Only 3 out of every 100 Americans donate blood, according to the American Red Cross. Do you? January is National Blood Donor Month so if you have never given blood before, or haven’t in the past three months, it might be time to consider it.
In order to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old, healthy and weigh 110 pounds. When you donate, you can help up to three people. On top of that, donating blood also has certain health benefits.
Provides a picture of your health
Before donating blood, each potential donor gets a basic physical. Blood pressure, pulse and vital signs are all checked, so it is a handy reminder between visits to the doctor.
Reduces health risks
Donating blood on a regular basis can regulate iron levels (fighting heart disease); lower your risk against lung, liver, colon, stomach and throat cancers; and decrease your risk of a heart attack or a stroke.
Your body replaces the blood volume lost, and that replenished blood can help your body work more efficiently.
Yes, Columbia hosts the annual Homecoming and Greek Week blood drives. However, it’s important to remember that donating blood should be a year-round activity. You can donate blood every 56 days. There are always opportunities in town for you to donate and help save lives. Contact the local Red Cross office at 573-449-2656 to stay updated on drives around the city.
You can also donate today at the Molly Bowden Memorial Blood Drive from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. at Grace Bible Church at 601 Blue Ridge Drive. Check out www.savealifenow.org for more information.
When did you kick your heat on this winter? Chances are that the minute you did, your skin started drying out. For some people, this means that it’s time to purchase some heavy duty moisturizer; for others, it may be time to talk to a dermatologist. Each case is special, but here are a couple tips to help you fight skin dryness this winter.
Use an exfoliating scrub once a month. This will get rid of dead skin and allow your body to create new skin. Be careful to not confuse exfoliating with using a harsh peel, which can strip the oil from your skin.
The lotion that you used during the summer months may not be right for wintertime. Consider looking for a different lotion that is more heavy duty. Most oil-based lotions are better for dry skin because they provide more protection than water-based moisturizers. If you’re not sure what type of lotion or moisturizer is best for you, drop by and we’ll help you pick one based on your personal preferences and needs. Plan on packing emergency lotion in your purse or pocket so it’s always handy.
Your shower and hand-washing water should be lukewarm instead of hot. Hot water takes moisture out of skin and causes dryness. If the thought of lukewarm water doesn’t thrill you, try taking shorter showers.
With the heat always on, the air in your home gets dry. A humidifier places the moisture back in the air. You may already have one built in your furnace, but if you don’t, consider picking one up for this winter.
Do you have any tricks to beating out dry skin?
- Image by ~W~ via Flickr
With the holidays coming up, we may be paying attention to what we eat, but it’s very easy to go over our recommended calorie and food intake. The USDA Food Guide Pyramid gives us outlines on healthy eating habits, but do you understand what that means for the holidays?
Grains: Grains are a good source for carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Whole grains are the best for you because they have the least amount of processing. A great naturally sweet snack is a piece of whole wheat bread with sorghum syrup. It might get a little sticky – if you have this at a gathering don’t forget the hand toilettes!
Fruits: This is where you have to be careful at the holiday parties. You may see a fruit dessert – but that doesn’t mean you can eat all of it! Another popular treat is serving fruit covered in sugar or chocolate. Watch out for what you’re putting on your fruit, most fruits are naturally sweet.
Veggies: The cold months are the best for carrots, beets and broccoli. So when you’re visiting friends and family this season, consider a veggie tray instead of chips. Veggies fill you up without any guilt after you leave the party. And don’t forget that we have a winter Farmers Market in Columbia where you can stock up on fresh produce.
Meat and Beans: This is a fairly broad group that contains meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts. It one of the main ways to get protein in your diet. The USDA recommends eating lean or low-fat cuts of meat to cut down on discretionary calories. If you’re having a holiday party, keep a bowl of unsalted nuts on the table for a simple and healthy snack!
Milk and Dairy: Milk and dairy products are essential for helping build strong bones. The easiest way to get these nutrients is by drinking milk, but eating cheese and yogurt are also great ways to get your dairy servings. You should typically have three servings of dairy each day. A cheese tray is always popular at gatherings and great finger food too!
Oils: “Oils” is another way of saying “fats” in food. These include saturated, unsaturated and trans fats. Saturated and trans fats are the ones to avoid. Oils are mostly used in cooking, for a healthier option, try using olive oil in your holiday recipes.
Discretionary Calories: This is the area for wiggle room in the food pyramid. You can fill up the rest of your daily intake with more of other food groups, foods with higher caloric content, foods with added fats and sweeteners, and foods that are mostly fats. The amount of discretionary calories you have each day depends on your other food intake. This is the important group to watch during the holidays, especially with all the cookies and cakes around!
So whether you’re hosting the party, or are planning on bringing a dish, keep the food pyramid in mind. Do you have any healthy dishes that you enjoy preparing?
