I have already given away my blood group in the title of this post and I’m in the 8% of the population that have this type. I recently donated blood again although I was staggered to learn that currently 96% of people rely on the 4% that do donate. So far I’ve never needed the help from the blood bank but I would like to think safe blood would be available whenever and wherever it is needed.
Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures.
Most people can give blood. As long as you are fit and healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66 (up to 70 if you have given blood before). I had a Donor Health Questionnaire to fill out and then a confidential discussion with a blood collection assistant about my general health and the answers on the Donor Health Questionnaire. A small drop of blood was taken from my fingertip to make sure I wasn’t anaemic. The blood donation part takes about 10 minutes and just under a pint (about 470mls) of blood, which works out at no more than 13 per cent of your blood volume is taken. After I gave blood,I rested for a short while and then had some light refreshments, a chat with some kind strangers and left. Male donors can give blood every 12 weeks which is approximately every 3 months or 4 times in a 12 month period. Female donors can give every 16 weeks or approximately every 4 months.
The day before I donated blood I made sure I drank plenty of fluids avoiding alcohol! wearing a loose sleeved top is a good idea. I noticed some people were slightly nervous which is normal! I heard one member of staff suggesting that it was ok to bring along a book to help relax during the visit. After donation some people can feel faint but the staff will always look after you if that is the case.
Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. If you read this and go onto give blood for the first time I would love to hear about your experience!