Facts about blood donations

Thursday, August 19, 2010

When you sign up to donate blood - what happens to your blood?

According to Monette Anderson of the Puget Sound Blood Center, each pint of blood is separated into components (platelets, plasma and red blood cells) to save three lives.

From one person's donation of blood, PSBC can obtain red blood cells, which have a life span of 42 days, platelets, which have a life span of 2 days and plasma which has a life span of 1 year.

Only 5 percent of eligible donors actually give blood, despite the fact that 92 percent of us will need a blood transfusion if we live to the age of 72. 

PSBC strives to maintain a four day supply of each blood type and support over 70 clinics in western Washington. Blood goes to treatment for anyone who has been injured or is receiving treatment for trauma and burns, cancer, blood and immune diseases, surgery, heart disease or organ or marrow transplant.

During the summer months PSBC had added difficulty meeting the goal of 900 donors a day. Student donations are 30% of the donor base so with high schools and colleges out, as well as many on vacations, they see a significant decrease.

Hemophiliacs usually need platelets as well as transfusions of red blood cells. They are often given platelets to help their clotting factors.

The Bloodmobile will be accepting donations in Richmond Beach on Saturday, August 28, at the Shoreline Fire Training Facility, Richmond Beach Road.  Appointments can be made at www.psbc.org or by calling 800-398-7888. Mid-day times (2:00 to 3:00 p.m.) are especially encouraged. Walk-ups are welcome.More info: Tom Petersen, 206-546-4865.

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