January is the traditional month to donate blood. The majority of regular blood donors plan on an annual donation during National Blood Donor Month, then during the year when a call goes out during emergencies or if certain blood banks are running low. One of the benefits of being a regular blood donor is that you are covering yourself and your family by keeping your blood-type available for immediate use if you or a family member have surgery or an emergency.
The very first Blood Bank opened in Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, in March 15, 1937, to assist with WW II casualties with blood transfusions for American soldiers.(1) Since then, the practice of routinely donating blood has always been esteemed as an act of patriotic service to our American family. Blood donations that supply our National Blood Banks made it possible to advance valuable new procedures like open heart surgeries and transplants in the 60’s and 70’s.
Currently, medical officials acknowledge that nuclear radiation destroys white blood cells. Stocking up on all blood types at all National Blood Banks is a valuable effort to prepare America in case of an emergency requiring blood transfusions that treat radiation sickness, to rebuild patient’s immune systems.(1)
Can I Be A Blood Donor?
According to the Red Cross, you must be 18 years old to donate without parental consent and weigh over 110 pounds. There are some blood borne diseases that prevent certain patients from ever donating blood, however. Blood Donors cleared from these diseases or restrictions are candidates for screening to donate.(2) The US Blood Services Dept. is regulated by the United States FDA.
There are guidelines restricting specific danger zones to eliminate contaminating our Blood Banks.
- People coming into the USA from certain countries
- Patients taking certain medications
- Certain sexual activities
- Using intravenous drugs
- Infected with HIV virus
- Diagnosed with AIDS, Hepatitis, or Chagas’ Disease
- Getting a tattoo from non-State Licensed facility in the past 12 months (3)
Where Can I Donate Blood?
There are permanent locations in every US State plus regular local Blood Drives, found especially during the month of January, which is our National Blood Donor Month.
- Official Blood Donor locations
- Local hospitals
- Red Cross
- Carter Blood Care
- Local Medical Mobile Blood Donor Vans
- Check with your employer, schools, and local community activity groups.