Harvard Health Blog

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

Should we screen all adolescent girls and women for anxiety?

A national organization that evaluates research and makes recommendations for women’s preventive health care is supporting screening all adolescent girls and women for anxiety disorders. While this idea has merit, there are also risks involved in screening that should be considered, and the benefits should be weighed against potential harms.

An emerging link between the urinary microbiome and urinary incontinence

The discovery that the urinary tract has a microbiome analogous to the one in the digestive tract has led to research showing that in women with urinary incontinence, their urinary microbiome differs from those in women who do not have urinary incontinence.

Which test is best for COVID-19?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

So much about testing for COVID-19 is confusing — from the types and number of tests available to woefully incomplete information about testing and the changing options. Understanding the current choices can help you make an informed decision about how to proceed if you want to be tested.

Be vigilant about bug spray

Steve Calechman

Contributor

It’s likely people are trying to spend more time outside this summer, whether to avoid indoor situations where COVID-19 may spread or just for enjoyment. But the threat from illnesses spread by ticks and mosquitoes hasn’t changed, so knowing basic information about insect repellent, and using it the right way, will help people protect themselves.

Children, teens, and the safety of psychotropic medicines

While many children and teens are prescribed psychotropic medicines to treat conditions like depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a comprehensive look at safety data has been lacking. A recent review of multiple studies synthesizes evidence on the side effect profiles of many widely used medicines.

Rising temperatures: How to avoid heat-related illnesses and deaths

Hotter summer temperatures and prolonged periods of intense heat can lead to heat-related illness — and even deaths –– particularly in areas known as urban heat islands. People who are elderly and those with existing health problems are especially vulnerable. Know what to do to protect yourself and others.

School, camp, daycare, and sports physicals: What to do in the time of COVID-19

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Summer activities are underway and some schools will be reopening come September. Does your child need a physical exam, or a form from the pediatrician? Here’s how to think through the options for fulfilling these requirements.

Wondering about goosebumps? Of course you are

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

What are goosebumps? Why do we get them? Do they serve a purpose? Some of these questions can be answered, others can’t. But a recent study in mice links goosebumps to stem cells responsible for the regeneration of hair.

Lifestyle changes are important for managing atrial fibrillation

Many lifestyle factors can influence the development of atrial fibrillation, and doctors now better understand the importance of these factors in treating afib. Those who are at risk of developing afib can take action to improve their health, and in some cases they may be able to reduce their symptoms.

Can appealing to teenagers’ vanity improve sun-protective behaviors?

Shinjita Das, MD

Contributor

Most people understand the risks of sun exposure, even if they do not regularly wear sunscreen, but getting younger people to pay attention to this concern can be difficult. A study chose a novel approach to this problem by appealing to teenagers’ vanity and focus on their appearance.