The importance of blood donation cannot be overestimated. Where there are people in this world, there’s a need for donation. A new tool has been developed as part of Medical Travel Compared’s campaign to highlight the amazing, vital nature of blood and the importance of donation. For those with a pre-existing condition, those who suddenly take ill, and those requiring emergency surgery, blood can literally be a life saver.
The Need For Blood Donation
In England alone, around 6,000 donations of blood are required each day, with the NHS Blood & Transplant Service estimating that 200,000 new blood donors are needed to continue this good work every year. A blood transfusion can help patients in a variety of ways. In 2014, the NHS estimated that 27% was utilised in surgery, 67% for blood/other medical conditions, and 6% for new mothers following childbirth.
Who Can Donate?
Generally speaking, those between 17-65 who are healthy and weigh between 7st 12lbs and 25st can donate. The age range increases to 70 if you’ve donated before, and over 70 if you’ve donated in the previous 2 years.
Every volunteer donates the same measure of blood, which, in the UK, is 470ml. After donating, red blood cells in your body need time to replenish, with men’s cells typically recovering at a quicker rate to allow them to donate every 12 weeks, and women every 16 weeks.
Certain health conditions may prevent you from donating. For instance, those with anaemia until treatment is completed and the deficiency resolved. You can find out more about various conditions and whether you can donate here.
You & Your Blood
MedicalTravelCompared is a comparison site to provide competitive rates and reliable insurance cover for those with pre-existing health conditions and the over 50s. They work with the most efficient insurers to compare numerous rates, taking the hassle out of you having to search and contact various providers for the best cover. In addition, their current campaign is to highlight the importance of blood and its donation. I have had the pleasure of trying their new tool for myself, which I have found to be fascinating and eye-opening, so I wanted to share it here.
With this interactive tool, you simply input your weight and it will calculate various interesting features about your blood, from the amount of it in your body (roughly 7% of total body weight) to the number of red and white blood cells you have.
Turns out, I started life with 1/2 a pint of blood, while consuming 3x this quantity in milk each day. I now have 4.9 pints of blood, with 13.9 TRILLION red blood cells! (The rest of my body is probably made up of tea, but there isn’t a tool to calculate that… yet).
Pretty cool, huh? You can try it for yourself here.
What Happens During Donation?
Blood donation drives are routinely held across the country in the UK. You may be sent information in the post or see it advertised in your local community. You can also check online to find your nearest centre and donation dates.
Before attending, it’s a good idea to eat well and be adequately hydrated with plenty of fluids. You’ll need to complete a health check form and basic screening on the day, where the team can assess it is safe and suitable for you to give blood. A tiny blood sample will be taken to ensure your haemoglobin/iron levels are good. When everything is ready, pressure will be added to your arm with a wrap or blood pressure cuff to make finding a vein easier.
The nurse will talk you through what they’re doing and what will happen, so you’ll be in safe hands. A needle will be inserted into your vein for the blood to be taken; obtaining the standard amount usually takes 5-10 minutes. Drinks and biscuits are available afterwards so you can rest for 15 minutes and rehydrate before leaving. If you’re feeling at all unwell or have any questions, nurses will be there to help you.
Do You Donate?
Prior to anaemia, pernicious anaemia, and weight loss through ill health, leaving me under the required weight to donate, I was a proud blood donor. If I were physically able to do it again right now I would do so in a heartbeat.
Do you donate? Or have you perhaps been a recipient of a blood donation?
If you can, donate. Save a life.
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