How to Make an Impact During National Blood Donor Month

Choose to Become a Regular Blood Donor (Image Source: Shutterstock)

The Impact of Your Blood Donation

According to the American Red Cross, someone needs blood every two seconds in the US. One donation can end up saving three lives. Every day in the United States, hospitals need 36,000 units of red blood cells, 10,000 units of plasma, and 7,000 units of platelets. Thirty-eight percent of the American population is eligible to donate blood, but only two percent donate. Blood donation is a great way of giving back to the community.

Heroes Don’t Always Wear Capes, Uniforms, or Badges. (Image Source: Shutterstock)

How to Donate Blood: Types of Donations

There are so many ways you can make an impact and save countless lives. Depending on your blood type and needs, there are different types of donations you can make.

Whole Blood Donation

Donation of whole blood is the most common type of donation. Everybody eligible to donate can donate. You can, however, only receive certain types of blood, platelets, and plasma. The different blood types include O, O-, A, A-, B, B-, AB, and AB-. AB- negative is the rarest, with less than one percent of the American population having this blood type. An average adult has about ten pints of blood but can only donate one pint. Donating whole blood should take you less than twenty minutes. You are eligible to donate every fifty-six days.

Donation of Whole Blood is The Most Common Type of Donation (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Platelets

Platelets are disc-shaped cells that are responsible for blood clotting. People who need platelets include cancer patients, heart surgery patients, and organ recipients. These rely on multiple transfusions. A, A-, B, B-, AB, and AB- blood types can donate platelets. Platelets donation takes about ninety minutes. You can donate every seven days and up to twenty-four times every year.

Plasma

This is the light yellow liquid in blood. Plasma makes up just over fifty percent of the total blood composition. It contains proteins that help fight infections and control bleeding. Plasma helps treat bleeding disorders and patients with major traumatic injuries. Individuals with type AB blood are universal plasma donors. Blood types AB, AB-, A, A-, B, and B- can also donate plasma. Plasma donation takes about forty minutes, and you can donate every twenty-eight days.

Double Red Blood Cells

Red blood cells are the most transfused blood components. People with blood type O are vital in red cell donations. You are also eligible if you have blood type O, B, B- and Rh-negative blood. To donate double red blood cells, you need to meet certain weight-to-height requirements. Donation takes about forty minutes, and you can do it once every sixteen weeks.

Red Blood Cells are The Most Transfused Blood Components (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Autologous Donation

This is where you donate blood for yourself when preparing for elective surgery. Your recent donation should be at least five days before the procedure to make this kind of donation. The doctor also needs to send the order to the Blood Donor Services team beforehand.

Directed Donation

This is where you donate blood for a specific person. Family and friends can donate blood to a loved one in need. Such donations need scheduling at least seven days before the blood transfusion.

Physical and Mental Benefits of Blood Donation

Every two seconds, someone needs blood. These needs become even more pronounced during pandemics and disasters. That patient could be a COVID-19 patient requiring convalescent plasma or an accident victim. They could also be a new mom going through a complicated birth, or a child battling cancer. Besides saving lives, there are mental and physical benefits of donating blood.

Blood Donation Helps Reduce The Amount of Iron in Your Blood (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

Blood donation helps reduce the amount of iron in your blood. There are about a million people in the US living with type 1 hereditary hemochromatosis. This is a disorder where you have too much iron in the blood. Iron deposits in organs like the heart and liver affect their functioning. Such individuals need to donate blood regularly to reduce the iron in their blood. Blood donors between forty-two and sixty years have fewer heart attacks than those who don’t donate blood.

Burns Calories

Donating one pint of blood can help you burn about 650 calories. So when you donate blood, you not only get to save a life but keep fit as well. You should not, however, turn blood donation into your weight loss program.

Peace of Mind

Most people avoid blood donation because of fear of the unknown. When you don’t know your health condition, you may be reluctant to give blood. When you donate, you’re screened for various illnesses like HIV, giving you peace of mind.

Reduce Cancer Risk

Too much iron in the blood leads to various cancers and advanced aging. Donating blood helps reduce your risk of liver, throat, lung, and colon cancer.

Feel Good

Giving is good, and there is that feeling of significance you get when you pay it forward. Blood donations are the same. Considering that every two seconds someone needs blood, giving blood leaves you feeling good about saving lives.

National Blood Donor Month: Your Donation Matters

National Blood Donor Month is fast approaching. It’s a great time to learn why people donate blood and the impact you can have. Terminal patients, accident victims, and even COVID-patients need access to blood. The national blood supply is in shortage. Now more than ever, your donation could make all the difference. It could be a child battling cancer or a sickle cell patient who needs blood transfusions every day. Your donation matters; some people are relying on blood donation, and you can make that happen. Simply make an appointment or find a blood drive near you, and start donating blood.

National Blood Donor Month | Studio209

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
1AND1

1AND1

293 Followers

We’re a BIPOC-owned mental health and wellness company. We create expert-driven content specifically designed to help you become 1% better each day.