Reluctant To Donate Blood? Don't Be
Blood donations are used daily in your community hospital. Each day, patients need blood transfusions because of accidents, cancer, surgery, burns, childbirth and other situations. Yet, misunderstandings and fears often prevent people from donating much needed blood that could save someone's life. In fact, only 5 percent of Americans who are able to give blood actually do.
Blood cannot be manufactured. The only way for hospitals to keep their blood banks full is through volunteer donors. Donated blood has a limited shelf life, so new donations of all blood types are needed every day.
How much do you know about donating blood? It takes only about 10 minutes to draw the blood and not more than an hour of your time overall, including the paperwork. Consider the following information if you have been reluctant to be a blood donor:
- Donating blood is safe. New, sterile needles and bags are used to collect blood. They are disposed of after each use to eliminate the possibility of infection.
- Your personal information is kept confidential. If your blood tests positive for hepatitis or another disease, the results remain private and you are the only one notified.
- Giving blood will not make you weak. Most adults have 10 to 12 pints of blood in their bodies. You'll feel little or no effect after donating one pint.
- It won't hurt! You'll feel a pinch from the needle, but just for a few seconds.
You can safely donate blood every 56 days. Your body typically replaces the fluid lost within 24 hours.
You're never too old to donate blood as long as you are in good health. You must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds.
If you take medication, it doesn't mean you can't give blood. For instance, most people taking blood pressure medication and those with diabetes can donate blood without a problem.