Young Blood

Do a bloody good deed. Donate blood today.


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5 surprising health benefits of donating blood

ImageDonating blood is a selfless act that gives life to people without asking for anything in return, right?

In fact, donating blood has many more benefits than knowing that you’re helping save someone’s life.

It improves your heart health

Although it may seem that donating blood would put your body under more pressure to produce more blood, it actually helps your heart become healthier. Donating blood reduces the amount of iron in your body, which minimises the risk of heart attacks. According to a study conducted by the American Heart Association, regular blood donors are 88% less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke.

It can lower the risk of cancer

These iron reductions in your body due to blood donations have also been found to reduce cancer risks.  The National Cancer Institute of Canada has found that regular blood donating can decrease the risk of numerous cancers including liver, lung, colon, stomach and throat cancers. So not only does donating blood keep your heart healthy, it also aids in keeping many of your vital organs healthy too.

It stimulates the production of red blood cells.

Whether or not you donate blood, your body is constantly replenishing its blood supply. In fact, within 24 hours, your blood supply is back to normal. Red blood cells usually take 4-8 weeks to completely replace. But don’t freak out about this- stimulating the production of red blood cells actually makes your body stay healthy, function more efficiently and work productively.

It burns off kilojoules, a lot of it

Want to burn over 2700 kilojoules in an hour? The University of California in San Diego have estimated that one blood donation burns up to 650 calories, or 2700 kilojoules. That’s the equivalent of running for an hour and 40 minutes! Although donating blood shouldn’t be used to loose weight, sitting down and saving three lives beats spending over an hour in the gym!

Sources:

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service , Frequently Asked Questions, n.d, http://www.donateblood.com.au/faq

Lifehack, 8 Benefits of Donating Blood, 2013, http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/8-benefits-donating-blood-that-you-may-not-know-about.html

Medindia, Blood donation health benefits, and side effects, http://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/blood-donation-health-benefits-and-side-effects.htm


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Who donations help: Jenny’s Story

This is Jenny Marx, a vibrant 28 year-old digital marketing coordinator from Sydney.
Jenny previously suffered from an incurable blood cancer that caused her to have monthly blood transfusions to keep her living healthily. This is her inspiring story.

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I was always that kid who was sick, sick with viruses, tonsillitis, various lady-issues etc.  It got to the point where I felt like I must have been seen as the boy who cried wolf, so I decided to get into shape. I lost a heap of weight, went to the gym regularly and quit smoking.  However the issues seemed to continue.

One day, in about 2010, I started to develop pain in my neck. I dealt with it for a while, but it was exacerbated by office work and the gym. I started to get sick far more often, so I went to the doctor, who suspected that I might have some form of arthritis, so they gave me a blood test. As it turns out, I had a blood condition called Hypogammaglobulinanemia, which meant that my body had no immunoglobulins to fight illness. Even the vaccines I had gotten as a kid were completely void.  Because of this, I was told to have monthly blood-product transfusions, for the rest of my life, to top me up with what I was lacking. This was a tremendous help, I wasn’t sick at all, for a year. 

After a year, my Haematologist decided to try cutting my dose down. This was disastrous. I was horribly ill all the time and my joints started to hurt so much, to the point where I had to stop the gym and struggled to walk or even brush my hair. I would fall asleep anywhere at any time, would wake up to body-jerking heart palpitations – I thought I was going crazy. I was a wreck both physically and emotionally.

On May 11th 2012, eighteen days before my 27th birthday, I went to the hospital to get my regular transfusion. I felt particularly ill that day. I had my standard blood test and as far as I was aware, everything was much as it always was.  I woke up in the transfusion chair, to my Haematologist sitting in front of me. He said ‘How would you feel about staying in hospital over the weekend?’ My creatinine, which is a measure of kidney function, was at a dangerously critical level (something that I had never had an issue with before.).  I stayed in hospital over the weekend and was given a bone marrow biopsy and two days later I was diagnosed with stage 4 Multiple Myeloma – an incurable blood cancer.  I was the youngest at the hospital to ever have the disease (the next youngest was 44) and one of the youngest in the country. Because of this, my heart was failing, which explained the palpitations and exhaustion. I was given blood transfusions and platelet transfusions, which saved my heart and my life.

Now, a year and a half on, I have no sign of the cancer in my body at all. I no longer need to have the monthly transfusions, at all. I am the strongest and the fittest that I have ever been. I have reached and exceeded my personal fitness and health goals. I attribute a lot of this success to the many varied type of blood transfusions I was given.


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8 Myths About Donating Blood

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(Image Source: Australian Red Cross Blood Service)

Myth: Donating blood hurts

This is the most common myth amongst people who haven’t donated before. Donating blood barely hurts- the only pain you’ll experience will be no more than a needle prick. The nurses are trained professionals that are very good at what they do, and make every effort to ensure that your donating experience is pleasant.

