I donated blood for the first time today. There’s a constant demand for blood donors and I’ve wanted to do it for a long time. According to the American Red Cross, 41,000 blood donations are needed every day in the US alone.
For me, the whole process was pretty painless. When I got to the center, I had to answer a bunch of questions about my medical history, travel history, etc. To make sure I hadn’t been anywhere high risk, I had to go through every trip I’ve been on over the past year, down to the individual regions I visited. They had to call about some of the places I went to in Turkey, but I ended up being cleared. After that, it was pretty much like going to the doctor’s office. I guess I took a little longer than normal – I’m evidently too good a clotter for my own good. That’s actually kind of good news since I plan to start donating platelets instead of whole blood anyway. They gave me juice, cookies and a T-shirt, and I felt totally normal afterwards.
If you do decide to donate, be sure to make an appointment. Drink lots and lots of water before and try not to plan anything too stressful for after. Otherwise, it’s a pretty simple way to help out your community.
For more info about blood donation centers and drives in your area, call 1-800-RED-CROSS.