According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds in the United States someone needs blood. Approximately 38,000 units of blood are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients, daily.
Blood Donor Awareness Month has been created to encourage donors to give or pledge to give blood. The hustle and bustle of holiday travel, inconsistent weather conditions and cold-season illness, have been factors in the decreased number of blood donations during November and December.
Some ideas to keep in mind while donating blood are:
- Get a good night’s sleep before donating and eat a good breakfast or lunch
- Drink extra water to help replace the fluid volume you will donate
- Eat iron rich foods such as red meat, fish, poultry and fortified cereals
- Avoid fatty foods such as burgers and fries before donating as tests can be affected by fatty materials and may cause your sample to be discarded
- Wear a shirt with sleeves that can be rolled above the elbow and show staff any “good veins” that have been successfully used in the past
- Rehydrate by drinking plenty of fluids for 24-48 hours following your donation.
In order to donate, there are a few guidelines that need to be met.
- Must be healthy.
- Are at least 17 years old or 16 years of age if allowed by state law.
- Weigh at least 110 pounds.
- Have not donated whole blood in the last 8 weeks (56 days) or double red cells in the last 16 weeks (112 days).
“Healthy” means that you feel well and can perform normal activities. If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, “healthy” also means that you are being treated and the condition is under control.
So take some time and give life! To find out where you can donate, visit www.givelife.org or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543).