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March is for Madness

It’s no secret that at Carter BloodCare we are huge fans of basketball, and we are ready for some friendly competition during the annual Men’s College Basketball championship tournament!

During the spring, the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball selects the top 64 teams to compete in a single-elimination tournament leading up to the division finals. For most of us, this means filling out our brackets in hopes that we will predict the right teams to make it to the end.

To help you get more excited to watch and enjoy college basketball this season, we created our very own NCAA bracket for you to print and use:

Your Personal NCAA Bracket.

The popularity of a tournament bracket has increased over the years, even creating popular challenges with big payouts. One of the most notable challenges was Warren Buffet’s offer last year to give $1 billion to anyone with a perfect bracket from the big tournament. The odds were approximately one in 4,294,967,296. FYI – there wasn’t a winner.

While you might not be able to convince your friends to shell out $1 billion for a winning bracket, you can still use our bracket to challenge your friends, family, coworkers and others to make the 2015 NCAA Tournament even more exciting. Good luck and happy bracketing!


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Spring Clean Bill of Health

Spring is in the air and all over the state of Texas, everyone is ready to take advantage of the warmer weather and take part in springtime activities. One of the most popular spring traditions is to spring clean and de-clutter your life. With the changing seasons, we think it is the perfect time to spring clean your health to enjoy the best aspects of the season!

Go Local With Your Produce

At Carter BloodCare, we love the idea of working with companies and organizations in your community, and none are more enjoyable than local farmer’s markets or grocery stores. Buying locally grown fruits and vegetables helps make a positive impact in your community, saves you money by eliminating delivery expenses, and naturally introduce local pollens into your system to help you avoid springtime allergies.

De-Clutter Your Medications

Did you know your medicines and supplements expire? Whether we forget to take our daily vitamins, or recover from an illness before our medication is out, most of us end up with half empty medicine bottles that just sitting in our cabinets. Once your medicine cabinet gets too full, it’s time to go through and throw away all of the expired pills to make room for a healthier you. Be sure and check with your local city administration to learn about the proper disposal methods for these products, rather than flushing them into the water system.

Throw Away Stress

Stress affects everyone at different times, and if we don’t take steps to control it, it can get out of hand. Take a few minutes each day to take some deep breaths and spend some time focusing on your happiness. Look into what in life stresses you out and think of ways to eliminate those stressors so you can calmly take on the world.

Clean Out Allergens

Want a head start on spring allergies? Take spring cleaning to a literal sense and clean your home. Washing linens, dusting off surfaces, replacing air filters, and disinfecting your home eliminates a number of household allergens and gives you and your family a better chance at avoiding hay fever.

Visit Your Doctor

One of the easiest ways to make sure you have a clean bill of health is to schedule appointments with your doctor, or doctors. Get up-to-date on all of your check ups and talk openly with your doctor about any health concerns you may have. You can even get a mini physical when you donate blood with Carter BloodCare for a quick read of your health. Starting strong with your doctor visits will help you plan out appointments so you can stay healthy all year so you can continue to give life to the community.

Get Outside

Outdoor activities are some of the easiest ways to improve your physical health without realizing it. Gardening can help your home look beautiful on the outside, and burns up to 350 calories an hour. Hiking or walking outside gives you a chance to enjoy the nice weather, and get into healthy, active habits. Playing with kids at the park can be fun for them, and a chance for you to bond and burn some calories. Whatever activity you choose, time outside is never time wasted.

Changing seasons are a great time to experience new adventures and new opportunities, but can also bring in new things you need to be conscious of to stay in good health.  If you do what is necessary to avoid seasonal health woes, you can begin the season with a spring in your step.


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Protect Your Heart: How to Prevent Heart Disease

Although Valentine’s Day has passed, it is still the perfect time to remember to keep your heart safe from heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming approximately 600,000 lives each year. Additionally, more than 720,000 Americans experience heart attacks annually, and that number is growing. It is never too early to start caring about your heart’s health and taking the right steps to protect it.

Indulge In a Healthy Diet

Maintaining a heart-healthy diet is one of the best ways to take care of your heart. Avoid foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, sodium and added sugars. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meats, and fiber-rich foods are the best to keep your heart pumping strong.

Get Your Heart Pumping

Physical activity helps your body maintain a consistent weight, and also prevents high blood pressure and other heart-related diseases. All it takes is 30-60 minutes a day for at least four days a week to help your heart stay strong. Any physical activity from walking the dog and cleaning the house, to gardening and even shopping, can count towards exercise and improve your cardiovascular health.

Dump Tobacco

Tobacco fills your body with harmful chemicals and gases that can damage blood vessels, increase blood pressure, and lead to life-threatening illnesses. If you do not currently smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, look for an effective way to quit smoking that works for you. The sooner you quit, the sooner you will lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Drink Less Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can cause you to have high blood pressure, and puts toxins into your body. Limit the amount of drinks you have to no more than one a night, and try to consume less than three drinks each week.

