Salute to Nurses for National Nurses Week

Salute to Nurses for National Nurses Week

American Medical ID would like to take a moment to honor and thank our nation’s nurses for their tireless dedication, hard work, and the wonderful care they provide to the communities they serve, not just for National Nurses Week, but all year round.  Health care is constantly changing and evolving. Today, more than ever, nurses are stepping out of their comfort zones and becoming active contributors and innovators in the health care system.  We would also like to thank these nurses for recommending medical IDs to all of their patients who need one.

National Nurses Week – May 6 through May 12

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.  As of 1998, May 8 was designated as National Student Nurses Day, to be celebrated annually.  And as of 2003,  National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week (May 6-12) each year.

The theme for National Nurses Week 2014 is Nurses: Leading the Way.  Every day, nurses step forward embracing new technologies, resolving emerging issues, and accepting ever-changing roles in their profession. They lead the way for their patients, colleagues, organizations, and the health care industry as a whole.

The nursing profession has been supported and promoted by the American Nurses Association (ANA) since 1896. Each of ANA’s state and territorial nurses associations promotes the nursing profession at the state and regional levels. Each conducts celebrations on these dates to recognize the contributions that nurses and nursing make to the community. The ANA supports and encourages National Nurses Week recognition programs through the state and district nurses associations, other specialty nursing organizations, educational facilities, and independent health care companies and institutions.

A Brief History of National Nurses Week

1953  Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare sent a proposal to President Eisenhower to proclaim a “Nurse Day” in October of the following year.  The proclamation was never made.
1954  National Nurse Week was observed from October 11 – 16. The year of the observance marked the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. Representative Frances P. Bolton sponsored the bill for a nurse week. Apparently, a bill for a National Nurse Week was introduced in the 1955 Congress, but no action was taken. Congress discontinued its practice of joint resolutions for national weeks of various kinds.
1972 Again a resolution was presented by the House of Representatives for the President to proclaim “National Registered Nurse Day.” It did not occur.
1974  In January of that year, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) proclaimed that May 12 would be “International Nurse Day.” (May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale.) Since 1965, the ICN has celebrated “International Nurse Day.”
1974  In February of that year, a week was designated by the White House as National Nurse Week, and President Nixon issued a proclamation.
1978  New Jersey Governor Brendon Byrne declared May 6 as “Nurses Day.” Edward Scanlan, of Red Bank, N.J., took up the cause to perpetuate the recognition of nurses in his state. Mr. Scanlan had this date listed in Chase’s Calendar of Annual Events. He promoted the celebration on his own.
1981 ANA, along with various nursing organizations, rallied to support a resolution initiated by nurses in New Mexico, through their Congressman, Manuel Lujan, to have May 6, 1982, established as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.”
1982  In February, the ANA Board of Directors formally acknowledged May 6, 1982 as “National Nurses Day.” The action affirmed a joint resolution of the United States Congress designating May 6 as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.”
1982  President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation on March 25, proclaiming “National Recognition Day for Nurses” to be May 6, 1982.
1990  The ANA Board of Directors expanded the recognition of nurses to a week-long celebration, declaring May 6 – 12, 1991, as National Nurses Week.
1993 The ANA Board of Directors designated May 6 – 12 as permanent dates to observe National Nurses Week in 1994 and in all subsequent years.
1996 The ANA initiated “National RN Recognition Day” on May 6, 1996, to honor the nation’s indispensable registered nurses for their tireless commitment 365 days a year. The ANA encourages its state and territorial nurses associations and other organizations to acknowledge May 6, 1996 as “National RN Recognition Day.”
1997 The ANA Board of Directors, at the request of the National Student Nurses Association, designated May 8 as National Student Nurses Day.

For more information on National Nurses Week including ways you can celebrate it, click here to visit the American Nurses Association website.

Be Better Prepared this National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month!

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month!

AAFA_NAAAM_14Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declares May to be “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.” It’s a peak season for asthma and allergy sufferers, and a perfect time to educate your patients, family, friends, co-workers and others about these diseases.

Important Dates

  • May 6 – World Asthma Day
  • May 11-17 – Food Allergy Awareness Week

Awareness Month Events and Fundraisers

There are several events and fundraisers planned, both online and local events.

