June 14 is World Blood Donor Day. In honor of this important occasion, here are a few facts on blood donation from INOVA Blood Donor Services.
- 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate. However, only 5 percent actually do. INOVA Blood Donor Services says that if all donors were to donate at least one time per year, the potential for shortages would be greatly reduced.
- Every day, INOVA Blood Donor Services collects and tests more than 200 units of blood.
- Female donors make up 40 percent of blood donations in 25 countries.
- 45 percent of all donations collected in low- and middle-income countries are from donors under the age of 25.
- 92 million blood donations are collected annually from all types of blood donors. Approximately half of these donations are collected in high-income countries.
- You can start donating blood at age 16 with a consent form signed by a parent or legal guardian. At 17 years of age, you may donate without consent. There is no upper age limit. You must weigh at least 110 pounds to donate.
- The main components that make up blood are red cells, platelets, plasma and white cells. When you give whole blood, you give a pint that contains all four blood components. White cells are filtered out of the blood in a testing lab, where the unit is then separated into the remaining components.
- You can also make an "apheresis" donation in which a particular blood component is collected from your blood, with the remaining components returning to your body.
- One platelet donation yields as many platelets as normally found in six whole blood donations. Platelets are given to help stop bleeding in patients recovering from cancer, transplant surgery and open-heart surgery.
- One plasma donation yields as much plasma as three whole blood donations. Platelets are often given to trauma patients, organ transplant recipients, newborns and patients with clotting disorders.
- One red cell donation yields as many red blood cells as two whole blood cell donations. Red blood cells carry oxygen and are often given to surgery and trauma patients and those with blood disorders such as anemia and sickle cell anemia.
- You can donate platelets every 14 days, whole blood every 56 days and double red cells every 112 days.
Blood is currently needed in all types. There is an urgent need for O Positive, O Negative, A Negative and B Negative blood, as there is less than a one day's supply of blood on hand currently.
You can call an INOVA Blood Donor Services Donor Advocate for more information about your eligibility to donate blood at 571-434-3628. Appointments can be set up by calling 1-866-BLOODSAVES (866-256-6372) and find out more information at www.inova.org/donateblood.