Blood banks begin their annual search for donors, a serious matter. For children, January is a month for sledding and building snowmen. For blood banks it is a time of searching. With snowstorms, holidays, increased illness, and winter vacations, donations to the blood banks come up short every year. It’s one of the reasons that January has been designated National Blood Donor Month.
With blood being required by a patient every few seconds and only about 5 percent of the population donating blood, the plea goes out for eligible donors to donate as often as possible. The search for new donors goes on. They are appreciated and hoped-for, especially in January.
“By taking just about an hour of time today, you can help save someone’s life within a few weeks or even days of your donation,” said Nick Gehrig, Field Marketing and Communications Director of the Red Cross Blood Services. “We’re asking donors to give now to help ensure blood is available when patients need it most.”
Blood banks want prospective donors to know that donating is a very safe procedure. All materials involved are used only once and then discarded.
The process starts with registration, a health history is taken and a mini-physical is given. The actual donation takes about 10 minutes and equals approximately one pint of blood. Your body will normally replace the lost fluid within 24 hours.
The American Red Cross offers some tips to make donating a good experience. Before going to donate, eat a good breakfast or lunch. Avoid fatty foods and eat iron-rich foods. Drink extra fluids to replace the fluid you will donate but avoid caffeine. Be sure to wear clothes with sleeves that can be raised above the elbow. Afterwards, partake of the snack and drink provided. Over the next 24-48 hours, be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
Even if you cannot donate blood due to health conditions or other reasons, you can still participate in Blood Donor Month. You can help organize a blood drive, or volunteer to help at mobile blood sites. Check with your local blood drives to see if they need treats to give to donors after they give blood. Monetary donations are always welcomed and appreciated as well.
I don’t know about you, but if I need a blood transfusion and that is what would save my life….please donate.