Mammograms Help With Breast Cancer Early Detection
October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of the month, the FDA’s Office of Women’s Health developed the Pink Ribbon Sunday program to help educate women across the nation about breast cancer prevention and awareness.
Pink Ribbon Sunday aims to reduce breast cancer health disparities in communities by empowering leaders of local groups and organizations to develop mammography awareness programs that fit the needs of their community. Mammography screening is still the best tool to detect breast cancer early. Lack of screening can lead to later diagnosis, later entry into treatment and increased mortality.
Awareness activities include mobile mammography events, local health fairs or “Pink” luncheons to promote the cause.
The FDA’s Office of Women’s Health has put together information packets for individuals or organizations to distribute in their communities. The packets include a mammography information card, mammography fact sheet and an official Pink Ribbon Sunday flyer.
This booklet outlines the various aspects of the home buying process, but starts by asking some key questions to help you determine if you’re ready to buy a home. You’ll also find a worksheet for calculating how much you can afford.
Ongoing stress can increase your risk of many health problems, including heart disease, obesity, depression, and diabetes.
Everyone experiences stress from time to time, but if you feel constant stress and experience physical symptoms (such as headaches, back or neck pain, difficulty sleeping), it’s probably time to take action.
There are things you can do to reduce or cope with stress. Here are a few resources to help you:
Study in the States is a new website that walks you through the steps you need to take in order to study in the U.S., such as getting accepted to school, paying your I-901 SEVIS fee, and applying for a visa. It has information for current and prospective students and exchange visitors.
If you need help, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development handles complaints about housing discrimination, bad landlords in federal housing, and many other issues. For additional local resources, you can also contact a housing counseling agency.
Get Free In-Person One-on-One Financial Planning Assistance
During the month of October, professional financial planners will provide free advice at special one-off Financial Planning Day events in several cities across the country. Bring whatever financial questions you might have, and invite your friends and family to attend.
This all-volunteer group of planners is partnering with city governments to offer no-strings-attached financial advice without selling their services or handing out business cards. They won’t even be using branded pens and paper from the companies they work for.
You can get personalized advice on a variety of areas – retirement planning, credit and debt, budgeting, investments, taxes, insurance, estate planning and small business finances, among many others. Planners will also present classroom workshops addressing key personal finance topics.
Free packets of financial information will be available, as well. Can’t attend any of the Financial Planning Days events? The publications in those packets are also available online:
Voting is a right and a civic responsibility. And like millions of U.S. citizens, you will have the chance to exercise your right to vote during the Presidential Election of 2012.
Your vote on November 6, 2012 will help elect the next President of the United States, as well as other representatives at local, state and federal levels, including mayors, governors, congressional representatives and senators.
Below you will find five important facts about voting in the United States, including resources to help you register to vote and information on how to vote.
1) Voting Is Voluntary
Voting is the essence of democracy. Unlike other countries, voting in the United States is voluntary. Some people vote in person at the polls, while others vote by mail days or weeks before the actual election date. Regardless of how you do it, it’s important that all U.S. citizens who qualify participate in the democratic process of electing public officials.
2) States Establish Voting Rules
To vote in federal elections you need to be a U.S. citizen and be at least 18 years old, although some states allow 17-year-olds to vote. In fact, the states establish voting rules, including the requirements to register to vote, registration deadlines, and where to send your voting form. You may be able to register at a variety of places, including state and local voter registration offices, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and public assistance agencies. You might also be able to register by mail using the National Mail Voter Registration Form, but not all states accept it. Check with your state election office to learn how to register in your state.
3) Voter ID Laws Vary by State
Voter identification requirements also vary by state. Therefore, it’s important to figure out the documents you might need to show before going to your polling place on November 6, 2012. Some states require voters to show proof of identity before voting, such as driver’s licenses, passports or military papers. Your state election office can tell you what documents are required in your state.
