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5 Things You Should Know Before You Roll Up Your Sleeve

The American Red Cross reports a continuing critical need for blood donations.

Sign up to donate blood at redcrossblood.org. Photo credit: Patch file photo
Sign up to donate blood at redcrossblood.org. Photo credit: Patch file photo
As summer winds, the critical need for blood and blood products continues. According to the American Red Cross website, there's an urgent need for platelet donors, as well as those with O negative, A negative and B negative blood. 

There aren't any blood drives happening in West Bloomfield over the next week, but you can sign up for events in Farmington Hills and Bloomfield Township at redcrossblood.org

Here's what you should know before you go:

1. Drink plenty of fluids. 

The Red Cross recommends downing an additional 16 ounces of non-alcoholic beverages before your donation. 

2. Have something to eat, but skip the burgers and fries.

High fat foods can throw off the results of blood tests done before your donation. Stick to lean meats, a salad (light on the dressing and add-ins) and other low-fat foods. And include iron-rich foods. 

3. Bring important information. 

That includes a list of your medications, your donor card, photo ID or other forms of identification. 

4. Relax!

If you wish, you can bring along some music to listen to during the donation process. And afterwards, steer clear of heavy lifting or vigorous exercise. 

5. Keep up your energy after you donate.

Take the snack the Red Cross offers to everyone after they give blood, and drink four extra 8-ounce glasses of water or other beverage (avoid alcohol) over the next 24 hours. 

Giving blood takes approximately an hour and a half. To make an appointment to donate on August 15, go to redcrossblood.org and use the sponsor code costickcenter.

For more information, call 1-800-REDCROSS.

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