Welcome to January, one of my favorite months. I love January because it, like New Year’s Day, the holiday that starts the month, represents a fresh start and a clean slate. In January we celebrate traditional holidays like New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and even wacky ones, such as National Popcorn Day (Jan. 19th) and National Handwriting Day (Jan. 23rd). One of my favorite observances is celebrating January as National Blood Donor Month.
The beginning of a new year is a common time for hospitals and clinics to hold blood drives. Especially so, when the nation has been hit hard by winter illnesses, the flu, pneumonia, and more that may have hospitalized many.
Winter weather disasters, an increase in traffic accidents due to poor weather and holiday travelers, plus much more can also leave blood donation centers in special need of donations in January. Although we see an increase in blood drives this month, please know that there is never a bad time to give blood and there is always a need.
Whether you are a first-time donor or a regular, you should know the importance of these drives and how pints of blood are needed to assist medical staff in communities where natural disasters have occurred.
To give during the winter is especially vital if part of the country has endured harsh storms and an increase in traffic accidents because of black ice.
Why else should you give blood? Consider these important points:
- You offer another person a chance at better health. Particularly if you are Type O Negative – the universal donor – your blood is needed to assist medical personnel in hospitals and disaster areas.
- You will discover something new about yourself. If you have never before given blood and don’t know your type, you will learn when you give blood. When you visit the American Red Cross to give blood, you will receive a donor card to keep that has your type printed. It’s always good to know your blood type in the event of a family emergency.
- You will feel better about yourself (and your body will feel better too!) You may feel queasy or lightheaded after the donation but knowing you have contributed to a good cause is a great way to begin the year. Contact your local Red Cross chapter or health care system and ask about the next blood drive. Give something of yourself this year.
To find a blood drive near you and get involved, visit www.RedCross.org.