/* mobile /* end mobile MEDDESKTOP: Have You Given Blood Lately? Give Blood, Give Life!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Have You Given Blood Lately? Give Blood, Give Life!

As a mantra, I donate blood every year since I was 14 years old. Why? Because I survived a very bad motorcycle accident and all those donors have donated blood, saved my life. While recovering from the accident, I made a promise to myself that I will donate blood as long as I could, to thank for what I received!

Thanks to God, I have been healthy and I could donate blood without any problems. One thing is that you feel very content and happy that your act will help and save someone somewhere. That someone easily could be somebody very close to you.

So what and how does this blood donation work? FDA, Food and Drug Administration, has a Information page. Please see the end of the post to see additional information and links.

Every day, emergency rooms throughout the United States are challenged by large numbers of people who need blood, including victims of fires, floods, storms, and other disasters.

But it's not just accidents or disasters that prompt the need for blood. Blood is needed for many people ranging from those with life-threatening illnesses to others undergoing routine surgeries.

In fact, every two seconds, according to the American Red Cross, someone in America needs blood, such as

  • Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
  • People with sickle cell disease or other types of inherited anemia
  • Organ transplant recipients
  • People undergoing elective surgery
  • Moms-to-be during and following labor and delivery

The Process of Donating Blood

Blood is critically needed every day, yet only about 5% of the eligible U.S. population donates blood in any given year, according to the American Red Cross. Healthy individuals who meet donor eligibility requirements (see below) are urged to give blood.

The entire procedure takes about an hour and includes:

  • Registering at the facility
  • Answering questions about your health and travel history
  • Getting a physical examination
  • Donating the blood (about 10 minutes)
  • Having a light refreshment to boost your energy level before leaving the facility

Am I Eligible to Donate Blood?

To meet the basic requirements for giving blood, you must

  • be healthy (feel well and be able to perform normal activities)
  • be at least 17 years old
  • weigh at least 110 pounds
  • not have donated blood in the last 56 days

A number of conditions, which will be discussed with you at the donation site, make you temporarily or permanently ineligible to give blood, such as

  • pregnancy
  • past use of needles to take drugs that were not prescribed by a doctor
  • being a male who has had sexual contact with another male since 1977
  • getting tattooed in the last year
  • living in or visiting certain countries during designated periods of time, for example, living a long time in a country where "mad cow disease" is found or visiting an area where malaria is found.

The rules for eligibility are less strict when making donations for your own use during surgery.

For more information about donor eligibility and giving blood, see

Have You Given Blood Lately?

FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research

American Red Cross
1-800-GIVE-LIFE (448-3543)

AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks)

America's Blood Centers
1-888-USBLOOD (872-5663)

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