Category Archives: World Awareness Day

International Nurses Day May 12th, National Nurse Week May 6th-12th

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Florence Nightingale is an important figure in the world of nursing and healthcare. She was born in May of 1820 and  belonged to a prosperous British family. From a young age, she believed her purpose was to become a nurse, administering aid to the poor and the ill. Her parents were unsupportive of her career decision and were disgruntled by her refusal to settle down and marry a man of social affluence. Florence wasn’t distracted from her goal and received her nursing degree at the Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Kaiserwerth, Germany.

Florence worked as a nurse in a hospital at Constantinople during the Crimean war in 1853 and worked to improve on the unsanitary and inhumane living conditions of the wounded soldiers there. She tended to their wounds and illnesses during every time of the day, earning her the nickname “the Lady with the Lamp.” Once the war was over, Florence returned home to the praise of the public, earning awards and monetary prizes from the Queen and the British government. Throughout the rest of her life, she campaigned for the improvement of health standards and hospital designs, as well as for the reform of professional training for nurses. Florence remains a notary figure today whom many people still consider to be an important role model.

Florence Nightingale survives in our history as an inspired nurse and a compassionate statistician.  She changed the world of nursing and will always be remembered as an important figure in healthcare and nursing.

International Nurses Day is celebrated worldwide every May 12, on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. It is celebrated to recognize the life-changing contributions nurses make to society. Though mainly commemorated around May 12 each year, IND activities are carried on throughout much of the year by nurses and others.  In addition to International Nurses Day, the United States also celebrates National Nurses Week. The first time the suggestion to create this week was in 1953. It failed. It was suggested again in 1954. It failed again. The next time it was suggested to the president was 2 decades later in 1972 when it finally passed. The American government also decided to honor Nightingale by finishing off a week of awareness on her birthday.

Some of the goals of these two events are to improve the image of nurses while also influencing healthcare policies around the world.  One of the easiest ways to show your respect and to help these goals is to say thank you to a nurse you know or meet.

Photo: http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk

Sources:

ICN

ANA

http://www.biography.com/people/florence-nightingale-9423539?page=2

http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/the-collection/biography.html

http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Features/Articles/Empowering-Nurses-with-Data.aspx

http://plus.maths.org/content/florence-nightingale-compassionate-statistician

Calling All Users of Science

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This Saturday there is going to be a series of marches and protests occurring in 358 cities in the United States and over 500 world wide. The March for Science is the first event of it’s kind. It is a call for support from all students, science-based careers and anyone who benefits from scientific advances (psst that’s everyone). It’s a nonpartisan even that is urging policy makers to look at evidence based practices and scientific data to influence their policies and ruling instead of money.

You can find a city near you here that is holding a march. The Fargo/Moorhead area is holding a large one that is expecting several thousand visitors. Here are some of the missions or goals that the March for Science hopes to achieve.

  • Evidence-based policy and regulations in the public interest. They wish for policy makers to make decisions not altered by other agendas.
  • Cutting-edge science education. They believe that a science background isn’t only for a select few, the entire  majority of the population should be able to interpret scientific literature.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in STEM. This comes into play with the previous mission, they wish to have an outreach in education.
  • Open, honest science and inclusive public outreach. Several policies that have been passed recently have banned or limited the exchange of scientific literature and dialogue. By restricting access to the newest information, the governmental body is harming it’s people.
  • Funding for scientific research and its applications. Under the proposed 2018 budget, all scientific bodies with federal funding will see a cut from 10% to 31%. They wish to change so that we are capable of producing more advancements.

In the few months that this has been planned, they have partnered with over 300 different scientific agencies and centers. Here is their page for the MN marches specifically.  They have several social media accounts; check them out on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram.

 

Care for the Earth, and it’ll care for you Earth Day 22nd 2017

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Take a deep breath, now let it out. The air you just breathed in was probably refreshing at best, tolerable at worst. You might have noticed the onion or tuna you ate, but that was the worst of it. The next time you drink water, look at it. Is it clear? Probably. Is it colorless? Again, most likely. Is there water in your cup? Well duh.

Never before have these two things been at risk before, drinking and breathing, in the human existence time frame. With the help of globalization and a population boom, humans are having a profound effect on the world. We haven’t had to come to terms that it won’t last forever, because we’ve never had to worry about that in the past.

For the first time in human existence, carbon levels have risen above a threshold it has never crossed before. It didn’t just stop there; the current levels of carbon are sitting at 133% of that threshold. This rise in carbon is having an increased effect, often called the Greenhouse Effect. Due to this warming, there are many changes that are taking place in the world.

