Treating pain after opioid addiction: A personal story

Peter Grinspoon, MD
Peter Grinspoon, MD, Contributing Editor

What happens when a person who was addicted to opiates is injured and needs pain medication? A doctor who is in recovery has firsthand experience.

Don’t let allergy season catch you off guard

Heidi Godman
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

A mild winter can make allergy season even more miserable when it comes. The best way to fight allergies is to start treating them before the season begins, but once it comes there are still ways to treat and minimize allergy symptoms, including certain medications and some smart lifestyle strategies.

H. pylori, a true stomach “bug”: Who should doctors test and treat?

Wynne Armand, MD
Wynne Armand, MD, Contributing Editor

A stomach infection of H. pylori bacteria can cause ulcers, but not everyone with the infection shows symptoms and the treatment process can be challenging, so only people with certain conditions need to be tested for it.

The flu shot saves children’s lives

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Even though this year’s flu season is just about over, parents should be thinking about protecting their children next winter. Despite short-term reactions in some people, the flu shot is safe for nearly everyone.

If you have low back pain try these steps first

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

The American College of Physicians has released revised guidelines for the treatment of low back pain, and their recommendations for the most common types of pain do not include medications.These forms of low back pain usually get better over time and treatment should begin with therapies like heat and massage.

Eat better, live longer

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

With a study showing that 400,000 cardiovascular-disease deaths could be prevented each year with dietary changes, it’s time to consider adopting a healthier eating approach. Limiting unhealthy foods is a good start, but it’s also important to eat more healthful foods.

Find your exercise style

Heidi Godman
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

One of the biggest challenges to sticking with any fitness routine is finding the type of exercise you most enjoy doing, so you will look forward to your activity and stay motivated. Think about activities that appeal to you, and consider their pros and cons.

Our planet, ourselves: Climate change and health

Peter Grinspoon, MD
Peter Grinspoon, MD, Contributing Editor

Climate change is not merely relevant to human healthcare issue, but in fact, directly affects them. Air pollution, drought, famine and flood are just a few things caused by climate change that have an immediate impact on the health of people all over the world. Though it is an incredibly broad and global issue, individual efforts to reduce personal carbon footprints are important.

Why the AHCA would have been bad for children — and an unavoidable truth moving forward

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Regardless of whether the government eventually creates a suitable replacement for the Affordable Care Act, providing adequate health insurance to as many children as possible is crucial to healthy development. Regular health care can help ensure that nothing gets missed — like a high lead level, serious allergy, a smoldering infection, autism — because left unrecognized, the effects can be lifelong, or even deadly.

Long-term use of opioids may depend on the doctor who prescribes them

Scott Weiner, M.D.
Scott Weiner, M.D., Contributor

With opioid addiction such a serious problem, new research indicates that some doctors are more likely to prescribe opioids to their patients than others, and those patients are more likely to end up taking these medications long term. That means it is crucial for consumers to educate themselves about the risks of taking opiates, and to consider alternative medications and treatments if possible.