Every year countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). This year it will be celebrated on the 14th of June, and the event aims to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank the voluntary blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
Blood is essential to an effective health care system; it helps patients survive surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. The need for blood is constant - over 5,000 litres of blood are needed in the UK every day, and each donation can save or improve up to three lives.
Why is it important to donate blood?
Every donation saves a life and the need for blood never stops. Donated blood could go to a mum who’s just given birth, someone who’s been in a car accident, or a child with cancer to name just a few. There are currently just 785,000 blood donors in the UK, the NHS needs this to rise and has recently launched its biggest ever blood donor recruitment drive. To make up for the fall in new donors during the pandemic, 100,000 new blood donors are needed to register to donate by the summer this year to future proof care.
How is donated blood used?
Blood is made up of a number of components, including red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Each of these can be used to treat many different conditions. Blood is usually separated into its individual components or parts, so a patient can be given the particular component they need. This makes the most of every blood donation, as the components in one unit of blood (or one donation) can be used to treat different patients. Donated blood or components are given to a patient in a blood transfusion.
Around two-thirds of the blood donated in England is used to treat medical conditions including anaemia, cancer, and blood disorders. The remaining third is used in surgery and emergencies including childbirth.
Medical Travel Compared has created this clever guide to show the ways in which your amazing donated blood could be used.You & Your Extraordinary Blood
Who can give blood?
Most people can give blood, you can give blood if you:
- are fit and healthy
- weigh between 7 stone 12 lbs and 25 stone, or 50kg and 158kg
- are aged between 17 and 66 (or 70 if you have given blood before)
- are over 70 and have given a full blood donation in the last two years
At the moment the NHS particularly needs:
- Male donors - men can donate more often than women
- Black donors - Ro blood is needed and a common type for black donors
- O negative donors - hospitals need this blood type most regularly, as it can be given to all patients
After you donate blood your body will replace the blood volume (plasma) within 48 hours. It will take four to eight weeks for your body to completely replace the red blood cells you donated.
How do I give blood?
Giving blood takes around an hour, with the donation itself lasting just 5-10 minutes. The first thing you need to do is register to give blood by visiting here: Before Registering to Become A Blood Donor
Tens of thousands of people are doing something amazing by registering to the growing community of blood donors, ready to save lives when the NHS needs them. Every blood donation helps to save a life.