Increased iron intake recommended prior to blood donation


Many people can donate blood, but even healthy donors are sometimes temporarily deferred due to low hemoglobin levels. The American Red Cross recommends eligible blood donors eat a well-balanced diet with extra iron-rich foods prior to their donation this fall.

During the fall, iron-rich produce such as broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, spinach, apricots and chard are in season and therefore more abundant.

Food can have two types of iron, heme and nonheme. The body can absorb up to 30 percent of heme iron, primarily found in meat, but only 2 to 10 percent of nonheme iron. Foods high in vitamin C, such as leafy greens, peppers and citrus fruits, help with iron absorption.

The Red Cross also recommends iron supplements for regular blood donors after consulting with their personal health care provider or pharmacist. Visit redcrossblood.org/iron to learn more.

Healthy blood donors help patients in need every day. Make an appointment to roll up a sleeve by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting redcrossblood.org.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Cook County

Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hines, 1 N. Wacker Drive in Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Zarem/Golde ORT Technical Institute, 5440 Fargo Ave. in Skokie, Ill.

Oct. 17 from 12-4:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble DePaul Center, 1 E. Jackson Blvd. in Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University, 2110 Sheridan Road in Evanston, Ill.

Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Alsip Park District, 12521 S. Kostner Ave. in Alsip, Ill.

Oct. 20 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Old St. Mary’s Church, 1500 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 8245 W. 111th St. in Palos Hills, Ill.

Oct. 21 from 3-7:30 p.m. at DePaul University Ray Meyer Fitness Center, 2235 N. Sheffield in Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at City of Chicago Department of Fleet & Facility Management, 30 N. LaSalle St., Suite 300, in Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 21 from 12-6 p.m. at Northwestern University Phi Delta Theta, 2347 Sheridan in Evanston, Ill.

Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Damen Student Center, 6511 N. Sheridan in Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 24 from 12-5 p.m. at DePaul Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave. in Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Divine Savior Catholic Church, 7740 W. Montrose in Harwood Heights, Ill.

Oct. 28 from 6-9:30 p.m. at North Star Lodge, 809 E. 42nd Place in Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at University of Chicago Red Cross Club, 1100 E. 57th St. in Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at University of Chicago Red Cross Club, 1100 E. 57th St. in Chicago, Ill.

DuPage County

Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Benedictine University Krasa Center, 5700 College Road in Lisle, Ill.

Kankakee County

Oct. 17 from 12-6 p.m. at American Red Cross Kankakee, 20 Heritage Drive in Bourbonnais, Ill.

Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Peotone Masonic Lodge 636, 120 S. McGuire Drive in Manteno, Ill.

Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lowe’s, 860 N. Kinzie in Bradley, Ill.

Oct. 24 from 12-6 p.m. at American Red Cross Kankakee, 20 Heritage Drive in Bourbonnais, Ill.

Oct. 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at American Red Cross Kankakee, 20 Heritage Drive in Bourbonnais, Ill. –Platelet donations only. Platelet donations are taken by appointment only.

Oct. 28 from 2-6 p.m. at Momence Fire Department, 15 N. Pine in Momence, Ill.

Oct. 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at SALT, 150 Industrial Drive in Kankakee, Ill.

Oct. 31 from 12-6 p.m. at American Red Cross Kankakee, 20 Heritage Drive in Bourbonnais, Ill.

Lake County

Oct. 25 from 2:30-7 p.m. at St. Martin de Porress High School, 515 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. in Waukegan, Ill.

Will County

Oct. 16 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fry Family YMCA of Metro Chicago, 2120 W. 95th St. in Naperville, Ill.

Oct. 28 from 2-7 p.m. at St. John Lutheran Church, 2650 Plainfield Road in Joliet, Ill.

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.