Category Archive: Infectious disease

It’s time to wave goodbye to the handshake

As I sit in the conference room awaiting one of my first interviews for residency, the angst among all the applicants was palpable. We all make awkward eye contact and conversation with each other as our interviewers pull us out of the room one by one …

Inappropriate antibiotics are the new drugs of abuse

In my clinical practice, I have encountered patient aggression typically with narcotic medications, in particular with the refusal of a refill due to evidence of concerning behavior, like a positive drug screen for drugs not prescribed. Aggressive beha…

Measles outbreaks: Getting to the root of the problem

Measles outbreaks across the United States have been identified with Texas being the 11th state so far to report an outbreak. The Philippines with over 2 million unvaccinated children has declared an outbreak of measles after nearly 2,000 cases and 26 …

For most, the flu is a misery, not an emergency

If you think that you might have the flu, don’t head to the emergency room at the first sign of fever. Emergency departments were created to handle emergencies – heart attacks, strokes, severe trauma, and other life-threatening emergencies. No matter h…

Why did it take over a week for doctors to initiate treatment?

Part 3 of a series. Patients with advanced cancer are particularly vulnerable to infection due to a compromised immune system. Moreover, the typical symptoms of serious infection, such as fever and chills, may be absent in cancer patients. If not ident…

The antibiotics arms race must end

“Cha-ching!” goes urgent care. For your rhinovirus, adenovirus, or seasonal allergies you get a strep screen, flu swab, CBC, and chest X-ray. You get a steroid shot, Rocephin, and Z-Pak. A week later, you present for medical care again, because your vi…

A lesson in never giving up

Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets and Sesame Street, died at the age of 53. His diagnosis was toxic shock syndrome/streptococcus pneumonia — a deadly bacterial infection. We were on vacation when we heard the news: The genius who opened the imaginatio…

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…

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