The World Health Organization recognizes World Blood Donor Day on June 14th 2016. This year’s theme is “Blood connects us all,” with the tagline “share life, give blood.” This annual observance focuses on thanking blood donors, while highlighting the connections that are developed worldwide through the gift of giving blood. WHO also aims to encourage regular blood donors to continue giving, and to motivate potential new donors, by sharing the stories of people whose lives have been saved through blood donation .
Around 108 million units of donated blood are collected annually around the globe, with approximately half of these collected in high-income countries. However, only 62 countries obtain 100% of their national blood supplies from voluntary unpaid blood donors, with others relying partially on family or paid donors . Thinking about donating? Here are 8 facts about blood donation, in hopes of increasing your knowledge, and encouraging you to donate!
- The volume of one unit of blood is approximately 450 mL.
This represents about 1/10th of all blood in the body .
- The plasma from a blood donation is replaced by your body within 24 hours.
Even though a donation requires around 1/10th of your blood, your body replenishes your stores pretty quickly! Red blood cells take a little longer to return to normal, needing 4-6 weeks for complete replacement .
- A single blood donation can save up to three lives.
Donated blood can be separated into three different components: red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. These three components can go on to contribute to the recovery of three separate people – explaining how one unit can save three lives .
- One victim of a motor vehicle collision can require up to 50 units of blood.
That means up to 50 donors contribute to saving the life of someone who has been involved in a car crash! Treatment for leukemia can require up to 8 units of blood per week. Patients undergoing heart surgery can need up to 5 units of blood during the procedure .
- Your blood type determines who you can donate to, and who you can receive blood from.
People with type O- are universal donors, and people with type AB+ are universal recipients. See the chat below, assembled by Héma-Québec, to learn more about your blood type !
- The most common blood type in Canada is O+.
About 39% of Canadians have O+ blood, which is why type O blood is most needed in Canada. However, O+ isn’t the most common blood type in every country. For example, A+ is the most common blood type in several countries, including Portugal, Sweden, and Turkey. B+ is the most common blood type in some countries as well, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and India .
- On average, blood donations take 8-10 minutes.
A full appointment can take up to an hour, due to pre-screening and post-observation. A small amount of your time can make a big difference .
- 200,000 donations are needed by July 1 in Canada.
In order to achieve this goal, 20,000 new donors are needed throughout the months of May and June 2016 [10 ].
In Canada, you can find more information about becoming a donor on the Canadian Blood Services website.