Medical News Today: Sore throat and rash: Strep infection and other causes

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that can cause a sore throat that sometimes occurs alongside a skin rash. However, a variety of other conditions can also lead to a sore throat and a rash together.

In this article, we discuss eight conditions that can cause both a sore throat and a rash.

Strep throat

Man with a sore throat or strep throat holding his throat
Symptoms of strep throat can include sore throat, nausea, and painful swallowing.

Strep throat results from infection with group A streptococcal bacteria. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) report that this bacteria causes up to 15 percent of sore throats in adults and up to 30 percent in children.

Strep throat typically causes a sore, scratchy throat. Some people may also develop a skin rash.

Other symptoms of strep throat can include:

  • chills
  • fever
  • headache
  • nausea
  • painful swallowing
  • swollen tonsils with white patches or streaks

Cases of strep throat are most common in late winter and early spring.

Treatments include oral antibiotics and over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Note that children under 16 years of age should avoid aspirin due to the possible risk of developing Reye’s syndrome.

A person can also treat strep throat at home by:

  • getting as much rest as possible
  • staying hydrated
  • gargling with warm, salty water

Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever rash <br>Image credit: Estreya, 2007</br>
Image credit: Estreya, 2007

In some people, especially children, strep throat can progress into scarlet fever. This bacterial infection causes high fever and a bright red rash, resembling sunburn. The rash typically starts on the chest but can spread to other areas of the body.

Other symptoms of scarlet fever can include:

  • red and bumpy tongue that may have a white coating
  • chills
  • difficulty swallowing
  • facial flushing
  • headache
  • nausea
  • red lines in the folds of the skin
  • swollen lymph nodes on the neck
  • vomiting

Scarlet fever is highly contagious. People can transmit the infection to others for around 14 to 21 days after their symptoms first appear. Antibiotics reduce the risk of transmission, with people typically becoming noninfectious within 24 hours of treatment.

Antibiotics also cut the risk of complications, including serious ones that can affect the heart and other organs.

Home remedies, such as OTC pain medications and saltwater gargles, can alleviate symptoms until the antibiotics take effect.

Infectious mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis<!--mce:protected %0A--><br>Image credit: Matibot, 2009</br>
Image credit: Matibot, 2009

Also known as mono, glandular fever, and the kissing disease, infectious mononucleosis results from infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

Most people will catch EBV at some point in their lives, but only a minority of these individuals will go on to develop mono or other viral symptoms.

Mono passes from one person to another through bodily fluids, such as saliva. Kissing, sharing utensils, coughing, and sneezing are all common means of transmission.

Mono mostly develops in adolescents and young adults. Signs and symptoms of mono include:

  • sore throat
  • rash
  • soft, enlarged spleen
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • headache
  • swollen tonsils and lymph nodes

While the sore throat and rash that accompany mono typically go away after a few weeks, other symptoms can sometimes last for several months. Treatment involves resting, staying hydrated, and using OTC medications for relieving fever and sore throat.

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Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that is also known as rubeola. It can sometimes be fatal in young children.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advise that if one person has measles, the illness will infect 90 percent of the people around them unless they have the measles vaccination or have previously had measles.

Measles causes a sore throat and a rash that comprises large, flat blotches of red skin. Sometimes, these blotches appear to overlap.

Other symptoms of measles can include:

As measles results from a viral infection, there is no specific treatment for it. OTC painkillers can relieve fever and sore throat.

The best way to prevent a measles infection is to get the vaccination. Children can receive the vaccination from 12 months of age.

Adult-onset Still’s disease (AOSD)

Adult-onset Still's disease (AOSD) <br>Image credit: DermNet New Zealand</br>
Image credit: DermNet New Zealand

AOSD is a rare disorder that mainly affects people between 16 and 35 years of age. It is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes a wide variety of symptoms, which may include:

  • salmon pink rash that may come and go
  • sore throat
  • aching and swollen joints
  • fever
  • muscle pain

Doctors prescribe a variety of medications to treat the symptoms in people with AOSD. These can include:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • immunosuppressive drugs, such as methotrexate

Hand, foot, and mouth disease

Hand foot and mouth rash <br>Image credit: Kessalia19. 2014</br>
Image credit: Kessalia19, 2014

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a mild viral infection that is most common in young children. Symptoms can include:

  • rash on the feet and hands that may cause blistering
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • painful mouth sores

Most people recover from HFMD in 7 to 10 days without medical intervention.

To ease symptoms, doctors may recommend the following home remedies:

  • avoiding foods that are acidic, salty, and spicy
  • drinking cold beverages
  • eating ice chips or other cold foods
  • rinsing the mouth with warm water after meals
  • taking OTC painkillers
  • using mouthwashes to numb pain


anaphylaxis rash <br>Image credit: James Heilman, MD, 2009</br>
Image credit: James Heilman, MD, 2009

Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Many substances can cause anaphylaxis, but some common triggers include:

  • foods, such as nuts, milk, and shellfish
  • insect bites and stings
  • medications, such as penicillin and NSAIDs
  • latex

Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • skin rash
  • sudden swelling of the throat that can cause pain or difficulty breathing
  • drop in blood pressure
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • hives
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • weak and fast pulse

Anaphylaxis can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention. Call the emergency services immediately if symptoms occur.

Doctors provide people at risk of anaphylaxis with an epinephrine pen, which they should carry at all times and administer at the onset of symptoms.

Someone else can administer this injection if the person is unable to do it themselves. After using the injection, the recipient should go to the nearest emergency room or wait for an ambulance.

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West Nile virus

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the West Nile virus is the most common form of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States.

Approximately one in five people who get infected with this virus experience relatively mild symptoms, such as:

  • skin rash
  • sore throat
  • aches and pains
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • headache
  • vomiting

Most people with mild symptoms recover without treatment. OTC pain relievers can reduce discomfort.

However, around one in 150 people with this infection will develop a much more severe illness that can sometimes be fatal. Symptoms of severe illness can include:

  • disorientation
  • high fever
  • neck stiffness
  • seizures
  • severe headache
  • sudden weakness
  • tremors

Anyone with these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. Serious complications can include:

  • encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain
  • meningitis, or inflammation of the membranes lining the brain and spinal cord

When to see a doctor

Individuals who have a persistent or severe sore throat and rash should see their doctor. They must also seek medical attention if symptoms include:

  • fever of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher
  • fever that persists for longer than a couple of days
  • neck stiffness
  • rash that becomes extremely itchy
  • severe headaches

Call the emergency services or go to the nearest emergency department for symptoms of anaphylaxis or severe infections, which can include:

  • breathing difficulties
  • disorientation or confusion
  • loss of consciousness


There are several different conditions, including bacterial and viral infections that can cause a sore throat and rash. Some of these conditions are relatively mild and will usually clear up without medical treatment.

A person should see a doctor if symptoms are severe, persistent, or recurring. Seek immediate medical attention for any condition that causes breathing difficulties, confusion, or loss of consciousness.

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Medical News Today: Which foods are rich in vitamin A?

Vitamin A is essential for overall health and well-being. Because the human body cannot make it, people must obtain this vitamin from their diet.

