Do YOU know what today is?
Our world is interconnected now more than ever. And today, on World Blood Donor Day, organizations around the globe aim to bring awareness to the great need for blood and blood products for transfusion.
Blood donations play a critical part in maintaining the public health. Hospitals and healthcare centers depend on safe blood and blood products from volunteer donors. These generous blood donors save lives and improve the health and quality of life of countless patients every day.
However, amazingly, only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood each year. That’s why I wanted to take a few minutes today to discuss this life saving act. I hope that learning more about blood donation takes the mystery (and the fear) out of the process.
Needles aren’t my favorite thing. Most people probably agree. But, when I take a second to think about all the good my blood donation can do, I gladly roll up my sleeve.
If you have been hesitant to donate blood in the past, consider giving it a try. A little prep work in the days leading up to your donation will make all the difference.
First, make sure to drink plenty of water. We all know how important it is to be well hydrated. It is even more critical when you donate blood. Good hydration keeps your bodily functions running properly and helps avoid low blood pressure.
Next, eat a healthy meal before you donate. Even better – be sure to boost your iron intake by choosing fish, spinach, poultry, beans and fortified cereals. Why? Because iron is a vital mineral found in your hemoglobin which helps maintain your strength and energy. Plus, iron helps make new blood cells to replace the ones you’ll give through your donation.
Finally, RELAX. The folks taking your blood are pros. They’ll be right there if your nerves kick in and can reassure you throughout the donation. It is quick – you’ll be done in about 10 minutes.
After you’ve finished donating, you’ll unwind for a few minutes and enjoy a little snack. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. You’ve done something incredible. You’ve made a difference, perhaps even participated in saving a life.
Be sure to drink some extra water during the day of your donation. And, it is best to take it easy. Skip any heavy lifting and wait until the next day to exercise vigorously. Your body needs a little TLC as it works to replace the blood you gave.
We don’t want to imagine the unthinkable -- a family member or a close friend is involved in an accident. They are taken to the hospital and need a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and or platelets. By donating blood, you ensure that the supply meets the demand.
I hope you’ll consider signing up to donate blood. Participating in this selfless act helps your community and will make you feel great.
P.S. If you have a story about how blood donation made a difference in your life or that of a loved one, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts!