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Hart Health Hints: January is National Blood Donor Month

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Hart Health Hints:

January is National Blood Donor Month

Did you know that every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood?  Or that less than 10% of the population eligible to donate blood does so annually?

Although researchers keep trying, it is still not possible to manufacture artificial blood, making blood donations a necessity to supply patients with lifesaving blood products.

The American Red Cross (ARC), which supplies 40% of the nation’s blood supply, sponsors National Blood Donor Month every January, and this year is no exception.  The mission of the ARC this month is to raise awareness about the need for blood donations and to encourage people to donate.  Criteria for eligibility can be found here or here.  Even if you’re not eligible to donate your blood, consider volunteering with a blood bank to help with blood drives, donating to your local blood bank, or recruiting an eligible donor.

Donating whole blood only takes about an hour

Donating by apheresis takes about two hours, but individual blood components can be separated out of your blood, with the remaining put back in.  So, plasma, platelets, or red blood cells can be extracted from your blood individually and the other components are left in your blood.

There is even a mobile app to help speed up the process. One, called simply, Blood, can help you schedule and track your donations, and even allows you to earn rewards from participating retailers. Another app, called RapidPass, allows you to save time donating by starting the donation process at home.    There is a wide range of free Red Cross apps including information to help you in case of an emergency. To find first aid, pet first aid, and disaster information, go here.

So this January, consider doing something to help save one of the millions of patients who need blood every year.  Think about National Blood Donor Month and commit to doing one small thing:  make a donation of your blood, your time, or some cash. Make a family day of it. After all,  it may be a family member, a friend, or you that needs a blood transfusion one of these days.

From all of us here at HCC, have a wonderful January, and stay warm!