Each new year, January marks National Blood Donor Month, making it the perfect opportunity for all eligible adults to go out and contribute to a good cause. In the winter months, many regular donors give blood less frequently due to busy holiday schedules and problems commuting in inclement weather, which causes blood shortages in hospitals and other health care facilities.
However, according to Cox Media Group, if every eligible donor gave blood four to six times per year, shortages would be a thing of the past.1 If you’re enrolled in a medical assistant program or working toward a career in the health care industry, consider these five reasons to donate blood on a regular basis.
1. Blood is in high demand
According to the Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals, approximately 39,000 units of blood are required in hospitals and other emergency treatment facilities in the U.S. every day.2 This amounts to a person needing blood about once every two to three seconds. Though blood drives may seem to be a ubiquitous part of our lives, only a small percentage of the population donates regularly. The American Red Cross, along with other organizations, is always in need of more blood donations to meet the demand.
2. You never know when disaster will strike
AARP notes that more than 25 percent of Americans will need blood at least once in their lifetime.3 While no one likes to imagine being in a situation where he or she or a loved one needs blood, the likelihood is that it will occur at some point in time. By donating blood on a regular basis, you’re helping ensure that there are units available when someone you care about is in need. There’s no way of predicting when disaster will strike, and it’s important for hospitals to have enough blood on hand to respond in moments of chaos.
3. Donating blood can be healthy (for men)
Cox Media Group notes that there may be a life-saving benefit in donating blood for men.1Hemochromatosis, commonly referred to as iron overload, is a common condition in men in which too much iron builds up in the blood. Too much iron can lead to cardiovascular problems, but the source claims that giving blood as infrequently as three times per year can reduce iron overload in men and lower one’s risk of a heart attack by 50 percent.1
4. You can save multiple lives
Did you know that one pint of blood can save up to three lives? Each time you donate blood it can make a bigger difference than you realize. Blood donations are regularly needed by cancer patients, organ transplant recipients and accident victims. Even a one time donation can help multiple people, so just think about how many people you can save by donating on a regular basis.
5. It’s safe and easy
Blood drives are run by certified health care professionals who emphasize safety and efficiency. Not only do you get a free brief physical when you donate blood, but you also essentially get a free screening for major diseases. The process is fast and easy, and afterward you’re rewarded with free cookies and juice. All in all, making a commitment to donating blood four to six times per year is a great new year’s resolution, and there’s no better time to start than National Blood Donor Month.
1 “9 reasons for donating blood,” wftv.com. http://www.wftv.com/news/news/9-reasons-for-donating-blood/nFCPF/
2 “Promoting donation: National Blood Donor Month,” Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals. http://www.adrp.org/promoting-donation/natl-blood-donor-month/
3 “6 reasons to donate blood,” by Barbranda Lumpkins Walls, AARP, April 13, 2012.http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-04-2012/reasons-to-donate-blood.html