GermTraX
Tracking the spread of sickness and disease

Public Health News

Select a news feed

Essential oils for a sore throat: Lemon, peppermint, and more

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 09:00:00 PDT

Essential oils are a popular home remedy for many ailments, but can they soothe a sore throat? In this article, we look at the evidence behind using essential oils, such as lemon, lavender, peppermint, echinacea, and ginger, for a sore throat. Learn how to use them safely and if there are any adverse side effects.


What causes a chronic cough?

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 06:00:00 PDT

A chronic cough is one that lasts for 8 weeks in adults or 4 weeks in children. It may produce mucus or be dry and tickle the throat. Common causes of a persistent cough include asthma and bronchitis. Less commonly, it can indicate lung cancer or heart problems. Learn more about causes, symptoms, and treatments here.


What is a malar rash?

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 04:00:00 PDT

A malar rash is also known as a butterfly rash and appears on the face. It is usually red or purple and may be blotchy or solid. It can occur alongside many conditions, including lupus and rosacea. Treatment depends on the cause. There are lifestyle tips and tricks that can help. Learn more about the best ones here.


How long are you contagious with pink eye?

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 05:00:00 PDT

Pink eye is a relatively common eye condition. There are many potential causes, but one of the most significant problems is how not to spread the condition to others. There are different types of pink eye, which can change the length of contagiousness. Knowing the signs can help a person avoid infecting anybody else.


Do feminine hygiene products actually lead to a higher risk of infection?

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 00:00:00 PDT

Many women may view using intimate hygiene products, such as washes or wipes, as a necessity. But new research suggests that they may, in fact, be harmful.


World's thinnest material may prevent implant infection

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 00:00:00 PDT

New research shows that graphene spikes, when displayed vertically on a surface, kill off bacteria and prevent them from triggering an infection.


Low anion gap: Causes, test, and treatment

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 09:00:00 PDT

A low anion gap from a blood test is usually nothing to worry about and often just a lab error. However, in some cases, it can indicate an underlying health condition. In this article, learn how an electrolyte test is used to calculate an anion gap, and what low and high anion gap results mean for someone’s health.


'Good' cholesterol tied to higher infectious disease risk

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 00:00:00 PDT

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is known to play a role in the health of the heart. Now, researchers suggest it could also affect the immune response.


What causes black gums?

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 07:00:00 PDT

The gums come in many natural colors, including red, pink, brown, and black. However, changes in gum color can indicate an underlying health problem. In this article, learn about what causes black gums, including smoking, gingivitis, Addison’s disease, and amalgam tattoos. We also look at treatment and prevention.


Has your food gone off? This smart patch can tell you

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 07:00:00 PDT

Scientists have developed a flexible, durable, see-through material that signals the presence of specific bacteria and can be used in food packaging.


Four causes of an orange tongue

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 09:00:00 PDT

Looking in a mirror and seeing that the tongue has turned orange may be alarming, especially when a person has eaten nothing containing food coloring recently. In this article, learn what causes an orange tongue, including infections, medications, and beta carotene. We also describe what other colors may indicate.


Can humans have mange?

Sat, 31 Mar 2018 09:00:00 PDT

Microscopic mites can cause mange in animals, which is called sarcoptic mange. Humans can get a different form of mange called scabies. Symptoms of scabies include a rash, intense itching, blisters, or burrow marks on the skin. Scabies can be treated using scabicide topical creams that kill the mites and their eggs.


Swollen earlobe: Pictures, causes, and treatment

Fri, 30 Mar 2018 00:00:00 PDT

Most causes of a swollen earlobe, such as an injury from a contact sport or an allergic reaction to a piercing, are easily treated at home and can be prevented. However, there are other causes, such as cauliflower ear and mastoiditis that need medical attention. Read on to find out when to see a doctor.


What to know about flat warts

Thu, 29 Mar 2018 05:00:00 PDT

Flat warts are small, smooth, raised bumps that often occur in clusters. They are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and are contagious. They can be treated with topical creams or removed by a doctor. Flat warts are not cancerous, but if a person is concerned about a skin bump they should see their doctor.


How long does a yeast infection take to go away?

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 03:00:00 PDT

Vaginal yeast infections are common and the result of an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. How long vaginal yeast infections last can vary, depending on their severity and what treatment is used. Learn more about what to expect and home remedies that may be worth trying to treat the infection and ease the symptoms.


'Game-changing' antibiotic can kill off superbugs

Tue, 27 Mar 2018 08:00:00 PDT

The antibiotic teixobactin may succeed where others have failed; a synthetic version of it clears an infection with a drug-resistant superbug in mice.


Long-term antibiotic use may shorten women's lives

Mon, 26 Mar 2018 00:00:00 PDT

A study set out to investigate the impact of long-term antibiotic use on the risk of death in women. The results add to existing worries about antibiotics.


Epithelial cells in urine: What does it mean?

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 03:00:00 PDT

This article explains how and why urine tested for epithelial cells, what the results mean, and which conditions cause an increase in epithelial cells.


What causes foamy bowel movements?

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 06:00:00 PDT

Foamy or frothy poop is usually diarrhea-like and may appear to have bubbles in it. It may also seem oily or contain mucus. Learn about the causes here.


What causes white specks in my poop?

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 11:00:00 PDT

What do white specks in stool indicate? Are there other symptoms to consider? We find answers and discuss treatment and prevention. Learn more here.