Health

This weekend, 80,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines will expire in Arkansas. There simply weren't enough people in the state willing to get their jab — even though cases and deaths from the delta variant are rising there at an alarming rate.

"Prior to the vaccine, I was heartsick because people died and we couldn't help them. Now, they don't get the vaccine and we can't help them," says Tammy Kellebrew, a pharmacist who travels to rural hospitals around the state. "And so after every death, I go back to the pharmacy and I cry, and then I go back to work."

Why Sweat Is A Human Superpower

22 hours ago

Think sweat is gross?

"It could have been so much worse," says Sarah Everts, the author of a new book called The Joy of Sweat, that is all about, you guessed it, the science of sweating.

Turns out human sweat — our body's air conditioning system — is really pretty tame on the "yuck" scale of animal cooling methods.

Nearly two months after the Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm received conditional approval from the Food and Drug Administration, experts are still debating how, and whether, it should be used.

It was a race in Pennsylvania that could have sent cyclist Phil Gaimon to the Tokyo Olympics; instead, a serious crash landed the Californian in two hospitals on the East Coast.

Gaimon knows accidents are, unfortunately, part of the sport. He had retired from competitive road cycling three years earlier, but a recruiting call came in the spring of 2019 from a coach of the USA Cycling track team.


There's more potentially worrisome news for vaccinated people: In very rare cases, people experiencing breakthrough infections may be at risk for long-COVID symptoms.

That's according to a small new study of fully vaccinated health care workers in Israel, published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Updated July 28, 2021 at 8:52 PM ET

With the delta variant taking off around the U.S., the federal government Tuesday updated its masking guidelines for fully vaccinated people.

Dr. Leana Wen advises that you should think of your COVID-19 vaccine like a very good raincoat: If it's drizzling or you're in a rainstorm? You're well-protected. "But if you're going in and out of thunderstorms every single day and now there's a hurricane — at some point you're going to get wet," she says.

Updated July 27, 2021 at 3:09 PM ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidance on wearing masks Tuesday. In a reversal of its earlier position, the agency is now recommending that some fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors if they live in areas with significant or high spread.

When Kayla Kjelshus gave birth to her first child, the infant spent seven days in the neonatal intensive care unit, known as the NICU. This stressful medical experience was followed by an equally stressful financial one. Because of an obscure health insurance policy called the "birthday rule," Kjelshus and her husband, Mikkel, were hit with an unexpected charge of more than $200,000 for the NICU stay.

Before she got COVID-19, Cassandra Hernandez, 38, was in great shape — both physically and mentally.

"I'm a nurse," she says. "I work with surgeons and my memory was sharp."

Then, in June 2020, COVID-19 struck Hernandez and several others in her unit at a large hospital in San Antonio.

"I went home after working a 12-hour shift and sat down to eat a pint of ice cream with my husband and I couldn't taste it," she says.

The loss of taste and smell can be an early sign that COVID-19 is affecting a brain area that helps us sense odors.

Tennova Healthcare-Lebanon doesn't exist anymore as a hospital. But it still sued Hope Cantwell.

A knock came on the door of Cantwell's East Nashville apartment early this year. She hadn't been vaccinated yet and says she wasn't really answering the door to strangers. So she didn't.

But then several more attempts came over the course of a week. Eventually she masked up and opened. A legal assistant served her a lawsuit; she was summoned to appear in court.

Alba Feliz is a little nervous about getting the vaccine. At 17, she's the first person in her immediate family to seriously consider getting it. "In my house, they never really trust the vaccine," she says. Social media has been her main source of information, and the contradictory messages have been confusing.

The current COVID-19 surge in the U.S. — fueled by the highly contagious delta variant — will steadily accelerate through the summer and fall, peaking in mid-October, with daily deaths more than triple what they are now.

The summer surge in COVID-19 cases is an unwelcome surprise for health officials and experts who thought, for a brief period, that the U.S. had the coronavirus pandemic largely under control.

Updated July 29, 2021 at 12:05 PM ET

This story has been updated throughout to reflect new research.

New data on the delta variant is coming in, and it's not looking good. The currently authorized vaccines are still very protective, especially against hospitalization and death. But when it comes to getting an asymptomatic or mild case of COVID-19, they may not be quite as protective as they were against earlier strains.

