Since 1970 January has been declared National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, and with good reason. Above all other times of the year, it’s the month that presents the most challenges in recruiting people to give blood. This January is no exception with the local Red Cross in an urgent need for more donors.
Changing weather like the current winter storms, increased cold and flu symptoms and even the winter blues can keep the most dedicated blood donors from making or keeping an appointment to give blood. Yet winter weather can lead to more traumatic injuries on icy roads and may increase the need for blood.
The local Red Cross needs about 650 blood donors every day to meet the needs of patients at 41 area hospitals. However, there has been a 10 percent dip in blood donations so far this winter. Recent blood drive cancellations due to weather also meant the Red Cross was not able to collect nearly 500 donations it had planned on for patients. And as the Red Cross is trying to recruit donors, a high number of people asked to give are reporting cold or flu symptoms, which make them not able to donate.
“There are so many unpredictable factors at play that can affect the blood supply during January; it’s a critical time to remind the public of the need for more donors,” said Rodney Wilson, communications manager for the American Red Cross Central Ohio Blood Services Region. “If you are in good health, now is the time to share that good health with patients in need.”
The dip in donations has also caused a decrease in the local blood inventory of key blood types including O-negative, A-negative and B-negative.
The Red Cross and American Medical ID urge everyone to make donating blood a priority this winter. Your help could mean hope for those in need. To find out where you can give blood and to schedule your appointment, go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS, for additional information.
Re-posted from the Joslin Diabetes Center website. For the full article, click here.
New Years is a time to come up with resolutions to better your life for the future. Why not use your resolution this year to set goals to better your diabetes management and overall health?
Your diabetes management goals for the New Year should be specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-limited. Click here to view a printable handout you can fill out to help you reach your diabetes management goals.
Gillian Arathuzik, R.D., C.D.E., Nutrition Diabetes Educator, at Joslin Diabetes Center, reviews some examples of annual and daily goals for diabetes management to set for yourself this New Years:
Re-posted from Everyday Health, written by Jessica Firger.
The holidays pose challenges for Alzheimer’s caregivers. But staying realistic about your loved one’s limitations can help make the season joyful for everyone. The holidays are the time of the year to bring family and loved ones together. Cousins unite with cousins, in-laws meet other in-laws, and grandparents get to see just how much their grandchildren have grown.
But, if you are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, this time of year can be incredibly stressful, because facing family festivities also means planning around the personal limitations that come with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is hard enough, but hosting a holiday dinner, navigating a Christmas party, or making it to midnight mass or a New Year’s Eve champagne toast can feel like an impossible feat.
“I think with the holidays it’s really important for us to take a practical approach and really adjust our expectations,” said Ruth Drew, director of family and information services at the Alzheimer’s Association.”Maybe there are traditions in the family but they’re more of burden than a blessing.”
For a person with even advanced Alzheimer’s disease, holiday events and extended family time can be overwhelming because they break up the regular routine. A person with dementia feels safest and most comfortable when every day is more or less the same. “During the holidays our schedules tend to be different from our usual,” said Drew. “Oftentimes we might be traveling, we might have house guests, we might have activities that are planned and different. While this may be exciting, it might not be so helpful for people with Alzheimer’s.”
If you include your loved one with dementia in holiday celebrations, you may worry that the person will act out inappropriately or behave differently in a social setting, and you may ask yourself if you should warn other guests in advance.
Elaine Pereira, author of I Will Never Forget: A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia, thinks explaining the situation to friends and relatives before an event can help alleviate some anxiety and stress.
“Say something like: ‘Grandpa has dementia and he will be here for Christmas dinner,'” Pereira suggested. “‘Please be aware that he is loud, easily angered, chews with his mouth open, etc.’ If your guest can respect the unique parameters that having grandpa there requires, fine. If not, don’t invite them.”
But Barry Reisberg, MD, director of the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Resources Program in New York City, thinks it’s unnecessary to to talk with your guests beforehand. Someone in an early stage of the disease is more than likely equipped to handle social situations as they normally would, he said. But if something does go wrong, Reisberg recommends briefly acknowledging it to your guests later. “At some point, maybe at the conclusion of the dinner, you might look for ways to explain the person’s behavior,” he suggested.
When you’re making any holiday plans, keep in mind the stage in the person’s disease to determine what sort of presence and role the person has in a family celebration, said Amy Ehrlich, a spokesperson for the American Geriatrics Society and director of the geriatrics fellowship program at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. “You may have to scale down because it’s a lot of work,” Erlich said. “And as the disease progresses you should give yourself permission to live your life.”
