Tag Archives: health

Cold, Colds, and Flu

Over the last week, the cold has hit with a vengeance with temperatures up to 16 degrees below the historic average. Some of the ways to keep the outside chill from sneaking into your home include:

  • Keeping blinds and curtains closed
  • Using rolled towels to block the space under exterior doors
  • And, of course, the ever popular, layering on more clothes and blankets

Unfortunately, while keeping yourself free from chills will increase your personal comfort, it probably won’t protect you from catching colds or flu.* And already there are already indicators of a nasty flu season to come.

  • Avian flu H5N8 has been detected in poultry farms in Britain and the Netherlands, and while it hasn’t yet emerged in human population, this strain may be transmissible to people
  • Avian flu H5N1 claimed its first life of the season (the second this year) in Egypt where one new case was also reported
  • Avian flu H7N9 was diagnosed in two women in China, one of whom has died

So, basically, it is only November and already we’re looking at three unique, and potentially fatal, strains of flu in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Meanwhile, in the US, the flu has started to rear its head across the country, with only Maine, Rhode Island, and Tennessee still flu-free as of last week.

To learn more about flu treatment and prevention, visit CDC.gov.


* There is some evidence that extreme temperature changes may stress your body, thus making you more susceptible to bugs, but keeping warm won’t keep you from getting sick if exposed to viruses.

Connecting Climate and Human Health

During last month’s UN Climate Summit, an important connection was drawn between climate change and human health.

It is critical to understand that climate change has both immediate and future consequences for human health. Already today we are seeing threats to health that range from waterborne diseases in degraded, polluted watersheds to the emergence of novel diseases transmitted from wildlife. Grave future threats include changes in temperature and rainfall patterns that can result in the spread of diseases, such as malaria, dengue, and West Nile virus, to higher latitudes and shifting altitudes. And rising CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere may cause substantial declines in the nutritional content of key crops.

Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation

Acknowledgement of this link between the planet and our individual health may finally be the push global leaders need to raise the priority of climate change and related issues. Read more at Time.com: Climate Action is a Health Priority.