HOW TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN SWINE FLU AND SEASONAL COLD

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Pounding head, burning throat and a runny nose including more cognate factors like fever, vomiting, diarrhea and multiple type of aches are telling you, it’s more than seasonal flu. Now, it’s assuredly arduous to label the condition as Seasonal Influenza or Swine fluviral attack!

The number of swine flu victims increased to 6 in the provincial capital of Punjab. 47- year old victim, Sohail, was the resident of Multan Road, Lahore. After the swine flu attack, he was admitted in a private hospital for four consecutive days. National Institute of Health Islamabad corroborated the presence of virus in his blood sample.

According to a report, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi are the top affected cities in Pakistan. Punjab Health department claimed that, there is scarcity of Swine flu medicine in the province. Due to this, the dengue wards of hospitals have been converted into swine flu ward. The total number of swine flu victims has reached to 105 and the death rate has risen to 20. There were only 10 cases of swine flu reported in 2014 with the mortality rate of 5. India has been the victim of this epidemic since 2013. There were about 13,000 cases with the mortality rate of 444. 1000 people died and 20,000 were affected by H1N1 virus in India in 2014.

The worst thing cognate to Swine flu pandemic is that, it would take on the comportment of the seasonal flu. In most cases it may take on the behavior of mild influenza like illness. So, it is all-important to get oneself examined at the initial stage. Swine flu virus originated in pigs. In Muslim countries, there is no such source of virus; the only source here is those who come from abroad.

It keeps on spreading regardless of age and gender difference but the children below 5 years and people above 65 are at higher jeopardy. Sneezing, coughing and having contacts with the bodily fluids of affected humans provide the spread-mediums to this virus. Haplessly, being a developing country we are lacking in major medical and technical facilities and in a situation like this the elevation in mortality rate is authentically alarming.

According to Professor Robert Booy, head of clinical research at the National Centre for Immunization Research & Surveillance in Australia, says that “despite of the immensely colossal symptoms, the two viral attacks have some key differences”.

– “HIN1 causes remotely more vomiting and diarrhea than seasonal flu. Seasonal flu attacks might give 10% vomiting cases of children whereas swine flu gave 30% vomiting cases in children.”

– “Seasonal flu customarily affects the adults whereas Swine flu virus affects mostly children of age less than 5 and people of age more than 65.”

– The incubation period for Swine flu virus is 7-10 days which is much longer than seasonal influenza virus.
Some fatal complications cognate to Swine flu are Pneumonia, Respiratory failure, some chronic diseases including cardiovascular, neurological diseases and asthma.

Treatment and Prevention of Swine flu

Yearly, flu vaccination is the only best solution. Other precautions may include;

– Stay home if you are ill.
– Avoid crowded places when swine flu is prevalent.
– Frequently wash your hands with a hand sanitizer.
– Try eschewing close contacts with ill people.
– Most importantly, discard your tissues opportunely.
– Avoid physically contacting your nose, eyes and mouth during common symptoms of flu.

Heart transplant helps Raisin Township woman return to more normal life

  • " 'Thank you' is not enough," Paula Deitz of Raisin Township says of the heart transplant she received on Dec. 9.Telegram photo by Vicki Schmucker lenconnect_com |

    ” ‘Thank you’ is not enough,” Paula Deitz of Raisin Township says of the heart transplant she received on Dec. 9. Dietz is holding a decoration that will be used in a bowling tournament fundraiser at Ten Pin Alley & Big Mike’s in Tecumseh on Saturday, Feb. 20.

  • If you go

    WHAT: Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser for Paula Dietz
    WHERE: Ten Pin Alley and Big Mike’s, 5621 S. Occidental Highway, Tecumseh
    WHEN: 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20

    Daily Telegram Special Writer
  • Posted Feb. 14, 2016 at 1:00 PM

    RAISIN TWP.

    At first, Paula Dietz thought she was having a gallbladder attack.

    But then a series of tests revealed that the abdominal pain, shortness of breath, swelling and palpitations she experienced had nothing to do with her gallbladder at all — it was her heart. She had non-ischemic viral cardiomyo- pathy, a condition that weakens the heart to the point where it cannot pump blood properly.

    A range of factors can cause cardiomyopathy. In Dietz’s case, as the word “viral” indicates, it’s believed to have been caused by a virus that attacked the heart muscle.

    After her June 2014 diagnosis, Dietz was put on medication, including diuretics that caused her to shed 20 pounds in retained fluid, and started a regimen of cardiac rehabilitation exercises at ProMedica Bixby Hospital. But her condition worsened, and a new echocardiogram revealed that whereas previously the left side of her heart was affected, now the right side was as well. “It felt like every day I was dying,” she said.

    Dietz’s only hope was a heart transplant, and she went on the transplant list the week of Thanksgiving 2015. Then, on Dec. 9, she received a call from the University of Michigan Health System to inform her a donor heart became available.

    “It was a miracle to get one so fast,” Dietz said, “and my heart was almost on its last legs.”

    Just four hours after she was taken into surgery, Dietz had her new heart. And 13 days of postoperative care later, she was back at her Black Highway home with her 8-year-old son, Dylan, and her mother there to help out.

    “We had the best Christmas,” she said. Because the family missed out on part of the Christmas season, they even left decorations up longer than usual so they could all enjoy them.

    Two months after her surgery, Dietz continues to work to regain her strength with the help of Bixby’s cardiac rehabilitation unit. “I have to give a shout-out to them,” she said.

    While she still gets short of breath, that’s a vast improvement over her pre-transplant days, when she couldn’t even stay awake for more than a couple of hours at a time. Before her transplant, too, her nose and extremities were always cold, and she couldn’t eat anything solid because her stomach couldn’t receive enough blood flow.

    “You don’t realize how sick you were until you start to feel better,” she said.

    Dietz, who previously worked as an X-ray technician in Chelsea and as a massage therapist, expects she may be able to work again in about a year. But while insurance took care of the transplant itself, the associated costs remain staggering. Just the medication she will need to be on to prevent her body from rejecting the heart will cost between $2,000 and $5,000 every month for the rest of her life

MY ANNUAL VALENTINES DAY DEPRESSION

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I Hate Valentine’s Day. A lot of people do. But I don’t hate it for any of the conventional reasons. As a former Hallmark employee and lifelong midwesterner, I find chalky candy hearts, pink plush puppies, and other kitschy garbage hard to resist. I’ve never spent V-Day alone weeping into a pint of ice cream while You’ve Got Mail plays in the background. In the past decade, I’ve never even been single on February 14.

