Without treading into the territory of Not-Safe-For-Work, it’s a fair call that there’ll be plenty of pulses racing this Valentine’s Day, or at the very least there’ll be a few hearts aflutter. While you’re thinking about what makes your heart thump, spare a thought for the valuable stuff inside it – blood.
This red stuff is surprisingly versatile and can be made into 22 different medical treatments, but it has a limited shelf life. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service needs consistent donations throughout the year in order to keep up demand, so if you’re not already on board, why not make it your new good deed for 2016?
Why don’t more people donate?
Surprisingly, there are lot of Australians who are eligible to donate blood but they don’t. It could be for any number of reasons, but let’s debunk a few of the most common ones which are easily overcome:
Spicing it up
Once you’ve got a few whole blood donations under your belt, you can also look at donating Plasma or Platelets. These specific blood products are vital to treating a range of conditions including immune disorders, burns and other trauma, haemophilia and cancer.
An appointment to donate plasma or platelets takes a bit longer than whole blood because a process called apheresis is used. Your blood enters a centrifuge to separate your plasma or platelets from the rest of your blood, and then your red blood cells are returned to you along with fluids to replace the water content of the plasma you’ve donated. Because your red blood cells are returned to you, it’s safe to donate more often – typically every 2-4 weeks.
This sounds good, how do I get started?
If you’re keen to roll up your sleeve, you can check your eligibility and request an appointment at donateblood.com.au. Alternatively, you can give 13 14 95 a call and the friendly staff will talk you through registration.
Better yet, if you’d like to start your own Red25 group to help the Red Cross Blood Service make up 25% of Australia’s blood needs through organisation and group donations, register online or call 1300 886 524.
Have any tips for would-be blood donators? Share them in the comments.