When it comes to donating blood, the American Red Cross says that half of all donors give regularly – or about every 8 weeks, the most often they’re allowed to by law. But a new plan could chop the wait-time between donations down to just 4 weeks or - with a doctor’s note - down to as little as 2 days. Which could create a potential new group of “super donors” who could be counted on during a health crisis.
In the U.S., blood donations are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which has been consulting with blood experts to reduce the wait times. One doctor says that by making regular donors available on short notice, the blood supply could get a 10 percent boost. But, he points out that so-called “super donors” are unlikely to be needed during major disasters – like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina – because that’s when a lot of people line up to give blood. Instead, the most crucial blood emergency might be during a nuclear disaster, or a widespread outbreak of illness that lasts for months. But super donors wouldn’t be expected to turn into blood-giving machines. That’s because they’d only be allowed to donate at the 2-day interval once a year.
According to the Red Cross, more than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day or, one every 2 seconds. And, the lives of up to 3 people can be saved with a single donation. If you’d like to donate, the website is RedCrossBlood.org.