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October National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month: Check Yourself Out

October is National Depression Awareness and Mental Health Screening Month. October is the beginning of the holiday season. Soon, the cusp of a stressful holiday season and winter will be upon us. The diminished sunlight can lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), causing depression for many.  This observance brings attention to a common condition - depression - and the need for accessible and affordable mental health screenings.  Often, several different factors can come into play with depression, including a mix of environmental, genetic, psychological, and biological /biochemical components....

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October is Health Literacy Month

Unfortunately, several barriers exist in the United States regarding the health literacy of the general public. The U.S. healthcare system is dynamic and complex, and navigating it can be challenging for those facing health literacy barriers. This is why public health communicators and the general public at large need to recognize and promote October’s status as Health Literacy Month.  Here’s what you need to know about health literacy, the scope of health literacy challenges in the US, and what public health communicators should think about when creating and adapting resources for the public—especially...

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Looking Ahead—What to Expect This Flu Season

Anyone who has come down with the flu and has also been vaccinated against it knows that each flu season is different. Experts consider several factors when predicting the prevalence and potential danger of the upcoming flu season, which usually takes place between October and April.  The flu outlook for this coming fall and winter has been impacted by the prevalence of COVID-19 during the last two years. Also, experts have not overlooked the potential spread of swine flu. Getting a flu shot and staying updated on COVID boosters can help you and your family stay protected against infection...

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Biden Announces Pandemic Is Over: Stirs Debate Among Public Health Professionals

During a 60 Minutes interview aired on September 18, President Biden surprised everyone when he said the “pandemic is over.” He immediately followed up by saying, “We still have a problem with COVID. We're still doing a lot of work on it. It's — but the pandemic is over.”  This communication immediately caused debate among public health professionals. They took to various news outlets to express their viewpoints.  However, before we turn to the debate, let’s consider what marks an “end to a pandemic.”  Lack of Consensus on Definition  The reason there’s such a stir is partly because of a...

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Recap and Info on New “Updated Boosters” From Moderna and Pfizer

On September 1, 2022, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended the first updated COVID-19 booster.  The Updated Booster  The new booster was announced at the beginning of September by the director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky. This new booster is different from the past booster shots, as it is a bivalent formulation of the vaccine. This means it contains both the original spike protein for the original COVID-19 strain and the secondary spike protein for the more recent omicron subvariants.  This updated form of the vaccine contains two messenger RNA (mRNA) components of the coronavirus...

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