Yet every year around this time, I’m invariably struck with borderline-debilitating despair that lingers just long enough to be terrifying. It starts with a dearth of motivation, followed by a series of damning self-defeating comparisons: suddenly, I feel like more of a failure than usual and I’m overly focused on how much harder everyone else works, how much more talented and bright they are, how they deserve to be loved so much more than I do. My eyes get crusty from nightlong crying jags and the world seems to move at a creep. My thoughts grow more and more negative until everyday conscious existence becomes painful.

Then I catch sight of a display of heart-shaped chocolates in a CVS and remember why I’m such a wreck. It’s my annual Valentine’s Day depression, and it’s my stupid dead dad’s fault.

My first real Valentine’s Day was in 2007, when I was a college freshman. I spent the evening with my then-boyfriend, a goofy white dude in a too-tight Dr. Dre T-shirt. He took me to a “fancy” outdoor mall, where we ate pommes frites on the patio of a French restaurant. We smuggled beer into a massive arcade and spent hours slamming our feet on Dance Dance Revolution game pads. Back at the dorm, he led me down a trail of construction paper hearts into his room, where a massive stuffed gorilla sat holding an $8 bottle of champagne. The gorilla’s stomach was embroidered with the words love is a jungle. I was smitten. We made out and I studiously ignored the ceaseless vibration of my cell phone.

When I finally looked three hours later, I had dozens of missed calls and one life-changing voice mail. Unbeknownst to me, my dad had been missing from his job for several days. That afternoon police had gone to his home and discovered his body.

Every February, my mind invariably dispatches me on an endless game of neurosis whack-a-mole. I am a failure. A fuck-up. Pathetic. Unlovable. If one reason for self-loathing goes away, another pops up, just as ugly and large.

I don’t know if I’m the mallet in this metaphor, or if I’m the moles.

At the time my dad died, we hadn’t spoken in more than two years. He’d disowned me following a particularly vicious fight, after which I changed my last name and cut off contact. But death thrust him back into my life. There were relatives to call, debts to settle, a funeral to arrange, an autopsy to request. There would be looming, unanswerable questions about his unchecked diabetes, his mental state, and the tubes of unused insulin lying around his home, but I didn’t know any of that yet. I just knew he was dead and had been for days.

My boyfriend suggested popping the champagne. We sat on the edge of his bed drinking until I couldn’t sit up anymore. Sobs violently wracked my body until I passed out. At 8 AM I got up and went to work. I didn’t take a single day off. I didn’t tell anyone.

From then on, I swore off celebrating Valentine’s Day. I pretended to be vehemently against consumerism. I got into open relationships and claimed to loathe romance. I moved to Chicago alone and sat in a dark studio working on my master’s thesis. I slammed my head against the drywall, wailing, scared of how sad I was.

At the time of his death, my dad hadn’t tested his blood sugar in more than three years. My sister observed he had many “cheat days,” during which his apartment was brimming with cookie cakes, cheesy bread, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, and Pepsi. He smoked all day long, never wore a seat belt, and frequently said he’d be dead by age 50. He was correct.

Despite his penchant for self-harm, he’d always been fervently anti-suicide. The first time he brought up the topic was when I was 13, in response to an episode of TV show, probably one of the crime procedurals he’d devotedly watch, a two-liter bottle of Pepsi in hand. “I’d never do that,” he yelled at the screen. “It’s disgusting. I’d never even consider it.”

I didn’t believe him but knew better than to argue.

A few Februarys ago, I traveled to Austin with my current boyfriend. We went out for an expensive meal and I exploded into psychotic weeping at the table. I shook and was nonverbal as we walked three miles across the city to our hotel. I wanted to explain the outburst, but saying “I hate myself and don’t want to exist” didn’t seem particularly helpful.

I spent the night sitting on the floor sniffling and eating chocolate armadillos (a Texas delicacy), glad not to be alone, afraid what would’ve happened if I was.

I can’t know for certain that my dad died on purpose. But I’ve felt the panicky self-hatred he used to radiate; I’ve heard the frustrated cadence of his voice in mine. I can project my saddest self into his position, imagine what I’d do if I were older, divorced, disowned, and out of hope. I can imagine the choice I’d make in that situation, and presume he chose the same.

My dad’s home after his death was littered with dozens of therapists’ business cards, all with different names, addresses, and logos, printed on various types of card stock. They spilled from drawers and pockets, peeked out from underneath mugs, pizza boxes, and the phone.

He was trying to get help. Or he was considering it.

I signed up for a mental illness support group. I was too mentally ill to show up. Something about that cracked me up. I remember being on the phone with the therapist, making up excuses for my absence, laughing at myself.

I found live literary events less threatening than therapy. For months I sat silently in crowded bars and cafes, glad not to be alone. A year passed and I was actively participating, reading and performing my own written words. I developed a voice, and stopped hearing my dad’s caught in my throat.

My dad didn’t live long enough to get better, but I did. It only took me nine Valentine’s Days.

Last year I spent Valentine’s Day eating popcorn shrimp and drinking Bloody Marys at Fireside Lounge with my boyfriend. We stumbled home over mounds of dingy snow, napped, and watched Star Trek. He went off to perform in a show and I sat alone in the dark, writing. There were no flowers, candy hearts, stuffed gorillas, or thoughts of my father. I didn’t cry even once.

8 Celebrities Who’ve Struggled With Lyme Disease

What is Lyme disease?

by Alison Mango

Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted by deer ticks. About 70% to 80% of people develop a telltale “bulls-eye rash“, and if they do, antibiotics can cure the infection. Left untreated, however, it can cause symptoms that are notoriously tricky to diagnose and treat: fatigue, body aches, joint pain, eye inflammation, and even neurological problems. Lyme-transmitting ticks are found in nearly half of the all the counties in the U.S. and Lyme affects at least 300,000 people annually, according to the CDC—and celebs are no stran

ger to the disease.

Avril Lavigne

Singer Avril Lavigne was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2014 after suffering from bouts of extreme exhaustion. In an interview with People in April 2015, Lavigne said that she’d been lethargic and bedridden for five months. “I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t move,” she said in the interview. “I thought I was dying.”

