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National Health Literacy Month: 6 Must-Reads

Rich Smith

Last updated: October 28, 2016 8:22 pm

October is National Health Literacy Month. During these 31 autumn days, health care professionals and organizations across the country are offering tips galore to help you live better, longer and safer.

You can start expanding your knowledge about health right now. Here are six Recall Center articles you can read right now. Together, they make a great primer for National Health Literacy Month.

  1. How to Properly Read a Drug Label. Start by unfolding the little pamphlet that comes with your prescription medication. The pamphlet is formally known as the Patient Package Insert. It explains how the drug is intended to be used, as well as how the drug might harm you. 1) Talk to your pharmacist if the insert’s information is confusing to you in any way.
  1. Avoiding Adverse Drug Reactions: Tips for the Elderly. When you are reading those Patient Package Inserts, pay particular attention to the sections that discuss Warnings and Precautions. These sections discuss serious potential health concerns, which can be especially pertinent to the elderly, who often have more health complications. People tend to become more susceptible to the side effects of drugs as they age. Seniors are likely to be taking a number of medications at the same time. If so, then there is a risk of those drugs adversely interacting with one another. The more drugs taken together, the higher the risk. 2
  1. Slips, Trips, and Hips — Don’t Let It Be You! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that your risk of sustaining a hip fracture or head trauma grows with each passing year after you reach the age of 65. However, the CDC also notes that the risk of hip fracture and head trauma among the elderly can be reduced. One way is to encourage seniors to wear eyeglasses that have a fully updated lens prescription. This helps seniors maximize their ability to spot tripping hazards ahead of them on the floor. 3
  1. Five Preventative Care Tips for Joint Health. Hips can become damaged by falls. But they also can be damaged by the degenerative effects of obesity, too much or little exercise, arthritis and aging. The same is true for knee joints. When hips and knees sustain damage, many people may choose to undergo surgery if more conservative treatment options do not give them relief from pain. 4 However, hip or knee surgery can result in complications. Discover some actions you can take to reduce your need for such surgery.
  1. Melanoma and Skin Cancer: Tips on Safety and Prevention. Whether it’s sunny or cloudy, you should apply a broad-spectrum SPF-15 or higher sunscreen before you go outdoors. That’s just one piece of good advice you’ll find on helping you avoid skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the U.S. 5
  1. Health and Human Services, “What is Health Literacy?” http://www.health.gov/communication/literacy/quickguide/factsbasic.htm. (Accessed Aug. 6, 2015 

  2. Pretorius RW et al., “Reducing the Risk of Adverse Drug Events in Older Adults,” American Family Physician, pages 331-336, March 2013. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2013/0301/p331.html. (Accessed Aug. 14, 2015); “Information from Your Family Doctor Adverse Drug Events in Older Adults: How to Avoid Them,” American Family Physician, March 2013. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2013/0301/p331-s1.html. (Accessed Aug. 14, 2015). 

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Hip Fractures Among Older Adults,” June, 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adulthipfx.html. (Accessed Aug. 14, 2015);
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Older Adult Falls: Get the Facts,” July, 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html. (Accessed Aug. 14, 2015).

  4. Steven Kurtz et al., “Projections of Primary and Revision Hip and Knee Arthroplasty in the United States from 2005 to 2030,” Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, April 2007. http://jbjs.org/content/89/4/780. (Accessed Aug. 6, 2015). 

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Skin Cancer Statistics.” http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/index.htm. (Accessed Aug. 6, 2015); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Protect Your Family from Skin Cancer.” http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/pdf/skincancer_family.pdf. (Accessed Aug. 6, 2015).