Here’s the good news: In a new study, the overall rate of children’s eye injuries from sports and recreation decreased slightly from 1990 to 2012. Here’s the bad news: Eye injuries to children from what are called nonpowder guns, including BB guns, pellet guns and paintball guns, increased significantly. And those eye injuries were disproportionately likely to be serious. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at children under 18 treated in a nationally representative sample of about 100 hospital emergency rooms. The single largest source of eye injuries — 15.9 percent — was basketball. After that came baseball and softball, which were associated with 15.2 percent of the injuries. Nonpowder guns accounted for 10.2 percent of the eye injuries — but for almost half of the hospitalizations, which tend to reflect serious injuries.

Flu may be spread just by breathing

Until now, most people thought you could catch the flu after being exposed to droplets from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes, or by touching contaminated surfaces. But a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that we may pass the flu to others just by breathing. The study provides new evidence for the potential importance of the flu’s airborne transmission because of the large quantities of infectious virus researchers found in the exhaled breath. “The study findings suggest that keeping surfaces clean, washing our hands all the time, and avoiding people who are coughing does not provide complete protection from getting the flu,” Sheryl Ehrman, dean of the College of Engineering at San Jose State University, said. “Staying home and out of public spaces could make a difference in the spread of the influenza virus.”

Oral contraceptives reduce cancer risk

The long-term use of oral contraceptives reduces the risk for ovarian and endometrial cancers, and the effect is especially evident in smokers, the obese and those who exercise infrequently, a new study found. Earlier studies have demonstrated an association of previous oral contraceptive use with reduced risk for these cancers in postmenopausal women. This study considered the impact of various health and lifestyle factors. Compared with those who hadn’t used oral contraceptives, those who had used them for 10 years or more had a 34 percent reduced risk for endometrial cancer, with the strongest reductions among women who were smokers or obese at the start of the study. Contraceptive users had a 40 percent risk reduction for ovarian cancer, with the risk reduction significant in smokers, the obese and those who got no regular exercise.

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