Tens of thousands of units of blood are used daily to save lives, not only in the U.S. but in Canada and other countries. A very small percentage of the eligible population donates blood. Seniors may feel there is a safety risk if they donate blood. There are eligibility requirements in order to donate and it doesn’t matter if you are 35 or 85, as long as you meet those requirements!
In the U.S., in general, you can donate blood if:
- You are in good health. A short exam will take place at the location at which you donate.
- You weigh more than 100 lbs.
- You are over 17 years of age.
- It has been at least 8 weeks since the last time you donated blood.
Usually you cannot donate blood if:
- You have received a blood transfusion at any time in the last year.
- You are pregnant or have been pregnant in the last six weeks.
- You had hepatitis when you were 11 years of age or older.
- You have gotten a tattoo within the last year.
- You engage in certain high risk behaviours.
The process of donating blood is quite simple. Your basic information and medical history is taken. Then a short physical exam is performed to measure your blood pressure, pulse, etc. The procedure takes only 5 to 10 minutes. Then you are given a snack and allowed to rest for a short while.
January is National Blood Donor Month. National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January since 1970. The goal is to increase blood and platelet donations during the winter months.
How can you benefit from donating blood?
- Satisfaction from helping to save human lives.
- Reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Donating blood helps to eliminate the buildup of excess iron in the blood.
This year give the gift of life. Donate your blood in January.