The holidays, hectic travel schedules, bad weather and sickness all make it difficult to donate blood during the winter. That’s why January is National Blood Donor Month – to encourage giving blood and boost the seasonal short supply. Here are some reasons why you might want to consider donating this month.
Much Blood Is Needed
In the U.S., someone needs blood every two seconds. The average volume of red blood cells used in a transfusion is three pints, and cancer patients often need blood daily when they have chemotherapy treatments. Just last year, 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer. Some diseases require frequent blood transfusions throughout a lifetime. Sickle cell disease is one of those diseases, and it affects more than 70,000 people. Even a one-time event like a car accident can cause very serious problems, for example, one victim can need 100 pints of blood over their recovery.
Each day, 41,000 blood donors are needed across the country, and you could be one of them. When you become a blood donor through an organization like the Red Cross, you give blood and life to people who really need it.
You Can Make a Huge Difference
Not everyone is eligible to donate blood, but approximately 38 percent of people in the U.S. can donate. Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of them actually do. One blood donation has the opportunity to save the lives of three people, and you can give blood every 56 days. If you focus on the minimum wait time required between donations, and begin donating when you’re first eligible at the age of 17 until you’re 76 years old, you’d donate 48 gallons of blood and have the opportunity to save the lives of more than 1,000 people. Set a reminder on your calendar so you don’t forget to head to the Red Cross or another organization to donate blood.
Giving Blood Is a Safe and Simple Process
Blood donation needles are completely sterile, and they’re only used once. When it’s time to give blood, you’ll register, have a mini-physical, which includes a blood pressure reading, and then you’ll make your donation, and have something small to eat afterward. In total, you can expect to be there for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. It’s also possible that your mini-physical will help you discover a medical condition, which could help you be healthier and reduce your risk of further medical problems. That’s just another great reason to donate blood. You can help save lives, including potentially your own.
Giving Blood Can Increase the Donors Health
There are some great ways you can improve your own health by giving blood, too. You can reduce your iron levels by giving blood, and that can reduce your risk of hemochromatosis, which is a disease affecting one out of every 200 people. It causes unsafe iron stores in your blood, and the removal of red blood cells is a recommended treatment. The excess levels of iron in the blood can put you at a higher risk for cancer, too, and if you donate blood you can reduce your cancer risk. Additionally, people who donate just once per year reduce their heart attack risk by 88 percent.
Choose Your Reason for Donating
With so many great reasons to donate blood, this month is a great time to get started by visiting your local blood bank. Blood donors save lives and provide people who need medical treatments like chemotherapy with a better quality of life. Giving blood can make you feel good emotionally, and can also help you feel better physically, so it’s a great way to benefit a lot of people by doing something simple and helpful. Give blood today, and make a difference in the lives of people who need your help.