Approximately 4.5 million patients need a blood transfusion each year, and 1 out of every 7 patients that enter a hospital will need a blood transfusion. So why do only about 3% of the United States population donate?
Donating blood is one of the easiest ways to give back to others. There is a great need out there for people donating blood. The thought of it alone can scare many people, but the fact is that the actual blood donating part takes around 10 minutes. The other time that you are at 'giving' blood you will be getting a mini-physical exam, quick registration, and eating afterwards. It is a rewarding feeling of knowing that you will be able to save up to 3 lives with your pint of blood. Your body currently holds anywhere from 10-12 pints of blood and is able to replenish the donated pint in under 48 hours.
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Approximately 80% of the United States population will need blood by the time they are 75. With a percentage this high, it is more likely than not that at one point in your life you may be on the other side needing someone else's blood. It is a great thing that while you are healthy you are able to give to someone in need in case you may need it at a later date.
Not only is donating blood easy, donating blood is also extremely safe. There are no health risks for donating blood and the nurses will ensure you are comfortable throughout the duration of donating. After donating you will get some sort of drink, usually high in sugar, and some kind of snack. Since your blood is 97% water, it is extremely important to drink a lot of water before and after donating blood.
Advocate Good Shepherd supports local blood drives throughout the year. The next blood drive hosted at Good Shepherd is on June 26 from 8-5. Anyone that is over the age of 16 and more than 110 pounds is able to donate. Please donate blood if you are able as many people are in need. If you have any questions or concerns about blood donation ask you primary care physician.
Dr. Leo Kelly specializes in internal medicine. He has 31 years of practice and is affiliated with Advocate Good Shepherd and Advocate Lutheran General. He studied at the University of Illinois Medical School.