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Healthline: January National Blood Donor Month

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JANUARY is National Blood Donor Month, and advocates want to increase the fewer than 5 percent of healthy Americans who donate blood each year. On any given day, the American Association of Blood Banks says, an average of 38,000 units of red blood cells are needed. Transfusions are used for trauma victims, surgeries, transplants and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer and other diseases.

With an aging population and more medical procedures being performed, the demand for blood continues to increase, the association says. The typical donor is a white male, but women and minority donors are increasing, the association says.

For more information, go to

To find donation locations in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties, call toll-free 1-800-682-5663 or go to for Hernando and Citrus counties, call toll-free 1-888-795-2707.

MORE THAN HALF of those who use allergy medications said they spent more in 2003 than the previous year, largely due to the move toward over-the-counter treatments and changes in their insurance coverage.

Most of those who responded to the national Harris Interactive survey said they either had larger co-pay amounts or no coverage at all for their treatments.

Many specialists are concerned patients will reduce their office visits, believing they can self-treat their asthma or allergies with over-the-counter medications.

The survey was conducted for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, a nonprofit organization that educates and advocates for patients.

WOMEN HAVE LONG blamed husbands and boyfriends for their recurrent yeast infections. And many doctors have reinforced that thinking, believing that partners were passing the yeast back during sexual activity.

But researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School have found that the presence of yeast in male sex partners doesn't make women more prone to these infections.

Instead, the study of 148 women with confirmed Candida albicans infections and 78 of their male sexual partners suggests that the recurrences may be a result of how a woman's immune system reacts to the organism.

About three-fourths of women have had at least one infection and about 40 percent have recurrences. Yeast is often found in the mouth, genital and rectal areas, where it may not cause a problem; an infection comes from an overgrowth.

Writing in the December issue of the Journal of Women's Health, the study's authors said certain sexual practices may make women more vulnerable to yeast infections, particularly receiving oral sex, theorizing that saliva may disrupt the balance of organisms in a woman's body. [Last modified January 12, 2004, 12:45:30] Floridian headlines Letter from TexasJust another burr under their saddles PulseHealthline New outlook for older eyes

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