(Graphic by Autumn Mariano)
(Graphic by Autumn Mariano)

Do you bleed purple, Wildcats? In this case, it doesn’t matter because that’s actually not one of the questions asked during a blood donor health questionnaire.

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, but only 10 percent of the population donates, according to the American Red Cross. An urgent need for blood remains, and eligible donors can help prevent an emergency blood shortage situation.

The donation process takes about an hour. First, you register and complete a physical. Next, you recline in a chair as you donate approximately a pint of blood. Lastly, you get to relax and enjoy refreshments and snacks.

The donation process is not painful, as only a quick pinch is felt when the needle is inserted. It takes just eight to 10 minutes to fill the bag, which can be used to save up to three lives.

To make your donation experience as easy as possible, be sure to eat a balanced meal, drink plenty of water, get a good night’s sleep, wear clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up and bring a photo ID. After your donation, you’ll want to avoid vigorous exercise for the rest of the day. Alcohol should also be avoided for the next 24 hours.

The blood you donate usually stays here in Utah. Cancer patients, premature infants, victims of car crashes or other accidents and some surgery patients are all examples of people who may require blood and benefit from donors. Remember, there is no substitute for human blood.

If the incentive of saving multiple lives isn’t enough encouragement, donating blood also has personal health benefits! It cuts your risk of heart disease, boosts your production of red blood cells, gives you an opportunity to receive a basic health scan, burns calories and lets you feel like a hero who is saving human lives.

If you are unable to donate blood for any reason, there are still ways to help. Consider organizing a blood drive or encourage others to donate. When people are asked why they do not donate blood, most simply say they never thought about it.

Ogden has two hospitals with blood donation services. Ogden Regional Hospital is home to Mountain Star Blood Services. McKay Dee Hospital’s blood bank is located in their laboratory. Both locations are open Monday through Friday and accept appointments. You can also watch for a Red Cross blood drive in your area or on campus.

Set aside one hour to roll up your sleeve, save lives and toast to the instant hero within you.

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