The need for blood never ends. In the United States, someone needs blood every two seconds. And right now, there is a critical need for blood donations as the American Red Cross faces its worst blood shortage in over a decade.
When you donate blood you’re helping cancer patients, trauma victims and people with chronic illnesses get the life-saving treatment they need. But did you know that giving blood can also help you both mentally and physically?
How donating blood helps your mental health
With a single blood donation, you can save the lives of three people. Knowing that you’re helping people in your community can give you a sense of self-worth.
Along with that self-worth, you also enjoy these mental and emotional benefits:
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved emotional well-being
- Fewer negative feelings
- A sense of belonging and reduced isolation
You may never meet the people whose lives you save, but you know you’re doing something positive to help the world.
Physical benefits of blood donation to the donor
Giving blood also helps your body physically. Here are more benefits of blood donation to the donor:
- Free health checkup: Before you give blood, someone will check your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature and hemoglobin levels. You can share these numbers with your primary care provider if you’d like.
- Balance iron levels: When you give blood, the amount of iron in your blood reduces until your body replaces it. Too much iron in your blood can lead to hardening of the arteries. On the flip side, if your iron levels are low you will be asked to wait to donate for your safety.
Additionally, some researchers found a connection between people who donate blood regularly and cardiovascular disease. They believe giving blood on a regular basis might help reduce cardiovascular disease risk. When you give blood, you may notice lower blood pressure, and the act of giving may improve the way your blood flows in your body.
Giving blood is a safe activity
Staff will follow safety protocols to protect the donors, the other staff members and the supply of blood. They clean equipment between donations and always use new needles with each person.
Although the rules for who can donate blood can vary from state to state, most healthy adults can give blood.
Again, the American Red Cross has declared the worst blood shortage in more than a decade. Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent delays in vital medical treatments. All blood types are urgently needed at this time.
Visit the American Red Cross website to learn more and how you can sign up to make a blood donation.