Some of the local events include: 

Online events: 

  • Sweepstakes – each month, AAFA hosts an online Sweepstakes to give away Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ products. Visit to see what Sweepstakes are currently open.
  • Webinar (May 1) – Join the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a free webinar, Closing the Gap: Addressing Asthma Disparities in Schools, to learn how two programs used a comprehensive, partnership-based approach to reduce the burden of asthma in their school systems.
  • Webinar (May 20) – Join Kids With Food Allergies, AAFA’s food allergy division, on May 20 for a live discussion about dairy-free alternatives.


  • May 18 (San Diego, CA) – As part of the American Thoracic Society’s 2014 International Conference, patients will have the chance to Meet-the-Experts” at a public forum featuring lung health experts.
  • May 28-30 (Nashville, TN)— Join the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and Rebuilding Together at the 2014 National Healthy Homes Conference, featuring leaders from the healthy homes industry.

How You Can Help

You can help AAFA in a variety of ways to support asthma and allergy education, advocacy, and research programs.  Every contribution is 100% tax deductible.  Since 1953, AAFA has been the provider of patient-centered information for the more than 60 million people with asthma and allergies in the United States.

Through a gift to AAFA, you can memorialize a person who is no longer with us, or you can celebrate a birthday, anniversary or other milestone to honor a friend or family member who is living with asthma or allergies. Here are a few ways that you can help right away:

Additionally, the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) has a downloadable event planning kit full of great ideas, educational material and resources.  Click here to download the EPA event planning kit.

Prepare for an Asthma or Allergy Emergency

Know Your Triggers

There are many things you can do to prepare yourself in advance for asthma and/or allergy emergencies.  One important thing is to know your allergy or asthma trigger and work to reduce exposure to these items.  While this list is by no means all-inclusive, some common triggers are:

  • Wood smoke
  • Second hand smoke
  • Pets
  • Molds
  • Cockroaches and pests
  • Dust mites
  • Chemical irritants
  • Outdoor pollution
  • Pollens
  • Certain foods or food groups

Keep Rescue Medications Accessible.

If you are asthmatic, always have an albuterol inhaler on hand.  Place these “rescue inhalers” in a variety of locations so you can get to them easily: in your gym bag, at work, and in several places at home.  If there are other rescue medications that you need during an asthma attack, such as steroid tablets, keep those with you as well.

Allergies can also cause anaphylaxis — a severe, life-threatening reaction, which requires treatment with an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot and a trip to the emergency room.  EpiPen is an epinephrine auto-injector prescribed for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions  caused by allergens, exercise, or unknown triggers; and for people who are at increased risk for these reactions.  People with severe allergies should always carry and EpiPen or similar epinephrine auto-injector.

Wear a Medical ID

In case the unthinkable happens, you should always wear an allergy or asthma medical ID bracelet, depending upon your needs.  It should list important information such as allergies, all medications taken on an ongoing basis, and an emergency contact.  It can be useful to include your name in a situation where you may not be able to talk. Having an allergy or asthma bracelet will let the medical staff know how to make the appropriate medical decisions that can save your life. In case you’re in an accident, medical professionals will know what your likely medications are and what not to give you.

Always ensure that you or your loved one is wearing medical ID at all times and especially before leaving the house. If necessary, pack an extra bracelet during special trips, particularly if you will be travelling alone or leaving town for an extended period. Always wear the bracelet where it can be spotted easily and avoid taking it off. There are new styles to fit your personality and wearing it can mean the difference between living a healthy life and suffering serious medical consequences.

 Sources:  EPA, AAFA

True Stories of Autism: Real Stories About Real People

aut-snipeThe following inspirational and heartwarming story is from a reader story posted on The Autism Site* (the Autism Site is one of many helpful resources on the internet for those whose lives have been touched by autism).  The story is being re-posted here because of the message it sends, that having an autism spectrum disorder does not mean you cannot live a normal, productive, and happy life.  To read the original  article, as well as many more stories of hope and support, click here.