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that plays a role in many bodily processes, including:

  • immune function
  • reproduction
  • skin health
  • the function of the lining of the gut, bladder, and other surface tissues
  • healthy vision
  • growth and development

In this article, we describe 14 of the best sources of vitamin A and the recommended daily intake.

Each of these foods contains at least 15 percent of the daily value (DV) in a standard serving.

The DV allows people to easily compare the nutrient contents of different foods. It is a percentage based on the recommended daily intakes of key nutrients from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

1. Beef liver

foods high in vitamin a beef liver
Beef liver is among the richest sources of vitamin A.

Animal livers are among the richest sources of vitamin A. This is because, like humans, animals store vitamin A in the liver.

A 3-ounce (oz) serving of pan-fried beef liver contains 6,582 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A, which equates to 444 percent of the DV.

As an organ meat, liver is high in protein. It also contains many other nutrients, including copper and vitamins B-2 and B-12. In addition, liver is a good source of iron, folate, and choline.

Lamb liver and liver sausage are other rich sources of vitamin A.

2. Cod liver oil

Fish livers are also excellent sources of preformed vitamin A, with 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil providing 4,080 mcg, or 272 percent of the DV.

This and other fish oils are among the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation, protect the heart, and may treat or prevent depression.

Cod liver oil is also an excellent source of vitamin D, with 1 tablespoon containing 340 percent of the DV.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin D boosts immunity and plays a role in bone health. It may also protect against depression.

3. Sweet potato

One whole sweet potato, baked in its skin, provides 1,403 mcg of vitamin A, which is 561 percent of the DV.

The vitamin A present in this root vegetable is in the form of beta carotene, which some research suggests may protect against prostate cancer and colon cancer.

Sweet potatoes are also low in calories and free from fat. They are good sources of vitamin B-6, vitamin C, and potassium. High in fiber, and with a low glycemic index, they may help control blood sugar levels.

Enjoy baked sweet potatoes in the skin with a salad and a source of protein, such as salmon or tofu.

4. Carrots

Carrots are rich in beta carotene, and half a cup of raw carrots contains 459 mcg of vitamin A and 184 percent of the DV.

At just 26 calories per portion, carrots make for a light and healthful snack, especially when served alongside hummus or guacamole.

Carrots are also rich in dietary fiber, which can help prevent constipation and promote better gut health.

5. Black-eyed peas

Beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein and they are also rich in fiber. Each cup of boiled black-eyed peas contains 66 mcg of vitamin A and 26 percent of the DV.

Black-eyed peas are also a good source of iron. Many studies support the role of various types of beans in reducing the risk of heart disease, as well as conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Black-eyed peas are a versatile ingredient. Use them in salads, soups, and stews.

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6. Spinach

foods high in vitamin a spinach
Eating spinach can lower blood pressure and improve heart health.

Like other leafy green vegetables, spinach contains a wealth of nutrients. Each half-cup of boiled spinach provides 573 mcg of vitamin A, which is 229 percent of the DV.

This serving also provides 17 percent of the DV for iron and 20 percent of the DV for magnesium. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 processes in the human body.

Some research indicates that spinach can lower blood pressure and improve heart health.

Sautéed spinach makes a tasty side dish, and spinach also works well in pasta dishes and soups.

7. Broccoli

Broccoli is another healthful source of vitamin A, with a half-cup providing 60 mcg, which is 24 percent of a person’s DV. A serving of broccoli contains just 27 calories and is also an excellent source of vitamins C and K.

Vitamin K is essential for bone metabolism and blood clotting, while vitamin C enhances immune function and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Eating cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, may also reduce a person’s risk of developing some cancers, due to the presence of a substance called sulforaphane.

People can roast, steam, or fry broccoli, enjoy it in soups, or add it to salads.

8. Sweet red pepper

A half-cup of raw sweet red bell pepper provides a 117 mcg of vitamin A, which is 47 percent of the DV. This serving only contains 19 calories and is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and folate.

Bell peppers are a great source of antioxidants, such as capsanthin. They also contain quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties.

Try scrambling bell peppers with eggs, eating them in sandwiches, or serving sliced peppers alongside a healthful dip.

9. Mango

A whole, raw mango contains 112 mcg of vitamin A, or 45 percent of the DV.

Mangos are rich in antioxidants and dietary fiber, which can contribute to better gut function and blood sugar control.

This fruit is delicious on its own, but it works equally well in a tropical fruit salad or mango salsa.

10. Cantaloupe melon

A half-cup of this summer melon provides 135 mcg of vitamin A, which is 54 percent of the DV.

Cantaloupe is a great source of the antioxidant vitamin C, which boosts immune function and protects against several diseases.

Eat fresh cantaloupe on its own, with other fruit, or in a smoothie.

11. Dried apricots

For a sweet treat that is rich in vitamin A, snack on dried apricots. Just 10 halves contain 63 mcg of vitamin A, which is 25 percent of the DV. Dried fruits are also high in fiber and antioxidants.

However, dried apricots also contain a lot of sugar and calories, so it is important to consume them in moderation.

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12. Pumpkin pie

foods high in vitamin a pumpkin pie
As well as being rich in vitamin A, pumpkins are a good source of antioxidants.

Pumpkin pie is another treat rich in vitamin A, with one piece containing 488 mcg and 249 percent of the DV. This is because, like other orange vegetables, pumpkin is rich in beta carotene.

Pumpkins are also a good source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Research indicates that high intakes of these substances can preserve vision and prevent common eye diseases.

However, pumpkin pie is less healthful than eating plain pumpkin, so enjoy it in moderation to avoid consuming too much sugar.

13. Tomato juice

A three-quarter cup serving of tomato juice contains 42 mcg of vitamin A, which is 16 percent of the DV.

Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C and lycopene, which are antioxidants.

Like pumpkins, tomatoes and tomato juice contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which may benefit eye health.

14. Herring

A 3-oz serving of pickled Atlantic herring provides 219 mcg of vitamin A, or 15 percent of a person’s DV. Herring is also a good source of protein and vitamin D.

As a fatty fish, herring is a great option for those who want to increase their omega-3 intake for heart and brain health.

In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend eating 2 servings of fatty fish each week.

Recommended intake of vitamin A

There are two main types of vitamin A:

  • Preformed vitamin A: This comes in the form of retinol and is present in animal-based food sources, including meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products.
  • Provitamin A: This comes in the form of carotenoids, mainly beta carotene. It is present in plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

To aid the absorption of vitamin A, a person needs to include some fat in their diet. It is also important not to overcook foods, as this reduces the vitamin A contents.

In the U.S., food labels currently list vitamin A contents in both international units (IUs) and mcg. From 2020 onward, labels will begin to display vitamin A in mcg values only.

Also, from this point, the FDA will no longer require companies to display vitamin A values on food labels, as deficiencies in this nutrient are rare. However, companies may continue to do so voluntarily.

The Office of Dietary Supplements list the recommended dietary allowances for vitamin A as follows:

Note that it is not possible to convert mcg values into IU without knowing if the food source contains preformed vitamin A or provitamin A.

To calculate the DV of vitamin A that a serving contains, a person needs to know the IU amount and the type of vitamin A that the food contains.

