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Get Physical: Give Blood, Give Life

Blood donations are always needed by the American Red Cross. For most people, it's really not a big deal to give, but it can mean life to someone in need. So why not bring your significant other with you, and you'll be making a difference together.

If you've never given blood before, here are some things you should know:

  • You must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 lbs, and have not donated blood in the last 8 weeks (56 days).
  • You should be healthy and sickness-free.
  • You will be interviewed before giving blood to make sure you qualify -they'll ask about your health history.
  • If you are taking antibiotics at the time, you can't give blood, but birth control pills are fine.
  • If you've recently had acupuncture, it's acceptable, as long as you have proof that the needles used were sterile. The same goes with body piercings - if you don't have proof, you must wait at least 12 months.

Wondering about if you have tattoos? To find out,

  • If you've recently gotten a tattoo, you must prove that it was applied in a state-regulated facility, using sterile techniques. If there is any question about it, you must also wait 12 months.
  • If you've recently visited a country where malaria is found, you must wait 12 months. If you've lived there, you must wait 3 years. If you've spent long periods of time in countries where Mad Cow Disease is found, you cannot give blood.
  • You'll also get a brief physical exam - they'll take your pulse, check your blood pressure, your temp, and your blood count (with a tiny prick in your finger).

Fit's Tip: On the day you are planning to give blood, make sure you drink a lot of water all day long - it'll make your blood flow easier. Eat well too, because giving blood can really deplete your energy. Right after you give blood, they usually have juice, pizza, and snacks waiting for you though!

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Join The Conversation
SU3 SU3 8 years
Cute story RebeccaAdele :) This is so important. What's also important is that you know your blood type. It seems like everyone here knows a lot so that is fantastic. :) GREAT post!
RebeccaAdele RebeccaAdele 8 years
Thank you so much for making this post! I'm O positive (Universal donor!), so I try to donate blood twice a year. I love the idea that my blood is used to save THREE LIVES! Last time I donated, it was Halloween. I was dressed as Wonder Woman and thought it was appropriate that I saved some lives that day ;)
misogi misogi 8 years
I'm O negative, but I just don't give blood. It's not a religious conviction, it's because of my nationality...for a while, people from Haiti weren't even allowed to give blood. So I'll never give my blood, but I'll give almost anything else from my body that I can. It's selfish, but I'm a weird person.
wynter wynter 8 years
My MIL works for a blood center, so we know how important it is. I donate when I can (usually anemic), and my husband can't donate because he lived in England for a few years during the Mad Cow Disease scare. I'm not sure why they won't let my hubby donate, but they turn him down. I hope my boys will understand the benefits of donating when they get older, because they're both O- and are universal donors. I've always found that strange since I'm O+ and my husband is A+. :)
JessNess JessNess 8 years
I tried to give blood once. I have really small veins even though I drink tons of water and workout. The girl who was inserting the needle on me wasn't the greatest and completely missed my vein....it hurt like a bitch too!!! So I wasn't able to donate but I tried!!
EcannDallas EcannDallas 8 years
as someone who has received a blood transfusion, im VERY grateful to people who give blood. i cant for various reasons, but definitely would if i was able!
llendril llendril 8 years
i had the same experience when i was 17, cutelilbunny. i was really scared to try again, but finally decided to do it this past year and it went very well! i always liked these red cross top ten lists: top ten reasons to donate blood- http://www.givelife2.org/donor/top10.asp top ten excuses people give for NOT donating- http://www.givelife2.org/donor/top10excuses.asp
cutelilbunny cutelilbunny 8 years
I'd turned 17 not too long before I gave blood. I almost fainted halfway through, and managed to make it to the end after drinking 3 cups of orange juice. When I got home, I threw up quite a few times, and my limbs felt really heavy. I'm all for giving blood and helping others, but I think I'll wait till I'm older before I try again. I'm thinking about donating my plasma now, and maybe enter the bone marrow registry.
cutelilbunny cutelilbunny 8 years
I'd turned 17 not too long before I gave blood. I almost fainted halfway through, and managed to make it to the end after drinking 3 cups of orange juice. When I got home, I threw up quite a few times, and my limbs felt really heavy.I'm all for giving blood and helping others, but I think I'll wait till I'm older before I try again. I'm thinking about donating my plasma now, and maybe enter the bone marrow registry.
Feesje Feesje 8 years
My hemoglobin levels are very low too. In fact, I once needed an actual blood transfusion, and I've always been grateful that there are blood donors out there who are willing to donate. You really save lives! Ilendril: I have to take iron supplements as well, and I also take a vitamin C supplement at the same time. Make sure it's a 'slow release'-supplement: it releases small amounts of vitamin C during the entire day. It really helped me absorb the iron better.
Feesje Feesje 8 years
My hemoglobin levels are very low too. In fact, I once needed an actual blood transfusion, and I've always been grateful that there are blood donors out there who are willing to donate. You really save lives!Ilendril: I have to take iron supplements as well, and I also take a vitamin C supplement at the same time. Make sure it's a 'slow release'-supplement: it releases small amounts of vitamin C during the entire day. It really helped me absorb the iron better.
llendril llendril 8 years
make sure you take steps to increase your iron before you donate! this is especially important for women. i have been sadly turned away on several occasions because my hemoglobin count wasn't quite high enough. red meat, raisins, dark green vegetables . . . or even take an iron supplement (with a vitamin c supplement at the same time, as vitamin c helps your body absorb the iron). try to also reduce the amount of your calcium intake leading up to your donation day, because calcium makes it more difficult for your body to absorb the iron.ha ha. sorry to sound like a stern teacher. but i think giving blood is important and it's very unfortunate to be told 'no, we won't let you do this.' plus, the red cross has newer machines for testing hemoglobin, and i'm told that since they started using them, they have had to turn away MANY more people than in the past. so take precautions beforehand!
llendril llendril 8 years
make sure you take steps to increase your iron before you donate! this is especially important for women. i have been sadly turned away on several occasions because my hemoglobin count wasn't quite high enough. red meat, raisins, dark green vegetables . . . or even take an iron supplement (with a vitamin c supplement at the same time, as vitamin c helps your body absorb the iron). try to also reduce the amount of your calcium intake leading up to your donation day, because calcium makes it more difficult for your body to absorb the iron. ha ha. sorry to sound like a stern teacher. but i think giving blood is important and it's very unfortunate to be told 'no, we won't let you do this.' plus, the red cross has newer machines for testing hemoglobin, and i'm told that since they started using them, they have had to turn away MANY more people than in the past. so take precautions beforehand!
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