Save Lives with Blood DonationNational Blood Donor Month in January is the time to help save lives with blood donation. According to the American Red Cross, 9.2 million people in the U.S. make 15.7 million blood donations annually. The American Red Cross has invited eligible blood donors to make a resolution to give blood regularly in 2015.

Since 1970, January has been observed as National Blood Donor Month to recognize the importance of giving blood and platelets and to create awareness about the impact blood donors can have in their communities. This is also the time to celebrate the generosity of those who volunteer to help others in need.

Donors of all blood types are needed, especially those with O negative, A negative and B negative. Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days and must be constantly replenished to maintain an adequate supply for patients.

Immunohematology laboratories become busy places this time of the year. Tests performed include identifying suitable blood donors, blood collection and processing, routine blood typing, providing compatible components for transfusion, testing blood for unusual blood group antibodies, and tissue typing. The donations are readied to provide blood components for trauma victims, surgical patients, and patients with bleeding disorders or diminished blood cell production.

Laboratories need to ensure that they have efficient, risk-free systems in place for collecting blood. Leading manufacturers provide products that make the blood collection process safe and efficient. For instance, Greiner Bio-One supplies hospitals, clinical laboratories, blood donation centers and the diagnostics industry with complete solutions for venous and capillary blood collection. The company’s innovations include safe products to protect against needlestick injuries. The VACUETTE® Winged Safety Blood Collection Set comes with a novel needle system featuring a safety shield that activates automatically as the needle is being removed from the vein.