January, National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, Begins with Severe Shortage of Blood Reserves

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January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month. The holidays and recent severe weather across the nation has added to the already low blood reserves.

There is a serious shortage of blood across the United States, so the American Red Cross needs all the blood donors it can get.

When was the last time you gave? An individual can donate every 56 days.

When you and I are in need of blood, we expect it to be there. When you or I are in an accident or have surgery or have become anemic due to an illness, we may need blood.

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Very few of us who are eligible to give blood actually do so. Giving blood is truly giving the gift of life.

General Guidelines About Blood Donation

You must be healthy and be at least 17 years old. You must weigh at least 110 pounds. "Healthy" means that you feel well and can perform normal activities. Just because you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure does not mean you are un-eligible to donate. "Healthy" in light of a chronic condition means that you are being treated and the condition is under control.

Other aspects of each potential donor's health history are discussed as part of the donation process before any blood is collected. Each donor receives a brief examination during which temperature, pulse, blood pressure and blood count (hemoglobin or hematocrit) are measured.

To learn more blood donation opportunities, visit www.givelife.org or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543).

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