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Latest Posts

Can You Catch Genital Herpes When There Are No Lesions?

The answer might seem obvious, but I get this question often in clinic. In particular, patients want to know if genital herpes is contagious even if they or their partner is not having an outbreak.

The answer is yes. Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease and is highly contagious. Although the risk of infecting someone else is much higher if you’re having an outbreak, it is still possible to transmit the virus, called HSV, even if you have no symptoms. About 1 in every 6 adults has genital herpes.

Once you have herpes, there is way to cure it. It is common to have recurring outbreaks especially in the first year, but in most people these lessen over time.

The only way to ensure you won’t get herpes is to abstain from sexual contact or to be in a monogamous relationship with a partner who is not infected. Wearing a condom can reduce the chances of infection, but it’s still possible to be transmitted. Taking anti-herpes medication such as acyclovir can reduce the amount of virus and minimize the risk of transmitting it.

April is STD awareness month. If you’re thinking you might need to get tested, then you need to get tested.

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

When Adults Get Chickenpox

We think of chickenpox as a childhood disease, but there are adult cases and they tend to lead to more serious complications.

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella virus and it is extremely contagious. Most people are exposed in childhood (or they receive the chicken pox vaccine), and so adults rarely contract it. It is especially dangerous for pregnant women because the fetus can become infected. The latency period from infection exposure to disease is 10 to 21 days. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Microbiology And The “Cooties” Epidemic

Remember “cooties” in grade school? You know, the germs or disease that girls gave boys or boys gave girls in grade school if they touched? Well, it seems they’re becoming an epidemic. Thank goodness someone checked for “cooties” on the Stanley Cup:

The NHL champion Blackhawks’ beloved trophy stopped by the Chicago Tribune newsroom, and so we took the opportunity to do something the Cup’s keeper said had never been done: We swabbed it for germs. We sent the samples to the Chicago lab EMSL Analytical, which found very little general bacteria and no signs of staph, salmonella or E. coli. “It’s surprisingly clean,” lab manager Nancy McDonald said. Just 400 counts of general bacteria were found, she said. By comparison, a desk in an office typically has more than 10,000.

No staph species detected? Hmmm. I think there was a sampling error…

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Can Stuttering Be Contagious?

Recently I was seeing a patient who was left with somewhat of a stutter after a prior stroke. It was a long history and probably longer for the patient, who had to work very hard to be understood through an unwanted speech impediment.

Inexplicably, when I walked out of the room I started to stutter, too – I wasn’t trying to make light of the patient’s problem, and I had to stop talking for a few moments before I could speak in my normal cadence.  It was super-strange, like my brain heard the new cadence and said “Oh, that’s how you do it.”  Awful.

It was embarrassing and weird. Fortunately the patient didn’t hear it, and I apologized to the staff who did. I have no idea why my mouth-brain connection picked that anomaly to repeat. Strange.

Anyone else have this?

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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