Who can give blood?
There are general requirements a person must meet before being allowed to donate blood:
- Be well and healthy.
- Be at least 17 years old in most states, or 16 years old with parental consent depending on state law.
- Weigh at least 110 lbs.
How can you donate blood?
Donating blood is pretty simple. First, find a donation opportunity near you. You can search here or sign up at a local clinic or blood drive. Many blood drives and blood donation centers also accept walk-in appointments.
How can you prepare to donate blood?
If you’re a first time donor, here are some tips to make the donation process successful:
- Make sure that you’re well hydrated before and especially after you give blood.
- Wear comfortable clothing – something with sleeves that you can easily roll up above your elbow.
- Get some iron into your system, especially in the weeks before your donation. Some iron-rich foods include: shrimp, broccoli, whole wheat bread, beef, strawberries and kidney beans.
- Bring a list of medications (prescription and/or over-the-counter) you’re currently taking.
- Don’t forget your ID. You’ll need either your donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification.
What other ways can you help?
If you are not eligible to donate blood, you can still help in other ways by:
- Hosting a blood drive – Your job as a blood drive host is to help recruit potential donors and schedule appointments for them to donate blood. Hosting a blood drive offers a simple way to support your community
- Volunteering at a blood drive – If you’re not much of a planner, you can volunteer instead at a blood drive. You’ll be helping people sign in and passing out snacks, among other duties.
- Making a financial donation – You can also donate by making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross or similar organization.
- Encouraging friends and family to donate blood – Sometimes word of mouth is the easiest way to get a message across. Ask your loved ones to join you in your donation efforts.
More than 41,000 blood donations are needed each day, according to the Red Cross. Hopefully this year, you can find the time and courage to join the 9.2 million American men and women who give blood to help save lives.