The American Red Cross is calling on all eligible donors to step up and give blood or platelets to someone in need. The Red Cross says its blood supply has reached emergency levels, with 50,000 fewer donations than expected. This shortfall leaves about half the readily available blood products on hand today than at this time last year.
Northern Bedford High School students and some community members donated a portion of their blood on Friday, January 20 in the high school gymnasium to contribute to the blood drive. The students and community members donated around 36 units of blood to The American Red Cross.
Student council president, Megan Keyser, said, “To prepare yourself for the blood drive, drink lots of water, eat a nutritious breakfast, and don’t be nervous.”
Several students were turned down due to low iron counts. According to the Hemoglobin Fact Sheet provided by the Red Cross, “The hemoglobin test measures the amount of protein called hemoglobin that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. In order to donate blood, a woman must have a hemoglobin level of at least 12.5 g/dL, and a man must have a hemoglobin level of at least 13.0 g/dL. For all donors, the hemoglobin level can be no greater than 20 g/dL.”
Sometimes people do not meet the required range for donating even though their hemoglobin level falls within the normal range. The normal ranges are 13.5 to 17.5 g/dL for men and 12.0 to 15.5 g/dL for women. It is more common for women to have low hemoglobin levels than men.
Non-eligible donors, as well as other donors, are encouraged to eat foods rich in iron and vitamin C.Iron-rich food includes beef, pork, poultry, liver, fish, iron-fortified cereals, beans or legumes, vegetables, fruits, enriched and whole-grain breads, and molasses.
Low iron levels are not the only potential reason there is a blood shortage. People may be dehydrated, not weigh enough, or are even too scared to donate.
For anyone a little unsure about donating blood, talk to your doctor or a representative at the American Red Cross to ease your nerves. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Each pint of blood could save multiple lives, so find the nearest blood drive and save a life!