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January is National Blood Donor Month

Updated on January 25, 2013

Donating Blood May Save A Life - One Day It May Even Be Your Own

When my dad was scheduled for a liver transplant a few years ago, all five of his children were asked if we wanted to donate our blood, in case he needed it during surgery. His blood type is B Positive. My blood is O Positive. As an O Positive I could give blood to a B Positive, so I was a good candidate as a blood donor. The most Universal Donor is O Negative, this blood type can give blood to all other recipient types.

My dad required a transfusion during and after his surgery. We felt good knowing that our blood donation may have helped in his recovery. We also knew that if they didn't use our donations specifically for him, that our blood would be used to possibly save the lives of others. That's a great feeling.

January is National Blood Donor Month in the United States. It's a time to focus on the positive side of donating blood. Use this month to get to know your local blood bank. Anytime of the year is a great time to give the gift of saving a life by making a blood donation. You can donate your own blood prior to an upcoming surgery and who knows, you may save your own life!

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Blessed by a Squid Angel on 1/26/11

Blessed again on 1/29/11 by another Squid Angel.

Thank you Squid Angels for dropping by and blessing this lens. What a great honor.

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type=American Red Cross

Donating Blood to Your Local Blood Bank

January is a month of resolutions and new beginnings. Start off the new year right by donating blood to the Red Cross or your local blood bank in honor of National Blood Donor Month. From start to finish, the process only takes an hour of your time. The results could be lifesaving. Donating platelets or a pint of blood could potentially save the life of someone in need.

The Western Regional American Red Cross is located close to my work and to my home, so I try to donate regularly. If I go longer than a few weeks past my available date to donate again, I get a phone call asking to set up an appointment. Many organizations plan a day where a mobile unit will come and set up a temporary blood bank donation station for a day or a weekend. Many times you'll see the trucks parked at shopping malls, grocery store parking lots, churches and schools. All blood types are encouraged. At times, a cry out to the public is made when blood bank supplies get dangerously low. Also, local and worldwide disasters sometimes trigger an urgent and immediate need to replenish the supply in a specific region.

How long will it take to replenish the pint of blood you donate?

According to the American Red Cross website:

"The plasma from your donation is replaced within about 24 hours. Red cells need about four to six weeks for complete replacement. That’s why at least eight weeks are required between whole blood donations."

National Blood Donor Month

The first month of the year has been recognized as National Blood Donor Month since 1970. According to the American Association of Blood Banks, now known as AABB, in the United States every day, "approximately 39,000 units of blood are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims." The AABB works in conjunction with the American Red Cross and America's Blood Centers and their main goal is to help those in need of blood, especially in harsh winter environments due to illness, accidents, and unforeseen weather conditions.

Who Can Donate?

What are the minimum requirements?

In order to donate blood, you have to meet certain donor requirements.

The most important requirement is that you must be at least 17 years old in order to give blood voluntarily, although some states do consent at 16 with written parental consent.

You must be at least 110 pounds.

You should be feeling good and in good health. You should have no infection, not be on antibiotics, have no fever, and generally feel well.

You will be tested prior to donating to ensure your iron level is not deficient.

You may donate if you have not given blood within 8 weeks.

Donors can give blood every 56 days, or six times a year.

The rest of the guidelines are available from the American Red Cross.

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type=Donate Blood

Blood has a shelf life of only 42 days, which means it constantly needs to be replenished.

Do you know your blood type? - Are you a Universal Donor?

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type=Blood

According to the American Red Cross, O positive is the most common blood type. Not all ethnic groups have the same mix of these blood types. Hispanic people, for example, have a relatively high number of O's, while Asian people have a relatively high number of B's.

Group O can donate red blood cells to anybody. It is the universal donor.

Group A can donate red blood cells to A's and AB's.

Group B can donate red blood cells to B's and AB's.

Group AB can donate to other AB's, but can receive from all others.

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Can I get HIV from donating blood?

According to the American Red Cross website:

"No. Sterile procedures and disposable equipment are used in all Red Cross donor centers. We use a needle only once and then dispose of it. You cannot contract HIV or other viral disease by donating blood."

Do you know somebody who was saved by an anonymous donor or by a donor the family knew? Share your story. I hear about many babies saved by blood donors and this is my true reason for donating. A pint of blood will help save the lives of three others. That's pretty awesome.

Zero is my Hero - Tell us your life saving story.

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    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack 6 years ago

      Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • hsschulte profile image

      hsschulte 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens. ~Blessed