Have you ever wondered what “blood type” means or why having supplies of all types is extremely important?
There are eight different blood types and each type contains different antibodies. An antibody is the weapon your body uses to fight infections.
This means that if a wrong blood type is given to a patient, that patient’s body will kill the cells in the blood as though it was an invader. This not only renders the blood transfusion useless, but can cause serious health problems, including death.
What blood type is most valuable?
While every donation of blood is valuable and can save a life, it can happen that certain types get in short supply. We monitor our inventory levels daily. Optimally, we would like to maintain at least a three-day reserve supply of red cells to meet any emergency needs should they arise. When blood reserves fall under those three-day levels, we will increase our communication to donors and the media to include blood types that are in short supply. It is vital that donors respond quickly when these shortage messages are delivered.
The universal blood type, O negative, can be transfused to patients of any blood type. Because it can be given to anybody, even when a blood type need has not been identified, O negative red cells are always in high demand. Donors who are O negative and also CMV negative can help save the tiniest lives of all – newborn infants. These donors are enrolled as a Baby Quad donor.
But it’s more than red cells – plasma is needed too.
Did you know that less than 4% of the population type AB blood? It’s true – Type AB blood is the most rare of all four ABO types. But it’s not their red cells that makes them so unique – it’s their plasma. Type AB plasma is considered the UNIVERSAL plasma type for patients. Plasma is used for clotting disorders, burn and shock victims, among others. If you have type AB blood, your plasma donation can make a lifesaving difference for patients in our community!
Don’t know your type?
When you give blood, we will test it to determine your type before passing it on. You can find out what type you are when you sign up for our LifePoints Local program.
Giving blood – a simple action with far-reaching effects
When you give blood, you are literally helping hospitals save the life of someone’s spouse, parent or child. There is no easier way to save a life than to give blood.
Find out right now how you can give blood today and help save a life by locating a blood drive near you.