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World Blood Donor Day: What You Should Know About This Life-Saving Procedure

Blood donations are essential for saving lives. Did you know that blood donation is one of the most common hospital procedures? Surgeries, thalassemia and bleeding disorders, leukaemia and cancer treatment, chronic illnesses and traumatic injuries, all need blood donations for patients to survive.

If you aren’t already a blood donor, read these 7 facts to become one from this year:

1. World Blood Donor Day is 14th June every year

Since May 2005, World Blood Donor Day is celebrated every June 14, commemorating Austrian biologist, physician, and immunologist Karl Landsteiner’s birthday. Landsteiner discovered the human ABO blood type system in 1900, and laid the foundation for the modern medical practice of blood transfusions. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in 1930.

2. One donation can save 3 lives

Donors can give whole blood donations four times a year, at an interval of 12 weeks between each blood donation. This recommended time interval protects the wellbeing of donors, giving them ample recovery time to produce more blood. One unit of blood donated can save three lives.

3. Two types of blood donations

Whole blood donations collect the blood with all its components, while apheresis donations collect specific blood components such as plasma or platelets. Whole blood is usually collected during routine blood collection drives.

4. Don't know your blood type? No problem

Blood type refers to different molecules on the surface of red blood cells. A mismatch of these molecules between donor and recipient can trigger a fatal immune reaction after a blood transfusion, as the recipient’s body attacks the outsider blood. That’s why potential donors often worry that not knowing their blood type may not be safe for others. But don’t worry – medical staff can easily ascertain your blood type, so there’s no risk to a recipient.

5. Donating is the only way to make more blood

In a world where nearly everything can be manufactured, rebuilt, and redesigned, scientists are still unable to make artificial blood, meaning people who need blood transfusions rely entirely on blood donations.

6. Donating blood is safe

The average adult has 4 to 5 litres of blood. During a donation, only 350 to 450 ml of blood is drawn, which is roughly only 10%-12% of your total blood volume. The fluid (plasma) portion of your donated blood will be replaced within three days, while, with adequate hydration and a balanced diet, red blood cells will be replaced by the body within 10 to 12 weeks.

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