National Blood Donor Month may take on even more significance as the US continues to face rising cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to the pandemic. The hard winter months will see a continued rise in cases, and blood donations can help those suffering from severe cases.
The American Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet, and plasma donations for antibodies. Not only will the blood donations help for the traditional ailments, but when blood tests positive for the antibodies, it can be used to help current Covid patients through convalescent plasma transfusions – a key treatment for severe cases.
The Red Cross follows essential safety procedures to keep donors safe. During the winter months, blood donations tend to decline due to traditional seasonal illnesses and a rise in inclement weather. National Blood Donor Month has been a way to offset that drop with a campaign to find more donors.
The Red Cross and blood banks around the country encourage people to make appointments to donate.
The Importance of National Blood Donor Month
January, 1970 became the first National Blood Donor Month after a declaration from president Richard Nixon.
Here are some facts from the Red Cross on the importance of blood donations in the US:
- About 36,000 units of red blood cells, 7,000 units of platelets, and 10,000 units of plasma are needed in the US every day.
- Sickle cell disease affects between 90,000 and 100,000 people in the US, and these patients may require transfusions throughout their entire lives.
- Many cancer patients will need blood through the duration of chemotherapy treatments.
- Car accident victims can need as much as 100 units of blood to survive.
Each year, about 13.6 million units of blood are collected in the U.S. Only about 3 percent of the eligible population donate annually. These donations save lives and this is why they are so critical.