Infectious diseases

When to worry about your child’s sore throat

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

Sore throats are common in children, often occurring with colds, but there are situations when a sore throat is an indication of a more serious problem and you should call the child’s doctor.

The flu is here — and so is a new advisory from the CDC

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

If you have not yet gotten a flu shot, the CDC has issued an advisory for this season that may make you reconsider. The severity of the virus is stronger this year, and while the vaccine may not be as effective as in years past, some protection is better than none.

Is “man flu” really a thing?

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

The concept of “man flu” sounds like a joke or a ploy for sympathy, but men and women do experience other diseases and conditions differently, and there is some evidence that this is also true of the influenza virus.

What’s new with the flu shot?

Dominic Wu, MD
Dominic Wu, MD, Contributing Editor

If you are planning to get a flu shot but have not yet done so, it may be worth waiting a little longer, as data on patients from four recent flu seasons found that protection against the virus declined over the course of the winter.

Good news about the HPV vaccine

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

The administration of the HPV vaccine has significantly lowered rates of infection among the population it is intended to protect, as well as among those who have not been vaccinated.

Flu shots during pregnancy

Andrea Chisholm, MD
Andrea Chisholm, MD, Contributor

A recent small study linked the flu shot during pregnancy with an increased risk for miscarriage. However it did not establish that the flu shot causes miscarriage. Despite these results, pregnant women should be reassured that the benefits of getting a flu shot outweigh any potential risk.

10 things parents should know about flu shots

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

Even though it’s only the beginning of September, parents should be thinking about scheduling flu shots for their children (and themselves). Here’s the latest information everyone needs to know about getting vaccinated.

Is the “full course of antibiotics” full of baloney?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA
John Ross, MD, FIDSA, Contributing Editor

Conventional medical wisdom has held that taking antibiotics for longer periods of time produces better results and lowers the risk for antibiotic resistance. But the evidence for this is slim, and researchers are now questioning this approach.

Ticks and the changing landscape of tick-borne illnesses

Wynne Armand, MD
Wynne Armand, MD, Contributing Editor

Ticks are being found in more places, and they are carrying newly discovered bacteria, meaning it’s more important than ever to protect yourself and your family when you are outdoors.

When to worry about your child’s fever

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

Children get sick, so it’s not unusual for a child to have a fever. Most of the time it isn’t serious, but there are times when parents should be concerned about a fever.