learning to help identify mental health problems. According to Al-Mosaiwi, researchers have already started using computerization to study specific subcategories of perfectionism, self-esteem issues and social anxiety.

» RELATED: Perfectionism is a major issue for millennials and their mental health, study says 

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression, and it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Additionally, approximately 800,000 people die of suicide each year −that’s one person every 40 seconds. In the U.S., between 1999 and 2014, the suicide rate rose by 24 percent. And according to recent data released Thursday by Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-old girls doubled between 2007 and 2015, reaching a 40-year high.

More resources:

Suicide prevention resources for parents, guardians and families

Suicide prevention resources for teens

Suicide prevention resources for survivors of suicide loss

More resources and programs at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Atlanta Mood Support: DBSA Metro Atlanta

Love chocolate? Cadbury is hiring 4 taste testers

If you love chocolate -- really love chocolate -- a job listing by Cadbury owner Mondelēz International looks like a sweet deal.

>> Read more trending news

The company is looking for four people as taste testers for its latest chocolate products, Birmingham Live reported.

Mondelēz International is seeking candidates to sample Cadbury, along with products like Oreo. Also, the taste testers will pass judgment on cocoa drinks, Birmingham Live reported.

This is not a job that takes up 40 hours. Testers will spend eight hours a week sampling chocolate so they do not suffer “palate fatigue.”

Last year, Mondelēz International hired one taste tester after receiving 6,000 applications, Birmingham Live reported.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 16. For details, visit the Mondelēz International website.

Cafe manager tells breastfeeding mom to cover up

An Apopka restaurant is facing social media backlash Wednesday after one of its managers told a mother who was breastfeeding her baby to cover up.

Manager Bridget Tarassenko told WFTV investigative reporter Karla Ray she didn’t know that a state law allows women to breastfeed almost anywhere.

>>> Read the Florida statute here <<< 

Mother Amber Wilkie told Eyewitness News that in late January, she ordered enough food for her toddler and middle school-age child, but her 8-month-old, Savannah, needed to eat too.

>> Read more trending news 

"I was getting ready to feed her because she was hungry. It had been a couple of hours," Wilkie said. 

Wilkie said she started breastfeeding Savannah uncovered in the restaurant, which she said she's always done.

"It's purely natural to breastfeed a baby," Wilkie said. 

>>> Read other 9 Investigates stories <<<

Natural or not, Tarassenko told WFTV that she had never seen someone openly breastfeeding in her restaurant before. 

“I didn’t know how to react to it. I wanted to protect her privacy because I had other customers in there as well. I asked her to cover up, and the next day I was being harassed on social media,” Tarassenko said.

Many of the posts 9 Investigates found online pointed out the Florida law, which states, "A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be." 

"You can breastfeed your baby anytime, anywhere you need to, covered or uncovered; that is state law," Wilkie said.

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