Health Topics of the Month
January Awareness Activities
Cervical Health Awareness Month
The United States Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. More than 14,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer each year, but the disease is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening.
The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical cancers. HPV can also cause other kinds of cancer in both men and women. HPV vaccination is recommended for preteens aged 11 to 12 years but can be given starting at age 9. HPV vaccine also is recommended for everyone through age 26 years, if they are not vaccinated already. Early protection works best
A Pap test can find cell changes to the cervix caused by HPV. HPV tests find the virus and help healthcare providers know which women are at highest risk for cervical cancer. Pap tests are recommended for regular screening at age 21. If your Pap test result is normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait three years until your next Pap test.
Pap and HPV tests (either alone or in combination) are recommended for women over 30. Each woman should ask her health care provider how often she should be screened and which tests are right for her.
National Radon Action Month
This January, join the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) to take action in educating our community about the health risks of radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas, and is a health risk because it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Radon enters our homes through cracks in any floors, walls, or foundations. It can also be released from building materials and water obtained from wells that contain radon. In your home, basements and first floors usually have the highest radon levels because of their closeness to the ground.
New Hampshire is well known as the “Granite State”. This granite, in addition to our soil, contains small amounts of uranium. The uranium naturally breaks down and forms radon gas that we can breathe (NH DHHS).
Exposure to radon is preventable and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family. Take action and test your home! Order a free radon test kit here.
- EPA, 2023
National Stalking Awareness Month
January 2023 marks the nineteenth annual National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM), an annual call to action to recognize and respond to the serious crime of stalking.
Though millions of men and women are stalked every year in the United States, the crime of stalking is often misunderstood, minimized and/or ignored. Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that causes fear for their safety and often causes severe emotional distress.
Stalkers use a variety of tactics, including (but not limited to):
- Unwanted contact including phone calls, texts, and contact via social media
- Unwanted gifts
- Showing up/approaching an individual or their family/friends
- Monitoring or following
- Property damage
Stalking is a terrifying and psychologically harmful crime and is a predictor of serious violence.
The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. Many victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner (such as a husband or boyfriend) or by a friend.
We all have a role to play in identifying stalking and supporting victims and survivors. Learn more at www.stalkingawareness.org and how you can help stop it!
- SPARC, 2023
National Blood Donor Month
Did you know that every two seconds in America, someone needs blood?
This demand goes well beyond those facing an unexpected emergency like a car crash. Blood transfusions are regularly needed to treat patients facing everything from diseases like cancer to cardiovascular and orthopedic surgeries to organ and bone marrow transplants. In total, 1 in 7 people entering a hospital depend on a ready and available blood supply.
As important as blood is for live-saving medical treatment, just three percent of all Americans donate blood today. That’s despite the fact that 65 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to do. Less than 20 percent of all blood donations each year come from individuals in communities of color and donations from individuals 19 and under have dropped nearly 50 percent over the last two years alone. This reality has created an urgent need for younger, more diverse donors.
That’s why it’s so important to celebrate National Blood Donor Month this January. This month serves as an opportunity to spread awareness about the need for more blood donors while taking time to celebrate those who already donate and help save lives.
To find a local blood collection site and schedule an appointment to donate, visit https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive.
- America’s Blood Centers, 2023