Archive for February, 2021

New school guidelines around COVID-19: What parents need to know

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

After nearly a year of the pandemic, parents want their children to go back to school, but no one wants students or teachers to get sick with COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new guidelines for how schools can accomplish in-person learning safely.

Grandparents and vaccines: Now what?

Ellen S. Glazer, LICSW

Guest Contributor

Grandparents tired of pandemic video calls are eager to hug grandchildren, and as seniors receive COVID-19 vaccinations, many want to know what their vaccination status means with regard to family and friends. Here are responses to some common questions.

Seeking solace, finding resilience in a pandemic

Over the past year, so many of us have experienced various forms of trauma, and reported mental health symptoms have increased dramatically. But at the same time, people have shown resilience and found small moments of solace, relief, and even joy in life’s simple pleasures — and these moments help.

Lowering cholesterol protects your heart and brain, regardless of your age

Studies have consistently shown that lowering LDL cholesterol reduces the risk of cardiovascular events and death. But do older adults — even those with existing cardiovascular disease — get the same benefits from lowering cholesterol, and do they face any additional risks from taking cholesterol-lowering medication? An analysis of data from previous studies reached some favorable conclusions.

Natural remedies for hemorrhoids

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Hemorrhoids are painful and unpleasant, and difficult to talk about. But they are common among people over 50, and they are not dangerous and can be managed with simple remedies and self-care.

Want to feel more connected? Practice empathy

Empathy helps people get along with others, but the ability to understand another person’s experience comes more easily to some people than to others. However, the capacity for empathy can be honed and improved like any other skill.

Does your health monitor have device bias?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The accuracy of health monitoring devices available to consumers varies, and in some instances skin tone may make a difference –– a problem called device bias. Yet proper function of such devices can have significant implications for the health of those using them.

The link between abdominal fat and death: What is the shape of health?

Body mass index is commonly used to assess a person’s weight status and health risk, but it does not indicate how much fat a person has or how it is distributed throughout the body — indicators of metabolic health. A recent study analyzed different measures of body shape to determine which are most predictive of premature death.

Why won’t some health care workers get vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccination rates among health care workers in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been lower than expected. Is this an information problem or does it stem from other issues –– and what can be done?

What’s your approach to health? Check your medicine cabinet

Attitudes toward health –– broadly, maximalist or minimalist –– tend to form early in life and are embedded in our family’s approach to health and well-being. The contents of your medicine cabinet reflect which approach you prefer.