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Health Notes

<lst>Blood Drive. Inova Blood Donor Services will conduct a blood drive on Tuesday, March 25, from noon-7:30 p.m. at the Reston Town Center, Discovery Street, Reston, next to the Pavilion at the Hyatt Regency entrance. Sponsor is Equity Office. Due to recent storms and cancellations, the need for donated blood is urgent. Call 1-866-256-6372. Visit www.inova.org/donateblood.

Reston Rely for Life. The American Cancer Society Reston Relay For Life fundraising teams are now forming. Teams are comprised of 8-15 individuals. All participating team members will spend a day of ceremonies, including the Survivors Victory Lap and the Luminaria Ceremony, on May 31-June 1 at South Lakes High School. During the day long event, teams will jog or walk around the high school track in relay fashion to show defiance to cancer disease. No minimum amount of money is required to be raised. Corporate teams, church teams, service teams, medical teams, school teams and family teams are encouraged. For details, contact Leslie at 703-850-8492 or lcannonchandler@aol.com.

Cancer Support. Reston Hospital Center sponsors a group for patients and their families who have recently been diagnosed or long-term survivors. Network and gather information in a comfortable atmosphere. Monthly speakers. Meets the first and third Monday of each month at noon in the Pavilion, 1850 Town Center Drive, Suite 307. Call 703-689-9000, Ext. 2200. The next meeting will be Monday, April 7.

New Mothers Support. Meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 10 a.m. in the Community Room at the Reston YMCA, 12196 Sunset Hills Road, Reston. Call 703-689-9240. The next meeting will be Tuesday, April 1.

Lupus Support. Meets the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Reston Hospital Medical Plaza, Suite 117, 1800 Town Center Drive, Reston. Call 703-689-9240. The next meeting will be Thursday, March 27.

Depression and Manic Depression Support Group. Sterling/Reston Chapter of DRADA meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month, from 7-9 p.m. For location, contact Traci, 703-433-1448, or Jan at 703-669-5177. DRADA stands for Depressive and Related Affective Disorders Association, a nonprofit, self-help group sponsored by Johns Hopkins, which has been in existence for over 20 years.

The Advisory Board to the Northwest Center for Community Health is seeking new members. The board has a long history of helping the center improve its services to clients, advocating for expanded and improved mental health programs, and providing citizen advice on mental health issues and policies.

If interested in serving on the Advisory Board or want more information, contact Glenn Kamber at 703-733-4378 or Linda Rodeffer at 703-385-5380.

Birth Mother’s Support Group. Group meets weekly in northern Virginia. It is for any woman who has ever placed a child in adoption and would like to meet with others who have done the same. For more information call Pat Cunningham or Stephanie Hayden at Catholic Charities at 703-425-0100.

Foster Parents. Homes are needed in the area. Call Children’s Services of Virginia at 703-331-0075 or visit www.childrens servicesofva.com for more information.

The American Lung Association of Virginia is offering an e-mail service to residents in areas affected by smog-unhealthy levels of ozone pollution, which includes the Northern Virginia-Metropolitan D.C. area.

Subscribers will receive smog alerts the day before ozone pollution levels are predicted to be unhealthy. Individuals with chronic lung or heart disease and sensitive populations, such as children and the elderly, can then take action to protect themselves by reducing or limiting outdoor activities.

High concentrations of ozone can cause symptoms such as coughing, throat irritation and difficulty breathing, and also may increase susceptibility of the lungs to infections, allergens and other air pollutants. The daily forecast is provided to the American Lung Association from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

For more information on ozone pollution and to sign up for the Smog Alert, visit www. lungusa.org/virginia.

Haven of Northern Virginia offers a support group for suicide survivors. The group is open to anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide. There is no charge and space is limited. For registration, call 703-941-7000 or visit www.havenof nova.org.

Inova VNA Home Health is recruiting volunteers to act as friendly visitors providing companionship to lonely, homebound patients. Volunteers are asked to spend one or two hours per week talking with a patient, running errands and doing odd jobs. Visiting can be done during the day, in the evening or on the weekends as the volunteer’s schedule allows. Training will be provided, and placements are made based on geographic location. For more information, contact Marion Hart or Adele Jenney at 703-916-2885.

