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Doctors' Group Says Antibiotics Can Be Taken for Shorter Periods

Millions of Americans have at some point in their lives gotten a long course of antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection. But according to new recommendations from a major U.S. doctors' group, some of the most common bacterial infections can now be treated with shorter courses of the drugs.

The advice, from the American College of Physicians (ACP), says that for several types of infec...

Does an Arthritis Drug Help Patients Battling Severe COVID? It Depends on the Study

Two new studies suggest that the jury is still out on whether the arthritis drug tocilizumab helps those with severe COVID-19.

Both reports were published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine. The first, from scientists at the University of California, San Diego, found tocilizumab didn't improve outcomes or reduce the risk of death in patients with severe COVID-19 pneu...

Even Low Levels of Air Pollution Harm Heart, Lungs

Breathing in air that has even low levels of pollution poses a threat to older adults' heart and lungs, a new study warns.

Researchers analyzed medical records of more than 63 million Medicare patients from 2000 to 2016. They found that long-term exposure to low levels of air pollution could increase the risk of pneumonia, heart attack, stroke and the irregular heart rhythm known as atria...

Vaccines Saved 37 Million Lives, Mostly Children, Over Past Two Decades

They're medical miracles: A new report finds that vaccines against 10 major diseases prevented 37 million deaths between 2000 and 2019 in low- and middle-income countries worldwide, with young children benefiting most.

Vaccinations are also projected to prevent a total of 69 million deaths between 2000 and 2030, researchers say.

Their modeling study also shows that vaccination again...

Research Reveals Why COVID Pneumonia Is More Deadly

Unlike regular pneumonia, COVID-19 pneumonia spreads like many "wildfires" throughout the lungs, researchers say.

This may explain why COVID-19 pneumonia lasts longer and causes more harm than typical pneumonia, according to the researchers at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.

The research team said that their aim is to make COVID-19 more like a bad cold.

For the study, the te...

Flu, Pneumonia Vaccines Save Lives of Heart Failure Patients: Study

Flu and pneumonia vaccines lead to fewer hospital deaths among heart failure patients, a new study finds.

"Our study provides further impetus for annual immunizations in patients with heart failure. Despite advice to do so, uptake remains low," said study author Dr. Karthik Gonuguntla, of the University of Connecticut.

In heart failure, your heart can't pump blood as well as...

Could the Flu Shot Lower Your Risk for Alzheimer's?

Getting vaccinated to protect against pneumonia and flu may offer an unexpected benefit -- a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, new research suggests.

Two new studies being presented Monday at this summer's virtual Alzheimer's Association International Conference found a lower incidence of Alzheimer's in people who got flu and pneumonia vaccines. A third study underscored the importa...

Pneumonia More Deadly Than Hip Fractures for Hospitalized Seniors

Seniors hospitalized with pneumonia are much more likely to die in the hospital and within two years of leaving the hospital than those with hip fractures, new research shows.

But many older people don't recognize the serious threat posed by pneumonia, the researchers said. The study took place in 2009 to 2015, years before the coronavirus pandemic and its respiratory effects became a...

Asthma, COPD Raise Odds for Severe COVID-19, Lung Experts Warn

People with asthma and other lung diseases are at increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19, caution experts from the American Lung Association.

"Everyone's health is at risk from COVID-19, and those living with a lung disease or who are immunocompromised may be more vulnerable to the impacts of the virus," said Dr. Albert Rizzo, the association's chief medical officer.

COVID-19 Infection Likely Worse for Vapers, Smokers

Smokers and vapers who get COVID-19 can probably expect a more severe infection, health experts warn.

Many advisories have focused on the risk facing older people, those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, and people with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients. But doctors also caution that users of electronic cigarettes and tobacco are more in danger from the new ...

'Necrotizing Pneumonia' May Be New Vaping Hazard

E-cigarettes were initially thought to be a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, but a recent outbreak of serious lung illnesses and deaths linked to the nicotine delivery devices called that belief into question.

