A new option for giving blood?

A new option for giving blood?

It’s not necessarily that Americans don’t want to do it. Many have just never been asked.

To give blood, that is.

It’s the top reason why only 3% of Americans donate blood, when every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, according to the American Red Cross.

Last month, Facebook rolled out a new feature to help connect its users with blood banks across the country and be notified when the need for blood is high in their city.

But why give?

“Blood is a constant need. People are in constant need of blood when disasters strike, after an accident or during surgery – even chemotherapy. And there is always a need for all types, including type O, which can be universally used,” says Dr. Robert Johnson, a cardiologist at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill.

Chicago is one of five cities where the new feature first went live, in addition to New York, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Users can log into their profile and opt in to become a blood donor in the About Me section.

Ready to donate? Here are four questions to ask yourself beforehand:

  1. Am I at least 17 years old? You must be at least 17 to give and in a relatively healthy state.
  2. Do I weigh at least 110 pounds? Donors will also be screened for other conditions such as anemia.
  3. Have I eaten a filling meal before I donate? Tip: stay away from fatty foods like burgers and fries
  4. Have I had enough water to drink? It’s recommended to drink at least an extra 16 ounces of water prior to your appointment.

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  1. Another important thing to ask yourself is “Am I a man who has had sex with a man in the last 12 months, even if it is with my monogamous partner?” If you answer yes, then the FDA is not interested in your ability to help save lives.

    The American Medical Association has come out against this ban, because it is not based in medical necessity and is discriminatory. (https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2019-05/a19-522.pdf) Yet, most Americans are not aware of the existence of this ban, nor of the science that shows that it is unnecessary. It is important that we take opportunities to discuss the ban and advocate for change, as it is doing real harm.

  2. Jeremiah beat me to it. Don’t tell me how much blood is needed when you’re excluding a significant portion of the population from donating simply because of discrimination and fear.

  3. Cecilia Goertzen July 29, 2019 at 6:17 pm · Reply

    I am am 70 yrs old and in relatively good health. I traveled to Kenya and Tanzania in 2006. I was told back then that I was not able to donate blood because of this. Is this still true?

  4. I used to give blood regularly, but I stopped for two reasons. 1) I was receiving emails and phone calls constantly to give more blood. I felt harassed. I’d like to donate again, but don’t want to be constantly pursued for it. 2) The workers at the local place (which is now closed) had trouble drawing my blood, would get half way through the process, would give up, etc. Why? The person who draws blood for my annual blood test doesn’t have a problem.

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About the Author

Katie Wilkes
Katie Wilkes

Katie Wilkes, health enews contributor, is a freelance public affairs specialist at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. A DePaul University alum, she brings a decade of experience in media relations and content development to her role. Katie is also the co-founder and Emmy-nominated producer at Freeheart Creative, dedicated to sharing stories of brave women around the world. In her spare time, you can find her zen-ing out at a yoga studio and chilling with her 14-year old West Highland Terrier.