In search of new blood

By Abby Rugg

Friday, January 11, 2013

 

In search of new blood

Donor carer Teri Williamson attends to blood donor Rosemary Bradford at a typical session.

WIGHT LIVING ISLAND people have been urged to take an important role in a national campaign to save lives.

While many of us welcomed 2013 with family and friends, others had emergency health care — and needed life-saving blood transfusions.

Last month, the National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) launched an initiative to protect future blood stocks by seeking 100,000 new blood donors before Valentine’s Day.

You cannot start donating beyond the age of 65. But the message to potential givers is that if you start by the age of 65, there is no upper age limit to contributing to topping up the nation’s blood stocks.

Currently, only four per cent of people in England and North Wales who are eligible to give blood, do so.

There are many committed donors on the Island but we give fewer pints than the national average, probably because the average age of the Island’s population is much higher than the UK as a whole.

On the Island, the figure is closer to three per cent and the latest appeal aims to draw in more young people.

From January 2009 to November 2012, only 1,367 IW residents aged 17 to 24 registered as donors to add to the flow.

With a population of more than 140,000, 16,937 Island donors have given at least once since 2007.

And the service highlighted the stories of Island lifesavers and those who owe their lives to transfusions as part of that vital effort.

FACTFILE
• Four per cent of the eligible population are active blood donors.
• A unit of blood is 470mls (one pint equals 570mls).
• NHSBT collects approximately two million units of blood each year from 1.4 million blood donors.
• There are four main blood groups — O, A, B and AB — O is more in demand, as it is the most common.
• A regular supply of blood is vital as red cells last 35 days and platelets last seven.
• More than 7,000 donations are needed every day to meet the never ending demand.
• Each blood donation can save up to three people’s lives.
• A woman can give blood every 16 weeks, a man can donate every 12 weeks.

WHERE TO GO
• Registering as a blood donor is quick and easy — anyone wishing to sign up and book an appointment can call 0300 123 23 23. 
• The next blood donor sessions are today (Friday) at Sandown and Shanklin Rugby Club; Wednesday, January 16, at the Youth Community Centre, Bembridge; Monday, January 21, at Wootton Community Centre; Wednesday, January 23, at the Riverside Centre, Newport; Tuesday, January 29, at Cowes Yacht Haven; Tuesday, February 5, at the Community Centre, Binstead; and Thursday, February 7, at the Lions Day C
entre, Lake.

TIPS FOR FIRST-TIMERS
• Distractions help reduce first-time nerves, so listen to music, bring a book to read or a friend to talk to.
• Drink plenty of fluids the evening before and the morning of a blood donation — avoid alcohol as it will considerably affect hydration and delay recovery.
• Regular meals before donating are necessary for maintaining blood sugars and ward off light-headedness.
• A good night’s sleep beforehand is beneficial to wellbeing and recovery.
• Wear loose and comfortable clothing as tight clothes around the arms restricts blood flow and can cause bruises.
• Know your medical, body piercing and travel history, to avoid any unnecessary delays.

• See case studies of blood donors in the Friday, January 11, County Press.

Reporter: abbyr@iwcpmail.co.uk

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