Dr. Ravindra Sarode, a pathologist who heads the Transfusion Medicine and Coagulation Laboratory at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, urges people during this time of personal philanthropy to resolve to make a regular donation at the bank as well -- the blood bank.
Blood and its components are perishable -- the shelf life for platelets is only five days and there is often a shortage of this critical blood component, especially during a long holiday season -- Sarode says.
"So now is the time for a New Year's resolution to donate blood at routine intervals, preferably twice a year," Sarode says in a statement. "To jog your memory, you might schedule your blood donations to coincide with your birthday and wedding anniversary or some other personal and perennial event to time your visits to the blood bank at five- or six-month intervals."
One donation of whole blood helps three or four patients because whole blood is then divided into three or four of its major components, such as red cells, platelets and plasma.
"You can choose to donate either whole blood or only platelets or red cells," Sarode says.