December health & wellness observances
December is a big holiday month so a good focus for any wellness initiatives would be tips for stress reduction and healthy eating, as well as the importance of personal safety while celebrating, shopping and driving. Here are a few national initiatives designated for the month of December.
Handwashing Awareness = Since 1999, the first week of December is Handwashing Awareness Week - and since it's right in the middle of flu season, it's a timely reminder. Henry the Hand has been a tireless ambassador in carrying a serious message: the importance of hand-washing in preventing the spread of illnesses and infectious diseases. Henry is the brainchild of a Dr. William sawyer, an international expert in hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. He employees the friendly, humorous mascot of Henry the Hand to carry frank talk about the spread of germs to kids and their parents.
The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness are simple but effective:
1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating
2. DO NOT cough into your hands
3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands
4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth
National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, 2013 - Typically, about 1,000 people are killed in alcohol related crashes between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) targets this high-risk time with an annual campaign to raise awareness about and prevent drunk driving over the holiday season. MADD invites all Americans to put a red ribbon or window decal on their vehicles as a pledge to drive safely, soberly, and with seat belts buckled during the holidays and throughout the year. Seat belts are an important aspect of the safety message because a buckled seat belt is the best defense against a drunk driver. Employers can support and reinforce this message throughout the month and can incorporate safe practices in any holiday celebrations.
And speaking of driving safety, do you conduct an annual review of license status for all employees that have driving as an essential job task? If not, that might be a good resolution for early in the new year.
December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month - a fitting focus since it is also the largest gift-giving month. Safe Kids USA offers a comprehensive site on toy safety, with tips, buying guides, and lists of recalls. ToyInfo.org is a toy industry sponsored site that also offers buying information and tips. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a good source of Toy Safety Guides and recalls. Prevent Blindness offers two downloadable PDFs: Facts About Toy Injuries and Tips for Choosing Safe Toys.
World AIDS Day, December 1 is World AIDS Day, with a 2013 theme being " Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation.” In reality, every day is a good day to communicate about AIDS and AIDS prevention. This is a serious health issue that has slipped off the radar for many - so much so that recent research shows an alarming rise in unprotected sex.
The CDC offers comprehensive resources on treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, with everything from multilingual fact sheets to information on clinical trials, vaccines, various health topics, and information for various special populations such as teens and seniors. They also offer HIV resources for the workplace.
ESI EAP offers 24-7 access to counselors and a wide variety of support resources for employees and family members who are facing difficult health challenges. We also offer wellness benefits and health risk assessments, including discounts for weight loss programs, exercise and nutrition programs, and stop smoking programs. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.