First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let’s all hope that 2011 is a great year!
With that being said, did you know that January is National Blood Donor’s Month? Imagine starting your year off by saving the life of someone else, wouldn’t that be great? Well, you can! By donating one pint of blood, you can save up to 3 lives of people who are in desperate need of blood.
According to the Red Cross: there are eight different common blood types, which are determined by the presence or absence of certain antigens – substances that can trigger an immune response if they are foreign to the body. Since some antigens can trigger a patient’s immune system to attack the transfused blood, safe blood transfusions depend on careful blood typing and cross-matching.
There are four major blood groups determined by the presence or absence of two antigens – A and B – on the surface of red blood cells:
- Group A – has only the A antigen on red cells (and B antibody in the plasma)
- Group B – has only the B antigen on red cells (and A antibody in the plasma)
- Group AB – has both A and B antigens on red cells (but neither A nor B antibody in the plasma)
- Group O – has neither A nor B antigens on red cells (but both A and B antibody are in the plasma)
In addition to the A and B antigens, there is a third antigen called the Rh factor, which can be either present (+) or absent ( – ). In general, Rh negative blood is given to Rh-negative patients, and Rh positive blood or Rh negative blood may be given to Rh positive patients.
- The universal red cell donor has Type O negative blood type.
- The universal plasma donor has Type AB positive blood type.
You can find out more information on blood types from the Red Cross by clicking here.
How can you help? You can help by donating blood this January (and throughout the year, as you can donate blood about once every 60 days) to help save the lives of others…as you never know when you might need a blood donation to help save YOUR life.
Here are some places that can help you find a blood donation center near you:
So do your part and help save lives!