- Some of us give blood because we were asked by a friend
- Some know that a family member or a friend might need blood some day
- Some believe it is the right thing we do
- Giving blood may help your blood flow better
- During your donation, you’ll get a mini check-up checking your blood pressure and hemoglobin levels
- Giving blood helps your iron levels stay balanced
- Doing good for others can even help you live longer. From a psychological perspective the benefits of knowing you’re giving back can have long term effects.
With every new year comes new year’s resolutions. And to help you and your family stay on track with your resolution we’d like to announce January is Family Fit Lifestyle Month. A recent report from the Surgeon General states that between 15 and 25 percent of school children in the United States is overweight, placing them at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Only about half of all Americans aged 12 to 21 exercises regularly. With January being National Family Fit Lifestyle month, what a better time than now to get the entire family to begin establishing healthy lifestyle habits? Although January is Family Fit Lifestyle Month, becoming health conscious should be a yearlong and lifelong commitment. The best role models to teach children about living healthy are the adults in their lives. Choosing nutritious foods and engaging in active indoor and outdoor activities is a great way for spending time with the whole family while promoting the importance of a healthier lifestyle. A family that gets fit together becomes a much stronger and healthier unit. Here are a few fit lifestyle tips:
- Go food shopping together and choose nutritious foods. Discuss the differences and the benefits of eating healthier.
- Make regular physical fitness activity a part of your family's daily routine.
- Limit the time spent in front of the television.
- Also visit The President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition to learn more on how to help your family become fit!
Whew. Heartburn. The holiday meal you just ate was so amazing, but why do you feel so bad after eating it. Heartburn is the culprit. Here is a quick tip to help you avoid the holiday heartburn. Holiday Party Help: Rich, fatty foods, creamy dips, cookies, candies, and decadent desserts are often the holiday party heartburn culprits. Avoid peppermint! Peppermint is a holiday favorite but for heartburn sufferers it is anything but soothing for the belly. Peppermint, mint flavorings, and rich meals can relax the sphincter muscle and allow stomach acids to flow into the esophagus. Tip: Eat five or six smaller meals, instead of larger meals. This can minimize heartburn because smaller amounts of food minimize abdominal pressure. Have fun at holiday parties, avoid your personal trigger foods and drinks, and go lightly when filling your plate. New Year’s Tips: Kick up your heals but try to not have too many cocktails. And if you happen to over due it, you may be paying for it during the first few hours of January. Alcohol, particularly red wine, is one of the biggest heartburn offenders. Tip: Alternate alcoholic beverages with “mocktails” (non-alcoholic drinks). Choosing nonalcoholic drinks is the trifecta of good health: stay well hydrated, avoid that dreaded hangover -- and minimize heartburn.
- Eat Healthy: Avoid refined sugar. White, refined sugar weakens the immune system by stealing your white blood cell's ability to destroy bacteria. It can also encourage addiction to eating foods devoid of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Additionally, stay away from Aspartame and synthetic sugar products, such as NutraSweet, which includes Methanol (wood alcohol) which is a dangerous neurotoxin and a known carcinogen. Synthetic sugars contribute to acidity, a condition which leads to inflammation and the creation of fat cells to store that extra acid. Try using natural sweeteners, such as honey for your sweetener. Eat more greens and veggies. Not only do veggies taste good, but they also boost your intake of antioxidants, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, zinc and omega-3s. Include: a daily serving of greens, a daily serving of colored veggies (can include bright-colored berries), and a daily serving of sulphur-producing vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, turnips, onions, and garlic.
- Log your food intake. Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat every day and when you eat it. The timing of your food intake affects how you feel and tracking what you eat is a helpful sports performance tool.
- Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. Movement is good, make a habit of it and stick to it. A healthy dose of exercise not only helps you get fit, but it can help you live a longer more energetic life.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Mayo Clinic, hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries in 2010 throughout the United States. 72% were to people less than 15 years of age. Additionally, in 2007 alone, toymakers recalled over 19 million toys worldwide because of safety concerns such as lead paint and small magnets. When it comes to toys and gifts, the excitement and desire to get your children their favorite toys may cause shoppers to forget about safety factors associated with them. Before you make these purchases, it is critical to remember to consider the safety and age range of the toys. This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:
- Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily
- When purchasing toys for children with special needs try to: Choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement, and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it
- Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with
- Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards
- Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard)
- Keep kids safe from lead in toys by: Educating yourself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled; being aware that old toys may be more likely to contain lead in the paint; having your children wash their hands frequently and calling your doctor if you suspect your child has been exposed to lead. Consult the last two websites listed below for more information
- Do NOT give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries which can cause serious injury or death if ingested) to young children as they tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three
- Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
- Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”
Holiday dinners with the family create some of the fondest memories. So consider the best possible food preparation techniques to avoid anyone getting sick. Follow these simple steps to correctly prepare your holiday meal.