What that means is being selective about which invitations you accept, asking for help, and coming up with ways to keep your loved one occupied and comfortable during social events — and knowing when it might be best to go alone.
Here are some ideas that will help you keep your stress levels down and enjoy the holiday season:
Re-posted from an article on ABC News, written by Lauren Browne, M.D. For the full article, click here.
The holiday season is in full swing. And while many people around the nation gear up for a joyful time with family and friends, those with allergies prepare for an onslaught of wheezes and sneezes that can wreck the holiday fun.
“The winter holidays are a particularly difficult time for people with allergies,” said Mike Tringale, vice president of external affairs at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “There are respiratory allergies. There are food allergies. There are skin allergies. There are eye allergies. The list goes on.”
But with a few simple tips and tricks from the experts, surviving and thriving during the season can be easier than cooking the holiday meal. The secret to success is planning in advance, well before common food, pet, and mold allergies turn Christmas and Hanukkah into a Halloween nightmare.
A Christmas tree is a smoking gun for people with allergies, according to Tringale. Real trees harbor mold spores that can trigger reactions, and fake trees are often stored for months or years in dusty attics and basements. They can also be coated with allergy-inducing chemicals.
“People may just assume they have a cold or cough that isn’t going away when in fact it’s from the allergens circulating in their home from the tree,” said Dr. Neeta Ogden, an allergist in New York City.
The Fix: Keep fresh trees in the home for less than two weeks and wipe the trunk thoroughly with a solution of warm water and bleach (1 part bleach to 20 parts water). Consider hosing off a fake tree outside and letting it dry before bringing it indoors. And when the holidays are over, store the fake tree with a protective air-tight covering to prevent next year’s dust mite invasion.
“Fireplaces are great for Santa’s visit, but the burning wood, which can be moldy, dusty, and have chemicals, also causes respiratory symptoms,” said Dr. Marjorie Slankard, director of the allergy clinic at Columbia-New York Presbyterian Medical Center.
The wood smoke from the fire can also trigger itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, or a scratchy throat.
The Fix: Stack your firewood outside and bring new logs in only when you are ready to use them in your fireplace or wood-burning stove. And make sure the fire burns in a well-ventilated area to avoid unnecessary smoke inhalation.
‘Tis the season of candies, cakes, and cookies. But for those with food allergies, decadent holiday parties can be a set-up for serious missteps.
Common holiday ingredients like eggs, milk, soy, and nuts abound, and can cause potentially life-threatening allergic reactions if accidentally consumed. Even if a food does not seem to contain allergens, it may have been cross-contaminated if it was prepared alongside known allergens.
Alcohol at holiday parties adds to the danger, according to Dr. Scott Sicherer of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. It can lower inhibitions and increase the risk that you mistakenly eat an unsafe food.
The Fix: Ask what’s in the buffet before you eat. If you’re unsure of the ingredients of a certain food, completely avoid it. Consider making and bringing your own food to a holiday potluck. And most importantly, you should always have your emergency epi-pen ready in case of an unexpected emergency.
Your aunt’s cat Fluffy may be adorable, but you’ll need to steer clear if you’re sensitive to the numerous allergens spread by domestic pets.
“A frequent issue is that pet-allergic individuals visit homes of relatives and friends where there are pets, which can cause nose and eye reactions as well as asthma with cough, wheezing and shortness of breath,” said Dr. Mark Dykewicz, director of allergy and immunology at Wake Forest University.
The Fix: If you’re hosting a party, clear the air of pet dander with the aid of a HEPA air filter. If possible, minimize the time that pets and guests are indoors together. But if exposure is inevitable, Dykewicz recommends taking over-the-counter antihistamines, like nasal cromolyn, 15 to 20 minutes before entering an allergic environment and every six hours thereafter, until the party ends.
Holiday party season inspires many women to apply make-up more frequently, but extra layers of foundation and cover-up could lead to dry and irritated skin, according to Ogden.
Not only can this “holiday skin” be socially isolating, but when compounded with cold weather, it can trigger uncomfortable eczema flares in those who suffer from the condition.
The Fix: Peoplewith sensitive skin should use only small amounts of make-up. Don’t over-cleanse and dry out the skin, but do moisturize frequently. And if you have known eczema or other serious skin conditions talk to your doctor about ways to prevent winter flares.
Strong odors from potpourri, candles, incense, and scented decor can wreak havoc on allergies and can even exacerbate asthma, according to Dr. Tara Carr, director of the adult allergy program at Arizona Health Sciences Center.
