The American Red Cross asks eligible blood donors to make a resolution to give blood regularly in 2015, beginning with National Blood Donor Month in January.
National Blood Donor Month recognizes the importance of giving blood and platelets while honoring those who roll up a sleeve to help patients in need. It has been observed during January since 1970, and that’s no coincidence. Winter is an especially difficult time to collect enough blood to meet patient needs. Unpredictable winter weather can result in blood drive cancellations, and seasonal illnesses, like the flu, may cause some donors to be unable to make or keep blood donation appointments.
Donors of all blood types are needed, especially those with O negative, A negative and B negative. With a shelf life of 42 days, red blood cells must be constantly replenished to maintain an adequate supply for patients.
Before coming to a center to donate, follow these tips:
- Hydrate – Be sure to drink plenty of fluids on the day of your donation.
- Wear something comfortable – Wear clothing with sleeves that can easily be rolled up above the elbow.
- Maintain healthy level of iron – If possible, include iron-rich foods in your diet, especially in the weeks before your donation.
- Bring a list of medications you are taking – They need to know about any prescription and/or over the counter medications that may be in your system.
- Bring an ID- Please bring either your donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification.
- Bring a friend – Bring along a friend, so that you may both enjoy the benefits of giving blood.
After donating, you should have a snack and something to drink in the refreshments area. You can leave the site after 10-15 minutes and continue with your normal daily activities. Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment knowing that you have helped save lives.
Here are some tips for once you leave the center:
- Hydrate more – You should continue to drink water throughout the day of your donation.
- Avoid heavy lifting or exercise – Try not to exert yourself too much for the rest of the day.
- Also accept the thanks of people whose lives were changed by blood donations.
There are several blood drives in the Wilmington area this month. Click here to find one near you.
Source: The American Red Cross