Save Life!

I was out of work, doing nothing but passing time when I came across an advertisement where you could apply as a volunteer in Blood Donation camp. Long back when I was in college I tried to donate blood but due to underweight I was not able to and after that it never occurred me to donate again so, the ad caught my attention. I dialed in the numbers and volunteered for it. Since, I was not working I also volunteered to give a hand for setting up the camp also.

It was fun volunteering for it, this blood donation camp sets up quarterly so, once in four months I used to go out meet new and old donors, it was a sort of picnic for me till one day a teenage girl came up to in the camp and asked “Hi, how are you?”

“I am okay, thanks, how are you? Are you here for the blood donation, do you have an appointment?” I replied.

“I would love to but I have a question?”

“Yes sure, happy to help, what is it?” I said.

“Umm, I am suffering from hemolytic anemia, so just wanted to know if there is an arrangement in the camp for Plasma donors?”

To be frank I could not even catch what was she suffering from but I was sure I heard Anemia, though being a layman in biology at least I knew Anemia had to do something with deficiency of blood or hemoglobin in a person. Why the hell she wanted to donate blood if she is anemic and what the hell was plasma donation! I revised all my biology classes in a gist just not to make a fool of myself there but still said

“I am sorry, I did not get your question, you are suffering from what?”

“I am suffering from Hemolytic anemia, in my condition my bone marrow is unable to produce the red blood cells in the body fast enough to meet my body needs. It is a disorder where the red blood cells are destroyed before their normal life span and since, RBCs are responsible for carrying oxygen and when I do not have enough RBCs in my blood it can be fatal”

“Oh okay… I am sorry, but clearly you need blood in your body then why do you want to make a donation?” I was so confused.

She smiled and replied “I just want to donate the Plasma. You know, it is because of people like you I am able to stand here, I laugh, I cry, I walk, I talk and everything thing I do is a gift from people like you all who donate blood. In every 120 days I undergo blood transfusion where blood is given to me through intravenous(IV) line in one of my blood vessels. I am so grateful for all of you to be alive and I also want to participate in Saving Lives. I want to donate plasma so that if there is someone like me who needs transfusion of Plasma I can repay to this society for giving me so many new lives.”

I was speechless, I had never taken Blood donation seriously, for me it was just a day of fun, meeting people, laughing with others eating free ice cream. For a moment I felt ashamed of myself for not donating blood for years. I was guilty for the number of lives lost due to lack of blood in the blood bank and here I was standing before a person who is sick and still willing to help others in need.

With a prayer to make her live long and many others like her I urge everyone to donate blood as much as you can. It saves life it truly does!!

What Is Sarsaparilla? Benefits As Well As Drawbacks!

In this article I’m going to talk about what is sarsaparilla and share the pros and cons to it.

You possibly have seen sarsaparilla in a supplement, a tea drink and wondered what it does.

Sarsaparilla is a plant that is native to South America and the Caribbean. It really started to get known in the 1500’s for treating syphilis. Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is commonly spread through sex. It was also used to treat leprosy, which is a nasty skin disorder that caused a person to really be shunned by others.

Let’s talk about the actual benefits, where there is proof of it working. When it comes to alternative medicine sometimes there are theories, but we like to see proof right?

One truth about sarsaparilla is that it can treat skin disorders such as psoriasis, which is a hardening of the skin. In a study in “Jamla Dermatology” 27 people with this skin disorder took tables with this herb for 1 to 9 months. 7 people’s condition was greatly improved, 8 moderately improved, 2 slightly improved, 9 received no benefits and 1 person was irritated by the medicine. Also 2 people noticed mild nausea.

It works because it has blood cleansing abilities, this plant can bind to something called endotoxins and remove them, which people with psoriasis have. Another benefit is that it can clean the liver and other organs because these endotoxins cause stress to them.

This herb can also help with syphilis with its anti-bacterial abilities. Clinical studies in China show that it was effective (according to blood tests) in 90% of acute cases and 50% of chronic cases.

It can fight cancer. The United states Library of Medicine shows it to have anti-cancer effects.

It can also help with inflammation and it can help with arthritis. In laboratory rats artificially-induced arthritis was blocked in rats that were given this herb. The bad news is that no human studies have been conducted, but if it reduces inflammation it can help because the reason for pain with arthritis is inflammation.

