Bloody Brilliant : The Importance of Blood & Its Donation

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.

Caz  

Find out more about MedicalTravelCompared and their online tool.

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38 Comments

  1. September 25, 2018 / 4:24 pm

    If you can then you should. It’s a good thing to do and the need is great.

    Have a fabulous day and week. ❤

    • September 26, 2018 / 4:47 pm

      Exactly, spot on! Thanks for the comment & I hope you’re having a good week so far 🙂

    • September 26, 2018 / 4:35 pm

      I saw that on your blog, thank you very much, it’s very kind of you! 🙂

  2. September 25, 2018 / 5:50 pm

    Good share and very informative!

    • October 8, 2018 / 3:59 pm

      Glad you liked it, thanks Nisha! 🙂

  3. September 25, 2018 / 7:47 pm

    When I had an emergency c section with my oldest, I also needed a blood transfusion. When I was healthy enough again after she was born, I made it a point to donate double what I was given in a small effort to express my gratitude. Although some claim it is ok do donate blood having MS, I made a personal choice not to, because they still don’t know the cause and the amount of drugs I take daily, why risk it? The numbers you present today make me think maybe I should investigate further. Thank you for taking the time to look into it and share.

    • September 26, 2018 / 4:29 pm

      It’s wonderful to hear that a transfusion has helped you when you needed it, and so lovely of you to want to give back and donate as much as you could when you were able to. I would agree with you on erring on the side of caution given the MS and medications, but it wouldn’t hurt to enquire and see what they say. The fact that you want to, whether you physically are able to or not, counts for a lot. Sadly a lot of us with one illness or another are unable to donate, but with any luck more who are able to will rethink just how amazing blood, and how life-saving a 10 minute donation, actually is. Thanks for sharing lovely xx

  4. September 25, 2018 / 8:19 pm

    I used to give blood routinely, but because I lived in certain areas of the world, they won’t accept my blood anymore. I’d strongly encourage anyone who can donate to do so. A few minutes of your time and a little of your blood could save a life. Thanks for sharing this information Caz. A fabulous post, as always!

    • September 26, 2018 / 5:32 pm

      You’re exactly right, it’s a few minutes for the donor but a possible life-saver for the recipient. It’s great to hear you used to give blood when you could; obviously a lot of us can’t, but it’s the willingness to do so that counts and hopefully those that can will become more aware of how incredible blood and its donation can be. Glad you liked the post, Terri, and thank you for the great comment! 🙂

  5. September 25, 2018 / 8:22 pm

    What a wonderful tool, Caz, extremely enlightening.
    At 8 stone/52 kilos I have a little more blood than you, at the moment. When I was a young woman working in Sydney I gave blood a few times, however, they would never take the ‘normal’ amount, saying I was underweight at just over 6 stone. They eventually asked me not to return until I’d gained some weight. I’ve not donated blood since that time. Your post is making me think about the importance of donating, once again. 🙂

    • September 26, 2018 / 4:26 pm

      I’m glad you liked it, Carolyn, I thought the tool was brilliant too! I’m sorry you were unable to donate due to weight previously also, so it’s great to hear you’re around the 8 stone mark now. Would you like to try again with blood donation? It’s obviously entirely your choice, but it’s a great feeling knowing what an amazing thing you’re doing if you can. Thanks for the great comment and I hope you’re having a good week lovely 🙂

  6. September 25, 2018 / 9:39 pm

    Unfortunately, you are unable to donate with MS. To be fair though, I do faint very easily so probably wouldn’t have been the best experience for anyone involved… :). x I think it is such an amazing thing to do though, I know a number of people who do, and they all go back again, it’s such a wonderful thing to be able to help save lives. xxx

    • September 26, 2018 / 4:24 pm

      It’s a shame many of us with chronic illness aren’t able to donate, but you’re right, it’s an incredibly wonderful thing to be able to do if you can. Thank you for the great comment, Heather! I hope you & Dizzy are having a positive week 🙂
      xx

  7. September 26, 2018 / 1:02 am

    You know I work for a blood bank and we serve 70 hospitals in a multi-state region. We need about 550 donations a day to keep a safe and adequate supply for those in need. Thanks for writing this post and encouraging people to donate.

    • September 26, 2018 / 4:22 pm

      550 a day…phew, that’s a lot! It’s my pleasure to raise more awareness of this and the online tool is a fun way to do that, to show just how amazing it is, while how potentially life-saving a quick donation can be. Thank you for the great comment, Tony! x

  8. September 26, 2018 / 2:43 pm

    Blood donors saved my son’s life when he was an infant. I’m eternally grateful!

    • September 26, 2018 / 4:20 pm

      That is so incredible to hear, I’m glad a donor was there for you son when he needed it. If only that person who donated could know what an amazing thing their 10 minute donation was able to achieve. Blood really is a life-saver. xx

  9. September 26, 2018 / 9:19 pm

    That’s one cool tool! I remember going along with a friend who was giving blood as she wanted some moral support. I couldn’t donate at the time, as I had recently had glandular fever (which wrote me off from blood donation for a fair while). It’s something I should really look into again – so thanks for the reminder, Caz!

