active

health

Montgomery County’s active COVID-19 cases pushes past 2,200

Online registration is still available for COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County. To get a voucher, go to mchd-tx.org or mcphd-tx.org and click on the

Online registration is still available for COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County. To get a voucher, go to mchd-tx.org or mcphd-tx.org and click on the “need to be tested” link. Fill out the information. A voucher will be emailed. Once you have the voucher, make an appointment at your choice of testing centers and get tested.

Jason Fochtman, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

Montgomery County added 66 new active COVID-19 cases Friday, bumping the county’s active total over 2,200.

Overall, the county logged 139 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 13,575 with 2,206 active.

The reason for the difference in the new cases and active cases is the Montgomery County Public Health District is continuing to process cases that were reported to the Department of State Health Services directly by health care providers and entered into the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System.

As for total hospitalizations, both county and noncounty residents, decreased five to 56 with 14 of those patients in critical care beds.

The total number of COVID-19-related deaths remained at 147.

Online registration is still available for COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County.

To request a voucher, go to mchd-tx.org or mcphd-tx.org and click on the “need to be tested” link and fill out the information. A voucher will be emailed and once you have the voucher, make an appointment at a testing center.


Call the county’s COVID Call Center at 936-523-3916 for more information.

cdominguez@hcnonline.com

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health

Artificial Light May Make Aedes Aegypti Mosquitoes ‘Abnormally’ Active At Night, Study Shows

KEY POINTS

  • Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are more active when there is natural light
  • A study found that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes bite twice as much at night when there is artificial light 
  • The study highlights how increasing levels of light pollution could impact transmission of diseases like dengue

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are carriers of dengue and Zika viruses, are known to be active biters during the daytime, but a team of researchers has found that artificial lights can “abnormally” increase their biting behavior even at night.

Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes transmit various mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika fever. The species mostly bite in the early morning and in the afternoon hours when there is light, but what happens when they are exposed to artificial lights at night?

To find out, a team of researchers conducted an experiment wherein the study’s first author, Samuel S. C. Rund of the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Biological Sciences, let mosquitoes bite him under certain conditions including during daytime, at night, and at nighttime while exposed to artificial light. They then measured the mosquitoes’ blood-feeding behavior.

As expected, the mosquitoes fed more during the daytime and less at night. However, mosquitoes that were exposed to artificial light at night were actually twice as likely to bite compared to those not exposed, a news release from the University of Notre Dame said.

This shows that mosquitoes that feed during the daytime tend to bite more at night when there is artificial light.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen at the Laboratory of Entomology and Ecology of the Dengue Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 6, 2016. Photo: Reuters

“This is potentially a very valid problem that shouldn’t be overlooked,” study co-author Giles Duffield, also of the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Biological Sciences, said in the news release. “They live and breed in the vicinity of houses, so the chances of Aedes aegypti being exposed to light pollution are very likely.”

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are considered “container-inhabiting” mosquitoes, the University of Florida (UF) explains, because they often breed in items that are commonly seen in or around a house, such as spare tires, drainage ditches, untreated swimming pools and unused flower pots. 

“They thrive in urbanized areas, in close contact with people making them an exceptionally successful vector,” the university in a feature.

The Notre Dame team said their study “highlights the concern that globally increasing levels of light pollution could be impacting arboviral disease transmission, such as dengue fever and Zika, and has implications for application of countermeasures for mosquito vector control.” 

The researchers are studying the relationship between artificial light and Aedes ageypti and trying to understand whether there is a genetic factor to the mosquitoes’ biting behavior since not all of them are willing to bite at night even with the lights, the news release said. 

The study is published in The American Journal of

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health

Montgomery County’s active COVID-19 cases push past 2K

Online registration is still available for COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County. To get a voucher, go to mchd-tx.org or mcphd-tx.org and click on the

Online registration is still available for COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County. To get a voucher, go to mchd-tx.org or mcphd-tx.org and click on the “need to be tested” link. Fill out the information. A voucher will be emailed. Once you have the voucher, make an appointment at your choice of testing centers and get tested.

Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

Montgomery County health officials confirmed 147 new COVID-19 cases Monday including a jump of 87 in active cases which pushed that total past 2,000.

