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- Why donate blood
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- Australia has one of the safest blood supply systems in the world.
- You can donate whole blood every 12 weeks.
- O negative blood is universal and can be given to anyone.
- Plasma and platelet donations can be made every 2 weeks.
- Every whole blood donation can save 3 lives.
- 1 in 3 people will need blood. Only 1 in 30 gives blood.
- Australia needs over 27,000 blood donations every week.
- 470mL of blood is collected when you give whole blood.
- Within 24-48 hours of giving blood, your blood volume is completely restored.
- Giving blood only takes about an hour.
- Plasma donations can be used to make 18 different products.
- Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days.
- 34% of donated blood goes towards helping cancer patients.
- You can start giving blood at 16.
- The blood service has been collecting blood for over 80 years.
- You can donate double platelets – helping twice as many people.
- Platelets have a shelf life of only 5 days.
Our blood is made up of several components and each one has a special function.
Red Blood Cells
- Red cells give blood its colour and accounts for up to 40% of its volume.
- The main function of these cells is to carry oxygen from the lungs to all the cells of the body and remove waste products such as carbon dioxide.
- Red cells have a shelf life of up to 42 days, stored in refrigeration.
Transfusions of red blood cells are used to treat people:
- with severe anaemia (such as Thalassaemia Major);
- whose red blood cells do not function adequately; and
- who experience severe bleeding, such as accident victims and patients undergoing surgery.
- It is the straw coloured fluid in which the red cells, white cells and platelets are suspended.
- It contains very important nutrients and clotting factors which help to prevent or stop bleeding.
- An average adult has approximately five litres of blood, three litres of which is plasma and 18 different products can be made from plasma donations
- Plasma is stored frozen and has a shelf life of up to 12 months
It is the most versatile component of blood as it can be processed into a variety of products and each product can be used to treat a number of potentially life-threatening conditions including burns, creating immunisations and helping haemophiliacs.
Find out what's involved in donating plasma.
- Platelets assist in the blood clotting process.
- They are literally tiny plates that wedge together covering tears in the blood vessels and preventing blood from leaking into surrounding tissue.
- Platelets are stored at room temperature and have a shelf life of only 5 days. This is why it is vital to have a constant flow of blood donations coming in.
Platelets are used primarily in the treatment of people with various cancers. Diseases such as leukaemia and medical treatments like chemotherapy can decrease a person's platelet count. If the number of platelets becomes too low spontaneous bleeding can occur. Even a small amount of bleeding can be dangerous, particularly if it occurs in the brain.
Find out what's involved in donating platelets.