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HEALTH WATCH : A Blood Bank With Only One Account

March 29, 1994

Want to donate blood . . . to yourself? Studies indicate that an estimated 10% of patients scheduled for elective surgery show up several weeks before surgery and give blood that is then earmarked for them. Two or more units of autologous--your own--blood can be donated in many cases.

The trend toward self-donation is driven by several forces, primarily safety--despite the fact that the American blood supply has never been safer because of careful screening that can detect infectious agents, most notably the viruses for hepatitis and AIDS.

While AIDS gets the most publicity, the risk of hepatitis is higher. But that danger has been reduced by routine testing for the most widespread hepatitis viruses.

Autologous blood also eliminates the small risk that a patient may have a damaging reaction to blood from a different donor.

And autologous blood reduces the overall demand in the community blood supply. One study showed that only 13% of surgery patients who donated blood in advance required blood from other donors, compared to 74% of patients who did not.

And what if you don't need all your blood during surgery? Well, you'll end up doing a good deed--the blood will be donated to others.


Nothing to Sneeze At: Birds are tweeting, flowers are blooming and you are blowing your nose, rubbing those eyes, sneezing big time and wishing you were anywhere but in Allergyville.

Forty million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. And for them, spring's bloom--which produces millions of the airborne pollen that aggravate allergy symptoms--can be agonizing.

So, this free brochure might be just for you. "Health in Bloom: A Guide to Gardening With Allergies" provides tips for creating an allergy-friendly environment, controlling symptoms and avoiding the performance-impairing effects allergy medications can cause.

For a free copy, send a self-addressed stamped business-size envelope to Health in Bloom: A Guide to Gardening with Allergies, P.O. Box 731, Radio City Station, New York, N.Y. 10101-0731.


Drinking Problems: Now we're quoting a college student on "20/20," which reported that 5-plus alcoholic drinks are the norm for one sitting during Spring Break festivities:

"It's the coolest thing in the world. It transformed me from a shy kid into a party dude."

In recent years, according to various reports, other "transformations" have occurred with college students drinking, a student activity that is on the rise:

* Forty percent of students who use alcohol binge to "let off steam" or "just to have a good time."

* Some black out three or four times a month.

* Thousands are hurt; hundreds are killed and, during a 12-month period, 12 died of alcohol poisoning.

This health roundup, compiled from wire-service reports, appears in View on Tuesdays.

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