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Respiratory illness

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Not all gross: mucus is vital for healthy airways. William Brawley/Flickr

Health Check: what you need to know about mucus and phlegm

We tend to notice mucus only when it’s abnormal and the sticky fluid is expelled from orifices. But actually it’s pretty amazing stuff. Every moment of our lives mucus is protecting our internal organs…
Ebola is not spread through small airborne particles or larger droplets from coughing or sneezing. placbo/Flickr

Should we be worried about Ebola becoming airborne?

Suggestions the Ebola virus could “mutate” into a form that is transmissible by the respiratory route are speculative, and the likelihood of it happening are low. Nonetheless, the idea appears to have…
Biomass smoke can scar and inflame the lungs. thinboyfatter/ Flickr

Bushfire smoke harms the lungs like cigarette smoke

Bushfire smoke can damage the lungs in a similar way to smoking-related emphysema, according to a study from the Woolcock…
Thick haze has shrouded Shanghai for the past week, in the latest instance of extreme air pollution. Wikimediacommons/Galaxyharrylion

Shanghai’s ‘airpocalypse’: can China fix its deadly pollution?

The current “airpocolypse” emergency in Shanghai - which has seen schoolchildren ordered indoors to protect them from the polluted air, flights grounded and companies ordered to cut production - comes…
A lot of the illness we think of being caused by the ‘flu’ is actually due to other viruses. Kim Keegan

Is it really the flu? The other viruses making you ill in winter

Facts about Flu - Perhaps the misery you feel when ill in winter isn’t the fault of the much-maligned influenza virus after all. RSV, hMPV, CoV… these may all sound like random acronyms, but they are influenza’s…
Whether or not you are feeding a cold or starving it makes little difference to the biology of a common cold. Image from shutterstock.com

Monday’s medical myth: feed a cold, starve a fever

This winter, most of us will catch a cold. Our kids will probably catch at least two or three. We all know you are supposed to feed a cold and starve a fever. But does it really make any difference if…
Damp conditions are linked to respiratory problems, but mould may not be the cause. AAP/Kym Agius

Queenslanders at risk from mould as flood clean-up continues

The floods have come and gone in Queensland and in their wake are heartbreak, devastation and months, if not years, of clean-up and rebuilding. Those affected now face a hidden risk to their health from…
Why hasn’t human health been considered in the push for expanded coal facilities? AAP Image/Paul Miller

Newcastle’s T4 project puts short-term profit before health

A massive expansion of Newcastle’s coal export terminal has been proposed by Port Waratah Coal Services. Approval is likely soon, but the expansion’s effect on human health has been ignored in the project’s…
The prevalence of asthma has been falling, at least in children and young adults, since the late 1990s. PhylB/Flickr

Breathe easy? Good and bad news about asthma

There’s good news about asthma in the report card “Asthma in Australia 2011” published last week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). But there are also some sobering facts about heath-care…

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