December 1 is World AIDS Day, an opportunity to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, to learn about advances in the fight against it, and honor those who have been lost to the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Nearly one in five of those are not aware that they are infected. Approximately 50,000 people become newly infected each year.
Find out how HIV is spread, how to avoid it, and how to stay healthy if infected at AIDS.gov.
Many people are diagnosed too late to fully benefit from available life-extending treatment. If you know your status, you can start getting treated and help prevent the infection of others. Find an HIV test location online or by texting your ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948).
Tips to Eat Healthy and Stay Active During the Holidays
It’s easy to eat too much and exercise too little during the holiday season. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Although celebrations usually take place both at home and work, it is possible to enjoy this time of year while eating healthy and staying active.
The tips below will help you get started.
Control Your Portions
People tend to eat too much in part because food is everywhere during the holidays. However, there are a few techniques you can use to keep your weight in check and stay healthy. For one, serve yourself smaller portions and eat slowly so that you can tell more easily when you are satisfied. If you go to a restaurant, split a big meal with someone or take some home. Choosemyplate.gov has great tips on how to decrease portion sizes and how to overcome common stumbling blocks.
Get the Flu Shot
Getting vaccinated is your best protection for avoiding the flu and staying healthy during the holiday season. We have everything you need to know about this flu season, including tips for high risk groups and the types of vaccines available. Keep in mind that the flu vaccine becomes effective about two weeks after it’s been administered, so the earlier you get it the better. Look up the closest pharmacy or vaccination center at flushot.healthmap.org.
Be Physically Active
Dancing is a great way to stay active and have fun, so don’t be shy about hitting the dance floor at holiday parties. You can also try to get involved with other physical activities such as building a snowman with the family, or going to a gym or a community center if it’s too cold to go for a walk outside. Most adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, five days a week. The key is finding the exercise that works for your age, schedule and interests.
Drinking too much alcohol is bad for your health and dangerous if you will be driving. You can reduce your consumption of alcohol by setting personal limits, drinking nonalcoholic beverages, or resisting the temptation to drink. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has lots of tips on how to cut down, including suggestions on how to avoid triggers and setting consumption goals. It also has a simple questionnaire that will help you compare your drinking pattern to other adults in the United States.
Be Careful If You Have Diabetes
People with diabetes or other conditions need to be especially mindful about what they eat during the holiday season. Interrupting your normal eating patterns might cause serious consequences for your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has resources to help you manage your diabetes during the holidays. It features tips on traveling for the holidays, including making sure you pack your medicine and carrying a medical identification that says you have diabetes.
Inauguration Day is the day when the President-elect and Vice President-elect swear in and take office. It occurs every four years on January 20. This year, since January 20 is a Sunday, the public swearing-in ceremony will take place on Monday, January 21.
Here’s how you can be involved in this year’s inauguration:
Tickets for Swearing-in Ceremony
A limited amount of tickets for the inaugural swearing-in ceremonies are available free of charge from your senators and representatives. Tickets will be made available about a week before the event. Contact your senator or representative for more information.
The only place you can get these tickets is from your elected officials, and the tickets are free. Any other person or website trying to sell you tickets is likely a scam.
You can watch the inauguration without a ticket from the National Mall.
Presidential Inauguration Parade
After the swearing-in and inaugural luncheon, a Presidential Inauguration Parade occurs for the President and Vice President. The event includes a procession of military units, citizen groups, marching bands, and floats.
Parade participants are selected by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Marching bands, mounted units and other performers wishing to participate can find can apply online.
The inauguration parade is open to the public and is on television.
Inaugural balls honor the President and Vice President. The Presidential Inaugural Committee organizes official balls, and some state societies also sponsor balls. Tickets are required to attend most official inaugural balls, but some organizations hold unofficial events that are open to the general public.
Where can I locate the stats relative to number of welfare recipients per US Cities between 2002 - 2012? Where can I locate the data that compares the number of unemployment recipients per US City between 2002 - 2012?
Asked by an anonymous Tumblr user.
