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EVERYONE CAN GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE!

Make donating blood with regularity a part of your life. The process is simple and safe. Minority groups have something special to give. Different groups of people have different percentages of blood types. Thus, it is important that every ethnic group participate in blood donation programs. Remember: you can save the life of a friend, a neighbor, and also a family member.

Who can donate blood?
  • All donors must be at least 17 years old or older.
  • All donors must weigh 100 lbs. or more. Donors who undergo apheresis should weigh at least 110 lbs.
  • All donors must be in good health. You can still donate if you are taking medication although it depends on your state of health and the type of medication.
Who cannot donate blood?

Some people can be deferred from donating blood temporarily or permanently. Some of these reasons are:

Temporarily Deferred:
People who:

  • Have had a heart attack in the last six to twelve months.
  • Have had malaria in the last three years.
  • Have visited areas where malaria is found in the last year.
  • Have received blood, plasma or other types of components in the last year.
  • Have been tattooed in the last year.
  • Have had cardiac surgery in the last year or those who have not completely recuperated from the surgery and who are taking cardiovascular medicine.
  • Have been exposed to someone with hepatitis within the last year.
  • Are not feeling well the day of the blood donation.
  • Have taken antibiotics within the last 24 to 72 hours.
***Women who are pregnant or have had an abortion in the last 6 weeks are temporarily deferred***

Permanently Deferred:
People who:

  • Have had hepatitis at age eleven or older.
  • Have received chemotherapy or radiation for the treatment of cancer.
  • Are at high risk of contracting the HIV virus/AIDS.
  • Due to current concerns with bovine spongiform encephalopathy and new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, blood centers are deferring donors who spent any cumulative period of 3 or more months in the United Kingdom from 1980 through 1996. Please consult your regional blood center regarding other possible deferral policies.
The donor procedure is simple:
  • First, you want to register and answer a series of questions concerning your medical history.
  • Second, you will take a health examination and your pulse, blood pressure, temperature and iron level will be measured.
  • When you donate, you will feel a little pain from the prick of the needle. The donation process will take 10-15 minutes.
  • After donating, you will relax for a minute while you are being served cookies and juice.

Advice for first-time donors:

Anxiety and fears are normal. Many people are afraid of donating blood. Once you have donated, you will overcome your fears. Asking questions helps to relax. Visualize this experience as an opportunity to help at least three people who are ill.

Before donating, you should know

  1. What is the first step? You will need to give basic information such as your name, address, age, etc. You will also be asked about your medical history and then a drop of your blood will be analyzed for iron level. Your pulse, blood pressure and temperature will also be checked.
  2. How long does blood donation take? The duration is 10-15 minutes, not including the time you will need to relax. The total process will take about 35 to 45 minutes.
  3. How will I feel after donating blood? The majority of people feel fine, especially donors who have eaten a regular meal before donating. When you are done, drink lots of liquids within the next 24 hours.
  4. Can I donate during my menstrual period? Yes, if you feel fine.
  5. How soon can I play sports? Avoid muscle exercises, rough movements and heavy activities such as weight lifting or picking up objects the first 4-5 hours after the donation.
  6. What is the waiting period from one blood donation to the next? The waiting period to donate blood is 56 days (you can donate up to 6 times per year).
  7. Are there any possibilities of contracting the HIV virus or other infections? No. All of the materials used for the collection of blood are new and have never been used before. All of the materials are thrown away immediately after they are used.

***About 4,000,000 persons will need blood this year, which corresponds to one person every 12 seconds***

In donating blood, you are converted into a hero in many ways.

  • Your donation can save the lives of up to 3 patients. These patients can have cancer, be victims of accidents, be in need of organ transplants or have chronic illnesses.
  • Sometimes blood can be utilized to replace lost blood from people in life or death situations.
  • Plasma, the yellow liquid portion of the blood, reduces bleeding through coagulation factors.
  • The platelets that also assist in the coagulation are fragile cells that are needed by patients with leukemia and other cancers. These platelets should be transfused within the first five days after the donation.
  • The red cells help to treat anemia and increases the blood's ability to transport oxygen during surgical procedures.

How is blood used?

Your pint of blood has the possibility of saving lives. This is how it works:
  • Red cells are used during surgery or after an accident to replace the blood volume and maintain the oxygen flow in all the cells of the body.
  • Plasma can be given to victims from burns and accidents to increase intravascular volume. Derivatives of plasma are used for the treatment of hemophilia and other blood diseases.
  • Platelet transfusions are frequently utilized to replace platelets destroyed during chemotherapy for treatment of leukemia and other forms of cancer.

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Sources:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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