National Blood Donor Month has been observed in January since 1970 with the goal of increasing blood and platelet donations during winter – one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs. During the winter months, inclement weather often results in cancelled blood drives, and seasonal illnesses like the flu may cause some donors to become temporarily unable to donate.
Blood Donation Types:
Blood (or Whole Blood)
- This is the most common type of donation, during which approximately a pint of ‘whole blood’ is given.
- The blood is separated into transfusable components – red cells, plasma, platelets and/or cryoprecipitated AHF.
- You are eligible to donate ‘whole blood’ every 56 days.
- During this type of donation, an apheresis machine collects the platelets and some plasma and returns the red cells and most of the plasma back to the donor.
- Platelets are a vital element of cancer and organ transplant treatments, as well as many surgical procedures as they help prevent massive blood loss.
- A single donation of platelets collected by apheresis can constitute one or several transfusable units, while it takes about four to six whole blood donations to constitute a single transfusable unit of platelets.
- During a plasma apheresis donation, the blood is collected by a machine, which separates the plasma, red cells and platelets and returns the red cells and/or platelets back to the donor.
- While donors with Type AB blood can only give red cells to other Type AB recipients, they are the universal plasma donors. The ‘right type’ donation for AB donors may be an apheresis donation of plasma or plasma and platelets.
- Power Red is done with the help of an apheresis machine which collects the red cells but returns most of the plasma and platelets to the donor.
- Power Red from Type O donors and donors with Rh-negative blood types play a very important role in maintaining blood supply levels.
- Donors need to meet slightly higher hemoglobin and body height/weight requirements in order to be able to give a Power Red.
- Donors are eligible to give Power Red every 112 days.
DID YOU KNOW?
O-type blood is commonly known as “The Universal Donor” because it can be given to any recipient. More than half (57%) of U.S. Hispanics have O-type blood, the highest of any ethnicity