Now, a new case report details another type of lung illness in a 15-year-old girl who regularly used e-cigarettes: necrotizing pneumonia.

Necrotizing pne...

How to Prepare, Protect Yourself From Coronavirus

With U.S. health officials this week declaring a domestic outbreak of coronavirus a "not if, but when" situation, one expert in infectious illness offers guidance on how you can prepare and protect yourself.

First of all, if you do develop symptoms such as fever, congestion and coughing, "it's important to stay calm and not panic," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physic...

Got Flu? Deal Quickly With Complications

Fighting the flu can be an unpleasant experience -- but the misery may not stop there.

When you have the flu, your immune system is under attack, making complications common. Other infections can weasel their way into your body, according to Libby Richards, an associate professor at Purdue University's School of Nursing in West Lafayette, Ind.

Common complications include ...

Vaping Could Up Risks for Asthma, COPD and Other Lung Diseases

As if the news on vaping wasn't bad enough, a new study suggests that e-cigarette users are also at significantly higher risk of chronic lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and COPD.

Those risks rose even higher if vapers also smoked tobacco, researchers said.

"What we found is that for e-cigarette users, the odds of developing lung disease increased by about...

Cleaner Air Quickly Brings Big Health Benefits, Study Finds

When people are breathing cleaner air, their health generally improves -- rapidly, in some cases, a new review shows.

The report, from the Environmental Committee of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), details some of the evidence on air quality and human health. Overall, it concludes, people can reap a range of benefits when air pollution is cut -- from fewer as...

Vaping May Have Triggered Lung Illness Typically  Only Seen in Metalworkers

A lung disease that normally strikes in the workplace has been linked to vaping in a new report.

A 49-year-old California woman who vaped marijuana came down with a form of pneumonia normally associated with exposure to hard metals in industrial settings, according to a case study published Dec. 5 in the European Respiratory Journal.

The disease, called hard-metal pne...

Uncontrolled Asthma a Danger to Pregnant Women, Babies

Poorly controlled asthma during pregnancy puts mothers and their babies at increased risk for serious complications, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed more than 100,000 pregnancies in more than 58,000 women with asthma in Canada.

Compared to those whose asthma was well-controlled, women who had severe asthma symptoms during pregnancy were 17% more likely to have hi...

Adults Need Vaccines, Too

Vaccines aren't just for kids, a doctors' group says.

"Many adults are not aware that they need vaccines throughout their lives and so have not received recommended vaccinations," Dr. Robert McLean, president of the American College of Physicians, said in a college news release.

"Adults should get a seasonal flu shot and internists should use that opportunity to make sure th...

Many Pneumonia Patients Get Too Many Antibiotics

Two-thirds of hospitalized pneumonia patients may be prescribed antibiotics for too long, increasing their risk for potentially harmful side effects, researchers say.

In 93#37; of cases, overprescription involved the number of antibiotics patients received upon being discharged from the hospital.

Each year in the United States, pneumonia sends 1 million adults to the hospita...

Opioids Put Alzheimer's Patients at Risk of Pneumonia: Study

People with Alzheimer's disease who take opioid painkillers are more likely to develop pneumonia, Finnish researchers report.

The overall odds are 30% higher, especially in the first two months of use, the researchers found. And the risk is highest for those taking strong opioids such as oxycodone or fentanyl.

However, pneumonia risk also rose among Alzheimer's patients ...

How Getting a Flu Shot Could Save Your Life

It's not too late to get your flu shot, which can protect you in ways that may surprise you.

The flu vaccine can be a lifesaver for people with heart disease, according to infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Chang, assistant professor of pediatrics at University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

"Previous studies have shown influenza vaccination could reduce d...

Prescription Opioids May Raise Pneumonia Risk

People who take prescription opioid painkillers are at increased risk for pneumonia, especially those with HIV, a new study suggests.

The findings support concerns that prescription opioids can weaken the immune system. Doctors who prescribe opioids need to reduce patients' risk of pneumonia through vaccination and by encouraging them to stop smoking, the researchers said.

F...