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More Teens Stepping Up As Blood Donors

Last updated on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

(UNDATED) - Blood centers are becoming more dependant on younger donors to maintain the state’s blood supply.

But a new national study by the American Red Cross shows teenage donors are more likely to experience bruising, dizziness, fainting and falls than those who are at least 20 years old.

Dr. Dan Waxman with the Indiana Blood Center says over the last two years, they've found several ways to prevent those complications in teenagers. Doctor Waxman says a teenager should be well hydrated and eat a meal before donating blood. Just prior to donation, he has younger donors drink either a 12 ounce bottle of water or a sports drink. Dr. Waxman says that has really cut down on their adverse reaction rate.

He's also started drawing less blood from the teenage donors. All of these interventions have produced dramatically fewer complications.

As older adults stop donating blood, the younger donors are now stepping up to the plate. Waxman says if a teenager has a pleasant initial blood donation experience, their chance of becoming a lifelong donor is excellent.

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