ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
Breast-feeding Might Shield Women From Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
CAREGIVING
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Depression
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Herb Shows Potential for Rheumatoid Arthriti
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Global Warming Linked to Heightened Kidney Stone Risk
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
EYE CARE, VISION
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
FITNESS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu Fatality Rate a 'Little Bit' Higher Than That of Seasonal Flu
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Want Sun Protection? Wear Red or Blue
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Optimism May Boost Immune System
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
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Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe

(HealthDay News) -- When the news broke on Wednesday that a domestic cat had come down with H1N1 swine flu, probably transmitted to the feline by sick owners, many people no doubt wondered how vulnerable their own pets were to the illness.

So, does Fluffy or Fido need protecting from this strain of flu? The answer, experts say, is basically no.

While the H1N1 flu currently circulating can jump easily from person to person, it does not travel well from humans to animals or animals to humans, except in a few rare instances.

"This really is not a practical issue at this point," said Dr. Chris Olsen, a professor of public health and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. "Is that to say it's not possible? No."

And even when inter-species transmissions do occur, the H1N1 virus seems more likely to move from humans to animals, rather than the other way around.

As reported Wednesday by the Associated Press, veterinarians at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine announced the first laboratory-confirmed case of H1N1 infection in a cat. Veterinarian Dr. Brett Sponseller said two of three people who lived in the house with the 13-year-old feline had shown flu-like symptoms before the animal became ill. The cat was treated and has since recovered, the AP said.

Olsen said there have also been reports of the virus crossing from humans to livestock -- in particular pigs and turkeys and mostly in agricultural settings.

There have been instances "where the current pandemic virus has been isolated from pigs [the first identified at the Minnesota state fair in August], and [some] instances from turkeys. But, in all of those cases, it's quite clear that the person was the source of infection for the animals, not the other way around," Olsen said.

Several cases of pig-to-human and human-to-pig transmission of the seasonal flu have been documented but it's mostly in agricultural settings, added Dr. John Treanor, director of the infectious diseases division at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that it had detected H1N1 in a commercial herd of pigs in Indiana, the AP reported. Again, both the pigs and the humans caring for them recovered from the flu, the news agency said.

According to Olsen, the livestock industry already has elaborate biosecurity precautions in place -- everything from asking about workers' health, to protective clothing, to having employees shower before entering or leaving a facility.

Although it's called the swine flu, the H1N1 virus is no longer really a pig virus. "This has been a human-adapted virus since we first recognized it in the early spring of this year," Olsen said, adding, "You absolutely cannot get it from what you eat."

And dog and cat owners don't need to take any extra precautions when it comes to the H1N1 flu, even though there have been instances of animals contracting, and sometimes even passing on, the regular seasonal flu.

Ferrets, for instance, are generally susceptible to the seasonal flu, and the AP reported Wednesday that H1N1 infection has been confirmed in two ferrets, one in Nebraska and the other in Oregon.

"Not only can they be infected with the flu but they are clearly able to transmit the flu back to people," Treanor said. "This is how flu viruses were first discovered. They [researchers] were looking at what the cause of flu would be, back in England in the 1930s, and noticed when they infected ferrets with material from the flu lab, workers got the flu from the ferrets. That led to the discovery of the influenza as the cause of flu."

Olsen added: "There are also reports of the human influenza virus going from people to dogs but this is, again, a rare occurrence."

Dogs can get something called the canine influenza virus, but that "has adapted itself to dogs and really is a dog pathogen at this point," Olsen said. It originally came from horses and mainly affects canines in an animal shelter.

Similarly, a recently developed dog flu vaccine has nothing to do with H1N1, said Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a professor in the department of small animal clinical sciences at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. "It's for a totally separate disease. It's not something people get."

"Our concern is transmission from human-to-human but we do need to protect pigs [and turkeys]," she said.

"Each animal tends to get its own kind of flu," Treanor said.

SOURCES: Chris Olsen, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor, public health, and associate dean, academic affairs, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, Madison; John Treanor, M.D., professor, medicine, and director, infectious diseases division, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.; Bonnie V. Beaver, D.V.M., professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station; Associated Press