In a later interview with Good Morning America, Lavigne spoke more about her battle with the disease. “I’d wake up and have night sweats and I felt like I had the flu,” she said. “This went on and off for a month.” After seeing numerous specialists who misdiagnosed her, the singer ultimately found a Lyme disease specialist and is expected to make a full recovery.

Yolanda Foster

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star was first diagnosed with Lyme neuroborreliosis, or Lyme disease with neurological complications, in 2012, according to People.com. Foster has been open about her ongoing struggle with the disease. In an emotional blog post on bravotv.com in January 2015, Foster wrote that she had gotten to “a 60% recovery” before relapsing. “I have lost the ability to read, write, or even watch TV, because I can’t process information or any stimulation for that matter,” Foster said in the post. “It feels like someone came in and confiscated my brain and tied my hands behind my back just to see life go by without me participating in it.”

Foster addressed her illness again on an episode of Watch What Happens Live. “It’s been a long journey… every day I wake up trying to figure out how to get over this,” she said. “The most frustrating part of this disease is that you look so normal from the outside.”

Daryl Hall

Daryl Hall—who you probably know as one half of the band Hall & Oates—was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2005. “I’ve lived in the country for many, many years—in the New York/Connecticut border; it’s a hotbed for deer and other wildlife animals,” he said in a 2011 interview with Healthline. Hall’s wife and two stepchildren also suffer from the disease.

Before he first went to the doctor, Hall experienced a wide range of symptoms, from fevers to muscle stiffness and tremors. “I used to think I had allergies, because I used to feel feverish,” he said. “And then one day I got a really high fever, my neck stiffened up, I had all kinds of aches and pains and I got really bad tremors.” The musician’s symptoms were so excruciating that he was forced to cancel an upcoming tour and focus on his treatment.

Amy Tan

The American novelist and author of the bestselling book The Joy Luck Club suffers from chronic Lyme disease, or late-stage neuroborreliosis. On her website, Tan said that she’s had the disease since 1999. “I passed off my early symptoms as stress and too many airplane rides with little sleep,” she wrote. “I had an accumulating array of discomforts—a stiff neck, insomnia, a constant headache, and a bad back followed by a frozen shoulder.”

In a 2013 op-ed in The New York Times, Tan described how she suffered through Lyme disease symptoms without a proper diagnosis or treatment for four years. “I was plagued by a variety of ailments that didn’t quite fit any one disease,” she wrote. “I suffered joint pain, head and muscle aches, insomnia, a racing heart, a gagging sensitivity to smells, constant nausea and exhaustion, plunging blood sugar, seizures and an obsession with my unknown illness.”

Alec Baldwin

Though actor Alec Baldwin has been less vocal about his Lyme disease diagnosis, he referenced his chronic battle with the disease in a 2011 interview with The New York Times. “At the same time of year, I get really tired,” he said.

Rebecca Wells

The bestselling author of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood revealed in a 2009 interview with goodreads.com that she had been diagnosed with chronic neurological Lyme disease five years earlier after falling ill while touring for her book. “I had what I thought was chronic bronchitis—just a cold that wouldn’t go away. By the time the movie came out, I was falling down sick,” she said. Wells’s doctors believe she originally contracted the disease 12 years before her diagnosis, which gave it time to spread to her neurological system.

Wells said that her symptoms were continuously misdiagnosed. After seeing numerous doctors, she finally consulted an environmental medicine doctor, who gave her the Lyme diagnosis. “What having Lyme has continued to teach me is that even when you can’t see it, there’s hope,” she says. “I reached a point when I didn’t think there was any hope. My doctor said to me that there is always hope, you just have to reach for it.”

Jamie-Lynn Sigler

The former The Sopranos and Entourage star contracted Lyme disease while filming a movie in rural New Jersey. Luckily, Sigler is an example of successful treatment after early detection: the actress first noticed a tingling sensation in her feet and shortly after, she experienced paralysis of her legs. After spending five days in a hospital, doctors diagnosed her with Lyme disease and she was given antibiotic treatment, which was effective in combating the disease.

“It was such a life-altering experience,” Sigler said in a 2001 interview with the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “I realized it could all be taken away in a moment. It’s hard to explain, when you sit there and can’t move anything.”

Bella Hadid and Anwar Hadid

At the Global Lyme Alliance inaugural gala in October 2015, Yolanda Foster revealed that two of her three children, Anwar and Bella Hadid, also have Lyme disease. A month after the gala, Bella Hadid spoke to the British magazine Evening Standard about her 2012 diagnosis: “I stopped driving because I kept crashing, because my brain just stopped working,” she said. “I was exhausted all the time. It affected my memory so I suddenly wouldn’t remember how to drive to Santa Monica from Malibu where I lived.” Hadid said she still has Lyme disease and has suffered excruciating pain in her back for three years.

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Low B12 Seen in Aging, Autism and Schizophrenia

Vitamin-B12-Deficiency-Symptoms

The brains of the elderly and younger people with autism and schizophrenia may share a common link: Both have low levels of vitamin B12, researchers say.

The facts that blood levels of B12 do not always mirror brain levels of the vitamin, and that brain levels decrease more over the years than blood levels, may imply that various types of neurological diseases — such as old-age dementia and the disorders of autism and schizophrenia — could be related to poor uptake of vitamin B12 from the blood into the brain, the scientists said.

The findings, reported last month in the journal PLOS ONE, support an emerging theory that the human brain uses vitamin B12 in a tightly regulated manner to control gene expression and to spur neurological development at key points during life, from the brain’s high-growth periods during fetal development and early childhood, through the refining of neural networks in adolescence, and then into middle and old age.

Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, plays a crucial role in blood formation and the normal functioning of the nervous system. The vitamin is found in foods derived from animal sources, although some plant-based foods can be fortified with B12. [6 Foods That Are Good For Your Brain]

In the new study, scientists led by Richard Deth, a professor of pharmacology at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, examined the brains of more than 60 deceased individuals, ranging in age from a fetus in a late stage of gestation to 80 years. The study included 12 people who had autism and nine with schizophrenia.

This is the first study to compare the levels of vitamin B12 in the brain across the human lifetime, Deth told Live Science. The vitamin B12 levels in the brain were 10 times lower in the oldest people compared with the youngest, reflecting a gradual, natural, and consistent decline over the years.

For the elderly, this decline might not be a bad thing. Lower levels at advanced ages may offer some degree of brain protection by slowing cellular reactions and the production of DNA-damaging chemicals called free radicals, Deth said. In previous work with his colleague Yiting Zhang of Northeastern University in Boston, Deth found that the body’s creation of biologically active forms of vitamin B12 produces free radicals as a waste product.

