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COVID-19 might have a tough new foe: The sun.

New research shows that sunnier regions of the United States have lower COVID-19 death rates than cloudier areas, suggesting that the sun's UV rays might somehow provide some protection against the disease.

The effect is not due to better uptake of the healthy "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D, noted the Scottish research team led by Richard...

Two COVID-19 vaccines appear to work well against a rapidly spreading coronavirus variant that arose in California, but less effective against a variant that first emerged in South Africa, researchers report.

"The good news is the California variant does not appear to be a problem for our current vaccines," said study author David Montefiori, director of the Laboratory for AIDS Vaccine Re...

Two people in the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine trial developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, but it's highly doubtful the vaccine is to blame, according to a just-published case study.

Although both people were in the same trial, one was given the vaccine and the other was given a placebo of saline solution.

"That strengthens the possibility that the case in our report may have be...

COVID-19 is so contagious that even a single breach of social distancing measures can have far-reaching consequences.

A case in point: An explosion of new COVID-19 cases traced to five people who joined in on a bar's opening night in rural Illinois in February.

Four of the five who attended the crowded gathering (the bar's capacity was 100 people) were already experiencing symptom...

There's good news for the millions of Americans who've already received a dose or two of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine: New research shows the vaccine should protect against illness for at least six months.

The new study tracked 33 participants in the trials that led to the vaccine's approval. Six months after having received their second vaccine dose, "antibody activity remained high in al...

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists thought twice about studying North American bats in their winter habitats. But they've now determined that the risk of humans passing the coronavirus to bats under these conditions was low.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) led the study. It found the risk to be one in 1,000 with no protective measures and one in 3,333 with proper use of per...

Kids will be kids, and that's exactly why Holly McDade plans to get her three young children the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them.

"Little kids can't help but touch their mouths and their noses and touch other things," said McDade, 32, of Strasburg, Va. "They just don't think about it. It's not where their brains are at yet."

McDade isn't concerned so much ab...

It's the question everyone wants answered because reopening the world depends on it: Can coronavirus vaccines stop transmission of the virus?

Now, 21 universities across the United States are teaming up to find out.

The project, called Prevent COVID U, was started by the COVID-19 Prevention Network housed at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

The study inc...

In January, the coronavirus swept through Brian and Maria Padla's family of seven in Philadelphia, starting with their oldest daughter, 16, and then infecting Brian, Maria, and their four younger children.

The virus seemingly came and went without much fanfare for the family. During their two-week-long quarantine, the kids spent a day or two with runny noses and low-grade fevers. Brian an...

Add another part of your body to the list of what COVID-19 can invade: New research shows mouth cells can be infected with the new coronavirus.

Previous studies have shown that the coronavirus infects the upper airways and lungs, the digestive system, blood vessels and kidneys, which may explain the wide-ranging symptoms experienced by COVID-19 patients.

Those symptoms include loss ...

If you must travel during the spring break, be sure to follow recommended COVID-19 pandemic safety measures, an emergency medicine doctor advises.

Millions of people are packing airports, while only one-quarter of the U.S. population has received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, noted Dr. Lewis Nelson, director of the department of emergency medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical ...

It's very rare, but it is possible to catch COVID-19 even if you've been vaccinated, a new study finds.

Looking at vaccinated health care workers at two University of California campuses, researchers found a tiny number tested positive for the virus. This finding highlights the need to keep wearing a mask and to keep social distancing, the researchers said.

"Because of the compulso...

COVID-19 transmission is rare in schools that follow precautions such as mandatory masks, social distancing and frequent hand-washing, a new study finds.

And that's true even among close school contacts of people who test positive for the new coronavirus, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"Schools can operate safely during a pandemic ...

Yet another organ seems to be affected by a bout of COVID-19: the thyroid.

Italian researchers have examined the thyroids of dozens of patients who've recovered from moderate-to-severe cases of COVID-19. The study found evidence that SARS-CoV-2 infection may trigger an inflammation of the gland in some patients.

Whether that inflammation can cause long-term dysfunction is still unc...

Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes significantly increases a child's risk of COVID-19 complications and death, researchers warn.

The risk of complications is 10 times higher in youngsters with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes than in those with well-controlled diabetes, according to a study presented Saturday at a virtual meeting of The Endocrine Society.

"This study shows keeping d...

Don't believe everything you hear: A sizable minority of Americans are still hesitant about getting the new COVID-19 vaccine, but their fears are mostly not warranted, a leading vaccine expert says.

"Not only has it been shown to be safe in tens of thousands of people before approval, it's been shown to be safe in tens of millions of people post-approval," Dr. Paul Offit, director of the ...

For many, it's like emerging suddenly from a long, dark tunnel.

Some people who've been laid low for months by so-called "long haul" symptoms after a coronavirus infection say that within days of getting their COVID-19 vaccine, those symptoms nearly disappeared.

