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The Importance of Blood Donation

The only source of blood for patients who need a transfusion is a generous blood donor. Blood cannot be made or manufactured outside of the body.

Obviously, blood is necessary for life. It delivers oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, as well as carrying waste products away from cells. Blood is made up of four types of transfusable products: red blood cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate. A single pint of blood, which is about how much a donor gives, can help more than one patient needing a blood donation.

Facts about the Blood Donation Process

  • Donating blood is safe. A new sterile needle is used once for each donor, then discarded.
  • After registration, a medical history is taken.
  • Blood donors get a “mini-physical”: temperature, blood pressure, and pulse are monitored, and hemoglobin is screened, to make sure the donor can give blood safely.
  • The entire process of donating blood, from registration through refreshments, takes about an hour.
  • The actual donation process only takes 10 to 15 minutes.
  • A healthy blood donor can donate red blood cells every 56 days, or can donate plasma every 7 days (with a limit of 24 times a year).
  • All donated blood is tested for hepatitis B and C, HIV, syphilis, and other infectious diseases.

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Blood Donation Facts

  • Hospital patients need about 44,000 blood donations DAILY
  • Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood
  • About 6.8 million people donate blood annually
  • 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate; only 10% actually do
  • Blood donations are used in:
    • Cancer care
    • Surgeries
    • Treatment of serious diseases
    • Trauma
  • During a blood donation, 1 pint of blood (or 480 mL) is taken.
  • 1 pint of blood can save up to 3 lives
  • Blood is comprised of red blood cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate.
  • 2 or 3 of these components are produced from a pint of blood

Teach students about blood donation with IV trainers and simulated blood products from Pocket Nurse.

Resources:
Americas Blood Centers

Red Cross, Blood Facts and Statistics

Nursing Assistant Guide, National Blood Donor Month

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