Throughout the month of January, many Texarkana citizens might have noticed a lot of blood drives happening around the city. Sometimes held at grocery or corner stores, sometimes held at schools or colleges, these drives serve a vital purpose in our community. When it comes to public health, blood donations save the lives of hundreds of patients every day, but some people might be wondering how blood donations work.
When we hear terms like ‘universal donor’ or when we’re told that some people ‘cannot give blood,’ it might be confusing for anyone who wants to make a difference. To help you learn more about blood drives and how you can take part in them, Texarkana Emergency Center is here to shed some light on this medical practice and explore how helpful it can be for our local communities.
How Blood Donations Contribute
When someone is injured and bleeds too much, we all know that blood transfusions can save lives. But outside of that, what are blood donations used for?
Many people don’t realize just how many procedures blood donations can be used in. Transfusions are used in surgeries and to treat severe medical conditions like burns, cancer, and chronic conditions like sickle cell anemia. All of these conditions can benefit from blood donations, whether they use red blood cells, plasma, or any other aspect of a blood donation.
Which Blood Should be Donated
It can seem like a silly question, but a lot of people ask it. Which kinds of blood should be donated? With various blood types out there, and terms like ‘universal donor’ or ‘difficult match,’ it might be confusing for some people who are new to donating blood.
Whenever doctors refer to a ‘match,’ they refer to which kind of blood can successfully be transfused with a patient’s. This refers to different blood types, in A, B, AB, O, and positive or negative variations. These different blood types have slightly differing biochemistry, which is why mixing them can lead to health complications. But, when you pair up blood types with similar biochemistries, then a patient has a much faster recovery.
When blood drives take place, nurses and doctors are looking for any kind of blood. Any blood type could be a match to other patients, after all. However, there are two blood types which are especially appreciated. AB blood types are one of them, and these blood types are rare, which can make it harder to find matches. The second desirably blood type is O-negative, which is a blood type that is compatible with any other blood type, making it a universal donor.
Who Can Give Blood
Sometimes, it is not wise for someone to donate blood. In situations where a potential donor is sick, doctors will not allow a patient to donate blood, but other than those temporary restrictions, who can and cannot participate in blood drives?
Most anyone can give blood, as long as you are old enough and in good health. Children should not donate blood, as their growing bodies are not yet strong enough to be drawing that much blood at a time. Anyone with a long-term health condition or certain genetic disorders should also refrain from donating. If you are worried about your ability to donate blood, then talk with your doctor about your family history and your health.
If you’re interested in local blood drives and contributing to Texarkana’s blood banks, then check out the Life Share Blood Center’s current schedule for past and upcoming blood drives in the area. This comprehensive list will help you see where you can see what the 2019 schedule will be. Texarkana Emergency Center supports our local blood drives and encourages anyone who wants to give blood to talk to their doctors and schedule in a blood drive today!
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