BEACON TRANSCRIPT – For the beginning of the year, the Red Cross is hosting blood drives in January for the National Blood Donor month to help those in need. It’s an opportunity to make a difference and spend just a bit of time easily helping patients in dire situations.
The National Blood Donor month has been happening in January since 1970. It’s the time of the year when hospitals find themselves in most need. During the colder months, specifically the beginning of the year, doctors remain without a stable supply. Due to the unpredictable weather conditions and severe circumstances, blood drives often get cancelled around this time of the year.
Furthermore, there is a shortage of donors as either the cold puts them off a visit to the blood center, or illnesses like the flu make them unable to donate. Thus, the American Red Cross is taking charge and asking people to roll up their sleeves so they might make their contribution to the cause. According to Cathleen Bennett, donors can make a “significant difference in people’s lives” through such a simple act. Donations from one person can reportedly save up to three lives.
According to Bennett, who is the Acting Health Commissioner, there’s always a need for blood, as there is no artificial substitute that could replace it. And, an estimated 9 out of every 10 people in the world will need blood at some point during their life. This could be to treat an illness, injury, or for surgery.
There are four types of donations that the hospitals will gladly welcome. Those interested can explore their options, and see where they would most like to make a difference by contacting their nearest blood center.
Blood donation is the most common one. The actual donation will take a mere 8 to 10 minutes in order to provide the sufficient amount, one unit of whole blood. The entire process, however, might take up to one hour, and then you will be able to donate again 56 days later. All types of blood are generally needed.
Platelets donation is another option that those interested can explore. They are a key clotting component of blood that can be used to treat burn victims, bone marrow recipients, or cancer patients. The unfortunate aspect that makes the need more urgent is its short shelf life. Whole blood lasts 42 days, but platelets last only 5 days. It’s difficult for hospitals to maintain a stable supply. However, unlike whole blood, platelets donors can return every 7 days.
Plasma is the third option available. It’s most commonly used in trauma situations, and it’s the key material needed for therapies for the numerous people worldwide battling chronic diseases. It aids them in living better and productive lives if they receive it regularly.
The fourth and last option is double red cell donation. It’s similar to whole blood donation, but the donor can give two units instead of one. That is because a special machinery will return the platelets and plasma back to the donor. Eligible donors with blood types O, B negative, and A negative especially are encouraged to resort to double red cell donation.
Image source: onlinebloodbook.com