If you could save someone’s life in a couple of hours, would you do it? That’s about the amount of time it takes to make a blood donation, and you could end up saving not one, but three lives!
Who needs your blood? People who’ve been in serious accidents. Cancer patients. People who have blood disorders. You probably know someone who’s received a blood transfusion.
On Monday, January 8, the American Red Cross launched an urgent appeal for blood and platelet donations nationwide to help address a winter blood donation shortage. Red Cross blood products are currently being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations come in. There is a critical need for platelet and type O negative and B negative blood donations in particular right now.
The donation process from the time you arrive until the time you leave takes about an hour. The donation itself is only about 8-10 minutes on average. The steps in the process are:
You will complete donor registration, which includes information such as your name, address, phone number, and donor identification number (if you have one). You will be asked to show a donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of ID.
Health History and Mini Physical
You will answer some questions during a private and confidential interview about your health history and the places you have traveled. You will have your temperature, hemoglobin, blood pressure and pulse checked.
We will cleanse an area on your arm and insert a brand–new, sterile needle for the blood draw. For a whole blood donation, it will take about 8-10 minutes to collect a pint of blood. If you are donating platelets, red cells or plasma by apheresis the collection can take up to 2 hours. When approximately a pint of blood has been collected, the donation is complete and a staff person will place a bandage on your arm.
You will spend a few minutes enjoying refreshments to allow your body time to adjust to the slight decrease in fluid volume. After 10-15 minutes you can then leave the donation site and continue with your normal daily activities.
Your gift of blood may help up to three people. Donated red blood cells do not last forever. They have a shelf-life of up to 42 days. A healthy donor may donate every 56 days.
If you are unable to donate blood, there are many ways to help the Red Cross. Individuals can encourage someone donate in their place, become a blood volunteer, host a blood drive, start a SleevesUp campaign and much more. Learn more about volunteer opportunities.
To make an appointment today, download the Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). We urge everyone to schedule an appointment and complete their RapidPass – now available on your mobile device – to reduce possible wait times at blood donation sites.