This week is National Blood Week, when people across the country are encouraged to give blood.
Only four per cent of adults in the UK are registered, regular blood donors, despite the fact that more 25% of us will need a blood transfusion at least once in our life.
This year's campaign focuses around one of the main sporting events of the year - the World Cup - ask the NHS ask us all to join the 'Greatest Team in the World'.
Just one of the 1,900,000 donations of blood made each year can help up to three people, but more blood is always needed. So, why give blood?
Why give blood?
Blood donations are not just used in emergencies, they are also used for people who need other forms of treatments.
The three main components of your blood, red blood cells, plasma and platelets, are all used in different ways:
- Red blood cells - these are predominantly used in treatments of cancer, blood diseases and anaemia as well as being used in surgeries
- Plasma - this provides proteins, nutrients and clotting agents to stop bleeding
- Platelets - these are tiny cells used to help patients who are at risk of bleeding as to repair damaged body tissue
Who can give blood?
Most people can give blood providing they are fit, healthy, weigh over 7 stone 12 lbs (50kg) and are aged between 17 and 66.
Male donors can give blood every 12 weeks, approximately every three months or four times a year. Female donors can give every 16 weeks or every four months.
For a full list of who can and can't give blood you can visit the blood donation page on the NHS website.
What happens when you give blood?
Before anyone gives blood they are encouraged to make sure they eat regular meals, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and avoid vigorous exercise or exertion.
On arrival at your donation centre you will be given an information leaflet and a glass of water. Next, you will be given a health screening to make confirm your identity and to ensure you are healthy enough to donate.
You will then move to a chair or bed to begin the donation process. Your blood pressure will be checked and your blood will be taken. All donors are advised to do applied muscle tension exercises during donation - this is to maintain blood pressure and promote wellbeing during and after donation.
When your full 470ml donation is made, usually after about five to ten minutes, the needle will be removed and a dressing put on your arm. You will then be offered a selection of drinks and snacks - you should relax for at least 15 minutes and have two drinks after your donation.
Where can you give blood?
Blood donor sessions take place all over the country throughout the year.
NHS Blood and Transplant holds more than 26,000 blood donation sessions a year across England and North Wales.
If you live in Cumbria and want to find out where you can give blood you can click here
If you live in Dumfries and Galloway or the Scottish Borders click here.
Stay up to date with the campaign or register your intent to become a donor here.