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The best gift of all this Christmas; giving blood

The best gift of all this Christmas; giving blood

Over the festive period, there is a high demand for different blood types. Blood stocks usually dip from mid-December to early January because donors are missing or cancelling their donating sessions due to illness or family commitments at this busy time of year. Make time to give blood this Christmas and you may save a life!

A severe drop in donations could affect the supply of blood to the tens of thousands of people in England who will need transfusions over the festive period for blood conditions, cancer, surgery, childbirth or an accident.

In the run-up to Christmas, NHS Blood and Transplant run testing events called ‘What’s Your Type’, where you can find out your blood type without donating blood. This test is perfect for people who are unsure whether they want to be a donor or curious about what their blood type is. The event is free and it only takes a couple of minutes, it’s a simple finger prick by trained staff who will then show you the results.

Blood groups

O +

O positive is the most common blood group, 1 in 3 donors have this blood type and supply is always in demand.

O -

O positive is a ‘universal blood type’ because anyone can receive it no matter what their blood group is. 1 in 7 people have O negative blood. This type of blood is vital in an emergency or when a patient’s blood type is unknown.

A +

A positive is the second most popular blood group. 1 in 3 donors are A positive. This blood group makes up almost a third of requests for blood from hospitals.

A –

A negative is called the ‘universal platelet type’ because they can be given to people from all blood groups. Around 1 in 13 donors is A negative.

B +

B positive is one of the least common blood groups. 10% of people belong to blood group B. There is always a need for this type of blood because it’s important for treating people with sickle cell disease and thalassemia who need regular transfusions.

B –

B negative is one of the rarest blood groups, only 2% of donors have this type. It is hard to find new B- donors and so this type is always in high demand.

AB +

1 in 50 donors is AB positive, making this blood group one of the rarest in the country. AB positive red blood cells can only be used to treat people with AB positive blood.

AB –

1 in 100 donors is AB negative, making this blood type the rarest blood type in the ABO blood group. AB negative donations are extremely versatile, but because it is the rarest blood type finding new donors can be a challenge.

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