There is always a need for blood donation especially around the holidays as there are more vehicle accidents and the need increases considerably. But every day, there is someone somewhere who needs blood. Currently only 3 out of 10 Americans donate blood.
The majority of donated blood goes to people with cancer, victims of traumatic accidents, those who have suffered burns or people undergoing surgery. Donated plasma is used to make 17 different products and contains important proteins, nutrients and clotting factors. Platelets are used to help clot blood and seal wounds. Leukemia and chemotherapy can reduce platelet count.
Blood has a short shelf life: platelets (up to 5 days), red cells (42 days) and plasma (up to 1 year) so the supply has to be constantly renewed.
Donated blood is always tested for blood type, Rh groups (positive/negative) and cell abtibodies. The blood is also tested for infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Human T-cell Lymhpotropic Virus-HTL.
For information or to donate, contact your local American Red Cross or visit www.givelife.org or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543).