Myth: I have to rest for a day after I’ve donated blood

Your energy levels won’t be affected when you donate blood. Yes, this means that you’ll have no excuse to skip your class the day after.

As long you eat a decent meal beforehand and drink plenty of water throughout the day, you should be fine. However, it is recommended that you avoid high- energy activities 12 hours after your donation.

Myth: I have diabetes, I can’t donate blood

As long as you have no complications with your diabetes and haven’t used bovine (cattle-derived) insulin in the past, you should have no problems donating blood. If you are unsure about your eligibility, give the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Medical Services a call on 13 14 95.

If you’re still concerned on the day of your donation, the staff will be more than happy to help you.

Myth: Donating blood isn’t safe

Donating blood is a very safe process. In fact, Australia’s blood services are some of the safest in the world.

Each donation is collected through a new, sterile needle that is used once and then discarded. Further, every donor is put through a screening process every time they donate blood which is designed to keep the donor and the person who receives the donation safe.

Myth: Donating blood takes a long time

The whole blood donation process takes about an hour from arrival to resting. Once you fill in the questionnaire and are screened by staff, the process of donating only takes about 5-10 minutes in total. Afterwards, it is recommended that you rest for a further 15 minutes.

Myth: They take out a lot of my blood

Only about 10% of your total blood volume is taken when you donate blood. Regardless of whether you donate blood or not, your body is continually replenishing your blood all the time, so this amount is quickly replaced.

Myth: I can’t give blood because I’m scared of needles

It’s perfectly normal to feel scared or nervous when you donate blood for the first time. In fact most people (including us!) feel anxious the first time. However, it’s a momentary discomfort for the bloody good deed of saving someone’s life.

 

Myth: I can’t donate blood because I’m on medication

Most prescribed medications don’t prevent someone from donating blood. However, you should always inform staff about what medications you’re taking. If you want to find about whether you’re eligible, give the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Medical Services a call on 13 14 95.

For more information visit the Australian Red Cross Blood Service FAQs: http://www.donateblood.com.au/faq

Source:

Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Frequently Asked Questions, n.d, http://www.donateblood.com.au/faq


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Celebrities give blood too

We have noticed variations of this tweet doing the rounds of late and it got us thinking; how much celebrity support does blood donation receive?

Due to their status and lifestyle, celebrities are often notorious for being shallow. That said, many use theses attributes to do good and support significant causes. We’ve rounded up a few of the celebrities who use their influence to save lives by supporting blood donation and actually donating blood themselves!

Australian celebrity chef, television personality and author Curtis Stone donates blood with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Image Source: The Australian Red Cross Blood Service

Australian celebrity chef, television personality and author Curtis Stone donates blood with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Image Source: The Australian Red Cross Blood Service

Life as We Know It actor, Josh Dumahel supports the American Red Cross. Image Source: American Red Cross

Life as We Know It actor, Josh Dumahel supports the American Red Cross. Image Source: American Red Cross

Kristin Cavallari from TV show, The Hills, donates bloods in Hollywood, California.

Kristin Cavallari from TV show, The Hills, donates bloods in Hollywood, California.

Actor and martial arts legend Jackie Chan is regular blood donor in Hong Kong. Source: Blood Service, CA

Actor and martial arts legend Jackie Chan is regular blood donor in Hong Kong. Source: Blood Service, CA

We even found this clipping from an 1984 edition of The Spokesman Review which details a few celebs who paid the American Red Cross a visit, including Steve Allen and William Shatner.

The Spokesman Review, October 9 1984.

The Spokesman Review, October 9 1984.

Do you know of any other celebrities who donate blood? Let us know below! To book an appointment to donate blood, give the Australian Red Cross Blood Service a call on 13 14 95 or simply visit https://www.donateblood.com.au/ready-to-donate/make-appointment.


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Needlessly afraid of needles?

Distracting yourself is a great way to tackle your fear of needles. Image source: Time and Date

Distracting yourself is a great way to tackle your fear of needles. Image source: Time and Date

Are you afraid of needles? Try these phobias on for size:

Belonephobia: the fear of needles.
Aichmophobia: the fear of pointed objects.
Algophobia: n the fear of pain.
Trypanophobia: the fear of injections.

If needles freak you out, you certainly are not alone. Approximately 22 per cent of Australians are so afraid of needles that they avoid many medical procedures, according to research conducted by Griffith University. The study found that this was a huge detriment to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, with 77 per cent of participants admitting it stopped them from donating blood!

So, we’ve put together a list of tips with the help of the American Red Cross to ensure that you desire to do a bloody good deed and donate blood wins over your fear of needles.

