Historically, according to the Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals (ADRP) the month of January is a bad month for collecting blood donations. Due to the holidays, the cold and illnesses, organizations like the Red Cross are less likely to receive the amount of blood they need to cope with accidents, sickness and surgeries.
Because of this, the month of January is the chosen month for promoting blood donation.
The Red Cross website can connect you to any blood drives that may be ongoing or coming up in your area. Log onto the Red Cross website. On the top right hand side is a space for entering your zip code.
Local schools, libraries and community centers may also have the same information.
Donating blood is relatively simple. The Red Cross advises that you will need to be well-hydrated before you arrive. Wear a loose-fitting top so that there is easy access to your arm. You will need to bring along your ID and a list of any medications you take.
A quick chat about your general health as well as information about where you live or have traveled will be necessary. A blood test will be done to make sure your blood is initially healthy.
If it turns out later that something is discovered in your blood to make you ineligible to donate, you will be informed.
Once your blood has been tested, an IV will be inserted and about a pint of blood will be drawn. It takes about 10 minutes for the actual blood donation though the entire process can take up to an hour. (If you were instead interested in donating plasma, that would take up to two hours. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS for plasma donation info. )
After blood is drawn, you can read, listen to music, or just relax for about a quarter of an hour to make sure you feel okay and don't feel dizzy or weak. Some juice and cookies will be provided for you as you rest.
Drink plenty of water for the rest of the day and don't overexert yourself. You can go home, knowing that you may have just helped to save a life!
So can everyone donate? The short answer is no.
I cannot donate.