Did you know that every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood? According to the American Red Cross, blood transfusions are needed for cancer patients, accident and burn victims, mothers giving birth, and premature babies.
You can help by donating blood. But what are the requirements to give blood? Let’s take a look.
What is a whole blood donation?
Whole blood donation is when you donate all of your blood. This includes red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Your body will replace these within a few days.
Why donate blood?
The need for blood is constant and your donation helps ensure that patients receive the treatment they need. One pint of blood can help save up to three lives.
Moreover, blood donations are used to help those who have been affected by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters.
Here are some other reasons why you should donate blood:
- You’ll get a mini-physical. Before you donate, you’ll have to go through a quick health screening. This includes checking your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and hemoglobin levels.
- It’s a feel-good experience. Donating blood can help you feel good about yourself. It’s a selfless act that can make a big difference in someone else’s life.
You may be able to help someone you know. In addition to helping strangers, you may also be able to help out a friend or family member in need by being a match for them.
Who can donate blood?
The following are the persons who can donate blood:
- You must be at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent in some states). There is no upper age limit for blood donation.
- You must weigh at least 110 pounds.
- You must be in generally good health and feeling well on the day of donation.
What are the eligibility requirements?
There are a few things you will need to do before donating blood. The first step is to read through the donor eligibility requirements to make sure you are eligible to donate.
Next, schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or by signing up online.
Other requirements to donate blood include:
- Providing a photo ID.
- Answering questions about your health history and any medications you are taking.
- Passing a mini-physical, which includes checking your temperature, hemoglobin levels, blood pressure, and pulse.
Risks of Donating Blood
If you plan to donate blood, you must be aware of any potential risks.
You may experience some temporary side effects, such as:
- Slight bruising at the needle site
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- A brief feeling of coldness or warmth
- Tingling around the mouth
These side effects are usually short-lived and should go away within a few minutes. If you have any concerns, please let the staff know.
In rare cases, more serious complications can occur.
- Excessive bleeding
- Hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells)
- Allergic reactions
- Reactions to medications or anesthetics
If you experience any of these complications, please seek medical attention immediately.
Benefits of Donating Blood
Donating blood also has its benefits, including:
Identifying adverse health effects
Donating blood can help identify health issues that you didn’t know you had, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Contributing to the community
Donating blood is a way of giving back to the community. It can help improve the lives of others and even save lives.
Donating blood can help you maintain a healthy weight by burning calories.
Reducing iron levels for those with hemochromatosis
For people with this condition, donating blood can help remove excess iron from the body and reduce the risk of organ damage.
Donating blood can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Donating blood can help lower blood pressure.
Lastly, donating blood can help improve your overall health by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Types of Blood Donations
There are several different types of blood donations:
Whole blood donation
This is the most common type of donation. During this procedure, about a pint of whole blood is taken from your arm and then transfused to the recipient.
Red blood cell donation
In this type of donation, only the red blood cells are collected. The process takes about 8-10 minutes longer than a whole blood donation.
Platelets are the cells in your blood that help with clotting. During this type of donation, only the platelets are collected. The process takes about 2-3 hours.
Plasma is the liquid part of your blood. During this type of donation, only the plasma is collected. The process takes about 90 minutes.
Blood Donation Procedure
The procedure of donating blood is actually very simple and only takes a few minutes.
When you arrive at the donation site, you will check-in and provide your photo ID. A staff member will then ask you a few questions about your health history and medications.
During the donation
Next, you will have a mini-physical exam to check your temperature, hemoglobin levels, blood pressure, and pulse. If everything looks good, you will be able to proceed with the donation.
The staff will then cleanse your arm with an antiseptic and insert a needle into a vein. The whole process usually takes less than 10 minutes.
After the donation
Once the donation is complete, you will be given refreshments and asked to rest for a few minutes. You will then be free to go about your day!
Donate Blood Today!
Blood donations are always encouraged, but there is often a greater need for donations during certain times. For example, blood donations tend to decline during the summer months. This is because people are more likely to be out of town and busy with summer activities.
At Rapid Care Emergency, we always have a need for blood donations. If you are interested in donating, please call us or visit our website to learn more.
Donating blood is a quick and easy way to help others in need. It’s also a great way to improve your own health! So consider donating today.