So normally our healthy Monday blogs are a place to learn about health, which posts such as the health benefits of tea, or how to stay active at work. This week however I’d like to raise awareness of a really important health issue that could affect us all, donating blood.
A story in the news recently stated that there has been a massive 40% decrease in the number of new donors signing up to give blood. This new statistic means that to meet demand there needs to be around 204,000 new donors signed up by the end of this year. These are really shocking numbers.
Articles have hypothesized that the current trend in tattoos could be to blame for this, as getting inked has become both more popular and more generally accepted by society. After getting a tattoo or piercing you’re required to wait 4 months before giving blood. Another option is that because there are so many people travelling further afield, restrictions due to travel may be affecting the numbers.
Whatever the reason is, these figures should be a wake up call for all of us. Now I’m not telling anyone to go and give blood, I’ll say that now. This is absolutely a decision that only you can make. But if you’ve ever had the thought of becoming a donor cross your mind, now is the time to act on that.
So what happens with the donated blood and is there such a need for it? Well currently around 6000 donations are needed every day to meet demand. It’s not just all emergencies, though these are still of great importance. It can be used in treatment for cancer patients and blood diseases. It can be used to replenish the blood lost in childbirth. Blood transfusions can also be given to terminally ill patients. In some situations this can give the energy that makes the difference between seeing a loved one a final time and not making it.
Here’s some figures to put it in perspective. Over 25% of people will need to use donated blood in their lifetime. Currently only around 4% of people in the UK are donors. Like I said, I’m not telling anyone to become a donor, and I’m not judging anyone who isn’t. It’s all personal choice, but read some of these news articles. Bring it up in conversation, make sure as many people as possible know about this awful situation. Maybe together we can raise awareness of this and maybe start to turn things around.
For more information on giving blood and how the donations can make a difference, check out www.blood.co.uk