Everything You Need to Know About Donating Blood

Everything You Need to Know About Donating Blood

Donating blood is a pretty important endeavor. 

All over the world, blood transfusions are required in order to help people with medical emergencies where an immediate, emergency infusion of blood is needed to help prevent further negative consequences due to blood loss. 

UnityPoint.org describes the major benefits of blood donation as such:

“The biggest benefit of blood donation is that it saves lives. Donations are essential for trauma patients and people undergoing a variety of situations, including surgeries, transplants, chronic illnesses, blood disorders including sickle cell disease and hemophilia, preterm birth and cancer.”

As you can see, blood donation is incredibly important, for a number of reasons. 

So in today’s blog post, we’re going to dive deep into the topic by discussing everything you need to know about blood donation. 

Let’s pull back the curtain and talk about it. 

Can Anyone Donate Blood?

According to the American Red Cross, there are a few basic requirements that you need to meet in order to be eligible for Whole Blood donation

You must be in good health and feeling well. You need to be at least 16 years old (in most states). And you must weigh at least 110 pounds. 

For Power Red Donations, there are a few extra requirements. 

Men must be at least 17 years old, at least 5’1” tall, and weigh at least 130 pounds—and women need to be at least 19 years old, at least 5’5” tall, and weigh at least 150 pounds. 

What About Platelet Donation?

Here are the American Red Cross requirements for Platelet Donation

You must be in good health and feeling well. In most states, you need to be at least 17 years old. And you need to weigh at least 110 pounds. 

What Can Keep You From Donating Blood?

There are a few common restrictions that you should know about if you plan to donate blood. 

According to GoodRX.com, here’s a list of general health issues that’ll keep you from being able to donate. 

  • Pregnancy
  • Having a fever or an acute infection
  • Feeling unwell
  • Suffering from a cold or flu
  • Having trouble breathing
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Cancer of the blood
  • You’ve been the recipient of an organ transplant
  • Hemochromatosis
  • You’ve had a positive HIV test or have been diagnosed with AIDS
  • You’ve recently been exposed to hepatitis B or C
  • You’ve been recently exposed to malaria, ebola, zika, or a range of other illnesses

Of course, it would be impossible to list all of the technical requirements in one article. But for the most part, this sums up the major and common issues that would keep you from being able to donate blood. 

Can You Donate Blood If You’ve Been Smoking Or Using Marijuana?

With marijuana being legalized across many of the 50 states, there’s now some confusion about whether or not you can donate blood if you’ve been using cannabis. 

Well, here’s what you need to know

The ‘short and quick’ answer is this:

Using cannabis does not necessarily keep you from donating blood—though if you show up ‘high’ to the facility, they’re likely to turn you away. 

Likewise, if using cannabis has caused your blood pressure to rise or fall beyond allowed parameters, that could also contribute to you not being able to donate. 

In short cannabis does not necessarily disqualify you from donating blood or platelets. 

What About Synthetic Cannabis?

Synthetic cannabis is actually different. 

If you’ve been using a synthetic version of the substance, it’s better to avoid donating plasma—as synthetic plasma can actually contain anticoagulants that may contaminate your plasma. 

If you’re in doubt, you can (and should) always ask the person administering the donation for guidance. 

Being open and honest about anything that could prevent you from donating is always best, as this will help to protect not only you, but also the people who will invariably be given your blood and/or platelets and plasma after donating. 

Donating blood is important. But it’s also important to abide by the rules, and to do it safely. 

Conclusion

There you have it.

Everything you need to know about donating blood—along with some information about plasma, and even platelets. 

Hopefully, this post has helped to answer some of your most pressing questions. 

Equipped with this knowledge, you’re now ready to get out there and make a huge difference for all kinds of people. 

Kareem

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