Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, is it safe to be a blood donor?

A:  Good question, since January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month.  Donating is a safe, pain-free (except for a needle prick) process that takes about an hour.  Most of that is spent filling out a questionnaire and having blood pressure and blood iron level checked. According to the American Red Cross (which provides about 40% of the blood needed in the USA), if you are at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and are in generally good health, you likely will be eligible to donate blood.  The questionnaire will ask about your health history and medications to ensure that your blood is safe for a recipient.

All blood types are needed, but Stanford Hospital recently notified the news media that they are particularly in need of Type O negative.

Good news: Blood donors now can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive or donor location.  To get started, and learn more, visit and follow the instructions at that site.

You need to bring your driver’s license (or blood donor card, or two other types of identification) when you check in to donate blood.  You also can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or to get more information.

The reason this is the month of a national blood donor drive is that winter weather tends to decrease the number of donors making appointments or dropping in to donate, right at a time when there continues to be a great need for these life-saving contributions.

Can you spare one hour to possibly save someone’s life?