ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
CANCER
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
CAREGIVING
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Coffee Drinking Lowers Women's Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
Dementia Underestimated in Developing Countries
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
FITNESS
As Temperature Plummets, It's Still Safe to Exercise
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Go To Work But Skip The Car
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Laugh and the World Understands
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
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Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away

(HealthDay News) -- Medications, personal hygiene, mask-wearing and quarantines all help prevent the spread of viral infections such as the flu, and researchers now suggest that the latter three strategies should be given more attention in plans to deal with pandemics.

In an update of a 2007 study, Dr. Tom Jefferson of the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group in Rome, Italy, and colleagues reviewed the results of 59 studies that looked at the effectiveness of strategies to reduce the spread of viral germs that cause respiratory diseases such as the flu and SARS. The new review appears online Sept. 22 in BMJ.

The researchers looked at studies that compared a number of strategies (quarantine/isolation, distancing sick people from healthy people through other methods, better hygiene) with other interventions, or doing nothing.

The review found that wearing gloves, gowns and masks is effective, and so is hand washing more than 10 times a day. The strategies are even more effective when people use more than one of them.

Jefferson's team also found that the highest quality studies reported that the spread of diseases can be lowered through hygiene in households and among young children.

The researchers found only limited evidence that so-called N95 facial masks, which are uncomfortable and expensive, are better than simple surgical masks.

Also, they noted that it is unclear whether people need to add antiseptics to normal soap and water.

The researchers called for national school programs to encourage hand washing and stressed that gloves, gowns, masks and isolation of certain patients are all appropriate when there's high risk that the respiratory diseases will spread.

"More resources should be invested into studying which physical interventions are the most effective, flexible and cost-effective means of minimizing the impact of acute respiratory tract infections," the study authors concluded.

SOURCES: BMJ, news release, Sept. 22, 2009