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All About Blood

Blood 101
Blood 101

You know what blood is: it's that red stuff that oozes out if you get a cut. The average person has about 1 to 1.5 gallons (4-6 liters) of it. But what is blood, really, and where does it come from?


Your Body & Blood

Like any good recipe, blood has ingredients. To make blood, your body needs to mix red blood cells (which carry oxygen throughout the body), white blood cells (which fight infections), platelets (which are cells that help you stop bleeding if you get a cut) and plasma (a yellowish liquid that carries nutrients, hormones and proteins throughout the body) – all of which your body makes itself. Bone marrow – that goopy stuff inside your bones – makes the red blood cells, the white blood cells and the platelets. Plasma is mostly water, which is absorbed from the intestines from what you drink and eat, with the liver supplying important proteins.


Put all these ingredients together and you have blood – an essential part of the circulatory system. Thanks to your heart (which pumps blood) and your blood vessels (which carry it), blood travels throughout your body from your head to your toes.


Red Blood Cells


Red blood cells (also called erythrocytes) look like flat basketballs. Most of the cells in the blood are red blood cells. They carry around an important chemical called hemoglobin that gives blood its red color and delivers oxygen, which you get from the air you breathe, to all parts of your body.


White Blood Cells


White blood cells (also called leukocytes) are bigger than red blood cells. There are usually not a whole lot of white blood cells floating around in your blood when you're healthy. Once you get sick, though, your body makes some more to protect you.


There are a couple types of white blood cells that do different things to keep you well. Granulocytes have a lot to do with how your body cleans things up and helps wounds heal after an injury. They also help prevent infection by surrounding and destroying things that aren't supposed to be in your body and by killing germs. Lymphocytes come in two types; B cells help make special proteins called antibodies that recognize stuff that shouldn't be in your body, like bacteria or a virus you get from a sick friend. T cells also battle germs that invade the body, but instead of making antibodies, they work by making special chemicals that help fight the infection. And Monocytes are white blood cells that fight infection by surrounding and destroying bacteria and viruses.


Platelets


Platelets are tiny round cells that help to make sure you don't bleed too much once you get a cut or scrape. Cuts and scrapes break blood vessels. If a platelet reaches a blood vessel that's been broken open, it sends out a chemical signal that makes other nearby platelets start to stick together inside the vessel. After the platelets form this plug, they send out more chemical signals that attract clotting factors. These clotting factors work together to make a web of tiny protein threads. The platelets and this web of protein come together to make a blood clot. The clot keeps your blood inside the vessel while the break in the blood vessel heals up. Without platelets, you'd need more than a bandage to catch the blood when you scrape your knee!


Plasma


Plasma is a yellowish liquid that is mostly water. But it also carries important nutrients, hormones and proteins throughout the body. Plasma also carries away cell waste: chemicals that the cell doesn't want anymore. Nutrients, hormones, proteins and waste are dissolved in the plasma and blood cells float in the plasma.


What's Your Type?

Sure, everybody's blood is red, but it's not all the same. There are eight blood types, described using the letters A, B and O, which stand for certain proteins found on the red blood cells. Not everyone has the same proteins. Plus, every person’s blood is either positive or negative to help keep track of whether someone's blood has a certain protein called Rh protein. If your blood is positive, you have this protein. If it's negative, you don't. Either way is totally fine.


People have one of these eight different blood types:

  • A negative
  • A positive
  • B negative
  • B positive
  • O negative
  • O positive
  • AB negative
  • AB positive

Blood types are important if a person ever wants to donate blood or needs a blood transfusion. Getting blood of the wrong type can make a person sick. That's why hospitals and blood banks are very careful with donated blood and make sure the person gets the right type. People might need blood transfusions when they're sick or if they lose blood. Without enough healthy blood, the body won't get the oxygen and energy it needs. Healthy blood also protects you from germs and other invaders.


The Truth About Transfusions


Every year, more than 4 million American kids and adults receive blood transfusions. In fact, blood transfusions help save lives each day! But what is a transfusion and why would someone need one? A blood transfusion is a way of giving one person's blood to someone else who needs it. When you need blood, you really need it because your body won't work right without enough healthy blood.


Blood transfusions are possible because volunteers donate their blood. That makes it available at hospitals. It may sound creepy to donate blood, but it's safe and no big deal for a healthy person to donate a small amount – usually 1 pint (473 milliliters). Your mom or dad might have done this. Kids don't usually donate blood, but it's a good thing to do when you're older.


People who have certain illnesses such as hepatitis or HIV infection aren't allowed to donate blood, because they could pass their sickness on to another person through a blood transfusion. After blood is collected, blood banks test it very carefully to make sure the blood is free of diseases and germs. The blood bank, where donated blood is kept, discards any blood that could make someone sick.


Blood banks are also very careful not to contaminate stuff like needles. People who collect the blood are sure to use a new needle and fresh collection equipment for every donor. That way, even if someone's blood was infected, it can't be spread to other people or contaminate other healthy blood at the blood bank.


Why Transfusions?

Transfusions are often needed to save the lives of kids and adults who have life-threatening medical problems. A person might need blood if they've been in a bad accident, had surgery that caused blood loss, or have a certain disease, such as cancer or sickle cell anemia. Little babies that are born too early also might need transfusions to stay healthy while they grow.


