It’s hard to miss signs inviting us to donate blood at local drives throughout our community, but have you ever taken the opportunity to do so? Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood and 44,000 blood donations are made each day to try and fill this need. However, what we often don’t understand is just how important it is to donate and the impact you can make on someone else’s life.
In general, donors must be 17 years old, weight at least 110 pounds and be in good health. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, approximately one-third of all blood donors are less than 30 years old. However, only 38 percent of the United States’ population is eligible to give blood due to your own medical history and conditions, which is discussed in a brief screening process that also includes taking your blood pressure, temperature and pulse before donating.
A few facts:
- Be sure to have a light snack and lots of water before donating. Being hydrated is key.
- The actual donation process only takes 8-10 minutes.
- Each donation is approximately one pint of blood, while each of us has about 10 pints of blood in our body.
- You’re eligible to donate again after about two months.
With only 38 percent of the nation’s population even being eligible to donate, it’s vitally important that those who can donate continue to do so. So if you’re looking for a good cause, look no further. Visit www.redcrossblood.org to find a donation location near you.
Gregory Sweat, MD, is the Medical Director of the Shawnee Mission Physicians Group and practices Family Medicine at Shawnee Mission Primary Care - Prairie View Medical Building.