March a special month for several reasons

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 22, 2019

Each month has a special emphasis or focus and March is no different. March has several important topics of focus that we all need to be aware of.

March is…

  • American Red Cross Month
  • National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
  • National Nutrition Month


The American Red Cross is often the first on the scene when a disaster occurs, providing clean water, safe shelter and hot meals when they need them most. From small house fires to multi-state natural disasters, the American Red Cross goes wherever needed.

Blood Drives

The American Red Cross also hosts blood drives to collect blood.  Because every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets or plasma, this lifesaving care starts with one person making a generous donation.

Training and certifications

Even when there is no emergency you can also benefit from Red Cross training. With a wide array of lifeguarding, caregiving and babysitting, and swimming and water safety courses, the Red Cross can provide you with the training and skills you need to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

  • First Aid training
  • CPR training
  • AED training
  • Babysitting and caregiving training
  • Swimming training
  • CNA training
  • BLS training

Military families

The Red Cross helps members of the military, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to the challenges of military service.

International aid

And last but not least the ARC provides international services. Assisting in helping to save lives around the world and delivering international aid, from Latin America and Africa to Asia and Europe, the American Red Cross helps people in some of the world’s most at-risk communities.

For more information on the Red Cross visit:

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Globally, cancer of the colon and rectum is the third leading cause of cancer in males and the fourth leading cause of cancer in females. The frequency of colorectal cancer varies around the world. It is common in the Western world, yet it is rare in Asia and Africa. In countries where the people have adopted Western diets, the incidence of colorectal cancer is increasing.

Colon Cancer at a Glance
  • Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine.
  • Risk factors for colorectal cancer include heredity, colon polyps and long-standing ulcerative colitis.
  • Most colorectal cancers develop from polyps. Removal of colon polyps can prevent colorectal cancer.
  • Colon polyps and early cancer can have no symptoms. Therefore regular screening is important.
  • Treatment of colorectal cancer depends on the location, size and extent of cancer spread, as well as the age and health of the patient.
  • Surgery is the most common treatment for colorectal cancer.

Colonoscopies are performed as part of screening programs for colon cancer. How often should one undergo a colonoscopy depends on the degree of the risk and the abnormalities found at previous colonoscopies. One widely accepted recommendation has been that even healthy people at normal risk for colon cancer should undergo colonoscopy at age 50 and every 10 years thereafter, for the purpose of removing colonic polyps before they become cancerous. Speak with your doctor about what’s best for you and make sure to get your screenings as needed.

For information on colorectal cancer visit:

National Nutrition Month

 National Nutrition Month is a time to share nutrition education and information. This annual campaign was created and is celebrated in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The 2019 National Nutrition Month theme is, “Are you Ready?”

The theme is to assist in teaching the importance of a nutrient-dense diet that promotes health. Individuals can do that by being aware of how to eat a balanced diet and how to read nutrition facts labels and to discover the dietary guidelines and MyPlate.

Key messages to remember:

  • Consume fewer calories
  • Get daily exercise
  • Make informed food choices

By adopting these goals, this year’s theme strives to help people manage their weight successfully and reduce their risk of chronic disease while promoting general health. Win-win-win, right? Join the movement and work to make more healthy changes in your lifestyle.

More information on National Nutrition or if you would like to join in on the celebration or for tips on improving your eating habits visit:

Toi N. Degree is Family & Consumer Education Agent with North Carolina State University & North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Call 704-216-8970 or  email: