Though Zika is not making the same headlines it did a year ago, federal health officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found mosquitoes capable of spreading Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses are now found in more counties in the United States than in 2016.

There are 21 percent more counties with Zika-carrying mosquitoes and 10 percent more with dengue-carrying mosquitoes than a year ago.

California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida and the other Gulf states are being monitored to see if the mosquitoes spread. But it’s not just in the South. Urban areas such as Chicago are also at risk.

With the spread of these insects, removing standing water and protecting your family and you against mosquitoes is more important than ever.


4 signs of exercise addiction

So much of the national conversation around exercise is centered on the need to work out more. But what about those who are compelled to exercise too much?

For people suffering from exercise addiction, going even six hours without a workout can lead to anxiety, says Project Know. The following signs could indicate a potentially damaging relationship with your workouts:

— Reduction in activities: Withdrawing from social situations in order to spend more time working out.

— Increased time exercising: Feeling the need to work out more, longer or at a greater intensity to feel the original effect.

— Change in intentions: Exceeding the frequency, duration or intensity of workouts, even if doing so unintentionally.

— Loss of control: Experiencing an inability to control the need to work out, even when recovering from injuries.

A behavioral health professional can help address the thought patterns that can lead to excessive exercise.


What a forgetful mind says about a person’s intelligence

In a new report in the journal Neuron, scientists from the University of Toronto suggest having total recall is not all it’s cracked up to be. More importantly, say researchers Paul Frankland and Blake Richard, forgetfulness is not just normal — it actually makes us smarter.

How does it do this? By allowing our decision-making processes to be more efficient, and helping us let go of trivial details that we don’t later have to process. This in turn helps us adapt to change: By letting go of unimportant details, our brain doesn’t get clogged with outdated information.

“It’s important that the brain forgets irrelevant details and instead focuses on the stuff that’s going to help make decisions in the real world,” Richards says. “If you’re trying to navigate the world and your brain is constantly bringing up conflicting memories, that makes it harder for you to make an informed decision.”


More years of fertility may lower heart attack, stroke risks

Women 60 and older who were fertile for more years may have less risk of experiencing strokes or heart problems later in life, University of Florida researchers recently reported in the Journal of Women’s Health.

Researchers reviewed information from more than 3,000 women, 60 and older, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2007 to 2012. Being able to bear children for 30 years or more was “associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases,” the study authors reported.

The researchers reached this conclusion because study participants with longer child-bearing years showed reduced incidences of stroke and angina, according to the report. A one-year increase in duration of reproductive years was associated with a 3 percent reduction in the risk of a woman experiencing either of those health events, researchers concluded.

— Brandpoint