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Answering your questions about blood donation | 2 Wants to Know

2 Wants to Know talked with Maya Franklin from the American Red Cross to learn more about donating blood.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — One pint of blood can save three lives. The American Red Cross says their blood supply hasn't run so low in more than a decade.

2 Wants to Know talked with Maya Franklin from the American Red Cross to explain how things got so bad and what you need to know about blood donation.

Low supply

Franklin said fewer donors turn out during the summer. She said that typically rebounds during the fall, but it didn't this year.

Franklin encourages anyone eligible to donate as soon as possible. She said turnout also tends to drop during the winter, which could make a critically low supply even worse.

Where does your donation go

Blood donations benefit a wide range of people. Mothers who experience complications during pregnancy may need a transfusion. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy may require platelets, which comes from donors.

Franklin stressed blood transfusions are for more than trauma patients. Some people require them for maintenance. 

Donations and COVID-19 Vaccines 

Franklin said you don't need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to donate blood. However, if you are vaccinated, she said to bring your card with you.

She said there's no set time period between getting vaccinated and donating blood. Just make sure you're feeling well.

How to prepare

Franklin said there's a number of things you can eat prior to donating blood. The American Red Cross has a list on their site.

Franklin recommends eating foods high in iron like red meats, beans, fish or spinach. She also said people should drink an extra 16oz of water the day of donating.

Franklin said if you're schedule to donate blood, start eating well and hydrating early. Don't wait until the day of to change your habits.