Well you do now. Every June 14th countries across the world celebrate the donors who come forward every year to help save peoples lives with the stuff that our hearts pump around our bodies.
The World Health Organization has this to say:
Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during the emergency response to man-made and natural disasters.
A blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantity is a key component of an effective health system. An adequate supply can only be ensured through regular donations by voluntary, unpaid blood donors. However, in many countries, blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.
In honor of this day we thought we'd share our top five facts about Blood Donation and some helpful links if you're interested in becoming a donor.
IRON LEVELS CAN BE AN ISSUE FOR DONATING IF THEY'RE LOW.
If you have low iron try upping your intake before donating with iron rich foods such as leafy greens, red meat, fish, poultry and eggs two or three days before donation. If you have consistently low iron levels we'd suggest a supplement that contains Iron and Vitamin C as the vitamin aids absorption.
EAT FOOD AND KEEP HYDRATED BEFORE YOU GO.
It's recommended you drink extra water or a non-alcoholic or non-caffeinated drink before donation. Eating also helps to keep your energy levels up and to help from feeling sick during donation.
It's also wise to avoid foods that are high in fat before giving blood. Think pizza, fries, junk food etc, as these can make it hard for doctors to test the donated blood which makes it unusable for transfusions.
A PINT OF BLOOD CAN SAVE THREE LIVES.
Well three adults or six children can be helped with a donation from a single person. If every person who could give blood did give blood, a lot of lives could be helped by that one small act. If you are able to give blood you really should do it as it's always in need.
IT'S NOT JUST FOR EMERGENCIES.
While donated blood is used by emergency care departments in hospitals it is also it's given to patients having surgery, mums in maternity, people with blood disorders and most blood is actually used for people who have cancer.
TYPE O IS THE MOST COMMONLY NEEDED.
While all types of blood are always in demand. O blood can be accepted by anyone with any blood type, depending on the rhesus and O+ is the most needed. O is also luckily the most common blood type.
In the UK visit www.blood.co.uk to find out more about donating.
Across Europe check your local countries Red Cross for any other updates.
Know your blood type. If you don't know your blood type you can do a test at home with this simple kit from amazon that costs less than 10 euros.
Find out more about the different types of blood groups.