Hospitals have to be careful when they give a blood transfusion. People have different blood types, and not all blood will work in all people. Do you know your blood type? Your mom or dad might. But don't worry if no one knows. If you ever need blood, the hospital would very quickly find out your blood type and may even do additional tests to make sure you get the right kind of blood. The blood will be tested against your blood before it is given to make sure it is compatible with your blood.


Transfusions can be done very quickly, if necessary, like in an emergency situation. But when it's not an emergency, the transfusion can happen more slowly, taking a few hours to finish. When the transfusion's done, the person has taken a big step toward being healthy and feeling good again.



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Comments

BRILLIANTBOY_2165443
O+ is mine
commented: Wed Nov 27, 2013

The Legendary

The Legendary wrote:

A+ :D
commented: Sun Nov 24, 2013

nancybd98

nancybd98 wrote:

i'm B+
commented: Sun Nov 24, 2013

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kaykay2002
kaykay2002 posted in Friends:
"Wooper1255" wrote:No. Just no. Mr. Face does not approve this. ._.Okay, okay, let's get serious.Your best friend BULLYING you? And loves it when you get mad? What the heck? SHE'S NOT EVEN YOUR FRIEND!You should have a talk with your best friend. No seriously, she doesn't have any friends cause she's a bully and no one likes to be friends with a bully...You should tell your best friend that she NEEDS to change her attitude! She needs to be more nicer to others also.Also, a best friend is: Caring, Kind, Loyal, Nice, Thoughtful, and will stand up for you against bullies, will be there if you're upset, maybe they'll even CRY with you!A best friend is totally NOT: Someone who bullies you, Someone who likes it when your madYou should ask her any of the following questions:Are you Okay?Why are you bullying me? You're my friend.Is something wrong like family issues?Questions like that are good because there may be a reason for bullying. She could be suffering from depression, or is confused or lonely. Just talk to her. Have a discussion with her. Also, you should talk to other people. Ask them why they aren't friends with your best friend. Then maybe, after they tell you what they don't like about her, you can go back to your best friend and tell her the things she needs to improve on. Also, if necessary, tell an adult like your mom, a teacher, consular, or her mom.Whatever you think will solve this conflict between you and your best friend well... just go for it. But think about the outcome too.Hope I helped, I might add some tips and suggestions to you. :3  your right and the only reason I have put up with her this long is because her dad died but I cant stand her anymore so but seriously I feel like there is another reason bcuz she has had people confront her saying "u know what I have put up wit this for a while and I have told u to stop and u don't listen and I know your dad died but that doesn't mean u can treat people like that "  but she still does it and for the past 3 yrs. I have put up with it but not anymore I will talk to her about it. Thanks.
reply about 3 hours
Wooper1255
Wooper1255 posted in Friends:
You NEED to tell your parents or HER parents about her attitude, this is abuse from your OWN best friend! Tell an adult, don't be afraid, it's not even SILLY to tell an adult, this is serious, she is HURTING you! Tell someone before things get out of hand and she REALLY hurts you! D=
reply about 4 hours
Wooper1255
Wooper1255 posted in Friends:
No. Just no. Mr. Face does not approve this. ._. Okay, okay, let's get serious. Your best friend BULLYING you? And loves it when you get mad? What the heck? SHE'S NOT EVEN YOUR FRIEND! You should have a talk with your best friend. No seriously, she doesn't have any friends cause she's a bully and no one likes to be friends with a bully... You should tell your best friend that she NEEDS to change her attitude! She needs to be more nicer to others also. Also, a best friend is: Caring, Kind, Loyal, Nice, Thoughtful, and will stand up for you against bullies, will be there if you're upset, maybe they'll even CRY with you! A best friend is totally NOT: Someone who bullies you, Someone who likes it when your mad You should ask her any of the following questions: Are you Okay? Why are you bullying me? You're my friend. Is something wrong like family issues? Questions like that are good because there may be a reason for bullying. She could be suffering from depression, or is confused or lonely. Just talk to her. Have a discussion with her. Also, you should talk to other people. Ask them why they aren't friends with your best friend. Then maybe, after they tell you what they don't like about her, you can go back to your best friend and tell her the things she needs to improve on. Also, if necessary, tell an adult like your mom, a teacher, consular, or her mom. Whatever you think will solve this conflict between you and your best friend well... just go for it. But think about the outcome too. Hope I helped, I might add some tips and suggestions to you. :3
reply about 4 hours
Boysrock50
Boysrock50 posted in Friends:
Yeah I had a friend in the same situation as you, he was too scared to say anything so we spoke for him. Now the 'friend' has changed and hes our mate. Just tell her straight and firmly, its the only way
reply about 4 hours
kaykay2002
kaykay2002 posted in Friends:
"Boysrock50" wrote:She is obviously NOT your best friend.I wouldn't even call her a friendShe is a bully who thinks she can have her own wayShe thinks she can control you like you're her follower because she the truth is she needs youBe smart and leave her because she's only going to keep you down and then one day she will find  friends just like her and she will just ignore you forever, thinking shes too cool for you.I would either:Tell her straight that she needs to make her own friends because you don't want to be friends anymoreor:Tell her that you don't like what she does and either she changes her ways and acts more like a friend, or you cant be friends anymore.I'm not trying to be harsh, I'm being wise and you should be wise too. Thanks I actually might try that but she is really stubborn and will not take no for an answer I have tried just ignoring her but he will kick, hit, or punch me to get attention. my parents also don't like her bcuz she is bossy. I also have to go to summer camp with her for the next 2 weeks and w have to be buddies for it so i think i might die
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