For vitamin A:

  • the recommended DV is 5,000 IU for adults and children aged 4 years and older
  • 1 IU = 0.3 mcg for preformed vitamin A
  • 1 IU = 0.05 mcg for beta carotene from food


Many foods, both plant-based and from animals, contain good amounts of vitamin A.

Vitamin A deficiency is uncommon in the U.S., and most people do not need to worry too much about counting vitamin A values.

The best way to ensure an adequate nutrient intake is to eat a varied and balanced diet, full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthful fats, and lean proteins.

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Medical News Today: What are the best lower chest exercises?

People who want to develop their lower chest muscles can try doing a range of exercises that strengthen the pectoral muscles.

The pectoral muscles, which people often refer to as the pecs, define the shape and appearance of the chest. They also control several arm movements, including flexing and rotating the arm and bringing it in toward the body’s midline (adduction).

Two muscles form the pecs. The pectoralis major spans from the shoulder to the middle of the chest, and the pectoralis minor is on the outer edge of the chest, just behind the pectoralis major.

To build up the pecs, people can do exercises that work the entire chest area. It is possible to target specific areas of the chest by using modified lifts.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, people should perform muscle-strengthening activities on at least 2 days of the week. One set of 8 to 12 repetitions (reps) is effective in resistance training, but 2 or 3 sets may be more effective.

This article describes five exercises that help people gain strength and definition in the lower chest.

1. Incline pushup

Person performing incline pushup against wooden block.

Pushups are a great multifunctional exercise because they work the entire upper body and back. Performing pushups at an incline will put more focus on the lower chest.


  • a flat workout bench, jump box, or step platform


  1. Stand in front of the bench. Place the hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the bench.
  2. Adopt a plank position by extending the legs backward until the legs and back form a straight line. Keep the weight on the balls of the feet.
  3. Slowly bend the arms to lower the chest toward the bench. Remember to keep the elbows and arms close to the body.
  4. Slowly push the body away from the bench, extending the arms but maintaining a slight bend in the elbow.
  5. Perform 8–12 reps for one set.

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2. Decline dumbbell press

The instructions for this exercise call for dumbbells, but people can use a barbell instead.

Using a barbell will allow people to lift heavier weights for fewer reps, but dumbbells allow a greater range of motion, which may be a better option for people who want to target their lower chest.


  • two dumbbells or one barbell
  • one decline bench


  1. Set the decline bench at a 45-degree angle, and lie down on it with one dumbbell in each hand. Rest the dumbbells on the thighs with the palms facing inward. Remember to keep the back flat.
  2. Raise the dumbbells over the chest, extending the arms toward the ceiling. The hands should remain facing inward.
  3. Hold the dumbbells shoulder-width apart and rotate the wrists until the palms are facing away.
  4. To begin, bend the arms to form a 90-degree angle at the elbow. The dumbbells should be on the outer edges of the chest.
  5. Inhale.
  6. On the exhale, use the chest muscles to push the dumbbells up. Squeeze at the top of the lift and hold for 1–2 seconds.
  7. Slowly lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position.
  8. Do 8–12 reps for one set. Rest in between sets.

3. Decline dumbbell bench press with external rotation

This move is a variation of the last exercise. It is slightly more complex than a traditional dumbbell press, so people trying this move for the first time might want to use lighter weights until they feel comfortable with the movement.


  • two dumbbells or one barbell
  • one decline bench


  1. Lie down on the decline bench with one dumbbell in each hand. Rest the dumbbells on the thighs with the palms facing inward.
  2. Raise the dumbbells over the chest with the arms extended toward the ceiling, keeping the hands in the same position.
  3. Lower the dumbbells into the starting position, but this time, keep the palms facing inward. Do not rotate the palms. The dumbbells should be parallel to the body.
  4. Inhale slowly.
  5. On the exhale, use the muscles in the chest to press the dumbbells up while rotating the palms outward to make the thumbs face each. Squeeze and hold for 1–2 seconds.
  6. Return to the starting position by slowly lowering the dumbbells while rotating the palms inward.
  7. Each set should consist of 8–12 reps. Rest in between sets.

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4. Cable crossover

Woman performing cable crossover exercise in gym

Cable machines offer a wide range of exercise options depending on the position of the pulleys. Setting the pulleys higher will put more emphasis on the lower chest while setting them lower emphasizes the upper chest.

The cable crossover works the muscles in both the lower and outer parts of the chest.


  • a cable machine


  1. Position the pulleys above the head. Attach one handle to each pulley and then select the desired weight.
  2. Take one handle in each hand with the palms facing down. Stand in the middle of the cable machine and take a few steps forward to put a little tension on the cables.
  3. Step one foot forward.
  4. Lean forward.
  5. Extend the arms out to the side but keep a slight bend in the elbows. Do not let the elbows move behind the shoulders.
  6. On the exhale, bring the hands together in front of the body.
  7. Return to the starting position by slowly extending the arms and inhaling.
  8. Do 8–12 reps per set, and rest in between sets.

5. Parallel-bar dips (chest)

Woman performing parallel bar dips in exercise park

Parallel-bar dips activate multiple muscle groups in the chest, arms, shoulders, and back. During this exercise, remember to lean slightly forward on the dip to engage the muscles in the lower chest.


  • a set of parallel bars


  1. Grip the bars, using the arms to push the body up above them.
  2. Slowly inhale while bending the arms and leaning the torso forward. Continue lowering the body until there is a slight stretching sensation in the chest.
  3. On the exhale, lift the body back up above the bars.
  4. Repeat as many reps as possible without overexerting the muscles.

Parallel-bar dips require a significant amount of upper body strength. People who do not feel comfortable performing a complete chest dip can try the variation below instead.

Parallel-bar dip variation:

  1. Grip the bars and jump up, so the arms are straight, and the body is above the bars.
  2. Slowly lower down by bending the arms and leaning forward. Continue until there is a slight stretching sensation in the chest.
  3. Instead of lifting the body back up, carefully place the feet on the floor and let go of the bars.
  4. Repeat as many reps as possible without overexerting the muscles. Focus on building strength and expanding the range of motion in the upper body before trying to perform a full chest dip.


The exercises above will work the lower chest when a person performs them correctly. It is best to add these exercises to a full-body strength training routine to achieve a well-balanced physique.

Individuals trying these exercises should remember to focus on executing each movement with proper form and technique. People can avoid injuries by not rushing through sets and by avoiding using weights that are too heavy. It is important to avoid training the same muscle groups multiple days in a row because muscles need time to recover after a hard workout.

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Medical News Today: How to treat pinkeye at home

Pinkeye is an eye condition that is usually temporary and the result of a bacterial infection, viral infection, or allergic reaction. People can help relieve the symptoms of each type with home remedies.

Pinkeye, which doctors call conjunctivitis, usually resolves within 2 weeks without treatment. In the meantime, home remedies may relieve the itchiness, discomfort, and inflammation.

This article discusses five quick and easy home remedies for pinkeye, along with when a person might wish to see a doctor.

Treating different types of pinkeye

pink eye
There are three main causes of pinkeye.

Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to treat pinkeye. However, antibiotics will only help with pinkeye caused by bacteria, and will not treat pinkeye that a virus or allergy prompts.

