Health Highlights: Dec. 17, 2021

Masking up again? Here's what works best. New research finds that when it comes to keeping the COVID-19 virus to yourself, a tight fit matters. So, too, do the materials used, experts say. Read more

U.S. makes rule allowing abortion pills by mail permanent: With a Supreme Court decision looming that could curb women's access to abortion, the Biden Administration made permanent a regulation that allows patients to receive abortion meds by mail, instead of requiring them to obtain the pills in person from specially certified health providers. Read more

This season's flu shot might be a mismatch. There's new research suggesting that the influenza vaccine given to millions might not be a good match for one of the flu strains circulating widely this year, limiting its effectiveness. Read more

Are opioids really needed after heart surgery? Recovery from heart surgery can bring some pain. But a new study suggests patients don't need potentially addictive prescription opioids to control that post-op discomfort. Read more

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