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NHM Health Focus:
National Blood Donor Month

January 2009

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About Blood Donation and Blood Banking
 – Blood Donation Frequently Asked Questions (AABB)
 – Help Now, Give Blood (ARC)
 – What to Expect When Donating Blood (ARC)
 – Blood Transfusion and Donation (MedlinePlus)
 – Blood Frequently Asked Questions (FDA)
 – Blood Donation and Transfusion (Uptodate.com)
 – Blood Transfusion Safety (WHO)

Blood Donation Organizations
 – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
 – America's Blood Centers
 – American Association of Blood Banks
 – American Red Cross

About the Blood and Circulation
 – Blood Circulation Lab (Educator's Ref. Desk)
 – The Circle Of Blood (Franklin Institute)

For Kids and Teens
 – Blood Transfusions (Nemours)
 – Blood (Nemours)
 – Teens Talk About Donating Blood
(United Blood Services)
 – The Truth About Transfusions (KidsHealth)
 – The Fun Zone (UK National Blood Service)

Are you in good health, at least 17 years of age* and weigh at least 110 pounds? If so you may be able to help save a life by donating blood.

Rules determining who can donate blood help protect the health and safety of both the blood donor and the patient who will receive the tranfusion. Some donor eligibility rules are specified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for all blood banks in the United States. Other rules vary depending upon the blood bank. To be certain that you are eligible to donate blood, check with your local blood bank for donor requirements.

"The need is great:

  • Approximately 32,000 pints of blood are used in the US every day (one every 2.7 seconds).
  • Sixty percent of the US population is eligible to donate blood, but only 5 percent donates regularly.
  • Through voluntary donation, everyday heroes across America give life-saving blood that helps 4.5 million patients each year.
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is 3.4 pints (requiring four donors).
  • Individuals with serious injuries from a major automobile accident can require 50 units (pints) of blood or more. Seriously burned patients can require 20 units or more.
  • The components of one pint of donated blood can help the lives of three people.
  • Donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection. Platelets within 5 days. Plasma can be frozen for up to 1 year." (BNL Blood Drive)

"Blood is traditionally in short supply during the winter months due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness. January, in particular, is a difficult month for blood centers to collect blood donations. A reduction in turnout can put our nation's blood inventory at a critical low." American Association of Blood Banks.

*Seventeen years is the minimum blood donor age in many States. The list of states with a minimum age of 16 is growing as more states lower the minimum age. There is no upper age limit.

Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources related to blood, blood circulation and blood donation:

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