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07 October 2019

Five reasons donations dip in autumn


We can’t deny it any longer. We’ve dug out the car scraper, there’s a nip in the air and the nights are fair drawing in. Summer is officially over and winter is sneaking up.

Blood and platelet donations are essential all year round to support patients in hospital. Yet, did you know that donations can decrease by up to 20% in the colder months?

Here are our top five reasons why donations can dip in autumn.

Daylight saving

Shorter days and less sunlight can take a big hit on our energy levels. This can mean it’s that bit harder to drag yourself out of bed in the morning – and it can also impact on the number of people coming to our sessions. We know it might not seem appealing to leave your cosy home and venture out into the dark, blustery night to give blood, but we are so grateful to everyone who makes that extra special effort. Big shout out to those committed folk who give up their space on the sofa to become lifesavers.

School hols

It feels like two minutes since the summer holidays, but you’ve blinked and it’s now the October break – and school hols means different childcare arrangements. Typically, it’s ok to bring wee ones along while you give blood as long as they’re able to amuse themselves. However, this is ultimately at the Session Manger’s discretion. If you’ve never given blood before, or had problems donating in the past (eg. feeling lightheaded), it’s probably best to keep the kids at home. 

Viral nasties

Coughs, colds, flu, sickness bugs – yuk. While it’s possible to be affected by these all year round, they seem to be particularly common at this time of year. If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, it’s best to take a break from giving blood. For coughs and colds we ask you to wait until you’re recovered and feeling well. For sickness, diarrhoea and other infections you must make sure you’re fully recovered for at least two weeks. Our medical team are happy to help with any questions you might have about our medical criteria. Please contact us or give us a ring on 0345 90 90 999.

Good telly

Believe it or not, if there’s something particularly good on the box, it can affect how likely people are to come and give blood. A big football match, a particularly juicy storyline on Corrie or even the Great British Bake-Off final can have a real impact how many people walk through our doors. If our opening times conflict with your viewing schedule we recommend the following steps:

  • Record or make sure your favourite programmes are on catch-up
  • Avoid spoilers by switching off your social media
  • Give blood
  • Binge watch without guilt as a reward for saving lives

Scottish weather

The temperature difference between Scottish summer and Scottish winter may only be about 5°C, but winter in Scotland certainly brings its own challenges (remember the Beast from the East?). We work hard to make sure all sessions go ahead as scheduled, but Mother Nature can throw the occasional curve ball. We will only cancel a session due to the weather as a last resort, and if it has been judged too dangerous to ask people to travel. We make sure our website session finder, Facebook and Twitter pages are updated with the relevant info and that all donors invited to the session are directly informed about the changes as soon as possible. To make sure there is no delay contacting you, please give us your up to date contact details.

  • Any questions?  Get in touch - we'd love to help.  Call us on 0345 90 90 999, or give us a shout online.

Current blood stock levels across Scotland Friday 17 September

We aim to retain 6 days of stocks at any time in order to meet the requirements of patients in Scotland.

Learn more about blood types