But levels of B12 that are too low can be detrimental. “At some point, an extreme decrease in metabolism…is not compatible with cell survival,” Deth said. Similarly, lower vitamin B12 levels can have negative consequences for people of younger ages, as the brain is still developing. Deth’s group found that the levels of vitamin B12 in the brains of young people with autism and in middle-age people with schizophrenia were about one-third of the levels found in similarly aged people who did not have these neurological conditions.

The people in the study with autism, who were all under age 10, had levels similar to those found in a 57-year-old. It’s not clear what these low levels imply, but the uptake of too little B12 might hinder the brain’s ability to establish important neural connections between regions, Deth said.

Those with schizophrenia, all between ages 36 and 49, had levels similar to those found in a 72-year-old. Although their brains were mature by this age, the below-normal level may have manifested itself during adolescence, when the seeds of schizophrenia are thought to take root. But even in middle age, the lower levels may contribute to a loss of previously normal function, Deth said.

Daniel Smith, a neurologist and vice president of innovative technology at Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy group based in New York that sponsors autism research, who was not involved in this research, said the study was interesting and worth pursuing further. However, he noted that the study remains speculative in its hypothesis that vitamin B12 deficiencies at a cellular level lead to changes associated with the autism spectrum of brain traits.

Numerous studies have searched for an association between vitamin deficiencies and neurological disorders. There has been no definitive study, however, indicating that autism and schizophrenia can be caused by a deficiency or treated through vitamin supplementation.

In fact, a study published last year in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic found that few children with autism benefit from vitamin supplements and may be at risk for overdosing.

Follow Christopher Wanjek @wanjek for daily tweets on health and science with a humorous edge. Wanjek is the author of “Food at Work” and “Bad Medicine.” His column, Bad Medicine, appears regularly on Live Science.

FOCUS ON RESEARCH: GO NUTS ON VALENTINES DAY

February is American Heart Month

Studies have shown that consuming nuts lowers the risk of coronary heart disease

Nuts consumed in reasonable quantities are not fattening

Famous Hollywood actor suffering from HIV

Famous Hollywood actor suffering from HIV | TheNewsTribe.com

LONDON: Famous Hollywood star has reportedly been diagnosed with HIV, but is allegedly unwilling to publicly confirm the news, TheNewsTribe.com learnt from The Telegraph.

The paper reported “a US showbiz insider” as saying: “It has now become common knowledge that this star is HIV positive, something he has known for a number of years.

“His lawyers are bracing for the threat of potential action. The reality is that if he’s knowingly put women at risk then that’s disgusting and it’s only a matter of time before that becomes public.”

Earlier, Rock Hudson was the first Hollywood star to die from the virus, when it developed into Aids. Freddie Mercury, the Queen frontman, only announced he was suffering from the illness 24 hours before his death, in 1991.

60 Must-Read Health, Fitness, and Happiness Blogs for 2015

Anyone—even a dog—can write a blog. Which perhaps explains why there are so many out there, all tempting us to procrastinate at work. But it’s hard to know which sites are truly trustworthy, entertaining, informative, and/or offer the best (healthy) food porn.

We know your time is valuable, so we went ahead and scoured the blogosphere for you to narrow it down to these 60 standouts. They’re keeping it real (no instant six-pack abs, you know?), using science to back up their claims, always staying positive and inspiring, and delivering content we can’t stop reading and sharing ourselves.

When searching the Web, we went after blogs that address interesting and timely issues and feature useful, upbeat (but never in an annoying way) posts that reflect Greatist’s mission of making healthy living a little bit easier and a lot more fun. We then checked out their frequency of posts, comments and engagement with readers, number of social media followers, and design quality to narrow down the list to these rock stars.

For more, check out last year’s list, and tweet @Greatist or post onFacebook to let us know who we should consider for next year!

Note: Blogs are arranged in no particular order. The first entry in a section is no better than the last entry.

Fitness

Adam Bornstein delivers a no-bullsh*t approach to exercise and nutrition on Born Fitness with posts examining topics ranging fromwhich meal plan is healthiest to why workouts shouldn’t be miserable to judging others by their appearances. Regardless of your fitness level, his words will make you stop and think in addition to providing the tools you need to power up your workouts, fuel your body right, and feel better than ever.

Spend just a few minutes on the self-declared “women’s fitness authority,” and you’ll see why the description is totally appropriate. No three-pound dumbbells here—Girls Gone Strong features workout tips for women who are into legit strength training. Whether your goal is to lose fat, gain muscle, or just reinvigorate your workout routine, you’ll find all the advice, encouragement, and support you need here. We also love reading the profiles of kick-ass women who are killing it in their athletic endeavors—like an inspiring triathlete or a personal-trainer-slash-naturopathic-doctor.

Blogger, personal trainer, and all-around badass Neghar Fonooni serves up equal parts fitness and nutrition tips and positive, empowering thoughts on self-love and self-acceptance on Eat, Lift, and Be Happy. (Case in point: Her inspiring blog post in honor of her muscular legs, titled “Confessions of a Quadzilla,” went viral.) While she doesn’t post as often as we’d like, when she does, it’s always a great workout or advice on loving your body that you can’t help but share with all your friends (or “friends”).

These days, we like to think that doing anything “like a girl” is not even close to an insult. Fortunately, blogger Nia Shanks is here to reinforce that female-friendly weight lifting is anything but girly. On Lift Like a Girl, she empowers women of all sizes and from all backgrounds to start strength training with in-depth, detailed posts on topics like lifting (really) heavy weights, reasons why all women should strength train, and techniques for busting through plateaus. She also speaks candidly about recovering from bulimia and binge eating disorder.

What do The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix have to do with weight loss and exercise science? Nerd Fitness can tell you! The comic book-esque design and images of superheroes will draw you in, but blogger Steve Kamb’s down-to-earth takes on topics likebuilding muscle (not bulk), trying smarter (rather than trying harder), and putting fitness first will keep you there. Whether you’re really into gaming or you don’t know the difference betweenStar Wars and Star Trek, this blog delivers practical knowledge about exercise and nutrition to help you go from beginner to advanced in no time.