The three primary causes of pinkeye are:

  • Viral infections, which usually clear up on their own within 1–3 weeks.
  • Bacterial infections may improve within 2–5 days without treatment, though antibiotic eye drops can speed up healing.
  • Allergens, such as pollen or pet dander. Symptoms will improve once a person clears the allergen from their eye.

Bacterial pinkeye is relatively easy to diagnose because the eye it affects often produces thick pus, while the discharge from viral and allergic pinkeye looks more like water.

Home remedies, as discussed here, can relieve symptoms regardless of the cause.

1. Use a cool compress

Pinkeye causes inflammation around the eye that can be irritating and even painful. Using a cool and damp compress will help reduce inflammation and soothe the eye.

How to use a compress for pinkeye:

  • soak a clean washcloth or hand towel in warm or cool water
  • wring out any excess water
  • place the damp washcloth over the eye and leave there for a few minutes
  • remove the washcloth from the eye and wash your hands immediately

People should not reuse washcloths before laundering them in hot water as this can spread the infection or reinfect the eye.

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2. Damp cloth clean

People who have bacterial pinkeye might notice a thick discharge, or pus, leaking from the eye that it is affecting.

Pus dries quickly, forming a crust along the edges of the eyelids. People may have difficulty opening their eye, especially in the morning after the pus has had time to sit and harden overnight.

Use a warm, damp cloth to remove pus from around the eye and lashes.

3. Eye drops

Lubricating eye drops, or “natural tears,” can soothe irritation or burning in the eye.

Eye drops can help relieve the symptoms of all types of pinkeye. They help to flush out allergens, irritants, and discharge.

4. Pain-relieving medication

woman using eye drops
Eye drops containing antihistamines can help relieve pain associated with pinkeye.

Some over-the-counter medications can help minimize pinkeye symptoms.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help with pain relief and inflammation.

Allergy medication can also relieve symptoms of pinkeye if an allergy is the cause. These medications include:

  • antihistamine tablets
  • topical eye drops containing antihistamines
  • mast cell stabilizers

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5. Avoid touching the eyes

Touching or rubbing the eyes can make the symptoms of pinkeye worse, and can mean it takes longer to clear up. If a person needs to touch their eyes, they can do so by washing their hands thoroughly both before and afterward.

Some types of pinkeye are contagious, so to avoid transmitting the condition to others, and to avoid reinfection, a person should use new towels each day and change pillowcases and sheets frequently.

Avoid wearing contact lenses until the symptoms have gone away to prevent further irritation.

When to see a doctor

Although pinkeye often resolves on its own, there are cases when people are best seeking medical attention.

People with weakened immune systems or a history of eye disease should always see a doctor for suspected pinkeye. Infants with possible pinkeye should also always see a doctor, and newborns must be seen right away.

Adults should see a doctor if their symptoms last longer than one week, or if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • green or yellow discharge from the eye
  • pain in the eye
  • impaired vision
  • sensitivity to light
  • fever
  • chills
  • body aches

How to avoid spreading pinkeye

woman changing pillow case
Changing pillowcases can help prevent the spread of pinkeye.

Many of the viruses and bacteria that cause pinkeye are highly contagious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people with symptoms either avoid close contact with others at school or work, or stay at home until the symptoms clear.

The following methods can help prevent the spread of pinkeye to others:

  • washing the hands often
  • avoiding rubbing or touching the affected eye
  • changing or washing bedding, such as pillowcases, sheets, and comforters, often
  • using clean towels and washing used towels
  • avoiding wearing contact lenses or makeup
  • throwing away any makeup that the infection may have contaminated

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Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, is a condition that causes inflammation of the membrane covering the eye and lining the inside of the eyelids.

Mild to moderate cases of pinkeye may resolve on their own without medication. Treatment for pinkeye usually focuses on symptom relief. There are no cures for viral or allergic pinkeye. Bacterial pinkeye can often clear on its own, but antibiotic eye drops can speed up the healing process.

Home remedies for pinkeye include over-the-counter medications, lubricating eye drops, and compresses.

People should consult a healthcare provider before taking any new medications or trying to use alternative treatments.

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Medical News Today: Flu breakthrough: Universal vaccine may be in sight

Researchers have studied various flu strains and found that the body’s so-called killer immune cells offer protection against all influenza viruses.

woman having a cold
Soon, we may no longer need to update our flu vaccines each year, as a universal flu shot is now in sight.

Influenza A, B, and C viruses are widespread globally and infect a significant number of children and adults each year.

For example, during the 2017–2018 flu season, there were 30,453 cases of hospitalization due to influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

During the same period, 185 children died as a result of the flu, approximately 80 percent of whom had not received a flu shot that season.

Estimates place the effectiveness of current flu vaccines at 40 percent, which means that the shot cuts the risk of someone seeking influenza-related medical help by two-fifths.

Current flu shots are not effective against all influenza strains, so people need to have another vaccine each year. However, new research may soon change this, as scientists have found that a particular type of immune cell can protect against all influenza types.

Katherine Kedzierska, a professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia and laboratory head at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) in Melbourne is the study’s senior and corresponding author.

Marios Koutsakos, a doctoral researcher with the Doherty Institute, is the first author of the paper, which features in the journal Nature Immunology.

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Studying ‘killer’ immune cells and flu strains

Prof. Kedzierska explains the motivation for the research, saying that there has been insufficient research on certain strains of influenza.

“Influenza B immunology particularly has remained largely understudied because it doesn’t have pandemic potential,” she says. “However, it is a serious virus that can lead to death and severe illness, mostly in children, and was one of the missing pieces of the universal flu protection puzzle.”

To examine the commonalities between different flu strains, the researchers collaborated with scientists in the Purcell laboratory at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute in Clayton, Australia.

The Purcell laboratory, which professor Anthony Purcell leads, specializes in discovering epitopes using mass spectrometry.

Epitopes are the part of an antigen — that is, a foreign body or substance that provokes an immune response — that “interacts with the antigen-specific receptor or antibody.”

Mass spectrometry is an in-depth analysis technique that measures the weight and structure of small molecules very sensitively.

Prof. Kedzierska and colleagues used mass spectrometry to find the common epitopes, or viral targets, for a type of immune cell called killer T cells.

The scientists turned their attention to killer T cells because previous research had shown that these cells are active in the body’s immune response to certain flu strains.

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Study introduces ‘a new paradigm’

In the current study, by using mass spectrometry to examine influenza epitopes in the blood and lungs of humans and conducting vaccination tests, the team discovered that killer T cells protect against all types of influenza virus: A, B, and C.

“Our immunization studies with the peptide responsible for activating the killer T cells revealed remarkably reduced levels of flu virus and inflammation in the airways,” Koutsakos reports.

Koutsakos further explains what the researchers did. “We have identified the parts of the virus that are shared across all flu strains and sub-strains capable of infecting humans, and then investigated if we could find robust responses to those viral parts in healthy humans and influenza-infected adults and children.”

The findings may lead to the development of a universal flu vaccine that does not need updating every year. Koutsakos and colleagues conclude:

Our study introduces a new paradigm whereby [killer] T cells confer unprecedented cross-reactivity across all influenza viruses, a key finding for the design of universal vaccines.”

In the future, the researchers plan to develop such a universal flu vaccine themselves using their findings, which they have now patented.

