Unlike other marvels of modern medicine, quality blood is an important health component that cannot be created synthetically.
Blood shortages continue to plague medical establishments across the globe.
Here in East County, the Red Cross is hosting blood drives in March at the following locations:
Wednesday, March 14, at Brentwood City Hall, 35 Oak St., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Monday, March 19, Diamond Hills Sports Club & Spa, 1510 Neroly Road, Oakley, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday, March 23, at Resurrection Ministries, 1275 Fairview Ave., Brentwood, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
A new program called Leaders Save Lives is an opportunity for students to help save lives with the American Red Cross by hosting a blood drive during their summer break. Students may become eligible to win a scholarship, earn volunteer hours and leadership experience, receive a gift card and more. For more information, visit www.redcrossblood.org.
The following are some things donors can expect when they donate blood:
Confirmation of donor health
One of the first steps to donating blood is to determine the donor’s eligibility. Potential donors undergo a short health screening and are asked various questions to determine their eligibility. Identifying the presence of certain illnesses or other disqualifications helps ensure that the blood will be healthy and that the blood drawn will not have a negative effect on the donor.
The American Red Cross states that potential donors will undergo a pin prick on the finger to test for iron levels in their blood. This is to ensure that donors will not be made anemic from giving blood.
Potential donors are urged to eat a healthy diet full of iron-rich foods. It is advisable to drink an extra 16 ounces of water or a nonalcoholic fluid prior to donating. A healthy, low-fat meal prior to donating is also recommended, as the Red Cross notes fatty foods can adversely affect blood tests that check for infectious diseases, and the blood may not be used as a result.
Silicone needles for increased comfort
According to Justin Kreuter, MD, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center in Rochester, Minnesota, while the needles used to collect blood are slightly larger than those used for immunizations at the doctor’s office, the needles have silicone on them to make the process of donating more comfortable for donors.
Donating blood does not take a long time. It may take 15 to 20 minutes for donation center workers to extract blood. Donating plasma or platelets may require more time. Allocate at least an hour to undergo the medical exam and to rest after the donation.
Resting period post-donation
After donating blood, donors are urged to rest for a few minutes and enjoy the snacks and beverages offered. The Red Cross indicates people should avoid performing any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for the rest of the day. It’s also advisable to drink an extra four glasses of liquids and avoid alcohol during the day following a donation.
By donating time and blood, donors are helping to save lives.