Young Blood

Do a bloody good deed. Donate blood today.


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Where and when uni students can donate blood today

Image Source: The Australian Red Cross Blood Service

Image Source: The Australian Red Cross Blood Service

It’s finally the end of yet another semester and you’re finding yourself stuck on campus, with only minutes to spare commuting, eating and the occasional power nap. If you’re due for you next donation, or want to give it a crack before you finish up, jet off, or before you change your mind, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service has their donation centres spread far and wide this November and December, for your convenience. Find your university here:

University Of Wollongong Students

  • University of Wollongong
    • Thursday 31st October: 9am-4:30pm

University Of Newcastle Students

  • Calvary Mater Hospital
    • Thursday 31st October: 9:30am-3:30pm
  • Wallsend, Ausgrid (Formerly Energy Australia)
    • Thursday 12th December: 9am-2:30pm

University of Technology Sydney, University of New South Wales and University of Sydney Student

  • Town Hall Donor Centre
    • Monday: 8:30am-3:00pm
    • Tuesday: 7:30am-5:00pm
    • Wednesday: 7:30am-5:00pm
    • Thursday: 7:30am-5:00pm
    • Friday: 7:30am-5:00pm
    • Saturday: 8:30am-4:00pm
  • Elizabeth Street Donor Centre for Whole Blood Donations (check times for other donations here)
    • Monday: 7:30am-4:00pm
    • Tuesday: 7:30am-4:00pm
    • Wednesday: 7:30am-4:00pm
    • Thursday: 12:00pm-5:00pm
    • Friday: 7:30am-4:00pm

Macquarie University Students

  • Optus, Macquarie Park
    • 11th November – 15th November: 8:30am-2:00pm

Charles Sturt University Students

  • Bathurst McDonalds
    • 2nd December: 12:40pm-5:10pm
    • 3rd December: 9:10am-1:30pm
    • 4th December: 9:10am-3:40pm
    • 5th December: 9:10am-3:40pm
    • 23rd December: 12:40pm-5:10pm
    • 24th December: 9:10am-1:30pm
    • 30th December: 12:40pm-5:10pm
    • 31st December: 9:10am-1:40pm
    • 2nd January: 9:10am-3:40pm

Australian National University and University of Canberra Students

  • Belconnen Town Centre
    • 13th November: 9:00am-2:30pm
    • 14th November: 9:00am-2:30pm
    • 15th November: 8:50am-12:50pm
    • 18th November: 9:30am-3:00pm
    • 19th November: 9:00am-2:30pm
    • 20th November: 9:00am-2:30pm
    • 21st November: 9:00am-2:30pm
    • 22nd November: 8:50am-12:50pm
  • Australian National University
    • 3rd December: 11:00am-4:40pm
    • 4th December: 9:00am-2:30pm
    • 5th December: 11:00am-4:40pm
    • 6th December: 8:50am-12:50pm

If we have missed your university, or you would like some information on centres near your TAFE, please comment below and we will endeavour to bring you those details. To book your appointment at any of these centres, and more,  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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‘Bleed’ by example and donate plasma

Presenting at TEDxQUT not too long ago, research student and sessional academic, Dominic Kauter shared his idea on how to get more people donating plasma. And rightfully so.

Sure, the Red Cross can separate your whole blood donation and retrieve the plasma, but we agree with Dominic that young Aussies should be educated and aware of the need and uses for this component of blood.

So, what is plasma and what does it do?

In a nutshell, plasma is the yellow tinged liquid component of blood that holds the cells in suspension. It makes up about 55 per cent of your whole blood and contains important proteins, nutrients and clotting factors which are integral to preventing and stopping bleeding. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service recognises it as “the most versatile component of your blood [as] donated plasma makes up to 17 life-saving products that help patients with trauma, burns and blood diseases” and can be stored for up to one year after the day of donation.

How can you donate plasma?

The process for donating plasma is a little different to the regular whole blood donation, which you must have completed at least . Via a process called apheresis and a handy piece of machinery, the lovely people at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service are able to separate the plasma from your the rest of your blood. Red cells, white cells and platelets are returned to the donor, at the time of donation, with some saline over the course of around 45 minutes to an hour- plenty of time of you to kick back and relax!

As a result, you are able to donate plasma every 2-3 weeks and with every apheresis donation you make, you are able to donate a larger volume. This means you are potentially assisting more people in need and saving more lives- how cool is that?!

What is the criteria for a prospective plasma donor?

