January is recognized by the American Red Cross as National Blood Donor Month. This recognition is designed to help raise awareness of the importance of donating blood.
During the holidays, people are busy with family, work, and holiday festivities. Having a Blood Donor Month at this time reminds people to make time to donate, despite the busy time of the year. Donating blood is something that is done by Americans daily, and is a necessity to keep people alive. People are always in need of blood donations, due to accidents and diseases. Almost 40% of the United States population is eligible to donate blood, but less than 10% of those people actually donate regularly.
Almost everyone has the opportunity to donate blood. The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, located at 2604 2nd Avenue in Muscatine, can help. To donate blood, donors go through a simple but important process.
You start by completing a donor registration form, and then you will be asked questions about your travel history, health, etc. Next you will be given a mini “health exam,” checking blood pressure, your temperature, and your pulse. As well as, having a drop of blood taken from your finger to test that your blood contains enough red cells to safely donate.
After this, your arm will be cleaned in the area where they will draw the blood. From there, a pint of blood will be drawn. After donating, you receive a snack and drink to balance your blood sugar level, preventing you from passing out.
“Muscatine has great donors. They are really good about coming in regularly,” says Barb Rabedeaux with Muscatine’s Mississippi Blood Center.
Muscatine has donors, but donation centers are always in need of more. Local businesses host blood drives year round in which those who are eligible to donate can participate. Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center also does a blood drive twice a year at Muscatine High School, giving students an opportunity to donate with parental permission.
“We are saving lives,” says Rabedeaux. “There is no way we could save lives without blood from blood donors.”
Without donors, many people may not be alive today. Donating blood is simple and easy to do. To find out more about donating blood, or to host a blood drive, visit Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center or give them a call at (563) 264-2967.