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50 Quick Facts

Facts about blood needs

1.

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood

2.

More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day

3.

One out of every 10 people admitted in a hospital needs blood

4.

Total blood transfusions in a given year: 14 million (2001)

5.

The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints

6.

The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O

7.

The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs

8.

Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S., 98% of whom are African American. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives

9.

More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.

10.

A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood. See more facts on blood needs for various medical treatments


Facts about eligibility

11.

You must be at least 17 years old, weigh more than 110 pounds, and be in good general health to donate (note: eligibility requirements may vary in some states and blood centers)

12.

A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days

13.

A healthy donor may donate platelets as few as 3 days apart, but a maximum of 24 times a year


Facts about the blood supply

14.

The number of blood donations collected in the U.S. in a year: 15 million (2001)

15.

The number of blood donors in the U.S. in a year: 8 million (2001)

16.

The number of patients who receive blood in the U.S. in a year: 4.9 million (2001)

17.

The volume of blood transfused to patients is increasing at the rate of 6% per year (2001)

18.

The demand for blood transfusions is growing faster than donations

19.

Approximately 60% of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood — only 5% do in a given year

20.

Blood cannot be manufactured — it can only come from generous donors

21.

Shortages of all blood types usually occur during the summer and winter holidays


Facts about the blood donation process

22.

Donating blood is a safe process. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded

23.

Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration and medical history, mini-physical, donation, and refreshments

24.

Every blood donor is given a mini-physical, checking the donor's temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hematocrit level (red blood cells count) to ensure it is safe for him or her to give blood

25.

The actual blood donation typically takes less than 10-12 minutes. The entire process, from the time you arrive to the time you leave, takes about an hour

26.

The average adult has about 10 to 12 pints of blood in his body. Roughly 1 pint is given during a donation

27.

All donated blood is tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other infectious diseases, before it can be released to hospitals

28.

Information you give to the American Red Cross during the donation process is strictly confidential. It may not be released without your permission except as directed by law


Facts about blood and its components

29.

Whole blood can be processed into red cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate. The total number of units of all of these components transfused in a year is 29 million (2001)

30.

It is possible to donate specifically only platelets or plasma. This process is called apheresis

31.

Most donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection

32.

Donated platelets must be used within 5 days of collection — new donations are constantly needed

33.

Healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets. The body will replenish the elements given during a blood donation - some in a matter of hours, and others in a matter of weeks


Facts about donors

34.

The #1 reason donors say they give blood is because they "want to help others"

35.

Two most common reasons cited by people who don't give blood are: "Never thought about it" and "I don't like needles"

36.

One donation can help save the lives of up to 3 people

37.

If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save over 1,000 lives!

38.

Red Cross donors are 50% male, 50% female

39.

The American Red Cross accepts blood donations only from voluntary donors

40.

Among Red Cross donors in a given year, 18% donate occasionally, 38% are first time donors, and 43% are repeat and loyal donors

41.

People with O- type blood are universal donors. Their blood can be given to people of all blood types. Only 7% of people in the U.S. have O- blood type

42.

Type O- blood is often used in emergencies before the patient's blood type is known, and with newborns who need blood.

43.

45% of people in the U.S. have type O (+/-) blood. This percentage is higher among Hispanics — 57%, and among African Americans — 51%

44.

People with AB+ type blood are universal donors of plasma, the liquid portion of blood. AB+ plasma is often used in emergencies, for newborns and for patients requiring massive transfusions


Facts about the American Red Cross

45.

The American Red Cross blood program started in 1940, under the leadership of Dr. Charles Drew

46.

The American Red Cross supplies approximately 45% of the nation's blood supply

47.

The Red Cross provides blood for patients in nearly 3,000 hospitals across the U.S.

48.

The Red Cross makes blood available to any patient who needs it — patients are not required to find donors to replace the blood they use (a practice common in Europe and some U.S. blood banks) allowing the patient and their family to focus on recovery

49.

80% of the blood donations given to the Red Cross are collected at mobile blood drives set up at community organizations, companies, high schools, colleges, places of worship or military installations. The remaining 20% are collected at fixed Red Cross donor centers

50.

The American Red Cross works with over 50,000 sponsors each year to hold more than 120,000 blood drives, providing convenient locations for people to give blood