In fact chronic inflammation is major cause of age related problems. Anything that reduces it is very good. When it comes to dangers the taking a high dose that can give someone stomach pains, diarrhea as well as nausea.

The next time you see this ingredient sarsaparilla in a tea or in a supplement you will know what it does.

Germs and Your Child

As a parent we are constantly bombarded by germs. Our kids pick up the flu, a stomach bug, or an upper respiratory infection quicker than they pick up proper grammar. So what should we believe? Do we keep them in a bubble or bathe them in gallons of hand sanitizers? Should you keep your kids home from school when classmates are sick just in case? What if there have been reported cases of H1N1 or Zika virus near you? Should we all start wearing masks to the grocery store?

Whoa. Slow down and back up (slowly so as not to run over anyone on the way). Here’s the thing. These illnesses are probably not going to come knocking at your door before breakfast tomorrow, but it’s best to be prepared regardless. There are some precautions you can take now. And let’s face it, pre-planning never hurt anyone (except maybe all those people who bought one of those wearable blankets on TV because they were just convinced it was going to be the next fashion craze).

So some simple precautionary steps to keep your fingers-in-everything, sneeze-in-your-face, what-do-you-mean-I-can’t-play-in-the-toilet toddler from picking up any unwanted germs these days:

1. Let’em wash! Make sure your toddler washes their hands before meals, after potty breaks, after coming from outside, and after sharing toys or items with others. Let them squeeze the soap or play in the sink. You can even let them get the whole front of their shirt wet. I won’t tell a soul.

2. Push the politeness. Practice being polite with your toddler. “We cover our mouth when we sneeze, just like this.” “We cover our mouth when we cough, see?” Toddlers are excellent mimics. Use a puppet, use a book, use Grandma Ruth, whatever works.

3. Carry reinforcements. My personal fave is Lysol Healthy Touch Hand Sanitizer Foam. It comes out in a foam, dries quickly and doesn’t leave your hands feeling like they belong on the crypt keeper. You can find it in the checkout line at most Wal-Marts, CVS, Walgreens, etc. Make it a habit to foam up whenever you can’t wash your hands, or after any particularly germ-filled experience. Did I mention it comes in this super handy small size that fits right in a purse or diaper bag?

4. Go on the defensive. Start thinking like a germ. Did you know for instance that a virus can live on almost any surface for up to two weeks? That means dinner menus at your favorite restaurant, grocery cart handles, the door to the public bathroom, the treadmill at the gym, THE BOTTOM OF YOUR PURSE!! Wipe these items down with sanitizing wipes or foam up after using them.

5. Ramp up bath time. I know, I know. Bath time sucks. It kills your back, your clothes get all wet, etc. It is a well known and documented fact that toddlers are the only ones who actually enjoy toddler bath time. But you’re going to have to suffer even more. Make sure your toddler gets a bath every day, or more often if they get into a particularly messy scenario. Consider buying some new bath toys to keep your little angel occupied and your sanity somewhat preserved.

Obviously if your child goes to day care or regular school, make a back up plan in case the class get overloaded with illness and you decide staying home really is the safest path. Hopefully things won’t get to that point, but one can never be too prepared. Good luck, and happy germ killing everyone!!

Facts About Good and Bad Body Posture

Posture can be static or dynamic. Dynamic posture means that there is a change in the body position such as when you walk, jog, run or jump. Static posture occurs when you sit, lie or stand in one place. In today’s modern life static posture occurs a lot. Think of all the people who work at their computers the whole day, and of all the school children who sit at their desks for many hours per day.

Our physiques differ. Good posture occurs when there is a balance between the work load of the different skeletal muscles, the limbs and the joints. Problems occur when some of the muscles or joints get overloaded, such as when we carry a heavy weight in the one hand only. Signs of overloading are muscular and joint pains. Our posture is the result of the communication between the brain and the muscles and limbs. A good posture is maintained when the natural curves of the spinal column are maintained. We have to guard against sitting or walking with rounded shoulders. With good posture there is a balance between the left and right as well as the front and rear skeletal muscles. With a perfect balance between the muscles, there will be no overloading of muscles or joints. Regular exercise increases the brain’s communication with skeletal muscles, joints and limbs, leading to a good body posture.

