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International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day – May 12, 2023

International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day, which falls on May 12 annually, sets out to educate and create awareness around a particular disease that is still relatively new and misunderstood. One of the main goals of this day is educating healthcare professionals, which is critical to ensuring that healthcare providers are prepared to diagnose and treat people with chronic fatigue syndrome (C.F.S) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.). The international awareness day was inspired by the life and legacy of Florence Nightingale, who was born on May 12 and suffered an illness similar to myalgic encephalomyelitis.

History of International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day

You may have heard of International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day, which takes place in May every year since its first observance in 1992 after being established by the ME Association in the United Kingdom. It has since become a global concern with millions of people worldwide suffering from the illness, with cases popping up everywhere from the United States through to Australia and New Zealand.

International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day was established in 2006 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also known more commonly as the CD.C., a national public health agency founded in the United States. The day falls in the middle of the annual Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Week. It aims to bring awareness to the global concern of this relatively new disease. The official International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day is commemorated on May 12 in honor of Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing, who founded the Nightingale Training School despite being bedridden with a disease resembling M.E., C.F.S, or even fibromyalgia.

Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, is a complicated medical condition. Exacerbations or flare-ups after minor physical or mental activity are common symptoms.

Symptoms are used to make a diagnosis because there is no reliable diagnostic test available. The fundamental cause of C.F.S or M.E. cannot be treated with approved therapy or drugs. Most of the time, the goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms. Most patients have drastically reduced their employment, school, and family commitments. Many people with chronic pain report sharp drops in their physical activity. The C.D.C. spreads knowledge by conducting research, conducting outreach programs, and actively listening to the M.E./C.F.S. community. As part of their dedication to M.E./C.F.S. outreach and communication, they also hold stakeholder engagement and communication calls twice a year.

International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day timeline

1820
A Legend is Born

English social reformer, statistician, and the founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale is born.

1857
Facing Hardships

Nightingale becomes bedridden and suffers from depression, yet continues her trailblazing healthcare and academic work.

1969
A New Illness

Benign myalgic encephalomyelitis is classified as a nervous system disease by the C.D.C.

1992
The ME Association

The ME Association in the U.K. establishes Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Week.

2006
The Special Day

The C.D.C. establishes International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day on May 12 in honor of Nightingale.

International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day FAQs

What does chronic fatigue syndrome feel like?

People with M.E./C.F.S frequently refer to this as a crash, relapse, or collapse. During P.E.M., any M.E./C.F.S. symptoms, including difficulty thinking, sleeping problems, sore throat, headaches, dizziness, or severe tiredness, may worsen or appear.

How do you treat chronic fatigue syndrome?

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (M.E./C.F.S.) has no cure or approved treatment. Some symptoms, however, can be treated or managed. Some M.E./C.F.S.patients may benefit from treatment of these symptoms, while others may not.

Can you overcome chronic fatigue syndrome?

There is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome at the moment. Dealing with extreme fatigue can be extremely difficult. You must collaborate with your healthcare provider to find treatments that might benefit you. Counseling or support groups may be beneficial to some people.

How to Observe International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day

  1. Wear blue to show support

    The official color for the cause is blue, so wear blue to bring attention to myalgic encephalomyelitis. By choosing to wear blue, you are showing support for the people who suffer from M.E. or C.F.S., their families, caregivers, researchers, and medical specialists who study myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome. Make sure you are prepared with your colors and come to International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day.

  2. Share information and help spread the word

    Use social media to spread the word about this disease and to help create awareness online. Make sure you share valuable information regarding myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome with your followers to help educate them so that they can share and educate their friends and followers accurately. You can also use cause-specific hashtags like #MECFSAwareness and retweet vital C.D.C messages on social media platforms.

  3. Tell your story

    Share your personal experience with this disease with your friends or on social media, whether you suffer from the illness or have a family member who has had it or is battling it. By sharing your story, you are helping create awareness. You are showing that it is okay not to be okay and to show your weakness to help others have a more liberating and solid experience and recovery.

5 Interesting Facts About Florence Nightingale

  1. She was an influential author

    “Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not,” written by Nightingale in 1859, became one of the profession's most important texts.

  2. She wrote letters for the dying

    Nightingale frequently wrote letters home on behalf of soldiers who were dying or had died to inform their loved ones.

  3. She was a born leader

    During the Crimean War, when Britain and France clashed with Russia over its invasion of Turkey, Nightingale had 38 nurses working for her.

  4. She spoke several languages

    Nightingale spoke English, French, German, and Italian fluently, as her education was personally overseen by her father, a wealthy Cambridge-educated landowner.

  5. She was an educator

    Nightingale trained the first American nurse after she founded the Nightingale School of Nursing in 1860.

Why International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day is Important

  1. Education is encouraged and inspired

    Since myalgic encephalomyelitis is still a relatively new and slightly misunderstood disease, research and education are vital to understand the symptoms and impact it has on people fully. Awareness days like International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day are a great way to encourage the broader public to create awareness and spread information about symptoms and the disease.

  2. The legacy of Florence Nightingale lives on

    It doesn’t matter how you look at it, Nightingale is one of the most influential female figures in history. She educated, treated, authored, and invented, and to this day, has made a lasting impact on the nursing and medical fields we know today. Her influence lives on, and her struggles with illness and depression are remembered every year on May 12, which is also her birthday.

  3. International awareness can change minds

    National and local awareness is essential and has a substantial impact on the communities of a specific region or country. Still, when a cause is catapulted into international attention, it can have the world’s scientists and researchers helping to find a cure or improved treatment. With the global awareness around myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome, the proper steps are being taken to make it more manageable for everyone suffering from it.

International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day dates

YearDateDay
2023May 12Friday
2024May 12Sunday
2025May 12Monday
2026May 12Tuesday
2027May 12Wednesday

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