January is National Blood Donation Month! With blood supplies nearing a national low, it would be proper to say America is “out for blood!”
Have you ever given blood? There’s no time like the present! Go to www.redcross.org to see what blood drives we have coming up in our area! If you haven’t and are a safe candidate to donate, we highly suggest it. It’s not as scary as you think and the people you meet at blood drives are some of the most kind and caring people you could encounter. Your blood donation could save a life! That life might be a new mom, a cancer patient or a young child after a car accident. Just one blood donation can save up to three lives.
According to www.givingblood.org about 4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion each year which breaks down to a blood donation being needed every 2 seconds. They even say that one in seven people who enter the hospital will need a blood donation, and that’s a whole lot of need! Did you know more than one million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year? Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment. Also, even a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood. Unfortunately donated blood cells can only be stored 42 days and platelets can only be stored five days, which is even more reason why donors are needed and needed often.
If you are considering your first donation, or first one in a while it is normal to feel a little nervous or apprehensive, but donating blood is an easy process. The whole blood donation is a simple four-step process, which depending on the day and other factors can take up to an hour: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments. (Yes, you get free snacks!)
Always bring a picture ID with you when going to donate blood. You will need to show that upon arrival and at registration. You will be asked to review some materials and then you will be escorted to wait for your questionnaire and mini-exam.
You will now be escorted to the donor area and they will help you get comfortable. The actual blood donation often takes less than 15 minutes but they want to make sure you are comfortable for that length of time. You will also be offered something to drink – take it! The more hydrated you are, the better your outcome will be. Most adults have about 10 pints of blood in their body and only about one pint is given during a donation, but it’s still important to stay hydrated.
Once the bag is filled they will gently remove the needle and clean you up. Be sure to let your attendant know if you feel light headed, but you may not feel any different that when you started. Then it’s off to the snack table for some refreshments and you are done! How simple is that!
After you donate and see how quick and easy it is you may wonder, “When can I do this again?” Healthy donors may donate red blood cells every 56 days and luckily enough for us here in the Northeast Kingdom; there is usually a blood drive in the area every 60 days.
Chances are you know at least one person who is here today because of a blood donation. Sadly, many will also have lost others because of the opposite. The possibility and reasons for needing blood are endless, but the supply is not. Please consider becoming a dedicated donor if you can. The incentive to give is as real as it comes, giving blood saves lives. Be a life saver!
Mary Hoadley Director Of The Wellness Center