According to the Montgomery County Public Health District, those 147 cases bring the county’s total number of cases to 12,991. Active cases are now at 2,030. The county’s number of COVID-related deaths remained at 144.

Total hospitalizations, both county and noncounty residents, remained at 61 with 15 of those patients in ICU.

The reason for the difference in the new cases and active cases is the Montgomery County Public Health District is continuing to process cases that were reported to The Department of State Health Services directly by health care providers and entered into the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System.

Online registration is still available for COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County. To get a voucher, go to mchd-tx.org or mcphd-tx.org and click on the “need to be tested” link. Fill out the information. A voucher will be emailed. Once you have the voucher, make an appointment at your choice of testing centers and get tested.


The county’s COVID-19 call center is available at 936-523-3916.

cdominguez@hcnonline.com

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fitness

Let’s stay active when gyms are closed and sports are on pause



Early-morning exercisers get in a workout at a Montreal gym on Oct. 5, days before the city's gyms had to close again.


© Provided by The Gazette
Early-morning exercisers get in a workout at a Montreal gym on Oct. 5, days before the city’s gyms had to close again.

Here we go again. As the number of COVID-19 cases has risen back to critical levels across the country, gyms are seeing their capacities reduced or being closed altogether. Limits have been placed on team sports at the recreational and competitive level. And while not all provinces have put the brakes on sports and certain other types of physical activity, the risk of another coast-to-coast shutdown is high.

Back in March, when gyms closed for the first time, spring was right around the corner. Days were getting longer and the weather warmer, which made it easier to find ways to do a workout outdoors . This time around, it’s dark when we roll out of bed and dark again when we sit down to dinner, which means it’s less inviting at either end of the day to get in a workout.

With more obstacles in their way, Canadians are likely to go back to the more sedentary habits they adopted in the spring, when — according to data collected by ParticipACTION, the national organization whose mandate is to get Canadians moving — people were more likely to watch television or sit in front of a computer screen than exercise.

When it comes to the consequences of COVID-19, a lack of exercise may seem trivial, but for many people exercise isn’t just a boost to their physical health; it also improves their mental health — a theory that’s supported by a growing body of evidence. The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

Some people actively seek out exercise as a therapeutic option to improve mental health, be it at the suggestion of a medical professional or by virtue of the good feeling that often accompanies a good sweat. Others are so used to their exercise routine that they go into a funk when their workout schedule is disrupted. Then there are those who have very defined goals that are at risk of being abandoned without access to a training facility, which adds to their stress level.

Also worth mentioning is the loss of social connection, which can be felt by anyone who plays team sports or prefers to sweat in a group versus on their own. Beer-league hockey, soccer and basketball players, curlers, masters athletes, gym rats and others of all ages who play organized sports are at risk of being negatively affected emotionally and physically by the loss of their exercise routine.

Several studies have emerged looking at the mental health effects of the change in physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, most of which came to a similar conclusion: those who let

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fitness

Army to Outfit 110 Active Brigades with Fitness Experts to Boost Soldier Performance

The U.S. Army is launching an effort to increase soldier performance by outfitting active brigades with special teams of fitness coaches, nutritional specialists and physical therapists by 2026.

The Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) strategy is designed to work with unit leaders and individual soldiers to hone performance and decrease the risk of injuries, which can affect combat readiness, officials from the Center for Initial Military Training (CIMT) said Thursday.

The goal of the service-wide effort is to outfit 110 active-duty brigades with performance teams and a dedicated training facility, a long-term effort that will require 500 uniformed personnel, 700 Army civilians and 1,900 contractors.

Read Next: Navy’s Top Officer Wants a New Mid-Size Destroyer That Packs a Major Punch

In fiscal 2021, the Army has budgeted $110 million for 28 brigades to receive H2F performance teams. After that, up to 18 brigades will be resourced each year through fiscal 2026, according to Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, commander of the CIMT, which is overseeing the effort.

“If you look at the number of active-duty soldiers who are medically non-deployable, that equates to being short about nine brigade combat teams … that can’t deploy,” Hibbard told reporters Thursday at a virtual roundtable during the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting. “If we can reduce these non-availability rates for our soldiers just by 1%, the cost savings alone will pay for the cost of this program.”

