Red Cross gives advice for National Blood Donor Month

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) – January is blood donation awareness month, but the American Red Cross says blood supply is dangerously low, forcing hospitals to delay intensive care until more units are available.

Every two seconds, someone in the country needs a donation of blood or platelets, according to the Red Cross.

This year the Red Cross has a suggestion for all New Year’s resolutions.

“Give once more in 2022 than in the past,” said regional CEO Barry Porter.

Every eight weeks, up to six times a month, you can roll up your sleeves to help save lives.

“You are in the donor bed 15 to 20 minutes after you arrive,” Porter said. “You are only in the donor bed for 10 to 15 minutes because [donation] the process only takes about 8-10 minutes.

Once your blood donation is collected in the East, the unit and a test tube, both labeled with corresponding barcodes, travel to the West.

The unit is kept cold in Durham and the test tube is sent to Charlotte for processing. After undergoing a series of tests, the donation is allowed to be distributed approximately 24 to 48 hours after submission.

“Let’s say we donated at 8:00 am,” Porter explained. “The blood unit will probably not be available until around 4:00 pm tomorrow afternoon. When this happens, we can’t wait for an emergency to happen and then ask for blood. “

Banks like to hold onto a few days of supply, but recently they have seen the lowest donation volumes in years.

While blood units are often used in traumatic situations such as surgeries, wrecks or acts of violence, the majority of donated blood goes to cancer patients.

“About 1 in 5 units of blood actually goes to cancer patients,” Porter said. “If you think about it in your life, you probably know more people who have cancer, who have battled cancer, than you know who have been in a car accident or been in a traumatic situation. “

One donation goes a long way, saving up to three adult lives.

To be able to donate, you must be 16 years old with parental consent or 17 years and over. You need to be in general good health, hydrated, and nourished.

After your donation, you’ll want to avoid heavy lifting and stop to feast at the Red Cross canteens on the way out.

In honor of National Blood Donor Month, the Red Cross has partnered with the NFL, automatically entering anyone who donated in January 2022 to win a trip to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.

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