The Guy I Met In Math Class

When I was 16, I met a guy in math class. He was intelligent, caring, funny, but a little “off” somehow. We talked every day and hung out as often as we could. With him, I could talk about anything. He didn’t judge. He was very logical. I liked that about him.

We got to know each other very well and eventually I gave him my phone number, and we talked every night. Then, a couple months later, while talking on the phone one night, he just randomly declared his love for me! I literally sat there in my bedroom, no idea what to say! Haha. But, as awkward as it was at first, I kinda started to realize… maybe I love him too…. So we started dating.

I’d go over to his house after school and one day, I was chatting with his mom and she mentioned him having “Asperger’s Syndrome.” I had no idea what it was. She explained that it’s a form of Autism! You never would’ve known by the way he was acting. He didn’t have repetitive movements of any kind, he talked to everyone. But, he was very logical, didn’t like certain feelings or touches on his skin, and hated being dirty! Apparently his mom had seen signs of it when he was just a year or two old. She tried to put him in grass and he freaked out and started crying!

She took him to therapy for years to help develop his skills. Because of what she did for him, he is now 20 years old, fully functioning, a great guy… married AND a father! (Yes, married to me and it’s our baby!) He has a great job and works hard for us. His Asperger’s can still make things difficult at times and I have to be patient with him, but it’s so worth it. I’ll say this: people with Autism can be the most loving, caring, wonderful people you will ever meet. I love being with him. It’s been four years, married for almost two. I wouldn’t change him for the world.

Mickie McLaughlin

Parents of children with autism should ensure that their child is wearing a medical ID bracelet at all times.  Autism can be a tricky condition for emergency medical professionals, primarily because the autism spectrum means that no two people with autism have exactly the same needs and concerns.  Some with autism take medications, others have sensory concerns, others may be nonverbal, and others may be very high functioning.  An autism medical ID can help inform medical and response personnel of the specific needs associated to the wearer and make sure that medications administered do not interfere or react to what may already have been taken.

 The Autism Site was founded to provide therapy to help children affected by autism spectrum disorders and their families. With a simple, daily click of the blue “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button at The Autism Site, visitors help provide therapy for children in need. Visitors pay nothing. Therapy is paid for by the site’s sponsors and distributed by charity partners of The Autism Site. Visitors can help more by shopping in The Autism Site store. With each item purchased, shoppers fund research into autism and even more therapy for children living with autism and their families. The store offers a wide array of items to show your support, as well as fair-traded and handcrafted items from around the world.

World Asthma Day: You Can Control Your Asthma, You Can Prepare for Emergencies

world asthma dayWorld Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world. World Asthma Day  takes place each year on the first Tuesday of May, falling on May 6th, 2014 this year.

The first World Asthma Day, in 1998, was celebrated in more than 35 countries. Participation has increased with each World Asthma Day since then, making it one of the world’s most important asthma awareness and education events. The theme for 2014 is “You Can Control Your Asthma.”

You Can Control Your Asthma

Asthma does not have to control your life.  Asthma does not have to limit your life.  With treatment, you can achieve good control of your asthma.

What is Asthma Control?

When your asthma is under control, you can:

  • Have a productive, physically active life.  You can work and go to school.  You can exercise and participate in normal physical activities.
  • Avoid troublesome symptoms day and night.  Your day is not interrupted by breathing problems.  You do not wake up at night or lose sleep because of asthma symptoms.
  • Avoid most asthma attacks.  Asthma attacks are very rare when asthma is under control.  Good asthma control means you are unlikely to have to visit the emergency department or be hospitalized for asthma.
  • Use little or no fast-acting reliever or “rescue” medication.
  • Have normal or near-normal lung function.  Lung function can be monitored with spirometry or a peak expiratory flow (PEF).
  • Avoid most side effects from treatment.  Many options are available for asthma treatment.  Your doctor can help you find the one that works best for you

How to Control Your Asthma

Take your asthma medications the way your doctor says to take them. Most people with asthma need two kinds of medication:

  • A quick-acting reliever or “rescue” medication that you take when needed to stop asthma symptoms.
  • A controller medication that you take every day to prevent asthma symptoms. 

Know the causes of your asthma symptoms and how to respond to them. Each person with asthma reacts to a different set of risk factors.

