January: National Blood Donor Month

January has been designated as National Blood Donor Month since 1970. It’s intended to raise awareness to the public of the important role of blood donation in other’s lives. This is the time of the year when blood supplies usually falls to their lowest levels.

Supplies usually declines in January because of the holiday season, when people are busy and can’t schedule appointments to make a blood donation. Winter weather is also a factor, as it makes people less likely to want to leave their homes. However, despite these reasons, the need for blood donations remains constant.

Donating blood is a great way to helping your own community by supporting those are in need, such as premature babies, organ transplant patients, or other individuals who require a transfusion, such as accident victims or people with blood disorders such as hemophilia or anemia.

Blood saves millions of lives. Approximately 39,000 units of blood are needed in hospitals and emergency facilities.  Every 12 seconds someone is in need for blood transfusion due to illnesses or accidents.

Blood has a life span of only 42 days and it is important that it be continually replenished or replaced. A person can donate blood every 56 days or up to 6 times a year.

Donating blood is a selfless and lifesaving step to help those who are in need.  One donation can save up to three lives.

You must be at least 17 or older to be a blood donor, or 16 with parental consent.  Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health.  Before donating blood, donors must complete a form which may determine their eligibility to donate.  After that, the donor will be subject to a general checkup, which will include a blood pressure and pulse reading.  Individuals who are determined to be unwell will be excused from donating.  Do not proceed with a donation if you’re feeling sick, or if you have an illness that can be transmitted through the blood, such as hepatitis or HIV.

Most blood donations proceed without incident, though some donors may experience nausea and lightheadedness afterwards, as well as pain at the injection site.  It’s recommended that donors have a light snack and drink immediately following a donation.  Any unpleasant side effects that may be experienced usually go away within a few hours.

If you meet the requirements, please consider making a whole blood or platelet donation! It’s an hour or two of your time that will make a difference in the lifetime of someone else

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