Should you donate blood?

Should you donate blood?

You might be considering giving blood, but feeling a little nervous because you’ve never done it before.

Dr. Heather Weber, a family medicine physician at Aurora Health Center in Walworth, Wis., shares five reasons why you should give blood this summer — and throughout the year.

  1. To help save lives
    • Your donation can help save up to three lives. A small sacrifice of your time makes a true difference for a child needing a transfusion to help them through their cancer journey, or a young woman after a car accident or the many others facing life-threatening situations.
  2. In honor of a loved one
    • Perhaps a friend or family member received units of blood during an illness, providing healing or extra time to make more memories.
  3. To give back or pay it forward
    • Perhaps you have or will need blood in the future for your own healing.
  4. To continually replenish inventory
    • Did you know that most blood products last only 42 days, with some lasting as few as five days? That’s why blood centers aren’t able to accumulate vast reserves of donations, and there’s no “factory” where we can manufacture blood.
  5. For a fully gratifying feeling
    • Weber says many people feel a great sense of fulfillment in helping others by giving blood and often are repeat donors. A healthy person can give blood every eight weeks.

Who can give blood? (and why you might not be able to)

  • You must:
    • Be in good health and feeling well.
    • Be at least 16 years old in most states.
    • Weigh at least 110 pounds.
    • Have not donated blood in the last eight weeks.
  • Reasons you might not be able to donate:
    • Cold or flu, low iron, some medications and certain travel outside the country.

Where can you give blood?

Learn more and search online to find blood drives in your area or visit your local blood center website to make an appointment.

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  1. It is also important to note that a man who has had sex with another man in the last 12 months is ineligible to give blood. This is a policy of the FDA and not local hospitals or donor clinics and goes against the findings and advice of the AMA.

  2. carol a. sanders February 12, 2020 at 7:55 pm · Reply

    when I was first diagnosed with diabetes, last century, they told me in Mc Henry, Il that I could not donate. I had already donated 5 gallons at that time, and I always felt better a couple of weeks after I donated, so I was quite upset about that. All the people watched me, leaving so at the door, I said “diabetes, not aids”. carol. has this changed? I am 77, and in good health. Carol

  3. Is there a limit on age to donate blood. In other words if I am 70 years old is it still ok to donate blood or is there a restriction on age?

  4. It would be nice if the medications you are not able to be on to donate would be listed.

About the Author

Mary Arens
Mary Arens

Mary Arens, health enews contributor, is a senior content specialist at Advocate Aurora Health in Milwaukee. She has 20+ years of experience in communications plus a degree in microbiology. Outside of work, Mary makes healthy happen with hiking, yoga, gardening and walks with her dog, Chester.