ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
CANCER
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
CAREGIVING
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Leafy Greens Top Risky Food List
Coffee Drinkers Might Live Longer
Eat Up, But Eat Healthy This Holiday Season
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast's Water?
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
EYE CARE, VISION
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
FITNESS
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Kids More Apt to Smoke If Mom Did While Pregnant
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
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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