The following are national health observances for the month of December, as suggested by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
December 1 is World AIDS Day and the CDC offers a toolkit of resources — but we’d suggest that the World AIDS Day could be a springboard to a month-long focus. According to the World Health Organization, HIV/AIDS continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 34 million lives so far. In 2014, 1.2 million people died from HIV-related causes globally. On a positive note, W.H.O. says the end could be in sight – with concerted effort, we could see an end to AIDS by 2030. Prevention and testing are still critical. Here in the US, the focus on AIDS as an issue has waned and younger generations may be less knowledgeable about risks and prevention, so if we want to reach the goal of global reduction, it is important to keep a focus on education and awareness. Get more tools, facts and resources from the CDC’s HIV/AIDS resource center.
Flu & Infection Control
December is National Handwashing Awareness Month and while that may sound basic, keeping hands clean is one of the best things we can do to keep from getting sick and avoid spreading germs to others. The CDC says “Handwashing is like a “do-it-yourself” vaccine — it involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy.” Promotional tools include fact sheets, posters, video, social media messages
Also related: December 6-12, 2015 – National Influenza Vaccine Week. Encourage your employees to get their flu shots! The CDC has many resources you can use to get the word out.
Family Matters: Safe Toys
December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month. With holiday gift giving a huge focus this month, an important health and wellness message for families should be the importance of safe toys and gifts. Here are some tips and resources to help:
- Prevent Blindness: Safe toy checklist
- World Against Toys Causing Harm -(W.A.T.C.H.) offers a “10 worst” list every December
- Consumer Product Safety Commission: Toy Safety
- KidsHealth: Choosing Safe Toys
- CDC: Toys
December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities The theme for 2015 is: Inclusion matters: access and empowerment of people of all abilities