What's Your Blood I.Q.?
Are you a blood donor? If you've been hesitant about giving blood, take this test from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and get pumped up on the subject.
1. Just 1 pint of your blood can help save the lives of several people. True or false?
2. Giving blood is a simple process. True or false?
3. Artificial or animal blood can now be used in place of human blood. True or false?
4. Filling out the blood donor forms honestly and completely is a very important part of the process of giving blood. True or false?
5. You cannot get AIDS or any other disease by donating blood. True or false?
6. Most donors are paid money for their blood. True or false?
7. It is best to wait until a friend needs blood before donating. True or false?
8. Some people can donate blood for their own use. True or false?
9. The U.S. blood supply is safer than ever before. True or false?
10. Giving blood more than once a year will make you weak.
1. True. The pint of blood you donate is usually split into several parts to meet the needs of different patients. For example, your platelets may give a child with leukemia a chance to live, while your red cells may help a person with anemia, blood plasma (the clear fluid) may help an accident victim get well, clotting factors help people with hemophilia. Gamma globulin helps people who need a boost in their immunity. Your single donation can help several patients.
2. True. Giving blood is simple and easy. You can expect to follow steps: registration, medical history, a brief physical exam (including taking a few drops of blood from you), donation, and snacks. The actual blood donation takes less than 10 minutes and is painless except for a little hurt at the very start. The entire process, from when you sign in to the time you leave, takes about 45 minutes.
3. False. There is no substitute for human blood. Human blood cannot be manufactured; animal blood cannot replace it. People are the only source of blood. Much of today's medical care depends on a steady supply of blood provided by healthy donors. The gift of blood is the gift of life.
4. True. It is very important to complete the blood donor forms honestly. People who should not donate need to be identified before the blood is taken. All information given by the donor is treated confidentially.
5. True. There is no risk of getting AIDS or any other blood borne disease from giving blood. A brand-new needle, tubing and collection bag are used for each blood donation. Once it is used, the needle is destroyed.
6. False. Volunteers now provide virtually all of the nation's blood supply. People donate blood out of a sense of duty, compassion and community spirit, not to make money.
7. False. Many tests must be done before blood can be used. For emergencies, there is no time to collect, test, and process the blood from friends. Having enough blood on hand when we need it is possible only if healthy volunteers donate blood regularly. According to the American Association of Blood Banks, red blood cells may be stored under refrigeration for a maximum of 42 days, or they may be frozen for up to 10 years; platelets can be stored at room temperature for a maximum of five days; frozen plasma may be stored frozen for up to one year.
8. True. For planned surgery, it is often possible to donate your own blood ahead of time so that it will be available for your operation if needed. It also may be possible for a surgeon to collect blood from a wound during an operation and return it to the patient. Both are forms of autologous transfusion. It is the safest kind of transfusion, but most patients needing blood cannot provide their own. Therefore, there remains a great need for healthy people to donate blood for others. For information on whether you can donate blood for your own use, ask your doctor.
9. True. The risk of getting unsafe blood from a transfusion has been greatly reduced. Blood collection centers help to protect the blood supply by constantly improving safety measures. For example, they:
inform donors about high-risk behaviors and conditions that are not safe for blood donation;
allow anyone to indicate confidentially that their blood should not be used for the general blood supply;
take a medical history to check that donors are healthy.
collect blood using sterile methods under medical supervision; and
test blood for certain diseases.
10. False. Giving blood will not decrease your strength. Your body won't miss the 1 pint of blood you donate. Average adult men have around 12 pints of blood; average adult women have around nine pints. A donor's body replenishes the plasma (fluid) lost from donation in about 24 hours; red cells are replaced in a few weeks. Healthy donors can give blood as often as every 8 weeks. If all blood donors gave at least twice a year, it would greatly strengthen the nation's blood supply.