With 35% of US adults turning to the internet for health insights, the annual “Year in Search” report sheds light on the top 10 health-related questions, each accompanied by expert responses.
1. ‘How long is strep contagious?’
In a year that witnessed a surge in strep throat cases, Dr Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, provides clarity.
Contagiousness hinges on antibiotic usage, with a two-day timeline for those on medication, while untreated cases can remain contagious for weeks.
2. ‘How contagious is strep throat?’
Strep throat earns its label as “very contagious,” particularly during the infection’s initial stages. Dr Siegel highlights its transmission via secretions, droplets, and even shared items, emphasising the importance of understanding its communicability.
3. ‘How can I lower cholesterol?’
Amid rising concerns about high cholesterol affecting nearly 40% of U.S. adults, Dr Brett Osborn, a neurologist and longevity expert, advocates a holistic approach. A low glycemic index, and anti-inflammatory diet, coupled with regular exercise, form the cornerstone of his recommendations for achieving lower cholesterol levels.
4. ‘What helps with bloating?’
Health influencer Melanie Avalon addresses bloating, presenting it not merely as a gastrointestinal issue but potentially indicative of broader health concerns. From dietary adjustments like adopting a low FODMAP diet to mindful eating practices, Avalon emphasises a comprehensive approach to tackling bloating.
5. ‘What causes low blood pressure?’
Dr Osborn explores the causes of low blood pressure, linking dehydration and overmedication as common culprits. He advocates hydration and regular blood pressure monitoring for those on hypertension medication, emphasising the potential fall risks associated with extremely low readings.
6. ‘What causes warts?’
Warts, caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), prompt insights from Avalon. Transmission occurs through contact, and she outlines diverse treatment options, from topical salicylic acid to laser treatments, emphasising the role of the immune system in influencing wart severity.
7. ‘Why do I feel nauseous?’
Avalon delves into the complexity of nausea, highlighting its connection to various bodily systems. From common triggers like alcohol consumption to potential underlying issues such as hormonal imbalances or gastrointestinal disorders, Avalon stresses the importance of recognising nausea as a signal of imbalances.
8. ‘What causes preeclampsia?’
Preeclampsia during pregnancy involves high blood pressure and elevated protein levels. Avalon elucidates its origins in placental complications, impacting blood flow and potentially leading to severe symptoms. Awareness of symptoms like swelling and headaches is crucial for expectant mothers.
9. ‘How do I stop snoring?’
Dr Shelby Harris addresses the prevalent issue of snoring, emphasising its potential link to obstructive sleep apnea. For non-condition-related snoring, she recommends lifestyle changes, including sleeping positions and maintaining a healthy weight, while underscoring the importance of seeking professional help for potential sleep disorders.
10. ‘How long does food poisoning last?’
The final inquiry delves into the aftermath of food poisoning. Recognising the spectrum of symptoms, from mild to serious, the CDC’s insights underscore the importance of understanding the duration and potential severity of foodborne illnesses caused by pathogens like Salmonella or E. coli.