Harvard Health Blog

Join the discussion with experts from Harvard Health Publications and others like you on a variety of health topics, medical news and views.

2017 update to the immunization schedule for kids

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

The CDC and the AAP update their vaccine recommendations every year, and here are the latest changes. These updates show just how important it is to stay on top of research and help increase the effectiveness of each vaccine. The schedule for routine immunizations and catching up kids who get behind can be found on the CDC and AAP websites if you’d like more information.

Snored to death: The symptoms and dangers of untreated sleep apnea

Paul G. Mathew, MD, FAAN, FAHS

It’s important to get adequate sleep, but getting good quality sleep is just as important. Snoring can detract from a good night’s sleep whether you’re the snorer or the bed partner. Even more important, snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. Untreated, sleep apnea increases our risk for serious health conditions including stroke and heart attack.

The fix for dry eyes

Heidi Godman
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

As we age our eyes become susceptible to dryness due to decreased tear production or slowing glands. Other conditions can contribute to dry eye syndrome as well, including looking at the screen of a computer, phone, or tablet for too long. There are a number of simple treatments that can bring relief and prevent infection and other problems.

Confessions of a breakfast skipper

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

While most of us have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, there is debate about the importance of breakfast continues. Research findings on breakfast and weight loss are inconsistent and inconclusive. And a recent study suggests that eating breakfast may not matter as much as has been previously believed, and skipping breakfast is fine for some people. But we probably haven’t heard the final word on this topic.

Postpartum depression: The worst kept secret

Andrea Chisholm, MD
Andrea Chisholm, MD, Contributor

Postpartum depression carries an unfortunate stigma, as symptoms of depression affect nearly 20% of new mothers. Early detection is key to ensure the best health for not just women, but for their new infants and family members as well. Once diagnosed, there are several treatment options that can support new mothers during a time that can be both joyous and challenging.

The 4 symptoms that mean your child must stay home from school or daycare

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

Children get sick, and when it happens parents have to decide whether or not to keep their kid home from school or daycare. Certain symptoms are signs that a child should definitely stay home. If you’re really not sure, your doctor can help guide your decision. To help your child recover, and prevent spreading illness to others, better safe than sorry.

Not just for women: Kegel exercises good for men too

Matthew Solan
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Kegel exercises have long been considered “for women only,” but older men may be wise to reconsider this point of view. These simple and subtle pelvic floor exercises can can be performed while lying down, sitting, or standing and are known to help with some common unpleasantries that can come with age.

When a nasty stomach virus strikes…

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

When one person in your household catches a stomach bug, it seems the rest of the household becomes sick almost instantly. This winter has been particularly difficult, which makes it all the more useful to know more: Why does this bug spread so quickly? And how do I prevent it?

When are self-help programs “helpful”?

Srini Pillay, MD
Srini Pillay, MD, Contributor

There is an explosion of books, tapes, podcasts, programs, and apps that claim to provide self-help. If you are considering any sort of self-help program, making the effort to evaluate its merits (underlying research, if any; reputation and qualifications of its source; whether or not the program is a good match for your needs) will increase the odds you find something appropriate and effective.

Attention shoppers: Be wary of health claims on food packaging

Beverly Merz
Beverly Merz, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

The term “healthy” has evolved greatly in the quarter century it has been used in the food industry. Despite recent updates in food labeling, which aim to create more well-informed consumers, inaccuracies remain in packaged foods with “healthy” claims. A closer look at nutrition data on packages can help you ensure you’re getting what you pay for.