National blood donor month 2015
Every day, hospital and clinic patients depend on reliable and consistent blood donations from volunteer donors, for the blood they may need for ongoing and emergency medical care.
In June we celebrate National Blood Donor Month with the aim of raising more awareness of the need for regular and safe blood donations.
Blood donations help many types of patients, including cardiac patients, who are some of the leading recipients of blood and blood products.
We’re asking more people, both young and old, to have a heart and give blood this June. If you’re healthy, then you can make a life-changing donation.
World Blood Donor Day
The main event during Blood Donor Month is the celebration of World Blood Donor Day on 14 June. This date has particular significance as it is the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the Nobel Prize winner who discovered the ABO blood group system.
The international theme is ‘Thank you for saving my life’, focusing on thanking donors who save lives through their selfless act of donating blood.
In an attempt to increase awareness about World Blood Donor Day, general blood donation and blood safety during National Blood Donor Month, the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service (WPBTS) will be hosting a roadshow with its big red blood bus, the Blood Buzz.
The WPBTS invites all to join in the celebration as they travel around the Western Cape to various destinations, says Marlize van der Merwe, WPBTS spokesperson.
The aim of the roadshow is to increase the number of new donors throughout the Western Cape, as well as reinstate former donors.
What you can expect when you donate blood
The WPBTS provides a guide to help you understand the process:
- Check that you meet the donor criteria and double-check when you shouldn't donate blood.
- Eat a substantial meal 3 to 4 hours before heading off to the donation clinic.
- Increase your fluid intake on the day, both before and after giving blood.
- Take your ID or donor ID card.
- Register and fill out a confidential donor questionnaire.
- The nurse will test your iron levels and blood pressure.
- She’ll insert a needle into your arm and begin the process.
- You’ll lie back and relax for about 10 minutes.
- After the process, you‘re encouraged to eat a snack and wait a few minutes to ensure that you’re fine.
Where can I donate?
The WPBTS has 3 fixed sites / blood banks, and a number of mobile clinics in the Western Cape. Mobile clinics are often hosted in clinics, church halls, school halls or office buildings. Find out when and where you can donate blood next in your area.
Who can donate?
You can donate blood if you:
- are aged between 16 and 55,
- weigh at least 50kg,
- are generally healthy,
- lead a safe lifestyle, and
- love helping others.
Breaking down the myths
Here are 10 things you may have thought were true about donating blood and the facts.
Did you know?
One unit of blood can be separated into components and used to treat up to three patients.
Blood has 4 main components:
- red blood cells,
- white blood cells,
- plasma, and
- platelets, all of which are used by patients in need.
If you are a donor aged 16 to 65, you can give blood 6 times a year as long as you wait 56 days before each donation.
Here’s what you need to know about how you can sign-up to become a donor.
Although all blood is made of the same basic elements, not all blood is alike. In fact, there are 8 different common blood types, which are determined by the presence or absence of certain antigens, which are substances that can trigger an immune response if they are foreign to the body.
Every person belongs to one of eight blood groups. These blood groups, or blood types, are sub-types of the four larger ABO blood groups – A, B, AB or O. The Rhesus (Rh) system further divides these four groups into either Rh+ or Rh-, leaving eight blood types: O-, O+, B-, B+, A-, A+, AB- or AB+.
The most common blood type in South Africa is O+, and the rarest is AB-.
Be your own hero
Did you know you can donate blood for your own use? This procedure is called autologus donation and means that should you be scheduled for an operation, or need emergency medical care, you will receive your own blood instead of blood from the general supply.
For more infomation contact:
- WPBTS or phone them on 021 507 6300. You can also SMS the word “Blood” to 33 507 and they’ll contact you (R1.50 per SMS). You can also like them on Facebook (WP Blood) or follow them on Twitter (@WPBlood) for interesting facts and blood stock updates.
- South African National Blood Service (SANBS) or phone the toll-free number on 0800 11 9031.
Thanks to our donors!