Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/09/2020 --There are many ways people can make a difference and show how much they value all lives. Intermountain Healthcare experts say one of the easiest ways to save lives is to donate blood.
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Blood supplies are essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illness, and traumatic injuries. Each blood donation can help save as many as three people's lives. Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured; they can only come from volunteer donors.
"Donating blood is life-saving," said Brett Christiansen, MD, and Emergency Medicine specialist at Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center. "The need for blood donations is still here, even during a pandemic. Traumatic injuries still occur, older people still fall, cancer patients and patients with chronic diseases still need blood - and - it is still safe to donate blood."
The American Red Cross is accepting all donors who are healthy and without fever or other ailments. A face mask is required to donate. A mask will be provided if necessary. All potential donors will have their temperature taken prior to entering the donation area. Anyone with a temperature over 99.5 F will be deferred.
Anyone wishing to donate can go to www.redcrossblood.org and search via their zip code for a list of all upcoming drives near them and to register. They can also call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
"Every precaution is being taken to ensure blood donors are safe," said Christiansen. "Getting or giving COVID-19 through blood donation is highly unlikely. New, sterile equipment is used for each donor. COVID-19 antibody testing is now available for all donations. Every donated blood unit can help save as many as three lives."
Donating blood benefits blood recipients as well as the blood donor. Helping others can provide many mental health benefits. Giving can help reduce stress, improve emotional well-being, and provide a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation. Donating blood is a great way to help others that you do not know.
Blood donors also receive physical health benefits. All potential donors are given a simple health screening to check their pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and hemoglobin levels. This free screening could detect underlying medical conditions or risk factors for certain diseases. Donated blood is also tested for several diseases, including: hepatitis B and C, HIV, and West Nile virus among others.
"There continues to be an urgent need for blood, platelets, and plasma," Christiansen said. "One donation can be transfused as whole blood, or separated into packed red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. All donated blood goes to save lives. The need to regularly give blood to prevent shortages in hospitals cannot be underestimated. There is a constant need for blood."
Blood donations help many people from infants to those over 100 years old. Some cancer patients need blood as chemotherapy may prevent them from producing their own blood platelets. Trauma patients sometimes need several blood transfusions when they have lost a lot of blood. Sickle cell patients require regular transfusions throughout their life to stay healthy and pain free. Burn patients or patients with chronic diseases also benefit from blood donations.
"The bottom line is, giving blood is simple and life-saving," Christiansen said. "There is always a need for blood. Blood drives are still being held. Be a hero, and register to donate today."
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see intermountainhealthcare.org.