4) You Can Vote If You’re Living Abroad
Federal law allows U.S. citizens to vote if they are living abroad. This includes members of the Armed Forces, federal employees, and other U.S. citizens who reside outside the United States. U.S citizens living abroad can request an absentee ballot by using the Federal Post Card Application (PDF). For more information about voting from abroad, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
5) There Are Several Ways to Participate in the Elections
Voting is not the only way to participate in the electoral process. If you would like to get more involved you can always volunteer at a polling place. Some states have specific requirements such as being a registered voter or meeting certain age requirements. You might have to be affiliated with a political party and reside in the state where you plan to volunteer. Check with your state election office to find out more.
Seven Prevention Resources for You and Your Family
Under the health care law, many insurers are required to cover certain preventive services at no cost to you, including vaccines, mammograms, cancer screenings, and more. Use the resources below to learn more about prevention and spread the word.
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) protects, manages, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The Act declares wild horses and burros to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”
BLM protects the health and welfare of the wild horse and burro population and makes sure it is consistent with the land’s capacity to support them. They also offer an adoption program and have other ways for volunteers to get involved.
How your monthly benefit amount can differ based on the age at which you start receiving benefits;
How your decision could affect your family;
How you can retire and continue working; and
How you can get estimates of your benefit amounts online at Social Security’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov.
The Social Security website offers several tools to help you plan for your retirement, including an online Retirement Estimator to get immediate and personalized retirement benefit estimates. The estimator is a convenient and secure financial planning tool, allowing you to create “what if” scenarios. For instance, you can change your “stop work” dates or expected future earnings to create and compare different retirement options. Then when you’re ready, you can apply online for your retirement benefits.
Saturday is National Public Lands Day, Admission is Free to National Parks
Saturday, September 29 is National Public Lands Day. This is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. Find a volunteer site if you want to help improve our public lands by planting trees and native plants, collecting trash, improving trails, and more.
Find Free Legislative Information on the New Congress.gov
The Library of Congress recently unveiled Congress.gov. It’s a new website that will eventually replace THOMAS.gov as the government’s site for accessing free, fact-based legislative information.
The Congress.gov site includes bill status and summary, bill text, House and Senate member profiles, and a number of new features, including effective display on mobile devices. Learn more about the new site.
Many people realize that life insurance is an important way to provide for their families, but buying life insurance can seem daunting. How do you know if you’re picking the best coverage for you and your family?
The American Council of Life Insurers offers the following tips to help you pick out the best plan:
Decide if you need permanent or term life insurance. Permanent policies will provide money to your family no matter when you die. Term policies will pay only if you die during a specific period of time.
When you’re trying to decide between life insurance companies, ask family and friends for recommendations. You can also meet with an insurance agent to talk through your options.
Ask for the outlines of several plans so you can compare the features of the various options you’re considering.
Always answer the questions on your application truthfully.
Once you select a plan, store the policy with your other important financial documents, but not in a safe deposit box. Upon death, boxes are sometimes sealed temporarily by the bank, which could delay your family’s access to the coverage.
Review and update your policy from time to time, especially after major life events like marriages or children being born.
Kids.gov is the U.S. government’s website for children (grades K-8). Kids, parents, and teachers can use the site to get help with homework, access lesson plans, watch videos, play games, and more.
If you’ve visited Kids.gov previously, you’ll notice that the website has been completely redesigned. The vibrant new site provides areas for three specific audiences: kids (grades K-5), teens (grades 6-8), and grown-ups (teachers and parents).
Enjoy exploring all that Kids.gov has to offer, including the following examples:
September is National Preparedness Month. Have you taken steps to prepare for an emergency?
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), three elements of good preparation are:
Being Informed — Learn about the potential emergencies that can happen where you live and know the appropriate ways to respond to them.
Making a Plan — Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan what you would do in different situations. How would you get to a safe place? How would you contact one another and get back together?
Building a Kit — Find a list of suggested items to include in an emergency supply kit.
Taking these steps could help you and your family in the event of an emergency.
2014 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration is from October 2 - November 3
Online registration for the 2014 Diversity Visa Lottery will begin on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and end on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4).
