May National Health Observances

may health awareness months

May is a big month for national health observances. Women’s health is big this month, reminding women to schedule their annual visits and make positive changes for their overall health. 

As the weather starts to warm, Skin Cancer Awareness Month provides a reason to highlight the importance of protecting your skin in the summer sun.

May also highlights National American Stroke Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, and Food Allergy Awareness Month.

Learn about May’s national health observances so you can get important reminders, and interesting facts, and make small changes for your health this month!

National American Stroke Month

How fast you react to a stroke has a huge impact on the severity of the stroke. It is estimated that every minute a stroke goes untreated 2 million brain cells are lost.

This is why it is beneficial to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke so you can take action to help someone get medical attention quickly. Symptoms include trouble speaking, seeing, walking, weakness on one side of the body, or a severe headache that comes out of nowhere.

Mental Health Awareness Month

It is estimated that 1 in 5 adults will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives. Despite how common mental illness can be, many are still reluctant to seek care. It is an average of 11 years between the onset of mental illness symptoms and someone seeking care. 

This month seeks to highlight mental health awareness as a way to increase conversations around mental illness to encourage people to seek the care they need.

Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, with about 9,500 people being diagnosed each day. Thankfully, skin cancer is also among the most treatable forms of cancer.

Sunscreen can greatly help you decrease your risk of developing skin cancer. The AAD recommends SPF 30 at minimum, with it needing to be re-applied every 2 hours, or as recommended on the packaging.

Women’s Health Month

Women are encouraged to schedule their annual visit this month as a part of Women’s Health Month. Though you can complete your visit any time of the year, this month is a great reminder.

There are numerous screenings women should stay current on, which all can be discussed at your annual visit. Routine screenings can include mammograms, pap smears, or a colonoscopy. These visits are not completed every year, but the frequency of these visits may vary depending on your health background. 

Food Allergy Awareness Month

Food allergies are a serious daily concern for many people. About 1 in 13 US kids have a food allergy according to the CDC. Most food allergies are caused by one of just 8 foods – milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.

Even if you do not personally have a food allergy, this month is a great reminder of the steps and precautions we all must take to decrease accidental exposure to allergens.