Is It a Cold or the Flu? Here’s How to Tell

Judging by all the people sneezing and coughing on my flight last week, and the ubiquitous “Get your flu shot” signs at every pharmacy, it’s obvious we’ve begun the dreaded cold and flu season. So how can you tell if your aches and scratchy throat are a typical cold or a more serious bout of the flu? A quick rule of thumb is that cold symptoms generally occur from the neck up, whereas flu symptoms take over your whole body. …

Toilet Paper Is Shrinking. Blame Hand Dryers

No, it’s not just your imagination. Toilet paper squares are surreptitiously shrinking — getting smaller, thinner and/or fewer. The reason it’s hard for you to tell: Companies are increasing the size of the inner cardboard tubes, so the rolls still look the same to consumers. And why are hand dryers to blame? Don’t worry — we’ll get to that. The case of our dwindling toilet paper sheets was explained in an interesting Washington Post column. The old standard size was …

Ebola’s Here. Should You Be Worried?

The country’s first Ebola patient—Thomas Eric Duncan, who was visiting Dallas from West Africa—has died. But the fact that he was mistakenly sent home when he first showed up at a Texas hospital complaining of symptoms, does not exactly inspire confidence in our healthcare system. Especially considering that CDC director Thomas Frieden said in a Tuesday news conference that “we’re stopping [Ebola] in its tracks in this country.” I mean, you gotta wonder: Can we be sure? After all, Duncan told a hospital nurse that …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Insects are a food source for one of every three people worldwide. (Learn more at Yahoo) 2. The debts and unpaid bills of more than a third of Americans have been reported to collection agencies. (Learn more at Urban Institute) 3. Handshakes share 20 times more germs than fist bumps. (Learn more at AARP) >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter  4. A new smartphone app simulates a retro camera by making you …

Don’t Shake on It: A Fist Bump Is Less Germy

Manners maven Emily Post probably would have disapproved, but British researchers say if you want to protect yourself against germs, you should pass on the traditional handshake and instead exchange a fist bump, especially with your doctor. Scientists with Aberystwyth University in Wales wanted to see how doctors could reduce the spread of bacteria, so they tested three types of  hand-to-hand greetings to see which one transferred the fewest germs: a handshake, a high five or the sort of knuckle-to-knuckle …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. The bones of a seven-story-tall dinosaur, called the largest creature ever to walk the earth, were discovered in Argentina. (Learn more at NPR) 2. The outgoing Indian prime minister had 1.24 million Twitter followers before he reset the government account, making the new PM start over. (Learn more at Quartz) Honorable Outgoing PM Dr Manmohan Singh farewell speech to the nation Full Speech: http://t.co/Z7NrGabt1R pic.twitter.com/An6GyIlBRI – Yuva Desh (@yuvadesh) May 17, 2014 3. The residents of Paraguay are …