  • Take steps to avoid causes of asthma symptoms such as animals with fur, dust, strong smells and sprays, pollen from trees and flowers, and cigarette and fireplace smoke.
  • Your doctor may tell you to take medication before exercising or working hard, if these activities cause asthma symptoms for you. 

Work with your doctor to control your asthma. Your doctor is your partner in achieving and maintaining asthma control.

  • Go to the doctor 2 or 3 times a year for check-ups, even if you feel fine and have no breathing problems.
  • Ask questions.
  • Make sure you understand how and when to take your medications. 

Act quickly to treat asthma attacks.

  • Know the signs your asthma is getting worse, how to react, and when to seek medical help.
  • After an asthma attack, review your medication plan with your doctor and plan how to prevent future attacks.

You Can Prepare for an Asthma Emergency

Anyone with asthma should be prepared for an emergency.  Even if you’ve kept your asthma under control for years, it could still get worse without you realizing it.  Knowing the symptoms of an asthma emergency,  how to monitor your asthma, and when to seek asthma emergency treatment could save your life.

Symptoms of an Asthma Emergency

These are symptoms of an asthma attack that requires emergency treatment:

  • Feeling out of breath, even when you’re not moving
  • Trouble walking, talking, or doing normal activities
  • Anxiety
  • Not feeling better after using your rescue inhaler
  • Peak flow readings of less than 50% of your personal best
  • Bluish lips and fingernails
  • Exhaustion or confusion
  • The skin around your ribs looking “sucked in” (especially in children)
  • Unconsciousness

Prepare for an Asthma Attack

  • Know your triggers. Whether it’s a certain situation or time of year, knowing your triggers is essential to managing your asthma. Some common triggers include cat dander, smoke, seasonal allergies, and respiratory infections.
  • Share your asthma action plan. Tell people who spend time with you, such as co-workers and family members, where you keep your action plan and what they should do in an emergency.
  • Keep rescue medications accessible. Always have an albuterol inhaler on hand.  Place these “rescue inhalers” in a variety of locations so you can get to them easily: in your gym bag, at work, and in several places at home.  If there are other rescue medications that you need during an asthma attack, such as steroid tablets, keep those with you as well.
  • Wear an asthma medical ID bracelet at all times.  Asthma can be a tricky and rather deceptive condition to have, primarily because a variety of environmental factors can trigger an asthma attack.  Symptoms of an asthma emergency present in many different ways,  and many people, doctors included, believe that you must have audible wheezing instead of considering diminished breathing sounds as well, so asthma may not be the first thing the emergency workers think of.  If you are unable to communicate your needs in an emergency, an asthma bracelet could make the difference in getting the treatment you need.  Always ensure that you or your loved one is wearing an asthma bracelet at all times and especially before leaving the house. If necessary, pack an extra bracelet during special trips, particularly if you will be travelling alone or will be leaving town for a long period of time. Always wear the bracelet where it can be spotted easily and avoid taking it off. Great new designs won’t cramp your style and it can mean the difference between living a healthy life and suffering major medical consequences.
  • Write down important phone numbers. Your asthma action plan should include the phone numbers of your doctor’s office and the closest emergency room, as well as people to notify when you have an asthma attack, such as your spouse, parents, or close friends.  Keep a card with this information written on it in your wallet or purse.
  • Know when to ask for help. If you have followed the action plan agreed upon by you and your doctor and have taken your medications as prescribed, but your symptoms are not going away, ask for additional help from your health care provider.

Visit Global Initiative For Asthma (GINA) website or facebook page for more information on World Asthma Day and to find out how you can help.

Sources:  GINA, WebMD, Everyday Health

Communicating with your Child with Nonverbal Autism

CommunicateApril has been designated national Autism Awareness Month and provides the perfect opportunity for individuals and organizations across the nation to educate their communities about autism.   Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges.


The full range of ASDs includes three primary kinds:

  • Autistic Disorder (also called “classic” autism): This is what most people think of when hearing the word “autism.” People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have intellectual disability.
  • Asperger Syndrome: People with Asperger syndrome usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS; also called “atypical autism”): People who meet some—but not all—of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. They will usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorders, with symptoms possibly including social and communication challenges.

