Recent Articles

Health and Safety

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

For more than a century, the American Red Cross has been saving lives with health and safety education programs. Red Cross training ranges from first aid, CPR and AED to swimming and lifeguarding; from HIV/AIDS education to caregiving programs like Babysitter’s Training. American Red Cross programs help people live safer and healthier lives. The Red Cross constantly strives to respond to the health and safety concerns of Americans at home, in school and in the workplace. Today’s innovative programs also include teaching lay persons and professionals how to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to save victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Last year, nearly 12 million people enrolled in American Red Cross health and safety courses. You can help the Red Cross save lives. Become an instructor or an Authorized Provider, take a course, or volunteer with your local chapter.

Be a Red Cross Disaster Volunteer

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

Every year, fires, floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters randomly strike thousands of families, sometime near your home. Lives are changed forever. Families lose homes, and worse.

We can’t change history. But with your help, we can make it a little easier for disaster victims to get from today to tomarrow.

It’s not for everybody.
It’s not a job for amateurs. It takes commitment. It takes training. But if you’re in good health, and you’re willing to help, you can become part of the elite cadre of trained Red Cross volunteers who are swiftly mobilized when disaster strikes near home.

In your first assignment you may -
Put worried families in touch with flood victims.
Distribute vouchers so families can replace lost clothing/
Read to children at a temporary shelter.
Help cool dinner for a hundred displaced families.

As you gain experience, you may also be trained to -
Help victims meet long-term needs by replacing lost personal and household items.
Work with reporters to help them file accurate stories.
Make damage assessments that will help the Red Cross and government agencies offer lasting assistance.

Whether you’re a banker or a babysitter, a carpenter or a caseworker, your special skills can help the Red Cross – and the disaster victims.

You can help.
You can be part of the community. You can meet other people who care. You can be ready when disasters strike. To find out how, call your local Red Cross office.

You may never work harder. But you’ll never feel better about what you’ve done. It will be the best job you never got paid to do.

Helping Children Cope with Disaster

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

Earthquakes…Tornadoes…Fires…
Floods…Hurricanes….
Hazardous Materials Spills

Disasters may strikes quickly and without warning. These events can be frightening for adults, but they are traumatic for children if they don’t know what to do.

During a disaster, your family may have to leave you home and daily routine. Children may become anxious, confused or frightened. As an adult, you’ll need to cope with the disaster in a way that will help children avoid developing a permanent sense of loss. It is important to give children guidance that will help them reduce their fears.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross have prepared this information to help you help your children cope. Ultimately, your should decide what’s best for your children, but consider using these suggestions as guidelines.

Children and Their Response
to Disaster

Children depend on daily routines: They wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, play with friends. When emergencies interrupt this routine, children become anxious.

In a disaster, they’ll look to you and other adults for help. How you react to an emergency gives them clues on how to act. If you react with alarm, a child may become more scared. They see out fear as proof that the danger is real. If you seem overcome with a scense of loss, a child may feel their losses more strongly.

Children’s fears also may stem from their imagination, and you should take these feelings seriously. A child who feels afraid is afraid. Your words and actions can provide reassurance. When talking with your child, be sure to present a realistic picture that is both honest and manageable.

Feelings of fear are healthy and natural for adults and children. But as an adult, you need to keep control of the situation. When you’re sure that danger has passed, concentrate on your child’s emotional needs by asking the child what’s uppermost in his or her mind. Having children participate in the family’s recovery activities will help them feel that their life will return to “normal.” Your response during this time may have a lasting impact.

Be aware that after a disaster, children are most afraid that -

the event will happen again.
someone will be injured or killed.
they will be separated from the family.
they will be left alone.

Advice to Parents:
Prepare for Disaster

You can create a Family Disaster Plan by taking four simple steps. First, learn what hazards exist in your community and how to prepare for each. Then meet with your family to discuss what you would do, as a group, in each situation. Next, take steps to prepare your family for disaster such as: posting emergency phone numbers, selecting an out-of-state family contact, assembling disaster supplies kit for each member fo your household, and installing smoke detectors on each level of your home. Finally, practice your Family Disaster Plan so that everyone will remember what to do when a disaster does occur.

Develop and practice a Family Disaster Plan. Contact your local emergency management or civil defense office, or your local Red Cross chapter for materials that describe how your family can create a disaster plain. Everyone in the household, including children, should play a part in the family’s response and recovery efforts.
Teach your child how to recognize danger signals. Make sure your child knows what smoke detectors, fire alarms, and local community warning systems (horns, sirens) sound like.
Explain how to call for help Teach you child how and when to call for help. Check the telephone directory for local emergency phone numbers and post these phone numbers by all telephones. If you line in a 9-1-1 service area, tell you child to call 9-1-1.
Help you child memorize important family information. Children should memorize their family name, address, and phone number. They should know where to meet in case of an emergency. Some children may not be old enough to memorize the information. They should carry a small index card that list emergency information to give to an adult or babysitter.

