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Sensation-Free Ebola Facts: What We Know and What We Don’t

Sensation-Free Ebola Facts: What We Know and What We Don’t | The Survival Doctor

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

In the medical field, other than death, nothing is absolute. One radio interviewer told me recently he would never be comfortable about the Ebola risks until we knew absolutely everything about it and there was zero risk for everyone. Guess what. He’s never going to be comfortable.

Part of the Ebola fear fuel in America right now is the fact that we don’t know everything about this disease. And when questions arise, people come out of the woodwork with answers, whether they know what they’re talking about or not. Often, their answers boil down to: Well, we don’t know, but maybe, and if so, yikes!

All I know to do is go with what we do know now. As with any disease, we can ask: How much at risk are we? Can we can change any of our actions to reduce our risk? Is it worth it to us to change those actions? And if what we know changes, we can reassess the risk.

The facts, for now, Oct 20, 2014:

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3 Childhood Illnesses That Cause Swollen Necks

3 Illnesses That Cause Swollen Necks

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

When you’re sick and go to the doctor, one of the first things we often do is feel your neck. We’re looking for swelling in certain places, which can indicate an infection.

So if your child gets sick and you’re unable to get expert help, if there’s swelling in the neck, that can give you clues about what’s going on.

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4 Common Causes of Coughs in Kids—With a Printable Chart

4 Common Causes of Coughs in Kids—With a Printable Chart | The Survival Doctor

Part 2 in my childhood charts series. See more charts here.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

This is part two of my series about tips on recognizing childhood illness. Last time, I talked about illnesses with rashes. This time, it’s illnesses that come with bad coughs.

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Disease-Scare Burnout? 4 Action Tips to Help Prevent Almost Any Infection

Disease-Scares. Best Tips Everyone Can Do To Prevent Any Infection Any Time.

Disease scares getting you down? 4 action-based tips you can take other than just worry.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Scares … can be quite scary. And the scarier the news, the more it sells. So headlines emphasize the worst scenario.

A few years back, a producer of a popular television program told me their crew called this phenomenon of headlining the latest bad health news their “scare of the week.”

Well, OK, they’ve scared us. Now what do we do?

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12 Things You Must Know About Ebola

Ebola Risks and Air Travel

Ebola Facts, Risks, and Air Travel

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Ebola is highly contagious and kills nine out of 10 people infected. So, why do I think headlines like USA Today’s “Ebola only a plane ride away from USA.” paint the wrong picture? Now that I think of it, why does my first sentence do the same? It’s all about perspective.

First, a little background.

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Ye Olde Childhood Rashes Chart: Quick-Reference for Today’s Outbreaks

Ye Olde Childhood Rashes Chart: Quick-Reference for Today’s Outbreaks

This is the first in my series of childhood-illness charts. See more here.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Unless you’re of a certain age, you may have never seen some of the diseases in the chart on the next page. Join the crowd; many younger doctors haven’t either. Measles and rubella, which used to be so common, have been close to wiped out in the U.S. Chickenpox cases have come down to an estimated 80 percent of what they were in the 1990s. (Scarlet fever cases have remained about the same, but they’re still pretty rare compared with fifth disease and roseola.)

So why should you care about them? The words “close to” are key.

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About That Recall: Tips to Tell If You Get Listeria (Even Months Later!)

Nectarines and Peaches in latest Listeria Recall

Nectarines and peaches are in latest listeria recall.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Listeria symptoms can sometimes take weeks to develop. Here are some tips on protecting yourself and your family—plus what to do if you get sick and can’t get expert help.

Every so often, listeria gets in the news because of an outbreak found in commercial produce. The latest one is in peaches and nectarines at certain grocery stores, including Kroger, Walmart, and Whole Foods.

Recalls happen periodically, and you should take them seriously. The one in cantaloupes in 2011 killed 33 and caused one miscarriage, and that was with a very quick, very publicized recall.

One of the problems is the listeria symptoms can be pretty generalized in most people, and sometimes it can take as long as 70 days from infection to symptoms. Meantime, a lot of people could have eaten the contaminated food.

Other than depending on recalls, there are precautions you can take, whether you buy your produce or are living off the land. And of course I’ll tell you what to do if you get the symptoms [… continue reading]

Lyme Disease: Tick Bites, Rash, Determining Your Risk

This is how small the tick that causes lyme disease can be.

Notice how tiny the tick that causes Lyme disease can be.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

When someone comes in my office for a tick bite, their main concern is usually, what’s their risk for Lyme disease.

And I can’t blame them. Lyme disease from tick bite warnings are all over the media (one reason probably is New York is a high-risk state), and since the disease has only been recognized in the U.S. since 1975 (first suspected by a physician in Lyme, Connecticut, who was seeing kids with unusual symptoms) we’re still learning about it. This, and its rather general initial symptoms, make it rife for myth and speculation.

One thing’s for certain, Lyme disease is serious business. And it’s at full force in the summer because that’s when the ticks that spread it are most prevalent. So, in this post, I’ll try to answer some of the most common questions I’m asked.

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7 Truths about Tuberculosis and How They Affect You

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A chest X-ray from a person with tuberculosis (in right upper part of the photo).

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

Lately I’ve had several interviewers ask me a question I haven’t been asked before: How contagious is tuberculosis? I’m guessing the reason is either the highly reported outbreak in a California classroom, a couple of publicized cases of multiple-drug resistant tuberculosis found in foreigners traveling here in the United States, or the news of camps of children—some reportedly with TB—at the U.S.-Mexican border.

But then, I should never be surprised that people would like to know about the risk of one of the oldest, deadliest, and still most worldwide prevalent diseases around. And since this could well be a deadly concern in disaster situations, I thought it a good subject to address.

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7 Measles FAQs: What You Need to Know

Koplik spots, typical for the measles, though they occasionally show up with other viruses. (Click to zoom.)

Typical measles rash. (Click to zoom.) Usually starts on the face three to five days after symptoms begin. Travels down the body.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

One of the worst U.S. measles outbreaks in years is going on in Ohio. So far, around 70 people have been infected. Another outbreak, in California, has involved about 60 people.

Though the measles is considered essentially eradicated in the U.S., there are a few cases here every year. This is a big year for them though, with 187 cases nationwide as of May 9, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So this is a good time to bone up on your knowledge. Here are seven FAQs about this very contagious viral infection.

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