Virginia Department of Health offers a Guide to Protect Children from Dog Bites. For information on how to be safe around dogs, contact the Virginia Department of Health’s Center for Injury and Violence Prevention toll-free at 1-800-732-8333.

“Choosing an Assisted Living Facility: Considerations for Making the Right Decision,” a booklet produced by the Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living (CCAL) in cooperation with the MetLife Mature Market Institute, can be ordered by calling 703-533-8121. Single copies are $10 each.

CCAL offers the following tips to begin the search for a facility:

* Make an accurate and honest assessment of your physical, financial, mental and lifestyle needs;

* Visit as many facilities as you can to get a sense of the choices in your area;

* Narrow down your selection to the top two or three choices, and return to those facilities and ask lots of questions. Talk to the residents;

* Ask to review a copy of the Resident Agreement (facility contract);

* Ask to review the licensing or certification inspection report;

* Make an unannounced visit to the facility.

CrisisLink, 5275 Lee Highway, Suite 301, Arlington, sponsors a healing and educational Suicide Survivors’ Support Group, meeting the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, 7:30-9 p.m. Call 703-516-6771 for more information.

The Reach to Recovery Program of the American Cancer Society offers free services to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo recent surgery. A trained volunteer who has survived breast cancer is available to talk with patients confidentially, provide helpful information and offer emotional support. A Reach “kit” is given to each patient, which includes a leisure bra, a soft prosthesis for mastectomy patients, exercise items and literature. Call 703-938-5550.

The Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization provides free services including educational programs and lectures, brown-bag seminars, quarterly newsletters, and a 24-hour HOPEline. The HOPEline (703-461-9616 or 1-800-970-4411) is staffed by trained breast-cancer survivors who provide information and emotional support to callers. Call 703-461-9595 or visit www.y-menca.org for more information.

To help Virginians make better-informed health-care purchasing decisions, Virginia Health Information (VHI), a nonprofit independent organization, has published information on its Web site, www.vhi.org, that reports on the inpatient cardiac care provided at all licensed hospitals in Virginia. The information compares their performance and mortality outcomes. VHI’s study is based on over 100,000 cardiac patient discharges submitted by Virginia hospitals for the year 2000.

Shoplifters Anonymous offers a new 12-step meeting program for those who wish to stop compulsive shoplifting. The group meets every Thursday, 7-8 p.m., at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 7426 Idylwood Road. Call Sue at 703-759-0396 or Carol at 703-764-0347 to confirm the meeting date.

Children’s Services of Virginia Inc. is seeking foster parents in the area. Call 703-331-0075 or visit www.childrensservicesofva.com for more information.

The Alzheimer’s Family Day Center has a support group for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their spouses. The couples participate in a potluck dinner along with discussion/support group. The dinner has educational as well as social benefits through speaking to and learning from others who are “going through the same thing.” The dinners are held at the Family Day Center, 2036 Westmoreland St., Falls Church, 6-8 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month. Call Joan at 703-532-8899 to register or for information.

Mothers & More is a support group for mothers who have altered their career paths to care for their children at home. General meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center. Admission is free, and visitors are welcome. Call 703-234-3417.

Life with Cancer is sponsoring a Bowling Social for teens with cancer. Join other teens in treatment or in recovery for an afternoon of fun. Call Jenny Eckert at 703-208-5623 for more information.

The AARP Widowed Persons Service sponsors free weekly support groups to anyone widowed less than two years. Monthly educational meetings, travel and other activities are also offered. Call 301-949-7398 for more information.

The American Heart Association offers many tools to improve nutrition and fitness. At the grocery store, shoppers can look for the heart-check mark on products, signifying foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Quick and tasty heart-healthy recipes as well as tips for grocery shopping and ingredient substitutions can be found at www.deliciousdecisions.org. Many cookbooks, such as the “American Heart Association Quick & Easy Cookbook,” can be found in area bookstores.

Online information and support can be found at www.MyHeartWatch.org, with such features as Ask an Expert, Personal Stories, and Health Planners, which include weight and nutrition calculators, exercise diaries and more.