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN
HOW TO CALL FOR HELP

Teach your child how and when to call for help. They should call 9-1-1 if you live in a 9-1-1 service area. If not, check the telephone directory for local emergency numbers.

Even very young children can be taught how and when to call for emergency assistance. If you’re child can’t read, the chart conected to this link has pictures that may help them identify the correct number to call in the event of an emergency.

As you explain each picture, have you child color the symbol on the emergency phone number chart. Doing this may help your child remember who they should call in an emergency.

Immediately after the disaster, try to reduce you child’s fear and anxiety.

Keep the family together. While you look for housing and assistance, yu may want to leave your children with relatives or friends. Instead, keep the family together as much as possible and make children a part of what you are doing to get the family back on its feet. Children get anxious, and they’ll worry that their parents won’t return.

Calmly and firmly explain the situation. As best as you can, tell children what you know about the disaster. Explain what will happen next. For example, say, “Tonight, we will all stay together in the shelter.” Get down to the child’s eye level and talk to them.

Encourage children to talk. Let children talk about the disaster and ask questions as much as they want. Encourage children to describe what they’re feeling. Listen to what they say. If possible, include the entire family in the discussion.

Include children in recovery activities. Give children chores that are their responsibility. This will help children feel they are part of the recovery. Having a task will help them understand that everything will be all right.

You can help children cope by understanding what causes they anxietes and fears. Reassure them with firmness and love. Your children will realize that life will eventually return to normal. If a child does not respond to the above suffestions, seek help from a mental health specialist or a member of the clergy.

Emergency Preparedness Checklist

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

The next time disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare now for a sudden emergency.

Learn how to protect yourself and cope with disaster by planning ahead. This checklist will help you get started. Discuss these ideas with your family, then prepare an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it – on the refrigerator or bulletin board.

For additional information about how to prepare for hazards in you community, contacty your local emergency management or civil defense office and American Red Cross chapter.

Emergency Checklist

  • Call Your Emergency Management Office or American Red Cross Chapter
  •     Find out which disasters could occur in your area.
  •     Ask how to prepare for each disaster.
  •     Ask how you would be warned of an emergency.
  •     Learn your community’s evacuation routes.
  •     Ask about special assistance for elderly or disabled persons.
  • Also…
  •     Ask your workplace about emergency plans.
  •     Learn about emergency plans for your children’s school or day care center.

Create an Emergency Plan

  •     Meet with household members.
  • Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies.
  •     Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur.
  •      Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  •     Draw a floor plan of your home.
  • Mark two escape routes from each room.
  •     Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main switches.
  •     Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
  •     Teach children how and when to call 911, police, and fire.
  •     Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
  •     Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state then within the affected area.)
  •     Teach children how to make long distance telephone calls.
  •     Pick two meeting places.
  • 1) A place near your home in case of a fire.
  • 2) A place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
  •     Take a first aid and CPR class.
  •     Keep family records in a water and fire-proof container.

Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit
Assemble supplies you might need in an evacuation. Store them in an easy-to-carry container such as a backpack or duffle bag.

Include:

  •     A supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
  •     A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
  •     A change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes.
  •     Blankets or sleeping bags.
  •     A first aid kit and prescription medications.
  •     An extra pair of glasses.
  •     A battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
  •     Credit cards and cash.
  •     An extra set of car keys.
  •     A list of family physicians.
  •     A list of important family information; the style and serial numbers of medical devices such as pacemakers.
  •     Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.

First Timer’s Guide

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

Every 10 Seconds…
SOMEONE NEEDS A BLOOD TRANSFUSION

Yet fewer than 5 percent of the people who are able to give blood actually do so – and most of them give only once a year.

That’s why the American Red Cross works so hard to recruit new blood donors. Because hospital patients throughout our state need your help.

Help is easy to give. All you have to do is take an hour and donate blood.

Every blood donation you make can help as many as three different patients. People rushed to hospitals after a trauma, children fighting leukemia, fire fighters who’ve been burned, grandparents needing heart surgery or hip replacement will help. People like the ones in your neighborhood, or in your own family.

