ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating your way to Good Health
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
EYE CARE, VISION
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
FITNESS
Walking Golf Course Affects Swing, Performance
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
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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