5 Things We’re Reading on Improving Health

Find a first-person account of a shingles survivor, doctors’ tips on when to stay home sick from work, how lifestyle choices are linked to cancer deaths and more in this week’s five health-related reads.

How not to spread germs in the office

During cold and flu season, it can be hard to tell if something is just the sniffles or something more serious. The New York Times breaks down when — and how long — people should stay home from work if they’re sick, and how best to limit the spread of germs if staying home just isn’t an option. Get the infectious details here.

Can opioid addiction be considered a medical error?

We know opioid pain killers can be extremely addictive, yet patients rarely receive instructions as to how to taper off their prescription pain killers safely. Now, some experts say hospitals should be punished if a patient develops an opioid addiction after surgery, just like they’re penalized for other medical errors. NPR breaks down the issue.

Shingles survivor: ‘Vaccines are your best armor’

This first-person account of one man’s brush with shingles — an infection caused by the herpes zoster virus that can lay dormant for decades after a chickenpox infection — details the debilitating effect of the illness — and what can be done to prevent it. Read the piece in Kaiser Health News.

Diet and lifestyle choices linked to many cancer deaths

A recently published study attributes nearly half of all cancer deaths to smoking, obesity and alcohol consumption. Read STAT News’ coverage.

Eating for nutrition and pleasure

When it comes to eating healthy, most don’t think about also eating for pleasure. But that shouldn’t be the case, argues one registered dietitian nutritionist in a Washington Post perspective piece. “True pleasure leads to healthy choices, because ultimately we want our food to both taste good and make our bodies feel good,” she writes. Find the whole article here.

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health care system work better?

Interested in ways we can make the health care system work better?