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21 September 2016

Six surprising reasons blood donations decrease in autumn


Leaves are falling and someone in the office keeps mentioning how many weeks it is till Christmas. Must be autumn...

You might notice we're asking you make an extra special effort to #GiveBlood more frequently on Facebook and Twitter.

This is because blood donations can decrease by up to 20% at this time of year. Here are six surprising reasons why:

1. The days are getting shorter

Simon and Garfunkel l Source:

It's dark when you wake up and dark when you get home. If it weren't for windows, we'd all think Scotland was in a permanent state of night time.

Shout out to all our blood donors who have the sheer willpower to venture out to their local community session in the darkness (i.e. 6pm in October). It's just so much harder make yourself head back out after work in autumn than it is in Summer. Which brings us to...

2. Daylight savings time

Vine l Source:

When daylight savings kick in, it takes a while to adjust. In fact, lots of people don't have the energy to even think about booking an appointment to give blood.

Contact us when you've had your morning cuppa and we'll be delighted to tell you where you can give blood (when you're feeling a bit more awake).

3. The weather

HBO Game of Thrones l Source:

'The Long Night' from George R R Martin's Game of Thrones refers to a period of time where a terrible and deadly cold fell over the entire land for years. Fun fact: this story is actually based on a typical Scottish winter. Just kidding, but there are certainly some similarities.

We try our best to keep our sessions warm. Our permanent donor centres in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness have central heating and we bring along space heaters to our community venues to keep you nice and toasty while you give blood.

4. The autumn TV schedule is just too good

BBC Great British Bake Off l Source:

The Great British Bake Off, Strictly, Victoria, Narcos, Stranger Things 2... the list goes on. Why do all the best TV programmes come back in autumn? If the opening hours for your local blood donation session conflict with your favourite shows, why not watch them on catch up with a cuppa as a reward for doing your good deed?

5. Coughs, colds and the flu

Parks and Recreation NBC l Source:

It's that time of year when just about everyone gets a cold. However, if you feel unwell, you can't give blood - even if you managed to make it through the day at work or somehow dragged yourself along to your gym class.

When can I give blood again if I've been unwell?

  • If you've had a cough or a cold, you can give blood when you're symptom free and feeling better.
  • If you've had sickness or diarrhoea, wait until two weeks after you've fully recovered.
  • If you've had your flu vaccine you can give blood straight away as long as you're feeling fit and well.

For any other symptoms, or if you've felt unwell after being abroad please get in touch.

6. School holidays

Hocus Pocus (1993) l Source:

September weekend, October week and Christmas holidays. Many parents don't have time to give blood during the school holidays because no school for the wee ones means extra childcare for you.

It's usually OK to bring your children along while you give blood, but this is at the team manager's discretion. As long as they can amuse themselves while they wait, as our collection team are not able to supervise.  If you have never given blood before or have had problems giving blood in the past (e.g. feeling lightheaded) it's probably better to leave the wee ones at home. 

We hope you've enjoyed our six unusual reasons blood donations decline this time of year. Now you're armed with this information, we can't wait to see you at one of our sessions after battling the cold weather and resisting the temptation of the amazing TV schedule!

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