Donated blood is needed by a patient in the U.S. every two seconds. Only 37% of people are able to donate blood; however, not all 37% actually donate. There are various types of blood donations in which a person can elect to undergo: whole blood donation, power red donation, platelet donation, and plasma donation.
Whole blood donation can be used to help multiple people from the same donor and is the most common form of blood donation.
Power red donation involves taking one’s red blood cells and separating them from the remaining parts of the blood. This type of blood donation is used for various treatments such as those with sickle cell, trauma patients, and newborns.
Platelet donation is where the platelets are separated from the remaining elements of one’s blood. This type of donation is used for cancer treatment and organ donation procedures.
The final type of blood donation is plasma donation, when one’s plasma is separated from the remaining parts of their blood. Plasma is used in trauma situations as a way to help assist in stopping blood loss.
A lot of factors go into determining whether an individual is able to donate blood. In order to donate blood one must meet a series of criteria including weighing at least 110 pounds, being at least 16 years of age, and not having donated blood within the past 56 days (dependent upon which type of blood donation you do). For all additional donation criteria please refer to this link.
Blood donation is a seriously important part of the healthcare industry. It can help a wide array of people including those experiencing cancer, those who underwent a serious trauma that resulted in massive blood loss, those dealing with sickle cell disease, transplant patients, burn patients, as well as patients with chronic diseases. Since there are no artificial substitutes for blood, any time someone receives blood this means it came from someone who previously made the brave decision to step up and donate.
If you meet the criteria, or are interested in donating blood, but are unsure if you can, it’s easy to find out! You can use this link to find a drive near you to donate at.
-Bri Loughridge, Alexander’s Hope Intern