Prevention

Bad viruses travel fast: Measles vaccine important for travelers

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Because measles is so highly contagious, and because there is a significant delay before symptoms manifest, a person can carry the virus and infect others without knowing it, and many adults may not have received an effective dose of the vaccine. Many outbreaks of measles could probably be prevented if more travelers received MMR vaccine prior to foreign travel.

Colorectal cancer screening before age 50?

While the incidence of colorectal cancer has declined among older adults, it has increased in people younger than 50. The American Cancer Society now recommends that adults be screened for this condition starting at age 45.

Intensive treatment of blood pressure helps prevent memory decline in older adults

Gad Marshall, MD

Contributor

The results of a study on cardiovascular health and memory found that people who received intensive treatment to lower their blood pressure were significantly less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.

Activity: It all counts

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

When it comes to physical activity and fitness, most of us could do more than we are doing, but the good news is that as long as you’re doing something, any amount of activity is beneficial, and more exercise is definitely associated with a lower risk of death.

How to prevent poisonings in children — and what to do if they happen

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Safety precautions can prevent a child from accidentally ingesting or being exposed to poisonous or harmful items in your home, but knowing what to do if something happens can save a life.

Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, part 2

The results of another clinical trial add to the evidence that healthy people without a history of cardiovascular disease should not take a daily aspirin for the prevention of a heart attack or stroke.

Can vaping help you quit smoking?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

While the long-term health consequences of using e-cigarettes are still unknown, a study comparing vaping with nicotine replacement therapy found that it may be useful as a tool to help some smokers quit.

Give yourself an annual health self-assessment

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

An annual health self-assessment—a full analysis of your well-being—is a way to evaluate your status, taking into account both what you have accomplished and where you may be able to improve.

Is hand sanitizer better at preventing the flu than soap and water?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

In an eight-month study of toddlers in day care, researchers compared handwashing with soap and water to frequent and rigorous use of hand sanitizer. While the results were better for the hand sanitizer group, the study conditions may not reflect real-world hand hygiene.

More water, fewer UTIs?

Huma Farid, MD

Contributor

Many women have urinary tract infections (UTIs), but researchers found that when women with recurring UTIs drank significantly more water each day, their frequency of infection was cut in half.