If your blood is Type O negative it can be used for blood transfusions to people of any blood type. The National Blood Service is urging people to give blood before the Olympics start, but particularly those with this universal blood type;
An estimated 1.2 million people and 15,000 athletes are expected to visit London as part of the Olympic Games, whose blood type may not be known, so should they need a transfusion O- blood is likely to be needed. The increased demands on stocks will be compounded by low numbers of donors coming forward in the midst of the disruption and distraction of the celebrations.
Top tip for any first timer blood donors or those who fear spurting but do want to give: during your donation clenching and releasing alternate buttocks in time to whatever’s on the radio keeps your blood pumping, speeds the process and is mentally distracting and mildly entertaining – even if it’s talk radio. Promise.
When we last wrote about giving blood, readers commented on the blanket ban on men who have had sex with men becoming blood donors. Since then, the situation has changed — slightly. Men who have had sex with men may now give blood, but only after a 12 month abstinence period. So celibate gay men may step on up. Others — including those in monogamous, safe sexual relationships — remain excluded.
Read the rationale behind this rule and the Blood Service’s apology “for any inadvertent offence this may cause” here.