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Health Information For Teens
You might think that donating blood is most important during a natural disaster or other major event where many people are injured. But hospitals everywhere always need donated blood. In fact, each year blood transfusions help save 4.5 million lives.
According to the American Red Cross, there’s a 97% chance that someone you know will need a blood transfusion at some point. One donation could save up to three lives. And a single accident victim may need as many as 100 pints of blood.
Most people over the age of 17 can donate blood. In some states, you can donate blood at age 16 if you have a parent’s permission. The American Red Cross requires donors to:
When donating blood, take these steps to make sure you stay safe and healthy:
When you get to the blood bank, you’ll answer a few questions about your medical history. You’ll also be asked about any recent travel, infections you may have, and medicines you take. Your answers help the blood bank staff know if you are healthy enough to give blood. Then they’ll check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and blood count.
The actual donation part of giving blood usually takes about 10 minutes, and is a lot like getting a blood test.
You should tell the technician helping you if:
This will help prevent a fainting spell, and keep you safe while you give blood.
After you donate, you may feel a little lightheaded or dizzy. These side effects usually go away after a few minutes. Be sure to drink extra fluids during the 24 hours after you donate. If you still feel unwell after that, call your doctor or have someone else take you to the nearest emergency room.
All donated blood is checked for viruses (such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, syphilis, and West Nile virus) and bacteria. Any blood with viruses or bacteria is destroyed. If your donated blood has any of these germs, the blood bank will notify you.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates blood banks in the United States. They make sure that all needles and other equipment used for donating blood are sterile and used only for one person, then thrown away. This ensures that nobody gets an infection or disease from giving blood. Blood centers must also pass regular inspections by the FDA to stay open.
For more information on where to donate and what else is involved, contact your local blood bank, hospital, or the American Red Cross. Donating blood is a great way to help out your community — you could even save someone’s life!
Find out what the experts have to say.
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Find out about the mysterious, life-sustaining fluid called blood.
About 5 million people a year get blood transfusions in the United States. This article explains why people need them and who donates the blood used.
Blood might look the same and do the same job, but tiny cell markers mean one person’s body can reject another person’s blood. Find out how blood types work in this article for teens.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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