Try to Relax

Stress can have a dangerous effect on our bodies and over time that damage builds up. Deep breathing exercises, stress management techniques, and simply doing things that make you smile help lower your stress and in turn, lead you to a better quality of life.

Get Your Beauty Rest

Not getting enough sleep leaves you at a higher risk for obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. Setting a sleep schedule that gets you in bed at a reasonable hour can help put your snooze button to rest and let you wake up happier and healthier each day.

Make a Date with Your Doctor

No matter how healthy you are, it is important to maintain regular doctor visits. A good relationship with your physician means you will have a better grasp on your overall health and be able to identify what are the risks to you, individually, and how to avoid them.


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What It Means to Have Type A Blood

Whether it is in our bodies or donated to help others, blood is an important part of our lives. Even though it all looks the same, every person’s blood is different. There are more than 50 factors that determine blood compatibility, all of which begin with blood type. Blood type is determined by the presence or absence of A and B antigens on the surface of red blood cells. Blood type A is blood that has only the A antigen present in the red blood cells, but what it means to have type A blood is much more than the presence of an antigen.

Type A blood, at its most basic, means that the A antigen is present on the red cells, and has a B antibody present in the plasma. This means that people with type A blood cannot receive blood from donors who have the B antigen. Type A recipients can only receive blood from type A and type O donors.

The other factor that determines who can and cannot receive a specific blood type is the Rh factor. Blood types with the Rh factor present are positive (+), while blood types where it is absent are negative (-). Patients with negative blood types can only receive blood that is negative, while patients with positive blood types can receive both negative and positive blood. If you are type A-, you can only receive from A- and O- donors, while A+ patients can receive from A+, A-, O+ and O- donors.

Believed to be one of the original blood types, type A blood is one of the most common in the United States, accounting for 34 percent of people. Blood type A- only occurs in six percent of the population. Around the world, blood type A appears most commonly in the Aborigines people of Australia, the Blackfoot Indian tribe of Montana, and the Lapps people of Northern Scandinavia; all unrelated populations found in different continents. Generally, most people of European descent are found to have blood type A, while there is almost no distribution of the blood type A in South America.

At Carter BloodCare, we focus on finding blood donations that meet the needs of the community. Thankfully, in our community we see a lot of donors with blood type A stepping up to make a difference and give life. If your blood is type A, either positive or negative, you can always make a difference in the community. Whether it is through whole blood or automated donations, there are always parts of your blood that can make transfusion possible in your community.


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How Blood Transfusion Helps Cancer Patients

When someone is first diagnosed with cancer, the news can be nothing short of terrifying. There are few proven treatments for many forms, and the potential outcome can be disheartening. Blood transfusion often plays an important role among treatment options that give patients a life-saving resource. Blood can help fight the cancer itself and often works to counter the negative side effects of effective treatments.

The most common use of blood transfusion in cancer patients is to treat anemia. Anemia is a reduction in the number of red blood cells in the body, and is common for cancer patients to develop. Anemia can be an effect of the cancer itself, or can be caused by different types of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Blood transfusion increases the number of red blood cells in the body, which allows for more oxygen to reach the tissues and organs.

Sometimes cancer inhibits the body’s production of blood cells. Blood cancers such as leukemia begin in the bone marrow and often crowd-out blood-producing cells, resulting in low blood counts. Other cancers can lower blood counts by affecting organs like the spleen and kidneys, which are both responsible for keeping cells in the blood. Blood transfusions help replenish the blood cells lost due to different types of cancer, and give those with the disease a chance.

Many times it is the effective cancer treatments that set up a need for blood transfusion. There can be blood loss during cancer surgery, which might call for red blood cells and platelets to replenish blood loss and support clotting. One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is low blood cell counts. Chemotherapy can also affect bone marrow. Patients receiving other cancer treatments, such as radiation and bone marrow transplants can require blood transfusions to help them avoid infections or excessive bleeding due to a lack of platelet production.

Blood transfusion is a unique treatment because it is made possible by the kindness of volunteer blood donors. Giving blood is always life-saving, life-changing or life-enriching, especially for those battling cancer. Blood transfusion gives cancer patients hope and a chance to fight back.

 


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Sue and Mark James: Giving Love to Their Community

We feel the love year ‘round at Carter BloodCare. From the generosity of our donors, to the commitment of our volunteers, we see people every day sharing with us in amazing ways. With all the emphasis on romance this time of year, it is only fitting to find the perfect Carter BloodCare love story to help you get excited to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Mark and Sue James have been loyal Carter BloodCare volunteers for more than ten years. It is rare to see one of them volunteering at Carter BloodCare without the other. Always a committed team, they regularly give their time and hearts to the Carter BloodCare mission.

Look out for the couple at Carter BloodCare events. Their favorite jobs are greeting donors or giving them refreshments at donor centers and mobile blood drives. They enjoy helping with office projects together and are always spotted laughing with their friends at quarterly volunteer meetings. Mark and Sue always give their time, even at the last minute, to share their love to others in the community.

The biggest way to show compassion is through actions, and Mark and Sue James do that every month when they spend time together giving life to their community.

How do share the love with your community? Let us know in the comments!