It’s tempting to think fitness professionals—with their sculpted shoulders and superhuman endurance—aren’t “real” people. At Remodel Fitness, personal trainer Jessi Kneeland proves that she’s very much a “real” person, complete with self-doubt and insecurities. After learning to appreciate her strong yet feminine body, curves and all, she’s now on a mission to “save women from their own negative body image.” You’ll love her funny, well-written, and totally relatable posts about learning to love your body, feeling your best, and getting that little voice in your head (you know the one) to shut up.

If you’re more into saying “om” than counting reps, this blog is for you. YogaDork’s network of contributors report on all things yoga, from new research to the health benefits of yoga and meditation, with plenty of easy-to-read infographics, humorous posts, and instructional videos thrown in for good measure. It doesn’t matter whether you balance in tree pose while brushing your teeth or if you’re just beginning your yoga practice, YogaDork will welcome you with open arms—er, heart. Namaste.

Some like it hot, and editor-in-chief John Romaniello, a.k.a. “Roman,” definitely likes his fitness writing spicy. With a mix of science-backed workout tips, nutritious recipes, and a totally candid tone, Roman Fitness Systems features bluntly named blog posts like “Strength Matters, Ya Big Sissy” and “New Years Resolution: Get Drunk, Not Fat.” Need more convincing? Not only has Roman helped thousands of clients achieve their fitness goals, but he too went through a major transformation from overweight teen to fitness model and professional trainer.

Strength coach Tony Gentilcore (whose last name sounds like a fitness brand on its own) trains pro athletes and soccer moms alike (his words, not ours) in his Boston sports performance center. On his blog, he brings his love of heavy lifting to the masses through his smart, realistic, and encouraging posts on topics from how to do a proper bench press or the form tip that matters most whensquatting. When you’ve had your fill of strength training tips, check out his weekly roundups of what he calls “stuff to read while you’re pretending to work.” (We won’t tell your boss.)

Motivating, funny, and totally relatable, U.K.-based FitBits follows the adventures of Tess Agnew, a former smoker and binge eater turned “fitness freak” and marathoner. If you’re all about finding a balance between HIIT classes, running, and good food (and wine), you’ll appreciate her witty writing on race recaps, training plans, restaurant reviews, and plentiful #foodporn posts. After reading about Agnew’s inspiring journey to regain her health, you can’t help but cheer along while she trains for her next impressive fitness endeavor.

What happens when you put a bunch of trainers, coaches, and fitness junkies in one room? This incredible blog (and then of course an awesome burpee competition). Breaking Muscle is your one-stop shop for fitness and nutrition news and advice. These bloggers dissect everything from what’s up with the government’s new recommendations for cholesterol to how the food we eat affects the way we run.

CrossFitters, rejoice! You don’t have to check dozens of sites to get the latest and greatest CrossFit workouts, tips, and inspiration. The editors at the Tabata Times work to put all of the best CrossFit content in one spot, from overcoming self-doubt in the box to the simple steps to keep WODs constantly varied (rather than random). That’s enough to make us swoon (or swole).

Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead, the brains behind Fit Bottomed Girls, are real women with busy lives who understand that exercise should be enjoyable, not torturous. And from the friendly voice to the feel-good tagline (“Fit bottoms come in all shapes and sizes”), this popular blog has a lighthearted and practical approach to fitness that we seriously dig. It’s a great combo of positivity, fun (workout song bracket anyone?), workouts,motivation, and more.

Anyone who loves running will relate to Amanda Brooks on Run to the Finish, and she may just convince running haters to change their minds. Addressing everything from dealing with injuries and preventing them in the future to why bad runs can be a good thing, this certified personal trainer’s posts are filled with the inspiration and motivation to stay focused and fulfill your goals.

Healthy Recipes

If you think raw food is the daunting domain of spiralizers and dehydrators, this blog will shift your thinking. Gena Hamshaw‘s recipes make raw cooking accessible, easy, and downright delicious—and she includes cooked meals too. Check out her cashew queso sauce or cacao truffles. As a certified nutritionist, Hamshaw brings lots of nutritional wisdom to the kitchen. She is also candid about being in recovery from an eating disorder and uses her site as a hub to draw together a community of men and women using a plant-based diet to heal their broken relationship. So come for the chia pudding and stay for the nutritional empowerment.

The grande dame of food blogs, Apartment Therapy’s cooking site The Kitchn continues to lead the pack. If you’re stumped on any home cooking subject, they’ve got you covered, whether that’s creating a smoothie drawer, what to do with all that tahini you bought to make hummus, or how to tell if chicken is cooked through. It’s like having a chef BFF you can text at all hours. And recipes aside, this site broke new ground when it published a series of articles discussing what it means to be a foodie concerned with weight loss, opening a conversation that was long overdue.

Raw banana bread balls, salted caramel tahini cups, no-bakepumpkin pie tartsworkout fuel has never looked so delish. Written by an avid triathlete and certified trainer, this blog covers nutritionally dense foods and fitness in a relatable way. Best of all, the author’s healthy eating philosophy is an open door: “There’s no right or wrong way to eat healthy… We’re all different with different nutritional requirements; however we all need to eat whole, nutritious foods. Start there.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Some food blogs make healthy eating overwhelming with specialized ingredients (spirulina powder?) and pricy equipment (centrifugal juice extractors?). It’s enough to make you throw your hands up and order a pizza. If you’re feeling the pressure, let this blog talk you off the stuffed-crust ledge. Hospital dietitian Nicole Morrissey has a no-fuss attitude toward food that’s homey and recognizable, whether it’s honey mustard chicken or French onion soup. It’s a doable approach to health anyone can master.

In some ways, Oh She Glows is like the ultimate love letter. Blogger Angela Liddon reclaimed her health by creating vegan recipes that are free of gluten and soy, but her creations also had to appeal to her husband, who at the time was “a devout fast-food lover” that “drank pop like water.” Her efforts—recipes like no-bake almond joy granola bars and sweet potato casserole—not only swayed her man, but a massive following of readers. It helps that the dishes are photographed so beautifully that we want to swan-dive directly into every plate.

Certain Paleo circles can be overrun with CrossFit dudes making terrible puns about “snatches,” so Juli Bauer’s decidedly feminine take comes as a breath of fresh air. Bauer raves about fashion finds as much as deadlift technique, proving this girl can beast with the best of them. But clothing and workouts aside, one of this blog’s biggest draws is the simple, straightforward Paleo recipes, likepulled pork frittatas and bison burgers. And unlike some Paleo peeps, Bauer isn’t opposed to a little dessert, whether that’s almond butter blondies or coffee cake.

