January is National Blood Donor Month, a time to celebrate the lifesaving impact of blood and platelet donors. It has been celebrated each January for nearly 50 years and coincides with one of the most difficult times to maintain a sufficient blood supply for patients and this year is no exception.
According to the American Red Cross, winter is “one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs.” That’s because of, among other things, busy holiday schedules and bad weather often resulting in canceled blood drives. Furthermore, seasonal illnesses such as the flu force potential donors to forgo their blood donations.
HOW TO OBSERVE THE NATIONAL BLOOD DONOR MONTH
- Donate – Not just in honor of National Blood Donor Month, but in the simple spirit of providing the stuff of life to those who need it most. Donate now. Donate again in eight weeks. Repeat.
- Inspire – National Blood Donor Month can inspire people to donate. And those donations can in turn inspire others to donate, creating an exponential increase in blood donations when and where they’re needed the most.
- Learn and remember your blood type – What’s your blood type? Some examples: O-positive donors are needed more often than other blood types. O negative donors are considered “universal donors.” AB positive donors are “universal recipients.”
WHY NATIONAL BLOOD DONOR MONTH IS IMPORTANT
- Donating blood saves lives – Someone needs blood every few seconds in the United States. And more than 4.5 million Americans would die every year without lifesaving blood transfusions. National Blood Donor Month helps us remember these vital statistics.
- It’s the gift that keeps on giving – The American Red Cross needs 13,000 blood donations every single day to maintain an appropriate blood supply. Fortunately, eligible blood donors can donate blood every eight weeks.
- It’s good for donors, too – The American Journal of Epidemiology reports that blood donors are 88 percent less likely to have a heart attack.
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