Is It Time To Start Naming Heat Waves Like Hurricanes?

Sep 11, 2020
Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Temperatures this week fell a bit after a cold front pushed through the state Wednesday and Thursday, offering some relief from stifling summer temperatures. But even though it may feel cooler out, the threat of extreme heat isn't going away.

Political Divides On COVID-19 Could Risk Public Health

Sep 9, 2020
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

For some, how they feel about the science, treatment and prevention of COVID-19 is related to their political beliefs.

Back in April, Politico and the research company Morning Consult polled almost 2,000 registered voters and found that 71% of Republicans supported treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine – a treatment President Donald Trump has touted, but that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned is unsafe for the self-treatment of COVID-19. Meanwhile, only 29% of Democrats felt the same about that drug.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The number of people hospitalized in Texas with COVID-19 symptoms has more than doubled in two weeks, to more than 8,000 people. And hospital officials in many parts of the state warn that they are running out of resources. In the Rio Grande Valley, health officials are sounding the alarm as 10 out of 12 hospitals are reported to be at capacity, and patients in places like Starr County are being sent to hospitals hundreds of miles away. 

A sign tells Spanish speakers the city number to call for information on COVID-19.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Our Now What? discussion series, exploring what we need to know about COVID-19 moving forward, continues Wednesday, July 8, with Dr. Jewel Mullen, the associate dean for health equity at the Dell Medical School, and an associate professor in the school’s population health and internal medicine departments.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Texas' top state leader in the fight against the coronavirus receives no state salary and is allowed to keep his other 30-hour-per-week paying gig overseeing a nonprofit utility.

Courtesy of Felicia Dodson Hill

Maurice Dotson died April 17, weeks after contracting COVID-19. The 51-year old worked as a nurse’s aide at West Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in South Austin, and that’s where his family believes he contracted the coronavirus.

Patrons sit outside the Lavaca Street Bar in the Domain on May 1, as the Texas economy is slowly opens.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

For anyone with a weak immune system, the stakes of the COVID-19 pandemic haven’t changed.

As state leaders relax stay-at-home orders, a vaccine is likely still more than a year away. That means it’s still too dangerous for people with compromised immune systems to come into contact with others.

Ray Benson Tells His COVID-19 Recovery Story

Apr 30, 2020

From Texas Standard:

Most Texans have likely experienced some hardship because of the pandemic. But it's hit some harder than others, including those who've actually had COVID-19.

Ray Benson is a guitar player, singer and frontman for the band Asleep at the Wheel, and he has recovered from the disease. He told Texas Standard host David Brown on Thursday that it took a toll, but he's feeling better.

Courtesy of Paula Requeijo and Aaron Rochlen

From Texas Standard:

For Dr. Paula Requeijo, the coronavirus pandemic is both a personal and a professional concern of hers. She is chief medical officer for Elite Patient Care, a company that provides long-term health care, mostly for elderly patients. Also, her sister lives in Lake Como, Italy, one of the areas hardest hit by COVID-19.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

From Texas Standard:

In  the second installment of Texas Standard's Ask a Doctor, UT Health San Antonio's Dr. Fred Campbell answers listeners' most pressing questions about the coronavirus and COVID-19.

Lucio Vasquez/Houston Public Media

From Texas Standard:

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and famed environmental activist Erin Brockovich came to Houston's Fifth Ward last week to raise awareness and demand solutions to the cancer cluster killing people in that neighborhood.

Damien Temperley instructs students lying on mats on how to do ab exercises.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Texans are below the national average when it comes to how often they exercise, according to a new study by FitRated.

The study found only 68% of people in the state exercised regularly in the last month, which is 5 percentage points lower than the national average. Texas also has just 5.5 gyms per 100,000 people, the third-lowest in the nation. This goes along with a 33% obesity rate. 

Julia Reihs / KUT

Every day, you make important choices – about whether to feast on fries or take a brisk walk, whether to spend or save your paycheck, whether to buy the sustainable option or the disposable plastic one.

Life is made up of countless decisions. The idea of nudging people in the right direction, instead of relying on their internal motivation, has gained traction over the last decade.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Public Health says a person in Travis County has been diagnosed with measles for the first time since 1999.

Michael Barera/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this year, Fort Worth Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray noticed something unusual in her district. A lot of dollar stores were opening their doors in a small area – over a hundred stores in a 15-mile radius. And some of her constituents didn’t like what they were seeing.


From Texas Standard:

This week, Texas Health and Human Services reported a record number of people with lung disease linked to vaping. One of those people has died; many of them are young – an average of 22 years old. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recently released a report saying that more than 6 million American teens use tobacco products, the majority of those products being e-cigarettes. But health experts are still trying to determine which vaping products are causing illness. In the meantime,  health officials recommend that Texans stop using e-cigarette products altogether.

