Recent Posts

Health

Winter Health Tips

It’s the time of year where we focus our energy on holiday shopping, family gatherings, and preparing ourselves for all the holiday feasts. However, the one thing we all forget to do around the holidays is take time for our health. With all of the crowded malls, added stress and cold weather, it’s easy to let yourself get sick during the holiday season.

When we are healthy, we have more opportunities available to us and can spend more time doing what makes us happy. There are a lot of things each of us can do to make sure we stay healthy, and in turn, help others stay healthy as well.
 

Simple Tips To Prevent Getting Sick

The simplest way to avoid getting sick, or getting others sick, this holiday season is to get your flu shot. The flu causes thousands of people to fall ill each year, some resulting in death from complications. Getting a flu shot not only helps guard against getting the flu, it keeps those around you safe as well.

The flu is very common during the winter months. Other than getting a flu shot, washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself from catching or spreading any germs. Our hands touch so many things throughout the day; we can’t imagine what is on them. Additionally, remembering to wash things you touch daily, such as your phone, or door handles, can control the spread of bacteria and germs.

The best way to spend winter is cozy and indoors, however that means we will get less time soaking in the great outdoors. Less time spent outside means your body doesn’t get as much Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps boost the health of our immune system and heart. If you aren’t willing to take a supplement, a great way to get enough Vitamin D is to eat fatty fish such as salmon or tuna, and mushrooms.

Even though they are some of the happiest times of the year the holidays can also be some of the most stressful. Work on handling stress during the holidays. When our minds get stressed, so do our bodies. This lets down our body’s defenses, leaving us more prone to illness. Relax a little and it is easier to enjoy a healthier holiday and winter season.

The winter months are a busy time for everyone, making it hard to remember important things like our health. It doesn’t take much to make sure you stay healthy this winter. Doing the little things to look out for yourself means you can enjoy the best the season has to offer.


Giving Blood

Giving Life Gives You Life

Helping someone in need is one of the most rewarding things we can experience. Whether you’re donating blood with Carter BloodCare or lending a hand at a local food bank, there’s something personally gratifying about helping your neighbors. Giving back not only helps to breathe new life into your community, but also generates a renewed sense of purpose and a passion for improving the lives of those around you.

This is especially true during the holiday season. Between the parties, shopping for gifts and spending quality time with friends and family, it’s easy to get caught up in all the festivities that go along with this time of the year. However, this season also brings plenty of opportunities to support others and spread some of that holiday cheer to people who need it.

During the holidays, there are more opportunities than ever to get involved in giving life with Carter BloodCare. We are always in need of volunteers who are willing to lend a hand at our donor centers and at local events in their communities. Whether you want to be right in the middle of the action or would be more comfortable working behind-the-scenes, there’s a way for everyone to participate. Head to our website to see how you can sign-up to give blood or volunteer this holiday season.
 

Give Life This Holiday Season

The holidays are full of community gatherings and events, which makes this season the perfect time to get others excited about giving life by coordinating your own blood drive! You can host your blood drive at local schools, with community groups, at places of worship and even at the office. Just set a goal and spread the word, and the Carter BloodCare team will provide you with all of the promotional materials and information you will need to have a safe and successful blood drive. Email bookablooddrive@carterbloodcare.org to get started on giving life in the community.

We know that things can get a little chaotic during the holidays, so if you’re short on time, donating blood is one of the easiest and quickest ways you can make a difference. The entire process of donating whole blood with Carter BloodCare takes about an hour, but your donation has the potential to make an incredible impact on multiple people in the state of Texas.

Every 90 seconds, someone in the Carter BloodCare service area requires a blood transfusion. This fact, and the overall need for blood donations, doesn’t change when the holidays roll around. However, the number of blood donors decreases during this time of the year—when people are busy shopping, spending time with loved ones and enjoying the holidays. High schools are also not hosting blood drives while they are closed. This means that we need blood donations now more than ever in order to continue saving lives.