Speaking with The New York Times, Bridget Hayward, a 51-year-old operating room nurse in Alexandria, Va....

An antibody infusion being tested for preventing HIV does not seem to thwart most infections -- but its success against certain strains of the virus suggests researchers are on the right track.

That's the takeaway from a clinical trial that put the antibody, called VRC01, to the test in 2,700 people at high risk of contracting HIV.

Researchers found that infusions of the antibody ev...

To the lingering damage of COVID-19 infection, add this side effect: New research shows that more than half of those sickened by COVID-19 report depression.

Among more than 3,900 people who had COVID-19 surveyed between May 2020 and January 2021, 52% suffered symptoms of major depression, researchers found.

"People who have been ill with COVID-19 can experience depressive symptoms f...

Health care workers are more likely to catch COVID-19 at home or in their community than on the job, a new study finds.

"The news is reassuring in that it shows the measures taken are working to prevent infections from spreading in health care facilities," said study co-author Dr. Anthony Harris. He's professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medi...

In more good news on the coronavirus vaccine front, a new government report finds that 88% of Americans who get their first COVID-19 shot return for their second.

That bodes well for the United States, since full vaccination is vital to stopping the pandemic.

In December 2020, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were approved for emergency use, but both require two shots to get...

Having an intellectual disability is second only to being elderly as a risk factor for dying from COVID-19, a new study suggests.

"The chances of dying from COVID-19 are higher for those with intellectual disability than they are for people with congestive heart failure, kidney disease or lung disease," said study author Dr. Jonathan Gleason, chief quality officer at Jefferson Health, in ...

Raising chickens in your backyard -- a popular trend during the COVID-19 pandemic -- holds risks that can come home to roost in an unwelcome way.

It's already well known that poultry can spread the salmonella bacteria to human handlers. But chickens cooped up in backyards could also be breeding grounds for viruses that pose an even bigger public health threat, according to Sonia Hernandez...

Could whether your governor is a Democrat or a Republican have influenced how many coronavirus cases and deaths your state has seen during the pandemic?

Yes, claim researchers who discovered a strong link between the two -- by late last summer, the odds of dying from COVID-19 was nearly twice as high in states whose governors were Republicans versus states with Democratic governors....

Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have prevented an anticipated outbreak of a rare polio-like syndrome in children, researchers report.

Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a spinal condition that causes weakness in the limbs, impairs motor function and can lead to lifelong disabilities. It was first reported in the United States in 2012, with outbreaks recurring every ...

A vaginal ring that slowly releases an antiviral medication could protect women against HIV for up to three months, a preliminary trial suggests.

It assessed two formulations of a vaginal ring that releases the antiretroviral dapivirine in the vagina over the course of 90 days. One version contained 100 milligrams (mg) of dapivirine and the other contained 200 mg.

The trial was cond...

Americans love to have choices, and now there are three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States.

But infectious disease experts say that all three protect strongly against severe COVID-19, so there is only one criteria to use in deciding which vaccine is the best.

"There is a single best vaccine. It's the one that's available to you today," said Dr. William Schaffner...

Like many people this past year, teenager Tyona Montgomery began experiencing a sore throat and a loss of sense of smell and taste in November that suggested she might have COVID-19.

A positive test confirmed it, but she quickly felt better.

Then, just two weeks later, new symptoms surged. She was disoriented, with a headache that was so bad she called an Uber to take her to a hospi...

The first U.S. case of a Brazilian COVID-19 variant that doctors fear can re-infect the previously sick surfaced in Minnesota in early January 2021, and the more infectious variant has since been found in four other states, a new government report says.

Known as the P.1 variant, it first appeared in a Minnesotan who'd recently traveled to southeastern Brazil, according to Melanie Fireston...

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the emergency use of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot coronavirus vaccine, adding a third weapon to the arsenal the United States is building to battle the pandemic.

The overall effectiveness of the J&J vaccine in protecting recipients against any case of COVID-19 (66%) is not as high as that of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (95%). But ...

Older Americans on a Medicare Advantage plan could face hospital bills of $1,000 or more if private insurers start charging out-of-pocket costs for lifesaving COVID-19 care, a new study warns.

Cost data show that Medicare Advantage patients pay an average $987 out-of-pocket when they are hospitalized with the seasonal flu, and about 3% pay more than $2,500, according to the report.

...

Stress is the No. 1 reason U.S. teachers left the profession before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new poll reveals.

Nearly 1,000 former public school teachers were polled in December. Three-quarters said their job was often or always stressful during their final year in the classroom.

Stress was nearly twice as common as poor pay as a reason for quitting, according to the resu...

Hungry for good news on the pandemic? One epidemiologist believes Americans might reach herd immunity to the new coronavirus as soon as late spring.

That's the view held by Suzanne Judd, a professor with the school of public health at the University of Alabama (UA) at Birmingham. To come to that conclusion, she reviewed recent research and data from her home state.

"I really am star...