As of Oct. 1, the service officially replaced its outdated Army Physical Fitness Test with the more challenging Army Combat Fitness Test, which is designed to build core strength and reduce common injuries that keep many soldiers from deploying, Hibbard said.

“We have to stop breaking our soldiers and, in order to do that, we have to prevent these injuries and preserve their long-term health. … The only way to do it is by embedding these H2F professionals in the brigades,” he explained. “For many years, we have called our soldiers ‘warrior athletes” … now we are actually starting to resource them just like any other professional sports team.”

The performance teams will include physical therapists, registered dieticians, occupational therapists, cognitive enhancement trainers, athletic trainers, and strength and conditioning coaches at the brigade level, Col. Kevin Bigelman, director of Holistic Health and Fitness, told reporters.

“H2F performance teams will assess each soldier’s ability to meet the demands of their military occupational specialty, assignment or combat-specific tasks during a soldier’s career,” he said. “These teams advise commanders on performance readiness issues and integrate H2F into organizational training, mission planning and even personnel decisions.”

The brigade type will determine how large the H2F performance teams are, Bigelman said. Tier-one brigades such as infantry brigade combat teams will be outfitted with 37-member teams that include uniformed and Army civilian physical therapists, occupational therapists and registered dieticians, as well as seven contracted athletic trainers and 14 contracted strength and conditioning coaches.

Tier two brigades, such as an artillery unit, will likely need only a 25-member team

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health

For joint pain, keeping active can be effective

Osteoarthritis is the most common type, and it happens when the cartilage in the joint breaks down and the surrounding bone develops inflammation. Osteoarthritis becomes more common with age, but you don’t have to just grit your teeth and suffer through it, says Jason McDougall, a professor at Dalhousie University in Canada who specializes in arthritis and pain research.

An array of strategies are available for treating joint pain, ranging from physical therapy to pain medications, injections and surgery, but one of the most effective ways to manage joint discomfort is one that can seem counterintuitive: Keep moving.

If you’re feeling pain in your joints, you might be inclined to lay off them, but that’s one of the worst things you can do, says A. Lynn Millar, a physical therapist and fellow emeritus at the American College of Sports Medicine.

It’s a vicious cycle — it hurts, so you stop moving the area that’s painful, but “immobilization actually causes deterioration in the joints,” Millar says. Hence the saying among physical therapists, “Motion is lotion.” Movement brings nutrients to the joints and keeps them healthy, Millar says. “Everyone wants a magic bullet,” she says, and physical activity is the closest thing we have.

Even if you’ve had an X-ray or MRI that shows arthritic changes in your joint, that shouldn’t dissuade you from exercising. “Your structure isn’t your destiny,” says Greg Lehman, a Toronto-based physiotherapist, chiropractor and clinical educator in physiotherapy.

Turns out, the findings on an imaging test aren’t a good indicator of pain, he says. Imagine going to a ski area and finding all the people 50 and older who were skiing around enjoying themselves. Lehman says that if you gave these skiers a scan of their knees and hips, the “vast majority of them” would have structural changes in their knee and hips without even knowing about it.

For a 2012 study, researchers took MRIs of the knees of 710 people 50 and older and found that nearly 90 percent had at least one feature of osteoarthritis on the MRI, irrespective of whether they had knee pain.

An X-ray or MRI is not a good indicator of whether someone has pain, Lehman says. “It’s not that those changes you can see in a joint or tendon or muscle are irrelevant,” he says, but they are not very good at predicting how someone feels or what they can do.

Joint pain is complicated, and it’s not just about what’s going on with your bones and ligaments, but also how your nervous system is interpreting the signals it’s receiving.

Chemical mediators, such as enzymes and neuropeptides, released into the joint when someone has arthritis can sensitize the nerve endings around it to make them more active than normal. “These signals are translated by the brain as pain,” McDougall says.

Researchers are just starting to characterize the different kinds of chemical mediators that might be involved in these pain signals, he says.

Most people with joint pain respond well to physical

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