Did you know January is National Blood Donor Month? Blood is something most of us don’t think about simply because we don’t have to. However, many people are in need of blood every single day. Here are a few facts from the American Red Cross on the importance of donating blood.

  • One donation can potentially save up to three lives.
  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

There are several different types of blood donations:

  • Whole Blood: Whole blood is the most flexible type of blood donation. It can be transfused in its original form or used to help more than one person when separated into its specific components of red cells, plasma, and platelets. This type of donation usually takes about an hour and is given to trauma patients and patients undergoing surgery.
  • Power Red: When someone gives a power red donation, they are giving a concentrated dose of red cells, which is the part of your blood used every day for those needing transfusions as part of their care. This type of donation uses an automated process that separates red blood cells from other blood components and then returns plasma and platelets to the donor. The process usually takes about 1.5 hours, and is given to trauma patients, newborns and emergency transfusions during birth, people with sickle cell anemia, and anyone suffering blood loss.
  • Platelet: In a platelet donation, an apheresis machine collects the platelets along with some plasma, returning the red cells and most of the plasma back to the donor. A single donation of platelets can yield several transfusable units, while it takes around five whole blood donations to make up a single transfusable unit of platelets. This process usually takes around 2.5-3 hours and is given to cancer patients and used in organ transplant procedures.
  • AB Elite Plasma: In an AB Elite plasma donation, the donor gives plasma, a part of your blood used to treat patients in emergency situations. AB plasma can be given to anyone regardless of their blood type, maximizing the donation. It takes just a few minutes longer than donating blood, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, and is usually used in emergency and trauma situations to help stop bleeding.

Donating is simple; just visit the American Red Cross website for a complete list of blood drives near you. Help save a life by donating today!