What is nonverbal autism?

About 25% of people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder could be considered to have nonverbal autism — yet the term “nonverbal autism” is not a part of the diagnostic criteria. In part, that’s because there is no clear line between verbal and non-verbal individuals with autism. Some people have the ability to speak, but lack the ability to use language in a meaningful way. Others can’t use spoken language, but are able to communicate with written or typed language, American sign language, picture cards, or digital communication devices.

Parents of children who don’t yet have the ability to use spoken language  shouldn’t worry that they will never be able to communicate.  Spoken language is only one way for human beings to communicate, and it’s by no means the most basic — nor the most significant — when it comes to measuring intelligence or anticipating long-term outcomes, according to Dr. James Coplan, a developmental pediatrician and author.  In fact, as he explains, many children with autism may be extremely delayed in use of spoken language, for many reasons (physical problems among them).  But, if your child takes your hand to guide you, he is communicating.  If he uses gestures, he is communicating.  If he can master picture cards, signs, or other methods of connecting with another human being, he is communicating.

Other ways to communicate

Besides spoken language, some parents of children with nonverbal autism have experienced some success communicating by these other methods:

American Sign Language (ASL) Developed as a means for hearing impaired and deaf people to communicate, American Sign Language is a system of hand gestures used to communicate.  Fluent ASL is not “signed English” but a language with different syntax. In the last few years parents have been teaching infants ASL for the same reason it is a successful strategy for children on the Autism Spectrum: it permits them to communicate wants and desires efficiently while they are still mastering the difficult and many stepped process of imitating and producing spoken language. When paired with spoken language by the parents, teachers or therapists, ASL can be used to scaffold verbal language.

Picture Exchange Systems (PECS) This is a trademarked system using simple pictures, often paired with words, to help children with significant communication deficits to communicate. Severely physically disabled children, such as children with Cerebral Palsy, often find PECS a successful way to communicate throughout life. They can communicate their wishes by touching or indicating a PECS picture with a mouth held stylus or a head mounted laser pointer. PECS, when paired with speech, can be used to help children with autism communicate, and like ASL, often can be withdrawn as a support as the child creates spoken language.

Importance of Wearing a Medical ID

Parents of children with autism should ensure that their child is wearing a medical ID bracelet at all times.  Autism can be a tricky condition for emergency medical professionals, primarily because the autism spectrum means that no two people with autism have exactly the same needs and concerns.  Some with autism take medications, others have sensory concerns, others may be nonverbal, and others may be very high functioning.  An autism medical ID can help inform medical and response personnel of the specific needs associated to the wearer and make sure that medications administered do not interfere or react to what may already have been taken.

Sources:, – Autism and Communication SkillsNational Center for Learning Disabilities, Autism Speaks, American Autism Association, Coplan, James. Counseling Parents Regarding Prognosis in Autistic Spectrum Disorder.PEDIATRICS Vol. 105 No. 5 May 2000, p. e65 ELECTRONIC ARTICLE


Autism Sparks – Great Resource for Connecting with Your Child with Autism

autism sparksApril has been designated national Autism Awareness Month and provides the perfect opportunity for individuals and organizations across the nation to educate their communities about autism.

Autism is known as a complex developmental disability. Experts believe that Autism presents itself during the first three years of a person’s life. The condition is the result of a neurological disorder that has an effect on normal brain function, affecting development of the person’s communication and social interaction skills.  People with autism can also have issues with non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and activities that include an element of play and/or banter.