To learn more about how to give back to your community with Carter BloodCare this holiday season, visit the “You Can Help” section of our website. There, you’ll find a list of blood donation centers and community blood drives, information on how to coordinate your own drive and a list of volunteer opportunities for you to get involved with.

Whether you’re donating your time, money or blood, we hope you will join us in giving back this holiday season. After all, the biggest gift we can give to ourselves and others this holiday season is the gift of life and love.


Giving Blood, Great.info

Score Big and Give With the Dallas Mavericks!

It’s basketball season and for most people in North Texas that means it’s Mavs season! This month, Carter BloodCare and the Dallas Mavericks are teaming up to help spread the message of saving lives to Mavs fans throughout North, Central and East Texas. From Mavericks-themed rewards and the chance to go to a game, to a special campaign with Mavs owner Mark Cuban, this month is our chance to save lives and bleed blue with the Dallas Mavericks!

The Mavericks are ready to get everyone into the life-saving spirit, starting with great giveaways for donors. If you show up to donate blood in the month of December, you receive a free Dallas Mavs squeezie, which is the perfect way to get your blood pumping during your donation. When you donate, you will also receive a Dallas Mavericks Buy-One-Get-One voucher. To redeem the voucher, go to CarterBloodCare.org between December 20, 2014 and January 7, 2015, and enter the code on your voucher into the correct fields.

In case that isn’t enough to get you to bleed blue, this month donors have the chance to win suite tickets to the Dallas Mavericks game on January 23, 2015. Just log into your Great Partners Rewards account and redeem 50 points to enter your name into the drawing to win a Mavs game suite night at American Airlines Center. There is no limit to the number of times you can enter, as long as you have enough points on the board.

The Dallas Mavericks are heroes on the court, and now it’s your turn to be their hero. The Mavs will be hosting a blood drive in December to give more of their fans the chance to bleed blue and score a three-pointer by saving up to three lives with each blood donation. If you’re ready to be a hero, head to our mobile blood drive with the Mavs on Thursday, December 18th from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Scottish Rite Hospital, 2222 Welborn Street in Dallas, and give blood.

It’s impossible to talk about the Dallas Mavericks without mentioning their fearless leader, Mark Cuban. We had the opportunity to work directly with Cuban and discover new ways to spread the Carter BloodCare mission of saving lives to Mavs fans all over North, Central and East Texas. Check out the video below and look out for Mark Cuban urging you to be a hero with Carter BloodCare.

After helping us spread our message, Mark Cuban volunteered to become a hero himself and donated blood. Like any true Mavs fan, he really does bleed blue. Follow Mark Cuban on Instagram, @mcuban, and stay tuned to see how you can bleed blue with Mark to help save lives in the community.

Carter BloodCare is excited to team up with the Dallas Mavericks and make the goal of saving lives a win. Help us score big this month and donate blood for your chance to be a part of the Dallas Mavericks team.


Great.info

Parts of Your Blood

There is more to blood than meets the eye. This valuable resource runs through our veins and provides us with essentials to keep our bodies working and moving forward. It is important for us to receive blood donations to help the local blood supply, but it is also important for you to know which parts of your blood help others.

When it comes to blood, it is often the parts of the whole that are more valuable to people than the whole product itself. Blood has many different functions in the body and each part of the blood plays a different role. Although whole blood donations are the most common, blood transfusion usually involves giving only part of the blood. If whole blood is given in a transfusion, the unit must be of the same blood type (A, B, or O) as the recipient’s.

Red Cells

The main function of red blood cells is the delivery of oxygen to tissues and removing carbon dioxide. Red blood cells transport dissolved gases, waste products of metabolism, hormones, enzymes, nutrients, plasma proteins and blood cells. Red blood cells work to maintain the body temperature and control the pH of the blood to prevent damage to cells. Red blood cells transport waste products to the kidneys or liver so they can be excreted from the body. Red blood cells make up approximately 45% of the volume of blood. Transfusions of red blood cells are required when there are signs of decreased oxygen-carrying capacity in the blood.