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Medical News Today: Which essential oils can relieve anxiety?

Essential oils are scented liquids that manufacturers derive from plants, flowers, and fruits. Research suggests that aromatherapy with some essential oils may help promote relaxation and relieve anxiety.

In this article, we discuss some of the best essential oils to try for anxiety and the evidence supporting their use.

We also cover how to use essential oils, oil blending, risk and considerations, and when to see a doctor for anxiety.

Bergamot orange

Woman smelling essential oil to ease anxiety
Essential oils can aid relaxation.

Bergamot orange essential oil comes from the Citrus bergamia tree. Producers extract the oil by cold-pressing the rind of the oranges. Bergamot orange is a popular aromatherapy oil for relieving anxiety.

According to one 2015 systematic review, inhaling bergamot orange essential oil has an anxiety-reducing effect in rats. Also, a 2013 study found that compared with inhaling water vapor, aromatherapy with bergamot orange essential oil reduced anxiety in people awaiting minor surgery.

A range of bergamot orange essential oils is available to purchase online.


Chamomile is a daisy-like herb. Manufacturers use steam distillation to extract a fruity, sweet-smelling essential oil from the flowers of this plant.

According to the National Cancer Institute, a 2-week clinical trial investigated the effects of massage with Roman chamomile oil in people with cancer. The study found that massage with this diluted oil helped decrease anxiety and other symptoms more than massage alone.

People can purchase Roman chamomile essential oils online.

Clary sage

Clary sage is a medicinal herb that many people believe to have anxiety-relieving properties.

A small study from 2013 explored the effects of essential oil in 34 females with urinary incontinence. The participants inhaled either clary sage, lavender, or almond essential oils while having a bladder examination.

The study found that compared with those who inhaled lavender and almond essential oils, participants who inhaled clary sage oil experienced significant decreases in blood pressure and respiratory rate.

The researchers concluded that inhaling clary sage oil may help a person relax during a bladder examination.

Many products containing clary sage essential oil are available to purchase online.


Lavandula angustifolia is a purple flowering plant with a fragrant scent. Aromatherapists commonly use essential oils from lavender, claiming that they have anti-inflammatory, muscle-relaxing, and anxiety-relieving properties.

According to a 2017 review, several clinical trials suggest that aromatherapy with lavender oil can help reduce anxiety before surgery and cosmetic procedures as well as during a stay in an intensive care unit.

However, the authors also emphasized the limitations of the current evidence base.

Many lavender essential oil products are available to purchase online.

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Lemon essential oil in glass jars next to cut up lemon
A person should use essential oils with care, as they are potent.

Essential oil from lemon rind or leaves has a rich citrus scent.

A 2015 systematic review found that maze studies in rats and mice suggest that exposure to lemon oil may have an anxiety-relieving effect in these animals.

However, the review’s authors also say that another study found that continuous exposure to lemon oil had the opposite effect in animals and may cause a stressful response.

So, it may be best for people to use lemon oil in lower doses or for shorter periods of time.

It is also worth noting that citrus essential oils increase sensitivity to sunlight. A person should protect their skin from all sun exposure when using lemon essential oil.

A range of lemon essential oils is available to buy online.


Neroli essential oil, or orange blossom essential oil, comes from the bitter orange tree, or Citrus aurantium. Manufacturers typically extract the oil from the blossoms of this tree.

The scent of the oil is sweet and citrusy, and it may have anxiety-relieving properties. A 2015 systematic review notes that research suggests that aromatherapy with neroli oil has a calming effect and can help treat insomnia.

People can purchase neroli essential oils online.


Some animal studies suggest that essential oils from the flowers of rose plants may be beneficial for anxiety.

According to a 2015 systematic review, conflict tests and maze studies in mice suggest that essential oil from Rose centifolia and Rose damascene may have an anxiety-relieving or relaxation effect in these animals.

However, the review notes that results from a different mice study contradict these findings.

Several essential oils from rose are available to purchase online.


Ylang-ylang essential oil comes from the flowers of the Cananga odorata tree. Many aromatherapists believe that ylang-ylang oil can help reduce stress and anxiety.

In a small 2015 study involving 34 nurses, researchers found that aromatherapy with ylang-ylang did not have a significant effect on anxiety but did improve the participants’ self-esteem.

People can buy ylang-ylang essential oils online.

Other essential oils

The American College of Healthcare Sciences recommend some other essential oils for providing anxiety relief and lifting mood.

Although there is little scientific evidence to support these claims, some people may find aromatherapy with these oils beneficial.

These essential oils include:

  • basil
  • geranium
  • grapefruit
  • lime
  • sandalwood
  • sweet orange

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How to use essential oils

Reed diffuser for essential oil aromatherapy
Reed diffusers can distribute essential oil aroma in a room.

Essential oils are very pure, concentrated oils. Many of these oils are toxic, so a person should not ingest them.

Most manufacturers will recommend diluting essential oils with a carrier oil, such as olive oil or sweet almond oil. Always read the label before using and carefully follow the directions for diluting the oil.

A person may also wish to consider doing a patch test before applying essential oils to their skin or fabrics. Some may stain or cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction.

There are several different ways that a person can use diluted essential oils, such as by:

  • using the oils in special diffusers
  • applying the oils to fabrics and soft furnishings, such as bedding, pillows, or cushions
  • massaging the oils into the skin
  • mixing oils in with bath salts or lotions

Oil blending

A person may wish to experiment with blending essential oils to create different fragrances and effects.

For example, a person can try blending bergamot, frankincense, and lavender essential oils with a carrier oil. Another blend option is mixing bergamot, lavender, and ylang-ylang oils with a carrier oil.

According to one 2015 review, inhalation aromatherapy with a blend of rose and lavender essences helped reduce anxiety in a group of female college students.

Risks and considerations

Pure essential oils are highly concentrated, and many are potentially toxic. For this reason, it is vital to dilute them in carrier oil before use. Manufacturers usually provide advice on how best to dilute the essential oil.

Diluting the oil reduces the likelihood that it will irritate a person’s skin, eyes, or lungs. A person should never apply undiluted essential oils to their skin or eyes.

Signs of skin irritation or an allergic reaction to an essential oil can include:

  • blotchy skin
  • itching
  • pain
  • redness

Before applying the diluted essential oil to the skin, it is generally best to test it on a small patch of skin. If a reaction occurs, clean the skin with soap and warm water and stop using the oil.

When to see a doctor

Some people may find that essential oils can help promote relaxation and relieve stress.

However, chronic anxiety can have a detrimental effect to both a person’s mental and physical health. If anxiety is causing significant distress or disruption to a person’s daily routine, they may wish to consider seeing a doctor.

Symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • difficulty sleeping
  • irritability
  • muscle tension
  • avoiding public places
  • wanting to stay at home
  • trouble concentrating

There are many interventions that can help a person manage anxiety, including:

  • psychotherapy, such as counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy
  • medications
  • relaxation techniques, such as meditation, mindfulness, and yoga
  • support groups
  • lifestyle changes, such as stress avoidance and regular exercise


Essential oils are scented liquids that manufacturers extract from a wide range of plants. Many people find that aromatherapy with certain essential oils can help promote relaxation and relieve stress and anxiety.

