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The Benefits of Donating Blood

How It Helps Others

Emily is a three-year-old girl who likes to go fishing with her dad and has a room full of pink, toys, and stuffed animals. She also has a rare blood disorder that requires blood transfusions every few weeks for her to survive. Emily, and so many others like her, wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for people who donate their blood to places like blood banks and hospitals.

Blood is needed for many more cases than just rare blood disorders. According to The Red Cross, blood is needed for cancer patients, trauma patients, Sickle Cell patients, burn patients, patients with chronic diseases, and so on. In fact, there are so many people that require life-saving blood that every 2 seconds, someone needs blood and/or platelets in the U.S.

Unfortunately, The Red Cross says that so many donors are needed because blood and platelets can’t be manufactured. Doctors and hospitals can only get them from volunteer donors. There is also an expiration date on blood and platelets. Red blood cells must be used within 42 days and platelets within must 5 days. However, one donation of blood has the potential to save up to 3 lives, which is why one donation is so important.

 

How It Helps Donors

While blood donations are incredibly important to recipients, they also provide benefits to donors.

  1. Get a mini physical

Before donating blood, you are required to get your vital signs checked to make sure you’re fit enough to donate. This can sometimes reveal health issues or infectious diseases that you may not have known about prior.

You also find out your blood types which can be useful in case of a future medical or surgical need or emergency.

  1. Support a healthier heart and cardiovascular system

Donating blood and platelets is linked to lower blood pressure rates. It can also help lower your risk for heart attacks by giving your blood vessels more room to work with less iron and blood blocking them.

Speaking of iron, donating also helps anyone with a condition called hemochromatosis. Someone with this condition needs to have regular blood removals to prevent a build up of excess iron. Donating is a great and easy way to do this.

  1. Improve your mental state

Participating in regular, altruistic tasks like donating blood are linked to an improved mental state and positive effects on levels of happiness. Improved mental states also mean a lower risk for depression and/or loneliness.

 

Eligibility

In general, people who are in good health and feel well, are over 16 years old, and weigh at least 110 pounds qualify to donate blood. Factoring in any health issues or restrictions, less than 38% of the population is eligible to donate blood or platelets in the U.S. but only around 3% of eligible people donate blood yearly.

 

Houska Automotive Blood Drive

Here at Houska Automotive, we understand the importance of donating blood which is why we host our annual blood drive. This year, Houska’s zombie-themed blood drive is on Friday, October 29 from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Garth Englund Blood Center. To be eligible, you need to be at least 18 years old (17 with a parent’s permission). New donors must weigh at least 120 pounds and be in good health. Prior donors must be at least 110 pounds. For more information or to sign up, visit Houska Halloween : Houska Halloween Community Blood Drive (signupgenius.com).

 

*Information for this article was gathered from Rasmussen University and New York Presbyterian Hospital.

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