January is National Blood Donor Month. Did you know that if just 1% more Americans donated blood, shortages would disappear? According to the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies (AABB) there is usually a critical shortage of blood at the beginning of the year due to the holidays and an increase of seasonal illnesses. Our goal today is to provide you with information about the benefits of donating, what the requirements are, and how you can get started.
Benefits of Donating Blood
By donating one unit of blood, you could potentially save multiple lives. Throughout the year, blood transfusions are constantly needed, which is why your donations are necessary. As stated by the AABB, blood transfusions can be used for a variety of reasons, including: “blood disorders, like hemophilia, sickle cell disease or thalassemia; cancer treatments that disrupt blood’s ability to deliver oxygen to the body; hemorrhage due to traumatic injury or childbirth; and to help recovery following a surgery.”
Read more here to learn the process of how your donation affects a future patient: U.S. Blood Supply: From Donor To Patient (aabb.org)
What is The Process?
Will this be your first-time donating blood? No problem, here’s a quick overview of what to expect!
Step 1. Before You Donate: First, you will need to find a location near you that has a blood donation center. Once you find a location, you can call the center and schedule an appointment. The helper may ask you for the following:
Weight (most require you to weigh at least 110 pounds)
Age (must be at least 16 years old and generally healthy)
Two forms of identification
If you have any health concerns or have recently traveled outside of the country
Step 2. Pre-Donation Screening: Your pre-donation screening consists of a short health examination and a small amount of blood being tested to ensure that your blood iron level is sufficient for you to donate.
Step 3. Blood Donation: At this point, if you pass your pre-donation screening, a health professional will start to draw your blood. Since you will be donating one unit of blood, this step will take about 6 to 10 minutes.
Step 4. Post-Donation: Following a donation, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Increase your fluid intake for the next 24-48 hours.
Avoid heavy lifting or pulling with the donation arm for around 5 hours.
Smoking and alcohol are not recommended.
Ready to Donate?
Find a location near you: https://www.aabb.org/for-donors-patients/give-blood
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