There are a number of reasons why a person may need donated blood, whether they have lost blood in major surgery or they have an illness or cancer that makes them anemic. According to the American Red Cross, approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the United States. In spite of that fact, less than 10 percent of those eligible to donate blood actually donates each year. Learn more about the basics of blood donation, including information about blood types and donor eligibility criteria, by reading the infographic below. If you are eligible and decide to donate, you can find a blood drive near you at redcrossblood.org/make-donation.
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Lara is a digital editor for HealthCentral. She is the site’s staff writer, Sexual Health editor, and email newsletter chief. Previously, she worked as the patient education editor at the American College of OB-GYNs, where she became obsessed with learning about women’s health. She also freelances as a news writer/editor at WTOP.com. Connect with her on Twitter @laradesanto.