GOODY, Ky. – Every few seconds someone needs blood in the United States. That is why it is important for healthy adults to donate blood every couple of months.
The American Red Cross of Huntington, W.Va. was at the South Side Mall on Monday. The local mall hosts a blood drive every 56 days.
Donations are usually slower during the holidays, according to a Red Cross spokesman. Chalk this up to people that are busier and just don’t or can’t take the time to donate blood.
The blood drive on Monday evening resulted in around 25 pints being donated.
Donating blood is a safe process. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded. Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments.
Every blood donor is given a mini-physical, checking the donor’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin to ensure it is safe for the donor to give blood. On some occasions free T-shirts are given out. The Huntington Red Cross gave away nice, light blue shirts on Monday at the mall to those who donated.
The actual blood donation typically takes less than 10-12 minutes. The entire process, from the time you arrive to the time you leave, takes about an hour and 15 minutes, a spokesman stated.
The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his body. Roughly one pint is given during a donation. A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days, or double red cells every 112 days.
A healthy donor may donate platelets as few as 7 days apart, but a maximum of 24 times a year. All donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other infectious diseases before it can be released to hospitals.
Information you give to the American Red Cross during the donation process is confidential. It may not be released without your permission except as directed by law.
More facts about blood needs:
• More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day.
• A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
• The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
• The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O.
• The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
• Sickle cell disease affects more than 70,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
• More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
•A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)