For Stephanie Force, finding a birth control method that she likes and can get without paying out of pocket has been a struggle, despite the Affordable Care Act's promise of free contraceptives for women and adolescent girls in most health plans.

Misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines can appear almost anywhere: from an uncle's Facebook post to a well-trusted news commentator. But where does it come from, and why do some myths spread further than others?

With the help of the internet research firm Graphika, NPR analyzed the rise of one persistent set of lies about COVID-19 vaccines: that they can affect female fertility.

Despite a mountain of scientific evidence showing the vaccines are safe and effective, the false information persists.

Treadmill fatigue is real. That's why at the first hints of spring many indoor exercisers are outside faster than you can say manual or hills program. But when summer hits, some regions get hot — really hot.

And this year, as climate change continues to push Earth's weather to extremes, entire swaths of the U.S. have experienced record-breaking levels of heat.

After declining steeply for six months, coronavirus cases are once again on the rise, thanks to the delta variant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that new cases are up by nearly 70% in just a week. Hospitalizations are up by nearly 36%.

It's an eternal question: What diet is best for weight loss? Or, what should we eat (or avoid) to stay healthy?

Devotees of paleo or keto will talk your ear off about why their diet is the most sensible. People choosing vegan diets (no animal products, including dairy) make a compelling case for both personal and global health.

With about a third of adults in the U.S. still completely unvaccinated, and cases of COVID-19 on the rise, the U.S. surgeon general is calling for a war against "health misinformation."

A man who is unable to move or speak can now generate words and sentences on a computer using only his thoughts.

The ability comes from an experimental implanted device that decodes signals in the man's brain that once controlled his vocal tract, as researchers reported Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The man is currently limited to a vocabulary of just 50 words and communicates at a rate of about 15 words per minute, which is much slower than natural speech.

Jameson Rybak tried to quit using opioids nearly a dozen times within five years. Each time, he would wait out the vomiting, sweating and chills from withdrawal in his bedroom.

It was difficult to watch, says his mother, Suzanne Rybak, though she admired his persistence.

On March 11, 2020, however, Suzanne grew worried. Jameson, 30 years old at the time, was slipping in and out of consciousness and saying he couldn't move his hands.

When Miriam McDonald decided she wanted to have another baby at age 44, her doctor told her she had a better chance of winning the lottery. So when she got pregnant right away, she and her husband were thrilled. But within three days of giving birth to their son, in September 2019, everything turned.

"I was thinking, 'Oh my God, what did I do?' I just brought this baby into this world and I can barely take care of myself right now," she says. "I feel exhausted. I haven't slept in three days. I haven't really eaten in three days."

It took five months for the Biden administration to make a substantive policy change to advance abortion rights. And even that change was buried in a 61-page regulation setting rules for 2022's Affordable Care Act enrollment.

The policy would reverse a Trump administration rule requiring insurers that cover abortion to send separate bills for that coverage. Abortion-rights opponents had hoped the extra paperwork would persuade insurers to stop offering the coverage.

Horns blared, and drums pounded a constant beat as fans of the Mexican national soccer team gathered recently at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver for a high-profile, international tournament.

Updated July 9, 2021 at 2:05 PM ET

As the weather warmed up this year, coronavirus case numbers plummeted, and life in the U.S. started to feel almost normal. But in recent weeks, that progress has stalled.

The vaccination campaign has slowed, and the delta variant is spreading rapidly. And new infections, which had started to plateau about a month ago, are going up slightly nationally.

Dr. Rachel LaCount grasped a metal hoop at a playground and spun in circles with her 7-year-old son, turning the distant mesas of the Colorado National Monument into a red-tinged blur.

LaCount has lived in Grand Junction, Colo., a city of 64,000, nearly her whole life. As a hospital pathologist, she knows better than most that her hometown has become one of the nation's top breeding grounds for the delta variant of COVID-19.

"The delta variant's super scary," LaCount said.

At 72, Dolores Fontalvo is part friendly neighbor, part psychologist. She's also a linchpin in the state of Maryland's successful effort to narrow the vaccination gap between its white and Latino residents.

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