Posted by: RJ the Fire Dog Blogger | January 22, 2013

Your Blood Could Help Save a Life!

BloodSince January is National Blood Donor Month, you still have time to celebrate by donating a pint. And I’m told that you don’t even have to be a vampire to do it. Even if you can’t make it to a Bloodmobile or local facility to donate by January 31, the donation window is hardly relegated to one month of the year. Organizations including the American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, Advancing Transfusion and Cellular Therapies Worldwide, the City of Hope, LifeStream, and countless others need donations 365 days a year—so they are always in a position to help those in need. I just wish I could get some cats I know to donate all of their blood. But I digress…

Facts about Blood Requirements:

  • More than 44,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • Someone in the U.S. needs blood once every two seconds.
  • A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
  • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O.
  • The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
  • Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S.
  • More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood. Vampires require even more.
  • Every day, hundreds of animals need blood transfusions.

Facts about the Blood Supply:

  • The number of blood donations collected in the U.S. in a year: 16 million.
  • The number of blood donors in the U.S. in a year: 9.5 million.
  • The number of patients who receive blood in the U.S. in a year: 5 million.
  • Share of the U.S. population eligible to give blood: Less than 38 percent.
  • Blood cannot be manufactured. It can only come from donors.
  • Type O-negative blood (red cells) can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It is always in great demand and often in short supply.
  • Type AB-positive plasma can be transfused to patients of all other blood types. AB plasma is also usually in short supply.
  • One unit of blood can be separated into several components: red blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate.

Facts about Donors:

  • The number one reason donors say they give blood is because they “want to help others.” That’s a great reason!
  • Two most common reasons cited by people who don’t give blood are: “Never thought about it” and “I don’t like needles.” I would be worried about anyone who says they like needles.
  • One donation can help save the lives of up to three people.
  • If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 1,000 lives! That’s a lot of lives!
  • 94% of blood donors are registered voters.
  • Only 7 percent of people in the U.S. have O-negative blood type. O-negative blood type donors are universal donors as their blood can be given to people of all blood types.
  • Type O-negative blood is needed in emergencies before the patient’s blood type is discovered.
  • Forty-five percent of people in the U.S. have Type O (positive or negative) blood.
  • Only 3 percent of people in the U.S. have AB-positive blood type. AB-positive type blood donors are universal donors of plasma, which is often used in emergencies, for newborns and for patients requiring massive transfusions.
  • Since the human body quickly replenishes blood, a healthy adult can donate whole blood every 56 days (approximately 8 weeks).

How to Donate Blood

You can donate blood if you are at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, and are in generally good health. (These requirements do not apply to dogs, which usually weigh less than 110 lbs and are very lucky to live to the age of 17.) As part of the suitability criteria, the FDA requires donors be free from any disease transmissible by blood transfusion, in so far as can be determined by health history and medical examination. What’s more, a person’s suitability to donate blood depends on two general considerations:

1.)    That the donation will not be injurious to the donor.

2.)    That the donated blood will not be unnecessarily hazardous to the recipient.

If you would like your pet to be a donor, many veterinary schools have set up blood donor programs. Donor dogs must:

1.)    Be healthy and friendly.

2.)    Weigh more than 50 pounds.

3.)    Be between one and seven years old.

4.)    Have current vaccinations.

5.)    Be free of parasites.

6.)    Be free of any medications except for heartworm and/or flea prevention.

7.)    Must have the universal blood type.

If you own or manage a business or lead a club or group, do even more to help by sponsoring a blood drive. Your donation could save a life! When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, check out the RJWestmore Training System by Universal/Fire Life Safety Services. Our new Version 3.0 system offers the best emergency training system on the market.

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