And a Bloody Good Morning to you too!
As tomorrow (Memorial Day) marks the official celebration/observance of those who have fallen in service to our country, today’s Installment focuses on how each of us can do our part to help others in times of need.
At one time or another in each of our pasts, I would reckon that the majority of us, for one reason or another, have given blood. For me, my first time as an adult came as an edict from my first boss in LA, Connie G. Thanks Connie, I still thing of you every time I donate!
Whatever your reason(s) have been in the past or are now, as there are many, did you know that:
someone in the United States is need of blood every three seconds?
60% of the US population will need a “blood donation” at some time in their lives, and yet less than 5% of the population donates regularly?
donating blood is not only safe, but health too? How is it healthy? Well, you’ll be “examined” for free with a check of your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and iron levels.
For males, there is actually a “life-saving benefit” to donating blood. Since we are at a higher risk for “hemochromatosis” (having too much iron) which can be potentially deadly where the high iron levels can lead to heart disease as well as other major health issues. Believe it or not, the data indicates that if men give blood three times a year, thus reducing their iron levels, they CUT IN HALF the risk of having a heart attack! How? While there is some debate, iron has been shown to speed the oxidation of cholesterol, a process believed to increase the damage to arteries that ultimately leads to cardiovascular disease. However, because all are not convinced, blood banks are leery of promoting this health benefit. They feel that altruism is the best motivator.
So, if you are inclined to begin helping others via the needle instead of the pen (as in writing a check), please follow the steps listed below in order to make the experience as relaxing and comfortable as possible. That way you might find yourself donating on a more regular basis.
First, remember the most serious “risks” are fainting or bruising. You can’t “catch” a disease from donating blood.
You must also:
be healthy, fit, and not suffering from a current illness. Avoid donating blood if you have a cold, a cold sore, a cough, a virus, or an upset stomach.
wait 24 hours after having a minor dental procedure and a month after major dental work.
drink plenty of water or fruit juice the night before and morning of your “donation”. This will help alleviate dizzy spells or you becoming faint. If you are donating plasma, drink at least 6 to 8 glasses. Avoid drinking caffeine – it will dehydrate you and make you more susceptible to fainting.
eat three hours prior to the “procedure”. Having food in your system helps to ward off lightheadedness. Some good choices include a light breakfast (oatmeal and juice) or lunch (sandwich and a piece of fruit). Avoid fatty foods for 24 hours prior to your “appointment”. The high levels of fat in your blood stream may lead to inaccurate readings on the mandatory screen tests and you won’t be allowed to continue.
eat iron-rich foods (eggs, whole grains and spinach) for two weeks leading up to your donation to help combat the iron “draw” that the bloods carries with it. Even more importantly, if your blood is needed, the recipient will benefit for the iron it contains!
Now, during the donation ask for a blanket if your hands or feet start to feel cold. Don’t be embarrassed! Take a deep breath before the needle goes and exhale as it is inserted. This will help you stay relaxed. If you hold your breath, you might pass out!
You need to be relaxed because nervousness can also cause your blood pressure to drop and can lead to dizziness. It also helps to be distracted. Talk to the person taking your blood or listen to your Ipod.
Don’t get up off the table until you’ve rested for at least 10 minutes and have a snack after you are done. Take your time. Don’t rush.
Avoid driving if you feel the least bit faint or if it is especially hot outside. Eat a high-protein meal consisting of beef, chicken or legumes and drink plenty of water to help get your body back to full strength.
Again, to remain well hydrated, avoid drinking alcohol for at least eight hours and avoid, yes, I am saying it, avoid exercise for the rest of the day.
Most importantly, if you begin to feel unwell at any time prior, during or even after (up to 16-24 hours) your donation, call your doctor immediately.
And last, but not least, the best thing you can do after you donate your blood is to make another appointment. You can “give” up to four times a year, with a minimum of 12 weeks between each donation.
Anyway, suffice it to say that giving blood is one way most of us can help others even if we don’t have the financial means to do so. Therefore, in order to contact your local donation center, call the American Red 1-800-GIVELIFE and make an appointment.
You’ll be glad you did. And, if ever you or someone in your family needs blood, you’ll be glad someone did too. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!
Also, remember that with the many recent disasters that have effected this country, and others (like the tornado in Oklahoma), a pint of your blood maybe as lifesaving as snatching a helpless person out of a tragic wreckage.
And, on this date, May 26 1998, we have a tie:
Beginning of the Paula Jones sex harassment trial vs President Clinton
The United States Supreme Court rules that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of LEGAL immigrants, is mainly in the state of New Jersey, not New York.