Since 1970, January has been observed as National Blood Donor Month, which means that it’s a great time to take advantage of an opportunity to be a hero.
The designation started as a way to increase blood donations during the winter, as the cold weather season is one of the most problematic when it comes to collecting enough blood to meet the demand.
The cold weather that naturally accompanies January often leads to cancelled or delayed blood drives, while seasonal ailments – like the flu – often hinder donors from being available to donate.
So help boost the season’s demand, and do a world of good by making a contribution that could save a life.
Never Donated Blood Before? Here’s What You Should Know:
- Find your Donation Center
The American Red Cross helps with countless drives across the country during National Blood Donor Month. Chances are, there is an upcoming drive near you! Use their handy online search at https://www.redcross.org/rcbmobile/drive/driveSearch.jsp to see what drives are being held in the upcoming days and weeks.
- Load up on iron
If at all possible, include plenty iron-rich foods in your diet in the days and weeks before you donate. There are lots to choose from. Potential donors can find a list of iron-packed meats, seafood, grains, and fruits and vegetables online at https://www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/health-and-wellness/iron-rich-foods.html/.
- Eat and drink right before your donation
The American Red Cross recommends that all donors have a light meal and plenty to drink before donating. You’ll also likely receive a cookie, juice, or other energy boosting refreshment right after you donate, to replenish the lost fluids.
- Bring your ID
You’ll likely need to bring along a donor card, a driver’s license, or two other forms of identification to prove it’s you before the donation process.
- Jot down your medications
You’ll need to have a list of all your medications handy to ensure you are eligible to donate. It will be reviewed when you arrive. You’ll also likely have a short physical exam to make sure you’re healthy and in good shape.
Many people feel squeamish around needles, but donating blood is a simple and safe process. The actual donation takes roughly 8-10 minutes, during which you’ll be seated comfortably with staff available in case any questions arise.
- Make it a habit
You can safely donate blood every 56 days (or every eight weeks). Ask the staff members how to become a regular donor to maximize your contribution.
- Make sure you’re healthy!
Did you know that certain conditions, like obstructive sleep apnea, make you more susceptible to seasonal colds, flus, and other viruses?
This is because your body is blocked from doing its regular “nightly repairs” occurring when you are in a deep and quality sleep.
So make sure you have your sleep apnea or other potential health issues under control to ensure you are well enough and in peak physical condition to donate blood.
Donating blood is a small act that saves lives. So start 2018 with a charitable frame of mind, and make a safe and easy contribution that will truly do a world of good.
Do you think sleep apnea might be what’s keeping you down and out of the blood donor world? Call us anytime with questions.