However, most of the scientific evidence to support the anxiety-relieving properties of essential oils comes from animal studies. To confirm and better understand these findings, researchers need to conduct more large-scale studies in humans.

When using essential oils, it is vital to dilute them in an appropriate carrier oil first. Oils can sometimes cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, so a person should test them on a small patch of skin before applying them to larger areas.

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Medical News Today: What to expect from Lupron treatment

Lupron is the brand name for leuprolide acetate. This drug is a type of hormone therapy that doctors typically use in combination with other treatments to treat people with prostate cancer.

Lupron belongs to a class of drugs called luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists. These medications block the production of LHRH in the body, which results in the testicles producing less testosterone.

Lupron is one of several drugs that doctors may prescribe to help fight prostate cancer by reducing testosterone levels in the body.

In this article, we explore how Lupron works, how effective it is, and what to expect during treatment. We also discuss testosterone flares, side effects, and the outlook for people with prostate cancer.

How does it work?

Injection of lupron for prostate cancer
A doctor will administer Lupron as a small implant injected under the skin.

Lupron and other LHRH agonists are forms of hormone therapy. For people with prostate cancer, the aim of hormone therapy is to reduce testosterone levels in the body.

Male hormones, such as testosterone, encourage the growth of prostate cancer cells. Therefore, lowering testosterone levels in the body can help slow the progression of prostate cancer.

Doctors typically prescribe hormone therapy for people with late-stage prostate cancer or prostate cancer that returns. Some doctors use hormone therapy when the disease is in the early stages, but the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommend watching and waiting as the best approach for early-stage prostate cancer.

How effective is it?

Hormone therapies, such as Lupron, are often effective in combination with other treatments for people with late-stage prostate cancer. Many doctors do not recommend hormone therapy during the early stages of this disease.

One potential issue is that prostate cancer can become resistant to LHRH agonists over time in some people.

According to the ACS, doctors may recommend hormone therapies, such as Lupron, for:

  • cancer that comes back after radiation therapy or surgery
  • cancer that has spread too far for radiation therapy or surgery to cure it
  • people who cannot have radiation therapy or surgery
  • shrinking cancer before radiation therapy
  • people who are having radiation therapy and have a high risk of cancer returning after treatment

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What to expect during treatment

Doctors often use hormone therapies, such as Lupron, in combination with radiation therapy or other treatments. They may also use it following surgery.

Healthcare professionals administer Lupron as a depot, which is a small implant that they inject under the person’s skin. The individual can often choose an injection site that is suitable for them. Common injection sites include:

  • upper arms
  • outer thighs
  • buttocks

The treatment regimen for Lupron will depend on the individual’s circumstances, and a person can work with their doctor to determine the best dosage. Some typical dosages include:

  • 7.5 mg — one injection every 4 weeks
  • 22.5 mg — one injection every 12 weeks
  • 30 mg — one injection every 16 weeks
  • 45 mg — one injection every 24 weeks

When a person first starts treatment with Lupron, they may have a testosterone flare. Later on, they may experience side effects due to having very low testosterone levels in their body. After treatment stops, testosterone levels begin to return to normal.

Testosterone flares

When a person first takes Lupron, their testosterone levels may rise, or flare, before dropping to very low levels. For some people, particularly those with advanced prostate cancer, a testosterone flare can temporarily cause their symptoms to worsen.

The symptoms of a testosterone flare can include:

  • blockage of the ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder
  • bone pain
  • worsening nerve symptoms
  • spinal cord compression
  • issues with urination

To help prevent a testosterone flare, doctors may also prescribe an anti-androgen drug during the first few weeks of treatment with an LHRH agonist.

Side effects

Man with fatigue and depression caused by lupron
Side effects of Lupron can include hot flashes, depression, and fatigue.

As with any medical treatment, Lupron and other hormone therapies can cause side effects. Many of these side effects are symptoms of having very low testosterone levels.

Possible side effects of hormone therapies, such as Lupron, can include:

  • loss of muscle mass
  • hot flashes
  • fatigue
  • skin irritation at the site of injection
  • erectile dysfunction or loss of sex drive
  • shrunken testicles and penis
  • changes in blood lipids
  • depression
  • osteoporosis
  • mood swings
  • breast tenderness
  • weight gain
  • the growth of breast tissue
  • anemia

A person should discuss any side effects that they are experiencing with their healthcare team. If the side effects are severe, the doctor may recommend changing the dosage or trying a different treatment.

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Alternative treatment options

There are several treatment options for prostate cancer, including other LHRH agonists and various types of hormone therapy.

Other LHRH agonists include:

  • goserelin (Zoladex)
  • triptorelin (Trelstar)
  • histrelin (Vantas)

Alternative hormone therapies include:

  • Orchiectomy. Also known as surgical castration, this is a surgical procedure to remove a person’s testicles. The testicles produce most of the body’s testosterone.
  • LHRH antagonists. These drugs work in a similar way to LHRH agonists, but they lower testosterone levels much more quickly. LHRH antagonists are a form of chemical castration, and doctors use them to treat people with advanced prostate cancer.
  • CYP17 inhibitors. In addition to the testicles, other cells in the body produce small amounts of testosterone. CYP17 inhibitors block these cells from making testosterone.
  • Anti-androgens. These drugs prevent testosterone from working in the body. Doctors usually prescribe anti-androgens in combination with other hormone therapies.

The first treatment for people with prostate cancer is often watchful waiting, where a doctor closely monitors a person to see how the disease progresses. Prostate cancer can progress very slowly, and some people may never require any treatment.

If a person’s cancer does progress to more advanced stages, treatment options can include:

  • radiation therapy
  • surgery
  • cryotherapy
  • chemotherapy
  • vaccine treatment

Doctors often use hormone therapies either in combination with or following one of these treatments.


doctor speaking to patient in modern office
Survival rates for prostate cancer are generally very high.

As prostate cancer often progresses very slowly, the survival rates for this disease are generally high.

According to the ACS, the overall 5-year relative survival rate for prostate cancer is 98 percent. This statistic means that people with prostate cancer are 98 percent as likely to live for at least 5 years following diagnosis as those without the condition.

However, a person’s outlook can depend on how advanced the disease is when a doctor diagnoses them with prostate cancer.

For people with cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate or has only spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is nearly 100 percent. If the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, such as the lungs, liver, or bones, the 5-year relative survival rate is 30 percent.

It is important to note that everyone’s outlook is different and that doctors have based these estimates on the data of men who received a diagnosis between 2008 and 2014.


Lupron is a type of hormone therapy for prostate cancer. It works by lowering the amount of testosterone in a person’s body, which helps slow the growth of cancer cells.

Doctors often prescribe hormone therapies in combination with radiation therapy or following surgery. They administer Lupron by injecting it under a person’s skin, which they will do between once a month and once every 6 months.

Because Lupron lowers testosterone levels, it can cause a range of side effects. Anyone experiencing severe or concerning symptoms may wish to discuss these with their doctor.

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Medical News Today: Is it allergic asthma or something else?

Allergic asthma is a type of asthma that causes symptoms when a person is around certain triggers, for example, pet dander. These allergens lead to an immune system response that affects the lungs and makes it harder to breathe.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, allergic asthma is the most common asthma type.

