Blood Types and their Importance in Donations

Who Can 0-Donate to Hospitals?

Your blood type is based on the presence or absence of specific antigens on red blood cells. There are four blood types: A, B, AB and O.

O negative is the universal donor because it doesn’t contain any antigen markers that other blood types recognize as not belonging to them. That makes it ideal for whole blood and double red cell donations.

Type O Positive

If you have type O positive blood, hospitals need your help more than anyone else’s. Your red blood cells can be given to patients of all types, making them the most sought after donation.

Your blood type is determined by the presence or absence of antigens on your red blood cells. If your RBCs have A antigens on them, you’re type A positive; if they have B antigens, you’re type B positive.

People with blood types O and AB can be the universal donors that doctors rely on for emergency transfusions, especially in trauma situations. Donors with AB blood can also donate platelets and plasma. These are great options for people who can’t donate whole blood due to work or family commitments.

Type O Negative

Almost anyone can receive O negative blood, so it’s always in high demand. It’s also the blood type that doctors use most often in emergencies because it can be given quickly to patients of any blood type.

O negative blood doesn’t contain the antigens of any other blood types, so it can slip into a patient without triggering an immune response. That’s why it’s sometimes referred to as the universal donor.

If you’re O negative, we encourage you to donate whole blood or plasma (ay-fur-ee-sis) donations. You may be eligible for our paired exchange program, where you’ll be matched with another incompatible donor/recipient pair to do a blood type swap. This allows us to save more lives with the same donation! This is how we can get the critical life-saving blood we need.

Type A Positive

Blood type is based on the presence or absence of antigens on red blood cells and the antibodies found in plasma. Antigens are proteins or polysaccharides that reside on the surface of red blood cells.

Your blood type is influenced by two sets of genes, one from each of your biological parents. Blood bank specialists determine your blood type based on the A and B markers present on your red blood cells, and whether or not you have the Rh factor.

Your blood can only safely be transfused to recipients with the same blood type as yours. Otherwise, your body’s immune system will attack the foreign cells. This could result in a life-threatening reaction like fever, chills and low blood pressure. This is known as a mismatch.

Type B Positive

Millions of people benefit from blood transfusions each year, including patients with cancer and severe infections. For a blood transfusion to work safely, the donor and recipient must have compatible blood types.

Blood type is determined by the presence or absence of antigens on red blood cells. Blood bank specialists use a system of letters (A, B, O and AB) to classify blood types based on these antigens.

People with blood type A positive or B positive can donate plasma and platelets. They are ideal donors for individuals in need of platelets, whose shortage is most acute. Blood type AB positive donors can also give plasma and red cells to anyone. They are especially important for hematology disorders like sickle cell disease and thalassemia.

Type AB Positive

If you have type AB positive (AB+) blood, you are considered the “universal recipient.” This means that you can receive blood from any other blood types and your body won’t create an immune reaction.

Blood type compatibility is very important in emergency situations and when people need a blood transfusion. If you get a blood transfusion with a different blood type than your own, your body will attack the donated red cells because they’re not recognized as self.

Your blood type is determined by genes inherited from your parents, and it doesn’t change over time. However, you can help save lives by donating every eight weeks for whole blood, double red cell or platelet donations. You can also maximize your donation by donating plasma.

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