Plasma

Plasma is a fluid in the blood made up of approximately 92% water that works as a medium to transport blood cells, antibodies, clotting proteins, hormones and nutrients through the body. Plasma helps the body maintain the optimum body temperature and serves as the medium through which the blood flows in the blood vessels. Plasma helps the body maintain the ideal balance of electrolytes in the blood and tissues, and works to control the pH of the blood and tissues at a range where they can thrive. Plasma is used to treat bleeding or clotting disorders and other blood deficiencies. Plasma accounts for more than half of the volume of the blood.

Platelets

Platelets are produced by bone marrow, circulate in the blood stream, and help prevent bleeding in all patients. Platelets bind together when they recognize damaged blood vessels to form a clot and stop the bleeding. Platelet transfusions are generally given for patients with a platelet count below 150,000 platelets uL of blood. These cells make up a very small percentage of the blood; and after donation, they must be stored at room temperature with a shelf-life of only five days.


Health

Have a Happy (Healthier) Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again when we prepare for a day that revolves around family, football and, of course, food! Thanksgiving is one of the most popular American holidays, and at Carter BloodCare, we look forward the whole year to stuffing our faces with turkey, cranberry sauce and potatoes. As one of the most anticipated meals of the holidays, Thanksgiving dinner can also be one of the most caloric, unless you know a few hacks to make your favorite feast a little bit better for you.

Traditionally, this holiday meal is served with mashed potatoes, stuffing and delicious buttery rolls. While all of these dishes are everyone’s favorites, they add up to a lot of starches and carbohydrates that can really tighten your pants. To avoid the carb overload, focus on portion control to make sure you keep enough room for vegetables and, of course, turkey.

Portion control can be one of the most important parts of cutting out calories on Thanksgiving. Focus on filling your plate with foods you don’t eat all year round, and fill in the empty space with plenty of healthy vegetable sides. Try to limit yourself to only one serving. Think of it this way, the less you eat today the more you have for leftovers.

When working in the kitchen, there are easy ways to take some of the ‘bad’ stuff out of your favorite foods without sacrificing the flavor. Mashed potatoes are a staple on the Thanksgiving table that packs a lot of flavor, and often a lot of calories. Take out some of the fats and calories by eliminating butter and substituting in fat-free milk. Don’t pack your stuffing with oils or butter, and instead, use fat-free broth to make it the right texture.

Because it is often fried or cooked with lots of butter, turkey is one of the biggest culprits of the holiday belly bulge. As the centerpiece of the meal, turkey needs a lot of time and focus to make sure it is cooked perfectly. Despite what you might hear on cooking shows, you don’t need butter to make your turkey melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Try replacing butter with low-fat chicken or vegetable broth, and add extra flavor with fresh herbs like garlic and rosemary.

The best way to make Thanksgiving a healthy hit is to look at what ingredients you can replace with a healthier alternative. Look for low-fat and low-sugar options for your favorite ingredients. It’s easy to find healthy replacements for most ingredients as well. For instance, if a recipe calls for sour cream, you can use Greek yogurt for the same texture and taste. If a healthy and happy Thanksgiving is your goal, it is always easy to find ways to make it delicious!


Great.info

What It Takes for a Blood Drive (Infographic)

CBC_Infographic_091813


Giving Blood

What To Do After You Donate

Donors are the lifeblood of our organization, and it is important to us to make sure each donor maintains the best possible health after donating. Giving a pint of whole blood can save the lives of up to three people, but after giving that much, it is important to treat your body right. After donating, it is important to take it easy and work on replenishing the nutrients your body has lost.

It’s no secret that before donating blood, you need to prepare your body. It is important to eat iron-rich foods such as red meats, fish, beans and spinach, drink plenty of water the two days prior to donating, get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy meal two hours before your donation. These tips help pump up the nutrients in your body so your blood has enough hemoglobin to donate and ensure you are ready to make donating a safe and pleasant experience.
 