HOW IT WORKS

When you donate a unit of blood, it is separated into its components. Each component meets a different medical need:

  • Surgery patients will use your red blood cells. Your red cells will last for up to 7 weeks under refrigeration.
  • Cancer patients or bone marrow transplant recipients need your platelets to prevent hemorrhaging. These fragile cells fragments last for only 5 days, and patients need platelets from as many as 6 to 10 donors for every transfusion.
  • Patients suffering burns, shock, or dehydration need you plasma. Plasma can also be transformed into a variety of products to combat shock, fight infections, or replace clotting factors for patients with hemophilia. A single transfusion for a patient with hemophilia can require literally hundreds of volunteer blood donors.

Be sure you eat a balance meal within four hours before you give blood. And get a good night’s sleep.
- You must be at least 17 years old, weigh 105 pounds and be healthy.
- Read “What You Must Know Before Donating Blood.”
- Complete you healthy history questionnaire.
- A friendly donor specialist checks you temperature, pulse, blood pressure and iron level.
- These steps determine whether you can donate blood today.
- Before you donate, let us know confidentially if we should use your blood.
- Your donor specialist will escort you to a donor bed.
- A new, sterile needle will be used. This will be discarded after your donation.
- Your actual donation will take about 6 to 8 minutes.
- The entire experience takes about one hour.
- Drink plenty of fluids after your donation.

And that’s all there is to it…
Thanks…HUGE!

Myths and Facts

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

The community blood supply in the United States is safest it has ever bee. And giving blood is one of the safest activities around. Yet myths and falsehoods about blood safety persist. The American Red Cross wants you to know the facts.

You can get AIDS for donating blood.

The American Red Cross uses only new, one-time use needles to collect blood. You cannot get AIDS, hepatitis or any other infectious disease by donating blood to the Red Cross.

The Red Cross buys blood.

The Red Cross never pays anyone to donate blood. Payment creates a potential incentive for prospective donors to lie about their health histories. The Red Cross draws blood only from volunteer donors. And scientific studies prove that volunteer donors are the single greatest safeguard of the blood supply today.

If it weren’t for AIDS, blood transfusions would be totally safe.

Like most medical procedures, blood transfusions have associated risks. The benefits of receiving needed blood, however, far outweigh these risks. Physicians today do not prescribe blood or blood products unless the patient must have them. To ensure that the blood given to patients is the safest possible, the Red Cross exceeds FDA requirements for testing, and the tests in use today are the most sensitive available. However, even the most sensitive test do not detect every instance of illness. That is why the American Red Cross requires every donor to undergo six other safety steps before donating blood.

The AIDS tests are not good enough for blood donor screening

The tests to detect HIV were designed specifically to screen blood donors. And these tests have been regularly upgraded since they were introduced. Although the tests to detect HIV and other blood-borne diseases are extremely accurate, they cannot detect the presence of the virus in the “window period” of infection, the time before detectable antibodies or antigens are produced. That is why there is still a very slim chance of contracting HIV from blood which tests negative. Research continues to further reduce the very small risk.

Every year hundreds of people are infected by people donating during the “window period.”

While the presence of the AIDS virus cannot be detected during the “window period,” stringent screening procedures and improvements in test technology greatly reduce the number of prospective donors who could be in that phases. In the more then 10 years since March 1985, when the FDA first license a test to detect HIV antibodies in donated blood, the Centers for Disease Control as reported only 33 cases of AIDS caused by the transfusion of blood that tested negative for the AIDS virus. During this time, more then 216 million blood components were transfused in the United States.

If you know you will need blood, it’s best to have people you know donate for you.

Directed donations are no safer than voluntarily donated blood. And they may, in fact, be less safe. Scientific research has shown that directed donations may have a higher risk of infection that the community blood supply, probably because directed donors may feel pressured to donate and may lie about their health and risk behaviors. Volunteer blood donors are motivated only by altruism. When surgery is planned and there is at least a 20 percent possibility that the patient will need blood during surgery, the safest alternative is to donate your own blood in advance. This is known as an autogenic blood donation. Its use fullness is limited, however, because the vast majority of blood is used for emergencies or by people who are not healthy enough to give their own blood. A physician must decide if an individual qualifies.

You should have several pints of your own blood frozen and stored for your use in case of an emergency.

This is impractical for several reasons. First, it takes at least an hour and a half to “defrost” frozen blood, not counting the time required to deliver it to the site where you need it. That means that in an emergency, your own blood will not be immediately available to help you. Second, storing frozen blood is extremely costly. A final consideration is that thawed blood is only useable for 24 hours. Freezing and storing your own blood only makes sense for persons with extremely rare blood types. In a medical emergency, these individuals still must content with the defrost-and-deliver dilemma.

Because of AIDS and other diseases, the blood supply is not reliable.