  • have given at least 1 successful whole blood donation in the past 2 years.
  • be between a male aged 18-65  or a female aged 20-65
  • weigh 50kg or more

Do you tick all these boxes? Please consider donating plasma today, especially if you can help the ARCBS with the particular need for blood type A, AB and B donations. To start donating plasma and helping others, 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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The reason why blood and donor screening is important

Image

(Image Source: Medindia) 

Recently we’ve had a few queries about why certain groups of people in society are excluded from donating blood. They key reason for why only particular types of people can donate comes down to:

1. the health and safety of the donor

2. the safety of the blood that is being supplied to a blood transfusion patient.

Australia has one of the most safest blood supplies in the world, which is essential when your donation is helping a person that is already ill.

When you give blood, you’re tested for your ABO (blood type), Rh group (positive or negative) and red cell antibodies.

Using seven different types of tests, you are also tested for five transfusion- transmissible infectious diseases:

  1. HIV/AIDS
  2. hepatitis B
  3. hepatitis C
  4. human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV)
  5. syphilis.

These tests specifically check for the surface antigen of hepatitis B and the antibodies for HIV-1, HIV-2, hepatitis C and HTLV types I and II.

They also test for the ribonucleic acid (RNA) of HIV-1, hepatitis B and hepatitis C using nucleic acid testing (NAT). RNA is like the genetic material of diseases.

By testing a potential donor’s blood for RNA using this type of testing, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service is able to increase the safety of the blood supply by significantly reducing the ‘window period’ between when a disease is contracted and when it can be detected. In comparison, many other tests only detect the antibodies of the disease, something that usually takes a long time to develop in the body.

Although NAT testing reduces the ‘window period’, people who fall under certain categories such as have gone overseas to certain destinations, recently got a tattoo, conducted in any male to male sexual activity and has ever injected a drug not prescribed by a medical professional are unable to donate. This is purely avoid the risk of potentially passing on a transfusion- transmissible infectious disease, as the test only reduces the window period not eliminates it.

Even though this means that not every Australian is able to contribute to the increasing need for blood donations, it’s better to be proactive than reactive, especially when blood donations are used to save lives.

So what do we suggest to people who would like to help blood donations but are unable to donate?

Getting the word out there about donating blood is a fantastic start. Try informing and encouraging friends and family members about why they should donate blood and support them through the process.

It’s amazing what a little encouragement can do.

For more information about who can donate and why, visit the Australian Red Cross Blood Donation’s FAQ’s: http://www.donateblood.com.au/faq

or simply take the eligibility quiz: http://www.donateblood.com.au/who-can-give/am-i-eligible

Source:

Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Ensuring Blood Safety, n.d, http://www.donateblood.com.au/about-blood/ensuring-safety


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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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How does donated blood get used?

How donated blood is used

Image source: Australian Red Cross Blood Servcie

There are three main components that make up our blood- red blood cells,  plasma and platelets. Often, these components are separated to provide the most appropriate treatment to the one in every three Australians who require blood, or blood products, in their lifetime. We checked out the information available at The Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS, 2013) and the Better Health Channel (2013) to bring you our run-through of what you’re donating and how it is used:

Red Blood Cells

These are the cells that carry oxygen through your blood and, at 42 days, have the longest shelf life of all the components. Most blood recipients receive these in order to boost the oxygen-carrying abilities of their blood. The majority of donated blood goes to people with cancer, those who are undergoing surgery, as well as those who have been suffered a severe accident and/or burns.

Plasma

Plasma is the liquid component of blood that holds the cells in suspension. It makes up about 55 per cent and contains important proteins, nutrients and clotting factors which are integral to preventing and stopping bleeding. ARCBS recognises it as “the most versatile component of your blood [as] donated plasma makes up to 17 life-saving products that help patients with trauma, burns and blood diseases.” Plasma can be stored for up to one year after the day of donation.

Platelets

Platelets are essential for ensuring the blood can clot in patients with a low platelet count or non-functioning platelets. They can be stored for up to five says and the ARCBS says that this usually aids those who are bleeding, or are at a high risk of bleeding, as a result of high dose chemotherapy, bone marrow transplantation, major surgery, liver disease or severe trauma and haemorrhaging. Platelets also contribute to the repair of damaged body tissue.

Of course, all these components have an expiry date, so to speak, and continuous donations are needed to ensure a constant supply of blood and blood products. If you are an eligible donor, please consider donating today. Check out http://www.donateblood.com.au for more information and to book an appointment.