Share The Health

Donating Blood - A life-saving gift.

01-16-2017

According to the American Red Cross, someone in the United States is in need of donated blood every two seconds. In the event of an emergency or disaster situation, the donated blood used to save lives is already on shelves, and once that donated blood is used, it needs to be replenished immediately. Because unlike live-saving medications, blood cannot be manufactured – it can only come from generous donors.

Did you know that January is National Blood Donor Month?

Since 1970, January has been recognized as National Blood Donor Month; and for good reason. It’s a time when blood organizations like the American Red Cross pay tribute to the nearly 11 million people who give blood each year, and encourage others to start the New Year off right by donating the gift of life.

Cold weather, holiday schedules, and increased cold and flu symptoms can contribute to a greatly reduced number of blood donors in the month of January. Although an estimated 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at any given time, less than 10% of that eligible population actually donates each year.

Donating blood makes a difference in the lives of many people in need

  • During a typical blood donation, roughly 1 pint of blood is donated. However, a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
  • More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • Sickle cell disease affects about 100,000 people in the U.S. and about 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.

The simple act of donating blood each year can have a huge impact on the health outcomes of so many individuals!

How to donate blood

To find a blood drive near you, simply visit redcrossblood.org and search by your zip code. This is the first step in finding a nearby blood drive or blood donation center. To prepare for your donation, the American Red Cross suggests that you follow these steps to ensure a successful and comfortable experience:

  • Drink plenty of fluids on the day of your donation
  • Wear comfortable clothing, including sleeves that can be rolled up easily
  • In the weeks before your donate, include iron-rich foods in your diet such as beef or chicken, shrimp, spinach, whole wheat breads, strawberries, beans, etc. You can see a full list here.
  • Bring a list of medications that you’re taking
  • Bring your donor card, driver’s license, or two other forms of identification
  • Bring a friend and relax!

The actual blood donation takes about 12 minutes, but from start to finish the whole procress takes a little over an hour. This time frame includes registration, a review of your health history, and short physical exam, and the actual donation process. To learn more about the step-by-step process of donating blood, click here.

After your donation

Once you’ve finished; simply continue to hydrate and try not to exert yourself too much for the rest of the day; you’ve just given a life-saving gift by donating blood!

It’s easy to give a life-saving gift

Eighty percent of the blood donations given to the Red Cross are collected at mobile blood drives set up at community organizations, companies, high schools, colleges, places of worship, or military installations. The remaining 20% are collected at Red Cross donation centers.

The Red Cross works with more than 58,000 blood drive sponsors each year to hold more than 145,000 blood drives, providing convenient locations for people to give blood.

Have you donated blood this month? If so, share your experience in the comments section below. Sharing your story may motivate someone to donate blood today.



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