Illustration of the Ebola virus
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.
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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 each year.
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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.
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News, discoveries and fun ...
Young Woman with Flu Shot Sign
The last flu season was a record-setter - and not in a good way.
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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.
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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:
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This is turning out to be a miserable winter for staying healthy. First it was the flu epidemic, and now comes word that a new, severe strain of norovirus - also called the winter vomiting bug or the cruise-ship virus - has spread from Australia to Europe to Canada to the U.S.
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A visit to the emergency room with my Mom yesterday reminded me that flu season is paying an early, and unwelcome, visit this year. Our hospital, along with so many across the nation, was crowded with those suffering from the flu. We wore masks, offered as we registered in the ER, the entire time we were there ... just in case.
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More influenza (aka flu) talk. If you are a family caregiver, you can reduce the chances that both you and your loved one will get the dreaded virus. It's about vigilance and, yes, luck. But regardless, tissues and hand sanitizer need to be your best friends.
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