Health

Help for those living with concussion
Health, Military Health Matters, Uncategorized

Help for those living with concussion

The long days and nights of pandemic social isolation are tough on military veterans with symptoms of traumatic brain injury, especially those living alone—and particularly those who shrugged off seemingly minor head injuries and haven’t connected their symptoms to concussion. The structure of daily life has been disrupted; the radio and television get a harder workout, resulting in headaches from glare and blare. It’s easier to drift off into a nap, with disastrous results for an already disrupted sleep routine. Friends and colleagues are less available to provide company and help negotiate the new rules that can be confusing for those with memory problems and brain fog. People around them seem to be walking on eggshells, but sufferers shrug that off, too: of course, they’re more ir...
A military response to the pandemic
Health, Military Health Matters

A military response to the pandemic

Truly, the Canadian Armed Forces has to be ready for anything. It has to be ready to respond quickly to domestic and international emergencies and natural disasters, while simultaneously keeping our borders safe—no matter how many personnel might be out sick. Throughout most of history, more troops have died from disease than in battle; Canada broke that sorry tradition in the First World War. It was among the first to embrace vaccinations and to make hygiene and sanitation a command responsibility, resulting in lower rates of sickness and fewer deaths from infectious diseases. The importance of maintaining a healthy force was brought home in March when several global military commanders went into self-quarantine. Russian aircraft began stepping up the number of patrols that skirt o...
Pandemic shines light on problems in long-term care facilities
COVID-19, Health, News

Pandemic shines light on problems in long-term care facilities

Veteran Fraser (Tommy) Gray, 88, a paratrooper with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in the Korean War, was among 300 residents and nearly 100 staff members who contracted COVID-19 in an Ontario long-term care home. Hospitalized for weeks, Gray was fortunately not among the 78 residents of Orchard Villa in Pickering, Ont., who died. Outbreaks were declared at Orchard Villa’s long-term care and retirement homes in the first week of April and declared over June 11.    Orchard Villa was one of the worst-hit long-term care homes in Ontario, and among five to receive help from 275 members of Canadian Armed Forces medical teams beginning April 28. In mid-May, 1,400 CAF members were also in 25 facilities in Quebec. By the end of June, 55 of them had contracted the virus. In late...
Climate anomaly caused <br> WW I mud, flu pandemic: study
COVID-19, Front Lines

Climate anomaly caused
WW I mud, flu pandemic: study

The First World War is synonymous with torrential rain, deathly deep mud and bitter cold. It seems no stalemate or major battle was without these added miseries that brought with them disproportionate infection, disease and death. Now a new scientific study says a once-in-a-lifetime climate anomaly is to blame for the horrendous weather that contributed to hundreds of thousands of battlefield deaths and the 1918 Spanish flu (H1N1) pandemic that cost tens of millions of lives worldwide. The eight scientists from universities at Cambridge, Mass.; Nottingham, England; and Orono, Maine, found their evidence in core samples of glacial ice taken from the Swiss and Italian Alps. Traces of sea salt found in the samples indicate the highest influx of cold marine air from the North...
Progress in the fight against malaria
COVID-19, Military Health Matters

Progress in the fight against malaria

In June, military researchers in the United States announced that a COVID-19 vaccine would be ready for testing on humans before the end of the year. That same month, The Lancet, the prestigious medical journal, announced a new approach to fight malaria. The mosquito-borne disease infected an estimated 216 million people globally in 2018, claiming 405,000 lives. (In comparison, by July 21, 2020, there were more than 14.5 million COVID-19 cases, and more than 600,000 deaths.) Deaths from malaria were halved in the past decade—a dramatic reduction in the annual death rate of a scourge that has plagued humankind since the dawn of history—but it has still killed millions, mostly in Africa and mostly children, since 2000. One scientist has estimated malaria could account for the deaths o...
Life-affirming support
Health

Life-affirming support

Friends and communities are helping prevent veterans’ suicides When Joe Rustenburg came back from war, he wanted to shut out the world. He had seen buddies maimed and killed during tours with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2008. And he’d been wounded in the head by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade explosion.  He left the military in 2011 with post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury, moved to a small community in Saskatchewan, and hunkered down. “I wanted to get as far away from the military and other people as I could get,” he said. Each year up to 10,000 members leave the Canadian Armed Forces, some with suicide on their minds, including Rustenburg, who attempted it twice—in 2009 and 2010. The CAF’s Life After Serv...

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