How to Determine Your Blood Type

Ask a person of a certain age what their blood type is, and most likely they will find out. The idea was that knowing your blood type could save your life in an emergency when you might need blood immediately, from military tokens to tattoos on Cold War children . But what used to be an important piece of personal information that people could share along with their date of birth, home address, and social security number is no longer something that everyone knows or remembers.

The blood type has recently reappeared in the news thanks to COVID-19. Initially, some thought there might be a link between the blood type and the severity of COVID symptoms, but a new study from Harvard University has shown that this is not the case. However, given all the other potential complications of the diagnosis, it is advisable to know your blood type. So, do you have one of the eight most common blood types ( A +, A- , B +, B- , O +, O- , AB +, AB- ) or one of the rare ? Here’s how to figure it out.

How to find out your blood type

For some background information on what blood types are, why they matter and the characteristics of each type, the Red Cross has a very helpful section on their website that breaks everything down. In the meantime, here are some ways to find out your blood type.

Donate blood

If you have the opportunity to donate blood , this is a great way to know your blood type, because you are getting the information you need and helping others at the same time. If you are unsure of where to do this, simply enter your zip code in this part of the Red Cross website and they will direct you to the nearest blood collection or blood collection point. After you make a donation, they will give you a blood donor card, which will give you access to your blood type through their website . It usually takes a few days for blood typing after donating blood, but it’s free.

Check your record if you are already a blood donor

If you have donated blood to the Red Cross before, information about your blood type may already be available to you on the website. Those with login details can login here .

Ask your doctor

Your GP may record your blood type from previous laboratory tests. You can always call their office to see if they can tell you what it is. Not every medical institution has such information, but it’s worth a try.

Get a blood test

If you were going to have a blood test anyway, you can ask them to also tell you what blood type you have while they do the rest of the test.

Get a blood group test at home

There are a number of home tests that determine your blood type. You can ask your local pharmacy or order them online for about $ 20 per test.

Skip saliva analysis

Technically, there are saliva tests if you’d rather skip any needles or skin pricks. According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research , about 80% of people have the same antigens in their saliva as they do in their blood. But for something like a blood type, being correct 80% of the time is not ideal. Given that this is not the most accurate way, you are probably better off skipping it.

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