How do you best interact and connect with your child with autism?  Autism Sparks is a valuable resource for parents and siblings of children with autism.  Their mission is to share thoughts, tips and information that will spark ideas for you that will help your child.   Here are some of best and most-shared tips from their facebook page:

  • “Some children with autism find it hard to let go of an idea once they’ve got hold of it, so they can get very upset if they mistakenly think something is going to happen and then find out that it isn’t. Correcting misunderstandings as soon as they are discovered may help to avoid a big upset later on.” (4/5/2014)
  • “For some children with autism, things tend to be very black and white – e.g. something is perfect or it’s a total failure. This can be positive in that they can have high standards. The downside is that it can also cause them lots of stress, when things aren’t perfect. If your child is like this, consider teaching them to grade experiences, either descriptively or using a 5 point scale, for example.” (3/27/2014)
  • “Some children with autism can become so absorbed in their own activities that it can be hard for us to find a way in. If you’re finding it hard to break into your child’s world, watch what they like to play with, and if possible get several of each thing. Then if your child picks up a certain item, there is another one available for you to pick up and join in. Watch what your child does with the item – children with autism often have wonderful ways to look at the world that the rest of us just haven’t considered – and try it for yourself (within reason!). Be GENTLY intrusive.” (3/25/2014)
  • “People with autism have to work hard to process social information that most other people understand instinctively. While a social encounter can be relaxing for most of us, it can be exhausting for a child with autism. If this is true for your child, give them time each day to be on their own, or with low social demands.” (3/23/2014)
  • “Children with autism tend to be more anxious than the rest of us, as they constantly find situations and other people confusing. Don’t wait until your child is very anxious before you attend to their well-being – give them lots of well-being spikes peppered throughout the day (favourite foods, time with favourite toys, being squashed under a cushion, etc). Do things with the express intention of addressing well-being.”  (3/16/2014)
  • “Children with autism generally have higher levels of anxiety than the rest of us. It’s easy to see when some children are in an anxious state, but others are much harder to read. It is these children who suddenly go from seemingly calm to meltdown. However, if we look for the clues that indicate rising anxiety levels, we can usually find them – even if they are not what we expect – and help the child get back to a better state.” (2/18/2014)

These are just some examples of the type of helpful information that can be found on the Autism Sparks facebook page.   I encourage you to follow them and share the knowledge found there and help raise autism awareness.  Follow them at


The Scoop on Easter Traditions

Easter is a Christian holiday, but some of the most common traditions surrounding Easter seemingly have nothing to do with religion.  Many of these traditions have been around for centuries, while a few, like Easter candy, came about in relatively modern times.  Ever wonder how these traditions came about?  You won’t find anything about them in the Bible, but here’s the scoop on some of the most cherished Easter Traditions.

Easter Bunny

Easter-BunnyAccording to popular lore, it is the Easter Bunny who provides goodies (usually chocolate candy or ornate eggs) to children who leave their baskets out the night before. Many candy companies have taken advantage of the popular tradition and offer Easter Bunny-themed candy for that part of the year.  However, where did this tradition of a bunny that gave out eggs come from?

In the ancient world, the rabbit has long been a symbol of fertility. The rabbit is known for its reproductive prowess, in fact even today we talk of couples who have many children as “multiplying like rabbits.” Because it is known to reproduce often, it was seen has having special powers in assisting humans to reproduce. In fact our own lucky rabbit’s foot goes back to this ancient tradition.

In Europe prior to the introduction of Christianity the ancient pagans already had their own springtime festivals, as did almost all other ancient peoples. Because spring is the time, after the harshness of winter that the world begins to bloom once more, it is seen as a time of replenishing and renewal, birth and rebirth, fertility.

As Christianity expanded north from the Mediterranean world where it was born and first grew, it was common for Christians to attempt to incorporate pre-Christian ideas and rituals and place them within the context of Christian ideas and rituals, creating a mix of both Christian and Pagan.

These traditions co-existed for some time. When exactly the rabbit first became a major part of the Christian celebration is unknown. The first written mentions of the Easter Bunny came from Germany in the 15th Century, although we do not know for how long the Germans had used the symbol. It was also in Germany that the tradition of making chocolate bunnies to celebrate Easter began, sometime during the 1800’s.

According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called ‘Osterhase’ or ‘Oschter Haws’.  Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests.  Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.

Easter Eggseggs

The precise origin of the ancient custom of decorating eggs is not known, although evidently the blooming of many flowers in spring coincides with the use of the fertility symbol of eggs—and eggs boiled with some flowers change their color, bringing the spring into the homes.

From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, and then eat them on Easter as a celebration.

Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. An egg hunt involves hiding eggs outside for children to run around and find on Easter morning. Eggs are rolled as a symbolic re-enactment of the rolling away of the stone from Christ’s tomb. In the United States, the Easter Egg Roll is an annual event that is held on the White House lawn each Monday after Easter.

Easter Candy

jelly beansEaster is the second best-selling candy holiday in America, after Halloween. Among the most popular sweet treats associated with this day are chocolate eggs, which date back to early 19th century Europe. Eggs have long been associated with Easter as a symbol of new life and Jesus’ resurrection. Another egg-shaped candy, the jelly bean, became associated with Easter in the 1930s (although the jelly bean’s origins reportedly date all the way back to a Biblical-era concoction called a Turkish Delight). For the past decade, the top-selling non-chocolate Easter candy has been the marshmallow Peep, a sugary, pastel-colored confection. Making their debut in the 1950’s, the original Peeps were handmade, marshmallow-flavored yellow chicks, but other shapes and flavors have since been introduced.

Easter Basketsbasket

The use of Easter baskets developed from the  modern symbolism of Christianity. Christians celebrate Easter because it signifies Christ’s resurrection.  During Lent,  which lasts for 40 days before Easter, many Christians sacrifice the consumption of food and other items until Easter. The tradition of feasting on a large Easter meal symbolizes the end of Lenten fasting. In earlier times, this Easter feast was brought in large baskets to church to be blessed by priests. Thereby, the link between a religious holiday and Easter treats was formed. The blessing of the contemporary Easter basket in Catholic churches today is similar to the ancient Jews who brought in their first seedlings for a temple blessing.

The tradition of padding Easter baskets with Easter grass has its roots in Dutch tradition. Dutch children were said to be awaiting the delivery of eggs on Easter Sunday. The children would lay these eggs in birds’ nests similar to the various colored nests of green, yellow, purple and other grass nests used in modern Easter baskets. In America, the Pennsylvania Dutch wait on Easter for the Easter Bunny  to bring eggs, which are deposited on what’s described as a “rabbit’s nest” or Easter grass that lines Easter baskets.

Easter Parades

bonnetEaster processions or parades  have been part of Christian culture since its earliest beginnings. The Bible records two processions in the first Holy Week, and are seen as the earliest predecessors of the modern Easter parade.

During the Dark Ages, Christians in Eastern Europe would gather in a designated spot before Easter church services, then walk solemnly to the church. Sometimes the congregation would form another parade after the services, retracing their steps and singing songs of praise. These processions had two purposes—to demonstrate to churchgoers the unity of spirit found in their faith, and to reach out to nonbelievers in a highly visible manner. Even in those times, participants wore their finest attire to show respect for the occasion.

The Easter parade is now an American cultural event consisting of a festive strolling procession on Easter Sunday.   Persons participating in an Easter parade traditionally dress in new and fashionable clothing, particularly ladies’ hats. The Easter parade is most closely associated with Fifth Avenue in New York City, but Easter parades are also held in many other cities.

Happy Easter!!

happy easter

Sources: History Channel, Mental Floss, Wikipedia, Yahoo! Voices, Huffington Post,

Celebrate Siblings Day with a Medical ID for Everyone

FamilySiblings Day (sometimes called National Siblings Day) is an American celebration held annually on April 10 to honor the relationships of siblings.  Unlike Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it is not federally recognized, although this is the stated goal of the Siblings Day Foundation.  

History of Siblings Day

  • After losing both of her siblings early in life, Claudia Evart, a native New Yorker and resident of Manhattan, felt inspired to create the Siblings Day Foundation (SDF), a tax-exempt organization whose goals include the establishment of a National Siblings Day, to be celebrated annually on April 10, the birthday of her late sister, Lisette.
  • The Siblings Day Foundation is a New York and Massachusetts based organization with the principal office located in Manhattan.  It was incorporated in Massachusetts 1997 and became a not-for-profit organization in January, 1999.
  • Carolyn Maloney, then U.S. Representative for New York’s 12th congressional district, officially saluted the holiday and introduced it into the official Congressional Record of the United States Congress on April 6, 2005.
  • In 1996, Congress stripped itself of the authority to create commemoratives leaving sole power to do so in the hands of the president.  During their presidency, George Bush in 2008 and Bill Clinton in 2000 signed a Presidential Message recognizing April 10 as Siblings Day.  A Presidential Proclamation is needed to officially establish April 10th as National Siblings Day.  Click here to read both presidential messages.

