Give the Gift of Blood for the Holiday Season

Donating blood is one of the most important services that ensures the well-being and health of a community. It is always in constant need, so making the decision to donate can impact more than one life.
According to the American Red Cross, a blood transfusion is needed every two seconds. With each donation, up to three lives could be saved. To ensure a safe and healthy blood donation, here are some tips for a successful experience.
-Drink plenty of water before and after you donate
-Have a healthy meal before you donate
-Do not donate if you are feeling sick or unwell
-Bring some form of identification for a speedy donation
In most states, donors must be at least 17 years of age and weigh at least 110 pounds. How often you can donate blood is important too. The body needs time to replenish what you give away, so waiting between each donation ensures you are in good health.
Donors must wait at least eight weeks between donations of whole blood and 16 weeks if you do a Power Red donation. Platelet donors are able to give within a week, but only 24 times per year.
The process of donating blood is safe and effective. Each donor will first go through a screening process, where they will answer a series of question concerning their health. After that the technician will prick your finger to test your hemoglobin levels in your blood. After they check your temperature, pulse and blood pressure, you will begin the donation process.
They will cleanse an area on your arm to sterilize the insertion site. Each donor receives a new, sterile needle to collect blood, which is discarded after use. The actual donation process takes about 8 to 10 minutes, unless you are donating platelets, which can take up to two hours.
Approximately, a donor will donate a pint of blood before they end the session. The technician will remove the needle and place a bandage on your arm to be worn up to four hours.
Afterwards, donors will typically feel fine. However, there have been cases of lightheadedness or dizziness, upset stomach or experience pain or bruising from the donation area. Eat a snack and drink some cranberry juice to refresh your system.
Your blood is them shipped off to a Red Cross blood component laboratory, where it is processed down into several different components. This would be red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Remember that a single donation can help up to three patients.
Also, Red Cross will send you a thank you letter in the mail, often including the lives you helped through your donation. As well as which blood type you are upon request, which is important to know for future purposes.
Donating blood will impact more than just you, give the gift of blood to people in need. The privilege of having healthy enough blood to donate is a great thing to share.

Blood Types:

1. O negative
2. O positive
3. A negative
4. A positive
5. B negative
6. B positive
7. AB negative
8. AB positive

Where to donate in South Georgia:

Biotest Plasma Center, Plasma Donation Centers
VSU host blood drives


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