January is National Blood Donor Month, When Donations are Needed Most

DonateBlood-LaneBloodCenter-HopValley-2015Did you know that blood donations are only usable for a short period of time? Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days, so blood centers have a constant need for blood donations. (Platelets need to be used within five days, and plasma can be frozen for up to a year).

With a short time to use blood donations, blood centers need a consistent flow (pardon the bad pun!) of donations to secure a safe supply throughout the year. And year after year, January is the month when blood centers have the least amount of blood on-hand.

The reasons? Leading into the month of January, people are celebrating the holidays, and finding time to donate blood becomes difficult. When the month of January arrives, folks get sick and the weather gets worse, causing people to miss their scheduled appointments and donation events to be canceled. Because of this, January was declared National Blood Donor Month, and local and national blood centers strongly urge people to schedule an appointment or drop on in to a donation event.

Donating blood doesn’t cost anything, takes little time (around an hour), and can make a great difference in someone’s life—including saving one! Also, donors are not left empty handed. After each donation, donors receive:

  • A lollypop, a cookie, and a glass of juice
  • Time to spend with family and friends (don’t go alone, ask a loved one to join)
  • A momentary pinching feeling in your arm (not so much a benefit, unless you think you are dreaming!)
  • The opportunity to prove that you are not a wimp when you see a needle
  • Information about your blood, including fourteen tests, 11 for infectious diseases
  • The fantastic feeling of helping others

So, if you are part of the 38 percent of Americans who are eligible to donate blood, seriously consider this time of year to schedule an appointment, or head to your local blood center and donate! Visit a link to find a center or event near you:

And, to those who have and will give blood, thank you!

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Cervical Cancer: The Most Preventable Female Cancer

Cervical Health Awareness Month - Get regular Pap tests.January is Cervical Health Awareness month and we’re encouraging women to learn how they can protect themselves from HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer.  Did you know that about 79 million Americans currently have HPV, the most commonly sexually transmitted disease? Did you also know that HPV is a major cause of cervical cancer?

Now, the good news:

  • HPV can be prevented by the HPV vaccine.
  • Cervical cancer is preventable with regular screening tests (called Pap tests) and follow-up care.

To protect yourself from HPV and Cervical Cancer, the National Cervical Cancer Coalition has issued the following recommendations:

  • Women to start getting regular Pap tests at age 21
  • Women to get the HPV vaccine before age 27
  • Parents to make sure their pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12
  • Men to get the HPV vaccine if you are under age 22

With most insurance plans, these services are absolutely free with any plan. Check with your insurance plan to make sure.

Taking small steps can help keep you safe and healthy.  Click here http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/?s_cid=ecard_2009CervicalCancer to learn how you protect yourself from HPV and Cervical Cancer or talk to your healthcare provider today.  Because, your health matters.