Protective immune system antibodies that develop after being infected with COVID-19 last for at least a few months, a new study suggests. And reinfection does seem to be relatively rare.

That could have big implications for public health and societies, including allowing people to return to physical workplaces and go to school, the researchers said.

"The data from this study suggest...

During the pandemic, people with asthma have worried that their respiratory condition might raise their risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, but new research findings should calm their fears.

After analyzing data from 57 studies that included a total of over 587,000 people, scientists discovered that rates of asthma among people with COVID-19 were similar to rates in the general...

It's been nearly a year since David Speal, 38, first fell ill with COVID-19, but a racing heartbeat remains a regular reminder of his brush with the new coronavirus.

Even the littlest thing -- not eating at the right time, not drinking enough water, too much exercise, a stressful encounter -- can send Speal's heartbeat soaring as high as 150 beats per minute.

"My autonomic nervous s...

Many older Americans lack knowledge about antibiotics, with some admitting to using leftover medication, a new survey reveals.

More than 2,200 adults, aged 50 to 80, were questioned. Nine out of 10 said they're cautious about using antibiotics, and nearly that number knew that overuse of the drugs can lead to them becoming ineffective, according to the University of Michigan National Poll...

Researchers have identified more than 140,000 viruses that live in the human gut, including half that were previously unknown.

The number and variety of viruses found in more than 28,000 gut microbiome samples gathered from different parts of the world are surprisingly high, according to the study authors.

The researchers added that their findings will lead to new research to learn ...

The emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants could require a quick pivot on the part of pharmaceutical and medical device companies, to help stay one step ahead of COVID-19.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued guidelines Monday encouraging drug and test developers to pay attention to new coronavirus variants and be prepared to make that pivot if necessary.

The guidance provides...

Worried or wondering about COVID-19 vaccines?

Many Americans are, so experts at Penn State Health are offering some reassuring insight.

"People are approaching this vaccine with more hesitation because it was approved quickly, but that really just speaks to how far we have come in vaccinology," said Dr. Mohammad Ali, an infectious disease physician at Penn State Health Holy Spirit M...

Many patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 could become "long haulers," suffering symptoms months after they clear their non-life-threatening infection, new research shows.

About 33% of COVID-19 patients who were never sick enough to require hospitalization continue to complain months later of symptoms like fatigue, loss of smell or taste and "brain fog," University of Washington (UW) r...

The greatest threat from COVID-19 has been for Black and Hispanic Americans, who are three times more likely to be hospitalized and about twice as likely to die from an infection with the novel coronavirus, compared with white people.

Now, street-level community groups are stepping in with innovative ways to overcome longstanding racial disparities in health care and help step up vaccinat...

Children have largely been spared severe COVID-19 infection, and new research hints at why.

In the study, children's immune systems attacked the new coronavirus faster and more aggressively than adults' immune systems did, the findings showed.

The researchers analyzed blood samples from 48 children and 70 adults who lived in 28 households in Melbourne, Australia, and who were infect...

Scientists may have discovered why cold sores caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) are triggered by stress, illness and sunburn.

The finding could lead to new ways to prevent recurring cold sores and herpes-related eye disease, U.S. and British researchers say.

More than half of Americans are infected with herpes simplex virus. It is spread through close contact with someone wh...

When New York City was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic last spring in the United States, nearby Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital was treating more than 400 COVID-19 patients at one time, remembers Dr. Aaron Glatt.

Infectious disease experts had warned for years about the potential for another pandemic, yet the scale of this pandemic was unprecedented according to Glatt, wh...

For parents with questions about COVID-19 vaccines and children, Johns Hopkins Medicine experts offer answers.

While vaccinations for adults are underway in the United States, clinical trials for the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration-authorized COVID-19 vaccines haven't yet been completed for children and teens younger than 16.

Before that age group can receive a vaccine, the ...

When choosing a face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it seems like the choices are endless.

To make the decision a little easier, researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, tested several styles in 41 types of fabric.

The upshot: A mask made of two layers of low-thread-count quilting cotton paired with a three-ply dried baby wipe as a filter...

Here's some good news for people who've had solid organ transplants and have weakened immune systems: mRNA coronavirus vaccines are safe for these vulnerable folks, new research shows.

The study included 187 transplant recipients who received an initial dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccines between Dec. 16, 2020 and Jan. 16, 2021.

The participants, median age 48, were r...

It would be nice if it were true, but a bout of the common cold won't protect you against the new coronavirus infection, researchers report.

Colds are caused by seasonal coronaviruses (CoVs) and previous studies have suggested that exposure to cold coronaviruses may safeguard against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

To find out if that was true, researchers analyzed...

Certain genetic factors in people with Down syndrome may increase their COVID-19 risks.

Previous studies have found that people with Down syndrome are 10 times more likely to die from COVID-19, and experts have said they should be among those given priority for vaccination.

In this new study, Spanish researchers examined genetic differences in people with Down syndrome that might af...

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