Blood banks need January donors - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Blood banks need January donors

© iStockphoto.com / Thinkstock © iStockphoto.com / Thinkstock

(HealthDay News) -- Want to make a difference right now? Consider donating some blood.

That's the suggestion of experts from Penn State Health's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Blood bank supplies tend to be low in January because the holidays and the season's typically inclement weather often keep people from going to a donation site. But, donating blood or blood products, like platelets, is a relatively quick and easy way to make a real difference in the lives of people with serious health problems.

"A lot of donors say it makes them feel very fulfilled," Dr. Melissa George, medical director of the center's blood bank, said in a hospital news release. "Sometimes there are people who need specific platelets that only some donors have, so those donors feel a sense of pride at being called upon to help."

Because blood shortages often occur at the beginning of a new year, the American Red Cross has dubbed January "National Blood Donor Month."

Still, some people won't donate because they have a fear of needles. Others wrongly assume that donations are being made by other people and their blood isn't needed, explained Gwen Howell, the blood bank's chief technologist.

This doesn't bode well for people treated in emergency rooms for injuries and accidents who desperately need blood. People with cancer, transplant recipients, premature babies and others also may need transfusions.

To protect the health of those who get blood transfusions, donated blood is screened for HIV, hepatitis C and other agents of infection and disease, such as Zika virus. Donors also complete surveys and answer questions that could help doctors identify potential risks.

"We identify any potential risk categories and test for different viral markers," Howell said.

Most healthy adults are able to donate blood, as are teens aged 16 and 17 (with parental permission) in some states. Exceptions include people diagnosed with cancer or those who've had cancer surgery in the past five years. People with serious heart conditions and anyone who's gotten a tattoo in the past year also aren't allowed to donate blood.

Potential donors also have their blood pressure, weight and hemoglobin levels checked to make sure it's safe for them to give blood.

It usually takes about 30 minutes to donate a unit of blood. It may take up to two hours to donate platelets. That's because a machine separates them out of the blood, returning red cells and plasma back to the donor.

While donating their blood, people can read or watch TV. Donors are also offered free drinks and snacks, and checked for lightheadedness before they leave.

After a blood donation, your body naturally rebuilds your supply of blood.

Donors can give blood about every eight weeks, according to George. Platelets can be donated every two weeks.

More information

The American Red Cross has more on blood donation.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • SPONSORED BY SOUTHEAST HEALTHHealthMore>>

  • Fewer US teens smoking, doing drugs ... and drinking milk

    Fewer US teens smoking, doing drugs ... and drinking milk

    Thursday, June 14 2018 2:07 PM EDT2018-06-14 18:07:52 GMT
    Saturday, June 16 2018 8:31 AM EDT2018-06-16 12:31:21 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rob Carr). FILE - This June 8, 2007 file photo shows a glass of milk on a table during a family breakfast in Montgomery, Ala. Nearly 20 years ago, about nearly half of high school students said they drank at least one glass of milk a day. But...(AP Photo/Rob Carr). FILE - This June 8, 2007 file photo shows a glass of milk on a table during a family breakfast in Montgomery, Ala. Nearly 20 years ago, about nearly half of high school students said they drank at least one glass of milk a day. But...
    Survey shows fewer US teens smoking, doing drugs and drinking milk.
    Survey shows fewer US teens smoking, doing drugs and drinking milk.
  • Hep A outbreak grows; tips on how you can stay healthy

    Hep A outbreak grows; tips on how you can stay healthy

    Friday, June 15 2018 1:28 PM EDT2018-06-15 17:28:42 GMT
    Friday, June 15 2018 4:58 PM EDT2018-06-15 20:58:00 GMT
    (Source: AP Graphics Bank)(Source: AP Graphics Bank)

    The Arkansas Department of Health says a Jonesboro restaurant worker who tested positive for Hepatitis A was infectious on more days than originally reported.

    The Arkansas Department of Health says a Jonesboro restaurant worker who tested positive for Hepatitis A was infectious on more days than originally reported.

  • Study: Kitchen towels are risk factor for home-based food poisoning

    Study: Kitchen towels are risk factor for home-based food poisoning

    Wednesday, June 13 2018 11:55 AM EDT2018-06-13 15:55:30 GMT
    Wednesday, June 13 2018 2:56 PM EDT2018-06-13 18:56:48 GMT

    According to researchers, 49 percent of the kitchen towels collected in the study had bacterial growth which increased in number with extended family, presence on children and increasing family size. 

    According to researchers, 49 percent of the kitchen towels collected in the study had bacterial growth which increased in number with extended family, presence on children and increasing family size. 

Powered by Frankly