Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD).
The event serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
If you begin donating blood at age 18 and donate every 90 days until you reach 60, you would have donated 30 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 500 lives. In certain treatments like chemotherapy for cancer, patients need blood daily. Car accident victims may require up to 100 units of blood. Additionally, blood can’t be manufactured, so the only source of acquiring blood is through donation.
Blood is an important resource, both for planned treatments and urgent interventions. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. Blood is also vital for treating the wounded during emergencies of all kinds (natural disasters, accidents, armed conflicts, etc.) and has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and perinatal care.
A blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantity is a key component of an effective health system. Ensuring safe and sufficient blood supplies requires the development of a nationally coordinated blood transfusion service based on voluntary non-remunerated blood donations. However, in many countries, blood services face the challenge of making sufficient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.
If you are considering donating blood to save one of the million patients battling for their life, here are a few things you should know first.
1. Donating blood is completely safe
New and sterile equipment is used for each donor when s/he donates blood, so it is impossible to acquire any communicable disease or infection through blood donation. The used disposable equipment is replaced with sterilized, hygienic means for every donor. Also, there is no dizziness or weakness felt after you donate blood. This is primarily because blood is only 7% of your body’s weight.
2. You can donate whole blood or its specific components
There are 4 types of components in blood. These are red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate. Each of these, except cryoprecipitate, can be derived from a unit of blood donated. Since patients in general only need a specific component of blood, potentially, each pint can save 3 lives. The process of donating components is called apheresis.
3. Only type O-negative blood can be transfused to blood types
Extremely helpful in emergency situations, this type of blood is called the universal donor blood. This is because O-negative blood type has no proteins in its red blood cells, meaning that it can be accepted by everyone with no chances of rejection. This is also the safest for newborn infants. But only 6.6% of the world population has this blood type.
4. Blood donation eligibility
According to guidelines by the Ministry of Health, there are 6 important parameters that determine whether you are eligible to donate blood. These are:
- Age and weight – The minimum prescribed weight is 50 kgs for an eligible donor. S/he should be between 18-60 years of age.
- Body temperature – You should have normal body temperature with the oral temperature not exceeding 37.5-degree celsius.
- Overall Health – The person should not be suffering from communicable diseases, HIV, ailments like cancer and diabetes or tuberculosis, asthma, rabies, etc.
- Haemoglobin level – The minimum prescribed level for blood donation is 12.5 g/dL.
- Pulse: You should have a pulse rate between 50 to 100 without irregularities.
- Blood Pressure – Eligible donors are ones with a diastolic BP between 50-100 mm Hg, and Systolic BP between 100-180 mm Hg.
5. You have to wait 56 days to donate again
Donors who donate whole blood have to weight for a minimum of 8 weeks before donating blood again. This is because the body takes time to reproduce enough quality of red blood cells. However, the plasma is recreated only within a span of few hours. So platelet donors may donate them again after 7 days. Additionally, if you are donating red blood cells, you will have to wait for 16 weeks for another donation.
What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often
Tears of a mother cannot save her Child. But your Blood can. So donate your blood.
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