House Call: National Blood Donor Month Pt. 1

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 5:58 PM EST
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. January is National Blood Donor Month, and to raise awareness, 5′s Kaley Fedko spoke with Kristen Lane, Communications Manager with “Vitalent,” the blood supplier to United Hospital Center.

1. Why was National Blood Donor Month established?

More than 50 years ago on December 31, 1969, the President of the United States signed a proclamation designating January as National Blood Donor Month (MBDM). This monthly observance was meant to honor voluntary blood donors and to encourage more people to give blood.

2. If National Blood Donor Month was established to encourage more people to donate, then who are you targeting to give blood?

If you are in good health and meet the general eligibility criteria, then you are likely able to give blood.

The general eligibility criteria is the following:

  • Must be at least 16 years old (16- and some 17-year-olds must bring a signed permission form from a parent or guardian, if required by state or school).
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds.
  • Certain height/weight criteria may apply for donors 22 years old or younger.
  • Be in good general health.
  • For your safety and to ensure a positive donation experience, make sure you eat within two hours ahead of your donation.
  • Drink plenty of water that day and 24 to 48 hours beforehand.
  • Feel free to help yourself to something to eat and drink in our refreshment area.
  • Bring your ID—something with your name and one of the following: date of birth, donor ID number or your photo.
  • You must wait eight weeks between whole blood donations. Learn more about specific intervals for other types of donation.
  • You should not be under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs at the time of donation.

3. How safe is giving blood and about how long does it take to donate?

Donating blood is safe. Sterile, disposable needles and supplies are used once and then properly disposed. You cannot contract any infectious disease by donating blood. It takes about an hour from completing the health history questionnaire, medical screening and post-donation refreshments and snacks. The donation itself only takes about 10 minutes.

If you’re worried about needles, don’t be—most blood donors compare the experience to a mild, split-second pinch! The entire process is very safe and very fast, and you will feel amazing knowing you potentially saved up to three people. If you are interesting in donating, the next United Hospital Center Blood Drive is on Wednesday, February 2, at The Bridge Sports Complex. To register please call 412.209.7000.

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