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January is National Blood Donor Month

Donating blood is easier than you think!

Did you know that giving blood can help save a life? During the winter months, blood supplies at blood banks are often running low. Donor turnout can be poor due to holidays, illnesses, weather, and travel schedules.

In order to promote blood donation at this critical time of year, January has been designated as National Blood Donor Month. The American Red Cross uses this month to thank its current donors and encourage new donors. So why not take this opportunity to become a blood donor? Contributing to the nation’s blood supply is easy to do, and can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

There are just four simple steps to the blood donation process. Take a moment and find out how easy it is!

Step 1: Eligibility and Registration Forms. In order to ensure the safety of blood donors and the blood supply, blood drives have to take down some important information. So the first step is to complete the eligibility and registration forms. Bring photo identification with you, and also bring a list of any medicines that you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medications and vitamin supplements.

Step 2: Short physical checkup. The blood drive wants to make sure you are healthy enough to give blood, so a staff member will talk with you about your health history in a private, confidential area. Next, the staff will measure your vital signs by taking your temperature, feeling your pulse, and measuring your blood pressure. Then, the staff will prick your finger in order to test the level of hemoglobin in your blood. The finger prick is very quick, and feels like a little pinch.

Step 3: Giving the blood. The staff member help make you as comfortable as possible during the blood donation. You will be seated in a comfortable chair or lying on an examination table. The process of inserting the needle is sterile and safe. Many people feel that the initial needle sticks hurts a little bit, but once the needle is inserted, it doesn’t hurt anymore. If you are worried about the needle stick, try reading the Red Cross’s advice for getting over your fear of needles. Once the needle is inserted, the donation process takes about 15 minutes for donating one pint of blood. Then the needle is removed and gauze is applied for a few minutes. And that’s it…you donated blood!

Step 4: The fun part. Most blood drives have a refreshment area for donors to relax in after the donation. This is more than just a “thank you.” The refreshments are a way to encourage you to sit down, have a drink, and a small snack for 10 or 15 minutes. This down time helps you and the staff member to ensure that you are feeling well after the donation. For this reason, it’s important that you stay for the refreshment period.

During all stages of the donation, there are nurses available if you are not feeling well.

For donors who are especially dedicated, you can consider other types of donations. The Red Cross also collects platelets, double red cells or plasma. For these types of donations, the process is longer, and can last up to 2 hours. The need for these donations is constant and can truly help save lives.

To understand more about donating blood, read the Red Cross’s Blood Facts and Statistics. If you are ready to donate, contact a Red Cross branch near you! Signing up is simple, and knowing that you have helped someone is very gratifying!

Information from this article was gathered from the American Red Cross article Why Donate Blood?

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This article was provided by the Branford Hall Career Institute. With campuses in 11 locations in New England and the mid-Atlantic, Branford Hall offers career-focused training programs for students wishing to pursue careers as Medical Assistants, Medical Billing and Coding Specialists, Massage Therapists, Culinary Arts Specialists, and more. To learn more about our programs, contact us at any time.