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International Nurses Day

By: Jolie Wiener
May 12, 2020

The World Health Organization declared 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and for good reason. If there was ever an ideal time to celebrate nurses and other healthcare workers, it has to be now. 

Florence Nightingale: Inspired International Nurses Day on May 12, 1965

May 12th became International Nurses Day to honor modern nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale’s birthday. 

It also marks the end of National Nurses Week (May 6th-12th).

Nicknamed the “Lady With The Lamp” Nightingale was often seen walking the halls of hospitals with a lamp checking up on her patients. She spoke English, French, German, and Italian which helped her service during wartime. Nightingale was well known for putting together a volunteer nursing team to help treat the wounded during the Crimean War and remembered for writing letters on behalf of dead soldiers to their families and loved ones if they passed away. 

The first International Nurses Day was celebrated in 1965, and during these times in particular, the historical holiday has taken on even more importance.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Nurses & Healthcare Workers

The International Red Cross and The International Council of Nurses are jointly working to raise awareness of May 12th, International Nurses Day, to celebrate nurses and health care workers around the globe. This year one main goal is to show gratitude to those treating patients with COVID-19. 

Emergency nurses and health care workers experience stress every day under normal circumstances. They manage critically ill patients, crowded waiting rooms, limited time, and unlimited pressure. Most of us can only imagine how adding a previously unknown virus to the mix must add to that stress.

Even prior to COVID-19, one of the biggest public health issues impacting nurses and health care workers in the United States is diabetes. The rise of treating diabetes is at an all time high, and requiring more assistance than ever before.

Should People With Diabetes & Obesity Be Concerned About COVID-19?

Unfortunately, diabetes is a risk factor in the severity of COVID-19. As mentioned previously, diabetes is now one of the fastest growing illnessnesses in the US and around the globe.  

Most with diabetes have impaired immune response to infection due to overactive cytokines and changes in immune-responses including T-cell and macrophage activation. Read more about the immune system & Type 2 here

Those who are also obese is a risk factor for infection. According to the CDC, 42% of Americans are now considered obese. Extra weight can strain the immune system, and cause fatigue.

In order to help with the prevention of COVID-19, the following are recommended to boost the immune system and health of the body:

  • Weight management
  • Healthy eating habits
  • Vitamin C
  • Practicing good hygiene
  • Exercise
  • Adequate Sleep
  • Stress Management

Today is certainly a day to recognize and be grateful for those spending hours in hospitals and medical facilities to help public health. For the thousands of Americans out there struggling with diabetes, obesity or other preexisting conditions, hopefully now can be a time to become educated and truly transform health while giving thanks to those protecting the health of ourselves and our families. 

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