If you're looking for a simple, free and relatively painless way to make a difference, donating blood is one of the best ways to help people. Just as winter approaches and more and more people become ill, hospitals and blood banks rely on blood donations to save lives.
According to the American Red Cross, blood donations save the lives of children and adults suffering from cancer, traumatic accidents, blood disorders and other health problems every day. And the need for blood donations is extremely high. The American Red Cross estimates that in the US every two seconds someone needs a blood transfusion. With a single donation up to three people can be saved.
Continue reading to learn more about donating blood, whether you have a donation and what you can expect.
Who can donate blood?
In general, most healthy adults can donate blood, but there are some requirements that you must meet in order to donate. Usually, this means that you must be at least 1
Although each blood type is needed for the donation, some blood types are more in demand than others. O-negative blood is one of the most needed blood types as it can be transmitted to anyone with any blood type. AB type plasma blood is also in high demand because it can be transmitted to people with all other blood types.
What can exclude you from blood donation?
Some chronic diseases and medications can affect your eligibility to donate. what you can read here in more detail.
Some circumstances and factors that may disqualify you include:
- If you are taking an antibiotic to fight an infection.
- If you take Accutane.
- If you take blood thinners like Coumadin.
- If you are pregnant.
- If you have or suspect you have an HIV / AIDS risk.
- If you get tattooed within the last 12 months.
If you are currently unable to donate blood, you can continue to volunteer at a blood establishment or local blood bank, or donate money to support a blood donation.
How to find a donation site
If you want to donate blood, you can first search online for blood donations in your area. The American Red Cross has a database of blood donors in the US that you can view. There are also a few blood donation apps that can help you find a donation location. Blood donation campaigns are also commonly carried out in local community organizations, hospitals and churches.
What You Can Expect During the Donation Process
Most blood donors and blood banks set specific times for accepting donations and encourage them to make an appointment in advance. Walk-ins, however, are usually welcome. So, if you see an open donation center or blood donation and arrive without an appointment, most centers will not reject you.
Once you have decided to donate blood, and make an appointment with a donation center, you can plan to stay for about an hour. The blood donation process does not take so long, but you'll need to answer a few questions about your medical history and fill out some documentation before you start. You also do a finger-stick test to check your iron levels. If they are low, you can not donate that day. 19659030 jpg “/>
The blood donation process is relatively quick and easy.
If you're worried about needles and do not want to see blood, do not worry. Know that the needle stick only lasts for a second and you do not have to look while the blood is being drawn. While the blood donation process is fairly simple and fast, here are some more tips to make the process more comfortable.
Tips for Making the Donation Easier
- If you have recently taken blood for a test and remember where the nurse could easily draw blood, it is helpful to inform the phlebotomist (the person who takes your donation) , where your blood was taken (ie on your left or right arm).
- Stay Warm: Keeping your body warm makes it easier to see the veins in your arms (which reduces the likelihood of you getting stuck with a needle) more than once.
- Hydrate: Be sure to drink plenty of water and fluids before you give blood. Maintaining hydration will make donating blood easier as you feel better and make your veins look fuller (which makes it easier for the phlebotome to see them).
What to expect after you give blood is encouraged to sit down and have a snack. It is important to rest for at least 10 minutes while your body is recovering from the blood. The snack helps to stabilize your blood sugar, and you should drink extra fluids to hydrate and recover.
You should then be able to resume your normal activities, but if you feel weak or weak, you need to sit and rest until you feel able to walk. The American Red Cross also calls on blood donors to avoid heavy activity, exercise and alcohol for 24 hours after the blood donation.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be considered as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider if you have questions about a disease or health goals.