Health Topics of the Month

May Awareness Activities

Lupus Awareness Month 

Let's Make Lupus VisibleThis May, join lupus warriors, friends, family members, and caregivers to make lupus visible! Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs). "Chronic" means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.

Living with an invisible illness like lupus can be isolating, and sometimes lead to judgment from others who don’t exactly understand the daily struggles. Most symptoms of lupus aren’t always readily visible, but on the inside, it can wreak havoc on your body, organs, and even cause emotional and mental strain. Just because people can't see the pain, doesn't mean it's not there. Help bring visibility to lupus, even when it can’t be seen!

On average, it takes nearly 6 years for people with lupus to be diagnosed from the time they first notice their lupus symptoms. We need to change this. Getting an early diagnosis of lupus is critical to preventing long-term consequences of the disease. If someone is experiencing symptoms of lupus, they should contact their health care provider.

Take the pledge from the Lupus Foundation of America to continue raising awareness and help us make lupus visible year-round.

For more information, check out this Lupus fact sheet here.


Hepatitis Awareness Month

May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month, and May 19th is Hepatitis Testing Day. Although each type of viral hepatitis is caused by a different virus and is spread in different ways, they all affect the liver and can cause serious health problems. Throughout the month, public health partners shed light on the impact of Hepatitis by raising awareness and encouraging testing and vaccination. These activities are crucial to the health of a community as they help to improve everyone’s understanding of viral hepatitis transmission and risk factors, as well as decrease stigma against viral hepatitis.

Did you know? (CDC, 2022)

  • There are several different viruses that can cause hepatitis; the most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
  • Chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C are leading causes of liver cancer in the United States.
  • Both hepatitis A and hepatitis B are preventable with safe and effective vaccines, and hepatitis C is curable with prescribed treatment.
  • About 66% of people with hepatitis B are unaware of their infection and about 40% of people living with hepatitis C do not know they are infected.
  • Getting tested is the only way to know if you have hepatitis A, hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

Know your status! The City of Nashua DPHCS provides testing, counseling, and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and Hepatitis C (HCV) to protect the health of the community. Our clinic schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesdays / 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. / Mobile Clinic - Nashua Public Library (2 Court St., Nashua)
  • Thursdays / 3 to 6 p.m. / DPHCS Community Health Clinic (18 Mulberry St., Nashua) / Services by appointment, call 603-589-4500, option 2
  • 2nd & 4th Friday of the Month / 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. / Mobile Clinic - Laton House (28 Railroad Sq., Nashua)

Learn the ABCs of viral hepatitis and what you can do to raise awareness of hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C from the CDC. You can also check out our 2020 Community Health Assessment for local hepatitis data and trends in the Greater Nashua Region.

 

Skin Cancer Awareness Month 

UV exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. During Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the American Academy of Dermatology is asking "Do You Use Protection?" and is encouraging you to practice safe sun every time you are outdoors. 

Sun Cancer Awareness Month - CDC Protect the Skin You're In

Seek shade, wear protective clothing, and use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30+ to reduce your risk. Sunscreen is safe and can protect your skin against skin cancer and premature aging. However, it is not as effective unless it’s applied correctly. Follow these tips from dermatologists when applying sunscreen. Learn how to effectively apply sunscreen here.

 

Mental Health Awareness Month 

Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stressors of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. Many factors contribute to an individual’s mental health status, both biological and environmental.  

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Nationally, there has been a 133% increase in the mental health/behavioral disorder death rate from 1999-2019. While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. 

Mental health is essential. The Greater Nashua Community recognizes that addiction is a disease and mental health issues are complex. We encourage you to reach out and get help. Click here for a list of local mental health resources in Greater Nashua.

Prevention works. Treatment is effective. And people recover.

 

Better Sleep Month

The three cornerstones to a healthy life are diet, exercise, and sleep. Sleep is the easiest to fix! Here are five Simple Sleep Tips for Better Sleep Month:

  1. Don’t eat too much or drink alcohol right before bed. Cutting out food (in particular, the wrong kind of food) or alcohol right before bed is simple to do, and may pay big dividends under the sheets. A full belly keeps your body working when it should be sleeping. Alcohol, meanwhile, may help you fall asleep, but once its ingredients wear off it can leave you wide awake.
  2. Create a bedtime routine. Parents have heard about the value of bedtime routines for children for years. Adults can benefit from this as well. In the last hour before you turn in for the night, why not turn off the TV and read a good book? A warm bath can also help relax you. If you follow the same routine every night, your body will start to know when it’s time for sleep.
  3. Stick to your schedule. Sometimes it’s a little easier said than done, but going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time every morning (after getting the appropriate amount of sleep) will lead to a rested life.
  4. Check your bedroom temperature. The optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 68 degrees. 
  5. Do a bedding check. This is likely the least “easy” of our five tips, as it may involve some expense. However, ensuring that your bedding is replaced regularly and is appropriate for your needs may be the best change you can make to help you sleep better. Be sure to change your pillows once every year. If your mattress is old and you can’t afford a new one, a mattress topper can help extend its life.

 

Stroke Awareness Month Stroke Symptoms - Act FAST

A stroke is an emergency – it can happen to anyone, at any time, and at any age. You can greatly reduce your risk for stroke by making lifestyle changes to help control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and, in some cases, by taking medication.

What happens when someone experiences a stroke and what occurs on the way to and at the hospital, is the focus of this year’s National Stroke Awareness Month. Save a life by having a better understanding of stroke and by knowing what signs and symptoms to look for.

When it comes to stroke, every minute counts. Acting fast can help stroke patients get the treatment they need to survive and reduce damage to the brain. An easy way to remember the most common signs of stroke and how to respond is with the acronym F.A.S.T. If you think that you or someone you know is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Join us to help raise awareness of stroke in honor of National Stroke Awareness Month. Know the facts about stroke by checking out this resource from the CDC.


National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month  

Teen pregnancy and childbearing can lead to substantial social and economic costs through immediate and long-term impacts on teen parents and their children. Teen pregnancy increases the risk of health consequences, such as hypertension, pre-term birth, inadequate weight gain, and sexually transmitted infections. 

Despite historic declines, the United States teen birth rate is still higher than that of many other developed countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom. Check out these fast facts: 

  1. There were 20.3 teen births for every 1000 females ages 15 to 19 in 2016.
  2. Teen birth rates differ substantially by age, racial/ethnic group, and region of the country.
  3. Birth rates are higher among Hispanic and black adolescents than among their white counterparts.
  4. While Hispanics still have a higher teen birth rate than their black and white peers, there has been a substantial decline in recent years.

Learn more information here.