The last three flu seasons have been, bad but there’s a chance this year could be even worse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this flu season has started very quickly…with 27 states reporting moderate to high levels of the flu, compared to just five at this time last year. It’s also an unusual flu season, with an influenza-B strain most predominant. Usually, it’s an influenza a strain leading the way, and if it comes later, that means we’d a flu season with two peaks.
Nearly 800,000 Americans have a stroke every year, and most of us are familiar with the usual risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. But here’s a new one—sleeping too much. A study in the journal Neurology shows that people who sleep more than nine hours a night are 23 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who sleep less. Long sleepers who also take a 90-minute nap each day are 85 percent more likely to have a stroke. Researchers admit they don’t know why the connection exists.
More than 30 million people in the United States think they’re allergic to penicillin when they’re not. The mistake adds millions of dollars to the cost of healthcare for more expensive antibiotics. A report in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases finds that doctors could find out the truth most of the time with a one-page questionnaire or at most, a simple penicillin allergy skin test. Penicillin allergies typically fade after about 10 years. That means 80 percent of those who once had a reaction no longer do.
And finally…if you’re scheduled for surgery, ask your doctor what kind of music she listens to in the operating room. A new study in the International Journal of Surgery shows that surgeons who listened to Mozart or Bach were 11 percent more efficient than those who didn’t listen to music. Patients also needed fewer painkillers during surgery. However, patients whose doctors who listened to loud music with a strong beat were more likely to suffer from post-surgical infections.