There are a number of places where you can find government data and statistics:
USA.gov - Our page points you to commonly requested data sets and statistics.
Data.gov - This comprehensive data site compiles data sets, charts, maps, and more. You can download raw data or play with interactive data sets.
American FactFinder - This tool combines a variety of population, housing, economic, and geographic information that you can search many different ways.
In reference to the specific question, you can find the number of people who receive welfare, called cash public assistance, using the American FactFinder. From there you can narrow it to specific urban areas or by other geographies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports unemployment statistics, including for large metropolitan areas.
If you’re having a hard time locating the correct statistics, you can always ask a government information librarian for help. Government information librarians are experts at finding information from government agencies of all levels (local, state, regional, national international) on almost any subject.
November celebrates National Adoption Month across the country. The month focuses on raising awareness about adoption, educating communities about the challenges and myths around adopting children, and draws attention to thousands of children in foster care who need good homes.
If you’re thinking about adopting a child:
Educate yourself on common adoption myths and how to make the process the easiest for you
Know that on average, it takes a year from the time you contact an adoption agency to the time a child is placed with you
Remember there are several steps in the adoption process, including: completing an adoption home study, getting approved, and being matched with a child
Have appropriate expectations and avoid judgments based on information you’ve read.
Recognizing Military Families and the Sacrifices They Make
November is recognized as Military Family Month. It is a time to celebrate and honor service members and their families and thank them for their sacrifice to our country. These are just a few of the many resources available to help military service members and their families:
Deployment Guide: This interactive resource is a free tool for service members of all branches and their families to use while preparing for deployment, during deployment, and when returning home from deployment.
Combat Stress: Operation Enduring Families provides a five-step educational and support program for veterans and their families after they return from combat. The program includes sessions on family relationships, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, communication and intimacy and anger. The sessions strive to address challenges, offer resource and garner hope.
Child Care: While a family member is deployed, the spouse at home can feel an extra burden of child care. The Department of Defense (DoD) offers child care services for family members to help them get affordable and quality child care. The DoD currently has over 800 child care centers and oversees family programs across the country.
Comparison shop: What does getting the best deal mean? When you’re looking at sales, do not focus solely on price. Decide which deal will give you the best value, including shipping costs, layaway plans, and free gifts.
Bring ads with you: Once you know what you want and where to get it, print or cut out any ads you’ve seen for the products. Before purchasing, make sure that the prices on the shelf and at the register match the advertised price. Many retailers will be price-matching their competitors, so you may be able to get an item at a different retailer for the same price.
Know store policies: Refunds, cancellations, returns, layaways – be sure to check the retailer’s website for these policies before heading to the store. These also need to be clearly displayed in the store before checkout. Ask for a copy of the policies so you have them on file in case anything goes wrong.
Shop smart with a Smartphone: Apps such as Consumer Reports Mobile Shopper give consumers more on-the-fly shopping information then ever. These apps can scan an item’s barcode, show reviews, keep track of deals, navigate between stores, and provide instant comparison shopping.
Know the deal: Retailers typically advertise Black Friday prices as the lowest of the year, but this is not always true. Some items may be offered at lower prices other times during the year. Be aware of this when looking at sale prices and check around to compare one retailer’s deals with another.
Watch for inflated prices and exaggerated markdowns: Some sellers will inflate the “regular” price of an item in order to increase the markdown and give the appearance of a deal when no money is actually saved. Watch out for overlapping price tags and know what the real normal cost is before making a purchase.
Use Layaway: For an item that may sell out, putting it on layaway is a great way to pay at your convenience while not missing the deal because of limited supply.
As Thanksgiving approaches, more and more people will be traveling in the next few weeks for holidays and family vacations.
If you’re traveling by air this holiday season, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the best place to go for accurate flying information. Before you leave the house, confirm the proper type of ID that will get you through security, your options if randomly selected for a pat down, and any other travel questions you have.
