Category: Awareness

News Literacy Affects Public Health

It’s News Literacy Week, an annual event underscoring the vital role of news literacy in our society and providing audiences with the knowledge, tools, and abilities to become more adept at recognizing trustworthy sources. News literacy is the ability to determine what is credible and what is not, to identify different types of information, and to use the standards of authoritative, fact-based journalism as an aspirational measure in deciding what to trust, what to share, and what to act on. News literacy is integral for health literacy, especially in a time when misinformation is so prevalent.

Health literacy is defined as the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Being able to disseminate health information allows people to navigate the healthcare system, keep track of their medical history, competently engage in self-care, and understand the probability of health risks

Teachers have developed thoughtful ways to

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Blood Donors Save Lives

January has been observed as National Blood Donor Month for 53 years as a time to recognize the importance of giving blood and platelets while celebrating the lifesaving impact of those who roll up a sleeve to help patients in need. This year’s National Blood Donor Month comes as the United States faces a major blood shortage.

Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured; they can only come from volunteer donors. With someone in the U.S. needing a blood transfusion every two seconds — 4.5 million Americans each year — much of today’s medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from donations. One pint of blood can save up to three lives; at the same time, a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood. Donor blood is often used during surgical procedures, childbirth, and to treat anemia or other blood disorders. Cancer patients can require daily transfusions for weeks while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Despite the importance of our nation’s blood supply, only

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Cervical Health Awareness Information and Resources

January has been observed as Cervical Health Awareness Month since 2010. With cervical cancer being the third most common cancer globally, it’s important to be mindful of the health risks and resources available to those in need. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 12,000 people are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and roughly 4,000 die from it annually. As many as 93% of cervical cancers can be prevented by screening and vaccination.

The main cause of cervical cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed between people through sex or any skin-to-skin genital contact with someone who has the virus. HPV is so common that most people will have it at some point in their lives without ever developing symptoms. Up to 90% of cases are cleared naturally by the immune system within two years. There is no way of knowing who will go on to develop health problems.

Some strains of HPV can cause warts around one’s genitals or in their throat, while others can cause normal cells in the body to turn abnormal — potentially developing into cancer over time. Smoking, having HIV, using

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Get a Flu Shot for National Influenza Vaccination Week

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week in the United States. Established by the Centers 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.

We have previously explored how vaccines work. The influenza vaccine contains elements of killed or inactivated viruses. The dead virus still contains the antigens they had when active, and a person’s immune response is similar to the immune response from an infection. Despite misconceptions, the flu shot can not cause the flu. Due to the quickly-evolving nature of influenza, annual flu shots are often necessary to protect against the circulating variants. No vaccine is 100% effective at preventing infection but vaccines do reduce disease severity, slow transmission, and protect vulnerable people.

We’ve covered the similarities

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An unhoused man holds a sign that reads "Seeking human kindness" on the MBTA

Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Can Change Lives

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is an annual observance when people and organizations across the country draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness. While the problems are broad and causes are varied, the solutions that have been shown to work (but are rarely implemented in the United States) are centered around harm reduction as opposed to criminalization.

Homelessness can take many forms, with people living on the street, in encampments or shelters, in transitional housing programs, or staying with family or friends. While the U.S. government reports 1.5 million people a year experience homelessness, other estimates find up to twice this number of people are actually without housing in any given year. Housing can greatly affect access to healthcare, and lack of access to affordable healthcare can equally affect housing.

Being excluded from access to affordable healthcare can be a barrier in itself to getting a job and escaping poverty. Unhoused people face significant

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About Us

Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.