Rest

After donating, it is important to rest in the canteen area for at least ten minutes, or until you feel up to your usual self. Pay attention to all instructions given by your blood collector immediately after donation. This includes keeping your bandage on for at least four hours. You will feel a little dizzy after donating, and for this reason it is important to not do any strenuous activity for up to 24 hours and avoid drinking any alcohol for the next 24 hours as well.
 

Replenish

Your donated blood provides people in need with a valuable resource, and after you give them what their body needs, it is time to give your body what you need. After donating, your blood pressure may drop. To avoid a drop in blood pressure and replenish lost fluids, drink plenty of liquids such as water and sports drinks. Water and sports drinks are available in the canteen area after donation to help you stay healthy and hydrated.

Folate, also known as B-9 or folic acid, is used to help create new red blood cells in the body, so it is important to eat foods rich in folic acid. These foods include asparagus, leafy greens like kale, liver and orange juice. Riboflavin, or vitamin B-2, is also used in the production of red blood cells. To restock this nutrient, eat dairy products like milk or yogurt. Another red blood cell builder, Vitamin B-6 can be found in foods like potatoes and bananas.

Iron is an essential nutrient in the blood that helps with the transport of oxygen to tissues, and needs to be replenished to avoid iron deficiency. Iron-rich foods are easy to find and, if paired with Vitamin C-rich foods, can help increase absorption from plant iron sources. Meats, fish, nuts and peanuts are common protein-packed foods rich in iron. In addition, foods such as raisins, beans, whole grains, rice flakes and watermelon can help restore your body’s iron to keep you healthy.


Giving Blood

How to Find A Mobile Drive

We know how important it is to find ways to give blood that fit into your schedule and make it easy for you to make an impact on the blood supply. Our donor centers offer consistent places to give on schedule, but unfortunately we have a limited number of donor center locations, in comparison to all of the generous donors in North, Central and East Texas.

If giving at a donor center is not convenient for you, we have 30 to 35 mobile blood drives a day to bring blood donation opportunities closer to you. To make this happen, we rely on organizations, businesses, places of worship and community groups, to host mobile blood drives all over North, Central and East Texas so we can reach more heroes willing to reach out their arms to save lives in the Carter BloodCare service area.
 

How To Find A Mobile Drive in Your Area

 
So how do you find out when blood drives will be in your area? If the mobile drive is open to the public, we post the information on our website so our donors can more easily find the closest place to give in the community. When you visit the Carter BloodCare website, click on the “Donate Blood” tab on the home page. On this page, you can choose the link “Donor Centers” to schedule an appointment at one of our 26 donor centers or locate an upcoming blood drive by clicking on “Community Blood Drives.” These drives are great opportunities for everyone to be a part of the Carter BloodCare mission.

Once you are on the Community Blood Drives page, you can narrow down the location search by city, county and even zip code, so you can make sure it is convenient for you to give blood. Once you find your community, set the dates you would like to find mobile drives near you. From there, all you need to do is select which drive (or drives) you want to go to and schedule a time to donate.

If you want to see other places Carter BloodCare will be in the community, you can go to “Community Events” from the Donate Blood page. From here, you will see fun community events we will be a part of and find ways to win prizes and experiences from Carter BloodCare! If you know of any upcoming events, let us know about them so we can be a part of the fun in your community.

Our mobile drives help us reach donors who do not live near any of our donor centers. It is our goal to meet the needs of the community, and that means we need to make it easier for all of our donors. Head to our site to find upcoming mobile drives near you, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook to see the community blood drives we will be hosting. If you want to host a mobile drive, email BookABloodDrive@carterbloodcare.org to set up a drive for your community to donate.


Events & News

Make Your Carter Blood Drive Stand Out

Each Carter BloodCare Blood Drive helps us provide for the local blood supply and gives hope to patients in need in our community. Blood Drives are a great opportunity to show people how easy it is to give, and it is up to you to find ways to get more people to roll up their sleeves. By now, you already know the guidelines for hosting a Carter BloodCare blood drive (http://www.carterbloodcare.info/guidelines-for-hosting-a-blood-drive/), but now it is time to learn how to make your blood drive unique and fun for all volunteers and donors.