  • Keep your eye on the prize: Focus on the difference your donation will be making. You can help save three lives and, compared to the slight, momentary pinch you feel when giving blood, your sense of accomplishment is timeless and the affects you’ve made can last a lifetime.
  • Don’t make it a big deal: Try not to think about the needle, or getting the needle. Don’t worry about the size of the needle, and don’t stress over the pain- most first time donors say it’s painless anyway! If you keep stressing over the needle before you even get there, you’re just creating a sense of anxiety that, in the long run, will make the entire process, and the needle itself, much more uncomfortable.
  • Know what to expect: It’s a great idea to be aware. Read up on the whole donation process, so that when you arrive at your appointment, you will feel ready, prepared and won’t be thrown off guard. Don’t hesitate to ask questions while you’re there as well- the friendly staff are more than happy to help!
  • Distract yourself: Pick up a magazine from the newsagent on your way, or bring a book. Your favourite tunes or a friend for moral support or to chat with can be incredibly helpful. Some say pinching yourself when the needle goes in can also be effective. Figure out what works for you and indulge in it!
  • Share your fear: Tell the Australian Red Cross Blood Service staff about your fear in advance. This way, they are aware and able to talk with you and assist you during the donation process.

Andrew B, who made his 30th donation just last weekend, shared this advice with us via Twitter (@youngbloodNSW):

https://twitter.com/sheddingmyfat/status/393661579193221121

Do you have any tips or tricks that you use? We’d love to hear about them! If you’re ready to tackle your fear book an appointment to donate blood, by calling the Australian Red Cross Blood Service on 13 14 95 or simply visiting https://www.donateblood.com.au/ready-to-donate/make-appointment.


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Tattoos and blood donation

You can donate six months after getting a tattoo. Image Source: The Australian Red Cross Blood Service

You can donate six months after getting a tattoo. Image Source: The Australian Red Cross Blood Service

In July 2012, The Daily Telegraph (Australia) reported that more than 9300 people under the age of 30 have been turned away by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS) since 2004 because of a fresh tattoo.

Kathy Bowlen, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, said that many blood donations are missed because of fresh tattoos Many prospective donors simply don’t come back after they have been deferred because of a new tattoo, or self defer, as they mistakenly believe they cannot donate once they have a tattoo.

So, we wanted to clarify and flesh out this misconception for our inked supporters- especially as they are a group who are certainly not afraid of needles! Essentially, you are able to donate blood six months after getting a tattoo. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service amended this time threshold in July 2010, lowering it from 12 months to six months as testing procedures for hepatitis and other blood born diseases have become more refined.

So, how can you manage your tattoos and blood donations?

Try and donate before first tattoo, or try get all your ink done in a short time span. Image Source: news4jax

Try and donate before your first tattoo, or try get all your ink done in a short time span. Image Source: news4jax

We recommend trying to get in and donate before your first session for your first or next tattoo. This is the easiest and quickest way to make sure you can make sure you do your bloody good deed and save three lives before you get inked. Otherwise, especially if you have lots of tattoos planned, try to get them done in a short time span so the wait to donate is not so long.

We urge you to try and implement one of these strategies as the current rise in tattoos is, of course, having an inverse effect on the nation’s blood supplies, both current and future as the ARCBS need young Australians to become donors.

To book an appointment to donate blood, give the Australian Red Cross Blood Service a call on 13 14 95 or simply visit https://www.donateblood.com.au/ready-to-donate/make-appointment


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How to holiday and save lives

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So you’ve just decided to go on a holiday getaway to a strange exotic land.

But before you go, there’s so many things to do- book your flights and accommodation, N/A your time at work, make sure your passport is still valid, research the sites and activities you want to do, get your immunisations, ask your boss for extra shifts at work for spending money, pack your life into one little suitcase, hit the gym for a killer beach body… the list goes on.

With all these things to check off your list before you go, it’s easy to forget that your holiday may affect when you donate blood next. In fact, according to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, travelling is one of the key reasons why Australians aged between 18-24 don’t donate blood.

So what can you do to ensure you save lives and go on holidays guilt free?

One of the easiest ways is to make donating blood part of your pre- holiday preparation. Before you get your holiday immunisations, head down to your local blood donation centre and donate blood. It will also reassure you that you’re going overseas healthy as they check your iron levels, blood pressure and overall blood health.

However, if you do forget, most people are able to donate blood again after four months from when you come back to Australia. Sometimes you may no have to even wait, as many countries are risk free and don’t require you to wait to donate.

Finding out when you’re able to donate once you’ve returned overseas is easy. Simply visit The Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s  Donating After Travelling page and choose your destination from the drop down menu. You’ll find information on the disease and how long you have to wait until you can donate again.

To book an appointment to donate blood, give the Australian Red Cross Blood Service a call on 13 14 95 or simply visit https://www.donateblood.com.au/ready-to-donate/make-appointment