At Vernacare, we’re the gurus of hygienic patient care. After all, we invented a system 50 years ago that companies are still trying to replicate across the world. Others imitate whilst we innovate. So we thought we’d share our wealth of worldly experience with an A-Z of hygienic patient care. We’ll be bringing you a weekly alphabetic instalment of how patients interact with their healthcare environments, and how the Vernacare system is the single-use toileting and washing solution the world needs. This week, we're talking about blood, the literal liquid gold that runs through your veins...
Blood. We’ve all got it and we wouldn’t be alive without it. That includes your pets: though depending on your pet, their blood might be blue, violet or even yellow. Don’t worry though, your blood is red and we’d encourage you not to test that theory and leave it to the experts. Your blood makes up between 7-8% of your body weight, so the next time the scales tip just over your target weight, blame it on the blood (rather than the sticky toffee pudding you ate whilst watching the X-Factor). On top of that, your blood actually contains liquid gold, granted, its only 0.2 milligrams. Chances are it’ll be of more value to your local Blood Donation Centre than if you were to take it to a local jewellers for valuation. Basically, your blood is probably the most valuable thing you carry around with you on a daily basis, including your purchase of the latest smartphone. Yes, even the iPhone X.
Maybe the last time you were sat in a classroom being taught biology was when teachers were still allowed to rap you on the knuckles with a ruler. But technology has moved on to the point where it’s actually interesting to learn about your own blood. For a start, there are all the pictures that show you microscopically how your blood looks. The 1.325 gallons of blood you have circulating around your body at any given time is made of up of 55% plasma, 40% red blood cells, 4% platelets and a mere 1% are white blood cells. What do these different bits of your blood actually do for you?
Your plasma is mostly made of water, and contains salts, proteins and blood cells. It’s also responsible for transporting nutrients, sugars, fats, hormones, gases and waste material that’s in your blood. Like a London Tube network that has all its lines operating a ‘good service’, AND on time. What a thought.
Red blood cells
With their biconcave shape, look like [but won’t taste like] inverted Smarties, and they’re responsible for transporting oxygen to your organs and tissues. They’re also in charge of determining your blood-type (no, I don’t know what mine is either). On top of that, red blood cells carry waste carbon dioxide back to the lungs. Their disc shape means they have a huge surface area, and they can easily manoeuvre through the body. Like magical tiny little dancers.
These little guys are responsible for blocking the flow of blood from damaged blood vessels, producing those ever-so-attractive scabs and stopping you from bleeding when you’re cooking dinner and you mistake your finger for a carrot (remember your blue plaster). Don’t worry, even Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay have gotten a little too chop-happy in the kitchen.
White blood cells
Are the fearless warriors that live in your bloodstream. They’re on your side, fighting against infection including bacteria and viruses (even a hospital acquired infection you might have picked up from a recent stay in your local hospital). They’ll soon have you back on top form and fighting fit. Move over Anthony Joshua.
At Vernacare, ‘B’ is for bold: from the people that work for us, to our product designs, our approach to empowering healthcare professionals and our long-standing strategy for fighting infection. Your body, and not just your blood, will thank us for it.
If you want to donate blood, you can read more about how you can help by visiting the NHS Blood and Transplant website here.