Saturday, April 04, 2009

April Health Observances, Part 1

There are so many this month, if I wait any longer some will be over already:

April 1-7, Testicular Cancer Awareness Week. Testicular cancer is the young man’s cancer. If caught early, this cancer is completely curable. Teaching young men to perform testicular self exam on a regular basis is vitally important, because of the alarming number of young men who have been presenting with advanced, incurable cases of Testicular Cancer. It is designed to promote awareness of the importance of early detection through monthly self-exams and correct diagnosis. Check out this site to learn more (in English and Spanish) if you are a man between puberty and 50 (or if you love a man in that age group) to learn how to perform testicular exam and sign up for a monthly reminder to do your self-exam.

April 6 – 12, National Public Health Week. Sponsored by the American Public Health Association. From their website: "By recommitting ourselves to support our nation’s public health system, we can build on the successes of the past and establish the solid foundation needed for a healthy nation. Join us in celebrating National Public Health Week 2009 and supporting public health efforts aimed at 'Building the Foundation for a Healthy America.'”

April 7, World Health Day 2009. “Save Lives, Make Hospitals Safe in Emergencies.” World Health Day 2009 focuses on the safety of health facilities and the readiness of health workers who treat those affected by emergencies. Health centres and staff are critical lifelines for vulnerable people in disasters - treating injuries, preventing illnesses and caring for people's health needs.

National Alcohol Awareness Month. Many schools take Spring break in April. As a former ER nurse I’m haunted by the memory of one particular Spring break accident that claimed a bunch of young lives; drinking, driving and cars were involved. National Alcohol Awareness Month. , and Here’s a site for college and high school students, their parents, teachers and administrators.

This weekend April 3-5, is suggested to be an Alcohol-Free-Weekend (click to learn more) while Sunday, April 5, is National alcohol screening day. (As my spouse pointed out, this is the Final Four weekend, so participation for this weekend is doubtful for the diehard fans who imbibe.)

National Donate Life Month. The theme is “30 days to save a life, what to do in April.” At the Donate Life Month website you can learn about the needs for organ, blood, and tissue donations, download organ donor cards for yourself and others, and order a free organ donation lapel pin. I always liked the slogan, “Don't take your organs to heaven - heaven knows we need them here!" It’s available on a bumper sticker along with other transplant awareness stickers and merchandise.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. IBS is one of those personal problems that people do not like to discuss or have others know about . . . IBS can make it embarrassing and difficult, if not sometimes impossible, to function in social situations. It can also be difficult to diagnose. This month is sponsored by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. The IBS month official website provides the most comprehensive information for the public that I’ve seen on one site.

National Cancer Control Month. Click the link to visit the National Cancer Institute’s suggestions for preventing cancer or detecting it early. Also visit the American Cancer Society website for additional information.

Cesarean Awareness Month is sponsored by the International Cesarean Awareness Network. This organization advocates for choices in childbirth in an effort to eliminate needless Cesarean sections. There are good reasons to have Cesarean sections in some cases, but many reasons to avoid this surgery if at all possible. Their site provides plenty of good information and suggestions for advocacy.

National Facial Protection Month. In April the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Association of Orthodontists, and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry sponsor National Facial Protection Month to emphasize the importance of “playing it safe” by wearing mouth guards and other appropriate protective gear when participating in sports and other physical activities.

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