Being trapped indoors with heavily-perfumed family and friends can also make for an uncomfortable celebration.
The Fix: Besides the obvious advice to not buy products with strong odors, the best way to avoid this one is to talk to your doctor or see an allergist about preventative medications you can take for up to a week prior to exposures.
Re-posted from an article by Birgit Ottermann on Health 24. For the complete article, click here.
The good news is that, with a bit of planning, you can also have fun, while keeping your blood sugar levels under control and your waistline in check.
1) Eat moderately and watch your portion sizes
If you have diabetes, you don’t have to eat a different plate of food as the rest of your family. By making a few changes, opting for healthier foods and keeping the “naughty treats” at a minimum, you can also join in the fun.
“On Christmas morning it’s important to not eat a huge breakfast or even your regular breakfast,” says Liesbet Delport, dietician and co-author of the Eating for Sustained Energy low-GI low-fat cookbook series.. “Rather eat just a bit of low-GI fruit salad (not more than a cup), together with two to three heaped tablespoons of low-fat yogurt and maybe just a sprinkle of muesli, as the rest of the day a lot of food is probably going to be consumed.”
“For lunch on Christmas day, try to eat a normal plate of food,” says Delport. “Your plate should look like this: 1/4 meat, 1/4 low-GI starch and 1/2 vegetables and/or salads.” If there’s more than one type of meat and more than one type of starch, all the meat should still have to fit into 1/4 of your plate and so does the starch! Choose the lower GI options.
“Don’t feel tempted to have another lunch-time helping,” Delport cautions, “if you’re not hungry, just eat salad to ‘compensate’ for eating more than usual on this day. The Christmas day lunch foods are probably going to be on the menu for the next two to three days, so you won’t miss out!”
“Try to postpone the dessert until coffee time or after your Christmas afternoon nap or, even better, after a brisk walk, as blood glucose levels soar higher when too much is eaten in one sitting.”
“Strawberries and low-fat ice cream are the best choice for dessert, but if you want to have a Christmas treat, rather have a piece of lower-GI lower-fat fruit cake, with just a little bit of low-fat ice cream or low-fat low-GI custard,” says Delport.
Christmas dinner should be very small, perhaps salad or soup, vegetables, etc.
2) Make wise food choices
Choose dishes with minimal sauces and dressings, Diabetes South Africa says. Cut back on salt, remove visible fat from food, including chicken or turkey skin, and give deep-fried foods and pastries a miss.
The traditional turkey that is served for Christmas is actually a good choice of white meat, as it is low in fat (if served without the skin and if it’s roasted, not fried) and high in protein. The real culprits are the rich gravy and stuffing that are usually served with the turkey – so, steer away from these.
3) Eat your veggies
Vegetables are an important source of nutrients for everyone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always feature very high on the Christmas menu. Why not add some color to the table with a choice of veggies? A fresh tossed salad or steamed non-starchy veggies are not only low in carbs, they will also help you fill you up and stop you from overeating on foods high in fat.
Says Delport: “See to it that there are enough salads and/or vegetables at lunch and if you get hungry, have a helping of salad so long instead of nibbling on nuts and chocolates that might be standing around. If you have to have some of these snacks, just have a few nuts and dried fruits and try to skip the chocolates.”
4) Think about the timing of your meal
Many families eat their big festive meals a bit later than usual. For example, your Christmas lunch could only be ready by the middle of the afternoon. It’s therefore good to have a healthy snack on standby, to ensure that your blood glucose levels don’t fall too low. “If you are visiting friends or family, don’t be shy to ask for a healthy snack, to keep your blood glucose levels steady,” Diabetes UK advises.
“If you take insulin injections or a pill that lowers blood glucose, you may need to have a snack at your normal meal time to prevent a low blood glucose reaction,” the American Diabetes Association says. “You can also delay your injection until you are about to eat, however, if you are uncertain about adjusting the timing of your injections, first talk to your diabetes health care team for advice.”
5) Drink in moderation
Remember that alcohol is high in calories. “If you drink alcohol, have some dry or light wine with your meal,” says Delport. “Also stay clear of sugary, non-alcoholic drinks. Rather opt for artificially sweetened cold drinks or water.” Keep a jug of ice water flavored with lemon slices or mint leaves nearby.
6) Don’t forget to exercise
During the holidays we all tend to get lazy when it comes to exercise. However, physical activity is a good way to manage both your weight and blood glucose levels.
“If you manage diabetes without medication or insulin, a brisk walk after a meal will help reduce your blood sugar levels. Even if you manage diabetes with medication, exercise can help reduce your blood sugar, as long as you find the fine balance between high and low blood sugar. Test often during exercise,” the American Diabetes Association advises.
