Dr. Jennifer Ashton on the latest health headlines

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton weighs in on flu myths, the controversial virginity test on T.I.’s daughter, and her book “The Self-Care Solution.”
7:12 | 01/10/20

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Transcript for Dr. Jennifer Ashton on the latest health headlines
We're ten days into 2020. If you're like me your new year's resolution to lose weight is already on life support. Don't panic because ABC news chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton has a new anti-resolution book called "The self-care solution" and she joins us now. Welcome to the show. Thank you. So before we get to the book we want to talk about some health-related stories. Okay. We're in the middle of flu season and 27 children in the United States have died of the flu which is unbelievable in this day and age. Yeah. What do we need to know about that? You know, I think the flu has a pr problem in the country and it's partially, partially the media's fault because sometimes the media overhypes things and then it becomes like the boy who cried wolf and when things get serious people are like, eh, we've heard that. The flu kills people every year. We know that. That is a fact. That is not hype. We went know how this flu season is until it's behind us. The numbers come out this afternoon from the CDC. We'll be reporting on it at ABC. We expect them to group. It is not too late to get a flu shot. Is there an anti-vaxer movement behind this? No, that's not the issue. I see people all the time, whether it's viewers or patients, who say I'll take my chances, it's never happened to me. I have a saying in medicine, it only needs to happen once. That happened to me. There you go. Every time I got the shot I would get a little sick so I thought it's not worth it and then I got it. Can the shot not always be right for whatever flu -- That's correct, Abby but this year it does look well matched. Just to clear up any myth, you cannot get the flu from the vaccine. It's not scientifically possible. Let me ask you something, I've had something now for ten days. The plague. I have been overdosing on NyQuil, serving it on the rocks with a twist of lime. How do you know when you have a cold and when you have a flu and when you have what? Listen, it can be hard and it's not up to you or the patient or the layman to make the assessment. Go to the doctor, Ana. You live with one. In general and we have to remember there are other viruses circulating right now that can make us sick but in general the flu comes with high fever, symptoms below the neck and above the neck. Some people can have mild flu but it knocks you down for about seven days. I have a question, the T.I. Remember that story where he went to his daughter's ob/gyn appointment because he wanted to make sure that she was a virgin. Now, you're a gynecologist. Yeah. What is -- what is your take on that? Many people thought it was a violation of his daughter's privacy. I mean, do we have an hour? Listen, first of all, to be clear, there is no gynecologic exam that tells whether a girl, a woman is a virgin, number one. Number two, I can't believe we're actually having this discussion in 2020 but we do need some perspective and context that women and girls both in this country and other countries in the world are beaten and murdered if they are examined and thought to be nonvirginal. So this is not just a pop culture fluff story. There is real women's health significance to this. I think that as a bored certified gynecologist, one of the other important things, it unfortunately makes gynecologists sex doctors, usually there's a person attached to the vagina and we take care of the whole woman head to toe. We are women's health experts. But to wrap up, sunny, I do also give every parent the benefit of the doubt that what he or she is doing for their child, while it might be misguided and misinformed, is what he or she thinks is best for their child. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. What if the dad does want to be involved? Say you have a single father and needs to take his daughter to the gynecologist? Why doesn't he just ask her? I think that it has to be age dependent, number one. If you're talking about a minor, there is emancipated reproductive health laws in this country as you know that vary state to state. I think that dads, it's understandable that they feel a little uncomfortable with this topic, but education, communication is key, and the more a dad is involved with their daughter's health, the better it will be for her. We love having you here because you have such good life advice but you're also here for something pretty special, "The self-care solution," a new book you've written. The book is great but what I love is you challenge yourself for a year to do something different every month. Yeah. Why did you do that and what did you learn through that process? You guys know because we're all ABC family here that I was coming out of the worst year of my life, 2017, and like many people who are dealing with their down points in life, I felt like I had spent a lot of time that year focusing on other people. I wanted to turn the lens as a doctor and a mom I turned to other people other than myself and I wanted to do these monthly wellness challenges. That's why this is not like a massive revolution. I started with one thing and it led to another and outside. I wanted to make them fun. What was the hardest one you did? Oh god, probably hydration. I started dry months. I called it dry January. When I told my brother who's a doctor I was doing a dry month he said really, I'm doing a wet Very hard to do a dry mouth. Very wet year. But it was really amazing and I went through it myself. I share that in the book and then I present some of the science. But the idea was that it could be for anyone to do any time anywhere, cheap, easy, fun, joy. You said you divided the challenges into three categories, right? She's divided these challenges into three categories which I did too. Lose weight, eat something green that's not an m&m, and vote, vote, vote. I like that. What are your divisions? Right and everyone can find their own categories. I picked something that we eat or drink or don't eat or drink, how we move, not a workout, and then above the neck, stress, sleep, meditation, mindfulness, and kind of walk people through them all. When you say how we move are we talking between a corvette and -- Like stretching. I had really bad posture. Walk, just walk more, walk. Congratulations. Thank you guys. Thank you. Walk to the bedroom, walk to the living room. Walk to the kitchen. Walk to the refrigerator. Our thanks to Dr. Jennifer Ashton. Her new book "The self-care solution" is out now and members of our audience are going home with a copy.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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