How to Celebrate Siblings Day

Siblings Day follows the spirit of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Grandparent’s Day – a great American tradition and celebration of family-unit values.  It is an uplifting celebration honoring people who have shaped our values, beliefs and ideals, the foundation says on its website. It is a relationship as equally important as a parent’s relationship. Siblings are the reason we celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day.  Some ways to celebrate are:

  • Send your siblings a card or small gift.
  • Invite your siblings to dinner.
  • Do a good deed, favor, or chore for your siblings.
  • Call them…A cheerful word of appreciation can work wonders.
  • Get them a medical ID.

Why a Medical ID?

Getting a children’s medical ID for each child in your family can keep the child with a medical condition or allergy from feeling alienated by their condition.  It also helps the child without a medical concern to feel like they are special too and being treated equally.  If your child does not have a medical condition or allergy, a children’s medical ID that simply has their name on it along with emergency contact phone numbers is a great idea.  Even kids who know their parent’s phone number well might have trouble communicating it in an emergency or if they are in shock.  Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace.  Traditional medical ID bracelets are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some medical IDs now include MyIHR compatibility that can carry a person’s full medical record. Emergency medical personnel are trained to look for a medical ID, so it will be seen when it is needed.

Source:  Siblings Day Foundation

April is Autism Awareness Month

AMID_AutismMonth (850x1800)The month of April is Autism Awareness Month, an entire month devoted to raising awareness about this disease.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one in every 88 children is diagnosed with some form of autism — 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls, meaning boys are five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.  Nearly every 20 minutes someone is diagnosed with autism.  It’s the fastest growing developmental disorder, yet it is also the most underfunded.

What is Autism?

Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that generally appears before the age of 3.  It impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function.  People with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.

Currently there is no cure for autism, though with early intervention and treatment, the diverse symptoms related to autism can be greatly improved and in some cases, completely overcome.  While there is no cure, autism is treatable.  It is not a hopeless condition.

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day

while the month of April is Autism Awareness Month, the seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2014.  On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, tabled by the State of Qatar, which declares April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity.  Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events.

What Can I Do to Help?

  1. Learn more about all aspects of autism and the spectrum.  Search the internet for autism facts.  You’ll be surprised by how much information is readily available.  Some great websites you can start with are,,, and, although there are many more.
  2. Make a financial donation to a nonprofit organization that works to help children and their families affected by autism.
  3. Volunteer for a nonprofit that does work in autism research or autism fundraising.
  4. Host a fundraiser:  Fundraise Your Way offers supporters the opportunity to raise funds for their special events though the internet.  Participants have the chance to create their own event, team and individual web pages as a means to involve people from all over the country in support of their events.
  5. Light It Up blue!  Light It Up Blue is sponsored by Autism Speaks  and is intended to raise international awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis in support of World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month.  On April 2nd, many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges,  retail stores homes and communities will take part in Light It Up Blue by lighting their buildings blue, hosting fundraisers, and spreading autism awareness.  Click here to see ways you can participate.


1966903_10152032890619033_316741511_nAmerican Diabetes Association Alert Day® is a one-day “wake-up call” asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Today, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, is Alert Day.

The Diabetes Risk Test asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Preventive tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their health care provider.

For every test taken, Boar’s Head Brand® – a leading provider of premium delicatessen products – will donate $5 to the American Diabetes Association starting March 25 through April 25, 2014, up to $50,000.

American Diabetes Association Alert Day is also nationally supported by Walgreens.

For more information on  American Diabetes Association Alert Day® or the Diabetes Risk Test, read the American Medical ID blog post dated Feb. 27, 2014 or visit American Diabetes Association.

Take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test!

Type 2 Risk Test

The Medical IDs are usually worn as a bracelet or a necklace. Traditional IDs are etched with basic, key health information about the person, and some IDs now include compact USB drives that can carry a person’s full medical record for use in an emergency.

Source: American Diabetes Association