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Donating blood is at worst a minor inconvenience when you consider the difference you can make. Here’s what to expect:
1. Find a place to donate. The American Red Cross, which collects 40 percent of the nation’s blood donations, has an easy-to-use location tool. Independent licensed blood centers and hospitals also collect blood. To find one near you, search online for “blood donation ” and your city or town.
2. Make an appointment, if you want. You don’t always need an appointment. Many donation locations take walk-ins. But donors with appointments have priority.
3. Prepare. Before your donation, hydrate by drinking an extra 16 ounces of liquid. Also, eat a healthy meal that doesn’t include foods high in fat.
4. Register. Sign in. You’ll need to show identification, such as a driver’s license or blood donor card. A staff member will give you basic donation information to review.
5. Get a mini-physical. In a private interview, you’ll provide your health history and list places you’ve traveled. A staff member will also check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level.
6. Donate. You’ll be seated to begin the actual donation. A staff member will insert a needle in your arm. It will take 8 to 10 minutes to collect a pint of whole blood.
7. Relax. After the donation, you can enjoy beverages and snacks in a refreshment area. Stay about 10 to 15 minutes to make sure you’re OK. If you experience dizziness, you shouldn’t drive, so you might want to arrange for a back-up ride.
Also of interest: Make a difference with modest charitable giving.
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