The Surprising Risks of Antibiotics

The next time you find yourself asking for an antibiotic to treat a nasty cough or sinus infection – or accepting one when your doctor offers it - consider this: Doctors are overprescribing antibiotics and putting patients at risk, sometimes giving patients three times as many antibiotics as are warranted, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. This practice can cause harmful side effects and lead to infections that kill thousands of Americans …

Warn Your Grown Kids: Flu Killing Young Adults

Normally it’s those 65 and older who get hit hardest by the flu, but this flu season has been particularly deadly for young and middle-aged adults, causing many more deaths and dramatically higher hospitalization rates than the previous three seasons. The reason is a return of the dangerous H1N1 virus, or swine flu, that caused the 2009-10 pandemic. This particular strain of flu makes people “very sick, very fast, and it kills,” said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director Tom …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and fun …   1. Dolphins are 10 times stronger than the fittest humans. (Learn more at Discovery) 2. A spandex suit that combats slipped disks in astronauts might also help people on Earth with lower-back problems. (Learn more at Mashable) (hat tip to Mike Kulick) 3. One percent of the world’s population controls half the wealth. (Learn more at NPR) 4. The Peace Corp’s oldest volunteer, 80, is winding up her assignment in South Africa. (Learn more at AARP) …

Here’s What You Don’t Know About the Flu

The last flu season was a record-setter – and not in a good way. The season started early and hit hard. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the hospitalization rate for those age 65 and up was three to seven times higher than the previous three seasons, and more children died from the flu during 2012-2013 than in the past eight years. Yet even with the severity of last season’s flu, the CDC …

Is Anyone Tracking the Flu During the Shutdown?

Normally during flu season the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lets us know the good and bad news, tracking how fast the flu is spreading, how severe it is and how well those flu shots are working. The information is especially important for figuring out next year’s batch of vaccines. But thanks to the ongoing government shutdown, the CDC hasn’t been able to update its FluView since Sept. 21, and its influenza activity map hasn’t been updated …

When the Flu Strikes, Laughter Is the Best Medicine

When you’re flat on your back with the flu, the ceiling becomes a blank slate on which you can write your thoughts.  Still bedbound on day five of what experts say is usually a three-day event (I would love to personally update these “experts”), I have moved on from feeling sorry for myself to thinking about the advantages of this dramatic interruption in my life’s reel. I found 10 benefits to offset the inconvenient and uncomfortable minuses: 1. You save …