Giving blood: A good thing to do | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Giving blood: A good thing to do

Dan Kerr
Barton Auxiliary President

National Blood Donor day was June 14 but the Barton Auxiliary is celebrating all year long.

2010 is the Auxiliary’s 44th year of hosting the South Shore’s Blood Drive and if I have my way, next June I will donate my 200th unit of Blood.

If you were in an emergency situation requiring a blood transfusion, you would expect the hospital to have the blood you need. But where does that blood come from?

In order to have blood when people need it, hospitals rely on blood donations.

Although blood centers try to keep an adequate supply of blood on hand, there’s always a risk that supply won’t meet demand. That’s why it’s important to donate blood if you’re eligible. Just one donation could help save up to three lives.

Who can donate?

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Generally, if you’re at least 17 years old (with parental consent,) weigh at least 110 pounds and are healthy enough to perform normal activities, you can probably donate blood.

To make sure that you’re eligible to donate, BloodSource staff will ask you some questions about your medical history. Your answers will be completely confidential.

What to expect

You can expect the whole process – from arriving to the time you leave – to take up to an hour. When you first arrive you’ll sign in – don’t forget to take a valid ID or your BloodSource card – and you’ll be asked to read information about blood donation and to complete a health information form.

Next, you will undergo a mini-physical. You’ll answer some basic questions about your health history, and you’ll have your temperature, iron level, blood pressure and pulse checked.

Once it’s determined that you’re healthy enough to donate, your arm will be cleaned, and a needle will be inserted into your arm to draw blood. It usually takes about 10 minutes for the collection bag to fill with roughly one pint of blood. Once the bag is filled, the needle will be removed and your arm will be bandaged.

After you donate, your body needs a few minutes to adjust to the change in fluid levels. You’ll be offered refreshments and time to rest before getting back to your regular activities.

To help make your blood donation experience as pleasant as possible:

– Before donating, drink extra water, eat iron-rich foods (such as beans or red meat) and get a good night’s sleep.

– On the day you donate, wear a shirt or blouse that can be raised above your elbow.

– Avoid heavy lifting (or snow shoveling) for about five hours after you donate.

– Drink plenty of fluids for a day or two after you donate.

Next Barton Blood Drives are Aug. 2 and Oct. 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the El Dorado County Library on Rufus Allen Blvd.

To learn more about donating blood, visit http://www.givelife.org.

– Dan Kerr is the president of the Barton Auxiliary.

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