January is National Blood Donor Month, When Donations are Needed Most

DonateBlood-LaneBloodCenter-HopValley-2015Did you know that blood donations are only usable for a short period of time? Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days, so blood centers have a constant need for blood donations. (Platelets need to be used within five days, and plasma can be frozen for up to a year).

With a short time to use blood donations, blood centers need a consistent flow (pardon the bad pun!) of donations to secure a safe supply throughout the year. And year after year, January is the month when blood centers have the least amount of blood on-hand.

The reasons? Leading into the month of January, people are celebrating the holidays, and finding time to donate blood becomes difficult. When the month of January arrives, folks get sick and the weather gets worse, causing people to miss their scheduled appointments and donation events to be canceled. Because of this, January was declared National Blood Donor Month, and local and national blood centers strongly urge people to schedule an appointment or drop on in to a donation event.

Donating blood doesn’t cost anything, takes little time (around an hour), and can make a great difference in someone’s life—including saving one! Also, donors are not left empty handed. After each donation, donors receive:

  • A lollypop, a cookie, and a glass of juice
  • Time to spend with family and friends (don’t go alone, ask a loved one to join)
  • A momentary pinching feeling in your arm (not so much a benefit, unless you think you are dreaming!)
  • The opportunity to prove that you are not a wimp when you see a needle
  • Information about your blood, including fourteen tests, 11 for infectious diseases
  • The fantastic feeling of helping others

So, if you are part of the 38 percent of Americans who are eligible to donate blood, seriously consider this time of year to schedule an appointment, or head to your local blood center and donate! Visit a link to find a center or event near you:

And, to those who have and will give blood, thank you!

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