With bad posture, this balance or communication is disturbed. Some muscles will be overworked while others will become weak. This leads to a situation of adapted body posture. One example of adapted body posture is in stroke victims. The brain is then not able to control the muscles and limbs as usual. Normally with a serious stroke the muscle use on the one side of the body is lost. There is a paralysis on that side. Bad body posture lead to muscle and joint pains. Fibrositis may also develop deep in the tissue of joints and muscles, with the accompanying pain and discomfort.

Which factors influence body posture? Major factors such as our modern life style and unbalanced muscle loading as well as the surface or structure which supports our bodies. Here we refer to the chair you sit in or the surface you walk or run on, or the mattress you sleep on. Furthermore your muscle strength and the condition of your joints also contribute to your body posture. Joints that are flexible contribute to a good posture. Our muscles and joints need to be exercised regularly to maintain strength and suppleness. Muscle stretching exercises help to warm the muscles which prepares them for more strenuous exercise.

Which exercises are best? Any exercise, or a combination of exercises are good, always starting and ending with the warming exercises. Low impact exercises such as walking, swimming and cycling are actually the best. It is important that all the skeletal muscles are strengthened during exercise.

What else can we do to ensure good body posture? Do not walk with your hands in your pants pockets (especially males are guilty of this). Do not slouch in a chair or couch, but sit upright with a straight back. Make sure that you sleep on a good mattress which give enough support to the whole body. Do not carry loads on one side only. Loads such as ruck sacks must be supported by both shoulders, or else the carrying thereof must be alternated from the one hand and then to the other.

Avoiding Overuse Injuries When Working Out

Regular physical activity is the mainstay of a healthy body and a balanced mind. In fact, regular exercise helps people not only maintain a healthy weight and build strong muscles and bones, but it also supports two important body systems: the immune system and nervous system, which includes the brain. However, too much of a good thing can sometimes be a bad thing.

Although we most often see overuse injuries in athletes, anyone who exercises regularly can be susceptible to them. The frequency of exercise and the type of exercise are two factors that must be taken into consideration when starting any type of exercise regimen. When exercising, anyone can get sore muscles by moving their bodies in unfamiliar ways, regardless of how fit they are. However, there is a difference between soreness and overuse.

Overuse Injuries Defined

Movement in the human body happens when muscles contract, pulling on tendons (connective tissue), which are attached to your bones. To see this in action, look at the back of your hand as you hold it up and spread your fingers. You can see the tendons extending from your fingers down to your wrist. While still keeping your fingers spread out, move your fingers as if you’re typing on a keyboard and notice your tendons. All tendons function similarly, but not visibly like in your hands. Repetitive movements can result in overuse injuries where not only your muscles, but also your tendons, bones, and joints are affected as well.

Overuse is not merely about the frequency of exercise, but a matter of intensity and technique as well. You can build stronger muscles and bones through a process of damaging and building. Physical stress signals your body to build muscle and bone density. However, there is a point where when we damage much more than our bodies can rebuild? This how overuse injuries happen.

Overuse injuries that are most commonly seen are muscle strains, microfractures, tendonitis, and stress fractures. Tennis elbow, runner’s knee, and shin splints are especially prevalent. Athletes often get overuse injuries because they are training to perfect a certain skill set. In Traditional Kung Fu training, for example, we use certain conditioning exercises to strengthen our bones, especially those in the forearms and shins. This training results in the creation of microfractures in the bone. If and when the body heals the microfractures with calcium, the bone becomes denser.

Causes of Overuse Injuries

Training error (excessively increasing the frequency and/or intensity of an exercise)
Improper training technique (e.g., posture when deadlifting)
Poor coaching or training, which often leads to causes 1 and 2 above.
Inappropriate training equipment

Avoiding Overuse Injuries

Warming up and cooling down should be incorporated in any training routine, whether professional or personal.
Incorporating a day of rest between workouts or alternating muscle groups is a must.
Be aware of personal limits. Never do too much too soon, especially after an injury.
Stretch after a warm-up (flexibility helps prevent injury)
Proper technique is vital. Do your movements correctly, whether it’s yoga or pole-vaulting. Be especially careful when lifting weights because added weight can aggravate any injury.
Use only recommended professional trainers.
Use proper footwear for the type of exercise you are doing. For example, if you’re a runner, make sure you have a decent pair of running shoes. Anyone with flat feet must use orthotics in running shoes to avoid any overuse injury.