Diseases and Conditions

Know how to prevent, treat and control the symptoms of various diseases and medical conditions. We explain what's happening in your body when disease strikes, and what you can do to feel better faster.

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How to Safely Use Public Bathrooms in the Age of Coronavirus

Sometimes you just can't avoid using a public bathroom. Is it safe with coronavirus raging? How can you be sure?

Tear Gas Used at Protests May Help Spread Coronavirus

Many health experts are gravely concerned about how the massive protest crowds, chanting and especially use of tear gas could accelerate the spread of coronavirus.

How Contact Tracing Works

Learn the steps of contact tracing, one critical way that public health officials stop viruses like COVID-19 from spreading, in this HowStuffWorks video.

How to Clean and Store Your Cloth Face Mask

Wearing some sort of face mask is more important than ever now to protect you and others from coronavirus. But how do clean and safely store it?

What the 1919 Anti-Mask League Can Teach Us About Public Health

Despite strict closing and hygiene orders, San Francisco was hit hard by the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. But some residents balked at the rules and that meant more people died.

Booze-makers Become Germ-busters to Help Stop COVID-19

As COVID-19 rages around the world, distilleries quickly ramp up the switch from booze to hand sanitizer in an all-out effort to curb the spread.

Nematodes: Do We Still Need to Worry About Roundworms and Bare Feet?

When you were a kid, your mom probably told you not to go around barefoot because you could get worms. But are nematodes still a problem today?

How Anosmia, or 'Smell Blindness,' Can Help Pinpoint COVID-19

Anosmia, or the loss of the ability to detect one or more smells, is a common symptom of upper respiratory viral infections. It might also be a way to tell if you have novel coronavirus.

When Does an Epidemic Become a Pandemic?

The World Health Organization just declared the coronavirus a full-blown pandemic. What does that even mean, and how is that different from an epidemic?

What's the Difference Between Quarantine and Isolation?

You've probably heard the word "quarantine" a lot in relation to the coronavirus. But how is it different from patient isolation?

What Is Coronavirus?

There are many types of coronaviruses but a new strain has emerged in China and is rapidly spreading across the globe. What is it and are you at risk?

Permanent Hair Dye, Straighteners Linked to Higher Breast Cancer Risk

A study from the National Institutes of Health found women who regularly use permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners are at a higher risk of breast cancer. The risk increases significantly — more than six times — for black women.

The Curse of Brewing Beer in Your Own Belly

It's called auto-brewery syndrome and, for some folks, it's a fact of life.

Is the BRAT Diet Still Beneficial?

A bland diet consisting of bananas, rice, applesauce and toast was a standard remedy for children with diarrhea and other stomach issues. But not any more. What happened to the BRAT diet?

Why Is Pancreatic Cancer So Deadly?

Just 9 percent of Americans with pancreatic cancer survive for at least five years. Why is the outlook so grim and what can be done about it?

Male Breast Cancer Is Rare, But Real

Although it's far more common in women, men get breast cancer too. And they have a much higher fatality rate. Why is this and what can be done?

No Joke: Dead Butt Syndrome Is a Real Pain

We know science rarely says anything good about sitting all day. But did you know that if spend too much time on your bum, you could end up killing it?

Scurvy: The Scourge of the High Seas Remains at Large Today

Although the disease is associated with sailors of yore, it can affect anyone lacking vitamin C. And it still impacts some people today.

Ethylene Oxide Is a Carcinogen You Need to Know About

The EPA deemed ethylene oxide a carcinogen in 2016, yet there are many cities across the country being polluted with the invisible gas.

4 Signs You're Infected With a Parasite

If you have a gut feeling something is off in your physical or mental well-being, a parasite could be the culprit.

Getting a Grip on Lyme Disease

There's been a steady uptick in Lyme disease across the United States since 1997, but the news isn't all bad.

Can Pollen Allergies Make You Tired?

Spring is here, your pollen allergies have kicked in and you feel tired and sleepy. Could pollen have something to do with it? Or is it just the meds?

The Science Behind the Pollen Count

Spring may be beautiful, but it's a tough time of year for anybody with allergies. That's why they rely on the daily pollen count for relief.

Crazy Common Things People Swallow (That They Shouldn’t)

Ever had that sinking feeling when you bite down on a sandwich and accidentally encounter a foreign object like a toothpick or a piece of plastic? If you spot it in time, you can spit it out. But what if you don't?

Why There Is So Much Confusion About Who Has Food Allergies

A new study showed that about 10 percent of Americans who thought they had food allergies actually had food intolerance issues. So what's the difference?