According to The American Red Cross, we’re facing the worst blood shortage in a decade.
With January being National Blood Donor Month, this is a timely opportunity to remind patients and colleagues about the lifesaving difference each person can make by donating blood. Continue reading for ways you can encourage patients to get involved today.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion, yet only 10 percent of people donate annually. With just one blood donation, a person can save up to three lives—plus benefit their physical and mental health. According to Dr. Robert A. Desimone, Regular blood donation is linked to reducing cardiovascular risk factors with lower blood pressure and a lower risk for heart attacks. Donating and helping someone in need also supports a person’s overall feeling of well-being.
So, whether you’re talking with patients, colleagues, family, or friends—here are four action items to share with your community during National Blood Donor Month:
Host a blood drive
Groups of all sizes can organize a blood drive to help hospitals get the blood needed to save lives. The current shortage pushes doctors to make difficult decisions with transfusions because of the limited supply. So, taking the step to host a blood drive where you and others can donate makes it readily available to people in need. Even just one person has the ability to make a giant impact, saving hundreds of lives by hosting a blood drive.
Donate blood, platelets, or plasma
Find a blood drive near you so that you can donate blood, platelets, or plasma today! You may still donate blood, platelets, or plasma after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
If you’re part of a smaller group, you may even be able to get a free ride to the Blood Donor Center with a car service.
If you decide to donate, be sure to drink plenty of water and eat well beforehand. Workout before, not after. Working out after donating blood can make a person dizzy. Also, if you donate blood regularly, you may want to take an iron supplement.
Volunteers are needed now more than ever as we still face the COVID-19 pandemic alongside a national blood shortage. Get involved in your community and apply to be a blood service volunteer. You can even volunteer from home!
Talk to friends, family, and colleagues about the current blood shortage and educate them on the different ways to get involved whether it’s through hosting, donating, or volunteering.