Give Blood Day – 14th June 2018
‘Share life, give blood.’ This is the slogan for World Give Blood Day, an annual event that seeks to promote the lifesaving gift of blood donation. One of the main reasons for the day is to encourage younger, potential blood donors, who might be apprehensive to take the step and to understand that a moment of discomfort is all that stands in the way of saving lives. As a donor myself, I know how scary that first step is, but since finding out how easy and painless it is I now donate every 4 months. Women can donate less frequently than men due to having less iron in their blood, so the NHS will only allow female donations every 16 weeks to be safe.
Do you know your blood type? Blood is actually quite a complicated matter; certain blood types cannot mix while others are compatible. When you give blood your blood is screened for type and health; in the UK when you become a new donor you are given a keyring stating your blood type. You can add that information to the medical card on your phone etc. if you want to – helping paramedics to save your life more quickly if you’re unfortunate enough to be in an accident.
Some blood types are incredibly rare. For example AB Negative runs thorough the veins of only 0.6% of the population. This means that supplies on ice are very limited; if someone with this blood type is in need of an emergency blood transfusion, for example if there’s been an accident, stock of this type is going to be crucial in saving their life. Your donation could make all the difference. O Negative blood type can be accepted by any, yes ANY, other blood type; meaning if there’s no time to find out someone’s blood type in an emergency situation paramedics will issue O Negative blood. You may have heard that the emergency helicopters carry O Neg blood on board and this is because vital seconds will be saved in a life or death situation, so you can imagine how important donation is when only 6.6% of the population carry it. Interestingly, people with O Negative can only receive O Negative blood, making it even more vital that blood donations are kept topped up. This, in turn, means a constant supply is needed.
The NHS Give Blood app makes it easier than ever to book, keep track of your donation record; rearrange appointments if you’re not well enough to attend an appointment and to discover how your precious pints have been used. It really couldn’t be easier. Blood Donation Day is June 14th 2018 so why not be a hero and make a donation? If it’s your first time, even better!
It’s never too late, or too soon if you’re old enough, to become a blood donor; just another way we can help each other out.