Prevention

This just in: Exercise is good for you

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

If you are trying to follow the recommended guidelines for physical activity, the best way to spend your time may be running, but a study of commuters found that those who walked or bicycled to work also had lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

Stay safe in (and on) the water

Celia Smoak Spell
Celia Smoak Spell, Assistant Editor, Harvard Health Publications

Pools, beaches, and boats are great ways to enjoy leisure time in the summer. Following some simple precautions will make your water activities safer for everyone.

Shopping for sunscreen: Are all brands equal?

Emily S. Ruiz, MD, MPH
Emily S. Ruiz, MD, MPH, Contributor

The variety of sunscreens available can be confusing to consumers who want to know they are choosing a product that offers appropriate protection from harmful ultraviolet rays. New sunscreen ingredients currently in use in Europe are still in the pipeline waiting FDA approval in the US.

Lifestyle change: “I know what to do, I just need to do it…but how?”

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

Despite willpower, many people find that making significant lifestyle changes is very difficult. Factors both internal and external influence our ability to make changes, but being aware of them is the first step to overcoming them.

Asking saves lives: A simple question can keep children safe from gun injury

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

Although talking about guns is difficult and can be awkward, putting children’s safety first means asking if there are loaded guns in any place your child plays.

Sticking to a low-salt diet when eating out

Julie Corliss
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

People concerned about sodium intake should be careful when dining out, as many restaurant meals are loaded with salt, and it’s not just the fast-food places that are guilty of this.

Biking to work linked to reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death

Beverly Merz
Beverly Merz, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

A five-year study of more than a quarter of a million commuters in the United Kingdom found that those who commute to work by bicycle had lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, or of dying from any cause.

Room sharing with your baby may help prevent SIDS—but it means everyone gets less sleep

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

Having a baby sleep in the same room as its parents can help with feeding and safety, but will probably result in less sleep for everyone. Parents have to decide when it makes sense to move a baby to its own room.

Bad viruses travel fast: Measles vaccine important for travelers

John Ross, MD, FIDSA
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.

Run for your (long) life

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

A large, long-term study confirms that running decreases a person’s overall risk of death, and while the benefits from other forms of physical activity are not as significant, any activity is still better than none.