January Health Observances

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January Health Observances

Awareness is on the calendar

By Working Nurse
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After all the holiday celebrations, January’s health observances strike a sober note, but they highlight a number of important issues about which you can educate your patients, colleagues and yourself. 

1. National Blood Donor Month: The Red Cross always needs blood and platelet donations, but the need is particularly acute in winter, when the weather often affects collection efforts.

2. Cervical Health Awareness Month: An estimated 79 million Americans have HPV; many don’t know it. HPV increases the risks of some types of cervical cancer, so encourage your patients to get screened. You can remind them that the Affordable Care Act requires all health plans to cover well-woman exams (and cervical cancer screenings), sometimes at no cost.

3. Glaucoma Awareness Month: Glaucoma, often called the “sneak thief of sight,” is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the U.S. Glaucoma currently afflicts about 3 million Americans and disproportionately affects African-Americans and Latinos. Encourage patients to get regular eye exams, particularly if a family member has been diagnosed — siblings are at increased risk.

4. National Birth Defects Prevention Month: Birth defects affect one in every 33 children in the U.S. The causes of many birth defects are unknown, but anyone who is or may become pregnant can help reduce the risk by making healthy lifestyle choices such as not smoking, avoiding drugs and alcohol and promptly treating all infections.

5. Thyroid Awareness Month: Thyroid disease — including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and goiter — is more common than diabetes or heart disease and affects women five times more frequently than men. It’s also under-diagnosed; an estimated 15 million Americans have undiagnosed thyroid disease. Take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of thyroid disease and encourage anyone with a family history or who is taking lithium or amiodarone to consider a thyroid evaluation.  

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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