Harvard Health Blog

Read posts from experts at Harvard Health Publishing covering a variety of health topics and perspectives on medical news.


Do tattoos cause lymphoma?

The number of adults in the US with at least one tattoo has risen dramatically in recent decades, so headlines about a study that found an association between having a tattoo and higher risk of lymphoma may have caused worry. But there's much more to the story than just the headlines.

Hot weather hikes: Staying safe when temperatures spike

Summer is a great time to take a hike, but it's essential to make sure you're prepared for the weather and conditions where you are. Hiking safely and planning ahead will make your trek more enjoyable.

Cannabis drinks: How do they compare to alcohol?

While alcohol remains the most-used drug in the US, daily cannabis use has outpaced daily drinking. In states where recreational cannabis is legal, a popular new item is cannabis-infused beverages. These products are different from edibles, and the timing and intensity of their effects on the body differ as well.

What is Lewy body dementia?

Although less known and less understood than other types of dementia, Lewy body dementia is the second most common cause of neurodegenerative disease following Alzheimer's. How do its symptoms differ, who is at risk, and how is it diagnosed and treated?

Dog bites: How to prevent or treat them

More than 4.5 million dog bites occur in the US each year. Despite what you might expect, most of these are inflicted by a pet dog in a home. Learn more about how you can avoid injury, and what to do if you do get bitten.

Ever read your medical record? Here's why you should

When you have a medical appointment, your health provider writes notes on the visit that are available to you. It's a good idea to read these — though you may be surprised or confused by some of the language — and to check in if you have questions or need to make important corrections.

Shining light on night blindness

Night blindness makes it hard to see in dim or dark settings, which can affect safety at home and make driving dangerous after dark. While the cause varies, there are steps people can take to address these problems.

Swimming lessons save lives: What parents should know

Every year, more than 4,500 people die from drowning in the United States. Swimming lessons help save lives and parents should know how to choose the right program and encourage children to learn skills that will help them to stay safe at the beach and around ponds or pools.

Packing your hurricane go bag? Make provisions for your health

When you're packing a hurricane go-bag, keep health priorities in mind. If you don't prepare in advance, you might leave behind medicines, medical supplies, important paperwork, and other essentials that can help you stay healthy. Here's how to plan ahead.

5 great tips for sustainable summer living

Wondering how to save money, stay cooler, and be kinder to our planet during a long, hot summer? These five tips help ensure maximum fun and suggest ways to stay comfortable and safe this summer while making sustainable choices to benefit the environment.

How health care leaders can prioritize health equity for the LGBTQIA2+ community

Research shows that the LGBTQIA2+ community faces disproportionate adverse health conditions due to health inequities. It's important for those working in the health care industry to be aware of the challenges the LGBTQIA2+ community faces, to help make systemic changes and improve health outcomes.

One surprising effect of wildfires: Itchy, irritated skin

Mounting evidence suggests that wildfires, which are increasing in intensity and frequency, contribute to skin problems, including eczema flares. Here's what you need to know to protect your skin from wildfire pollution.

Orienteering: Great exercise and better thinking skills?

The navigation sport orienteering combines map and compass reading with exercise. It's a fun way to get outside and get some exercise — and it may even help fight cognitive decline.

Health care should improve your health, right?

Modern medicine offers ever-expanding ways to heal and prevent disease, but it's also true that health care can cause harm. Some harms are preventable while others are much harder to control. So how can you reduce your chances of being harmed?

Ultra-processed foods? Just say no

It's well known that ultra-processed foods are unhealthy. But what if you follow a healthy diet yet also eat some ultra-processed foods? A new study found that this still poses a risk for brain health.

The cicadas are here: How's your appetite?

Trillions of cicadas are expected to emerge in the US by the end of June, especially in the Midwest. In many parts of the world insects are considered a low-cost source of calories and protein, but some people still won't want to eat them — and some people shouldn't.

Life can be challenging: Build your own resilience plan

Resilience is a psychological response that helps you adapt to life's difficulties and seek a path forward through challenges. While everyone has the ability to be resilient, life stresses can take a toll on you. It's possible to cultivate resilience — but how?

Bugs are biting: Safety precautions for children

Biting bugs are a nuisance and sometimes can spread  illnesses like Lyme disease, Zika, or West Nile virus. To prevent bug bites, take simple precautions and learn how to choose and safely use insect repellents.

Power your paddle sports with three great exercises

Like kayaking or canoeing, paddleboarding provides a serious workout. But before you head out on the water, you'll want to get some key muscle groups in shape, especially ones that probably have not been used much during winter.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, teaches people to challenge negative thought patterns and change their responses to unsettling situations. It is an effective therapy for many mental health conditions as well as issues like pain or insomnia, and for managing difficult life experiences.

Prostate cancer: Brachytherapy linked to long-term risk of secondary malignancies

When cancer patients are treated with radiation, it's possible that the therapy itself may cause new tumors to form in the body later. Canadian researchers published findings in 2014 finding no difference between groups of men treated with cancer or with surgery — but following up another decade later, there was a clear increase in risk.

Is there a good side to drug side effects?

Not all drug side effects are created equal: some are tolerable, some are dangerous –– and some may turn out to be surprisingly beneficial with weight loss and hair growth as superstar examples. Silver linings like these can lead to a new purpose for some medications.

Salmonella is sneaky: Watch out

If you've ever had food poisoning caused by Salmonella bacteria, you know it's unpleasant but typically goes away within two to three days. You may not know that these bacteria sicken more than a million people in the US each year — and can be deadly for some. You can take steps to avoid getting sick.

A hot weather plan is essential to staying healthy

High temperatures stress the body, leading to thousands of heat-related illnesses and deaths every year in the US. Learn when hot weather becomes dangerous and how to create your own hot weather safety plan.


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