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    Summer is here again and with it comes extra factors to consider for your health particularly when spending time out in the sun and heat!

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    April is alcohol awareness month. We may be exposed to pleasant advertisements and messages for alcoholic drinks, so it is important to remember the risks associated with alcohol use. If you are of legal drinking age and choose to drink, please drink responsibly.

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    When you were a young child, did you ever have a hard time getting others to listen to you or wanting your voice to be heard around the dinner table or at a family party? Have you ever tried making a point at a gathering or meeting only to be talked over? There are many instances where you might have wanted your voice to be heard and struggled to accomplish this. Perhaps it felt that you did not matter or that you did not count. Well, as you may know, every ten years we are asked to be counted. The US Census is trying to count everyone who lives in the United States because we all matter.

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    Few would disagree we are experiencing unprecedented times. Stress levels are high as we adjust to working remotely, disruptions in regular schedules, challenges in securing daily essentials and uncertainty as to what comes next.

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    There has been extensive media coverage on the coronavirus these last few weeks and it has caused great concern globally. It was previously referred to as 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, however, the official name announced by the World Health Organization is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated COVID-19. Like other respiratory illnesses, common COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

    Follow these general recommendations to prevent the spread of this and other respiratory viruses.

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    Have you been staying up late to catch up on your favorite shows or social media? Perhaps, your busy schedule has pushed your bedtime back later than you would like. After all, many of us are juggling work, social and philanthropic activities, and adding on our loved one’s schedules to the mix, well, the hours in the day never seem to be enough! Unfortunately, as you may already know, what gets shortchanged is our night’s rest. Getting the recommended amount of sleep nightly is a struggle that many of us constantly face.

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    It is December again. In a few days we will begin another year full of opportunities. It is also a time of celebration that brings together family and friends. To help you have a happy and healthy holiday season there are a few steps you can take.

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    November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior- ultimately interfering with daily life. Dementia is a term that covers a range of medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

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    October is the time of year when special attention is brought to bullying awareness.  Typically, the first thing that comes to my mind is the prevalence of bullying among children and teens.  While bullying among this age group continues to be a prominent concern, my awareness has recently been brought to bullying in the work place.

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    I recently participated in a certificate-training course on mental health first aid for those who work with youth. When I learned about the opportunity, I felt it was relevant to me not only professionally as a health educator, but also personally as a parent and coach. The training is meant to help those working with youth learn specific skills that are critical during a mental health crisis.

  11. Published

    As we commemorate autism awareness month, let us embrace the Autism Society's challenge to go beyond autism awareness and learn to accept and appreciate individuals with autism.

    One way to increase acceptance is by fostering autism friendly spaces. According to the organization Autism Friendly Spaces Unlocking Minds and Spaces - A space is autism friendly when it accommodates and supports the sensory, communication, and social/emotional needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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    March was first declared National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month back in 1999. It is during this month that we take the time to bring awareness to the prevention and symptoms of colorectal cancer.

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    Yes, December 1st is National World AIDS Day, but we cannot stop there……

    While December 1st is Worlds AIDS Day, a day that gives us an opportunity to come together and unite to stop new HIV infections, support those that have been affected and remember those who have lost their lives to HIV-related disease, we must continue to unite and bring awareness to this public health threat all year.

    This is why I have decided to use this month's blog to highlight HIV/AIDS and the great accomplishments and strides that has been made.

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    November is the time of year that the American Lung Association asks us to bring our attention to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a progressive, chronic lung disease that over time makes it hard to breathe. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States. While there is no cure for COPD, the good news is COPD is often preventable and treatable.

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    We live in a technology driven society. Our youth do not know what life was like before cell phones, computers and the internet. While technology can contribute to an increasing array of health problems like sedentary life styles, many health educators are leveraging the power of technology and social media to advance health promotion activities and to encourage healthier lifestyles.

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    Whether it's participating in a rally, writing your legislator, signing a petition, or just educating your neighbor on an issue, advocacy plays a critical role in improving community health. Advocacy is crucial to raise awareness of community health issues and influence private and public policy choices. Recent community health issues that have been at the center of community health advocacy nationwide include access to affordable healthcare insurance, prescription drug policy, and gun violence prevention.

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    Striving for health equity in health education programming in a county as large and diverse as Cook County, Illinois is no small task. Cook County is the second-most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County, California. As of 2015, the population was 5.2 million.

    Health disparities across the county, which includes the city of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, are vast. Data show the areas of greatest disparity being the south and west sides of the city, as well as the southern suburbs.

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    You might have seen announcements about screening for Hepatitis C. Over 3.5 million people are infected with Hepatitis C and about ¾ of them do not know it. Hepatitis C is inflammation of the liver which will kill cells. Over time, there will be build up of dead cells leading to scarring. This can result in slow blood flow causing the liver to shrink, harden and stop working. We cannot survive without a liver.

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    The American Dental Association (ADA) and the ADA Foundation commemorate National Children's Dental Health Month every February to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. The health of our teeth and gums depends on a lifetime of care and so developing healthy habits at an early age and visiting the dentist regularly is important.

  20. Published

    January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.

    Each year, nearly 13,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer. Cervical cancer can be curable if found and treated early. It is the most preventable and the only gynecologic cancer with a screening test (Pap test) and a vaccine. Pap tests can detect changes in the cells of the cervix. It is recommended that women should begin Pap tests at the age of 21. Cervical cancer occurs most often in women over 30 but can occur at any age so regular screening is important.