It is National Women’s Health Week

National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) is a weeklong health observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH). The week May 9-15, 2021 serves as a reminder for women and girls, especially during the outbreak of COVID-19, to make their health a priority and take care of themselves. It is extremely important for all women and girls, especially those with underlying health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, and women 65 years and older, to take care of your health now.

What steps can you take for better health?

  • Take care of your physical and mental health. Continue to protect yourself from COVID-19 by wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, watching your distance (stay 6 feet apart), washing your hands often, and getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you.
  • When the COVID-19 vaccine is available to you, schedule your appointment and talk to your friends and family about the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. To learn more about the COVID vaccine, how to prepare for your vaccine  appointment and what to expect, visit: https://go.usa.gov/xHRDu. You can find locations to receive the vaccine here: https://vaccinefinder.org/search/.
  • Talk to your doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, and/or physician assistant:
    • About the COVID-19 vaccine and any vaccines that you may have missed during the pandemic;
    • About preventive care such as PAP smears, mammograms, bone density scans, stress tests, cholesterol screenings, blood pressure screenings, physical exams, and other preventive health screenings that you may have missed during the pandemic;
    • If stress, anxiety, or depression is getting in the way of your daily activities; or
    • If you have a health condition, such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity, to develop or maintain a plan to keep it under control.
    • COVID-19 has caused many disruptions in families’ lives – and in some cases, it has meant that children have missed or delayed their wellness checkups and vaccination, which are a critical part of ensuring children stay healthy.
    • If your child has missed any recommended check-ups or vaccinations during COVID-19.  Vaccinations are critical to ensuring children are healthy. Talk to your child’s doctor to make sure they are on track with routinely recommended vaccinations. If they have missed any vaccinations due to COVID-19,  work with your child’s doctor to develop a plan to get caught up.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Healthy weight is different for everyone but it’s important to know what a healthy weight is for you. Talk to your health provider about what a healthy weight is for you.
  • Get and stay active.
    • Spend time outdoors in the sunshine and be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day.
    • Incorporate exercises that build and strengthen your muscles. This is important if you experienced reduced movement or physical activity or if you were hospitalized during the pandemic.  All of these may contribute to muscle loss.
    • You can get great ideas to get active and create a weekly activity planner through Move Your Way.
    • If you are pregnant, there are ways that you can exercise safely but it is important to talk to your doctor before starting or changing your physical activity.
    • There is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to physical activity. Find a routine to fit your needs based on your age, stage of life, and abilities.
  • Eat well-balanced meals & snacks.
    • Heart healthy: Heart-healthy eating involves choosing certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables, while limiting others, such as saturated and trans fats and added sugars.
    • Maintain healthy levels of recommended vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium. Good dietary sources of Vitamin D include fortified foods such as milk, yogurt, orange juice, and cereals; oily fish such as salmon, rainbow trout, canned tuna, and sardines; and eggs.
    • Calcium is an important nutrient for your bone health across the lifespan.
  • Take care of your mental health.
  • Seek help if you or someone is experiencing domestic violence.
    • National Domestic Violence Hotline is a 24/7 confidential service that supports victims and survivors of domestic violence. The hotline can be reached:
      • By phone: 1-800-799-7233(SAFE)
      • By text: Text LOVEIS to 22522
      • Online chat: https://www.thehotline.org(link is external) and select “Chat Now.”
      • Highly trained, experienced advocates offer support, crisis intervention information, educational services and referral services in more than 200 languages. The website provides information about domestic violence, online instructional materials, safety planning, and local resources.
  • Find healthy way to manage stress. As a caregiver, taking care of yourself and getting the help you need are important. Taking care includes maintaining healthy behaviors, managing stress, and seeking extra support, especially during COVID-19.
  • Practice good sleep habits to improve your mental and physical health and boost your immune system:
    • Follow a routine for going to sleep – be consistent going to bed and getting up – even on weekends.
    • Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Monitor alcohol intake and avoid illicit drugs, including drugs that are not prescribed to you.
  • Look out for your lungs. Quit smoking and vaping. Smoking weakens your lungs and puts you at a much higher risk of having serious health complications, especially if you have COVID-19.

How can you take these steps?

It’s not always easy to take steps for better health but we have tools and resources that can help you create a plan that works for you. A great way to get started is to reflect on your health goals, and the things that can help you be your healthiest you, especially during the pandemic. Here are just a few examples:

The Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine requires only 1 shot.

How can you participate in National Women’s Health Week?

The Office on Women’s Health invites you to:Continue to take steps to protect yourself from COVID by social distancing, wearing masks, and getting your COVID vaccine. Join the HHS COVID Community Corps to help encourage your family, friends and other people you know to get their vaccine and take the same steps to protect themselves.

Share what actions you are taking for good health such as getting active and managing stress.

Use NWHW promotional tools and share on social media. Use #NWHW in any social media messages you share.

Organize virtual events or activities in your community.

Use the online tool for customized tips to improve your healthy eating and physical activity habits.

Share the tool with your friends and family to help them take the next step on their journeys to better health.

Resources to check out

CalVet: Women Veterans
​​​California is home to nearly 163,000 women who served in our U.S. military. They are Veterans, family members, friends, business owners, professionals, community leaders, and advocates. Women Veterans served in every major U.S. conflict and in peacetime since our Revolutionary War. For this they are owed a great debt of gratitude. 

Center for Women Veterans (CWV)
For more information on VA benefits and services provided to women Veterans, call the Women Veteran Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN or 1-855-829-6636.  Confidential chats are also online.  You can also learn about VA benefits you may be eligible for at ExploreVA.

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: Lesbian & Bisexual Women
Lesbian and bisexual women are part of a diverse community with various health concerns. While all women have specific health risks, lesbian and bisexual women are at a higher risk for certain diseases than other women. Find information and resources from CDC and other government agencies and community partners that address lesbian and bisexual women’s health.

Department of Health & Human Services: Active Duty & Veteran Women’s Health
Active duty and veteran women face unique health needs related to their military service. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) is working to increase awareness of these health needs and provide resources to active duty and veteran women to improve their health and wellness

Department of Health & Human Services: Recognizing the needs of lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women
Lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women face health disparities linked to social discrimination and denial of their civil and human rights.

Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN)
The Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) is the voice of all military women – past, present, and future. We are a member-driven community network advocating for the individual and collective needs of service women. SWAN’s priorities are guided by our members, who include thousands of women and men, service members, and civilians alike.

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