Professor Wallace recently gave a seminar on climate change here on campus and the effects that it has on human health. In her presentation she introduced us to some interesting points. A warmer world, even by 2 or 3 degrees Celsius shifts the mosquito habitat. More people will be exposed to mosquito borne disease and for longer times; Zika, Yellow Fever, Dengue, West Nile and the list goes on. Currently 3.6 billion are at risk for these diseases. With a temperature increase that number could rise up to 5 billion. Allergies will worsen as their window widens also. Flooding will increase, as will hurricanes and tornadoes.

Some cities have to issue warnings over smog exposure. It is estimated that of the 10 million deaths every year in China, 1 million is caused by pollutants. Exposure to all these new chemicals is wreaking havoc on our bodies and the environment. In addition to this smog exposure, there is an increasing amount of people with other respiratory problems such as asthma. In 2001, 1 in 14 people had asthma. In 2009, 1 in 12 people. That is the most recent number, although the CDC projects that as many as 1 in 10 people have asthma today.

The goal of Earth Day is to bring awareness to all these issues. It is trying to create scientifically literate people who will in turn be scientifically literate voters on environmental policies. They aim to change the direction of the world towards more green energy, jobs and technology. They hope that by 2020 a majority of the population will be able to understand the scientific literature that affects their lives and environments.

The first Earth Day was held in 1970, and attendance was well above what anyone was expecting. 20 million people, roughly 10% of the population, joined the rallies and marches. It has been one of the most effective awareness days because it is bipartisan for the most part. After that first celebration, the government felt pressured into creating the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air, Clean Water and the Endangered Species Act were also created.

Here are some more facts about Earth Day and our environment.

  • There is roughly 155 billion pounds of plastic in the ocean and roughly 9 billion is added every year
  • We will only be able to fill 60% of the world’s water needs by 2030 without better management
  • The Montreal Protocol signed in 1987 banned many chemicals that were ripping a hole in the ozone. Thanks to that act, the ozone is now healing and the hole is closing.
  • A convention was held in 1997, the Convention on Biological Diversity. Here many countries around the world pledged that they would work to sustain a diverse biosphere starting in their own countries.
  • The Renewable Portfolio Standard is an aggressive self- proposed bill in California that says that the state has to get half their energy from renewable sources by 2030. Many states followed, but theirs is the most ambitious.
  • In 2012 the Earth Day Network planted 1 billion trees to try and bring back forested areas.

https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/asthma/

http://www.earthday.org/wp-content/uploads/Earth-Day-Action-Toolkit-2017.pdf

http://mashable.com/2015/04/22/earth-day-facts/#ugyWvQqJIaqB

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160422-earth-day-46-facts-environment/

 

World Health Day April 7th 2017

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Every year on April 7th we celebrate World Health Day to remember the day that the World Health Organization was formed. (W.H.O.) Every year this day has a theme, and this year it’s Depression. Their slogan “Depression: Let’s Talk”  is trying to get people to open up about their disorder and get the help they may need. They have several goals about what they want to see happen:

  • the general public is better informed about depression, its causes and possible consequences, including suicide, and what help is or can be available for prevention and treatment
  • people with depression seek help
  • family, friends and colleagues of people living with depression are able to provide support

WHO defines a case of depression when a person has gone at least 2 weeks with persistent sadness and they don’t enjoy doing any of their normal activities, which prevents them from carrying out every day activities. There are a few more symptoms that people who are afflicted by depression may have:

  • a loss of energy
  • a change in appetite
  • sleeping more or less
  • anxiety
  • reduced concentration
  • indecisiveness
  • restlessness
  • feelings of worthlessness, guilt or hopelessness
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide

The number of people that have being diagnosed every year with depression has seen an 18% increase in the last decade. The low estimates have depression affecting 322 million people worldwide, about 4.4% of the population.

Depression can be effectively prevented and treated. Treatment usually involves either a talking therapy or antidepressant medication or a combination of these. Overcoming the stigma often associated with depression will lead to more people getting help.

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http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/world-health-day/en/

http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017/en/

World Down Syndrome Awareness Day March 21st 2017

Today was chosen as a symbolic day to represent the Down Syndrome. Taking place on the 21st day of the 3rd month, it represents the triplication of the 21st chromosome. Today was meant as a day for people all around the world to learn about this connecting disorder. Down syndrome has been present in all cultures and societies around the world for millennia.

The goal of having this awareness day every year is to bring about a change be fully and equally included in society for everyone that is affected by Down Syndrome. Not all governmental bodies recognize the needs or help that those affected may need. Several key areas that people around the world are trying to change through advocacy are “health, education, work and employment, standard and choice of living accommodation, participation in political, public and cultural life and access to justice and recognition before the law.”

