January is National Blood Donor Month
Extreme winter weather in some parts of the country and season illnesses often make it difficult for the American Red Cross to maintain a sufficient blood supply at this time of year. With a need for around 13,000 blood donations per day to meet demand, National Blood Donor Month is the perfect time to resolve to be a regular blood donor and help save lives.
If you’re interested in donating your blood at a local blood drive, here are some common questions and answers that will give you an idea on what to expect.
Why should I donate blood?
- Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.
- Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
- Less than 38% of the population is eligible to give blood or platelets.
- Sickle cell disease affects 90,000 to 100,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require blood transfusions throughout their lives.
- According to the American Cancer Society, about 1.7 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
- A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
What are the requirements?
- You must be at least 16- or 17-years-old (varies by state and type of donation).
- You must weigh at least 110 lbs.
- You must be in good health and feel well.
- Other requirements for donation may come up in the interview process, including health history and hemoglobin levels.
How often can I donate blood?
The frequency at which you can donate blood depends on the type of donation. The Red Cross has some guidelines for their various types of donations here.
Where can I find places to donate blood near me?
You can check your local news listings or town bulletin boards to keep an eye out for blood drives near you. The Red Cross has a blood drive finder here as well.