The Red Cross Blood Drive at St. Thomas has spots available for blood donors and volunteers. The drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 19 and 20, in Room 113, Koch Commons.

To make an appointment to give blood, log on to the American Red Cross website and enter St. Thomas’ ZIP code, 55105 (if needed, the sponsor code is 3518). To sign up as a volunteer, e-mail or stop by the Wellness Center, located in the lower level of Koch Commons.

To give blood, donors must be healthy, at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not have donated blood in the past eight weeks (56 days). “Healthy” means that donors feel well and can perform normal activities. For those who have a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, “healthy” also means that they are being treated and that the condition is under control.

Those unsure whether they are able to give (i.e., out-of-country travels) can call 1 (800) GIVE LIFE or check eligibility requirements for answers to specific eligibility questions. Eligibility requirements may vary for some states and blood centers. Final eligibility is determined by medical professionals at the time of donation.

Before donating blood:

  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Have a good breakfast or lunch.
  • Drink extra water and fluids to replace the volume you will donate (avoid tea, coffee and other beverages with caffeine).
  • Eat iron-rich foods – red meat, fish, poultry or liver, beans, iron-fortified cereals, raisins and prunes.
  • Avoid fatty foods, such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream. Tests for infections done on all donated blood can be affected by fatty materials (lipids) that appear in one’s blood for several hours after eating fatty foods. When this occurs and required testing cannot be performed, the blood may need to be discarded.

For more information e-mail the Wellness Center.