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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Does Reopening Schools Cause COVID-19 to Spread?

Reopening schools is at the top of everyone's wish list, but does reopening them cause COVID-19 to spread? Well, it's complicated.

What's the Difference Between a Neoplasm and a Tumor?

You've probably heard of a tumor, but what about a neoplasm? How similar are they and are they always cancerous?

Cyanosis: Why Your Fingers Turn Blue

It might be OK for a Smurf to have blue fingers, but for the rest of us, it's something you don't want to see. Cyanosis is usually a sign of a bigger health problem.

What Is a Low FODMAP Diet and Who Should Try It?

The low FODMAP diet was created by a team of researchers in Australia to help those with digestive issues like IBS. This is one diet that's not about losing weight.

How Can I Tell Whether I Have Flu or COVID-19?

The symptoms for both are similar though there are a few differences. Treatment is also similar for mild cases of either. But severe cases of COVID are much more deadly, so how do you know what you have?

Why Your Baby Could Be Giving You Mommy Thumb

New parents — especially new moms — are prone to an ailment known as mommy thumb. It's painful and real, but what is it and how is your baby causing it?

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?

More than a year has passed since a new strain — SARS-CoV-2 — emerged in China and rapidly spread across the globe, infecting more than 90 million and killing more than 2 million. What has — and hasn't — changed since then?

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.