Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Public Health

  • Learn how to fix some common tripping hazards around your home.

  • You're probably spending a lot of time in your home these days. And that's one place where you have some control. Here are some tips that can help keep you and your home safe from COVID-19. Practice prevention. Wash your hands well and often. Scrub with soap and water for 20 seconds. If you go out...

  • Learn how to wear a cloth face cover or a mask to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • This topic helps readers assess whether they may have a drinking problem.

  • Learn how to overcome barriers to wearing a mask.

  • Learn some new tips for having date night at home during the pandemic.

  • Every year, thousands of older adults fall and hurt themselves. Falls are one of the main causes of injury and disability in people age 65 and older. Those who fall once are 2 to 3 times more likely to fall again. Hip fractures are especially serious, and most of them are caused by falling. Falls are often caused by...

  • Rabies vaccine can prevent rabies. Rabies is mainly a disease of animals. Humans get rabies when they are bitten or scratched by infected animals. Human rabies is rare in the United States. Wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes are the most common source of human rabies infection in the United…

  • Typhoid vaccine can prevent typhoid fever. People who are actively ill with typhoid fever and people who are carriers of the bacteria that cause typhoid fever can both spread the bacteria to other people. When someone eats or drinks contaminated food or drink, the bacteria can multiply and spread into the bloodstream...

  • Yellow fever vaccine can prevent yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious disease caused by the yellow fever virus. There is no medicine to treat or cure yellow fever. Yellow fever virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is found in parts of Africa and South America…

  • Provides links to information about various types of environmental illnesses, including lead and carbon monoxide poisoning. Also includes links to tips on reducing environmental pollutants in the home.

  • Radiation is energy that travels as a wave or particle. Some types of radiation, called ionizing radiation, can be harmful. Radioactivity is ionizing radiation that is given off by substances, such as uranium, as they decay. About half of the...

  • Learn to spot hazards in your home by using a home safety checklist.

  • Learn how to use lighting and contrast to make your home safer.

  • Learn why you probably don't need an antibiotic when you have acute bronchitis.

  • Learn why antibiotics shouldn't be prescribed to children who have a cold or flu.

  • What is traveler's diarrhea? Traveler's diarrhea is a common medical problem for people traveling from developed, industrialized countries to developing areas of the world. High-risk areas for traveler's diarrhea include developing countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. Low-risk areas...

  • Yellow fever is a serious disease caused by a virus that is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Yellow fever can cause fever and flu-like illness, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), liver failure, lung failure, kidney failure, vomiting of blood, and possibly death. Yellow fever vaccine is...

  • Anthrax is a disease caused by infection with spore-forming bacteria called Bacillus anthracis, which occur naturally in soil. These bacteria most often infect animals such as sheep, goats, cattle, deer, antelope, and other herbivores. Anthrax disease can occur in people who are exposed to an infected animal or other...

  • Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus. Rabies occurs mainly in animals, but a human can get rabies after being bitten by an infected animal. There may be no symptoms at first, but weeks or even months later rabies can cause pain, headaches, tiredness, irritability, fever, hallucinations, seizures, and paralysis...

  • Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus. Rabies occurs mainly in animals, but a human can get rabies after being bitten by an infected animal. There may be no symptoms at first, but weeks or even months later rabies can cause pain, headaches, tiredness, irritability, fever, hallucinations, seizures, and paralysis...

  • BCG vaccine is used to help prevent tuberculosis (TB) in adults and children who have never had this disease and test negative for tuberculosis. BCG vaccine is recommended if you live with or have close contact with someone who is infected with tuberculosis. This vaccine helps your body develop immunity to the TB, but...

  • What is lead poisoning? Lead poisoning occurs when you absorb too much lead by breathing or swallowing a substance with lead in it, such as paint, dust, water, or food. Lead can damage almost every organ system. In children, too much lead in the body can cause lasting problems with growth and development. These...

  • Immunization against the hepatitis A virus (HAV) is recommended for anyone traveling to any country or area except: Australia. Canada. Japan. New Zealand. The United States. Western Europe and the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, and Finland). Talk to your doctor...

  • You can help protect the person in your care by making the home safe. Pad sharp corners on furniture and countertops. Keep objects that are often used within easy reach. Install handrails around the toilet and in the shower. Use a tub mat to prevent slipping. Use a shower chair or bath bench when...

  • Exposure to cockroaches may increase asthma symptoms. Cockroaches leave behind particles from their feces, eggs, and shells that can cause an allergic reaction. Cockroaches are a problem in many homes, especially in the southern part of the United States. Here are some steps you can take to remove cockroaches from your...

  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment to increase a person's blood oxygen level, which can prevent tissue death, promote healing, and help fight infection. This treatment involves a person being in an enclosed chamber while 100% oxygen is pumped in at high pressure. The purpose of oxygen therapy for the...

