Every year, in late December, many of us sit down and make heartfelt resolutions to perform acts of kindness or do something to help humanity in the year ahead. Quantifying that urge – and putting intention into action – can be surprisingly challenging, though. Donating blood offers a wonderful way to fulfill this yearning to help, and it can make a huge difference for those in need. Studies show that blood donors obtain significant and enduring satisfaction from this act of giving. January is National Blood Donor Month, so now is a great time to start on this path!
Eligibility Requirements Most people qualify as blood donors. According to the American Red Cross, the requirements include good health, a weight of at least 110 pounds, and an age of at least 17 years.
Qualifications for donating double red cells are somewhat more stringent. In addition to the above requirements, males must have a minimum height of 5’1” and minimum weight of 130 pounds, while females must have a minimum height of 5’5” and minimum weight of 150 pounds.
How to Prepare for Blood Donation If you’ve never done it before, the process of blood donation is very easy and intuitive. Bring your ID and a list of your medications, and wear comfortable clothing. Drink lots of water on the day you donate, and eat foods plentiful in iron, such as raisins and spinach, especially in the weeks prior to your donation. Some people also find it pleasant to donate blood with a friend.
Recipients of Blood The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute reports that 5 million Americans need blood transfusions each year. High users of blood products include cancer patients, trauma victims and surgery patients. People with bleeding disorders or severe infections need them as well.
Bloodstream infections are responsible for 30,000 hospital deaths each year. To learn how to prevent them, see 5 simple steps hospitals could, but often do not, use to prevent bloodstream infections.
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