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Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. And seasonal obstacles like busy holiday schedules, blood drives canceled due to inclement winter weather, and illnesses like the flu sidelining potential donors can hamper efforts to maintain a healthy blood supply. That’s why, since 1970, January has been designated as National Blood Donor Month – a month dedicated to shining a spotlight on the generosity of those who give their blood to save the lives of others, while also raising awareness of the continued need for donations.
Donating blood is one of the easiest and most effective ways that you can have a personal and direct impact on the health of our community. Most people don’t realize that a one-time donation can save the lives of up to three people. That’s significant.
To donate, individuals must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health.
Donating is an easy, four-step process that includes registration, medical history and a mini-physical, the actual donation process, and a post-donation refreshment. The brief mini-physical checks temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin to ensure safety of the donor’s blood. The actual blood donation usually takes less than 12 minutes.
Donors can now save time and make the donation process even easier with RapidPass, a new service from the American Red Cross that lets you begin the donation process at home by visiting www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass. After completing the pre-donation education and a health history survey online, potential donors can print out their pass or show it on their mobile device at their appointment. While RapidPass does not take the place of scheduling your appointment, it can save a significant amount of time at the donation site.
Despite efforts to raise awareness and make donating blood easier and more convenient, less than 10% of the eligible population actually donate blood. So, as you plan out your resolutions for the coming year, consider making a little room in your January schedule for a blood donation. There’s no better way to kick off 2017 than by helping to save lives.
Know Before You Go*
Information provided by the American Red Cross