January: National Blood Donor Month

Todd Freitag                                                                                     Sales/Wellness Coordinator


January is national Blood Donor Month, and it just so happens to be the time of the year we give blood less. Blood donations typically drop off during and immediately after the winter holidays, which makes January a critical time for the American Red Cross. The Red Cross needs to collect more than 13,000 donations every day to keep the blood supply ready and available to meet the needs of about 2,600 hospitals, clinics and cancer centers across the country.

National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January since 1970 with the goal of increasing blood and platelet donations during winter – one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs. During the holidays and the end of the year, we all become overwhelmed with holiday parties, visiting friends, shopping, wrapping up end of the year deadlines and personal goals; not allowing time to donate. Not only do busy schedules play a role, but Mother Nature herself can wreak havoc on times of donation, forcing cancellations of many blood drives. We like to think that during the holidays, we are all taking breaks to relax and unwind, but those in need of blood and platelet donations are in need no matter what time of year.

Every two seconds of every day, someone needs blood. The reason to donate is simple…it helps save lives. Blood is essential to life for several important reasons including the fact that blood circulates through our body and delivers essential substances like oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells. It also transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells. But did you know that donating blood has it’s health benefits for the donor?

  • Blood donation helps in lowering the risk of cancer. By donating blood the iron stores in the body are maintained at healthy levels. A reduction in the iron level in the body is linked with low cancer risk.
  • Reduced risk of hemochromatosis; a health condition that arises due to excess absorption of iron by the body. This may be inherited or may be caused due to alcoholism, anemia or other disorders. Regular blood donation may help in reducing iron overload.
  • Regular blood donation reduces the weight of the donors. This is helpful to those who are obese and are at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health disorders.
  • After donating blood, the body works to replenish the blood loss. This stimulates the production of new blood cells and in turn, helps in maintaining good health.

Before you donate, a health professional will ask about your current and past health, including some very personal questions, to make sure that you can donate. You will be asked these questions every time you give blood, because the list of who can give blood may change, or your health may change. Having a long-term illness, such as diabetes, doesn’t mean you can’t donate. You may be able to give blood if your health problem is under control. But you shouldn’t donate blood if you feel like you’re getting a cold or the flu.

The Increasing Cost Of Diabetes In America

                                  Emily Zoeller, EP-C,CHWC                                      Wellness Coordinator & Health Coach

Diabetes – it affects more than 30 million people in America, with 84 million additional people who are prediabetic. This is a costly problem that is growing at an alarming rate. From 2012 to 2017, the cost per year for a diagnosed diabetic in America rose, about 133.5% rise in cost over the 5 years.

Not only is it expensive for the person diagnosed with the condition, but also for the insurance plan, and costly on the person health. For those with Diabetes, they cost the insurance plan 2.3 times more than someone without diabetes.

Even though costs have risen for this disease it itself, there is also other factors to consider – Associated conditions like neuropathy, amputation, liver disease, vision issues, and more.

In 2017, 4,110 people a day were diagnosed with Diabetes, and watching your diet and exercise can significantly help to avoid prediabetes, and therefore diabetes. So, what can be done to help now?

Physical Activity: Get out and get active! Haven’t exercised in a while? Some exercise is better than none. Start small, gradually working your way up in time and intensity.

Be Mindful of your Nutrition: Watching your sugar and carbohydrate intake. Watching your daily intake of sugar can be harder than you think. When looking at nutrition labels, use this tip to get some perspective: for every 4g of sugar in a product, that will be one teaspoon of sugar. Try switching out simple carbohydrates for complex carbohydrates.

Know Your Numbers: Stay connected with your physician. Having a relationship with your physician can be very important. Knowing your Glucose and A1C values are essential.

5 Ways to Get Active This Summer

 



Rachel Lawton
Spring/Summer Wellness Intern

If you’re stuck in a rut with the same old workout routine or lacking the motivation to even workout in the first place, maybe it’s time to try something new! The American College of Sports Medicine recommends healthy adults get around 150 minutes of physical activity per week. But, here’s the good news: this does not have to mean spending 150 minutes in the gym! The daylight lasts longer in the summer and the weather is beautiful, so why not take advantage and enjoy the outdoors while simultaneously improving your health? Here are a few non-traditional ways to get those active minutes in by yourself or with family & friends!​​ 

  • Spend a weekend camping – incorporate in physical activities while you’re there. Swimming, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, or biking are all great forms of exercise!​​ 

  • Go to the beach! For people who enjoy walking or running, adding the uneven surface and consistency of the sand is a great way to tax new muscles and add a challenge to your regular routine. Bonus… a beautiful view.

  • Try a new sport like FootGolf – a combination of soccer and golf, this is played at a golf course facility on shortened holes with larger cups. ​​ The rules largely correspond to the rules of golf. ​​ You may be surprised that there are likely FootGolf courses in your area. Check out this video to see more! ​​ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eeNeo5wVF8​​ 

  • Spend a day around the house– Now this may not be the MOST fun option on the list, but you’re getting a two for one with the tasks you’ll checked off your list​​ at the end of your “workout”. Mowing the lawn, trimming the bushes, washing the car, and vacuuming the house is enough to keep you up and moving for hours!​​ 

  • Try a new class! Look around your community. ​​ There are tons of summer programs, punch cards, or drop-in classes available. Everything from yoga, to boot camps, to dance, to recreational sports leagues. If you time it right, you may even be able to find some free options.​​ 

  • Visit an amusement park, the zoo, or the mall – You’ve never thought of this as exercise, but the large majority of the day is spent up on your feet!

