ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
CANCER
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
CAREGIVING
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
Antioxidant-Rich Foods Lose Nutritional Luster Over Time
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
FDA Faulted for Stance on Chemical in Plastics
Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
EYE CARE, VISION
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
FITNESS
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Maximize Your Run
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
After Job Loss, People Report More Health Issues
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
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Swine Flu Loves a Crowd

(HealthDay News) -- With the H1N1 swine flu virus lurking in every nook and cranny, all Americans should be on guard this coming flu season.

But experts say those living and working in crowded locales -- schools, colleges, prisons, cruise ships, airplanes, military barracks -- need to be extra careful.

"Any crowded place carries a heightened risk," said Dr. Melinda Moore, a senior health researcher at the Rand Corp., in Arlington, Va. "It really has to do with people being in close quarters and having disease-transmitting behaviors such as coughing and sneezing."

"The virus is mainly spread the respiratory route, and it's also on inanimate objects like doors and knobs and handles and desktops and telephones," added Dr. Stuart Beeber, attending pediatrician at Northern Westchester Hospital Center, in Mount Kisco, N.Y. "It's mainly in close quarters where a lot of people are together, such as in classrooms or offices, potentially even movie theaters."

The danger of transmission lies not only in the fact that hordes of people are together for long periods of time, but that those hordes may not be practicing good hygiene.

"Any environment in which people are crowded together with compromised hygiene carries a heightened risk," said Dr. Dean Blumberg, an associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California, Davis, Children's Hospital. "It's when people don't have access to hand washing or shower facilities."

Younger children are not naturally very hygienic, Blumberg pointed out.

College students may also engage in behaviors that are friendly to the spread of the H1N1 virus, such as kissing and sharing drinks. If those drinks are alcoholic, judgment may be affected, resulting in even more unsafe behaviors. Smoking can also compromise the respiratory system, making you more vulnerable to infection, Blumberg said.

The added problem in jails and prisons is that stepped-up hygiene needs to be balanced with safety and, in some cases, could actually compromise safety, Blumberg said. For example, "alcohol-based hand gels can be dangerous in that environment," he said.

Budget cuts may even be contributing to a hygiene crisis. The current fiscal problems plaguing California affect all school facilities, including those related to hygiene, Blumberg said.

"The people involved may not be quite as interested in disease prevention compliance as they are with other things, but that doesn't make it any less important," Moore said.

The first line of protection is what experts call "respiratory etiquette." Coughing and sneezing into your elbow or handkerchief doesn't require any special facilities. And, as often as you can, wash your hands or cleanse them with hand foam or alcohol gel. "You may also want to wipe down surfaces that you are in frequent contact with, like door knobs," Beeber said.

These are also messages the airline and cruise-ship industry are emphasizing more than usual right now, although, for the most part, it's business as usual for travelers.

According to Erik Elvejord, a spokesman for Holland America Line, based in Seattle, the cruise ship industry is already bound by strict public health standards, including not letting sick passengers board a ship and isolating sick passengers who are already on board. Ships do have some flu-testing equipment on board as well as antivirals, he said. Passengers also receive notes on their pillow reminding them to wash their hands, and containers of hand sanitizer are placed all around the ships, although these measures are not new, Elvejord added. "We've kind of been doing what we've been doing all along," he said.

Although one passenger on a recent commercial airline flight was told by the flight crew that blankets were no longer available in economy class because of swine flu concerns, David Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association (ATA), said he has "not seen that wholesale."

For the most part, the airline industry is also proceeding with travel-as-usual. "We [already] have pretty sophisticated filtering systems," he said.

Debunking one persistent myth, Castelveter stressed that cabin air is not recirculated, but comes in the side, moves in a circular motion, then exits the plane into the great beyond. The worst danger comes from the person sitting next to you -- not in front or behind, Castelveter said. "The person who sneezes in row 3 will have no impact on someone sitting in row 11," he said.

Airlines are being more diligent in passing out hand-washing messages, and both water and antibacterial soap are available on most airplanes.

The ATA is also communicating regularly with CDC officials and will follow any recommendations they make, such as screening passengers before boarding an aircraft. So far, nothing has changed, Castelveter said.

As always, people who are sick should stay away from others. "The buzz word is social isolation, so children who have flu-like symptoms should stay home from school and workers who have flu-like symptoms should stay home from work until they have been fever-free for 24 hours without any drugs," Beeber said.

SOURCES: Melinda Moore, M.D., senior health researcher, Rand Corp., Arlington, Va.; Dean Blumberg, M.D., associate professor, pediatric infectious diseases, University of California, Davis, Children's Hospital; Stuart Beeber, M.D., attending pediatrician, Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, N.Y., and senior physician, Chappaqua Pediatrics, Chappaqua, N.Y.; Erik Elvejord, spokesman, Holland America Line, Seattle; David Castelveter, vice president, communications, Air Transport Association