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  • Get Involved This Summer!

    This long period of economic hardship in the U.S. has been accompanied by at least one positive trend: an increasing mood of charity among Americans. Many people are volunteering their time and energy to positive causes.

    If you wish to contribute personally, there are many ways to provide assistance to those in need. One way to offer support to the well-being of the community is to participate in fundraisers like awareness walks and events. Below are a few suggested activities.

    To help raise awareness for mental health issues and reduce the stigma of mental illnesses during May--Mental Health Month--local chapters of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) across the country are holding fundraising walks. NAMI offers a guide to the walks online.
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  • Food Allergy Awareness Week: May 8 to May 14

    Food Allergy Awareness Week is observed from May 8 to May 14. This annual observance was initiated in 1997 by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), an organization that advocates on behalf of patients and families. The goal for the week is to educate the public on this potentially life-threatening condition.

    A food allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to eating a particular food. The symptoms of a food allergy range from hives to digestive problems to potentially life-threatening swelling of airways and a drop in blood pressure. The medical term for this condition is anaphylaxis.

    Milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish are the most common foods that cause allergic reactions in the American population. According to the Mayo Clinic, 6 to 8 percent of children under 5, and 3 to 4 percent of adults live with food allergies.
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  • The Importance of Wearing Medical Alert Jewelry: Spread the Word

    Our last blog highlighted the importance for people with certain conditions to wear medical alert jewelry. The potentially fatal consequence of not wearing a medical ID signals a need for personal and community-based awareness campaigns. You, as an individual, can play an important part in spreading this important message.

    There are a number of ways to approach a campaign to spread awareness of the importance of wearing medical alert jewelry. The first step to any awareness campaign is research and planning. You will have to decide whether to focus on one particular condition--diabetes or epilepsy, for instance--or to focus on the topic of medical ID jewelry in general. Research the condition(s) to make certain you have the facts straight. Statistics on the issue will help communicate your message more effectively.
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  • Should You Be Wearing Medical Alert Jewelry?

    Medical alert jewelry can be a literal life-saver in an emergency. But, who should wear them? What should be engraved on them? And what are the benefits, precisely?

    There is an extensive range of conditions that necessitate wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace. Among the most common conditions are diabetes, food and drug allergies, and epilepsy. Others conditions that need identification are autism, epilepsy, lymphedema, dementia, and hearing and/or sight impairment. Transplant patients and others with implanted medical devices should also wear medical ID jewelry. There are many other diseases, especially rare conditions, for which wearing medical alert jewelry is prescribed.

    The engraving on the medical ID jewelry should list the condition the person has; any allergies he or she has to drugs, foods, and/or insect stings; and the names of the drugs that the individual takes. If there is room, the person’s name and an emergency phone number should be listed along with the number of his or her doctor. Additional information should be kept in a wallet ID and/or on a USB flashdrive.
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  • April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

    April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, an opportunity to learn more about the disease, to help raise public awareness, and to seek out ways to help the cause. April 11, Parkinson’s Disease Day, is the birthday of James Parkinson, the English doctor who first described the disease in an 1817 essay. The red tulip was adopted as the symbol for Parkinson’s disease (PD) when a Dutch horticulturalist with PD, J.W.S. Van der Wereld, developed a red and white tulip after Dr. James Parkinson.

    Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system most common in people over 50. The disorder is caused by the death of dopamine-containing cells in the brain, though what causes the cells to die is unknown. Movement related symptoms present themselves early in the onset of the disease. Among the most apparent symptoms are shaking, rigidness, slowed movement, and difficulty walking. Cognitive and behavioural problems usually arise as the disease progresses. Dementia often occurs in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease.
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