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Q&A with The Children’s Hospital

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Every month, we’ll be featuring a Q & A from Children’s Hospital on a different health topic, as it relates to you or your children. This month’s topic is Donating Blood!

Q & A: Donating Blood to The Children’s Hospital

What is unique about The Children’s Hospital’s blood donation needs?

Unlike centers that store blood from large donation events for later use, The Children’s Hospital must draw blood every day because our young patients need the freshest blood possible. More than adults, children need fresh blood to maximize successful transfusions. Some children with special needs can only accept blood five to 14 days old. Our doctors who transfuse blood to infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) prefer to use blood that is one to five days old. In 2008, Children’s performed more than 11,000 blood transfusions, requiring some 5,500 fresh blood donations.

How can I donate blood to The Children’s Hospital?

It’s easy – just fill out this form on the Blood Donor Web site or call 720-777-5398 to schedule an appointment.

What is the blood donation experience like?

Make an appointment or walk-in to the Blood Donor Center – the process is easy:

  • Fill out a form and a staff member screens you for eligibility.
  • A nurse checks your vital signs and blood. The nurse rubs alcohol on your inner elbow and tells you to look away.
  • You squeeze a stress ball a few times and you feel a quick pinch; blood donation has begun.
  • You squeeze the ball every three to five seconds for about eight minutes.
  • Although the time it takes to donate blood varies, you’ll be done before you know it. It generally takes ten to twenty minutes.
  • The nurse wraps your elbow and sends you home with water and snacks to replenish.
  • Before you leave, make an appointment for your next donation.

Do I need to prepare ahead of time?

Before donating blood, be sure you feel well and drink plenty of fluids and eat regular meals. Please reschedule your appointment if you are sick.

How often can I donate blood?

You can make whole blood donations every 56 days, if eligible.

Am I Eligible To Donate Blood?

You may be eligible to donate blood if you:

  • Are in good health
  • Have not donated blood in the last 56 days
  • Are symptom free of a cold or flu
  • Are at least 18 years of age, or 17 with written parental consent
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Have not delivered a baby in the last six weeks
  • Have no history of HIV/AIDS
  • Have not had any tattoos or body piercings within the last year
  • Have not traveled to a malaria risk area within the last year
  • Answer a series of medical history/lifestyle questions which determine eligibility

What kinds of blood donation are there?

There are two types of blood donation, including whole blood donations, which provide red cells and plasma, and apheresis platelet donations, which provide platelets, plasma or white blood cells. We also offer autologous blood donations (donations a patient provides for their own use later), directed blood donations (donating blood to someone you know), and therapeutic apheresis and stem cell collections (procedures to remove certain components of blood as treatment for illness or preparation for chemotherapy).

What if I don’t live near The Children’s Hospital main campus?

You can donate blood at one of our Network of Care locations. You can also contact the Blood Donor Center at 720-777-6373 to learn more about the Blood Mobile.

Next Month’s Topic:  Heart Health!  Do you have a question you’d like answered by The Children’s Hospital regarding hearth health?  Send them to JoAnn@milehighmamas.com

Stay tuned next week for our next installment of Mama Drama!

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