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How to support National Blood Donor Month
Did you know January is the month with the smallest amount of blood donations?1 This may be due to the fact that illnesses tend to spread more in the winter months, which leaves less people to donate blood.
January is nationally recognized as Blood Donor Month. This month was created with the intention to bring more awareness to blood donations and the significance of donating.
We hope to bring awareness and education to this topic. We’ve laid out some reasons as to why donating blood is valuable and how you can help.
Why is donating blood important?
Donating blood is a selfless act that can help many lives today and in the days to come. Blood donations save millions of lives each year.
Blood donations can do more than just save someone’s life in life or death situations. These transfusions also help:
- those who undergo surgeries
- people who have diseases
- people with chronic illnesses
- anyone who has been in accidents
- cancer treatments
- anemic patients
The list for the need for blood goes on and on. Currently, there is no substitute for using real blood in these instances.1
One pint of a donor’s blood can save up to three lives. Donating a pint of blood for those in need only takes an hour of your time.
Different blood types
Everyone has a blood type, which is determined based on the presence or absence of antigens.2 There are four different blood types, and to ensure a safe and effective transfusion, doctors must be aware of the blood type and matching.
People with type O blood are known as the universal donor because their blood is a perfect match for a recipient with any of the four blood types.
You can learn your blood type when donating blood, or beforehand at your doctor’s office with normal bloodwork.
Blood Donation Process
The donation process is simple. There are staff members at the location of your blood drive or donation that will guide you throughout the process. On average, the entire process takes an hour, but the time you wait may vary.3
Before donating blood, prepare your body to ensure you are physically ready. Hydrate properly beforehand and eat iron-rich foods such as meat, seafood, beans, and green vegetables.4
Once you arrive at the location for your blood donation, you will register or sign in. You’ll fill out some of your personal information during this first step, as well as read about blood donations.
Before donating blood, you might be required to answer a few questions regarding health history, recent travel, and medications. This information will be used to determine if you are eligible to donate.
Someone will then check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin level prior to you donating blood.
Once all the previous steps are complete, you will then be ready for the blood donation. You will be seated or asked to lay down, and a trained staff member will cleanse your arm and use a new sterile needle to draw the blood. The blood draw process usually takes between eight to ten minutes.
After a pint of blood has been collected, your arm will be bandaged. You can then have a snack or drink as a refreshment and leave after 10-15 minutes. It is recommended to hydrate and relax the rest of the day.
Requirements to donate
Depending on what kind of blood donation you want to make, there are different requirements. Here are some of the most common rules when it comes to donating blood.
One option is Whole Blood Donation, which is your blood including red cells, white cells, and platelets.5 This is the most common type of donation. In most states, donors need to be seventeen years old and be in good health. There are more options including:
- Power Red Donation, which is a concentration of red blood cells
- Platelet Donation, which are cells in your blood that help to stop bleeding
- AB Elite Plasma Donation, the part of your blood that can be used to help those in emergency situations
In some cases, people may not be eligible to donate. These incidents would include if someone is sick, has low iron or has traveled outside of the country recently.
How can I help?
Now that you’ve learned the significance of donating blood and how the process works, you may be wondering how you can help. There are numerous options when it comes to participating in blood donations.
The first and most simple step you can take is to donate blood. Check to see if there is a blood drive being held somewhere near you.
The next option is to host a blood drive. If you’re interested in hosting, you can contact the American Red Cross to learn about what you will need to do.
Hosting a blood drive requires you to have volunteers, donors, and a location to hold the drive. The American Red Cross organization will provide everything including assistance with planning, equipment, supplies, and trained staff.
Hosting a blood drive at a high school, college campus, or in your local community is a great way for people in your town to give back. You can recruit volunteers to help you and take a survey on how many people would be willing to donate blood.
You also have the option to volunteer at a blood drive. Any way you can help, whether it is donating, hosting, or volunteering, it all makes a difference.
Saber Healthcare Supports Blood Donors
Saber Healthcare supports and appreciates all those who donate blood. These donations make a huge difference in the lives of others.
If you want more information regarding blood donations and what you can do to help this month, visit The American Red Cross website here: https://www.redcrossblood.org/.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Bair, Amy. “January is National Blood Donor Month.” Global Healthcare Resources, Corporate Wellness Magazine. Accessed December 30th, 2020. https://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/article/january-blood-donor-month.
- “Facts About Blood and Blood Types.” The American National Red Cross, redcrossblood.org. Accessed December 30th, 2020. https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/blood-types.html.
- “The Blood Donation Process.” The American National Red Cross, redcrossblood.org. Accessed January 4th, 2021. https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/blood-donation-process/donation-process-overview.html.
- Spritzler, Franziska and Bell, Angela. “12 Healthy Foods That Are High in Iron.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. January 27th, 2020. Accessed January 4th, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthy-iron-rich-foods.
- “Whole Blood Donation.” The American National Red Cross, redcrossblood.org. Accessed December 31st, 2020. https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/types-of-blood-donations/whole-blood-donation.html.