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Health briefs: Urgent need for blood before summer ends; Move and Learn series in River Falls

Urgent need for blood before summer ends

As summer winds down, the American Red Cross urges individuals to give blood and platelets now and help end an emergency summer blood shortage that began last month. A critical need remains as many regular donors delay giving to take final summer vacations and prepare for school to start. To ensure lifesaving treatments remain available for patients in the coming weeks, donations are needed now, especially type O. In thanks for helping at this urgent time, all those who come to donate blood or platelets through Aug. 30 will receive a $5 Gift Card via email. Restrictions apply; see More information and details are available at To make an appointment to donate blood, download the free American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 800-RED CROSS.

Move and Learn series in River Falls

Move and Learn is a community building event that is open to all ages, abilities and is family friendly. The group meets 9 a.m. Saturdays at Hoffman park in River Falls. At 9:15 a.m. everyone will walk a one-mile course and return to Hoffman for a variety of post-walk activities, including basic bodyweight exercises, yoga and more. A $1 donation, or $3 per family, will be accepted to help with the costs of organizing the event, instruction and a bottle of water for each participant.

The Aug. 18 meeting will feature therapeutic yoga teacher and health coach Tonya Schmitt.

Guided fitness hikes in Lake Elmo

Explore the Washington County Parks trail system with guided fitness hikes, with the next hike at 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. The one-hour hikes involve a warm-up and fitness challenges along the way. Trails are a mix of turf, gravel, grass, snow and pavement depending on trail conditions, time of year and location. Plan to arrive 10 minutes early. If light rain, hike will go on as scheduled. The program is for those ages 13 and older. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. All guided fitness hikes are at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve Thursdays from 9 to 10 a.m. and will meet at the Nordic Center. The continuing 2018 schedule is:

• Sept. 6

• Sept. 20

• Oct. 4

• Nov. 1

• Dec. 6

These programs are free with a parks vehicle permit ($7/day or $30/annual) with the exception of Free Tuesdays.


Overdose Awareness Day Vigil is Aug. 31 in Minneapolis

Minnesota Overdose Awareness will present the ninth Overdose Awareness Day Vigil, sponsored by Native American Community Clinic, 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, at Church of Gichitwaa Kateri, 3045 Park Avenue South, Minneapolis. In association with International Overdose Awareness Day, Minnesota Overdose Awareness is hosting an event as a way to remember those who have died as a result of drug overdose and to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. An Overdose Tribute Video is being created to honor loved ones and friends lost to the overdose epidemic. The tribute video will be shown during this year's 9th Overdose Awareness Day Vigil ceremony, event details above. If you would like to add a loved one to the video, please send name, photo, and life date to by Aug. 25. The vigil will include speakers representing Native/Indigenous People, Military Veterans, Transgender Persons, Harm Reduction Advocates, State Government, and a variety of grassroots and other organizations engaged in various aspects of the fight against opiates and related overdoses. There will be time for sharing, several special tributes, viewing of the updated Tribute Video and Overdose Reversal Training along with Narcan Kits.

FDA Adds Warning Labels to E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes, which have surged in popularity among Minnesota youth, will soon carry a federal warning. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires warning labels on e-cigarettes and certain other tobacco products as of Aug. 10.

Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation — a coalition of more than 60 organizations working to reduce youth tobacco use — hopes the labels raise awareness of nicotine addiction among kids. The 2017 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey found youth tobacco rose for the first time in 17 years, driven by an explosion in e-cigarette use. "Medical professionals are sounding the alarm about nicotine addiction among our youth," said Dr. Pete Dehnel, medical director for the Twin Cities Medical Society. "We know nicotine harms the developing adolescent brain, and can predispose individuals for future tobacco use. The tobacco industry knows this too, and is trying to addict the next generation of users. These warning labels make it clear that e-cigarettes are addictive, and should be a major concern for parents."

Recent research shows e-cigarettes and other tobacco products threaten decades of progress lowering youth tobacco rates. The 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed e-cigarettes are now the most used tobacco product by youth, and the 2017 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey echoed these findings. The MYTS found a nearly 50 percent surge in Minnesota high-school students using e-cigarettes — from 13 percent in 2014, to 19 percent in 2017. Easy access to e-cigarettes, prolific advertising, novel designs and kid-friendly flavors have all contributed to this increase. "E-cigarettes like JUUL and Suorin are extremely popular among students, who even use them at school," said Meghan McFarling, a recent Mounds View High School graduate. "The flavors, design and stealth factor target young people, and e-cig advertising is all over my social media feeds. Most young people don't understand the risks, and many of them become addicted to nicotine. More needs to be done to protect my generation, as well as generations to come, from these harmful products." Advocates hope these warnings will serve as a wake-up call that e-cigarette use could lead to lifetime addiction. In addition to federal action, state and local governments can also combat commercial tobacco use. Eleven Minnesota cities have passed Tobacco 21 policies, and eight have passed tobacco flavor restrictions. "Most Minnesotans agree — we must take action to keep our young people from getting hooked on commercial tobacco products in all forms," said Molly Moilanen, public affairs director of ClearWay Minnesota and co-chair of Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation. "We all bear the cost of tobacco use, and we can take common sense steps to help youth avoid this deadly addiction. Raising the tobacco age to 21, keeping tobacco prices high, restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products and funding tobacco prevention and control programs are all solutions to reduce tobacco's harm now and in the future."