More than 350,000 people took their own lives in the past year, and today we are losing more military soldiers to suicide than battle, according to Secretary of Army, John McHugh, who recently briefed America on the National Suicide Prevention Strategy.
This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, which helps raise awareness of the resources available to those who are feeling anxiety and depression that could lead to suicide.
National and local events are being held throughout the week including ribbon awareness day, a live Twitter chat on Friday and many other opportunities to get involved and help your loved ones. Learn more about the events and find one near you.
If you or someone you know is feeling anxious or depressed, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or you can chat with a counselor online.
Veterans and their families can call 1-800-273-8255 or go to Veterans Crisis Line for help preventing suicide.
Learn more about National Suicide Prevention Week and how to help.
If ovarian cancer is found early on, it can be treated more effectively. Learn to recognize the symptoms.
As of September 4, 2012, 87 deaths caused by West Nile Virus have been reported in the United States. There have been 1,993 cases of West Nile Virus in people, with 70 percent of those cases occurring in six states: Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan.
Forty-eight states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes.
West Nile Virus is a potentially dangerous illness that is primarily spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes themselves become infected when they feed on infected birds.
About one in 150 people infected with the virus will develop severe illness that could cause permanent neurological effects or death. About 20 percent of people can have symptoms for up to several weeks. Eighty percent of infected people show no symptoms at all. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious symptoms.
The easiest and best way to avoid West Nile Virus is to prevent mosquito bites.
- When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
- Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
- Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
Learn more about the West Nile Virus outbreak from the Centers for Disease Control.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Anyone can get skin cancer, but some people are at increased risk due to a combination of genetic factors and behaviors. Learn more about this potentially deadly cancer and what you can do to decrease your risk:
Risk Factors — Sun exposure, family history, and certain medical conditions are among the many risk factors.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself — By limiting your exposure to UV radiation in a variety of ways, you can decrease your risk of developing skin cancer.
How to Check Your Skin — Doing a regular self-exam will help you to identify any new growths or potentially harmful changes.
Sunscreens and Tanning — Too much exposure to UV rays through indoor or outdoor tanning can lead to skin cancer.
Types of Skin Cancer — Learn about the three most common forms of skin cancer and where on the body they tend to occur.
It’s not just good luck and good genes that lead to a healthy life. Research shows that our actions have a big say in the matter, too. Many major health problems that affect men and boys are preventable through lifestyle changes, early detection, and treatment.
And yet, several things work against men when it comes to health. They tend to smoke and drink more than women. They don’t seek medical help as often as women. Some men define themselves by their work, which can add to stress.
Kick off the Men’s Health Week, the week leading to Father’s Day 2012, by checking out these top tips to help boys and men maintain good health and long lives.
- Get routine exams and screenings. Ask your doctor how often you need to be examined. Ask about screening tests for certain diseases and conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sexually transmitted infections, and certain types of cancer.
- Get enough sleep. It can affect your mood and your health. Try certain changes that can improve your sleep. See your doctor if you think you have a serious problem.
- Eat healthy. Nutritious foods give you energy and may lower your risk of certain diseases. Focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free milk products. Learn nutrition basics and how to read a food label.
- Stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can raise your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Find out your body mass index, or BMI, to see if you’re at risk. Eat healthy foods, control portion sizes, and be active to keep your weight in check.
- Get moving. Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Find out how much physical activity you need.
- Be smoke-free. Smoking is linked to many of the leading causes of death, including cancer, lung disease, and stroke. If you smoke, quit today! Also, avoid secondhand smoke. Take any medications you need. Thousands of deaths could be prevented each year by taking medications properly. Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for all medications, including those that help control conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Avoid heavy drinking, which can lead to many problems, including high blood pressure, various cancers, psychological problems, and accidents. For men 65 and younger, drinking in moderation means no more than two drinks per day. Men older than 65 should have no more than one drink a day. Find out about drink serving sizes.
- Manage stress. Balancing work and family obligations can be challenging. But it’s important to protect your mental and physical health. Find healthy ways to cope with stress.
- Be careful. Unintentional injury is the number one cause of death for males under the age of 44.
Tips courtesy of the Department of Health and Human Services.