Recent studies have revealed that having a certain blood type, specifically O, may offer protective benefits against the novel coronavirus – but millions of Americans are unsure of what type they have.
There are four major blood groups: A, B, O, and AB. Just like your hair color or eye color, your blood type is inherited from your parents.
They are each discerned by sugars known as antigens, which cause your immune system to produce antibodies.
In each group, there is a protein called the Rh factor, which is either positive or negative, resulting in eight blood types.
O+ and A+ are the most common types, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all Americans, according to Stanford Blood Center.
The rarest blood type is AB, with only 0.6 percent of the US population carrying this type,
One way to find out your blood type – and for free – is by giving at donation centers across the country.
But there are also at-home kits that cost as little as $8.95 and private clinics that will do it for a one-time fee of around $36.
DailyMail.com has broken down some of the easiest options in the US for finding out your blood type.
Americans can donate their blood at a clinic if they want to determine their blood type for free (file image)
DONATE BLOOD – FREE
The cheapest way to find out your blood type is by donating, which is free.
There are a number of clinics that specialized in donations including the American Red Cross, One Blood, New York Blood Center and America’s Blood Centers.
You can also donate to community blood supplies, which are typically held at hospital or health clinics.
HOW COMMON IS EACH BLOOD TYPE?
There are eight main blood types and O+ and A+ are the most common, accounting for around 73 percent of all people in the US.
This is how common each blood type is in America
- O positive: 37.4%
- O negative: 6.6%
- A positive: 35.7%
- A negative: 6.3%
- B positive: 8.5%
- B negative: 1.5%
- AB positive: 3.4%
- AB negative: 0.6%
Source: Stanford Blood Center
A trained phlebotomist draws around 470 ml of whole blood from a vein in your arm, a process which takes about eight to 10 minutes.
Donated blood is used for transfusions during surgery, those who’ve lost blood due to major traumatic events such as a car crash or those with illnesses such as neuroblastoma.
The American Red Cross states that there are very specific ways in which blood must be donated to ensure safety.
If someone with type A blood is given type B blood, for example, their antigens will attack the new blood cells and cause an incompatibility reaction resulting in fever, chills, muscle aches and nausea.
People with Type AB blood carry both the A antigen and B antigen, meaning they can only give to other AB types, but are universal recipients.
Those with A and B blood types only carry one antigen, meaning they can only give to people with a similar blood type.
But O-blood, specifically O-negative, are the universal donors because they lack A and B antigens.
Typically you won’t know your blood type right away and may have to wait a couple of weeks for results.
There are very specific ways in which blood must be donated to ensure it is safe
AT- HOME TESTING KIT FROM AMAZON – $8.95
For those who don’t feel comfortable having blood drawn from their vein, or who don’t want to donate, there are several kits you can purchase online.
One of the most popular testing Eldon Blood Typing Kit, available for purchase on Amazon at $8.95.
After cleaning with the finger with an alcohol prep pad, users prick their finger with a sterile disposable lancet and place a drop of blood on each of the four supplied sticks.
The swabs are then rubbed onto four separate areas of the car than contain reagents, which will change color.
Areas where the blood clumps together or spreads out can then be matched to a guide included with kit.
Some do-it-yourself testing kits have vials of fluid that you can mix drops of blood in rather than rubbing it on a card.
At-home blood type testing kits are available to purchase online from sites such as Amazon including the Eldon test (pictured) for $8.95
PRIVATE CLINIC – $36.11
Private clinics can also reveal what blood type you have for a one-time fee, but are more expensive that at-home kits.
However, they are more likely to be accurate because trained medical professional are drawing and analyzing the blood.
One clinic, Lemonaid, is a telemedicine business that has patients chat online with doctors to get prescriptions or receive test kits.
Users pay Lemonaid’s doctor fee of $25 and blood type test lab fee of $11.11.
The site directs users to go a Quest Diagnostics lab to have the blood drawn, results of which will be sent to Lemonaid.
The clinic saids it will send a confidential message to users when results are available, typically within three to five days.
Lemonaid, a private clinic, says it can gets users their blood type results in three to five days for a one-time fee of $36.11