Author: Claire McCarthy

Five things not everyone knows about the flu

Child in bed with the flu

Half of every year, from roughly September to March, is “flu season.” Despite the fact that all of us spend half of our lives in flu season, there are lots of misconceptions about this common and sometimes deadly virus. Here are five important facts about the flu that not everyone knows:

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Three simple ways we can all help prevent gun violence

3 ways to prevent gun violence

We are coming up on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, in which a young man opened fire on a classroom of first-graders, killing 20 of them and 6 adults — after having killed his mother at home. While nothing can eclipse this tragedy, since then there have been many more tragedies, such as the shooting in Las Vegas, the church shooting in Texas and the recent shooting in Northern California where, thanks to the quick actions of the staff of a local elementary school, the shooter’s attempts to enter the school were foiled. He shot through the windows instead, injuring a child.

In 2014, more than 33 thousand people in the United States died from firearms. For comparison, that’s the same as the amount who died from motor vehicle accidents. Just as we are tirelessly working to keep people from being killed in or by cars, we need to work tirelessly so that fewer people die from guns.

In the wake of Sandy Hook, it looked like we were might have legislation to help prevent gun violence. But quickly we got mired in politics — and a lot of very strong feelings. Clearly, for many people gun ownership is a precious right — and clearly, death from firearms is a complicated problem without easy fixes.

That’s why we need to look for simple ways that we can all work together so that fewer people die. Here are three suggestions.

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Why you should only use antibiotics if truly necessary

Four ways that antibiotics can cause real problems

Let’s be honest: most parents feel better when their sick child is prescribed an antibiotic.

There’s just something so reassuring about having a prescription. It’s hard to feel like all you can do is wait and give your child TLC; it feels better to do something. Even when the doctor says that your child has a virus, and explains that antibiotics treat bacteria, not viruses, it’s common for parents to think: but what if there is even a little chance that there is a bacterial infection along with — or instead of — the virus? It can’t hurt to be safe, right?

But that’s the thing: it can hurt. Here are four ways that antibiotics can cause real problems.

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Why parents really need to talk to their children about the news

Black and white image of family watching news

These are strange, anxiety-provoking times. That’s true no matter where one lives or where one sits on the political spectrum; for all of us, it’s upsetting and confusing.

If it feels that way for adults, just imagine what it’s like for children who catch snatches of information and conversations they don’t really understand. That’s why it’s really, really important that parents talk to their children about what is going on in our country and our world. It’s important for two reasons:

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