Blood Donation for Teenagers
A word to parents of teenage donors
Studies have shown blood donation to be safe for our youngest “heroes,” and LifeStream wants to ensure their continued health and well-being. After all, our young people hold the key through their generosity and compassion to successfully assisting patients in the future.
All of us lose iron when giving blood. Teenagers of both sexes are more likely than adults to be iron deficient, even before they donate blood. Among blood donors, teenagers join women under 50 years of age and frequent blood donors as being most at risk for iron deficiency.
To help prevent iron deficiency in teenagers, we recommend consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet. Healthy food choices are listed here (Eat Right for Healthy Blood brochure link?) so your teen can be on the right path.
However, iron is not absorbed very efficiently, even after eating iron-rich foods. For that reason, with your healthcare provider’s approval, LifeStream recommends your teen donor take 18mg of elemental iron every day for 60 days to replace iron lost during donation.
When taking iron supplements, please note that “slow and steady” is best. Taking larger doses for a shorter time will not help – and could result in unwanted side effects.
Rule #1: Always consult a healthcare provider about your teen donor taking iron supplements.
How can I learn more about iron stores and blood donation?
Additional information about blood donation and iron stores may be found at: https://www.ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer and http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/topics/ida.