Recent Blog Articles

Infectious diseases Archive


Harvard study: Shingles linked to a spike in risks for heart attack and stroke

Published March 1, 2023

A 2022 observational study that included more than 200,000 people found that those who’d had shingles at some point had a 30% higher long-term risk for a major cardiovascular event, compared with people who didn’t have shingles.

Does COVID-19 damage the brain?

Published March 1, 2023

COVID-19 can damage the brain in many ways. Initially, it can cause brain inflammation that causes confusion, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems. COVID also can cause new psychological disorders such as depression or anxiety. It can even cause people to see and hear things that aren’t there and to believe things that aren’t true. COVID often damages the brain’s autonomic nervous system, leading to abnormalities in heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally, the virus that causes COVID can infect and injure the lining of blood vessels and make blood clot more easily, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks.

Shingles linked with higher risk for heart disease and stroke

Published March 1, 2023

People who have had shingles have a 30% increased risk for heart disease and stroke, says a new Harvard study. Learn more about the risk.

Vaccination may protect against long COVID

Published March 1, 2023

Getting at least one dose of a COVID vaccine lowers the risk of developing long COVID even among people who were previously unvaccinated and recovered from COVID.

How high a fever is too high?

Published January 1, 2023

A fever is the immune system’s response to an infection or invader. Most fevers drop after people take over-the-counter medications. People should call a doctor if their fever reaches 103° F and go to an emergency room if it reaches 105°.

Cold-weather cautions

Published December 1, 2022

Wintertime can pose challenges to cardiovascular health. Cold temperatures can cause arteries to narrow, which can leave people with heart disease vulnerable to angina or heart attacks, especially during physical exertion. Changes in sleep, eating, and exercise habits related to the season may also affect the heart. Crowded indoor gatherings also raise a person’s risk for respiratory infections, which can exacerbate heart disease.

Want to stay healthy over the holidays?

Published November 22, 2022

Another holiday season is here, and this year we need to contend with other viruses besides COVID-19. Three Harvard experts share their thoughts on the best ways to keep ourselves and our family members healthy as we celebrate holidays together.

Enhanced flu vaccine suggested for older adults

Published October 1, 2022

Influenza vaccines that contain higher doses and extra ingredients (adjuvants) to boost their effectiveness can provide better protection than the standard flu vaccine for adults ages 65 and older, according to the CDC, and are recommended for the upcoming flu season.

The rundown on diarrhea

Published October 1, 2022

Everyone experiences acute (short-term) diarrhea at some time. The unpleasant experience often resolves on its own in a few days, but there are situations that require medical attention. Examples include bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, a high fever, and episodes that continue for a week or longer. A medical consultation can help determine if diarrhea is related to a specific bacterium or parasite, a medication side effect, a food intolerance, or an inflammatory bowel disease.

More protection for your heart? It’s just a shot away

Published October 1, 2022

A yearly influenza vaccine may help lower the risk of serious cardiovascular complications, especially among people who’ve had a recent heart attack. Pneumonia and shingles vaccines also help reduce heart attack and stroke risks. Early fall is a good time to get back on track with these vaccines. Several different types of flu shots are available; experts advise getting whichever one is most readily available. For those ages 65 and older who have a choice, three vaccines (Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, Flublock Quadrivalent recombinant, and Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted) may offer slightly better protection than the regular-dose shot and are the preferred choice.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.