  • What is carbon monoxide poisoning? Carbon monoxide poisoning happens when you breathe too much carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a gas produced by burning any type of fuel—gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal. What makes this gas so dangerous is that when you breathe it, it replaces the oxygen in your blood...

  • The National Weather Service developed the heat index to help people identify days when the risk for a heat illness is higher than normal. During a heat wave, the heat index is excessive for many days in a row. Everyone has an increased risk for a heat-related illness during a heat wave. A heat-related illness can be...

  • Between 1948 and 1971, millions of women took a drug called diethylstilbestrol (DES) to prevent miscarriage. Daughters born to women who took DES while pregnant have a slightly higher risk of developing: Abnormal cervical cells that cause an...

  • Pollen, molds, dust mites, or animal dander cause most allergic rhinitis and trigger asthma attacks in some people. Plants make pollen. The pollens that can cause allergies are usually from trees, grasses, or weeds. These pollens are small, light,...

  • This test measures the amount of lead in a person's blood. Lead is a poisonous (toxic) metal that can damage the brain and other parts of the body. A lead test may be done on blood drawn from the vein, a finger (finger stick), or the heel (heel stick). A person can be exposed to lead: By eating or drinking...

  • Discusses ways to avoid indoor allergy triggers. Covers common indoor allergens such as dust mites and pet dander. Covers reasons to avoid them. Offers cleaning tips to reduce allergens in the home.

  • Allergic rhinitis causes symptoms of sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose. But you can control these symptoms with medicine and by avoiding the things that cause them ( allergens). If you are allergic to outdoor allergens, such as pollen and mold, you don't have to give up an outdoor life. You just need to know when...

  • Dust builds up throughout your home. The dust may contain substances that trigger asthma symptoms, such as wheezing or coughing, or another allergic reaction, such as the rash of atopic dermatitis or stuffy nose of allergic rhinitis. These substances are called allergens. Dust mites are another example of an allergen...

  • All warm-blooded pets, such as cats, dogs, birds, and rodents, have dead skin cells (animal dander) and make urine or stool. These can all trigger asthma symptoms, such as wheezing or coughing, or another allergic reaction, such as the rash of...

  • Mold can get into a building through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets and can be carried indoors. Mold will grow in places that...

  • There are many things you can do to make living with low vision easier and safer. Low-vision rehabilitation specialists can give you detailed information and training on doing your household tasks and other activities that can be more challenging...

  • It is common to cough for a few minutes after breathing in smoke or fumes from a fire. Your breathing should return to normal within a short period of time, about 30 minutes. If your breathing does not return to normal or if your breathing is getting worse instead of improving, it is important to think about whether you...

  • Programs to screen for lead poisoning focus on finding children or adults who are likely to be exposed to lead. These programs, developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), advise local and state agencies to determine which geographic areas are the most likely to be at risk for lead exposure...

  • Is this topic for you? This topic is about many different types of food poisoning. You can also see the topics E. Coli Infection and Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy. What is food poisoning? Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating foods that have harmful organisms in them. These harmful germs can...

  • Wash your hands often and prepare foods properly to reduce the risk of food poisoning . How to wash your hands The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following steps for hand-washing: Wash your hands with running water, and apply soap. Rub your hands together to make a lather. Scrub...

  • There are things you can do while shopping to help prevent food poisoning. Put raw meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and shellfish in separate bags, and do not mix them with other food items. Do not buy meat or poultry that has a tear in the package or is leaking. Pick up your refrigerated and frozen items at the end of...

  • It is important to cook foods at a safe temperature to avoid food poisoning. The following picture shows you safe temperatures for a number of foods. Adapted from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (2011). Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures. Available online...

  • Storing food promptly and correctly can help prevent food poisoning. Set your refrigerator at or below 40 F (4 C) and your freezer at or below 0 F (-18 C). Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, fish, shellfish, ready-to-eat foods, and leftovers within 2 hours or sooner. If the temperature outdoors is above 90 F...

  • Food packaging labels provide information about when to use the food and how to store it. Reading food labels and following safety instructions will greatly reduce your chance of becoming ill with food poisoning. The following guidelines are included on a packaging label. Sell by: This tells the store...

  • You can help prevent food poisoning by taking precautions when serving food. Keep hot foods hot [ 140 F (60 C) or above] and cold foods cold [ 40 F (4 C) or below]. Never leave meat, poultry, eggs, fish, or shellfish (raw or cooked) at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If the temperature outdoors is...

  • Public health threats are events or disasters that can affect you and your community. Examples of public health threats are: Natural disasters. Disease outbreaks. Accidents involving hazardous substances. Terrorist attacks. Public health threats can affect air quality, cause shortages of safe water and food, and...