This blog resembles the pages of a glossy food magazine with a fleet of food stylists making sure every bite looks impossibly scrumptious. But behind the scenes, it’s just the work of one couple, Sara and Hugh Forte. Their division of labor is simple: She cooks and blogs, he photographs. The result elevates whole food ingredients to poetic proportions. Pumpkin bread with walnut-cinnamon swirl, buttermilk berry crumb cake, and vegetarian Asian nuggets with tahini sauce have won several fans including Saveurmagazine, which named Sprouted Kitchen one of the best blogs.

All kinds of gorgeous plant-based dishes, including bircher muesli,almond butter cups, or cauliflower crust pizza, are turned out in Ella Woodward’s sunny U.K. kitchen. But not everything here is sunbeams and smoothies: This blog is the result of the author’s struggle with postural tachycardia syndrome, a rare and devastating disease that prompted her to revamp her diet and ditch processed foods. Part of her recovery is to embrace a self-carephilosophy, whether that’s enjoying sweet potato brownies, doingyoga, or scribbling in a gratitude journal. It’s this holistic look at health that makes for a truly great read.

From snacks (healthy chocolate peanut butter muffins, anyone?) to one-pot meals (three-bean turkey chili, please), this blog has our food cravings covered. Lee Hersh is a fellow workout aficionado and yogi instructor who develops recipes with nutritionally sound (and mostly gluten-free) ingredients. And her enthusiasm is infectious. Just read her post on DIY almond butter where she gushes about the specks of vanilla bean in the spread and ends with a rousing, “Real food rules.” Amen, sister.

Unlike many food bloggers, Michelle Tam doesn’t post dolled-upselfies with every recipe. Instead, her pigtailed avatar appears all over the site giving helpful tips in speech bubbles, comic-book style. It’s a little aesthetic clue that Tam marches to the beat of her own Paleo drum. Another major difference is her degree in nutrition and food science, which, paired with her serious foodie know-how, have made her the Paleo point-person for various gourmand publications including Saveur, America’s Test Kitchen, Serious Eats, and The Kitchn. But credentials aside, all it takes in one look at her recipe for porkitos (a.k.a. cripsy prosciutto chips) to know you’re in good hands.

The name says it all: This blog is all about real food prepared with heart and soul. Vegan chef Jenné Claiborne’s recipes look so indulgent and appetizing, we believe her when she calls one cookie recipe “life-changing.” And video tutorials for dishes like buttermilk waffles will take the worry out of vegan tricks like subbing flaxseeds for eggs. Recipes aside, Claiborne does an amazing job covering all the ways her revamped diet has improved her life—from betterdigestion to thick, healthy hair—carrying the banner forward for plant-powered peeps.

Blogger Gina Homolka outlines a simple formula on her site: “Exercise + a well balanced diet + good sleep = a happy life.” And really, why complicate that? Her recipes for lasagna soup and gluten-free s’mores tartlets prove that eating a rainbow of whole foods is appealing to the eye, the palate, and the rest of your body too. Plus Homolka has a sense of humor and isn’t above trying recipes from the 50 Shades of Chicken cookbook.

After her father had a heart attack, Erin Alderson (her initials are E.L.L.A.) broke up with fast food and all processed meat stuff, turning to fresh, seasonal vegetarian food. But despite ditching Big Macs, Alderson doesn’t believe in being obsessive or counting calories. Her philosophy is simply to exercise and eat well. Given the result—beautifully photographed whole foods we want to gobble up immediately (cheesy BBQ loaded baked potatoes, we’re looking at you!)—it’s easy to see why her approach works.

Sure, the pictures are stunning and recipes look amazing (hello,ricotta pancakes with maple bourbon whipped cream). But what we actually love most about Domesticate Me is that the brains behind the bites, Serena Wolf, is just like us. The adventurous, food-loving, 20-something graduated college unsure of what to do next. After an airplane jump here and yoga stint there, Wolf landed at Le Cordon Bleu—humbly the No. 1 culinary school in the country. Since then, she’s been creating healthy, gourmet-yet-doable recipes (like thisCaprese quinoa bake), and we can’t get enough. Oh, and she’s insanely funny too.

Few things are more disappointing than finding what seems like the perfect recipe only to click and learn that it has more than 20 ingredients, several of which you’ve never heard of. Minimalist Baker keeps it real by sticking to 10 ingredients or less and limiting cook time to 30 minutes tops (hence the minimalist title). But trust us: Their recipes are far from boring! From baked falafel burgers tochocolate chip oatmeal cookie pancakes to chipotle tofu chilaquiles, the culinary duo (John and Kate) really know how to pack tons of flavor into simple and oh-so-delicious dishes.

Whether you eat Paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, or none of the above, the recipes on this site will meet your dietary needs—and most definitely satisfy your palate. Taste aside, blogger Julia Mueller is also passionate about nutrition, which comes as no surprise when looking at her creations with a health-conscious microscope. And her photography is pretty impressive too! Broccoli salad and cauliflower fried rice has never looked (or tasted) so damn good.

It can be difficult to make vegan versions of classic creations like mac and cheese and pizza, but that doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel and stick to the likes of roasted veggies and salads (though both are delicious vegan meal options). Blogger and authorKathy Patalsky agrees, which is why she’s created hundreds of beautiful and nutritious vegan recipes that taste like a million bucks (and not like chewy or chalky meat- and cheese-free vegan nightmares). Though some of her dishes can be a bit more complicated to make, there are plenty of options that even the most novice chef can master. We’re huge fans of her sweet mango avocado toast, creamy Alfredo pasta (which is arguably easier than boxed mac and cheese), and vegan chocolate taco shake—and those don’t even scratch the surface of what she’s capable of!

Food and Nutrition

Breaking down scientific research and the language in studies can be tough, and staying on top of health news can be equally as difficult—and time-consuming. Examine.com not only helps us stay in the know, but it also presents information in a way everyone can understand and relate to (like the unbiased truth about marijuana or the 10 biggest nutrition myths). Bonus: The blog covers everything you need to know about supplements so you don’t splurge on supposed wonder vitamins that you’ll end up peeing out (and reaping none of the “benefits”).

Don’t worry: Just because the blog has “politics” in it doesn’t mean it bombards readers with incessant information about how democrats and republicans are feuding—again. Instead, scientist and nutritionist Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., shares important (and super interesting) food news like the future of chocolate and her musings on the free swag at the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics’ annual meeting. Sure, politics is a prevalent theme, but Nestle hand-picks the good stuff and shares it in a way that’s much more stimulating than the latest study release. Sign us up!