A woman gets a flu shot
Mary Mathis / NPR

Flu vaccination prevents millions of flu-related illnesses and deaths annually, but vaccination rates are low for many reasons.

During the 2018-2019 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 45% of U.S. adults received the flu vaccine. While this is an increase of 8% from 2017-2018, it falls way below the national goal of 70% of American adults receiving a flu shot.

Julia Reihs / KUT

There are vast differences when it comes to life expectancies between neighborhoods in Austin, according to new research from the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Jessica Lo Surdo and Ross Marklein do stem sell research for the FDA
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Austin is a “hot spot” for clinics marketing stem-cell treatments directly to consumers. In 2017, 100 of the 716 clinics in the U.S. that promoted the regenerative properties of stem cells to treat everything from dental problems to neurological diseases were in Texas. But there is limited research to prove the safety and efficacy of some of those treatments, and new research suggests there are unqualified people administering them.

Photo courtesy Obesity Action Coalition

From Texas Standard:

A group of U.S. health organizations, including the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, recently released the first-ever obesity-focused curriculum for American medical education.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with cardiologist Garth Graham, a former deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services and president of the Aetna Foundation. Graham is a leading expert on the social determinants of health.

Graham talks about health care disparities, cardiovascular disease, nutrition and public health.

Andi Lichterfelde/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The U.S. population is aging, and many older adults have, or will have, some form of dementia. Right now, the health care workforce is not prepared to meet their needs, says sociologist Christopher Johnson. But Johnson is particularly poised to help fix the problem, as professor at the country's first master's of science program in dementia and aging studies, at Texas State University in San Marcos.

The marketing is enticing: Get stronger muscles and healthier bodies with minimal effort by adding protein powder to your morning shake or juice drink. Or grab a protein bar at lunch or for a quick snack. Today, you can find protein supplements everywhere — online or at the pharmacy, grocery store or health food store. They come in powders, pills and bars.

Photo courtesy of the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

From Texas Standard:

You've heard of probiotics. They're the live microorganisms that live in your gut and in foods such as yogurt and dietary supplements. In recent years, they've been touted as beneficial to health, especially to ease digestive disorders. But it turns out probiotics – these so-called "good bacteria" – may not actually be good for all people in all cases. As part of our "Spotlight on Health" project, we're highlighting this new finding published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Chuck Yarling

From Texas Standard:

West Nile virus made big headlines in Texas in 2012. But the truth is, it probably infects thousands of people here each year, even though the actual number of confirmed cases tends to be quite low. That’s because an estimated 80 percent of those infected don’t have any symptoms and never see a doctor. Others will become sick with flu-like symptoms and recover. But for a small number of people each year, West Nile causes permanent disability, paralysis and death.

In 2012, 68-year-old Chuck Yarling was an avid runner, biker and swimmer who’d competed in more than 100 triathlons. In fact, he’d competed in one just weeks before he fainted in his apartment on an August afternoon. He awoke days later in a rehabilitation hospital a different man.

Charlie Hinderliter wasn't opposed to the flu shot. He didn't have a problem with vaccinations. He was one of about 53 percent of Americans who just don't get one.

"I figured [the flu] was something that's dangerous to the elderly and the young, not somebody who is healthy and in their 30s," says Hinderliter, who is 39 and the director of government affairs at the St. Louis Realtors association.

"Turns out, I was wrong," he says.

sergio santos/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

When a prospective nurse joins the field, they expect to endure a lot of less-than-pleasant experiences as part of the job: bodily fluids, people in pain and grieving families are among them. The probability of violence and abuse isn’t likely to be on their radar - but it should be.

That’s because hospitals experience one of the highest rates of violence of any workplace, second only to law enforcement. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care providers are four times as likely to need time off for a violence-related injury. And they’re most likely to experience physical and verbal abuse at the hands of those they are trying to help: their patients.

Martin Do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Texas has seen an abundance of red tides within the last few decades and it can be just as ominous as it sounds. Red tide is a harmful algae bloom caused by plant cells that multiply out of control, killing fish in the area and causing potential respiratory infections on land. Researchers are working on a system that would send out red tide warnings to vulnerable populations.

Martin Do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Texas has seen an abundance of red tides within the last few decades and it can be just as ominous as it sounds. Red tide is a harmful algae bloom caused by plant cells that multiply out of control, killing fish in the area and causing potential respiratory infections on land. Researchers are working on a system that would send out red tide warnings to vulnerable populations.

Was it hard to concentrate during that long meeting? Does the crossword seem a little tougher? You could be mildly dehydrated.

A growing body of evidence finds that being just a little dehydrated is tied to a range of subtle effects — from mood changes to muddled thinking.