Unfortunately, our world is not as safe as most people would like it to be. Although it may not be best to imagine that danger lurks around every corner, it is important to recognize the reasonable (and probable) risks involved with certain activities. When situations go awry, there are often incidents which require an individual to be rushed to the hospital. They're losing blood, and fast. But what happens if and when they make it to the Emergency Room? As convenient as it may seem to replace lost blood with donated blood, this is certainly not the case.
Many people are not even aware that although all mankind may be considered equal, blood certainly is not. In fact, even in medical jargon, blood types are classified according to their degree of popularity.
So, what makes one blood "type" different from another? Well, there is a lot of complicated and detailed biological information involved with explaining every tiny difference between these types, but, for the purposes of this article, I will offer a slightly abridged explanation.
Essentially, your blood contains antibodies, proteins which are your immune system's version of tiny bacteria terminators on the surface of red blood cells that have one object: identify and terminate foreign matter in your blood; not just infectious bacteria, but viruses too!
Unfortunately, there are different variations of these proteins, and they don't all get along. The ABO blood group is comprised of four different blood types: A, B, AB, and O. A types can only receive blood from other A types. B types can only receive blood from other B types and AB types can receive from either A or B types. And, finally, although O types are considered the universal donors because their blood can be mixed with any other blood type, they can only receive blood from other O types, which is why most hospitals encourage O types to donate their blood regularly. These regularly donating O types should certainly be commended for saving lives.
Knowing your blood type is crucial in the event of an emergency. Remember to ask your doctor which blood type you have at your next scheduled appointment. Although most hospitals are particularly careful not to mix incompatible blood types, knowing your own type could be a matter of life or death.