It takes an insanely clever chef to bake a four-star dessert in less than 10 minutes—and on top of that, make it easy enough to teach novice cooks how to do too! Such is the genius of Mark Bittman, trend setter, New York Times journalist, bestselling author, and the brains behind hundreds of gorgeous and healthy recipes, which are prominently featured on his insightful website along with excerpts from his Times column. Gotta appreciate a man whose philosophy on healthy eating includes cheddar waffles with bacon maple syrup.

NPR is far more than an entertaining and informative collection of radio programs. It’s actually expanded a lot since it was founded in 1970—including the creation of The Salt, a food blog that covers everything from news to the science behind chocolate chip cookiesto nitty-gritty health studies. If you’re looking to subscribe to the crème-de-la-crème of fun food info, this is it. After all, they did introduce us to the first ever Ketchup ‘n’ Fries plant—possibly our favorite creation to date.

From breaking the news about bacon-wrapped pizza to bonding over hanger issues with J. Law to doughnut recipe roundups that will no doubt make you drool, BuzzFeed is on top of all things trending (and insanely delicious) in the food world. But despite making us want to toss all of our health goals out the window and instead commit to a lifetime of ingesting food porn, the site is also full of legit information and encouragement to make healthier choices—like tips to make cooking easy. (And then you can always turn to us for super simple recipes!)

We’ve all fallen for classic health myths. Sweetening recipes with agave makes them good for you, right? Well, not exactly. Authority Nutrition not only debunks the junk, but it’s also a great source for nutritional information you won’t find on many other sites—like the science behind why low-carb diets actually work. The best part: Everything is science-backed and easy to understand, meaning your eyes won’t glaze over while reading overly complicated statistics and medical jargon.

Healthy Living

If you’re at all curious about that Paleo diet thing you may have heard about, Mark’s Daily Apple has you covered. But it goes way beyond just living like a caveman. Mark Sisson, creator of The Primal Blueprint lifestyle, also posts about how a calorie isn’t a calorie, why everyone should have a morning routine, weight regain, and so much more. Plus, each week he answers readers’ questions, making it feel like he’s right there with you, every step of the healthy way.

While MindBodyGreen is a bit lacking on the scientific evidence for some advice and claims, we still love perusing it for its well-rounded approach to living a healthy lifestyle. With a balance of news and trends (like the latest on the juice and smoothie debate), fitness tips (push-up variations), and posts that make you stop and rethink your day-to-day (like why you should stop listening to your mind and follow your heart), there’s always something useful to read.

Although Matt Frazier is vegetarian, his No Meat Athlete posts are filled with substance to help readers sustain a healthy lifestyle. From tips to find life balance to delicious smoothie recipes to reasons why scary goals are the best goals, the plant-eating enthusiast provides the tools for anyone—even meat eaters—to find the diet and lifestyle that works best for them while staying motivated to pound the pavement.

Q is every bit as fit and fab as Equinox, the gym it represents—and even if you can’t afford the membership fees, you can enjoy their great content. You’ll find expert fitness tips and fascinating videos (we still can’t get over the treadmill one from 2013), as you might expect, and there’s also nutrition advice plus lighter lifestyle content—who knew leg warmers were back?

Sonima is all about living free and eliminating any self-imposed limitations physically and mentally. Whether you want guided meditations with Deepak Chopra, yoga routines, or in-depth takes on mindfulness for weight loss and redefining success, this beautifully designed blog agrees with Greatist’s take that you should make healthy choices because it makes you feel amazing.

Registered dietitian Anne Mauney’s journey from cubicle to nutrition counselor is an inspirational tale that got us hooked on her vibe and belief in intuitive eating, taking advantage ofhappiness-enhancing life experiences, and working hard to reach our running goals. Though sponsored posts on fANNEtastic Food can seem a bit abundant at times, we love that she eats like a human—pizza, Girl Scout cookies, ice cream. Nothing is completely off limits. That’s our kind of R.D.

While her target audience may be slightly older, Wellness Mama is still worth reading for millennials. She dishes out the hacks for health and home, from making DIY laundry detergent and makeupto turning mismatched socks into hand warmers. Just keep in mind that she’s not an expert, so while she does cite sources for some health tips, not all of them are 100-percent proven.

With a stable of expert writers, most of the content on the U.S. News and World Report’s Eat & Run blog is trustworthy (though we’re occasionally leery of posts like post-breakup foods and they’re a bit behind on the trends). Tell us healthy ways to eat more chocolateand that diets shouldn’t tell us what not to eat, and we’re hooked.

Don’t let the name fool you: Yes, Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution is heavy on the popular diet, but rather than preaching about all things primal all the time, the blog also offers up a “let’s look at the facts” take on recent health headlines (like red meat causing cancer) plus advice for things like not letting stress ruin your performance and achieving your goals.

Quit dieting and start cultivating healthy habits you actually enjoy, Darya Rose says. The neuroscientist and Summer Tomato blogger knows chronic dieting sucks and provides actionable takeaways to help you find a “healthstyle” (a term we’re a bit sad we didn’t come up with first). We love her realistic take on weight loss, inspiringsuccess stories, and weekly roundups of the latest nutrition news too.

Happiness and Wellness

In a world filled with constant distractions (we know the willpower required to not check Facebook right now), Leo Babauta has written the book on what it means do less and be more present. But you don’t have to run out to the nearest bookstore, you can check out Babuata’s musings on his site, Zen Habits. In just a few years, Zen Habits has become the go-to blog on healthy habits and minimalism with popular posts on the savor discipline and the simple way to find your real source of contentment.

Lots of focus is spent on exercising our bodies, but what about our minds? That’s where Mentality WOD comes in. Taking a cue from CrossFit’s workout of the day, this site publishes quick and actionable workouts to improve your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. Want to be more confident? List 10 reasons that you will achieve the goals you’ve set, ask friends to add to the list, and then read the list every day. The blog’s founder, Dawn Fletcher, is a firm believer that improved mentality will lead to better performance, whether it be in the workplace or on the playing field.

Some of us need a cup of coffee to get our day started. For others, a few asanas do the trick. Daily Cup of Yoga is for those who prefer the latter. It’s a blog written by casual yogis without the typical yoga-heavy jargon and teachings. Instead, the posts touch on topics like mastering meditation and showing gratitude in your everyday life.

