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Everything You Need To Know About Blood Donations

February 13, 2019 by The Parrish Law Firm

Approximately 32,000 pints of blood are used on a daily basis in the United States alone. One pint of blood can help save up to 3 lives. Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. These are all very real statistics provided by the American Red Cross and they call for us to take action.

There is a constant need for blood donations as donations only last up to 7 weeks at a time. Blood transfusions regularly occur for a whole host of reasons. Pregnant women that face complications often need blood due to hemorrhaging before, during and after giving birth. Children require blood as a result of being affected by malaria or malnutrition.

People need blood after natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc. People also require blood following man-made disasters such as car accidents, injuries, shootings, stabbings, etc.

Finally, cancer patients regularly require blood after radiation and chemo therapies. In fact, nearly 100,000 sickle cell patients require blood transfusions throughout their lives. People often ask us how they can assist others in their community, and our go-to answer is to donate blood when you can. We at the Parrish Law Firm support blood donations and actively donate as often as possible.

What is blood?

Blood is a living tissue with vital functions such as delivering nutrients and oxygen throughout your body, fighting infections and creating blood clots. Plasma is important for supplying proteins to our body for clotting blood, maintaining blood pressure and for keeping a proper pH balance in our system. Plasma is also responsible for carrying our white blood cells, which destroy bacteria and viruses in our system; red blood cells, which provide our body with oxygen; and platelets, which help our body with clotting. (information provided by sharecare.com)

Am I eligible to donate blood?

In order to donate blood, you usually have to be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in generally good health. If you are HIV positive or have AIDS, you cannot donate blood. In certain circumstances, one cannot donate blood until 12 months after their most recent body piercing. If you are imprisoned, you cannot be a blood donor. If you have had cancer, you must wait 5 years from your last treatment.

How often can I donate blood?

You must wait at least 8 weeks or 56 days between “whole” blood donations. Platelets can be donated once every 7 days or up to 24 times a year. Plasma can be donated every 28 days or 13 times a year. Double red cell donations, where the platelets and plasma are returned to you, can be donated every 112 days or 3 times a year.

Can donating blood affect me negatively?

While the pros definitely outweigh the cons, donating blood can have some limited consequences. These minor side effects include bruising, dizziness/lightheadedness, nausea, pain and physical weakness. Typically, most of these side effects can be prevented by following aftercare instructions such as having some foods, juice, letting someone else drive you and keeping your physical activity at a minimum for 3 to 5 hours following your donation.

What are the advantages of donating blood?

There are plenty of benefits that come from blood donations and from helping others. According to the Mental Health Foundation, donating blood and helping others can reduce stress, improve emotional well-being and reduce feelings of isolation.

Due to blood being removed from your system, which lessens your blood viscosity, donating blood can also lower risk of heart disease. It can also lower your chance of developing certain cancers such as lung, liver, colon, esophagus and stomach cancer.

We hope this has been an insightful learning experience for you, and we also hope we have encouraged you to sign up for your local blood drive. The American Red Cross provides a resource for you to find your nearest blood drive.

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