This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week in the U.S. Established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005, this week highlights the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holidays and beyond. Vaccines against the flu are the best defense against the virus and developing flu-related complications.

The CDC holds National Influenza Vaccination Week in December as vaccinations tend to drop quickly after the end of November, leaving many vulnerable during the holiday season. Going on vacation or having relatives visiting from afar can expose people to different strains of the flu than what they have built a immune response to, which can spread illness for those unprotected. The flu vaccine protects against multiple strains of the flu viruses. Yearly vaccinations are recommended because flu viruses are always changing, and each year the vaccine is updated to better match circulating influenza strains.

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months to get a flu vaccine

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This week is Thanksgiving in the United States, marking the beginning of the holiday season. The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy being with loved ones, but they are not without their demands. Physical, emotional, and mental stress can accompany the holiday joy and can make everything a little harder for those already experiencing difficulties with their health. We at NeedyMeds have tips for staying healthy during the holiday season.

Travel safely. Last year we shared a blog with tips for traveling, especially for those travelling with a chronic illness. Whether traveling by car or by air: plan ahead, stay safe, and prepare for any personal health needs.

Wash your hands. Keeping your hands clean is an important step to avoiding sickness and spreading germs, especially while travelling or preparing food.

Stay warm. The holiday season brings winter to much of the United States and cold temperatures can cause health problems, especially the very young and elderly adults. Stay dry and dress warmly in several layers.

Manage stress. The holidays can be stressful—familial obligations, cooking, cleaning,

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It is the time of year that children have returned to school where they will be exposed to lots of new experiences and ideas but also higher risk of exposure to viruses and other illnesses. Here are tips to ensure your children have a successful and healthy time in school.

Vaccinations are the best course for preventing illness. In addition to the vaccines recommended by your doctor, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age.

Sleep is essential to keep children (and adults) focused throughout the day. Adults need about eight hours of sleep, while young children often need more. It’s important to set a bedtime that ensures they get enough sleep, and to keep a consistent schedule.

It is never too early to teach good hygiene habits. To help children avoid getting sick and prevent them from bringing germs home, it’s important to show them how to wash their hands after using the restroom or before eating.

A healthy diet can help children grow and learn more effectively, as well as keep their immune systems primed to fight off illness. Avoid junk food and soft

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We are now in June and summer is about to sweep across much of the United States. Over the next few months, it will be important to protect ourselves from the health risks posed by the sun and heat. Regardless of skin color, exposure to the sun carries many dangers to one’s skin—from freckles and wrinkles often associated with aging, to sunburns, benign tumors or cancerous skin lesions. Prolonged heat exposure can also have many negative impacts on one’s health ranging from a rash, exhaustion, fainting, or even death.

Although everyone should take precautions to protect their skin, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages those with pale skin; blond, red, or light brown hair; or who has a personal or family history of skin cancer to be especially careful while in the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage one’s skin in as little as 15 minutes, and the best tool in combatting that skin damage is sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests applying SPF 30 (at least) liberally 15 minutes before going outside, and to reapply at least every two hours to remain protected.

To further protect

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The last week of March has been LGBT Health Awareness Week since 2003. We have gone over some of the barriers to healthcare for some of the transgender community in previous blog posts, but it remains important to bring awareness to the unique healthcare needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and the health disparities that continue to beleaguer the lives of so many Americans.

A report by the Institute of Medicine found that fear of discrimination causes many LGBT people to avoid seeking out medical care. This compromises an entire community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals who are at increased risk for several health threats when compared to heterosexual or cisgender peer groups: Gay men are at higher risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; lesbians are less likely to get cancer screenings; transgender individuals are among the least likely to have health insurance along with risks from hormone replacement and atypical cancers. Even as youths, LGBT people are at higher risk of violence, depression, substance abuse, homelessness, and other suicide-related behaviors.

The

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