Younger Blood Donors - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/20/08

Younger Blood Donors

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In Texas, and in most states, you have to be 17 years old to donate blood. But a few states allow blood donations to begin at age 16.

While complications are rare, a new study indicates that the youngest donors are most likely to experience some type of adverse reaction.

"In 16 and 17-year-olds, 11 percent will experience a reaction compared to eight percent of 18 and 19-year-olds and about three percent of donors older than 20 years," said Ann Eder, M.D., Ph.D., with the American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross analyzed nearly 150,000 blood donors at 9 blood centers across the country and found that teens who give blood are more likely to walk away with some dizziness, and in some cases, may faint. There were even some injuries reported when they fell a few minutes later.

The report is not discouraging young donors, but encouraging blood centers to watch for any signs of a reaction after giving blood, especially in young people.

The study also said that, no matter what age, first time donors and female donors are more likely to feel lightheaded after giving blood. But one thing you can do to help prevent that is to eat something prior to donating blood.

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