  • How can you stay healthy on your trip? The best way to stay healthy on your trip is to plan before you go. If you are planning to travel to another country, see a doctor several months before you leave so you will have time for vaccines (immunizations) that you may need to get ahead of time. Also ask your doctor if...

  • What you pack in your first aid kit will depend on where and how long you plan to travel and the medical care available there. Here is a general list of items to include. Insect repellent Sunscreen (SPF 30 to 50) and lip screen Thermometer Oral rehydration solution packets Basic first aid items (adhesive bandages...

  • Few things are more important to your health and survival during a long emergency than having water that is safe to drink. Knowing how to purify water can help you if your regular water supply becomes contaminated or if you are in a place where clean water is not available. Even if you have stored clean water to use in...

  • What is mercury? Mercury is a metal found naturally in the environment. Human activities, such as farming, burning coal, and using mercury in manufacturing, increase the mercury cycling through the air, water, and soil. In water, mercury changes its form and becomes methylmercury. Fish absorb this mercury. When you...

  • What are blood and body fluid precautions? Blood and body fluid precautions are recommendations designed to prevent the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and other diseases while giving first aid or other health care that includes contact with body fluids or blood. These...

  • Asbestos is a substance that was used in building materials. The substance can enter the body by being inhaled or swallowed. The substance attaches to the lining of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Contact with asbestos over time has been...

  • Some medicines may cause your skin to sunburn more easily. Medicines used for treatment on the skin (topical) or for the whole body (systemic) can cause two types of reactions: Phototoxicity. Medicines react with proteins in the skin and sunlight and cause a more severe sunburn reaction with increased...

  • The sunlight that reaches the earth has ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B (UVA and UVB) rays. These ultraviolet rays are the main causes of damage to the skin from the sun. UVA and UVB rays affect the skin's sensitivity to sun exposure in different ways. UVA: Can pass through window glass. Is not affected by a change...

  • Discusses shots of EDTA into bloodstream to remove heavy metals or minerals from the body. Also discusses its use to treat atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Covers safety.

  • Discusses radon, a tasteless and odorless cancer-causing gas. Covers how to prevent exposure to radon gas. Covers health risks. Discusses radon test kits and what results mean. Offers telephone and website contact info for EPA radon help.

  • Steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning include the following: Purchase and install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home and near sleeping areas. Use those marked UL 2034 or IAS 6–96, which have met the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines. Follow the directions carefully for...

  • Keep pets in good health All pets, whether they are kept indoors or outside, should be in good health, show no evidence of disease, and be friendly toward children. The following suggestions benefit your pets and may also help protect young children from both illness and injury: Immunize cats and dogs, and...

  • Smog and particulate matter (such as pollen, soot, and dust) are examples of air pollution. Children's lungs are especially sensitive to the harmful effects of air pollution, because they breathe rapidly and inhale a high concentration of pollution relative to their weight. Use care when you take your young...

  • Small children, even some 1-year-olds, are able to pull the trigger on a gun. Also, older children or adults can mishandle guns or firearms and injure others. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to avoid keeping guns and firearms...

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) creates Vaccine Information Statements (VISs), which have details about most vaccines given in the United States. The VISs are updated when needed. The information in these statements does not change often. Each VIS explains why to get the vaccine, the risks from...

  • Use these checklists once a month to see how you are doing to stay safe in case of a vertigo attack. How many of the items can you say "yes" to? Try to do all the items on each list. Date:_________ Checklist for the home ____Walkways around the house (especially to the bathroom or telephone) are clear of furniture...

  • What is black lung disease? Black lung disease is a common name for any lung disease that develops from inhaling coal dust. This name comes from the fact that those with the disease have lungs that look black instead of pink. Medically, it is a type of pneumoconiosis called coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP). There are...

  • The hurricane still haunts Marvin. He and his wife, daughter, and four grandkids huddled on a neighbor's roof as floodwaters from the storm surges swirled around them. Lashed by wind and debris, they survived by hooking themselves to a rooftop...

  • You don't see as well as you used to. Eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy may be making it hard to work and manage many of your daily activities. But don't give up. There are lots of things you can do to adapt to low vision and make your life easier...

  • Covers making your home fall-proof to prevent injuries. Looks at common hazards like clutter and throw rugs. Discusses simple changes you can make in your home and the way you do some activities to reduce risk of falling.

  • What is an environmental illness? An environmental illness can occur when you are exposed to toxins or substances in the environment that make you sick. These health hazards may be found where you live, work, or play. Maybe you have headaches that only occur on weekends. Or maybe you began to feel sick and got a...

  • Exposure to indoor air pollutants can cause respiratory problems, such as asthma attacks, or diseases, such as lung cancer. Pollutants include smoke, pet dander, radon, mold, cleaning products, and other chemicals. You can create a healthier home by following the tips below. Reduce allergens Groom pets often to...

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