The blood supply is safest it has ever been. Increasing strict donor screening procedures, effective donor education, stringent deferral criteria, and advances in testing technology combine to make today’s community blood supply safest ever. Also, physicians today use blood sparingly and only when medically necessary.

Safeguard For Blood Donors

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

Safety is the top priority of the American Red Cross.  And the Red Cross cares as much about the safety of those who give blood as it does about the safety of the patients who received blood.  Not only does every ounce of blood or blood components the Red Cross provides meet or exceed state and federal safety guidelines, Red Cross donors are also procedures and other guidelines that make blood donation one of the safest of all volunteer activities.

Six steps to donor safety.

1. Pre-Check
Before even beginning the health history interview, every donor’s social security number is checked against our donor deferral registry to ensure that the donor is eligible to give blood on that date.  Your body requires 56 days to replace is volume of iron-carrying red cells; so we want to assure that it’s safe for you to donate again.

2. Mini-Physical
Before you donate, we check your pulse rate, your blood pressure, your temperature, and you hemoglobin level.  If we notice any reading that is out of the ordinary, we will advise you to see your family physician, and we’ll deger you from donating that day.

3. Detailed Healthy History
The many, intensive questions we ask you during the health history interview serve a purposal.  they help assure us that you are feeling well and that nothing in your pass medical history would make giving blood a risk to you or to the patients who receive your blood.

4. Aseptic Scrub
You phlebotmist thoroughly cleanses the site in your arm where a sterile needle will be inserted.  This strict procedure requires your arm to be scrubbed with an antiseptic solution for at least 30 seconds.  To further assure the aseptic cleanliness of the site, out phlebotomist’s eyes may not leave the site between the time the preparation is complete and the needle is inserted.  If an interruption occurs, the site must be thoroughly cleansed again.  Once the needle is placed, the site is further protected with a sterile gauze.

5. Personal Attention
Every donor is closely monitored by staff who have been highly trained, not only to take blood, but to assist you in the event you are one of the small percentage of people who suffer a slight reaction to the donation.  Staff are certified in CPR, and have extensive training in handling reactions.  In addition, a physician is always immediately available by telephone to provide consultation.  And staff at every bloodmobile have the specific numbers for local ambulance and hospital service in the unlikely event that a donor must be transferred to a medical center.

6. Post-Donation Follow-Up
Every donor receives a card listing a tool free 800 number to call if you have any questions about the donation process of if you remember additional health history information you feel we should know.  That number also includes information about how to reach the Red Cross medical director in the event you want to discuss your question with a physician.  After you make your donation, the safety of your blood is double checked in the laboratory where every unit you donate is screened using eight test for nine different infectious disease markers.  And all of that information is entered into permanent, confidential, computerized record.  Since more then three quarters of Red Cross blood donors are repeated donors, a large amount of health information is available to confirm that the body you’ve donated is suitable for transfusion.

FOR HOSPITAL PATIENTS, THE SAFETY OF THE BLOOD SUPPLY BEGINS WITH YOU.
Every donor is vitally important to a hospital patient. Hospitals in our community depend on the Red Cross to supply more than 350 units of blood every single day. Your donation is important. American Red Cross Blood Services will take every step necessary to ensure that your donation is safe and enjoyable… so that you’ll want to continue helping those seriously ill neighbors who depend on you.

Be A Blood Donor

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

When you give

Did you know -
You must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 105 pounds to be eligible to donate. Be sure you know your weight when you come in.

Did you know -
Medication do not disqualify potential blood donors – what’s important is the reason for taking the medication. If you are currently taking any medication, be sure to know the name of the medication and the reason your doctor prescribed it for you; we can’t take you without it. Every case can be different, so if you would like to know if you’re okay to donate, call the Nursing Department at 1-800-432-8045. Our staff will be happy to give you the answer.

Did you know -
Donating a unit of blood will probably take an hour or so. At the finish, all you’ll feel is r-e-a-l-l-y good. You’ll probably never know who or how many people you’ve helped. But we say thanks. And, so do they.


When you get

Did you know -
Blood recipients come in all shapes sizes and ages. They can be as young as a newborn or as old as a great grandparent.

Did you know -
A blood donor is good for people who go through windshields or red lights. For someone with leukemia. For people barefoot kids who aren’t careful. For people into feudin’ and fightin. For people undergoing dialysis while waiting for a kidney transplant. For daredevils. For people who fool around with guns. For little kids who manage to uncap a bottle full of something poison, et cetera, et cetera, and so forth.

Did you know -
Receiving a unit of blood takes two and a half to four hours. Recipients probably never know who or how many blood donors helped them, but they’re r-e-a-l-l-y glad someone did!



Well, you’ve finally gone and done it. You’ve decided to become a very special person by becoming a blood donor.

