Blood Donors: The Reasons to Give
In England alone, more than 8,000 blood transfusions happen every day. Nevertheless, just 4% of adults are currently donors, even though many would satisfy the eligibility criteria. So what is it that might put people off donating? Below we highlight some important reasons to give blood whenever you can, if you are able to.
You might need it too
Did you know that one in every four of us will need blood over the course of our lifetime? Everyone expects it to be readily available, but very few of us go out of our way to donate it.
Blood can be split
Blood transfusions are needed in a wide range of instances, but with today’s technology, blood can even be split into plasma, platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells. This is called component donation, and it allows, for example, individual parts of the blood to be collected as and when they are needed most. For example, if there is a need for platelets NHS Blood can quickly ask platelet donors to attend a session, which often means you can give blood more regularly if you wish to.
You’re helping more than one person
Some people think that one blood donation won’t make a difference, but if everyone felt this way, then we simply wouldn’t be able to provide blood transfusions at all. In actual fact, just one donation can help up to three adults or 12 babies.
So many uses
Blood isn’t just used when someone has lost a lot of blood in an injury. Blood can be used in a number of life-saving ways. Anyone from a pregnant woman to a cancer patient could need blood. Blood can even be used to help treat burns and can be life-saving for children with severe anaemia.
It doesn’t last
However, blood can only be stored for so long; red blood cells can be stored for up to 35 days, plasma for a year and platelets can only be stored for seven days. And because it’s difficult to predict the demand, blood donations are needed all the time.
Quick, easy and pain-free
Giving blood is a really quick and simple process, most people don’t find it painful at all and most people can go back to work on the same day. You are advised to avoid heavy lifting, pushing or picking up heavy objects for a few hours after giving blood, but other than that, you can resume normal activity. It’s now even possible to register online, which will allow you to find a donor session and manage your appointments, making it easier than ever. The biggest reason of all, however, is that by giving blood, you’re giving someone life – it may be the most precious gift you ever give.
Requirements to give blood
It’s likely that you’ll be eligible to give blood, but it makes sense to check that you fit the criteria first. If you have had a piercing or tattoo in the last four months, you’ve recently travelled outside of the UK, or you currently have an infection or are on antibiotics, this can affect your ability to donate blood.