Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Health line

Briefs: Swine flu video game teaches healthy habits

swine flu video game teaches healthy habits

Now for the latest in home entertainment: Stop Swine Flu, the video game.

The action starts with a schplouuush of green mucus hitting your screen. Your avatar stands among pedestrians. Tap the space bar to sneeze. Everyone hit by your spray turns green, then sneezes, infecting others. Infecting a child is 5 points, an elderly person is 15. This week the game reached the Top 10 on children's game site www.miniclip.com. Stop Swine Flu is a new name for a game released this year as Sneeze, created to teach young people healthy habits. It was commissioned by the Wellcome Trust.

"We did it to engage the older teen audience and teach them that where you sneeze matters," said Daniel Glaser, the trust's chief of special projects. Each level offers a factoid: More than 100 viruses cause colds, colds cost $25 billion a year in lost productivity, etc.

But isn't it a little sick?

"It's no sicker than Ring Around the Rosy, which is alleged to date from the time of the plague," Glaser said. "I don't think there's anything inappropriate about it."

Cobra discounted for laid-off workers

Under the recently enacted economic stimulus plan, the federal government is offering reduced premiums on Cobra coverage, which allows former employees to retain their group health insurance for 18 months. But a lot of laid-off workers may not know about the discount. "It's not being communicated. I'm seeing tons of people who are overpaying," said Chris Zweidinger, vice president of employee benefits at Crissie Insurance Group. "It's tough to be unemployed, but it's even tougher when you're paying a rate that should be reduced by 65 percent." If you are being overcharged, contact your employer, he advised. Workers terminated between Sept. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009, will be required to pay only 35 percent of the premium to continue their insurance plan. The discount is available for nine months.

No link between tattoos, skin cancer

The question: Do tattoos lead to skin cancer?

The facts: Many inks are made with metals; tattooing can be traumatizing to the skin. Studies have documented a few cases of cancer at a tattoo site. But Dr. Ariel Ostad, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at New York University, says the ink is confined to skin cells called macrophages, which absorb foreign material. More likely, he said, the tattoo was placed on an existing mole, masking changes in the mole. So, he says, if you're getting a tattoo, "leave a rim of healthy skin around a pre-existing mole."

Bottom line: There is no evidence that tattoos lead to skin cancer.

New York Times, Chicago Tribune

Briefs: Swine flu video game teaches healthy habits 05/06/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 5:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash

    Accidents

    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle

    World

    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators

    National

    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.