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Blood Donation Basics
17 Feb 2022
Most of us don’t worry about whether there will be blood available if we or a family member needs it. We assume other people will donate blood, but in reality, blood donation is something we all should be thinking about as vital to a good healthcare system. And if we can’t donate blood, we should encourage others to do so.
Ensuring the blood supply is at a healthy level and that the blood donation distribution process is optimized is more complex than most people realize. To begin with, blood is perishable; it has a shelf life of only 42 days. Testing, processing and distributing blood to hospitals across the United States also takes several days.
Patients often can’t wait for blood to be delivered, especially in trauma situations, so hospitals and blood centers work to be good stewards of the blood supply by making sure they have enough on hand at any time but don’t overstock.
Finally, blood centers and hospitals also work to make sure they have the right mix of blood types to meet the needs of different patients. While hospitals keep blood products on the shelves for emergencies, they can order what they need any time, day or night, and the blood center will deliver it to them as quickly as possible.
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Ready to donate, but unsure if you qualify? Or maybe you’ve been deferred in the past — but that doesn’t necessarily mean you still can’t donate. View our most up-to-date eligibility requirements.
Then, use any donate button to schedule an appointment.