This year, Consumer Reports covered everything from the dangers of dietary supplements and hospital-acquired infections to the most effective sunscreens and insect repellents.

And as the opioid crisis continued to make headlines, CR gave readers important information on how to avoid becoming dependent on these highly addictive prescription medications. Readers also learned about the side effects of a variety of common drugs. 

As 2017 draws to a close, we take a look back at the most popular Consumer Reports health articles of the year. 

Liver Damage From Supplements Is on the Rise

The labels on bottles of supplements as featured in Consumer Reports' Top Health Stories of 2017.

You’ve probably heard that too much alcohol or excessive amounts of certain medications can damage your liver, an organ that helps your body extract the nutrients it needs from food and eliminate toxic substances from your blood.

But a new review suggests that many herbal remedies and dietary supplements can also harm the liver, including some that you can easily buy online or over-the-counter in drug or health-food stores.

Read the full story.


How to Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel

Checking into a hotel for a vacation? Beware of bed bugs. Hotels and motels can be hot spots for infestations of the small reddish-brown insects, which can live happily in a bed and hitch a ride home on luggage and clothing.

Here are five steps that will help you avoid a bed-bug encounter during your vacation.

Read the full story.


Surprising Remedy for Deadly Hospital Infections

Doctors consulting with one another in a hospital.

Though it’s hard to believe, hospitals have become one of the riskiest places for picking up a deadly infection. Now a new study suggests an equally surprising solution.

Read the full story.


Meds That Cause Blurred Vision, Hearing Loss, and More

White medication bottles in a factory.

We rely on our senses to help us navigate the world—to read a book, hear a doorbell, or pick up the warning signs of a gas leak. But medication may impair or alter our senses.

Here’s a list of some medications that can affect your senses.

Read the full story.


Get the Best Sun Protection

Various bottles of sunscreen.

If you think all sunscreens touting high SPFs—like those with 50s on their labels, for example—are equally effective, here’s a surprise: Consumer Reports has found that those SPF numbers aren’t always a reliable measure of how much protection you’ll get. If you put too much faith in them, you could be putting your skin at risk.

Find out which sunscreens work and which fall short—and why you can’t always rely on packaging labels.

Read the full story.


15 Supplement Ingredients to Always Avoid

With the help of an expert panel of independent doctors and dietary-supplement researchers, Consumer Reports identified 15 supplement ingredients that are potentially harmful. The risks include organ damagecancer, and cardiac arrest. The severity of these threats often depends on factors such as pre-existing medical conditions as well as the quantity of the ingredient taken and the length of time a person has been exposed to the substance.

Read the full story.


How to Protect Yourself From the Candida Auris Fungal Infection

A person washing his hands.

Health experts are troubled by the recent increase in the U.S. of Candida auris, a potentially deadly yeast infection found to be resistant to treatment.

This infection, first seen in Japan in 2009, has since spread to about a dozen countries. In the U.S. it’s still rare—but its numbers are increasing.

Read the full story.


5 Vegetables That Are Healthier Cooked

Fresh carrots.

Although the most important thing is to eat a variety of vegetables prepared in a variety of ways, sometimes cooked vegetables are better than raw.

“Common wisdom says cooked vegetables have fewer nutrients than fresh ones, but that isn’t always the case,” says Amy Keating, a dietitian at CR. “Many nutrients in fruits and vegetables are bound in the cell walls. Cooking breaks those walls down, releasing the nutrients so that your body can absorb them more easily.”

Here are five foods you should heat before eating, plus tips on how to unleash their full potential in terms of nutrition and taste.

Read the full story.


How to Keep Mosquitoes and Ticks Away

A tick.

“The most important thing is to avoid getting bitten in the first place,” says Rebecca Eisen, Ph.D., a research biologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. “Fortunately, there are really simple things you can do to protect yourself and your family.” 

Here is a list of recommendations from our own experts and testing, and from the CDC, on how to repel these insects from your deck, yard, and clothing. 

Read the full story.


What It Means If You Bruise Easily

A bruise on an arm.

Bruises, the breakage of tiny blood vessels near the skin’s surface that results in a blackish-bluish-purplish discoloration, are a common complaint among patients in their 60s and beyond.

And distinguishing between innocent bruising and bruising that’s due to serious, sometimes life-threatening, diseases can be a challenge, even to an experienced practitioner.

Here, when you can ignore the bruises and when to call your physician.  

Read the full story.