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In September, you may be preparing to harvest the last crops from your garden or to endure the cascade of holidays looming just ahead. However, September is also the time of year that you should be preparing for another type of possibility: An emergency. In 2004, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared September to be National Preparedness Month. 

During September each year, FEMA encourages families to take a moment to consider and create an action plan for the various emergencies that could occur within their homes, businesses, or communities. 

Here’s what you need to know about preparedness during the month of September, including the items that you need in safety preparedness kits and specific weather-related safety tips. 

What Types of Emergencies Should You Plan for? 

The first step in preparing for an emergency is predicting the type of emergency you’re most likely to face. Every family should be prepared for emergencies like fires that can occur within the home environment. Families that own a car should make sure to prepare for car-related emergencies or other events that may occur while on the road. 

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Cancer Awareness Days in September

September may be known for crisper temperatures and the smells of autumn tailgating, but it is also a month full of cancer awareness. September is host to Blood Cancer Awareness Month, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, World Cancer Research Day, and National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week. 

Public health communicators and members of the general public should understand the aim behind these awareness months and preventive measures that can lessen the risk of ever developing cancer. 

Here’s what you need to know about the various cancers recognized in September, including prevalence and preventative measures that you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe. 

Blood Cancer Awareness Month 

In September, organizations dedicated to supporting people with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma work to raise awareness and increase research funding. 

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BA.5 COVID-19 Variant: What We Know

BA.5 is currently the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S. Here’s what you need to know about this latest COVID variant and how to best stay protected. 

What Is the BA.5 COVID Variant? 

BA.5 is one of the newest sub-variants of the COVID-19 Omicron virus. It made up 85.5% of all COVID cases in the U.S. between July 24 and July 30, reports the CDC. At present, the three most common variants of Omicron are BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5. 

How Is BA.5 Different From Other Strains of COVID? 

The BA.5 variant currently represents the highest number of COVID cases, and therefore may be more contagious than other strains of this disease. It also appears to “evade protection from vaccines and previous infections more easily” than previous variants, according to a report from NBC News.

David Montefiori, a professor at the Human Vaccine Institute at Duke University Medical Center, says BA.5 is approximately three times less sensitive to neutralizing antibodies from COVID vaccines than the original version of Omicron. It is also four times more resistant to antibodies from COVID vaccines than BA.2, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature. 

In June, the U.K. reported that the majority of people who were testing positive for COVID were experiencing symptoms including fever, abdominal pain, sore throat, and muscle aches. BA.5 and BA.4 accounted for the majority of new COVID cases in the U.K. during that time. 

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