Now that we are in the middle of flu season, I thought it would be a good time to discuss the flu. A few months ago, I discussed flu vaccines, so I won’t repeat myself on that subject. This year’s flu season is expected to be much less severe than normal due to all the precautions that we are taking because of the coronavirus. Remember that the seasonal flu usually causes between 25,000 and 50,000 deaths a year, and most of these deaths occur in people who are at high risk for complications from the flu. Those at high risk from the flu are also at high risk for complications from the coronavirus. Let’s look at who is at risk from these infections.

Age groups – children younger than 5 year, especially those younger than 2 years and adults

Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as fish oil, have been around for years. Last month, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of the STRENGTH trial, which looked at whether omega-3 fatty acids were helpful at preventing heart disease and stroke. The trial was huge with tens of thousands of participants in countries in North and South America and Asia. While the results of the trial were disappointing (they failed to show a reduction in risk of heart disease with

Bladder cancer, also known as urothelial (cells that line the urinary tract) cancer, is fairly common and about half of the cases are not that dangerous. Formerly known as transitional cell carcinoma, urothelial cancers can occur in the bladder, ureters (tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder), and kidneys, but by far most occur in the bladder. A common symptom of urothelial cancer is painless hematuria, or blood in the urine. Blood in the urine may be visible or the urine may look

During this pandemic I have been reluctant, if not unwilling, to travel by airplane for several reasons, which means that I would have missed my family’s annual Christmas reunion in Texas this weekend (it was wisely cancelled). Let’s face it, wearing a mask, especially for a prolonged amount of time, can be annoying and uncomfortable. As I write this, the rule is masks are supposed to be worn if you cannot socially distance, particularly in an indoor setting. I considered that being in an

Our heart, like the hearts of all vertebrate animals, is an extremely strong pump. The heart keeps blood flowing properly, thereby supplying much needed oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells and removing toxins and carbon dioxide from the cells. In its resting phase, called diastole, the heart fills with blood, which it pumps out to the body when it contracts during systole. The heart contraction during systole produces a heartbeat. Sometimes the heart muscle becomes stiff or weak which

I am sure that most readers of this column have heard of Tommy John surgery (TJS), but before delving into that procedure, let’s first look at the anatomy of the elbow. Because the radius and ulna, the two bones of the forearm, cross over each other, we usually look at the forearm with the palm up and the thumb facing out. That way they are uncrossed. The radius extends from the elbow to just below the base of the thumb, while the ulna runs from under the elbow (the bony bump at the bottom of

Now that there is a vaccine for COVID-19 on the way, the concept of herd immunity is being talked about more often. The experts are assuring us that this pandemic will finally be over once we have vaccinated enough people to achieve herd immunity. Today I would like to look into some aspects of the concept of herd immunity. Herd immunity occurs when a significant portion of a population becomes immune to an infectious disease, thereby limiting further disease spread. Those who are not immune

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