July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month, an effort to raise awareness and improve understanding of birth defects of the head and face, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Common craniofacial birth defects include orofacial clefts (cleft lip, cleft palate, or both). Each year in the U.S., thousands of babies are born with a cleft, occurring when tissue in the baby’s upper lip or roof of the mouth does not join together completely during pregnancy.
The month of July has been dedicated to spreading the awareness of an uncommon disease that strikes children — juvenile arthritis. When you think of arthritis, you probably think about older people who develop aches and pains in their joints, but that isn’t the only kind of arthritis there is. Around 300,000 children in the U.S. have juvenile arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which the child’s immune system mistakenly targets and attacks healthy tissue. There are nine different kinds of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (the most common type of juvenile arthritis), each with their own particular symptoms, treatments and prognosis.
Cord Blood Awareness Month is celebrated in July and the day has been set aside to raise awareness on the importance of cord blood. Cord blood banking is storing the stem cells in umbilical cord blood. The cord blood is collected after the baby is born and after any delayed cord clamping. Alternatively parents can save cord blood, where it may be used for sibling transplants for disorders such as thalassemia, or returned to the baby to help with developmental conditions such as cerebral palsy or autism.
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month and various organizations are highlighting the disparities diverse populations face when it comes to mental illness. In May of 2008, the US House of Representatives named July the National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. The resolution that passed intended to not only increase access to services and spread awareness about mental health, but to also hone in on the spreading awareness about minorities with mental illnesses.
July is UV Safety Month, and it’s time to be aware of the sun’s good. As we enjoy the beautiful summertime weather, we need to keep in mind several issues about the effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. We need sunshine. It helps with our body’s production of Vitamin D and has been tied to issues of depression in some people who don’t get enough. However, overexposure to the sun can lead to a variety of health risks. You may be surprised about some of the specific dangers of sun exposure and how you can protect yourself.