Infectious diseases

PrEP: Protection against HIV in a pill?

Meera Sunder, MBBS, MRCOG

Contributing Editor

While there is still no cure for HIV, it has become much more treatable, and now PrEP offers a way to help prevent it. PrEP involves a medication that combines two antiretroviral drugs that, if taken daily, can prevent HIV infection.

4 things to know about ticks and Lyme

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

It’s smart to be concerned about Lyme disease, but awareness of symptoms and taking some simple precautions when you or your family members spend time outdoors can help you avoid being bitten by ticks.

The bacterial horror of hot-air hand dryers

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Researchers testing the dispersal of bacteria in public restrooms found that the hand dryers were picking up bacterial deposits, likely from aerosolized microbes caused by the flushing of uncovered toilets.

3 ways to help get more children immunized

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

In order to increase the number of children who receive all the recommended vaccinations, greater effort must be made in providing health care access to all children, and doctors must understand the wide range of reasons for parents’ resistance to vaccines.

Celebrities get shingles, too

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, though it can be dormant in a person for decades before flaring up suddenly. Not everyone who has had chickenpox will develop shingles, but it is more common in those who are older or who have a weakened immune system.

Vaccinations: More than just kid stuff

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Some people think that once they reach adulthood they no longer need any vaccinations, but this is not true. Besides an annual flu shot (which everyone should get), adults should get several other vaccinations, and depending on current guidelines, may need an occasional booster shot or a new vaccine.

This year’s flu season: Public health catastrophe or par for the course?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

This winter flu activity has been higher than usual across the United States. If you have not gotten a flu shot yet, it’s not too late; some protection is better than none, plus there are other steps you can take to protect yourself and those around you.

When to worry about your child’s sore throat

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

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

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.