The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted our nation’s blood supply. Businesses, schools, and other organizations cut back on blood drives. Many drives were also cancelled because of staffing shortages. On top of that, shortages occur when there are disasters, flu outbreaks, and even during the summer months when many people go on vacation.
As COVID-19 mandates have lifted, we have begun to replenish the supply, but blood is needed every single day. In fact, someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. That’s why it is important to donate regularly.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy recently launched the Giving = Living campaign to encourage Americans to donate blood—and then donate again, and again, and again. Donating multiple times per year ensures we can help keep our nation’s blood supply steady and blood is available when it’s needed.
Blood and its components help save the lives of trauma patients, those with blood disorders, people going through cancer, and more. There are different kinds of blood donation. Each one is used for a variety of life-saving procedures and treatments:
- Red blood cells are given to people who have blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease or chronic anemia caused by kidney failure or bleeding in the stomach. They are also given to people who have acute blood loss from trauma. Sometimes babies born very early need a transfusion to increase the number of red blood cells in their bodies.
- Platelets are most often used to treat cancer. They are also given to patients who have open-heart surgery and organ transplants.
- Plasma is used for patients with liver failure, bad infections, and serious burns.
- “Whole blood” is usually given to people who have life-threatening injuries or people in surgery.
There is no substitute for blood. Donors are the only way to supply blood for those in need. By donating blood, you can make a difference to millions of Americans. Learn more about blood donation and make an appointment to donate today.