25 Facts You Should Share During Blood Donor Month

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January is a time of year when fewer people donate blood, which is a shame because it’s the month dedicated to blood donors. The Christmas season has passed, and no doubt our shared sense of the holiday spirit has faded. But one revealing fact or statistic might be all it takes to convince a friend or family member of the importance of giving blood and spur them to action. Here are 25 of those for you to share.

  1. Blood is always in high demand

    According to the Red Cross, every two seconds someone needs blood in the U.S. So since you started reading this article, anywhere from 8 to 12 or more people experienced a need for blood.

  2. For a yearly total of…

    So doing the math, that factors out to 4.5 million Americans who need a blood transfusion every year.

  3. And a daily blood need of…

    Hospitals and emergency rooms need about 44,000 donations-worth of blood every day.

  4. A little goes a long way

    Just one pint of blood can save up to three lives by separating out red blood cells, plasma, and platelets and giving one to each of three different patients.

  5. Only 38% of the population is eligible to donate

    In 2007, it was discovered that only 111 million Americans can donate blood, as opposed to the previously-believed 177 million, because of increased safety measures.

  6. Are you eligible?

    If you’re over 16, healthy, and weigh at least 110 pounds, you can give blood. (And let’s face it: if you’re American, you’re over 110 pounds.)

  7. AB donors wanted

    The AB blood types are the rarest in the world. AB-positive blood is especially crucial for donations because its plasma can be universally transfused and is often administered to emergency patients.

  8. You have blood to spare

    An average adult has up to 12 pints of blood in his or her body. The average donation size is about 1 pint.

  9. Loyal donors are not frequent donors

    Although donors are allowed to donate every two months, the average repeat donor only gives blood 1.7 times per year.

  10. Buddy, can you spare a platelet?

    Through a process called apheresis, donors can donate specific parts of the blood like plasma or platelets. The advantages are that donors can donate this way every month and give more platelets per donation than they could otherwise.

  11. Donated blood doesn’t last long

    Blood’s shelf life is believed to be up to six weeks, but recent research indicates patients who receive blood older than three weeks could suffer harmful side effects. This would basically mean twice as much blood would now be needed from donations.

  12. …And neither do donated platelets

    Platelets have a shelf life of just five days. And with cancer rates ever increasing, the demand for platelets has grown dramatically.

  13. Cancer patients need a lot of blood

    While many operations require high amounts of blood for transfusions, these are one-time events. Cancer patients, on the other hand, can require up to eight platelet transfusions each week.

  1. You won’t catch something

    When you donate blood, there is no danger of catching AIDS or any other infectious disease. All equipment is used once and then thrown away.

  2. Excuses, excuses

    People often cite a fear of being weak the rest of the day after giving blood. However, a healthy adult should not have an affected daily routine.

  3. Piecemealing plasma

    About 1 in 500 people is born with a malfunctioning immune system. To keep these people healthy for one year, it takes 130 separate plasma donations.

  4. Accept no substitutes

    Trials are ongoing to discover a safe substitute for blood to give to soldiers or car crash victims, but so far the tests have been disastrous. There is still no replacement for good old human blood.

  5. An added bonus

    If the knowledge that you’ve saved three lives isn’t enough, when you donate blood you are treated to a free mini-physical.

  6. You can donate plasma often

    Thanks to apheresis, plasma alone can be donated twice every seven days. Plasma replenishes after 48 hours in a healthy body.

  7. United, we donated

    After the events of 9/11 in New York, half a million Americans gave blood to be sent to victims.

  8. Selling your body

    As broke college kids are already aware, some donation centers will pay donors for blood or plasma. Usually your reward will be about $25, which isn’t bad for an hour of work.

  9. Donate to yourself

    One way to introduce people to giving blood is to have them give it to their future self. Donating blood for your own use later is called autologous blood donation and you don’t have to worry about the blood being a match.

  10. Worried about that ink?

    If you’re worried that a recent tattooing or piercing disqualifies you from giving blood, never fear; you are still eligible as long as the work was done with single-use equipment.

  11. Be like Dean

    Dean Willis of Jacksonville, Florida has donated 100 gallons of blood since 1975 and saved over 2,000 lives.

  12. This is their chance to think about it

    Nearly one in five people say their main reason for not giving blood is they “never thought about it.”

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