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- About blood
- 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 17 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.
Blood and War
During World War II, state-based Red Cross Blood Transfusion Services played a critical role in Australia's war effort, providing whole blood and serum for the military and stockpiling for civilian needs in the event of an air attack on Australia. A great number of Australians came forward to donate blood.
The first Emergency Blood Transfusion Service is set up in Victoria. The Australian Army establishes blood and serum preparation units in five states.
Picture: Victorian Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service found, Dr Lucy Bryce, (right) inspecting blood collected for processing into serum during WWII.
Australian War Memorial
-Scientists discover the Rhesus blood group, one of the final obstacles to safe blood transfusion.
-Lifesaving pooled human serum is produced at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories.
-The Red Cross finances the nation's first fully-equipped ‘blood bank’ at the Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia.
Picture: Pooled human serum produced in 1942.
Australia's earliest mobile blood bank, presented to the army in 1940, met a disastrous fate while being shipped to Australian forces in the Middle East during World War II. Captured by the Germans, the ship was later sunk by the British off the French coast.
The Red Cross takes over blood transfusion services in every capital city.