One unit of donated blood can help up to three different people in need. By donating your blood on a regular basis, you can help countless lives. However those 45 minutes can give you more than satisfaction after a good deed and an energy bar. Donating blood can be beneficial for the donor as well as for the person receiving the blood.
The most obvious benefits of blood donation are health related. Every person who wants to donate their blood is evaluated before the donation. Their blood is screened to test for blood transmitted diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. The lab also monitors the hemoglobin level as well as the iron levels. Only after those tests are complete and the blood is deemed safe for transfusion the blood bank will proceed.
Additionally, Bloodcenters.com and HealthMad.com report that donating blood can help prevent iron overload. That in turn leads to fewer heart diseases.
Iron, while important for your body, in too big quantities can result in creation of free radicals, which are reported to cause various chronic diseases (previously mentioned heart diseases, as well as cancer).
And while iron levels can be monitored and controlled using a proper diet, the studies show that donating blood on a regular basis (i.e. every six months) can be helpful in preventing heart diseases from developing into serious conditions, reducing chances of heart attacks, strokes and finally deaths.
Apart from the health benefits available for blood donors, it should also be said that the entire procedure poses absolutely no risk for the person making the donation. It doesn’t matter whether you donate your blood at the hospital, at the Red Cross blood drive or at the private clinic. All safety protocols are the same.
Each needle is sterilized and took out of the protective package right before inserting into the vein. Medical personnel assisting with the donation is certified and experienced in the procedure. Your condition is closely monitored during the entire donation, as well as immediately after (in case the blood loss makes you feel faint or dizzy – in which case the medical personnel will help you lie down to allow your body to adjust). From the moment your blood is screened for diseases up until you leave the blood bank, there is no point where you can contract any kind of disease or expose yourself to any kind of danger.
Therefore, only things you can worry about are the additional benefits offered to people donating their blood by various blood banks and blood centers.
While all centers should offer you a snack, or an energy bar after you make your donation (to help your body reproduce the blood it lost during the donation), however most of them also offer additional services, as a ‘thank you’ for donating your blood.
Some centers offer free parking lots. They also provide you with childcare for the duration of the donation. Other offer to perform full blood tests and provide you with the results. Some medical centers offer a special member card and discounts for people who donate blood on a regular basis, while other clinics offer a mini-physical every two months.
You can also check if the clinic you donate your blood at offers mobile blood drives that can be arranged to fit into your daily schedule. Which means you don’t have to drive to the clinic, the clinic will come to you.
It’s worth remembering that many clinics and medical centers aim to treat their blood donors the best they can, because blood is crucial when it comes to not only saving lives but basic surgeries or other procedures. That means they are actively trying to encourage people to give blood, most of the time offering services mentioned above.
So before you decide to donate blood (and you should, at least consider it), I would advise you make a quick search in your area for medical centers and clinics that have a blood donor program. And then see how good it feels to be a donor.