The Red Cross has a proud history of service to the nation when America turned to the Red Cross to develop a supply of livesaving blood in 1940 to our armed forces. Nowadays, we hold about 400 drives around the country each day because someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. We are the single largest supplier of blood in the U.S. and in fact, collect and process 40% of the nation’s blood supply. Since blood and platelets cannot be manufactured, donating blood makes a big difference in the lives of others. Nearly 21 million blood products are transfused each year. One donation can actually help more than one person.
There are five main steps in the process of blood donation.
Step One: The donor registers, provides a health history and receives a quick physical. One pint of blood and many test tubes are collected then transported to a Red Cross center.
Step Two: The blood is spun in centrifuges to separate out the transfusable parts. Step Step Three: The blood is tested to establish the blood type and screened.
Step Four: The units that are suitable for transfusion are labeled and stored.
Step Five: The blood is available 24/7 and distributed whenever needed.
Are you interested in donating? Less than 38% of the population is eligible to give blood or platelets and only 7% of people are O negative (the universal blood type) so if you are eligible, we really need your help. To ensure the safety of blood donation for both donors and recipients, all volunteer blood donors must be evaluated to determine their eligibility to give blood. The final determination will be made on the day of the donation at the blood drive or blood donation center. If you were deferred from donating in the past, you may be able to donate again. Beforehand, it is important that you hydrate and maintain a healthy level of iron. On the day of, you should wear something comfortable, have a list of the medications you take and bring an ID. Afterwards, hydrate more and avoid exercise or heavy lifting on that day. Donating is so easy!
For more information or to find a blood drive, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
Written by Brady Schneider