Monthly Archives: March 2016

Tips to Keep Kids Healthy in Childcare

Do children in day care get sick more often than those who stay home? Yes, according to research published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. But there’s good news! Research suggests that the rate of illness evens out by the time the children enter school — and day care children may have fewer illnesses in elementary school compared with peers who were at home.


Here are some quick stay-healthy tips:

  1. Wash hands frequently. Prevent the spread of germs by washing hands before and after your child attends day care or school. Remind your child to follow all of the steps of washing hands properly.
  2. Stay up-to-date on shots. Protect your child and others by getting recommended vaccinations including an annual flu shot (for you and your child!).
  3. Keep children at home when sick. Staying at home prevents the spread of illness to other children, and may also help your child get rest and recover faster.
Leave a comment

How Obesity Hurts Young Hearts

With school still in session, often times our attention towards outdoor activities and healthy eating tends to shift to a less active lifestyle for children. According to the American Heart Association, one in three American children are overweight or obese.

Every year, on the last week of April, Action for Healthy Kids launches Every Kid Healthy Week to emphasize the link between nutrition, physical activity, and learning. When kids are healthier, they learn better!

Children who are 100 pounds or more overweight may face greater heart disease risks than previously thought, says new research. While obesity has been increasing among U.S. adolescents, there’s been some research previously done for heart disease risk factors in this group.

In the study of more than 240 very obese teens, 95 percent had a least one risk factor for heart disease. Half had high blood pressure, half had high cholesterol and almost 15 percent had diabetes. Boys were more likely than girls to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


Keep your family on track to a healthier life with these four tips:

  1. Make healthy eating a family focus. No one wants to put his or her child on a diet. Instead, focus on nutritious meals as a family.
  2. Include protein in meals and snacks. Lean protein, like eggs, chicken and beans, helps promote satiety.
  3. Encourage activity. Limit screen time and put the “active” back in family activities. Think bowling on the weekend, riding bikes after dinner or a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood.
  4. Get cooking! Kids are more likely to try new foods if they’ve had a hand in making them. Teach your kids how to make healthy meals and ways to reduce the amount of fat, salt, and sugar in everyday recipes.

If you’re concerned about your child’s weight or general health, visit Find a Doctor to choose a pediatrician.

Leave a comment

Q&A on Blood Donations at UNC REX

In America, there are about 5 million people who are in need of blood transfusions each year. Some reasons for why blood donations are needed include:

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Chronic anemia associated with cancer
  • Burn victims
  • Organ transplants
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Other hereditary blood abnormalities

The need for blood donations is constant and contributions by donors are vital for health care facilities to have a reliable blood supply for patients.


Each year, REX Blood Services receives about 2,0000 gallons of blood donations to UNC REX Hospital. Almost 25,000 individual blood products are produced from donors at REX Blood Services. We sat down for a Q&A with Emilie Sanders Watson, donor services coordinator of REX Blood Services to discuss ways to prepare for donations, best candidates for blood donors, and more.

  1. What are the benefits to donating regularly?
    Habitual donors have the best experiences and it’s an activity that healthy people can do on a regular basis. Regular donors know what to expect, they’re familiar with the things they need to do before and after donating and they’re aware of their own individual needs. Healthy people that make it a habit of giving blood regularly are the best, safest and most successful donors out there.
  1. What are the characteristics of a person who is healthy enough become a blood donor?
    A healthy person that can give blood is someone who is not fighting off infections. People who have heart conditions should talk to their doctor beforehand. Some people who are fighting chronic illnesses can give blood healthily but there are some cases when individuals should not consider donating.
  1. What are the restrictions for those who’ve traveled to different places outside of the U.S.?
    About 40% of the population in the U.S. is eligible to give blood right now. Unfortunately, a lot of people who are eligible health-wise are unable to donate due to their travel history. People who’ve lived in Europe for five years or more since 1980 are indefinitely differed from donating because of the risk for mad cow disease. That doesn’t mean they’re not in great health condition right now, most of these people are walking around extraordinarily healthy. But until we’re either able to develop a screening or narrow down the areas of risk then for those reasons they will be indefinitely differed. Due to the risk of the Zika virus, we’re asking people not to give blood if they’ve traveled to the Caribbean or Central/ South America in the last 28 days.
  1. What is the impact of donation from one unit?
    We could potentially transfuse three patients with one unit (about 3 pints) of blood. We split each unit into its various components, including red cells, platelets, and plasma. Because two or three of these elements are usually produced from a pint of donated blood, each donation can help save up to three lives. By dividing the elements separately, we’re making each transfusion efficient for patients and impacting as many people with one unit. For example, if a patient only needs red blood cells to help fight infection, then we’ll provide a unit that only has red blood cells.
  1. How should donors prepare before, during, and after transfusions?
  • shutterstock_256009735Hydrate – Hydration is the key for preparing to give blood and after donating. Even if you stay hydrated on a regular basis, it’s always good to increase your intake of water when donating blood.
  • Eat at regular meal times – When you eat a meal prior to giving blood, it decreases the risk of becoming shaky or weak after donating. Regular meals add to hydration and ensures that our bodies have the fuel we need normally, so skipping a meal prior to donating would mean we are already deficient going into the process.
  • Be are of the medications you’re taking – We provide a short list of medications that can affect the ability to donate. If you have questions about medications you’re currently taking, you may contact REX Blood Services before your donation appointment.
  • Bring a photo I.D. or blood donor I.D. with you.
  • Plan your day ahead – You can do most normal activities after your transfusion. However, we recommend donors plan their day of the appointment before so your schedule isn’t interrupted. During the appointment, we ask that you allow an hour for the entire donation process. The donation process alone, takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Most of the time is spent on the questionnaire beforehand.
  • Relax afterwards – We’re going to ask you to not do strenuous exercise on the day you donate. Though each person has a different recovery time, the reduced blood volume can be a result of lower blood pressure throughout your body. Lowered blood pressure, combined with reduced blood volume, may reduce the oxygen supply to the brain and cause dizziness or fainting. Give your body time to recover and replenish your blood supply by staying hydrated and taking in healthy calories and iron with your regular meals.
Leave a comment