Allergies can be dangerous if they cause a life-threatening response known as anaphylaxis.

In allergic asthma, as well as nonallergic asthma, an asthma attack, or exacerbation, can also be fatal occasionally. As a result, a person may wish to talk to their doctor about identifying asthma triggers to reduce the likelihood of an attack.


Woman with shortness of breath holding chest in pain looking out of window
Asthma can cause breathing difficulties, such as shortness of breath.

Asthma symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • chest tightness
  • coughing
  • problems breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing

People will usually notice these symptoms become worse when they have exposure to certain triggers, which can include allergens.

A serious asthma attack can cause severe airway swelling that makes it difficult to breathe at all. A person may then require emergency medical treatment to help them breathe.

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Doctors do not know exactly why some people have allergic asthma, and others do not, although it can run in families.

People with allergic asthma are also more likely to have atopic dermatitis, eczema, and allergic rhinitis or hay fever, as are other family members.

Researchers continue to study information on different gene variations that may make a person more prone to allergic asthma. They are also examining how people with different genes respond to treatments. For example, people with specific genes may not respond to certain treatments.

Each individual with allergic asthma may have different triggers. For some people, these allergens cause no symptoms. In others, they can make breathing difficult and trigger an asthma attack.

Some of the most common allergens are:

  • cockroaches, including their saliva, feces, and body parts
  • dust mites
  • mold
  • pet dander, such as from dogs or cats
  • pollen from plants, including grasses, trees, and weeds

When a person is sensitive to a particular allergen and experiences exposure to it, their immune system starts releasing the compound immunoglobulin E, or IgE. Excess IgE in the body can then trigger the release of other substances that may cause airway inflammation.

Excess amounts of IgE can lead to a process that makes the airways smaller. Breathing through smaller airways is more difficult than through larger ones. The result can be an asthma attack.


Doctors will begin diagnosing allergic asthma by asking a person about their symptoms, including what makes these better or worse.

Next, a doctor may perform respiratory function tests to determine the impact on the airways. They may also undertake skin testing to determine if a person has a reaction to specific allergens.

Allergic asthma is different from other types of asthma because it triggers an immune system response. Other asthma types are a reaction to other irritants that cause the airways to get smaller or open and close more easily. Physical activity, exposure to smoke, or having a respiratory infection can lead to an asthma exacerbation in these asthma types.

The most definitive sign of allergic asthma is when an individual tests positive for an allergen, along with having asthma symptoms after exposure to that allergen. Finding this out can help a doctor determine whether allergic asthma is the cause.

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Treating allergic asthma at home

Man vacuuming house with hoover
A vacuum with a HEPA filter can help manage dust levels.

Avoidance of triggers is the first and most important way to prevent allergic asthma symptoms.

If a person is allergic to pet dander, they should avoid the pets known to cause allergic reactions.

For people allergic to dust mites, there are other steps they can take at home to reduce their risk of exposure to these mites.

Examples include:

  • Placing allergen-proof bed coverings over pillows and mattresses: These help to keep dust mites that might trigger an allergic reaction away from bedding.
  • Using a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter: This reduces the amount of dust present when cleaning.
  • Washing bedding regularly: People should do this using a high water temperature to remove dust mites as well as other potential allergy-causing substances.
  • Keeping dust to a minimum: People can do this in the home by washing clothes and toys regularly, especially stuffed toys, as well as dusting with damp rags to minimize dust in the air.

Keeping the home clean and mold-free can often help reduce the potential triggers for allergic asthma.

Medical treatments

There is no cure for asthma. However, there are medical treatments that can prevent allergic reactions as well as treat asthma symptoms.

Doctors may also prescribe treatments to reduce airway irritation if a person experiences an asthma attack, and to prevent asthma symptoms and airway inflammation over the long term.

Examples of these treatments include:

  • Short-acting inhalers: These medications quickly open up the airways, helping a person breathe more easily. Doctors often call them rescue inhalers because a person can use them quickly when they are having a hard time breathing.
  • Long-acting inhalers: People use these medications to keep the airways open for a longer period than short-acting inhalers.
  • Inhaled corticosteroids: This medication helps to reduce airway inflammation and prevent asthma symptoms.
  • Leukotriene modifiers: These drugs reduce the amount of airway swelling in some of those with asthma. They can also relax the airways, ideally making it easier to breathe.

In addition to medications to treat breathing symptoms, a doctor may recommend taking medications to reduce the body’s response to allergen exposure. These drugs are more helpful for people with other allergy symptoms in addition to asthma.

Many medications are available over the counter. Examples include:

  • cetirizine, brand name Zyrtec
  • fexofenadine, brand name Allegra
  • loratadine, brand name Claritin
  • levocetirizine, brand name Xyzal

These medications help to block the body’s response to allergens. While they will not cure allergic asthma, they may help reduce the severity of an allergic response.

A doctor may recommend allergy immunotherapy to help someone who has allergic asthma. This is a process that exposes the body to small and increasing amounts of an allergen. Exposure in this way can desensitize a person to the allergen, reducing the chances of their immune system triggering an asthma attack or other symptoms.

Doctors give immunotherapy treatments via shots or tablets that dissolve under the tongue.

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Allergic asthma can affect a person’s abilities to go outdoors or go to other people’s homes with pets.

While curing allergic asthma is not possible, many treatments can enhance breathing and improve a person’s overall health.

Avoiding the substances that trigger asthma reactions can help, as can taking medications to reduce the severity of an allergic reaction.

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Medical News Today: 9 healthful snacks to eat for weight loss

Trying to lose weight does not mean that a person has to give up all snacks. Certain snack foods, such as almonds and hummus, can help a person reach their weight loss goals. Contrary to popular belief, when a person tries to lose weight, they do not have to avoid eating or only eat at meal times.

Some studies suggest that people are more likely to maintain their weight loss if they have a healthful eating pattern.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), skipping food to lose weight generally backfires because it sets a person up to overeat.

However, when a person satisfies their hunger with healthful snacks, they are much less likely to want to eat unhealthful foods or go over their calorie limit.

What makes a food good for weight loss?

young woman eating fruit and yoghurt
Eating healthful snacks can help a person lose weight.

Some foods are better for weight loss than others.

In general, foods that are high in fiber or protein tend to be more filling. This means a person will feel satiated faster and may eat less at each snack time or meal.

Other considerations are finding foods that are low in calories but high in volume or density. The more space a food takes up in the stomach, the more full a person may feel. Again, this helps a person eat less with each snack.

People may also want to consider foods that help with metabolism and energy. Higher energy can help a person burn more calories, and a better metabolism can help a person more efficiently process the food they eat.

People looking to lose weight should avoid foods that contain large amounts of:

Unprocessed foods are good choices because many processed snacks contain high levels of sugar, salt, or both. Snacking between meals can help with weight loss. Snacking on healthful options can help prevent someone from overeating as well as provide vitamins, fiber, and protein.

The following are some of the best snacks for weight loss.

1. Hummus and vegetables

Hummus is a traditional Mediterranean dish that people make from pureed chickpeas. Due to its growing popularity, there are often several flavor options for premade hummus dips available in stores. People can also make hummus at home.

