Category Archive: Infectious disease

Countering misinformation about flu vaccine: Why it’s so hard

Many Americans hold beliefs about the flu vaccine that are at odds with the best available scientific evidence. For example, a recent study found that more than two-fifths, or 43 percent, of Americans believe that the seasonal flu vaccine can give us t…

A change in a patient changed us all

It was another simmering-hot Texas day, and the AC was faltering in the family-practice clinic where I worked as a family nurse practitioner. Most of our clients were poor and spoke only Spanish. My nurse, Eliza, approached, wide-eyed. “There&#82…

When the best prescription is no prescription

“Get rest and drink plenty of fluids,” might not sound like adequately aggressive medical advice. If you’ve dragged yourself out of bed to visit an urgent care or your doctor’s office, you will probably feel somewhat cheated by an admonition to head ri…

Everything you ever wanted to know about croup

Imagine this scenario. Your two-year-old son has had a runny nose for a day or two and an occasional cough, but seemed no worse to you that everyone else in his preschool class. Two hours after you put him to bed you hear him coughing, only this cough …

Physicians are trapped between patient satisfaction and unnecessary prescribing

I don’t mean to pick on McDonald’s. Insert any other large retail business where customer satisfaction massively trumps every other consideration of the relationship between employee and customer. Telemedicine companies have exploded the past few years…

Be a master at your craft by taking time each day to truly rest

I am bad at taking vacations — really bad. It’s not that I don’t take days off or even travel on days off. It’s my near inability to actually unplug and not bring work with me. Despite recovering from a level of burnout a few years ago that left me con…

Why it’s important to determine who’s truly penicillin-allergic

A true allergic reaction is one of the most terrifying events in medicine. A child or adult who is highly allergic to bee stings or peanuts, for instance, can die within minutes without a life-saving epinephrine injection. But one of the most commonly …

Prescribing unnecessary antibiotics is the path of least resistance

During my urgent care shifts, I see 20 to 30 people with viral upper respiratory infections. They are all feeling miserable, and they just want to feel better. They want an impressive-sounding diagnosis to justify their suffering to themselves, their s…

MKSAP: 30-year-old woman is evaluated for a 2-month history of diarrhea

Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 30-year-old woman is evaluated for a 2-month history of diarrhea with three to five loose stools per day. She has mild abdominal cramps, bloating, intermittent nausea, and mild anorexia that has resulted in the loss of 2.3 kg (5.0 lb). […]

Flu vaccination in pregnant women reduces risk of hospitalization

Influenza is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in the United States. Influenza also tops the list of the burden of disease and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) according to a Eurosurveillance article. The flu is more likely to cause severe illness and harm pregnant women as compared to women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune […]

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