REX Hospital Open Golf Lingo 101


Golf fanatics and their families alike can enjoy an afternoon at the Rex Hospital Open, part of the Tour PGA TOUR.

AO3C2594Whether you’re a seasoned sports fan of the Rex Hospital Open or you’re joining the tradition for the first time, golf rules and terminology can be a learning curve. Get up to par with your golf jargon before this year’s tournament!

Mulligan: Mulligans are not played in tournaments. But, in an informal game of golf an extra stroke allowed after a poor shot but is not counted on the scoreboard.

Par: The value assigned to represent par for an individual hole is always comprised of two putts and the number of strokes it should take to reach the green. Holes typically are listed as par-3, par-4 or par-5 based on length.

Birdie: One stroke less than par

Eagle: Two strokes less than par

Bogey: One stroke over par

The Fairway: A closely mown area that runs between the tee box and the putting green

The Green: A small patch of grass that is cut and manicured to a very short length compared to the fairway for a smooth roll of the golf ball.

The Rough: The area of the golf course that surrounds the outside of the fairway. As a penalty for missing the fairway, the unkempt grass is designed to make it more difficult to play from.

Stiff: To hit a pure, perfect shot. A stiffed iron shot finishes very close to the hole and results in a good opportunity for a birdie or an eagle.

Shank: A shank occurs when a golfer hits the ball on the side of the club instead of the face.

Fade: A fade is a gentle shot that moves from a left-to-right motion towards the target.

Slice: A slice is when the golfer hits the ball with a severe left-to-right curve.

Hook: A hook is when the shot curves sharply to the left, the opposite of a slice.

Draw: A draw is a controlled golf ball flight that has a slight right-to-left shape.


Now that you’ve got the lingo down, TPC Wakefield Plantation can be your hangout at this year’s Rex Hospital Open. Proceeds from this year’s tournament will benefit the new N.C. Heart and Vascular Hospital on the UNC REX main campus.

As the Triangle’s only professional charity golf tournament, the Rex Hospital Open has raised more than $9 million to support patients in need, provide preventive care and enhance access to high-quality healthcare in our community. More than 500 awesome volunteers (no experience necessary!) from our community make the Rex Hospital Open possible. Join us for some fun and fresh air May 9-15. Sign up to volunteer today!

Leave a comment

Aging well: 4 simple ways to stay fit

Getting and staying physically active doesn’t mean becoming a superstar athlete. It can mean just moving around a little more throughout the week. Staying fit becomes especially important as you get older because it can help you stay healthy and independent.

Health experts point to various long-term benefits of exercise, including:


  • Enhanced focus, planning and working memory
  • Improved conditions in those with diseases and disabilities such as arthritis and diabetes
  • Prevention or delay of many diseases and disabilities. For example, exercising may lead to lower blood pressure, which can help you avoid damage to your brain, eyes, heart and kidneys.
  • Reduced stress and improved mood

You might understand why it’s important to exercise, but feel like you’re physically unable or don’t have the time. But there are ways you can fit activity into your day.


  1. Start slow and easy. You can always work your way up to more difficult activities.
  2. Exercise when you wake up. This creates a habit and prevents other distractions from getting in the way.
  3. Break it into chunks. If you can’t dedicate much time at once, get 10 minutes of exercise several times throughout the day.
  4. Find something you enjoy. It’s easier to make exercise a habit if you enjoy it.
Leave a comment

Grilled Asparagus and Shrimp Quinoa Salad

Enjoy this superfood salad with a refreshing lemon vinaigrette dressing.


Prep time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 cups fresh asparagus, large spears (cut into 1” pieces)
  • ½ yellow or red bell pepper (cut into ½” pieces)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts (drained)
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen large raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1½ cups dry quinoa (cooked according to package directions)
  • For the lemon vinaigrette:
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh or bottled lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. asparagus recipePlace vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and whisk; set aside.
  2. Cut vegetables as directed.
  3. Heat grill and grilling tray.
  4. Place vegetables and shrimp in a large bowl; add about ⅓ of the vinaigrette (about 3 tablespoons) and toss.
  5. Spread shrimp-vegetable mixture over hot grilling tray.
  6. Grill, turning shrimp and vegetables, until the flesh of the shrimp is an opaque color (about 5 to 6 minutes); remove from grill.
  7. Serve grilled mixture over cooked quinoa and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Nutritional information per serving: 33 g protein; 62 g carbohydrates; 7 g dietary fiber; 570 mg sodium.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture,


Leave a comment