Category Archives: Illness

“Leaves Of Three, Let Them Be” — Avoiding Poison Ivy and Oak

“Leaves of three, let them be.” Sounds familiar to many of us, yes? This quote refers to the dreaded poison oak and poison ivy, plants which line the hiking trails and woods of much of the world. To protect themselves from being eaten, these hardy weeds have developed a very effective defense: their shiny leaves are coated in an incredibly reactive oil which causes a severe local, swollen and weeping rash, which often burns but mostly is incredibly itchy.… Read the rest

Is PM2.5 From Air Pollution The Same As From Smoking?

I’m facing a bit of a quandary here. Just last week I was bragging about how air pollution isn’t as much a risk factor to health than much less glamorous topics such as overweight and lack of exercise. Since then, of course, we’ve had the biggest public health emergency I’ve seen in my six years here, with air pollution skyrocketing to an astounding 755 AQI and higher in much of northern China.… Read the rest