7) Focus on friends and family instead of food
And finally, remember that the festive season is a time to slow down and focus on your loved ones. Enjoy some quality time with family and friends, doing the things that you love best.
Unless you love stepping outside to cold, dry air that smacks you in the face, winter (post-holidays, of course) can be a dreary season. For people with asthma, the cold weather can worsen their symptoms.
“There are two issues with winter for people with asthma,” notes Marilyn Li, MD, an allergist and immunologist with the LAC+USC Healthcare Network in Los Angeles. “One is that the air is cold and dry, and the other is people have more sinus and upper respiratory infections, either of which can trigger or worsen asthma attacks.”
Keeping your asthma under control may take a little more effort in the cold of winter, but these strategies should get you through the season without worsened symptoms.
Whether you are new to senior caregiving, looking for enhanced elder care training, or are looking for ways to support another caregiver, online education offers a world of opportunities. Here’s a collection of 10 great videos compiled by Melody Wilding of HealthWorks Collective that every caregiver should watch. Remember, these clips are no replacement for expert medical advice from your doctor or physician.
The greatest gift you can give yourself or others is peace of mind… and with the latest medical ID bracelets from American Medical ID, peace of mind never looked so good!
Who should wear a medical ID?
If you have ongoing medical conditions, drug or food allergies, or are taking multiple medicines, you should wear a medical ID alert – we offer medical bracelets for women and medical bracelets for men alike. An engraved medical ID bracelet or necklace presenting a concise overview of your conditions, allergies and medicines will alert a doctor or medic before starting treatment. Informing medical personnel about your unique medical conditions and needs will greatly aid pre-hospital care.
|Below is a partial list of ailments or persons who should wear a medical ID:|
Heart disease (angina, atrial fibrillation, pacemakers)
Blood thinners/anticoagulants (Coumadin/Warfarin)
Drug allergies (such as Penicillin)
Food allergies (such as peanut)
Insect allergies (such as bee stings)
Bariatric surgery patients
Clinical trial patients
|Hearing, sight or mentally impaired
Mental health patients
People taking multiple medications
Special needs children
Surgery, transplant or cancer patients
Why are medical IDs critical?
Perhaps your doctor, nurse or pharmacist advised you to obtain and always wear a medical ID. Why is it important?
Learn more about how the National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The National Diabetes Prevention Program encourages collaboration among federal agencies, community-based organizations, employers, insurers, health care professionals, academia, and other stakeholders to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among people with prediabetes in the United States.
The inaugural partners of the National Diabetes Prevention Program were the YMCA and UnitedHealth Group. These partners were instrumental in starting the national program and continue to expand the reach of this evidence-based lifestyle program. CDC is enthusiastic about other organizations becoming involved in the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Most recently, Viridian Health Management, Inc. has agreed to partner with CDC and others to expand the reach of the program.
The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program is an evidence-based lifestyle change program for preventing type 2 diabetes.
The National Diabetes Prevention Program teaches participants strategies for incorporating physical activity into daily life and eating healthy. Lifestyle coaches work with participants to identify emotions and situations that can sabotage their success, and the group process encourages participants to share strategies for dealing with challenging situations.
To find out if this program is offered in your community, click here.
Joslin Diabetes Center recommends all people with diabetes to wear a medical alert ID bracelet or necklace.
“Medical alert bracelets enable rapid identification of patients with a number of illnesses, including diabetes, which can make them unable to communicate their illness to others,” according to Shamai Grossman, M.D., Director of the Cardiac Emergency Center and Clinical Decision Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center).
Medical alert ID bracelets can be extremely important for people with diabetes. Should you have a low blood glucose reaction and suddenly become confused or unresponsive, the bracelet allows immediate identification of the problem to both bystanders and paramedics. The sooner the low blood glucose reactions can be identified, the sooner they can be treated.
Emergency department personnel also use medical alert ID bracelets to rapidly identify people with diabetes, particularly when they may not be able to express that they have diabetes on their own. On arrival to an emergency department, one of the routine parts of the evaluation of the critically ill, unconscious, or disoriented patients is to remove their clothing to inspect the body for a cause of their sudden alteration, Grossman says. In these situations, medical alert bracelets can be invaluable as a time saver.
The message on your medical alert bracelet should be concise and to the point. “Diabetes” should be engraved boldly on one side. The other side of the bracelet can have other information such as “insulin dependent” or “medication controlled,” he says. Other important information can include: