• A DIY air purifier that costs under $100 to make is taking America’s classrooms by storm

    Fortune September 15, 2022

    By Carolyn Barber

    Late last year, Shiven Taneja was a person in search of a solution. His community of Mississauga, in Ontario, was entering its fifth COVID wave and Omicron was a fearsome, fast-spreading variant–yet rapid tests were in short supply and the availability of booster shots severely limited. He wanted a way to reduce risk. Taneja found […]

  • ‘Toasted skin syndrome’ is a real condition from the age of wood-burning stoves­–and another reason you shouldn’t use your laptop as a laptop

    Fortune August 31, 2022

    By Carolyn Barber

    Venkata Konanki is a pediatrician at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, but it was a case inside his own home last year that caught his attention. After watching his grade-school daughter Shriya grind her way through an online school year and then begin a summer academy program, Konanki and his wife noticed an odd pattern emerging– literally. […]

  • Long COVID could be leading to a wave of erectile dysfunction as the pandemic invades our sex lives

    Fortune August 17, 2022

    By Carolyn Barber

    Two and a half years after the onset of the pandemic, we’re still calculating the damage done by SARS-CoV-2 and its worrisome scion, Long COVID. The Center for Disease Control says that nearly 20% of U.S. adults who have been infected by the virus–or one in 13 adults in our country–are still experiencing Long COVID […]

  • COVID finally got me. Will it come for you?

    Fortune July 13, 2022

    By Carolyn Barber

    I certainly had reasons to be concerned. As a cancer survivor, I have spent the past two and a half years exercising extreme caution in the face of the pandemic and avoiding crowds even when it meant missing the weddings of loved ones. After 25 years as an emergency physician, I’m well versed in the […]

  • Why a nurse’s recent homicide conviction could make America’s hospitals even less safe

    Fortune June 17, 2022

    By Carolyn Barber

    Far from the Nashville courtroom where nurse RaDonda Vaught was convicted of homicide for giving a patient the wrong drug, medical experts and talking heads have mostly asked the right questions. Will the case have a chilling effect on the nursing profession? Did software system issues at Vaught’s hospital contribute to the tragedy? Aren’t chronically […]

  • The threat of long COVID means we can’t pull punches on vaccines, tests, and masks

    Fortune April 19, 2022

    By Carolyn Barber

    Their stories are shared through social media, the fear and agony front and center in almost every conversation: breathing issues, chronic pain, unexplained bruising, hallucinations, brain fog. “No way to describe besides six daggers in my back,” wrote one. Added another, a doctor exposed on the job in 2020, “I am a shell of my former self.” Of the many facets […]

  • New Cases of Childhood Diabetes Rose during the Pandemic

    Scientific American April 15, 2022

    By Carolyn Barber

    The little girl felt poorly, but both she and her mom thought they knew the reason. Aliyah Davis, just nine years old, was battling COVID. Fatigued, repeatedly sick to her stomach, with no sense of smell or taste and some shortness of breath, she seemed to have a near-textbook case of the virus. Aliyah had […]

  • When Is It Safe to Have Sex after COVID?

    Scientific American March 9, 2022

    By Carolyn Barber

    Recently, my husband endured a mild case of COVID—a cough, a sore throat, some aches and fatigue. Fortunately, he is vaccinated and boosted, and he recovered quickly. On day 10 after infection, he produced a negative rapid antigen test. Cool! So when can we have sex? This, it turns out, is a more complicated question […]

  • Some COVID Patients Need Amputations to Survive

    Scientific American January 12, 2022

    By Carolyn Barber

    In late summer Candice Davis and her brother, Starr, returned to South Philadelphia from a trip to Mexico, and Davis quickly knew that something was wrong. Both she and Starr felt ill, and both subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. But Starr, who had been immunized, experienced only mild flulike symptoms and felt better within a […]

  • Texting Thumb, Trigger Finger, Gamer’s Thumb and Other Smartphone Injuries

    Scientific American November 19, 2021

    By Carolyn Barber

    As a longtime emergency department physician, I have a case study I’d like to share with you. The patient’s right thumb knuckle is inflamed, swollen and often painful, especially toward the end of the day, and the inside part is a little numb. Her grip is slightly weakened, and her palm aches. Her middle finger […]