Dr. B's Weekly Roundup: Swipe Right
Welcome to the Dr. B Weekly Roundup, a curated weekly healthcare email that cuts through the noise to deliver vetted reads on whole-body health. Remote work. The overturn of Roe v. Wade. Conversations about vaccination status… Healthcare issues have transformed how we date + have sex. So this week, let’s look at the technology helping us date safer + access related healthcare services faster. Plus, the latest news + to-do’s around this (oh-so dramatic) cold + flu season.
- The Checkup: food + fun + safety
- Swipe Right: dating + sex + tech
- Healthcare: viruses + semen stoppers
- A to-do list for parents facing the flu + unavailable medication
- A contagious strain of dog flu is back. Here’s what to look for
- Check out this list of gifts that ease anxiety + inspire calm
- Evette Dionne’s new book of essays rejects fatphobia + ableism
- Being single ≠ being alone. This season, create community
- If dating + nervous, this Healthy Dating Guide can help
- Eek! 10% of kids are smartphone sexting. Here’s what to know
- Celine Dion has stiff person syndrome, a complicated rare disease
- Some providers now charge for portal messages. Does yours?
- Any diet that trash-talks potatoes is no diet for Dolly Parton!
- Read a paramedic’s nuanced plea for better mental health services
- For the most anxious time of the year, an introvert’s survival guide
- Yum! Here’s how to set out the most decadent hot chocolate bar
Healthcare issues rock sex + singledom
80% of respondents in Match’s 2022 Singles in America study have altered their approach to dating + sex because of the Roe V. Wade overturn. They’re more hesitant to have sex + relying more on condoms to avoid accidental pregnancy. One-third say Covid-19 continues to affect their dating lives. But only 40% require a partner to be fully vaccinated—a 7% drop from last year. The pandemic changed some things for the better, though. Singletons commit to mental health practices, explore their sexuality + view sex as self-care more now than pre-pandemic. They’re more open to dating transgender and gender non-binary singles + traveling further for a hot date, too. Read the study for more.
Online dating is NOT killing your brain
According to biological anthropologist + Match chief science advisor Helen Fisher, not much about love, lust or commitment has changed in the last 3,000 years. Online dating is not eroding our brains. We’re not having more or less sex than the generations before us. And while we’ll feel cranky if we binge-swipe profiles everywhere from the couch to the gym, we’d be as exhausted if looking for love in a room with endless IRL options swirling around us. Fisher has contributed much to the science of online coupling over decades as the author of five books and co-author of that yearly Match report. But she believes a bit of the timeless intangible comes into play, too. So if you’re single and exhausted from the game, here's more of her scientific + soothing support.
Dating app or STD tracker?
Nurses have found a new way to find patients exposed to an STD—Grindr. In the past, contract tracers would interview infected individuals + reach out to exposed contacts by phone. But when casual daters don’t get those digits, the nurses get creative. Using Grindr’s geo-tagging capabilities, they log in + keep an eye out for specific profiles. When one is close by, they send a message asking for a chat. 75% of the time, they make contact. The dating app most used by LGBTQ+ people, healthcare providers have also used Grindr to spread public health campaigns about things like mpox, meningitis and free clinics to the hardest hit communities. Historically attuned to STD vigilance, the info is usually well received. Will this approach spread to other dating apps? We can only hope.
In the hunt for a male contraceptive, scientists look to stop sperm in their tracks (NPR). Ovaries release one or two eggs a month. But every milliliter of semen contains 15-200 million sperm. For birth control to stop sperm from impregnating, that number has to get below 1 million. This makes birth control options for semen-wielding humans complicated to create. Scientists hope to perfect gel, pill and injection options.... in eight to ten years. So don’t hold your breath. (And keep buying condoms.)
Flu surged after Thanksgiving, as early season continues to worsen (CNN). All but seven states currently face high or very high respiratory virus rates. Covid-19 infections doubled last week. And hospitals average 80% capacity—but Covid patients fill only 6% of those beds. Here’s why the CDC hopes masking up again will soften the surge. And here’s how to spot flu symptoms in children.
Scientists finally figure out why you're more likely to get sick in cold weather (Healthline). When detecting a virus or bacteria, our nasal cells release extracellular vesicles that surround + attack. (This is why symptoms start in our nose and may not do much damage from there.) But new research shows that a 9°F drop in temperature can reduce that cellular response by about 40%. To fight the odds, increase your vitamin C intake—vitamin C enhances mucus membranes + boosts immunity. Hand washing, masking, covering your mouth while sneezing/coughing + isolating when sick make a difference, too.