It is estimation of incidence is about 1 in every 700 births world wide. Approximately 6,000 babies are born that are affected by this chromosome disorder in the United States. About a quarter of a million families in the US that are affected by Down Syndrome.

The CDC and WHO have recognized that are several illnesses or health problems that are more likely to occur in someone that has Down Syndrome.

  • Hearing loss (up to 75% of people with Down syndrome may be affected)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea, which is a condition where the person’s breathing temporarily stops while asleep (between 50 -75%)
  • Ear infections (between 50 -70%)
  • Eye diseases (up to 60%), like cataracts and eye issues requiring glasses
  • Heart defects present at birth (50%)

There are several tests that are available to detect if a child has Down syndrome before birth and directly after birth. While there is no treatment available, there are certain therapies and groups that work towards helping affected people move to their full intellectual and physical capabilities.

https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/united-nations-resolution-world-down-syndrome-day

http://www.un.org/en/events/downsyndromeday/background.shtml

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/downsyndrome.html

http://www.downsyndrome.org.za/images/wdsd-logo-large (2).jpg

https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/sites/default/files/WDSD%202017%20Campaign%20Toolkit.pdf

https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/wdsd-2017

 

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Protect yourself. National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2017

Every year 40,000 people are formally diagnosed with HIV. Currently there is an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV. The number that should be getting diagnosed is actually much higher, as 13-20% of the 1.2 million are unaware that they are infected.

What most people don’t know about HIV is that there are three stages, AIDS being one of them.

  • Acute infection. About 2-4 weeks after being infected, the individual will suffer many flu symptoms in addition to severally swollen glands and a borderline headache/migraine. Many people describe this stage as the worst flu of their life. The individual can transmit the virus to others as soon as 2 weeks after being infected.
  • Latency. After this the virus goes into hiding. It will continue to multiple at low levels in your blood. There will be no visible symptoms, and this stage can last anywhere from a few months to decades. The individual can still transmit the virus to others at this stage.
  • AIDS. The individual’s immune system crashes. It allows them to be easily infected by another infection. The life expectancy once you get to this stage is under 3 years. The individual is still contagious until the very end.

There are medications that can be taken to slow the rate or chances of one’s latency from progressing to AIDS, like ART (Antiretroviral Therapy). Two other drugs have recently come onto the market. PrEP and PEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis) work as precautionary measures to decrease the likelihood of infection. PrEP can be taken daily for as long as you are at risk and PEP can be taken after an encounter where you believe you were exposed. They work to lower the likelihood of infection by as much as 97%.

There are several things that one can do to lower their chances of infection.

  • Where a male/female condom during every sexual encounter. This includes oral and anal as well as vaginal. HIV is transmitted through blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids and vaginal fluids. A condom decreases the chances that one will come in contact with one of these mediums. Women are even more likely to be infected during vaginal sex then their male counterparts. The infected semen has a large surface area to come in contact with and can remain in the vagina for several days, increasing the risk.
  • Be treated for other STDs. More so then men, women increase their chances of HIV by having by having another STD. The other STD lowers any barriers the body may have making it easier for the virus to get in.
  • Avoid injectable drugs. By sharing needles or using needles of unknown history, you may be contaminating yourself with infected blood.
  • Avoid the misuse of alcohol and drugs. These cause impairments in your decision making abilities. Doing so may decrease the chance of using a condom or increase the chance of using a needle.
  • Be monogamous. If that is not an option, talk to your sexual partners about their history. If someone is unsure of their status, have them get tested. For now, under Obamacare you can get tested for free.
  • Take PrEP. It may be expensive, but this preemptive move may save you more than what you would spend if you did contract HIV.
  • Take PEP. If something happens and you think you might have been exposed, begin taking the necessary doses of PEP within 72 hours of the contact.

There are also several threats that only effect women. This awareness day works to bring attention to both the above facts and these. Women are more likely to be the victims of sexual abuse.People that have histories of abuse are more likely to not go in for testing. They are also less likely to receive treatment for HIV if they are already positive. The abuse itself might give frequent exposure to the virus.

Women are also able to transmit the virus to their children through breastfeeding. Mothers are warned to not breastfeed their babies and to find a local breast milk bank or to use a formula. If the mother does, the chances of the baby becoming infected decreases to less than 1%.

For more information visit www.womenshealth.gov.

Sources:

https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/about-national-women-and-girls-hivaids-awareness-day

https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/what-every-girl-needs-know-about-hiv-and-aids

https://www.womenshealth.gov/hiv-and-aids/hiv-prevention

https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/statistics/

https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/just-diagnosed-with-hiv-aids/hiv-in-your-body/stages-of-hiv/

https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/what-every-woman-needs-know-about-hiv-and-aids