Five reasons why you should give blood

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Sometimes it can feel like there’s always a “National Week of…” for just about everything, from the bizarre “British Mud Week” (June 24–29 for those interested) to the National Bookstart week, an initiative that encourages families to read together.

In among the variety of campaigns, there are some vital causes that are in desperate need of support and awareness. One of these is the importance of giving blood, after statistics emerged that there were 40% fewer new blood donors in 2014/15, compared to 10 years ago.

So whether you have a bit of a needle phobia, simply haven’t given blood before or happily donate from time to time, what better week to donate than National Blood Week, which runs until the 12 June?

We’ve deciphered the myths about giving blood meaning that, if you’re fit and able, you should find out where your local blood centre is and, possibly, help save a life.

Donated blood isn’t just used in emergencies

Most people think of doctors shouting at nurses for more blood following a road accident. But donated blood isn’t just used in emergency situations. Within your blood, there are red cells, plasma and platelets. Red cells are used mainly for treating cancer and blood diseases. Plasma provides proteins and a clotting agent that is vital to stop bleedings. And platelets are tiny cells used to help patients at a high risk of bleeding. So your red stuff is beneficial for more people than you would think.

Blood has a “shelf-life”

Just like a carton of milk, donated blood only lasts a certain length of time before it can’t be used. This means that maintaining a regular supply of blood to all those that need it isn’t easy. Platelets in blood only last a maximum of a week, and red cells up to 35 days. Only plasma lasts up to a whole year.

You might need it yourself one day

Over a quarter of us require blood at least once in our lifetime, so it’s good karma to give blood, knowing that the time might come when you’ll require someone to donate to help you out. Help your fellow man by giving a pint of your own – your body will regenerate blood that you’ve donated so it’s not as if you’ll be losing out!

Stocks are low on rare blood types

The “O Rh” negative blood type is extremely rare, but essential because it is the only blood type that can be given to anyone regardless of their blood type. Those with “B Hr” negative blood types are frequently of black and south Asian minority ethnicities. Stocks in both these negative blood types are regularly in low stock. Imagine how many people you could help if you were in either of these blood groups and were able to donate!

The whole procedure doesn’t take long

For donors with an appointment, from entering to leaving the blood centre takes no more than an hour. To make things easier, you can register online to help find your nearest centre and book an appointment. If you have a day off, or a few hours away from classes, what better way to feel good about yourself than giving blood?

For more information about giving blood, visit: scotblood.co.uk

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