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Are you bloody smart?

Were you paying attention in biology class? Research and public opinion polling suggests that Canadians know very little about their blood system, but that they have an interest in learning more. Ipsos-Reid, our research partners put the questions below to a representative sample of the general population of Canada. If you took our quiz in the Globe and Mail this week, see how you stacked up against the "gen pop"…

Question Answer/Explanation % answered correctly

How many lives can one blood donation save?
a) 1
b) 2
c) 3
d) 4
e) Don't Know/No Answer

* The number of units required vary by patient and treatment. Click here for examples.

c) 3*
Whole blood donations are separated into three components: red cells, plasma and platelets. Each component may be given to a different patient. That's why one donation has the potential to save up to three lives!


How long is the expiry date for red blood cells collected through blood donation?
a) 21 days
b) 42 days
c) 56 days
d) 84 days
e) Don't Know/No Answer

b) 42 days
Blood is perishable, and has a 42-day "best before" date. That means we can't stockpile it for future use, and why we continuously need blood donors. While 42 days is the maximum shelf life, most donated blood in Canada is sent to hospitals within a week. Platelets only have a 5-day shelf life, and make them a constant challenge to supply, particularly after a long weekend.


What is your blood type?
a) A
b) B
c) AB
d) O
e) Don't Know/No Answer

While there is no right or wrong answer, a third of Canadians polled did not know their blood type. Do you know yours? If you don't, you can find out your blood type at one of the hundreds of What's Your Type? events that Canadian Blood Services runs across the country every year at high schools, universities, fairs and other community gatherings. Want to know what your blood type says about who you are? Click here.

a) A: 21%
b) B: 11%
c) AB: 7%
d) O: 27%
e) Don't Know/No Answer: 34%

How old do you have to be to donate blood in Canada?
a) 16
b) 17
c) 18
d) 21
e) Don't Know/No Answer

b) 17
When you turn 16, you can drive; when you turn 18, you can vote. Turning 17 and being able to donate blood is a right of passage from the free-spirited teen years, to becoming an adult and demonstrating your commitment to community and social responsibility…Plus, it looks pretty good on your CV. And, assuming you stay in good health, you could donate up until after you are 71 with a doctor's letter.


On average, how long does it take to donate blood?
a) 30 minutes
b) 1 hour
c) 1.5 hours
d) 2 hours
e) Don't Know/No Answer

b) 1 hour
The total experience takes about an hour. This involves the health assessment and recovery time. The actual blood donation only takes about 5 to 15 minutes. Can you think of a better way to spend an hour than by saving up to 3 lives?


How many times a year can a healthy person donate blood?
a) 1
b) 2
c) 3
d) 4
e) 5
f) 6
g) 7
h) 8
i) 9
j) 10
k) 11
l) 12
m) Don't Know/No Answer

g) 7
If you made a New Year's resolution to donate blood and began in early January you could donate 7 times a year. Blood donors can donate every 56 days. Out of our 400,000 active blood donors, over 185,000 gave once and 90,000 gave twice last year. A select group of 14,500 Canadians gave seven times last year. We cherish every donor's gift, and hope they come back to see us as often as possible!


How many units of blood are collected each year in Canada?
a) 300,000
b) 600,000
c) 900,000
d) 1.2 million
e) Don't Know/No Answer

c) 900,000
On average, every 60 seconds, someone in Canada requires blood or a blood product. Canadian Blood Services serves over 800 hospitals across the country. Demand for blood is growing steadily by 2% every year. That may not sound like much, but this year that means we need an additional 17,000 donations.


Can you tell me from the list below which of the following situations might require blood or blood products?
a) Car accidents
b) Complications from childbirth
c) Cancer treatments
d) Burn victims
e) Premature babies
f) Joint replacement
g) All of the above
h) None of the above
i) Don't Know/No Answer

g) All of the above
A car accident victim can require blood donations from up to 50 donors. Cancer patients can require up to 8 units of blood components a week. Joint replacement surgery can use two to five units, and some premature babies require blood to survive. There are hundreds of medical conditions that require blood and blood products to improve or even save lives. And where does that blood come from? Not from a tree, not from a lab - it's in you to give.


How many litres of blood does the average person have in their body?
a) 1 litre
b) 3 litres
c) 5 litres
d) 10 litres
e) Don't Know/No Answer

c) 5 litres
Of course this can vary from person to person, but on average people have 5 litres (or just over a gallon) of blood in their system.


How much blood goes into a single donation?
a) 250 mls
b) 450 mls
c) 600 mls
d) 1 litre
e) Don't Know/No Answer

b) 450 mls
Though it is frequently referred to as a "pint" of blood, a blood donation in Canada is actually 450 mls, rather than the 570 mls in a pint (about 4 ounces less than a pint). So less than one tenth of your blood volume is drawn for a donation. Blood is the ultimate "renewable resource" as the human body naturally begins replenishing it in hours, and finishes the job within 56 days. Besides, where else can you eat cookies and actually lose weight? (at least temporarily!)


How many blood clinics are run by Canadian Blood Services each year?
a) 5,000
b) 10,000
c) 15,000
d) 20,000
e) Don't Know/No Answer

d) 20,000
Between our 41 permanent locations in major cities across the country, and the hundreds of mobile clinics we operate, there are over 20,000 blood donor clinics per year. Chances are there is a blood donor clinic somewhere near where you live, work or play. To find one near you, use our handy Clinic Locator, or call us at 1 888 2 DONATE.


If Canadians stopped donating blood altogether, how long would it be until the supply of most blood products ran out?
a) 4 days
b) 8 days
c) 12 days
d) 16 days
e) Don't Know/No Answer

a) 4 days for high demand blood groups
Surprising as it may be, when times are good, we typically have 4 to 6 days worth of blood. This "just-in-time inventory" is standard in the blood systems worldwide, and is why we must depend on a constant stream of donors.

National Blood Donor Week
National Blood Donor Week

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