We’re happy about that so we’ve gave this information especially for you – so you’ll know what to expect when you give blood for the very first time.

1

Registration – A Red Cross volunteer will ask you for some information, such as your name, address, and social security number in order for us to maintain a record of you donations. (This part is, of course, painless but boring. It’ll be more fun if you bring a friend – especially a blood donor.)

2

Hemoglobin – A Red Cross volunteer will take a drop of blood from your ear to test it for iron. (Just make sure you have enough to share.)

3

Temperature & Pulse – Another volunteer nurse will check to see if both your pulse and temperature are within normal limits. (Sometimes we reverse steps 2 and 3 – just to see if you’re paying attention.)

4

Health History – Another volunteer Red Cross nurse will check your blood pressure and conduct a thorough health history interview. (Some of the questions are very personal but they are asked in complete privacy. Mum’s the word!)

5

Plastic Collection Pack – Yes, you have to take ALL three or four connected bags into the donor room with you. (Don’t worry, you only have to fill one. Whew!)

6

Donor Room – A Red Cross staff nurse will do the venipunture. This may pinch just a little for a second or two. The other five to seven minutes it takes to donate will be very pleasant – we practice TLC. (The hardest part here is holding your arm in the air after the donation is finished.)

7

Refreshments – A Red Cross volunteer will escort you to the refreshment area where you’ll enjoy something to eat and drink. This will help your body adjust to the slight change in fluid balance. (It also gives us a chance to ask you if you’d like to help us again.)

Some Facts About Blood

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

The Blood in Your Body

  • The average adult’s body contains 10 to 12 pints of blood.
  • Your body continuously replaces its red cells, making new ones with iron salvaged from old ones that have been retired.
  • Blood transports nutrients and defensive antibodies, cells, and clotting factors; red blood cell deliver or release oxygen.

A Single Donation Sustains More Than One Life

  • One donation can be separated into components and used to treat several patients. Some used for blood components through transfusions therapy follow:
  • Packed red cells are prescribed for anemic patients.
  • Platelet concentrate control bleeding in leukemia patients.
  • Plasma from many donors in pooled to make derivatives such as antihemophilic factor, albumin for the treatment of shock, and gamma globulin which may prevent or make severe certain diseases.
  • Cyroprecipitate is administered to patients with hemophilia A.

What’s Your Blood Type? Find Out by donating.

  • Blood groups are inherited. In our population for following percentages are found for ABO and Rh blood groups:
  • 38.4 will have O positive blood.
  • 38.4 will have O negative blood.
  • 38.4 will have A positive blood.
  • 38.4 will have A negative blood.
  • 38.4 will have B positive blood.
  • 38.4 will have B negative blood.
  • 38.4 will have AB positive blood.
  • 38.4 will have AB negative blood.
  • (The actual percentages of blood types may vary from one region to the next. These figures reflect the average of seven Red Cross blood service regions.)

Giving Blood is Safe and Easy

  • Your body quickly replaces the blood you give.
  • It is safe and easy to donate blood. An hour is all it takes to give blood to save another’s life – the actual donation time is less than ten minutes.
  • If you are aged 17 or over, you are eligible to donate blood. Some states require a parent’s written consent if you are under 18. If you are 66 or over, you may be accepted as a donor, after your health history is evaluated at the blood collection site.
  • The Red Cross collects blood only from voluntary donors.

A Cost-Recovery-Based Service

  • Red Cross regional blood service are financed by recovering expenses from the users of their services. The Red Cross charges hospitals a processing fee to cover the expenses of recruiting, collecting, testing, processing, and distributing blood and blood products. This fee is directly related to costs. Hospitals pass the charges on to the patient whose health insurance plan usually covers the expense. The blood itself is never charged for because it is a volunteer’s free gift.

 

Are You Prepared For A Disaster?

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

The Snyder County Chapter would like to encourage individuals, businesses and schools to join with us and make not only our families but our neighborhoods safer. The five proactive steps listed are simple and easy to do.

1. Make A Plan: Discuss which disasters can happen where you live. Choose two meeting places for your family –one outside your home and another outside of your neighborhood. Practice your plan with everyone in your family.

2. Build A Kit: Create a disaster emergency kit. Include water, food, first aid kit, medications, flashlight, portable radio, (and extra batteries) clothing, money, pet supplies and information (phone numbers and/or email addresses) for family members to contact. Have enough supplies for three days.

3. Get Trained: Learn CPR and first aid skills.

4. Volunteer: Sign up to become American Red Cross or other local agency volunteer.

5. Give Blood: Every 2 seconds someone needs blood. Give blood today!