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Health briefs: Red Cross, Sport Clips team up for childhood cancer awareness

Red Cross, Sport Clips team up for childhood cancer awareness

During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September, the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to give blood to support kids, teens and young adults battling cancer, as well as others in need of transfusions. Those who come out to give blood or platelets through Sept. 30 will receive a coupon for a free haircut at Sport Clips via email. The coupon is valid through Nov. 11, 2018, at participating Sport Clips locations. Donors must have a valid email address on record to receive the coupon.

"The Red Cross and Sport Clips share a commitment to helping kids kick cancer, and we are thrilled to partner in September for the Saving Lives Never Looked So Good campaign to help bring attention to this important topic," said Donna Morrissey, director of national partnerships with Red Cross Biomedical Services. "We are grateful to Sport Clips for their continued support of the Red Cross and for thanking the generous blood and platelet donors who help make life-saving treatments possible for many childhood cancer patients."

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 15,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year. Childhood cancer patients may need blood products on a regular basis during chemotherapy, surgery or treatment for complications.

To make an appointment to donate blood products, use the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or by call 800-RED CROSS. The Red Cross and Sport Clips encourage donors to use the hashtag #SavingLivesLooksGood to share their new looks and invite others to give.

Women's Health and Well-Being Symposium in Red Wing

Mayo Clinic Health System's Women's Health and Well-Being Symposium will be held Saturday, Oct. 6, at Mississippi National Golf Links, 409 Golf Links Drive, in Red Wing. Mayo Clinic experts will present on topics related to work-life balance, gratitude, compassion and self-care.

This year's keynote speaker is Sarah Stinson, a licensed professional counselor at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing. The facilitator in the Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) program at Mayo Clinic will present "Ingredients to a Happy, Healthy Life." Additional presenters include Dr. Tyler Oesterle, a psychiatrist at Mayo Clinic Health System-Fountain Centers in Albert Lea, who will discuss unique mental health issues women may experience stemming from addiction. Carol Gardner, a certified women's health physical therapist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing, will provide tips for calming physical pain induced by stressful situations.

This free symposium is held 9 to 11:30 a.m. Attendees receive a complimentary breakfast. Registration and breakfast will start 8:30 a.m. Due to limited seating, pre-registration is required by calling 651-385-3359.

Health fair in Cottage Grove

A free health fair will be held 10:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, Sept. 23 at Rose of Sharon Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove. The event will include information on smoking cessation, healthy snacks and defensive driving, as well as a 20-minute presentation on tips to decrease the risk of falling and steps toward better health management. All are welcome to attend.

MDH: Climate change prolonging ragweed season

With the ragweed pollen season expected to peak in early-September, now is a good time for allergy sufferers to learn about steps they can take to keep allergies and asthma under control, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Due to Minnesota's changing climate, allergy sufferers have a much longer season of suffering; ragweed pollen season is now 18 to 21 days longer than it was in the mid-1990s. Pollen for ragweed is highly allergenic and can travel very long distances.

The effects of climate change in Minnesota are already being seen. While climate change impacts everyone, certain populations are more susceptible to the health impacts. In particular, health care providers should be mindful of the diseases or conditions exacerbated by pollen to avoid disparities by race, ethnicity, poverty level or age of the patient.

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a chronic lung disease, are among the conditions that may be worsened by a longer allergy season and stronger pollen. Health care providers can share information with vulnerable populations about pollen, its potential impacts on chronic health conditions and how to reduce allergic reactions.

Here are some steps those with allergies can take:

• Sign up for Pollen alerts. You can get a pollen and mold report for the Twin Cities area from the National Allergy Bureau.

• Become familiar with the type of pollen that triggers your allergies, so you can prevent or reduce symptoms.

• Limit your outdoor activities when pollen counts are high. This will lessen the amount of pollen allergen you inhale and reduce your symptoms.

• Keep windows closed during pollen season and use central air conditioning with a HEPA filter in your home and vehicle.

• Start taking allergy medicine before pollen season begins. Most allergy medicine works best when taken this way. Make sure you have your relief/rescue inhaler with you.

• Wear a hat and sunglasses. This will keep pollen out of your eyes and hair.

• Change and wash clothes worn during outdoor activities.

Recovery Month highlights need for community services

September is National Recovery Month and Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed September 2018 Recovery Month in Minnesota, highlighting the fact that that people can and do recover from substance use disorders and mental illness.

People were admitted to chemical dependency treatment programs in Minnesota more than 57,000 times in 2017. Most people who enter chemical dependency treatment usually complete it and show considerable improvement, and abstinence from substance use and other benefits of treatment tend to continue over the long term. Yet each year more than nine out of 10 adults with a substance use disorder do not receive treatment.

To address this gap, the state has launched a multi-year reform effort that aims to cut the time between asking for treatment and getting it, as well as adding a variety of key improvements to the system. In addition, to help combat our state's ongoing opioid epidemic, the Department of Human Services has won federal grants to fund a range of prevention, treatment and recovery efforts, including peer recovery programs, the Parent Child Assistance Program and community health worker training to support high risk pregnant and newly-parenting women.

"It is important that people experiencing substance use disorders and mental illness receive the support they need from their friends, families and their community," Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper said. "And at the same time, it is critical that we as a state make smart investments in effective community services."

Now in its 28th year, the 2018 National Recovery Month theme is, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community." The theme explores how investing in community-based services, along with support from families and communities, can contribute to recovery for persons with mental and substance use disorders.

Recovery Month includes a variety of ceremonies, activities and celebrations across the state. For information on events, visit