As we start off the New Year, give the gift of life and become a blood donor. January is National Blood Donor Month and a perfect reminder about the dire need for blood donations. During the winter, there is always a lull in the number of blood donations and this is the time that your contribution is especially needed.
I’ve Already Donated This Year, Can I Donate Again?
Healthy donors can donate up to one pint of blood every eight weeks, or six times a year. If you regularly visit a donor site, they will help to hold you accountable in making your appointments for regular donations.
What Will My Blood Donation Be Used For?
After your donation, your pint of blood is broken down into red blood cells, platelets and plasma. For burn victims, trauma patients and surgeries -- red blood cells are imperative. The same goes for cancer patients during chemotherapy -- platelets are used to help the patients blot clot and plasma is used to help control bleeding.
What Blood Type Do I Need to Have?
All blood types are needed. The most needed blood types are O negative blood and Rh-negative blood. O negative is the universal blood type, suitable for all patients. Your blood will always be tested for a variety of diseases including HIV, West Nile and Hepatitis B and C.
It’s My First Time Donating, What Do I Need to Know?
For your first time donating, just bring your driver’s license with you or two other forms of ID. You must be 17 years old or 16 with a parent’s permission and weigh of at least 110 pounds. If you are under 18, you will have to meet certain height and weight requirements as well.
Ok, I’m Ready to Donate, Where Do I Go?
Congratulations, you’ve made the decision to save lives! Now’s the time to go and do it, but where do you go? Blood donation drives happen throughout the country every day. To find a blood donation drive near you, visit https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive.
For more heath information and tips, contact ACCESS Nursing Services, www.accessnursing.com, or phone 212-286-9200.