Every 2 seconds, someone in the United States needs a life-saving blood transfusion, according to the American Red Cross.
But for many Americans, the idea of giving blood doesn’t turn into action until a local blood shortage that often comes during summer vacation season, a tragic event like the recent mass shooting in Orlando or a national emergency like Sept. 11 or Hurricane Katrina.
With less than 38 percent of Americans eligible to give blood or platelets, according to the American Red Cross, it’s important for those who can give to do so. See if you’re eligible by checking out the American Red Cross website.
“Although we have many external differences, the same vital blood pumps through all our veins,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, the World Health Organization’s Director-General. “Voluntary, unpaid blood donation is the act of giving life – the greatest gift any person can give or receive.”
Humans have approximately 10 pints of blood pumping through their veins, and a donation collects just one pint, the American Red Cross says. That means a donor can healthily give every 56 days. And health professionals say every bit of it is needed.
Twenty-one million blood products are transfused each year, with one donation possibly saving more than one person. But only 7 percent of humans have the universal blood type, O-negative.
“I think we all love the opportunity to be a hero,” said Takeela Belk, RN with Colonial Life. “Donating blood gives us the opportunity to do just that – by saving one or more lives with one simple donation. “
If you have the opportunity to take part in one of more than 400 blood drives that take place across the country each day, here are three ways for you to come prepared.
- Light meal and plenty to drink
- Bring your donor card, driver’s license and two other forms of ID
- Bring names of medications you are taking
And remember, as the slogan says, the life you save could be your own. Find a local blood drive near you simply by entering your Zip Code on the American Red Cross website.