- Cook Cook your food at the correct temperature. Many people think they can tell when food is “done” by checking its color and texture, there’s no way to be sure it’s safe without using a food thermometer.
- Clean Wash hands and surfaces often while preparing your holiday meal. Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, cutting boards, and countertops.
- Chill Refrigerate all your food properly. Illness-causing bacteria can grow in many foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them. (During the summer heat, cut that time down to one hour.)
- Separate Don’t cross contaminate your food. Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread illness-causing bacteria to ready-to-eat foods—unless you keep them separate.
Did you know this week is national handwashing awareness week? According to the CDC, Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. It’s easy to do and is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness in all settings. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community. When should you wash your hands? Wash often! Help stop the spread of germs by washing your hands often, especially during key times listed below.
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After touching garbage
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them
You’ve probably been asked a few times lately if you’ve had your flu shot. If you haven’t and would like more information read a few information bits from the CDC about the flu and flu shots. Why should people get vaccinated against the flu? Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During recent flu seasons, between 80% and 90% of flu related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older. "Flu season" in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. During this time, flu viruses are circulating at higher levels in the U.S. population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community. How do flu vaccines work? Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called "trivalent" vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called "quadrivalent" vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus. Looking for more information? Ask your doctor and schedule your appointment to get your flu shot.
Who knew Black Friday could be so hazardous. With everyone a little stir crazy, and excited about the Black Friday deals, it’s important to be careful out there. If you are headed out and about to take advantage of the Black Friday madness, enjoy these tips for a safe Black Friday. On the Road and in the Parking Lot:
- When backing out of a parking spot, be aware of waiting cars, others who are backing out at the same time, and motorists who speed through lanes.
- Lock all doors and roll up all windows even when leaving the car for a short period of time.
- When shopping, keep gifts in the trunk or hidden from view in the interior of the car. Also, put all of your packages in the trunk before departing one parking lot and driving to another. Waiting until your next shopping destination allows others to see packages go into the trunk of your car and then you departing into the mall or store.
- Avoid parking next to vans and large trucks that block your space from general vision of others.
- Make a mental note or write down exactly where you park your car to avoid wandering around longer than necessary.
- During the day, park away from buildings to reduce the chance of dings from car doors or shopping carts. At night, avoid secluded areas and park directly under lights whenever possible.
- Have your keys in hand when leaving a store. Also, look underneath your car before you reach it; criminals have been known to lie underneath in wait.
- Bring gifts in the house with you instead of leaving them in the car.
- Use a credit card to avoid thefts of large amounts of cash that are irreplaceable.
- Shopping with a single credit card is preferable because it’s easier to cancel one, rather than several, if your wallet or purse is stolen.
- Keep purses zipped and close to your body. Never leave a purse unattended in a shopping cart where it is more susceptible to theft.
- Keep a reference list of phone and account numbers for all your credit cards in a safe place at home.
- If possible, carry keys, cash, and credit cards separate from each other.
- For freedom of motion and clear visibility, do not overload yourself with bags when leaving a store and returning to your car. It’s difficult to defend yourself with when you’re carry a lot of packages.
- Use ATMs in well-populated, well lit locations. Do not throw ATM receipts away at the ATM location.
- Remember there is increased safety in numbers. Avoid walking alone and leave malls and stores well before closing time to assure a more active parking lot. Ask mall security to walk you to your car if you feel you are not safe.
- Get Active First things first, get outside and get active. Even if it’s snowing outside, or you have a huge meal to prepare, getting outside for 20 minutes is a great thing to do. Don’t have 20 minutes? Even five minutes can help as long as it’s active. Make activity the first thing you do Thanksgiving morning so you don’t forget or get lazy throughout the day. Whether that’s taking a walk outside or a 20-minute workout routine, just doing something active will help you get your metabolism working and help keep the weight off.
- Focus on Protein Focus on the good and get rid of the fatty. Turkey has amazing health benefits and is a great protein. It’s full of tryptophan, protein and other amino acids that can really support your immune system, which can help improve your mood. There are a lot healthy benefits of turkey so when you’re loading up that plate Thanksgiving Day, pack on the turkey over other things such as mac and cheese or other carby foods. Go easy on the gravy and load the veggies on the side for a healthier option. You’ll be happy you did.
- Monitor Your Meals Last but not least, if you want to really keep weight off on Thanksgiving Day, monitor your meals. Pumpkin pie is fine as is a little bit of cranberry sauce, in moderation. Stick to half portions and try not to overeat.