In many countries and cultures the month of April is not only celebrated as the beginning of Spring, but as the beginning of the yearly cycle of life and activity. Of hope and resolve. We derive the name of April from the Romans, who named it ‘Aprillis’, which means ‘to open.’ They, in turn, borrowed the word from the ancient Greeks, who called it ‘Anixi’, which means ‘anything that is open.’ Many ancient cultures celebrated various fertility festivals during the month of April to help the awakening landscape continue to bud and blossom into fruits and flowers.
In North America April is also celebrated in a wide variety of health initiatives that are meant to remind people of good health practices, and encourage and educate them about them. The Department of Health and Human Resources provides a listing of most of them:
April has been set aside as National Distracted Driving Month. Motorists are reminded to refrain from texting while driving, or using any handheld device while in motion.
April is also Alcohol Awareness Month. The toll that alcohol abuse takes on physical and mental health is enormous. It also has a staggering impact on the finances of individuals and companies. Yet many people remain unaware of the danger signs of alcoholism -- in themselves and in others.
April is designated as Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Those who fall victim to such cancers are in danger of losing their speaking, eating, and talking abilities. Dr. Mark Silberg, a Pittsburgh Periodontist suggests taking some extra time this month to review your oral hygiene procedures.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Every state in the USA now has a toll-free number that can be called to report possible child abuse situations. Do you know the number in your state?
In April we celebrate National Autism Awareness Month. This complex disability behavior usually develops in early childhood, and requires a medical specialist to accurately diagnose and treat.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month is in April. Communities are working much more closely together in order to provide protection against and help for this criminal and traumatic experience.
April has been set aside as Irritable Bowel Syndrome Month. This is a serious physical ailment that sidelines thousands of people each year.
Appropriately, April is also National Donate Life Month. The month has been set aside to celebrate organ donors and to educate the public on the importance of signing up to be an organ and tissue donor.
It’s also National Facial Protection Month. Facial injuries can leave deep emotional scars even after the physical healing is finished.
April is National Minority Health Month. An opportunity to examine the disparities between healthcare for mainstream Americans as opposed to those who, for whatever reason, have been marginalized.
April is Sports Eye Safety Month. Protecting the eyes during sports events is crucial in protecting eyesight.
National Youth Violence Protection Week is April 2nd to the 9th. Young people are often both the victims and the perpetrators of physical violence, such as bullying. More education and intervention is needed, especially in the public schools.
World Health Day is April 7th. A day set aside to recognize the outstanding achievements of the World Health Organization in preventing and treating global disease outbreaks.
National Infant Immunization Week goes from April 22 to April 29. Check with your clinic to see if they are offering any free or discounted infant vaccinations during this time.
National Sleep Awareness Week runs from April 23 to the 29th. According to the CDC, one in three adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
And World Meningitis Day is on April 24th. This silent killer still afflicts thousands of children and young adults each year across the globe. Make sure you know the signs and symptoms of this murderous malady!