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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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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Flu season has officially reached epidemic proportions across the country with 47 states reporting widespread flu activity and emergency rooms contending with a flood of patients.
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We can think of an excuse to get out of anything we don't want to do - like getting a flu shot. Maybe you're one of those folks who rarely get sick so you scoff at the flu messages each year. Maybe you're plain scared. But the truth of the matter is, if you're over 65, you're playing with fire if you don't get the flu vaccine. This age group has the highest rates of influenza-related deaths and hospitalizations, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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