As the holidays approach, your kids may be looking for gifts to give friends and family. We know it can be hard to buy presents for everyone — and sometimes a homemade gift means much more. We put together our top three ideas for homemade presents!
Homemade snow globe
- Start with a baby food jar (Make sure it has been cleaned out and the label has been removed).
- Glue a winter-themed item to the inside of the lid. This could be a foam star, a tree or a small ornament.
- Fill the jar with water and about one teaspoon of glitter, whatever color you choose.
- Glue the lid shut and let it dry for approximately two hours.
- Once the glue has dried, shake the jar and enjoy the snow globe.
Puzzle picture frame.
- Start with plain puzzle pieces (you can buy these or used the back of old puzzles that you have laying around).
- Pick out your favorite paint colors.
- Paint your puzzle pieces.
- Allow them to dry (the time will depend on the type of paint you use).
- Create a frame out of popsicles sticks.
- Glue your puzzle pieces on the popsicle sticks.
- Insert your favorite holiday picture!
- Using construction paper, trace your footprint vertically (toes toward the top of your paper, heel toward the bottom) for the reindeer head.
- Trace two hand prints for the antlers.
- Glue the pieces together.
- Add some googly eyes and a button for the nose.
- Go crazy coloring or painting the rest of your reindeer.
What are some of your favorite holiday crafts and activities?
Osteoporosis is a condition where bone density decreases, making bones fragile and easier to break. It’s dangerous because there are no symptoms until a bone fracture occurs. This is usually when an incident (such as a fall) that would not necessarily cause a serious injury, does. With the streets and sidewalks getting icy soon, it’s important for everyone to know the dangers that come with osteoporosis. Talk with your friends and family members to see if they know the risks of osteoporosis and how they can prevent injuries.
Am I at Risk?
You are at a higher risk for osteoporosis if you are:
- Of white or Asian descent
- Thin or have a small frame
- Have a low calcium intake
- Have suffered from an eating disorder
- Are not active
- Have excessive alcohol consumption
What Can I Do to Prevent Osteoporosis?
You can prevent osteoporosis by:
- Increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake
- Not smoking
- Avoiding excessive alcohol
You can learn more about vitamin D with our blog post from this summer.
What do you do to keep your bones healthy?
Vitamin A comes in two different forms. They are retinol and carotene. Retinol is the purest form of vitamin A, and carotene is converted into retinol and stored in the liver.
How does it help?
- Vitamin A is best known for its aid in vision support. Our eye’s retina holds four photopigments with vitamin A compounds. Rhodopsin (one of the pigments) allows the rod cells to detect light. This allows our eye to turn light into sight, making foods rich in vitamin A very helpful for eye sight! For a full list of yummy foods visit the World’s Healthiest Foods.
- Vitamin A strengthens our immune system by promoting the growth of the thymus gland. It also enhances the function of white blood cells, increases the response of antibodies to antigens and has anti-viral activity. This helps fight off those nasty fall allergies!
Cell Growth Support:
- Vitamin A is important for the normal growth of cells and development. The retinoic acid helps cellular adhesion, which is the ability to attach cells to each other. This helps in cell formation and cellular longevity.
National Institute of Health
Runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion….oh my! Fall allergy season is upon us. For America’s 60 million seasonal allergy sufferers, fall can be the hardest time of the year.
So what causes these annoying fall allergies? Male plants release tiny cells called pollen in order to reproduce. When the pollen or other allergy triggers enter the body, the immune system mistakes it for nasty foreign invaders and releases antibodies. When the antibodies attack the evil allergens, they then release chemicals called histamines, which cause the allergy symptoms. For a full list of symptoms, visit WebMD.
The worst attackers:
- Ragweed: Even if ragweed doesn’t grow where you live, it can still make you miserable. It can travel for millions of miles through the wind. For further information about ragweed, check out this great video.
- Mold: Mold spores can easily be airborne. It thrives in damp areas both indoors and out. Mold can even be found in the damp leaves that are in the streets and yards. College students should make sure to be aware of any damp areas in their room. If found, contact the facilities right away.
- Dust mites: These are microscopic, spike-like insects are also common for indoor allergies. They are most prevalent in the humid summer months, but are stirred when you turn on your furnace for the first time in the fall.
Avoiding fall allergies:
- Stay indoors with windows closed when pollen is at its peak (10 a.m. -3p.m.)
- Before turning on your heat, clean your heating ducts.
- Use a humidifier.
- Wear a mask when you rake leaves.
When avoiding allergens doesn’t help, there are always antihistamines or decongestants. Keep allergies under control in order to avoid an infection. Stop into D&H to learn more about allergy medications or to get answers to your fall allergy concerns.
Medical News Today
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency