Get Rewarded for Donating Blood This October

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The American Red Cross’ October Treat for Giving Blood is happening Oct. 1 to 31. If you donate blood, plasma or platelets during the month, you’ll receive a $5 e-gift card to a merchant of choice.

Appointments can be made online for any of their locations. Near Bellevue College, there are locations in Lake Hills, Redmond, Sammamish, Seattle and Mercer Island. Different locations take different types of blood donations. The blood donation process takes approximately an hour, but this varies depending on the type of donation. At the appointment, they’ll go over the requirements and your health history. Then, they’ll proceed with the donation, followed by a recovery period.

While all types of blood donations require you to be in good health, different types of donations also have different requirements and procedures. Whole blood, platelet and plasma donations all require you to be at least 16 and weigh at least 110 pounds. For Power Red donations, it is slightly different. 

Whole blood donations contain all of the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets surrounded by plasma. It can be used as a whole or separated to help people. The donation process takes about an hour. To be eligible to donate whole blood, donors must meet the above-mentioned age and weight requirements, and also must not have donated in the past 56 days.

Platelet donations collect the platelets from your blood and return the plasma and red blood cells to your body. Platelets are tiny cells that form clots in the blood to stop bleeding. They are vital for cancer treatments and organ transplants. The donation process takes two and a half to three hours. To donate, donors must not have donated in the past seven days.

Plasma-only donations take the plasma from your blood and then return the red cells and platelets to you. The plasma can then be given to anyone in an emergency or trauma situation to stop bleeding. The donation process takes about an hour and fifteen minutes. Type AB plasma is the only universal type that can be given to anyone. Other than the standard requirements, to donate, you must have type AB blood, and must not have donated in the past 28 days.

Power Red donations take the red blood cells out of your blood, then safely return the platelets and plasma to you. Red blood cells are most frequently needed and used by anyone getting a transfusion. The donation process takes about an hour and a half. Female donors must be at least 19, weigh at least 150 pounds and be at least 5’5”. Male donors must be at least 17, weigh at least 130 pounds, and be at least be 5’1”. Power Red donations are for donors with type O, A negative or B negative blood who haven’t donated in the past 112 days.

Before donating, make sure to schedule an appointment online; eat iron-rich foods such as red meat, poultry, beans and spinach; and be well rested and hydrated. Additionally, when donating platelets, aspirin cannot be taken for two days leading up to the appointment.

On the day of the appointment, bring your driver’s license, or two other forms of identification, and know the medications you’re currently taking.

After the donation, you’ll relax in the refreshment and recovery area to have a snack or drink. It is recommended you continue to drink extra liquids, eat iron-rich foods and refrain from heavy exercise for the rest of the day.

For more information about blood donations or their work, visit the Red Cross website.