This year, on June 14th, World Blood Donor Day is all about celebrating those generous enough to donate blood and save lives. Approximately, 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S and it is because of donors that it is possible to contribute blood to people in need.
Donating blood can be very draining but there are different methods to accommodate donors. One method is whole blood donation. This is the most common way to donate blood and it requires them to have one pint of their blood drawn. O blood types are the most desirable donors for whole blood as it is the most common blood type. Another method allows donors to give twice the amount of blood they can in whole blood donating. This method is called double red cell donation.
With this method they only collect the red blood cells, no platelets or plasma. They use automated technology for this method. Automation is also used for platelet donation. This method is usually used to donate to cancer patients. Certain cancers like leukemia can reduce blood count, chemotherapy, or stem cell transplants can affect the bone marrow where blood cells are created. Automation allows for a higher volume of platelet collection. Plasma donations are extremely helpful for trauma patients because plasma has clotting properties that can stop the bleeding. AB blood types can donate their plasma to any blood type.
We dedicate World Blood Donor Day to these people because we are very thankful for their contribution. A lot of people are afraid to give blood because of needles or possible side effects. It is very important to take blood donation seriously and to be careful with before and aftercare of your body when donating. It is important to eat and have fluids at least 3 hours before giving blood. Make sure not to do any extreme activity before donating. And of course, avoid drinking alcohol before your appointment.
This is all to avoid dizziness after donating blood. After donation make sure you let your body rest for a little while and have more fluids to replenish you. Also, avoid smoking for at least 2 hours after donating as this can lead to dizziness. If all goes well and you are ready to donate again remember, men should only donate blood every 12 weeks, and women should only donate every 16 weeks.
There are some restrictions on who can and can’t donate blood. This is why you will be provided a screening that requires you to answer the questions honestly. You must be between 17 and 66 and weigh at least 110 lbs. You cannot give blood if you have had a serious illness or major surgery, if you have recently had an infection, certain immunizations. You should not give blood if you have a cold, are on antibiotics, pregnant, had Hepatitis A or jaundice in the last year, have HIV/AIDS, or even if you have received acupuncture in the last four months. The most controversial restriction is prohibiting any man who has had sex with another man from donating.
For those of you ineligible to give blood there are other ways you can help. You can simply spread the word about blood donation and all of the great benefits that come with it. It is important to educate your peers on the subject in the hopes that they will be inspired to donate and save a life. Another popular alternative is to host a blood drive. You can book a Big Red Bus and have a great drive. Big Red Bus is a portable blood donation location. They travel to schools, churches, businesses and work with you to create a fun, successful event.
Every 2 seconds someone needs blood. Blood can help someone with cancer, an elderly person getting orthopedic surgery, a father recover from a cardiovascular surgery, and young girl with a blood disorder. This is why blood donors are so vital in the healthcare system. About 37% of the population is eligible to donate but only 5% actually do. It is for this reason that we continue to celebrate our brave, giving blood donors that save lives each year.
Have a great World Blood Donor Day!