TSA also provides options to speed up your travel time. TSA PreCheck is a new program used in some airports across the country to speed up your time through security checkpoints. Through TSA PreCheck you don’t have to remove your shoes or liquids, and children 12 or younger are automatically allowed through with you. TSA also offer an app, MyTSA, you can use to check real time operating statuses at U.S. airports.
If you’ll be spending a lot of time on the roads this holiday season, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has lots of information on proper child safety while driving, as well as specific information for Thanksgiving holiday travel and driving safely during pre-holiday festivities.
If you plan to travel abroad, the State Department provides a free service for U.S. citizens: the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP lets you enter your trip information before you travel, so in case of an emergency abroad, the State Department will be able to assist you faster and more easily.
National Family Caregivers Month: Because Caregivers Matter
By Kathy Greenlee, Administrator, Administration for Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging, HHS
What began as a celebration of family caregivers during the week of Thanksgiving in 1997 has grown into a month-long acknowledgement and celebration of family caregivers—those extraordinary people who make such a difference in the lives of their loved ones. Family caregivers provide more long-term care in our country than any other group, by far.
Family caregivers’ roles vary greatly, ranging from transportation, meal preparation and housekeeping to more complex help, such as medication management, wound care, and financial planning. What’s more, family caregivers are often the single constant in lives fraught with rapid change and uncertainty. Their commitment may be the only thing preventing the long-term institutional placement of medically fragile people. Supporting family caregivers is essential.
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is proud to support the innovative Lifespan Respite Care Program, which provides states the opportunity to improve access to respite services for family caregivers, no matter the age of the person they are caring for.
State-based Lifespan Respite Care Programs are coordinated systems of accessible, community-based services for family caregivers of people with special needs, no matter their age.
For the past 12 years, the Administration on Aging, now part of ACL, has funded states to provide support to caregivers of people who are 70 years and older through the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP).
NFCSP supports state programs that include:
Information and referral to programs in local communities,
Help finding respite care so a caregiver can take care of personal business or just take a break,
High-quality advice and training, to learn how to be an even better caregiver, and
Support groups to discover they are not alone in the challenges they face–and even find a safe place to share a joke and a shoulder to cry on.
Is there Hurricane Sandy relief for people outside the storm zone? For instance, I work remotely for a company in New Jersey whose offices were damaged by the storm. As a result, my paychecks have been stalled for a couple of weeks. I was told today there’s no timeline for when paychecks may start flowing again, due to power losses, Internet problems, etc. Is there any relief for a person like me? Bills are coming due. Paychecks are not coming.
Regarding your upcoming bills, be sure to communicate your situation to the companies you owe money to as soon as possible. Don’t wait for bills to be late. Companies may appreciate it if you can only pay a portion of the bill. A letter from your employer explaining the situation could possibly be of use.
Shopping online can be easy and convenient, especially during the holiday season when stores are packed with shoppers and it’s harder to find what you want. However, scammers are always looking for ways to get your money or personal information, so it’s worth taking a few moments to learn how you can protect yourself when shopping online.
Consider these tips:
How to Avoid Scams
Minimize risks by shopping at well-established online stores with a good reputation. You can often learn a lot about the store by looking at comments and feedback from other shoppers.
Also, when shopping online:
Use credit cards instead of debit cards. Credit cards offer better protection against unauthorized purchases, as you are typically only responsible for $50 worth of unauthorized purchases, if that. Debit cards generally don’t offer this level of protection.
Calculate the total price of your purchase. Before clicking on “buy,” make sure the price includes shipping and handling, insurance, taxes and anything else that you expect from the purchase, such as discounts or coupons.
Read the return policy. Returns are part of the experience of shopping online, and each store has its own return and exchange policy. Some might charge fees for restocking products or for resending merchandise. By reading the return policies you will know what to expect.
Avoid shopping in stores outside the United States. This can help you avoid problems if you need to return or exchange items or resolve other disputes. Online retailers in the United States are subject to U.S. consumer laws and therefore offer protection to the buyer.