    • October 3, 2018 / 8:29 am

      I know, right? Very cool tool indeed! It’s lovely you offered some moral support for your friend when she went, and hopefully if you get the chance to go again soon you’ll be able to donate yourself if you’d like to 🙂

  10. September 27, 2018 / 9:20 am

    Blood donations are so important, I try every year to donate blood but im not allowed because of my weight. Its nice to see how many others try though!

    • October 3, 2018 / 8:27 am

      I’m sorry you’re not able to donate at the moment either, but perhaps in future it could be an option for you. It’s eye-opening how many donations are needed, and wonderful that so many donate, and hopefully more will with such campaigns around the importance of it 🙂

  11. September 27, 2018 / 9:02 pm

    Informative and fun post Caz! Thank you :0

    • October 3, 2018 / 8:26 am

      Thank you – glad you liked it, Michele! 🙂

  12. September 27, 2018 / 11:42 pm

    Unfortunately, my MS means that I can’t give blood 🙁 But I have so much respect for people that do! Everybody I know who does goes back again and again, it’s such a selfless thing to do xxx

    • October 3, 2018 / 8:25 am

      Of course, there are lots of people who can’t for various reasons – I also take my hat off to those who can do it and, as you say, tend to go back regularly. It’s a wonderful thing to do if you’re able to. We can cheer them on from the sidelines Jen 🙂

  13. September 28, 2018 / 1:01 am

    Funny story about the first time I ever gave blood…. 1999. I was a university student, walking toward the student union looking for a place to kill time until my next class a few hours later. I ran into this cute girl I had a huge crush on and some of her friends. I said hi. (I should add that this was someone I did actually know, she went to my church, as opposed to some random stranger.) She said, “Hey! We’re on our way to give blood! Want to come with us?” I said sure, not really sure what I was getting myself into… all just because I wanted to hang out with her for a few minutes.

    It’s been several years since the last time. Maybe I should do that again.

    • October 3, 2018 / 8:24 am

      Our hearts can take us to some random, interesting places, and obviously on that day yours took you to blood donation! What happened with the girl you had a crush on, did you get to spend any more time with her? 🙂

  14. September 29, 2018 / 1:22 am

    This is such an inspiring post! You did a great job with it 🙂 I haven’t donated blood yet – before this past May when I had my wisdom teeth out, I was terrified of IVs. Now that I’ve successfully gotten one and didn’t die freaking out, the idea of donating blood sounds more and more like a good idea! I want to at some point, I’m not sure when – it would make me happy to know I was doing something so important for someone else 🙂

    • October 3, 2018 / 8:13 am

      Aw thank you, Maggie, I’m glad you liked the post! Needles, IVs and blood make a lot of people nervous, but for some with a little experience of them the fear subsides a little. The nurses do take good care of you, it’s not painful and it’s definitely an amazing cause and a wonderful thing to be able to do. Certainly something you can think about, maybe add it to your goals for one month in the future when you feel ready to give it a go 🙂

  15. September 30, 2018 / 12:01 pm

    Great post. I wish I had the courage to donate. I had a blood test and almost feinted! Seeing how important it is makes it more frustrating!

    • October 3, 2018 / 8:11 am

      Aw no, not to worry – needles and blood really don’t suit everyone, and the fact that you want to counts for something. A lot of people can’t donate for one reason or another, and a phobia (would you say it’s a phobia?) would be one reason. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Pete – I hope you don’t have to have any more blood tests soon! x

  16. October 1, 2018 / 3:20 pm

    I am too old to donate blood now but I did when I was a student. A very worthy post and a great cause.

    • October 3, 2018 / 8:06 am

      It’s great that you used to, but of course many people can’t for one reason or another, age being one. It’s definitely a good cause – thank you for your comment, Anne 🙂

  17. October 2, 2018 / 2:59 pm

    We’ve both donated but missed a couple and have got out of the habit. I will rebook something, it is very important to give back.

    • October 3, 2018 / 8:03 am

      It’s great you used to donate, and hopefully you can get back into doing it whenever you’re able to because every little helps 🙂

  18. October 13, 2018 / 10:34 am

    I donated for decades and met some lovely people at the sessions. I can’t any more because my husband was bitten while arresting a drug addict, and although he was screened and not infected with anything, he can no longer give blood.. If you can, please do; to make up for those of us who’d like to but can’t

    • October 13, 2018 / 5:52 pm

      It’s wonderful that you met some lovely people when you donated, and that you were able to donate for so long. Sadly there are a lot of people who can’t give blood for various reasons but I totally agree with your last line there – if you can, please do. Thank you for sharing, have a lovely weekend, Cathy 🙂

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