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Give the Gift of Life-Donate Blood

Give the Gift of Life-Donate Blood

Did you know that every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood? Since 1970, January has been recognized as National Blood Donor Month, a time to celebrate all dedicated blood and platelet donors who are committed to ensuring a reliable blood supply is available for people in need. This month, join Frederick Regional Health System in donating the gift of life by giving blood.

Why Donate?

During National Blood Donor Month, organizations like the American Red Cross pay tribute to the nearly 11 million people who give blood each year by encouraging others to follow suit. If it’s your first time donating or you’re on the fence about it, consider these benefits from the American Red Cross for perspective:

Who Can Donate?

In most states, anyone older than 17 can donate blood. Some states even allow donations by 16 year olds with parental consent. Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health and feeling well (no physical illness and able to perform daily activities without issue) at the time of donation.

Other aspects of each donor’s health and personal history are discussed during the donation process before blood is collected. This includes questions about:

  • Medications and vaccinations
  • General health considerations, including cold/flu symptoms, weight, etc.
  • Medical conditions, like bleeding problems or cancer, that may affect eligibility
  • Medical treatments, including blood transfusions, surgeries, and organ or tissue transplants, that may affect eligibility
  • Lifestyle and life events—age, drug use, piercings/tattoos, etc.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Travel outside of the U.S. or immigration
  • Contact with the Zika or Ebola virus

All information you provide during the donation process is confidential.

Blood donors can donate every 56 days; platelet donors can donate every seven days up to 24 times per year; plasma donors can donate every 28 days up to 13 times per year; and power red donors can donate every 112 days up to 13 times per year.

Type O negative blood can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It’s always in great demand and often in short supply.

Where Can I Donate?

Nearly 80 percent of the blood donations collected at the American Red Cross occur at mobile blood drives at community organizations, local companies, high schools, colleges, churches, and other institutions. The remaining 20 percent are collected at Red Cross donation centers. The Red Cross works with more than 58,000 blood drive sponsors every year to host more than 145,000 blood drives.

To find your nearest blood drive, visit the American Red Cross’ website and search by your zip code.

How Do I Donate?

After locating a blood drive near you, the American Red Cross suggests following a few simple steps before you arrive:

  • First, register for a blood donation at your blood drive location.
  • Drink plenty of water the day of your donation.
  • Wear comfortable clothes, including sleeves that can be rolled up easily.
  • Bring a list of all medications, plus your donor card, driver’s license, or two other forms of identification.
  • Bring a friend for support, and just sit back and relax!
  • After your donation, stay hydrated and rest throughout the day. Many blood drive locations provide water and other refreshments.

Donating blood is a safe process. Sterile needles are used only once per donor and discarded after. The actual blood donation only takes about 10 minutes, but the entire process—from the time you arrive to the time you leave—takes a little over an hour. It’s a safe, quick, and easy way to save a life.

Have you donated blood, or do you plan to donate blood for the first time this month? Share your experience with the Frederick community in the comments below.