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Donating blood can save lives

You also learn important health information about yourself.

SARASOTA, Fla — January is just about over, but there's still time to do your part to help save a life during National Blood Donor Month. 

Right now, a simple blood donation is more important than ever because many people who normally donate stopped because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to Joan Leonard with the Suncoast Blood Center, the process is safe and you could find out some important health information.

"You'll find out your cholesterol level, blood pressure, pulse, you are asked a  series of questions. Your blood is tested and you will also find out if you have the antibodies for COVID-19," Leonard said.

Those antibodies can be turned into convalescent plasma. That helps treat the most serious COVID patients in the hospital.  Some people may not even know they have those antibodies unless they get tested.  

"With the uptick of 120 thousand in the hospitals, there's still such a need for the convalescent plasma," Leonard said. 

Plus, when you donate, you'll find out your blood type. 

Some studies have shown people with type O blood had a slightly lower risk of getting severely ill or dying from COVID-19. Leonard warns though that the studies are still early. 

"Yeah, there are studies being done and I don't know that there's anything conclusive right now so we all have to take precautions," Leonard said. 

However, there are other important reasons to know your blood type. 

  1. To let someone know in case you ever needed an emergency transfusion.
  2.  Many studies show that certain blood types are predisposed to certain medical conditions like heart disease or cancers.

To find out how and where to donate blood, contact the Suncoast Blood Center or One Blood.

Also, the American Red Cross and the NFL are partnering up this January by inviting football fans and blood donors to join their lifesaving team and score big for patients in need. Donors who give between Jan. 1-31 this year will be entered to win a trip to the 2022 Super Bowl in Los Angeles. 

More information on how to donate and enter can be found here.

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