This congressionally mandated program makes available up to 55,000 diversity visas every year. Winners are randomly drawn from the people who enter and meet strict eligibility requirements. In order to be eligible, you must be from a country with low rates of immigration to the United States and meet the education or work experience requirements.
If you plan to apply, watch out for fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. government websites. Some companies posing as the U.S. government have sought money in order to “complete” DV entry forms. There is no charge to download and complete the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form. To learn more, see the Department of State warning.
Outbreaks of Human Salmonella Infections Linked to Small Turtles
Since 1975, it has been illegal in the United States to sell or distribute small turtles with shells that measure less than 4 inches in length. However, small turtles continue to cause human Salmonella infections, especially among young children.
Recently, more than 160 illnesses from 30 states have been linked to exposure to turtles or water from their containers. Sixty four percent of victims are age 10 or younger, and 27 percent are age one or younger.
Salmonella infections often lead to diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, but in very rare cases they can cause death if not treated properly.
Contact with reptiles (such as turtles, snakes, and lizards) and amphibians (such as frogs and toads) can be a source of human Salmonella infections. Salmonella germs are shed in droppings and can easily contaminate their bodies and water, and from there they spread to people.
Here’s how to protect yourself:
Don’t buy small turtles from street vendors, websites, pet stores, or other sources.
Keep reptiles out of homes with young children or people with weakened immune systems.
Don’t keep reptiles in child care centers, nursery schools, or other facilities with young children.
Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately after touching a reptile or anything in the area where they live and roam. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Adults should always supervise hand washing for young children.
Get Your Car Seats Inspected During Child Passenger Safety Week
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 12 years old. Deaths and injuries can be prevented by the proper use of car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.
Child Passenger Safety Week, from September 16 to 22, is a good opportunity to make sure that your family and the families you know are properly using vehicle restraints. Visit www.safercar.gov/therightseat for guidelines and how-to videos on car seat and seat belt use and installation. You can also find car seat ease-of-use ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Teenagers use cell phones and computers to harass others by sending malicious text messages, uploading embarrassing photos or videos on websites, or taking over someone’s social media profile or creating a new one.
Although it takes place in cyberspace, there are several things you can do at home to protect your children from being harassed online. These tips will help you get started.
Prevent Cyber Bullying
You can prevent cyber bullying by knowing what your kids are doing online and establishing certain rules on the use of cell phones and computers. This will help minimize the chances that your teenager will harass someone online or be a victim of cyber bullying.
Install monitoring software on your kids’ devices and tell your children that it’s your responsibility as a parent to check their interactions when you consider it appropriate
Teach your kids to abstain from sharing photos or videos that might cause them problems if other people see them, especially people who are not their friends
"Follow" your kids on social media or ask another adult to do it on your behalf so you can stay up-to-date on what they are doing or saying
Tell them it’s important that they tell you if they are the victims of cyber bullying so that you can help them
Respond to Cyber Bullying
You can start to put an end to cyber bullying by doing the following:
Don’t answer cyber bullying messages and ask your kids to share with you all of the messages they’ve received
Block the bully on social media and eliminate or block the bully’s e-mail address
Keep all evidence of cyber bullying, including text messages and harassing e-mails
Report Cyber Bullying
States have laws and policies against bullying, so be sure to contact your school if your child is being harassed online. Schools can take several measures to respond to specific cases.
Parents can also report bullies to the social media sites as bullies often violate the company’s policies and terms and conditions. Parents can also contact the police. Cyber bullying is a crime when messages contain:
Threats of violence
Child pornography or photos with sexually explicit messages
Images taken from places where the person expected privacy, like a bathroom
Cyber bullying is also a crime when someone is stalking a victim or engaging in activities considered to be a hate crime.
Video Challenge on Cyber Bullying
Teens between the ages of 13 and 18 are invited to participate in a 60 second video challenge on what young people can do to prevent bullying at school. Prizes range from $500-$2,000 and winners will have their video published on Stopbullying.gov. The last day to submit videos is October 14, 2012.