Why is Physical Activity So Important?​​ 

Physical activity has an endless list of benefits. ​​ According to the Department of Health and Human Services, here are some of the biggest rewards you gain from being active:

  • Fight weight gain and obesity: obesity currently affects approximately 33% of all US adults and has a strong correlation with Type 2 diabetes

  • Disease prevention: physical activity can lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and cancer (the 3 leading health-related causes of death in the US)

  • Building overall strength and endurance: this one speaks for itself

  • Injury prevention: exercise helps to build bone, muscle, and joint strength which in turn lowers our risk of falls and other injury

  • Improved sleep: expending extra energy during the day can help you to be more tired when bedtime rolls around, promoting a better night’s sleep

  • Stress relief: working up a sweat can be a great way to let go of some of your daily stresses. If high intensity isn’t your style, many people find stretching or yoga to be a great relaxation technique as well

  • Increased energy: endorphins released during exercise tend to boost our mood and energy levels

  • Improved self-confidence: better mood and energy = higher self-esteem and more confidence!

  • Increased life expectancy: with all of these combined benefits, our life expectancy tends to rise with better health

Keeping all of this in mind, make it your goal this summer to get outside,​​ try something new, & get moving! Your body will thank you!

July is UV Awareness Month



Kenzie Opel
Spring/Summer Wellness Intern

Summer is the perfect time to talk about UV Safety. With all the time spent outdoors in the summer, how do we ensure we are keeping ourselves safe from UV radiation?​​ 

UV radiation is emitted from the sun as both UV-A and UV-B​​ rays.​​ UV rays only make up a small part of the sun’s rays, but they are the rays that cause the most damage.​​ UV-A rays are compiled of longer wavelengths that can reach to the middle layer of your skin whereas UV-B rays are shorter wavelengths that only reach the outer layer of your skin.​​ It is important to learn the risks associated with these rays to be able to take the proper precautions to protect​​ one self.​​ 

The harmful risks?

  • Cause vision problems, damages your eyes

  • Suppresses the immune system​​ 

  • Causes premature aging of the skin

  • Skin cancer! (Most common type of cancer)​​ 

Factors that affect the strength?​​ 

The American Heart Association states that the strength of UV rays are based on many factors. The time of day changes how strong the rays are. They are most damaging between 10am to 4pm. The season of the year can also affect this. The spring to summer months are when the rays are the strongest. ​​ July is represented as UV safety​​ month because it is right at the time when the​​ sun is​​ at its​​ all-time​​ high. The further you are from the equator means the less​​ exposure​​ there is. A higher altitude means​​ the more UV rays that can touch down to the ground. Cloud cover varies the exposure because sometimes it blocks the exposure and sometimes it causes the rays to be reflected. It is a good rule of thumb to take backup precautions on cloudy days.​​ It is important to keep these ideas in mind when deciding what precautions to take.

Precautions?

  • Cover up:​​ Be sure to cover your face with a hat or sunglasses. You can even wear long sleeve shirts, pants, etc. to hide your skin from the sun.​​ 

  • Stay in the shade:​​ It is recommended to spend more time in the shade between 10am and 4pm because this is when the sun is at its strongest. Even on cloudy days, the sun can still be harmful to your skin so it is important to take other precautions as well.​​ 

  • Choose the right sunscreen:​​ SPF stands for sun protection factor. This is required by the FDA to be shown on the label. It is recommended to use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to protect against both UV-A and UV-B rays. ​​ 

  • Use the right amount of sunscreen:​​ Many people don’t use the proper amount of sunscreen when applying throughout the day. It is recommended to apply one oz of sunscreen every two hours. They even suggest more frequently if you are sweating or spending time in the water.​​ 

Remember to be safe as you take in the rays and be sure to protect your skin and eyes from the damage.​​ You can learn more about how to keep yourself safe from UV radiation in the summer months at​​ https://www.cancer.org/healthy/be-safe-in-sun.html. The American Cancer Association offers plenty of tips and steps to take to protect yourself as well as information on the connection to health risks.​​ 

 

Christina Falahee

Wellness Coordinator

 

Share Life, Give Blood:​​ World Blood Donor Day

 

Want to help save a life? Help spread the word of World Blood Donor Day! ​​ People across the globe come together​​ every year on June 14th ​​ to thank blood donors for their​​ voluntary,​​ life saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations for those in need.​​ The theme this is​​ year is “Blood Connects Us All.”​​ Many countries still have a shortage of donors,​​ meaning​​ World blood Donor Day is vital to these countries to raise awareness of blood donation.

Why Donating is so Important

Millions of lives are saved around the world each year through transfusions of blood and blood products. When you donate blood, you can help someone suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and higher quality lives as well as supporting complex medical and surgical procedures. ​​ It also​​ plays​​ an essential, lifesaving role during the emergency response to manmade and natural disasters.

How to Celebrate World Donor Day

  • Donate blood, a single donation can make a difference.

  • Spread the word via social media.

  • Thank those that have taken the time to donate their blood.​​ 

How to Donate

Visit the American Red Cross website (https://www.redcross.org/give-blood) to find a location to donate and learn more about the donation process.

Blood Donation Facts

  • 108 million blood donations are collected globally, half of these are in high – income countries

  • Blood donation by 1% of the population can meet a nation’s most basic requirements for blood.

  • 62 countries collect 100% of their blood supply from voluntary, unpaid blood donors.

 

The Objectives for This Year

  • To thank those who have donated​​ blood and to inspire those have not yet donated blood to start donating.

  • Highlight​​ the need for year​​ round blood donation, to maintain adequate supplies and achieve national self – sufficiency of blood.

  • Focus attention on blood donation as an expression of community participation in the health system, and the importance of community participation in maintaining sufficient, safe and sustainable blood supplies.

  • Encourage younger people, who might be nervous or unsure about donating, to feel encouraged to sign up and start donating.