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Donate blood in January

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Just 10 percent of the eligible blood donors actually donate blood.

The most common reason? They just didn’t think about doing it. That’s why January has been named National Blood Donor Month since 1970.

Every day, hospitals and clinics around the country need about 36,000 units of blood and 7,000 units of platelets to help save lives. As an example, a single victim of a car accident could require as many as 100 pints of blood throughout their treatment and recovery process.

It is crucial to increase awareness around these donations, especially among those with Type O blood which can be transfused into any other blood type and is only represented in seven percent of the total population. AB positive individuals, meanwhile, are universal donors of plasma and make up only three percent of the population.

The blood drawing process is entirely safe and the donation itself usually takes less than 15 minutes. Even first-timers can likely register, go through their medical history and a mini-physical, and complete the gift in under an hour and a half. Because donated blood typically has to be used within 42 days, regular contributions are crucial throughout the year.

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Skin changes should be taken seriously

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With the re-emergence of longer days and outdoor fun, it’s worth noting that skin care involves more than simple sunscreen.

The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that skin cancer is the most common form of all cancers, but if diagnosed and treated early, it is also the easiest to cure.

According to the Foundation, people should inspect their skin for a change of any kind:

– A skin growth that increases in size or is pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black or multicolored.

– A mole or spot that changes color, increases in size or thickness, changes texture, is irregular in outline, and is bigger than a quarter inch.

– Spots or sores that continue to itch, hurt, crust, erode, or bleed, or an open sore that doesn’t heal within three weeks.

A monthly head-to-toe self examination is an excellent preventative measure and can take less than 10 minutes.

Here are eight easy steps from the Foundation:

– Examine your face, especially your nose, lips, mouth and ears — front and back.

– Thoroughly inspect your scalp, using a blow dryer and mirror to expose each section.

– Check your hands: palms and backs, between the fingers and under the fingernails, continuing up the wrist to examine both the front and back of your forearms.

– Standing in front of a full-length mirror, start at the elbows and scan all sides of your upper arms, including underarms.

– Focus on the neck, chest, and torso.

– With back to a full-length mirror, use a hand mirror to inspect the back of your neck, shoulders, upper back and back of the upper arms.

– Still using both mirrors, scan lower back, buttocks, and backs of both legs.

– Sit down and prop a leg on a stool or chair; use hand mirror to check front and sides of both legs, thigh to shin, ankles, tops of feet, between toes and under toenails, soles of feet and heels, and yes, more personal areas.

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Avoiding back pain as you get older

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It sometimes seems inevitable: as you get older, things ache more — most noticeably, your back. But does it need to be that way? Can you avoid back problems as you age?

For a lot of common aches and pains, the answer is often yes (injury and degenerative issues or disease are a different animal). You should of course consult with an expert regarding your specific questions, as the spine is a complex structure. But there’s hope for those of us who may have assumed that back pain is unavoidable.

The back includes the 24 vertebrae of the spine along with discs and joints as well as a host of supporting muscles and ligaments. The key, according to many chiropractic experts, is to keep these parts in balance.

In other words, a lot of preventative measures come down to diet and exercise.

“Motion is lotion for the spine,” according to Cleveland Clinic, which recommends staying active. Movement can also help keep joints lubricated, which helps offset stiffness and creakiness. Other experts advise you to strengthen your core muscles to better support the spine.

Chiropractors and athletic trainers alike point to muscle imbalances as the cause of much back pain, whether it’s the lower, middle, or upper region. With an imbalance, proper posture is compromised and the load is unevenly distributed, creating strain.

A movement specialist can help identify whether your gait, posture, or other activity is creating an imbalance that you can correct.

Bottom line: aging is inevitable, but there appear to be more options than ever before for warding off the aches and pains that plagued our parents and grandparents. That’s great news for you and your back.

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Cancer survival: then and now

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Thanks to increased awareness and major advances in medical research over the last 30 years, cancer survival rates have drastically improved. Let’s keep doing our part to fund organizations working hard to find cures and share information so that the number of deaths from cancer in the United States continues to decrease.

Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer mortality rates among men decreased by 52% between 1993 and 2015, thanks to the introduction of routine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screenings.

Colorectal cancer

Thanks to improvements in treatments and screenings, colorectal cancer mortality rates decreased by 52% between 1970 and 2015.

Lung cancer
The leading cancer killer in the United States, lung cancer mortality rates decreased by 45% from 1990 to 2015 among men and 19% from 2002 to 2015 among women. The decline can be attributed to greater public awareness about the dangers of smoking tobacco.

Breast cancer
Breast cancer mortality rates decreased by 39% between 1989 and 2015. This progress is due to increased emphasis on early detection and advances in mammography.

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Tips for improving your sleep

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Do you regularly have trouble sleeping? You’re not alone, in fact, this is a common problem among seniors. Fortunately, there are a number of things you
can do to catch more Z’s.

Habits to adopt

• Creating a bedtime routine. A sensible going-to-bed routine is essential for getting a good night’s rest. A period of relaxation allows your body to prepare for sleep.

• Reserving your bedroom exclusively for sleeping. Only head to your bedroom when you feel tired.

• Implementing a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise and engage in mentally stimulating activities.

• Journaling before you go to bed. If your thoughts tend to run amok as you lay in bed at night, try jotting them down on paper. This helps to clear your mind and ward off anxiety.

Habits to avoid

• Excessive napping. Don’t extend your daytime naps past 20 minutes, and don’t take naps after three o’clock.

