Donating blood has become a regular routine for me as well as many other people looking to make a difference in other peoples lives. I can remember the first time I donated blood, I’ll be honest, I was nervous and wasn’t really sure what to expect. After filling out a pretty detailed questionnaire, a technician checked my vitals and took a few drops of blood from my pointer finger to check my iron levels. I watched anxiously as the blood from my finger was dropped into a tube of some sort of liquid. The blood sunk quickly to the bottom of the liquid showing that my iron levels were good enough to donate blood. The reason for the iron test is that a normal blood donor loses between 200-250 milligrams of iron per donation. Iron is a nutrient that is vital in the process of making red blood cells, so needless to say, someone with low iron is not a good candidate to donate blood.
I can remember the first blood drive I participated in. The staff was very friendly and made sure I was comfortable during the process. Once I was hooked up to the bag, I was handed a small ball to squeeze throughout the process to help keep the blood flowing. After about twenty minutes, the technician came over and told me I was finished. I was a bit light headed but still able to stand up and walk to the refreshment area. The refreshments consisted of bottles of water, apple and orange juice, cookies, crackers and a few other tasty items. I sat for a few minutes and had a great conversation with some other donors. It still amazes me that a mere twenty minutes of my time could possibly save the lives of three people in need.
There are four different blood types, A-B-AB and 0 negative, each can be positive or negative. AB is a universal recipient and 0 negative is a universal donor of red blood cells. If you don’t know what blood type you are, the blood center will tell you after your first donation. After you donate whole blood, you are not eligible to donate again for at least eight weeks. This is the appropriate time it takes to replace the donated blood. Roughly 4.5 million Americans will need a blood transfusion each year, almost two-thirds of the U.S. population is eligible to donate yet only less than 5 percent of those eligible will actually donate. When I see statistics like this, it makes me wonder why more people don’t give blood.
After donating blood for the first time, I decided to donate on a regular basis and have also become active in fundraising efforts to help a very important non-profit organization. If you have never donated blood and would like to save a life or three, contact your local blood bank or stop by a blood drive in your area.
Source by Scott Golz
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