Get their attention

The first step in making your blood drive stand out is getting the word out to potential donors. We will provide you with materials to help inform everyone of your upcoming drive, but don’t feel limited by that. Feel free to put up your own signs, decorate and find your own unique way to spread the word. Let your potential donors know when and where your drive takes place, what they will need to participate and how easy (and quick) it is to roll up your sleeves! Talk to your Carter BloodCare recruiter that is assigned to your drive, about fun ideas to get people excited for your blood drive.

How about a theme?

Feel free to theme your Carter BloodCare blood drive. A fun, united theme can bring attention to your drive and give your donors and volunteers a chance to have fun while doing something good for the community. From pirates to vampires, there’s no limit to what theme you can add to your drive to give everyone a chance to have more fun.

Everyone loves free stuff

We provide drinks and snacks for donors after they give, but it doesn’t mean you can’t give them a little more incentive. At your drive, feel free to offer your own snacks or other fun treats to give potential donors more reason to participate. Raffles, prizes, gifts and other goodies can help ensure a big turnout at your blood drive.

#BloodDrive

Technology makes it easier to spread the word about your blood drive to your community. Feel free to develop a hashtag for your volunteers, donors and more to spread the word and show off their excitement for your blood drive. At the drive, encourage everyone to use your hashtag and tag @CarterBloodCare to show off how much fun they are having at your blood drive.

The more fun donors have at their first Carter BloodCare donation experience, the more likely they are to sign up and donate again. There are a lot of ways to make your blood drive stand out. Use your creativity to think of ways you can make your blood drive unique. The more fun you have planning and putting on your Carter BloodCare blood drive, the more fun everyone who shows up is going to have!


About Life, Health

Heart Healthy Exercise

It’s no secret that regular exercise is important to keep your body healthy and your heart pumping strong. Adopting a healthier lifestyle that includes regular exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses and enrich your life to make you stronger and more flexible. Exercise is good for your whole body, but we’re here to tell you about the kinds of activity that directly benefit the strength and health of your heart.

Before you start any new physical fitness regimen, consult your doctor about receiving a comprehensive health assessment. Ryan Karnes, Fitness Supervisor at Texas Health Harris Methodist HEB Hospital Fitness Center, suggests getting a comprehensive body assessment as well as a cardio assessment to help you set fitness goals to help your heart beat strong. “At the Harris HEB Hospital Fitness Center, we do a basic assessment to gauge body fat percentage, body measurements and blood pressure before beginning a new program,” says Karnes. “We perform a cardio walk test and measure blood pressure during workout to measure each person’s health.” Karnes says it is important for everyone to get base line measurements at the start of a new fitness regimen, so it is easier to measure your results and assess your goals.

Once you have gotten an assessment from a health professional, you can begin implementing exercises that improve your health. “The type of exercises you need to do depend on your fitness level,” says Karnes, “I prefer interval training, which focuses on getting your heart rate up and then lowering it. This helps build cardiovascular fitness.” Interval training can be practiced with any type of exercise.

There are three basic types of exercise to help improve your heart’s health: aerobic or cardio training, stretching and weight training. Aerobic exercises ideal for heart health include walking, running, swimming and cycling. These exercises aim to raise your heart rate through fast movements, causing you to breathe harder and get your blood flowing through the body. Stretching improves flexibility, relaxes your body, and lets you focus your breathing to improve heart health. Exercises such as yoga help build flexibility and are great to stretch out muscles. Weight training is primarily used to lower bad cholesterol, according to Karnes. Using free weights, resistance bands or your own body weight, is a great way to build strength and work your body towards lower cholesterol.

Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity activity at least three to four times a week is all it takes to improve your heart’s health. Like any muscle, your heart gets stronger and healthier the more active you are. Regular activity will decrease your risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, boost good cholesterol and improve the overall health of your body.