How to Protect Your Personal Information
Your personal information can be as valuable as money to a scammer. Scammers can use personal information like your credit card number or Social Security number to shop or steal your identity. To protect your personal information:
Shop at secure sites. When paying, make sure the website address begins with https (the “s” at the end means it’s secure). It also means the website encrypts the information it sends.
Be careful when sharing your personal information. Don’t provide your personal information in exchange for prizes or special offers. It might be a trick to get you to give away sensitive information. Also, avoid sharing your Social Security number and don’t send your personal information via e-mail. It’s not safe.
Be careful when using public Wi-Fi networks. The safest public networks are those where you have to type in a password. Even so, you should always use secure sites (with the address beginning with https) when shopping online.
Monitor your statements. Read your monthly statements to make sure there are no unauthorized purchases on your bank or credit cards. If you find unauthorized charges, contact your bank or financial institution as soon as possible.
By Richard Stapleton, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Today is The Great American Smokeout, the day the American Cancer Society challenges smokers and others who use tobacco products to become quitters. Did you know that just 20 minutes after you stop smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure drop and within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal!
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has created an important new resource to help you become tobacco free. BeTobaccoFree.gov will help you find the best information on health effects of tobacco, on quitting smoking and on helping others to avoid starting to use tobacco altogether. You’ll also find support for quitting through a live chat and 1-800 quitline.
If you’re ready to be tobacco free, visit www.BeTobaccoFree.gov and join hundreds of others who quit smoking today.
Diabetes is a disease that affects over 25 million people in the United States. Nearly 19 million have been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, while 7 million more are living undiagnosed.
Type 1 diabetes, sometimes more commonly known as juvenile onset diabetes, is not preventable. It is typically treated with insulin shots taken daily.
Type 2 diabetes, often called adult onset diabetes, is preventable and can be treated by pills or other medicines injected into the body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) symptoms of diabetes include:
Unexplained weight loss
Sudden vision changes
Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
Feeling very tired much of the time
Very dry skin
Sores that are slow to heal
More infections than usual.
If you think you have diabetes you should talk to your doctor. You should also talk with your doctor before you start or switch any diabetes medicines.
Those at risk for diabetes should stay active and eat healthy, two of the biggest lifestyle changes that can help prevent diabetes, according to the CDC. The CDC also recommends anyone 45 years or older and at risk to get tested for diabetes.
Managing diabetes can be stressful, but can also be controllable if you know the facts about diabetes and the treatment options.
Servicemembers with Student Loans Could be Missing out on Help
Many members of the military with student loans are spending way too much to pay off those loans. They are not accessing the student loan repayment protections and forgiveness benefits that have been granted to them under federal rules.
Unfortunately, those rules are extremely complex, and not all loan servicers are properly handling the loans or advising their clients. A report by the Consumer Financal Protection Bureau (PDF) shows that many servicemembers are paying thousands too much over the life of their loans.
If you’re an active duty servicemember, you are eligible to have the interest rate reduced by 6 percent on any loans you took prior to the start of your active-duty service.
Manage Federal Loans
Income-based repayment (IBR) and public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) are two options servicemembers should consider to help repay their loans.
IBR determines your monthly payment amounts based on your income and the size of your family.
PSLF forgives any remaining loan balance after you’ve made 10 years of on-time payments while working full time in public service.
If you’re on active-duty, you may also be eligible to defer your loan repayments for 180 days after your service ends.
Manage Private Loans
You’ll have to review the terms of your private loans carefully to find what options are available to you. Some companies may let you defer payments while you’re on active duty service. However, interest may continue to accumulate, increasing your overall debt amount. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends making payments on your private student loans if you can.
The Encyclopedia of Life is building the largest online collection of biological descriptions, multimedia, and links about biological diversity on our planet. Anybody can join the community of scientists, learners, and citizens that are discussing, adding to, rating, organizing, and freely re-using the information.
Veterans Day honors those who’ve served in the United States Armed Forces.
Every November 11, a national ceremony is held at Arlington National Cemetery to honor and thank military veterans. Parades, ceremonies, exhibits, and other tributes to veterans also take place in communities throughout the United States.