About O Positive Blood

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Blood that is type O positive has two main characteristics: an absence of blood antigens A or B and a positive Rhesus (Rh) factor. According to the American Red Cross, O positive is the most common blood type, shared by 38 percent of the U.S. population.

Checklist and blood vials
Checklist and blood vials (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Facts

There are eight common blood types an individual inherits based on his or her parents’ combined blood types: • A positive • A negative • B positive • B negative • AB positive • AB negative • O positive • O negative

Because mismatched blood antigens can target a blood recipient’s immune system, only certain blood-type combinations are compatible.

Holding vial of blood
Holding vial of blood (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Blood Typing for Transfusions

In the event a person with O positive blood should need a transfusion—due to trauma, surgery, cancer, blood disorders or other illnesses—he or she can receive only O positive or O negative blood. As a result, O positive blood is in high demand, trailing only O negative blood, which is used in emergencies when there isn’t time to type a recipient’s blood. Those who are O positive can donate blood to any of the other positive blood types. According to the Red Cross, this means: • 84 percent of the population can receive their red blood cells • 100 percent of the population can receive their platelets • 45 percent of the population can receive their plasma

Blood bag transfusion
Blood bag transfusion (Image: Keith Brofsky/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Double Red Cell Donation

Because of the high demand, individuals with O positive blood are encouraged to donate double red cells. This is an automated process in which a machine extracts twice the number of red blood cells found in one unit of whole blood and returns the other blood components (platelets and plasma) to the donor. According to the Red Cross, the collected red blood cells are most likely to benefit trauma and surgery patients. Individuals are eligible to donate double red cells once every 112 days, or three times per year.

Man donating blood
Man donating blood (Image: Tim Boyle/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Rh Incompatibility and Pregnancy

As mentioned previously, the positive or negative quality of a blood type refers to its Rh factor. In addition to typing for blood transfusions, Rh incompatibility is a potential concern during pregnancy. About 85 percent of people are Rh positive, according to an article published on Kidshealth.org. If a woman who is Rh negative and a man who is Rh positive (including O positive) conceive a baby, there’s a 50 percent chance that the baby will have Rh-positive blood, causing the mother’s body to produce antibodies to attack the foreign substance. Although the resultant Rh disease once posed significant risks to mother and newborn, doctors today prevent problems by administering two Rh immune-globulin shots during an at-risk woman’s first pregnancy, the article states.

Pregnant Woman
Pregnant Woman (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

O Positive Personality

The Japanese believe that blood type influences one’s personality. People with type O blood (regardless of Rh factor) are considered to be outgoing and self-confident, according to an article in Science World magazine. Many famous Japanese baseball players have type O blood, the article adds.

Baseball crowds inside the Tokyo Dome, Japan
Baseball crowds inside the Tokyo Dome, Japan (Image: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images)

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