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Healthy You

Be a hero, give blood

Monday, January 15, 2024 1:26 PM

By Endeavor Health

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.

Blood donations help people of all ages — including trauma and burn patients, those battling cancer, chronic diseases or severe infections, and heart surgery and organ transplant patients. Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent delays in vital medical treatments for these individuals.

There’s been a 10% overall blood donation decline since March 2020 and the American Red Cross is facing an emergency blood shortage.

What if there wasn’t enough blood available when you or your loved one needed it?

Hands holding paper cut out of blood

Blood cannot be stockpiled; it can only be stored for about 42 days (and the shelf life for platelets in a blood bank is commonly only a few days), so the supply needs to be constantly replenished.

Donating blood is one of the easiest, most rewarding ways to give back in a time of need. Your donation could make the difference between life and death for someone else. One person’s donation could save three lives in the hospital. Three teaspoons of blood could save a baby’s life.

Donating blood also has some benefits for the donor as well. You get a mini check-up before you give, including having your temperature, blood pressure and pulse taken. If there’s a problem with your blood, you’ll find out, which could alert you to potential health problems.

If you’ve never donated blood before, you should know it’s a simple, painless process. The donation itself doesn’t take long — only about 8-10 minutes on average.

There’s a good chance you meet the criteria to give blood. For most blood donations, you must be at least 17 years old, in general good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. Before donating blood, it’s important to get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of fluids and eat a nourishing meal.

There is no substitute for blood and the need for it is vital. Only 5% of age-eligible people donate blood yearly.

Learn more about how to donate blood.

NorthShore University HealthSystem, Swedish Hospital, Northwest Community Healthcare and Edward-Elmhurst Health are now united under one name, Endeavor Health. We’re setting a new standard for healthcare that’s focused on you, because your best health is our endeavor. Learn more.