Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Health news: Is Zithromax safe? Should you buy organic foods?

A couple of health headlines caught my eye today. The first was about Zithromax, the popular antibiotic often handed out in what’s called a Z-pack. I love the Z-pack. You take it over 5 days, instead of 7 or 10. It doesn’t upset my stomach the way many other antibiotics do. I think it’s a kinder, gentler drug.

But this kindler, gentler drug was recently linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular death. According to new research published in the venerable New England Journal of Medicine, people taking Zithromax—compared to those taking amoxicillin—are more likely to have something fatal go awry with their hearts.

What’s a person with bronchitis to do? Read this column for a physician’s take on “the truth about Zithromax.”

The second headline that caught my eye was on, of all places, about when parents should buy organic foods and when they should save money and buy conventionally grown foods.

Not everyone can afford to buy organic foods all the time, but some conventionally-grown fruits and veggies are higher than others in pesticides, the story notes. These include apples and strawberries; the story advises parents to buy organic versions of these.

Fredericksburg’s Doctor Yum—pediatrician Nimali  Fernando—has a great blog about this on her website where she talks about the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables identified in a study as being the most contaminated by pesticides.

She also shares a list of the “clean 15” foods identified by the Environmental Working Group as being the least contaminated by pesticides. You can read Doctor Yum’s take on organics here: