Blood donation might sound scary, but in reality it couldn’t be more simple. Every time you donate blood, you are saving 3 lives. This article outlines 4 things you may not have already known about blood donation. If you are interested in getting involved, you can sign up here.
O Negative Is Vital in Emergencies
As you may know, there are various different blood types, but O negative is particularly important. That is because O negative can be given safely to anyone whose blood type is not known. After a serious accident, there may not be time to find out someone’s blood type, so O negative is generally given. In fact, O negative is carried by paramedics and even on air ambulances, meaning it can help save someone’s life before they event reach the hospital.
Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Donors are Particularly Important
Fewer than 5% of blood donations in the UK are from BAME communities, despite these communities making up 14% of the population. Unfortunately, some rare blood types are only found in BAME populations, and other blood groups are far more prevalent within these communities. In general, the best blood match typically comes from donors from the same background. This means it is crucial that Black, Asian and minority ethnic populations donate when they can – it will save lives!
Your Blood has Many Components
When you donate blood, it’s not just the red blood cells that are used. Platelets and plasma (components within your blood) are also used to save lives. Platelets help stop bleeding, and can be used in cancer treatment, whereas plasma can be used in crucial blood transfusions. Interestingly, the NHS are looking for people who’ve had COVID-19 to donate plasma, as this could be used to develop treatments for coronavirus.
135,000 Donors are Needed Each Year
Young people & students are needed more than anyone else. This is because donors who donate once are more likely to do it again; if you start when your younger, it ensure there will be more blood for future generations and could save future lives. In total, 135,000 donors are needed each year, which equates to around 400 per day. In particular, 40,000 more black donors and 30,000 donors with 0 negative blood type are needed urgently.