Everyone knows that blood donation can save lives but that’s about all we know. There are many facts surrounding blood donation that each person who is at least 17 years of age should know. If you are waffling about whether or not to donate blood, here are things you should know:
1. approximately 4.5 million people a year need a blood transfusion. People that are involved in vehicle accidents, accidents in the home, victims of crime and victims of natural disaster all may need a blood donation to survive. In addition, people with certain diseases like anemia, leukemia and other types of cancers may also need blood or plasma donations.
2. One pint of donated blood can save up to three lives yet only about 43,000 people donate blood each year and average two donations per year. This amounts to only 86,000 pints of blood donated each year and only enough blood available to help 258,000 people.
3. Any healthy adult, aged 17 years or older, can donate a pint of blood every 56 days. In addition, these people must weigh over 110 pounds and cannot be suffering from anemia.
4. of the four main blood types: a, B, AB and O, there are two Rah factors: positive and negative. O negative is the universal donor meaning it can be given to any other blood type. AB is the universal recipient meaning it can receive any other type.
5. the American Red Cross tests for 12 infectious diseases including HIV, hepatitis, leukemia and syphilis. This testing greatly reduces the chance that persons receiving blood will be infected with disease. The Red Cross not only destroys the blood but alerts the donor as to the presence, or possible presence, of any STD or other disease found in their blood allowing them to seek proper medical treatment.
6. Even though someone in the United States needs a transfusion approximately every two seconds, only ten percent of the 37 percent of Americans eligible to donate blood, do.
7. Barring a major disaster, over 39,000 units of donated blood is needed daily across the nation. Blood centers are often overwhelmed with requests for blood and do not have the supply to meet the demand.
8. Disasters, such as 9/11, often sees the greatest outpouring of donors. It is a little known fact that, in the case of a major disaster, large amounts of donated blood are often not needed as many people do not survive.
9. Donating blood will only take an hour out of your day. The actual donation process takes about ten minutes. The other 50 minutes are taken up by pre-donation screening and post-donation recovery.
10. A healthy adult woman has about ten pints of blood in their body and a healthy adult man has twelve; one pint is given for each donation.
Donating blood is one of the most important ways you can spend an hour every two months. Your blood is processed and stored as different components: red cells are stored for 42 days, plasma is frozen and stored for up to a year and platelets are discarded after five days. If you were told you could immediately have an impact on saving someone’s life, wouldn’t you do it? Stop waiting and donate!
Cynthia Johnson is a lab assistant and online contributor for healthtestingcenters.com, one of the most notable Blood Testing Centers, offering prescribed or self-ordered tests for cholesterol, thyroid function, liver function, etc. Check here for STD Testing Centers as well.