Sometimes life can feel like a never-ending struggle bus, fromproblems at work, with our friends, and even our family. Tiny Buddha is a blog (and a vibrant social community) where bloggers share helpful advice to deal with life’s most difficult situations. But Tiny Buddha doesn’t just focus on those downer topics. It also celebrates happiness, love, and mindfulness (and how you canachieve those things in your life).

TED Talks are inspiring, motivating, and above all else, teach us new things. The TED Blog does the same thing. In addition to sharing talks that are guaranteed to keep you glued to the screen (like these ones that are racier than 50 Shades of Grey), the blog also includes posts designed to make you smarter and better informed, from a comprehensive reading list to apps that make life so mucheasier.

On the surface, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus had it all: good jobs, big homes, tons of gadgets, and enough discretionary income to always have a good time. But as they approached their 30th birthdays, they realized their 70-hour work week left them short on one important thing: room. We’re not talking about room in the literal sense, but rather room for growth, contentment, and chasing passions. So they took a 21-day journey toward minimalism and blogged about it. They attracted such a following that they’ve been blogging (and spreading the minimalist gospel) ever since.

Health

Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., director of the Bariatric Medical Institute, doesn’t let anything slide on Weighty Matters. He’s called out theBetter Food for All campaign for giving shady tips, the media for misinterpreting a recent chocolate milk study, and one blogger for his take on soda taxes. But he’s not all about revealing the truth about everything related to obesity and healthy eating. He also shares weekly funny videos and has even given Coca-Cola kudos.

This new blog from the people at MyFitnessPal combines two of our favorite things: food and fitness. The blog is another way to grow the already impressively engaged MyFitnessPal community, by sharing delicious healthy meals (hello, pork and spinach pot stickers) and easy and effective exercises (this no-equipment living room workout has our name all over it). Our favorite posts are thevideo workouts, which include tons of helpful tips to make sure you’re doing every move correctly.

It’s not surprising that a game-changing fitness company like Precision Nutrition would put together such a top-notch blog. We’re regularly blown away by the blog’s infographics that answer questions we all ask, like “Should you exercise when sick?” and “How do you fix a broken diet?” Most posts are written by John Berardi, Ph.D., one of the company’s co-founders, and are chock-full of straight-talking, actionable advice.

This doctor-turned-health-editor flexes some serious writing muscle (and sometimes even his biceps—gotta give the people what they want) over at The Atlantic. In a world where health stories are full of medical jargon, Hamblin writes in a way that non-experts can understand. Basically, when we’re getting confused about the latest health trends (What’s up with herbal supplements? Why are there so many options for cold medicine?), he’s the person we turn to. And we love that no topic seems to be too daunting for him to cover, from the Food Babe to female orgasms.

We live in a digital age where information gets thrown at you from every angle—by everything. Science of Us feels you, which is why it sticks to short health articles (we’re talking only a few paragraphs) with information that’s as concise as it gets. If you’re looking for a go-to place that sticks to the good stuff and gives it to you fast, this is the spot. And it’s written in the fun, witty New York magazine tone we’ve always loved, meaning you’ll actually want to read every piece, from our conception of the sexes to why you’re better at karaoke than you think. How many health sites can say that?

Chris Kresser has been studying and teaching alternative medicine for more than 15 years. He’s also the author of bestselling novelYour Personal Paleo Code and is often cited in notable publications like The Atlantic and NPR. So just what is it that makes Kresser so freakin’ awesome? We love that he frequently cites published studies (though he also discusses their flaws) and is all about empowering you to make healthier choices—ones that work for you (and your budget). He also creates amazing Paleo-friendly recipes like taro and bacon hash.

Sometimes the best recipes are the stupid-easy ones. And sometimes the best advice comes in the form of hard-hitting truth bombs instead of sugarcoated tidbits that don’t truly get you motivated. If those thoughts resonate with you, then Steph Gaudreau at Stupid Easy Paleo is the gal to provide a much-needed healthy kick in the butt. From nutritious, Paleo-friendly recipes (we’re obsessed with her plantain protein pancakes) to workout advice to food photography tips, she’s all about hacking your way to a healthy lifestyle—and doesn’t leave room for excuses. Though she’s not an expert in every area she writes about, her nutrition and science backgrounds are prevalent in all of her articles. Her philosophy may be stupid-easy, but she’s anything but stupid.

El Salvador Advises Against Pregnancy Until 2018 in Answer to Zika Fears

SAN SALVADOR — Reacting to the rapid spread of the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean, health officials in El Salvador are urging women not to get pregnant until 2018 in an effort to halt a surge of birth defects that are suspected to stem from the mosquito-borne disease.

The entire region has erupted with concern over the virus, and each country has taken measures to combat its spread. Other Latin American countries, such as Colombia and Ecuador, as well as Jamaica in the Caribbean, have recommended delaying pregnancies, though not for an entire two years.

The rest of Latin America has responded with different tactics, ranging from widespread fumigation efforts to directing citizens not to be bitten by the Aedes mosquito, which is known to carry yellow, chikungunya and dengue fevers.

So far, the hardest hit nation in the region has been Brazil, where more than a million cases have been confirmed, including nearly 4,000 cases ofmicrocephaly in newborns that could be linked to Zika. Microcephaly is a rare, incurable condition in which an infant’s head is abnormally small.

El Salvador appears to have taken the most dramatic step so far, though the recommendation this week is not official policy. In a region that is largely Roman Catholic, the request has raised concern from the church, and many Salvadorans question the rationale for upending the national birthrate in order to counter the suspected effects of a virus.

Civil groups have also questioned the practicality of the recommendation, noting that in El Salvador pregnancies are often unplanned. Others say it is a testament to the lack of a coherent strategy from the government, and point to the difficulty of combating something as prevalent and evasive as the mosquito.

Salvadoran officials defended the measure in an interview.

“If we don’t make any recommendations to the population, we could have a high incidence of microcephaly,” said Eduardo Antonio Espinoza Fiallos, the vice minister of health. “Of those children, 99 percent will survive, but with limitations in their mental faculties.”

For most people, the effects of the Zika virus are mild. Symptoms are flulike and can last up to a week, with victims sometimes unaware that they have contracted the virus. Zika has no known cure.

But a recent spike in cases of microcephaly in infants has health experts worried that the condition could be the result of women contracting Zika while pregnant.