ThedaCare Health Matters

Donating blood benefits patients, donors

Have you ever thought about being a blood donor? Healthy individuals have the ability to produce blood and replace the blood that may be lost through a blood donation. The average adult has about 10 pints of blood and a donation generally removes 1 pint.

It is reported that 30,000 to 40,000 blood transfusions are given every day in the U.S. One blood donation can be used by as many as three patients. Some premature babies benefit from as little as 3 teaspoons of blood. Most donations are whole blood, but some people donate just platelets. Whole blood donations can be done as often as every eight weeks; platelets can be done more often than that.

Donating blood is safe. Potential donors are screened for health concerns that would make donating unsafe. The screening is to help protect them from harming themselves and from potentially harming the recipient. It is not a good idea to donate if you are ill or you have a low blood count. You cannot get a blood borne infection from donating blood.

While the recipients of blood transfusions are the ones that benefit the most, there are benefits to the people who donate blood as well. Generally, people donate for the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping someone else, which is usually a person that they do not know. The donor can also have satisfaction in knowing a sample of their blood can be used to do research to help the general population.

However, in addition to the satisfaction donors receive, there are other benefits. One benefit is that donors get a free mini health screening. Donors will have blood pressure, heart rate, heart rhythm, temperature and a check for anemia even before they donate. Then a sample of the blood will be checked for blood borne illness like hepatitis, AIDS and others. For those people who are recommended to have a screening test for hepatitis C, this is a way to get it done at no charge.

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