Blood. It’s something we all have, and is quite literally “in you to give”. And with an average of one person per minute requiring blood or blood products EVERY DAY (just in Canada), the need for donors is higher than ever. Blood donation can be a very rewarding and heart-warming experience, and will truly make an impact in someone else’s life. So with my next appointment approaching I decided to read up on the benefits of blood donation, and came across some interesting material. So here you go, 10 facts you did not know about blood and blood donation.
1. In 1901 Dr. Karl Landsteiner identified 4 types of human blood – A,B,AB and O. Each type can either be RH positive (RH+) or RH negative (RH-), and 85% of Americans and Canadians have RH+ blood. Of these blood types, O+ is the most common and AB- is the least.
2. The average adult has approximately 6-8 litres of blood in their body, and blood makes up about 7% of your total body weight.
3. Why is human blood red? It contains iron. Crabs have blue blood because instead of iron theirs contains copper. And leeches, with blood rich in chlorocruorin, have green blood.
4. People (like me, yay!) with O- blood are universal blood donators; their blood can be given to people with any other blood type. And on the flip side, people with AB+ blood are universal recipients, who can receive any other type of blood.
5. 1 in 4 people will require a blood transfusion at least once in their lifetime.
6. Around 10.8 million people around the world donate blood each year, 29% of those being first time donors.
7. According to studies, the average blood donor is a Caucasian, college-educated man between the age of 30 and 50, who is married and has an above-average income.
8. Donated blood is used to treat many illnesses or injuries, including cancer, transplants, car accident victims, joint surgery…the uses are endless.
9. The shelf life for red blood cells is 42 days, and for platelets is just 5 days, making the demand for blood a constant one.
10. One blood donation, which takes just one hour of your time, can improve or save 3 lives. And each donor is eligible to donate 6 times a year, making it possible for you to have an impact on 18 people annually.