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As a teen, can I donate blood?

Over the past 20 years, I have had the pleasure of participating in blood drives at our high school. Students are such enthusiastic donors. Depending on the state in which you live, you can donate blood at 16 years old with signed parental permission. Also, depending on the state, 17 year olds may donate without signed parental permission. There are also weight guidelines: usually you must weigh more than 100 pounds to donate.  Teens must take extra care to follow recommendations for activity restriction, fluid and dietary intake. Teens are at greater risk for bruising at the donor site or feeling faint after donating. As the school nurse, I usually would have 3-4 teens visit my office the day after blood drives with symptoms of fatigue and dizziness, usually because they did not replace fluids adequately or they resumed physical activities too soon. If you are a teen interested in donating blood, you can visit the American Red Cross blood donation site for more information. 

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