Leading the Way

What to know when you donate blood

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, and your donation could potentially save up to three lives.

In fact, the need for donors to give blood and platelets throughout the summer is critical since the American Red Cross sees a decline in donations during the summer months.

If you’re able to take part in a blood drive, here are 5 tips to help you prepare:

1. Ensure you’re eligible: For the safety of both patients and donors, you must be able to donate based on your donation type.

2. Bring the basics: You’ll need your donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification. Be prepared to answer a few questions – either online or privately with a staff member – and receive a general health check.

3. Set aside 15 minutes: The donation only takes about 10 to 15 minutes, but you can speed up the process by completing a Rapid Pass the day of your appointment.

4. Stay hydrated and eat well: “It’s important to drink an additional 16 ounces of water and get plenty of sleep the night before your appointment,” said Mandy Stogner, health and wellbeing consultant at Colonial Life. “You should also eat a healthy meal that’s rich in iron and avoid fatty foods.”

5. Take a friend: Nothing can help ease your fears more than moral support. Double the donation by having them donate at the same time.

Find a local blood drive by entering your Zip Code on the American Red Cross website.

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