January is designated as National Blood Donor Month (NBDM) for encouraging donors to give blood. It is an awareness campaign created by The American Red Cross to promote blood donation. It is designated during this time because blood is usually in short supply during winter because of the holidays and inclement weather which makes people more prone to illness. January is the most difficult month for collecting blood donations not just in the United States but in other countries as well.
In the United States, about 39,000 units of blood are needed in hospitals and emergency medical treatment facilities for patients with diseases, organ transplantation procedures and to help save the lives of victims of accidents. The awareness campaign encourages those who are at least 17 years of age and meet other donor requirements to donate blood.
Purpose of National Blood Donor Month
The main goal of National Blood Donor Month is to encourage people to donate blood during this time when there is usually a considerable decrease* in donation. This way, local blood inventories will be sufficient to cover the increase* in traumatic injuries due to icy roads and other unsafe conditions and activities during winter.
January has been designated the National Volunteer Blood Donor Month since 1970 because this is the month wherein the most challenges in recruiting blood donors are presented. The extreme weather, busy schedules during the holidays and increased illnesses can keep even the most dedicated blood donors from donating blood. On top of that, the weather also increases* the incidence of traumatic injuries like vehicular accidents.
Local Red Cross chapters need about 650 blood donors each day in order to meet the needs of patients in hospitals. However, there is usually a 10-20% decrease* in blood donations during winter. This is partly a result of blood drive cancellations due to weather. There are also recruited donors who are not able to donate due to cold or flu symptoms. A lot of unpredictable factors come to play which negatively affects blood supply during January according to the American Red Cross Central Ohio Blood Services Region. This is why it is vital to encourage everyone to donate during this time.