DONATING blood can be an amazing gift to people who desperately need for on-going medical treatment or in an emergency.
But how can you get involved and who is eligible to provide a donation? Here is all you need to know…
Getty Images Most people are eligible to give blood, if they are fit and healthy, weigh more than 7st 12lbs and are aged between 17 and 66
Who can give blood?
Most people are eligible to give blood.
You can donate if you are:
fit and healthy weight more than 7st 12lbs or 50kg are aged between 17 and 66 (or 70 if you have given blood before) are over 70 and have given blood in the last two years
Getty Images NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for new donors, particularly those with ) negative type blood
Are there any restrictions on donating blood?
According to Diabetes UK, some Type 2 diabetes sufferers are now eligible to give blood as long as they have no other complications.
For instance, if your diabetes has resulted in eye, blood vessel or kidney problems then you are not advised to donate blood.
However if your condition is being well controlled through a combination of diet and oral medication, then you may well be able provide the service.
You are not able to donate blood during your pregnancy, and if you had a blood transfusion during your pregnancy or at a previous delivery you cannot become a donor.
Tattoos or body piercings
You may not be able to donate if your tattoo has been done within four months.
The same goes for body piercings and other non-medical injections.
Although a survey found that 15 per cent of people believed smoking means you can’t donate, this isn’t correct.
There are no specific criterea preventing smokers from donating.
You must be completely healed from any infection for at least 14 days before you can donate.
If you have a cold or are feeling under the weather, it is best to wait until you feel better before taking part.
If you have had antibiotics, you may need to wait a period of time before you can give blood.
Some conditions mean you are unable to give blood.
Click here to check the eligibility of a condition.
Getty – Contributor When you go to donate blood, just under a pint – around 470ml – will be taken at a time
How often can I give blood?
Men can give blood every 12 weeks, while women can donate every 16 weeks.
This is because it takes several weeks for all the red blood cells to be replaced in the body.
Over 6,000 people are needed to donate each day to meet the needs of hospitals, and currently there is a drive for black donors to donate to help black patients with sickle cell disease.
To make an appointment to donate your blood at the nearest centre, click here.
How much blood can you donate?
When you go to donate blood, just under a pint – around 470ml – will be taken at a time.
Your body will replace any lost fluid in a short period of time.
You will be provided with 500ml of fluid before you donate, and drinking this over around five minutes is said to help with your well-being.