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Blood- Nothing to be Scared About

Halloween is approaching and kids are thinking about Trick-or-Treat, ghosts, goblins and vampires. Costumed characters with “blood” dripping from fangs, arrow wounds and knife injuries will be knocking on our doors in search of candies. In these cases blood is meant to scare us. In reality, the lack of blood is what is scary.

As we go through our daily experiences most of us don’t think about blood very much. It comes to mind on a camping trip when we use an improper method for testing the sharpness of a blade. Then we get to test our first aid knowledge as well. Even though we don’t think about it, blood provides nourishment to every cell of our body.

Unless you have donated blood or received a transfusion, you might not know what blood is made of:
Plasma is the liquid part of blood and accounts for 55% to 60% of the blood volume
Red blood cells are the next largest part of the blood and contain hemoglobin which brings oxygen to the cells
White blood cells help fight infection and are a part of the body’s immune system
Platelets help the blood to clot

Blood types are also important. There are 4 blood types and they are classified based on the protein or antigen associated with the Red Blood Cell. If the A antigen is present, the blood is type A; B type blood has the B antigen; AB type blood has both the A and B antigen; and O type blood has neither antigen. There is also an RH grouping. This grouping is based on a D antigen. If the D antigen is present the RH is positive; if the D antigen is not present, the RH group is negative. Blood with both the A and B antigens and no D antigen would be AB-. This blood is the rarest type in the United States and according to the American Association of Blood Banking accounts for only 1% of the population. The largest segments of the population are O+ (38%) and A+ (34%). O- is the universal donor- blood can be used by any blood group. Blood type AB+ is the universal receiver- can receive blood from any of the blood groups.

More interesting information about blood:
There are approximately 5 liters (10.6 pints) of blood in the human body
Blood accounts for approximately 7% of body weight*
One in three people will need a blood transfusion*
One teaspoon of blood can save a new born*
Most donated blood is used by cancer patients*
Burn victims might need as many as 100 units of blood*

*Dallas Morning News, 10/23/07

Since you understand the importance of blood, you might want to have the troop or pack or crew coordinate a blood drive in your community. Although blood drives usually don’t make good Eagle projects, they are great unit service projects.

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