Two lifestyle brochures, “Managing Your Weight” and “An Eating Plan for Healthy Americans,” are available free by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

A free, 12-week physical-activity program, sponsored by Bayer, “Choose to Move,” helps women make simple changes that result in increasing their activity level. Call 1-888-MY-HEART to receive a registration packet.

The Lifestyle Medical Program provides oxygen, medications and nebulizers at no cost to patients with severe breathing problems, such as asthma, emphysema and COPD. Patients must meet additional guidelines to qualify for the program. Call 800-519-4480 for more information.

The American Institute for Cancer Research is offering a free brochure, “Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer,” which provides guidelines and tips on how to control dietary and other lifestyle factors that affect a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Also available is “Questions and Answers about Breast Health and Breast Cancer,” which provides detailed information on breast cancer risk, treatment and early detection, including how to do a self-examination. Call 800-843-8114, Ext. 25.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recently launched a major new heart-attack education campaign called “Act in Time to Heart Attack Signs.” The campaign is an effort to raise awareness among both the general public and physicians about the need for a fast response. Key messages encourage recognition of heart-attack symptoms, working with a physician to create a heart-attack survival plan, and calling 911 as soon as symptoms begin. Campaign partners, the American Red Cross and the National Council on Aging, will be offering “Act in Time” classes. Various educational materials, including a booklet and video, are available for health-care workers, heart-attack patients and the public through the NHLBI Web site at www.nhlbi.nih.gov. For more information, also visit www.americanheart.org, wwwnena.org, www.redcross.org, and www.ncoa.org.

A new package of publications on taking medications correctly and ordering them safely online is available from The Federal Consumer Information Center and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The package contains “FDA’s Tips for Taking Medicines,” “Drug Interactions: What You Should Know” and “Buying Prescription Medicines Online: A Consumer Safety Guide.” The materials are free. Call 888-878-3256 and request the “Your Medications” package, or send your name and address to Your Medications, Pueblo, CO 81009.

Fairfax County Juvenile Court is seeking volunteers to serve as court companions to help victims of domestic violence navigate the court system. Primary duties include contacting victims before the hearing date and accompanying these clients on their hearing day. A commitment to a weekly four-hour shift during business hours for at least six months is needed. Initial interviews must be held before training. For more information, contact Gwen Robinson at 703-246-2697.

The Asthma Auto program of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Maryland-Greater Washington, D.C., Chapter, is accepting donations of unwanted vehicles to raise money to fund educational programs, asthma care training, scholarships, research, and patient assistance for area residents. Call 800-727-9333.

Visit www.Pollen.com to subscribe to Allergy Alert, a free e-mail notification service, to be notified automatically when conditions in the area are expected to be near uncomfortable levels. The Allergy Alert forecast considers more than 1,470 biological and meteorological factors and is based on 20 years of historical pollen data gathered by a national network of professionally trained pollen counters.

The National Institute on Aging has designed an at-home exercise program for older people. The program is based on medical research and emphasizes exercises for endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. To order the exercise book and 48-minute video, send a check or money order for $7 payable to the National Institute on Aging to NIAIC, Dept. BR, PO Box 8057, Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057. Call 1-800-222-2225 or visit www.maillist.org/exercise for more information.

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, formerly the Food Allergy Network, has launched an electronic newsletter for teens with food allergy. “Food Allergy News for Teens” is a bimonthly newsletter distributed free to teen-agers by e-mail. The newsletter covers topics such as dating, dining out, managing food allergy on the job, and tips on carrying medications. To sign up to receive the newsletter, log on to www.fanteen.org.

National Cancer Institute (NCI) announces the launch of its improved Web site, www.cancer.gov. Billed as “a one-stop resource for cancer information” the site reorganizes NCI’s information sites cancer.net and cancer.trials within cancer.gov. Information in the site is arranged by topic. Where its logical design leaves off, an improved search engine aids site navigation.

A no cost program providing power wheelchairs to qualified seniors 65 years and older and permanently disabled persons is being offered by Jaspan Medical Systems, a nationwide program assisting in power mobility. Power wheelchairs are provided to those who cannot walk and cannot self-propel a manual wheelchair in their home and who meet the additional program guidelines of the program. No deposit is required. Call 1-800-451-0971 for information.