Giving blood is a brilliant thing to do. Your decision to give could save someone else’s life. But there are a few things you should know before heading to your local blood bank.
Why Give Blood?
Donated blood saves lives. There are many people alive today who wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for generous blood donors. It is important that health services maintain their supplies so that they are well stocked if anyone needs an emergency transfusion. The main components of blood are red cells, plasma and platelets. They can be used to treat a huge array of different illnesses and conditions. However, the shelf life on blood is limited. Red blood cells can be stored for up to 35 days and platelets can be stored for up to 7 days. Supplies of these need to be topped up regularly. Plasma has more longevity and can be stored for up to three years.
Requirements To Give Blood
Not everybody can give blood. You have to be fit and healthy and fit a few specific requirements. Use a Doctor App to gain advice as to whether you’d be an eligible candidate and to keep on top of your health. Here are a few basic rules when it comes to whether you can give blood or not.
To give blood, you need to be between 17 and 65 years of age. Children and the elderly cannot give blood, but they can receive it if they are in need of it. If you are female and under 20 years of age and weigh less than 10st 3 lb (65kg), it is likely that you will have your blood volume tested to check that you are able to donate.
You need to weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) to give blood.
There are strict restrictions on donating when you engage in certain sexual activities. You cannot give blood or blood platelets:
If you are a man who has engaged in anal or oral sexual activity with a man in the past 12 months.
If you are a woman who has sex with a man who has ever had oral or anal sex with another man.
If you are, or have a partner who is, HIV positive, a hepatitis B carrier, a hepatitis C carrier or HTLV positive.
If you or your partner has ever received money or drugs for sex.
If you or a partner have ever injected drugs. These include tanning agents and body building drugs or steroids.
If you or your partner have been sexually active in parts of the world where HIV and AIDS are common.
Groups That Should Especially Consider Giving
There’s a shortage of certain blood types, so it’s an especially good idea for individuals with these types to consider giving. Find out if you have a rare blood type here. If you are black, asian or of any other minority ethnicity, patients of the same background are especially in need of donations. Minority communities tend to have higher levels of certain blood sub-types. The majority of donors are also over 45, so it’s important that younger people start to donate more too. If you have O Rh blood, you are gifted. Your blood can be used to treat anyone of any blood type. This blood type is rare but definitely something that should be donated if you have it.