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  1. How Warriors Can Prevent Catching the Flu This Season

    November 8, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: itsv|Flickr via  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Photo: itsv|Flickr via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    As we start to really settle in to fall and winter, we'll begin to see a rise in occurrences of the flu, which brings up an important question: Should you get the flu shot? Short answer -- yes. Here's why:

    As a sickle cell warrior, you're already at a higher risk for developing complications from the flu if you catch it, so preventing that from happening is a must. It is especially paramount when it comes to children with sickle cell. According to a study published by Pediatrics in 2011, the risk of hospitalization in kids with SCD is 56 times greater than that of children without SCD. Because of this, the CDC recommends that everyone living with sickle cell receive the flu vaccine annually, beginning after six months of age. Something important to note this year is that, while the FluMist exists, the CDC is only recommending injectable shots, as they've been shown more effective.

    Furthermore, the Pediatrics study went on to prove that vaccinating sickle cell warriors against the flu does not increase their chances of going into a crisis and being hospitalized for that. Therefore, the flu shot is safe to get. Per their results, they "did not find an association of influenza vaccination and hospitalization for sickle cell crises."

    Typically, it will take about two weeks for the flu shot to build up enough antibodies in your system to provide protection against infection. In the meantime, you can practice other preventative measures, such as hand washing, rest, probiotic intake, and more. Actively working to prevent contracting the flu (and other contagious illnesses) will help you avoid any extra hospital stays, as well as contribute to an overall healthier life.

  2. How Blood Substitutes May be the Solution to Donation Blood That’s in Short Supply

    February 22, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: Filter Forge [CC BY 2.0]

    Photo: Filter Forge [CC BY 2.0]

    If you've ever watched an episode of the HBO series "True Blood," you're familiar with the idea of using synthetic blood to replace real blood. In real life, of course, synthetic blood wouldn't be used as a vampire deterrent, rather it would be used to provide blood transfusions to people who needed it -- like patients with sickle cell -- if actual blood was in short supply. And according to the Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals, the cache of donated blood tends to decrease during the winter months.

    Now, this concept isn't exactly new. In fact, there have been several blood substitutes created and tested over the past few decades; however, there is no blood substitute that is currently approved for use on humans in the U.S. That may all change in the next few years, though. As early as 2017, the Universities of Oxford, Bristol, and Cambridge will run a human clinical trial in which 20 people will given "blood" that has been created in a lab, reports the BBC. If the trial is a success, that will not only open up more options for blood transfusions when the supply is low, but it will also help better treat patients with more hard-to-match blood types, since the synthetic blood will work as O negative.

    Smithsonian magazine clarifies, "Blood substitutes don’t aim to replace real blood, they simply fill one of bloods’ roles: transporting oxygen. Some do this by just mimicking hemoglobin. Others are entirely novel, synthetic oxygen carriers." According to the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, other benefits of synthetic blood include:

    1) No immune system reactions
    2) No risk of infectious disease transmission
    3) Longer shelf life -- from one to three years, sans refrigeration
    4) Doesn't infringe on some patients' religious beliefs

    We still have a few years until we find out whether or not a new blood substitute will be approved for human use, but knowing that we're one step closer is a great achievement.

  3. Three Tips to Boost Your Family’s Immune System This Winter

    January 14, 2014 by Eric Coles

    Winter Immune System Boosts for Your Family Xickle Blog

    There are a variety of easy steps you can take to protect your family from germs this cold and flu season. Put these three tips into action and give your family a big boost toward getting and staying healthy! As always, talk to your doctor about taking the right amounts of any recommended supplements.


    1. Review “the basics,” and make improvements where needed. Is your family eating healthily – low on saturated fats and carbs, high in fruit, and whole grains? Is everyone getting enough sleep? Is everyone at a healthy weight? Your body, including your immune system, always works best when it’s given good nutrition and good rest, and when it is functioning at a healthy weight. If you find you need to make changes in these areas, be as patient as possible and take one step at a time – the best way to make any lasting, healthy changes.  (Souorces: USDA Choose My Plate and National Sleep Foundation: How Much Sleep Do We Really Need and Centers for Disease Control – Healthy Weight)


    2. Review hand-washing techniques. It might sound funny, but a lot of people forget – or never really learned – the proper way to wash their hands! Knowing how to wash your hands the right way is so important that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls handwashing “a ‘do-it-yourself’ vaccine…one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.” Visit their website to learn exactly what each member of your family should be doing to ride themselves of hand germs.    (Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Handwashing and Proper Handwashing Techniques)


    3.  Reduce stress wherever possible. It’s OK to feel stress once in awhile. Stress is the body’s way of protecting itself for a short-term challenge. For example, when you perceive that you’re in some kind of danger or that something is not right, the body’s stress response puts it in “fight or flight” mode. That means it increases your heart rate and adrenaline, gearing you up to speak out or walk away from a difficult situation. The problem is when stress is chronic, happening often over a prolonged period of time. In that case, the fight or flight response is impacting the body’s important everyday functions – like fighting germs. Are you chronically stressed about personal or professional matters? Are your kids stressed due to difficult schoolwork, or trouble with a friend? Finding ways to cope – talking with someone about the stress, exercising, art (such as writing, photography, drawing), and even laughter can help to reduce stress and give your immune system a lift.  (Mayo Clinic – Chronic Stress Puts Your Health at Risk)


    Xickle RBC-Plus™ is a great supplement for those who need to guard the structural integrity of their red blood cells, inhibit red blood cells from changing shape under hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions, reduce red blood cell clumping, and protect their red blood cells from environmental hazards that can degrade their ability to supply life-giving oxygen to every cell of the body.  It is effective for all ages, but is especially effective for individuals under the age of 18.


    Check out Xickle today!

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