• Consuming too much caffeine. Particularly in the evening, avoid foods and drinks that over-stimulate the senses such as coffee, cola and chocolate.

• Oversleeping. If you wake up early, don’t remain in bed too long. It’s natural to assume that more sleep equals more rest but in reality, sleeping in tends to increase fatigue.

Still short on Z’s despite adopting these habits? Then consult with a medical professional. In particular, you may want to ask your pharmacist if the medication you’re taking could be affecting your sleep.

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Guarding against malnutrition

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Seniors are at risk for malnutrition. Though their need for nutrients remains largely the same as when they were younger, their need for energy, and therefore their appetite, decreases with age. Here are a few things seniors can do to fend off malnutrition.

• Have regular weigh-ins. Weight gain or loss can be difficult to notice, as it typically happens gradually. Seniors should make a habit of weighing themselves at least once a month. Any weight loss of more than five percent of their body weight during a period of six months or less needs attention.

• Watch for red flags. Besides weight loss, malnutrition can cause tiredness and irritability, slow healing of wounds and the feeling of always being cold.

• Understand the side effects of medications. Many drugs affect appetite, digestion and nutrient absorption.

Remedies for malnutrition include exercising regularly to stimulate the appetite, adding more herbs and spices to meals to enhance flavor and taking supplements (if recommended by a doctor).

If you think you or a loved one is suffering from malnutrition, see a physician right away. Malnutrition has a number of serious consequences, including a weakened immune system (increasing the possibility for contracting infections) and a heightened risk for falling and getting fractures due to muscle weakness and decreased bone mass. A doctor will help you form an appropriate care plan to get your health back on track.

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Cancer myths versus facts

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April is National Cancer Control Month, a time for raising awareness about the prevention and treatment of cancer. In honor of the annual event, here’s the truth about four common cancer myths.

Myth: Cancer is contagious
Fact: Since your immune system automatically destroys foreign cells, cancer can’t spread from person to person, either through the air or through direct contact. However, certain bacteria and viruses that increase the risk for cancer are contagious — for example, human papillomavirus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted, can cause cervical cancer.

Myth: Antiperspirants cause cancer

Fact: While a few rogue scientists claim using antiperspirants containing aluminum heightens your risk of breast cancer, the National Cancer Institute states that no reliable scientific evidence links these products to the development of cancer. There’s also no evidence that using hair dye presents a cancer risk.

Myth: Eating sugar makes cancer worse
Fact: While eating lots of sugar isn’t good for you, it won’t cause your cancer to develop more rapidly, as is sometimes claimed. Likewise, cutting sugar out of your diet won’t cause your cancer growth to slow.

Myth: You won’t get cancer if no one in your family has it
Fact: Only a very small percentage of cancer cases are inherited (about five to 10 percent). You’re more likely to develop cancer because of age, environmental factors or life-style choices.

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King Cartoons

Front Royal
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UV index: 5
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Upcoming Events

May
23
Thu
1:30 pm Portraits for Beginners: People ... @ Art in the Valley
Portraits for Beginners: People ... @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Portraits for Beginners: People and Pets @ Art in the Valley
Learn to create realistic portraits of people and pets. Students will practice drawing and painting techniques used in portraiture. Class meets once a week for five weeks. Students are required to bring their own reference[...]
3:00 pm The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
May 23 @ 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
Have you been thinking about a career change? Are you nearing graduation and not quite sure what you want to do, or what your next step should be? Are you a parent of a student[...]
6:00 pm Painting the Landscape with Oils... @ Art in the Valley
Painting the Landscape with Oils... @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Painting the Landscape with Oils: Late Spring @ Art in the Valley
This class provides a hands-on experience for painting with oils. Students will focus on techniques for painting landscapes. Class meets once a week for five weeks. Students are recommended to bring their own reference photos[...]
6:30 pm Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
May 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
The Warren Rifles Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will again lead the annual Confederate Memorial Day ceremony on the anniversary of the Battle of Front Royal. Where: at Prospect Hill Cemetery’s Soldiers[...]
6:30 pm Watercolor Basics @ Strokes of Creativity
Watercolor Basics @ Strokes of Creativity
May 23 @ 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Watercolor Basics @ Strokes of Creativity
Watercolor Basics Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 6:30 PM – 9 PM Learn the basics of watercolor painting. This is a great follow-up class from the watercolor 101 class, learn about techniques and applying techniques[...]
May
25
Sat
1:00 pm Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
May 25 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Of Dreams and Leadership: Learning to lead and sharing along the way by local author, Stephen Hudak In this collection of essays, Stephen Hudak shares his thoughts on Leadership and Learning.
May
27
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
May 27 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
May
28
Tue
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
May 28 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes: In and Out of the Studio @ Art in the Valley
This four week course will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance. During the first class[...]
May
29
Wed
2:00 pm Introduction to Floral Painting ... @ Art in the Valley
Introduction to Floral Painting ... @ Art in the Valley
May 29 @ 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Introduction to Floral Painting with Hillary White @ Art in the Valley
Learn to paint flowers in landscapes, vases, close up and loosely! Use your own acrylic paint, watercolor or colored pencils. You must have basic knowledge of your medium. Instructor: Hillary White, MAT, CDA Wednesday afternoons,[...]
6:00 pm CASA Information Session @ Meet in the Middle
CASA Information Session @ Meet in the Middle
May 29 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
CASA Information Session @ Meet in the Middle
Become an advocate for abused and neglected children in your community. CASA Children’s Intervention Services is seeking volunteers who care about children growing up in a safe, permanent and loving homes. Attend an Information Session[...]