This year, make a new years resolution that will help others. Giving blood is an easy way to help save a life. Every day hospitals need 44,000 donations for their cancer, burn and bone marrow transplant patients. Usually blood banks are able to have a moderate supply of blood on hand for nearby banks, but January is different. Most blood banks find that they are in short supply in the winter months with January being their low period. National Blood Donor Month was created to help bring their stores back up.
When you give blood, you are giving about 1 pint. Most adults have somewhere between 8 and 12 pints of blood in their system. There are 4 products that can be separated from your whole-blood donation; red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate. With your 1 pint donation they are able to make 2 or 3 of these products to help individuals.
Of these 4 components, platelets expire the quickest. They have a life span of 5 days and are in need of constant supply. When donating you have the option to donate whole blood, or just platelets. When donating just the platelets it take longer, about 2 hours, but they return the other liquids and parts of your blood back into your body. By doing this, you give about 3 doses worth of platelets. If you give whole blood, they have to combine your platelets with those of 4 others in order to get a full dose.
The red cells from your donation can last about 42 days before they are too degraded and expire. On average 1.62 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year. They are dependent on these blood stores, especially after a chemotherapy session in order to keep themselves healthy. It is difficult to find them these donations because only 38% of the population is healthy enough or meet the requirements to donate blood. Of that 38% less than 10% give blood every year. The 3.8% of the population that are helping are given a time restraint. It takes about 56 days before they are healthy enough to give again. National Blood Donor month was created in the hopes that more people would help over come this time restraint and give blood.
Did you know?
- It took about 12 units of blood to help save Reagan. Over a dozen strangers gave the blood needed to keep him alive
- The first successful blood transfusion was given during the civil war. They didn’t know about blood types, so it was more luck that it worked than skill.
- If you live to be 72, there is a 90% chance you will have a blood transfusion.
- George Washington was purposefully bled to death. Physicians at the time thought that bleeding the “bad blood” out would get ride of a cold. Washington bled through about half his blood supply before he died.
- Elizabeth Bathory may be the root of vampire legends. This Hungarian Countess believed that if she bathed in young girls blood, it would restore her youth. She was finally charged with killing about 650 girls, but her family’s power prevented any retaliation against her.