CNN Health – Northeast struck by flu as virus sets tragic record for children around the country

As flu reaches high levels in New York and other parts of the Northeast, this season has set a tragic record for children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 27 children in the United States have died of the flu so far this season. That's the highest number of child flu deaths at this point in the season since CDC started keeping records 17 years ago.

ABC — Poor air quality caused by bushfire smoke posing serious risk for healthy people too, health experts warn

Doctors are warning even healthy people could develop serious illnesses, because of the smoke haze that's blanketed parts of the country, including some of our major cities, for weeks on end. The Australian Medical Association has warned prolonged exposure to toxic smoke could affect the health of many Australians.

Associated Press – Hong Kong to add mystery illness to reportable diseases

Hong Kong’s health chief said Tuesday that a respiratory illness whose cause remains unknown will be added to an official list of diseases that medical practitioners are required to report to the government.

Vox – Obamacare looks surprisingly sturdy after the individual mandate’s repeal

Insurers are doing just fine, according to new data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The margins they’re seeing per individual customer — the difference between the premiums they’re paid and the medical claims they pay out — look as healthy as they have in years. Despite fears the lack of the individual mandate would drive healthier people out of the market, there is little evidence that’s actually happened.

Kaiser Health News – In Massachusetts, minors need permission for abortion, but that could change

Required parental consent is one of the main reasons Massachusetts, often viewed as a bastion of liberal laws, and gets only a grade of “C” for abortion access from the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights think tank. Now, there’s an ongoing, vigorous debate in Massachusetts about whether to keep or remove the restriction.

The Washington Post — Here’s an easy way to increase access to high-quality, affordable health care: Nurse practitioners

Americans have witnessed fierce debates on health-care policy focused on various proposals, including Medicare-for-all. Whatever your take on such proposals, it’s important to remember that there are other ways to expand access to affordable health care. One promising idea — which wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime and may actually save money — is to expand the role of highly trained nurse practitioners in providing primary care.

BBC News – Running marathon cuts years off ‘artery age’

Training for and completing a marathon improves the health of a new runner's arteries, cutting about four years off their "vascular age,” a study suggests. Researchers from Barts and University College London tested 138 novice runners attempting the London Marathon. Over six months of training; their arteries regained some youthful elasticity, which should reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. And their blood pressure fell as much as if they had been prescribed pills. Those who were the least fit beforehand appeared to benefit the most.