Should you donate blood?
You might be considering giving blood, whether you are a first-time donor or a regular lifesaver. Dr. Ajay Sahajpal, a transplant surgeon and executive medical director of the Global and Executive Health Program at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care, shares five reasons why you should donate blood now — 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.
In line with the latest FDA guidance, our partners at the American Red Cross (IL) and Versiti (WI) have implemented new blood donation eligibility guidance, expanding who is able to donate: Red Cross LGBTQ+ Donors | Versiti LGBTQ+ Donors.
5. For a fully gratifying feeling
Dr. Sahajpal 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.
So who can give blood?
You can donate blood if you:
- Are in good health and feel well
- Are at least 16 years or older, 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:
- You have a cold or the flu
- You have low iron levels
- You are on certain medications
- You recently traveled outside of the country
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.