According to a 2016 study, hummus offers many potential benefits. Hummus provides a good source of protein and fiber, both of which can help a person feel fuller faster.

When people eat hummus with vegetables, they are getting the benefit of hummus as well as any additional nutrients from the vegetables.

2. Celery sticks and nut butter

Celery is a low-calorie vegetable. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), two large celery stalks count as 1 cup of vegetables of the 2.5 cups necessary per day for a 2,000-calorie diet.

Celery is primarily water, which can help a person feel full. Dipping celery in a nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter, can provide the benefits of healthful fats and protein as well.

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3. Fruit and nut butter

Apples and peanut butter is a good diet-friendly snack.

People can get creative with their fruit and nut butter combinations if they desire. According to the USDA, one medium apple provides 20 percent of a person’s dietary fiber, and 1 of the 2 recommended cups of fruit each day.

Dipping an apple slice in peanut or another nut butter also adds protein and good fat to a person’s snack.

4. Low-fat cheese

man looking at dairy products in supermarket
Low-fat cheese is a source of protein and calcium.

Low-fat cheese products offer many nutrients and lower fat counts than regular cheese.

Some of the benefits include:

  • source of protein
  • source of calcium
  • source of other vitamins and minerals

Low-fat cheese also contains fewer calories than full-fat cheese.

5. Nuts

Nuts can be a very healthful and filling snack.

Nuts provide protein and good fats. However, those looking to limit their salt intake should check the label to make sure there is no added salt. Also, a person should avoid nuts cooked with flavors, since the flavors often contain sugar or salt.

People should look for raw or dry-roasted nuts instead. Nuts are relatively high in calories, so a person should only eat a small amount per snack.

6. Hard-boiled eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of protein. In past years, however, many people thought that eggs were not healthful due to concerns about cholesterol.

However, more recent research suggests that eggs do not raise cholesterol levels and contain many essential nutrients.

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7. Greek yogurt with berries

Greek yogurt is high in protein and calcium and low in fat and calories. A person can safely add fresh fruit or nuts to Greek yogurt to improve its taste and add nutritional value.

The best Greek yogurt for weight loss is the plain variety. Greek yogurts with flavoring will often contain extra sugar, which is not good for weight loss.

8. Edamame

Edamame is a legume that a person can eat as a snack. Similar to other legumes, edamame is a source of fiber and protein.

It is also high in potassium, iron, and magnesium. When people eat it between meals, edamame can help a person feel fuller while also providing some essential nutrients.

9. Air-popped popcorn

Popcorn is a popular snack food in the U.S. It often gets a bad reputation due to the additional sugar, fat, or salt that people put on it.

Air-popped popcorn does not contain these extra ingredients. Plain popcorn is a low-calorie whole grain that offers plenty of filling fiber.

How to add them to your diet

woman making hummus
A person may find preparing healthful snacks in advance helpful.

The most effective way to add healthful snacks to the diet is to keep a stock of them in easy reach.

For example, a person could prepare a week’s worth of snacks at the beginning of the week. Once prepared, the person can then portion out the snack into individual serving sizes.

For instance, a person can prepare hummus in one large batch at the start of the week by pureeing chickpeas with olive oil, tahini, and seasonings in a food processor.

After preparation, they can put the hummus into small containers and accompany each container with a preportioned bag of carrot sticks.

Those who lack time to prepare their own snacks can look for snack-sized portions sold in grocery stores. Many products come prepacked in snack sizes.

People looking for premade, preportioned snacks should be aware that they are often more expensive. They will also need to look out for added sugars, salt, and fat.

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Eating healthful snacks can play an important role in helping a person lose and manage weight.

People should look for snacks that are low in sugar, fat, and salt. They should also seek snacks high in nutrients such as fiber and protein.

Beans, nuts, and raw vegetables and fruits are often good choices that will help a person feel fuller and provide necessary nutrients.

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Medical News Today: New cell-tracking technique sheds light on breast cancer spread

A leading-edge genetic technique that can track cell lineage has revealed much about how breast cancer spreads. It could also help explain why some breast cancers relapse after initially successful chemotherapy.
physician looking at scans of breast cancer
Researchers gain a better understanding of how breast cancer spreads thanks to ‘cellular barcoding.’

The name of the technique is cellular barcoding, and it allows scientists to assess the diversity of cell populations, such as in tumors.

They can also use it to tag cells and follow their identical descendants, or clones.

Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia used the technique to carry out a detailed investigation of breast cancer spread at the cell level using human tumor tissue transplanted into mice.

A study paper that now appears in the journal Nature Communications gives a detailed account of the investigation and its results.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer is the “most common cancer in women.” It accounted for more than 508,000 deaths worldwide in 2011.

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Tumors contain thousands of cell variants

The main cause of death in breast cancer is its ability to spread, or metastasize, from the primary, or “main,” tumor to form tumors in other organs of the body.

Those working in the field of cancer research describe metastasis as the “last frontier.” A particular challenge they face is unraveling what happens to tumor cells as they grow and proliferate.

Breast cancer tumors comprise a diverse mix of thousands of cell variants with disparate characteristics and development paths. Some of these influence the cancer’s ability to spread, while others have no effect.

“This complexity,” say the authors, “has direct bearing on our understanding of tumor evolution, metastasis, drug resistance, and the sampling of lesions from patients to identify the most useful therapeutic targets.”

With the help of cellular barcoding, the team showed that of the thousands present in a tumor, only a handful of clones was responsible for metastasis.

“The barcoding technique,” notes first study author Dr. Delphine Merino, one of the leaders of the investigation, “enabled us to identify the clones that were able to get into the bloodstream and make their way into other organs where they would ‘seed’ new tumor growth.”

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Cellular barcoding traced cell lineage

Cellular barcoding allows scientists to trace the lineage of cells by placing unique genetic markers, or tags, on them.

An important advantage of the technique is its ability to track large numbers of different cells and their descendants in parallel.

Study co-author Dr. Shalin H. Naik, who co-led the recent investigation, helped develop the cellular barcoding method that they used in the study.

He explains that the new version allowed them to home in on the handful of cell variants driving metastasis.

Having identified which of the thousands of clones were involved in breast cancer spread, he and his colleagues can now focus their efforts on finding ways to block them.

Dr. Naik remarks, for instance, that they “are curious to understand what is unique about these particular clones that enables them to successfully spread, seed, and grow the cancer.”

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Investigating effects of chemotherapy

Prof. Jane E. Visvader, another study leader, explains that the scientists also used the new cellular barcoding technique to investigate the effects of chemotherapy on the clones.

They used donated human tissue to develop mouse models of breast cancer tumors and treated them with Cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug that doctors use to treat a wide range of cancers.

“While the treatment was able to shrink tumors and the size of individual clones,” Prof. Visvader points out, “it did not kill them off completely.”

“All the clones, including the nasty seeders, eventually grew again, accounting for cancer relapse,” she adds, noting that they were able to observe this because cellular barcoding allowed them to tag and follow thousands of individual clones and observe their activity over time.

She believes that the findings will help future researchers develop highly targeted treatments for breast cancer.

Our study revealed that only a select few clones were actually responsible for the metastasis.”

Dr. Delphine Merino

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