World Blood Donor Day- Celebrating 20 years of giving: Thank you, Blood Donors

Blood donation is a voluntary act that has the potential to save lives. Donated blood is used in various medical treatments, including surgeries, cancer treatments, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. A single donation can provide vital components such as red cells, plasma, and platelets, benefiting multiple patients. 

Importance of blood donation:

A study published in the Global Journal of Transfusion Medicine by Bukar et al. (2020) highlights the inconspicuous health benefits of blood donation.  

  • Donating blood at least once a year reduces heart risks to the donor by improving blood flow and reducing blocked arteries. 
  • It balances the donor iron levels as too much iron in the blood can cause the arteries to harden and increase the risk of cancer. 
  • Donors receive a mini checkup, such as PCV, HIV, Hepatitis B & C, cholesterol, blood pressure, syphilis etc. This can sometimes help detect underlying health issues.  

Most importantly, it saves lives. 

Most people think blood donation is painful, can make you weak and you can even catch an infection from the process. However, it is important to debunk these myths as most of them are untrue.  Most donors feel only a slight pinch when the needle is inserted, but the entire process is painless.  

After donating blood, you may feel a bit weak and dizzy but that doesn’t last too long. Resting and staying hydrated, can help mitigate any temporary feelings of lightheadedness. Sterile, single-use needles and equipment are used to ensure that donating blood is safe and free from the risk of infection. 

Who is Eligible to Donate Blood? 

According to The World Health Organization,  

  • Donors must be between 17 and 65 years old. 
  • and should weigh at least 50 kg  
  • To donate blood, you must be in good health and free from any infection or illness at the time of donation. 
  • You can donate whole blood every 56 days, but other types of donations have different intervals  

Who is not Eligible to donate blood?  

According to The World Health Organization article on blood products, you are not considered eligible to donate blood if; 

  • You are feeling unwell. 
  • You are anemic. 
  • You are on your period. 
  • You are pregnant, have been pregnant within the last year or are breastfeeding 
  • You have certain medical conditions, which might make you an unsuitable donor  
  • You are taking certain medications, such as antibiotics. 
  • You have or may recently have contracted a sexually transmitted disease, such as HIV or syphilis, that can be passed on to a patient who receives your blood. 
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking, having multiple sexual partners. 
  • You have recently had a tattoo, skin scarification or ear or body piercing. 

Blood Types and Their Eligibility for Transfusion  

  • O- (O Negative): Can donate to all blood types, making it the universal donor type. It can be used in emergency situations when the patient’s blood type is unknown. O- individuals can only receive blood from O- donors. 
  • O+ (O Positive): Can donate to any positive blood type (A+, B+, AB+, O+). O+ is the most common blood type, making it frequently needed for donations. O+ individuals can receive from both O+ and O- donors. 
  • A- (A Negative): Can donate to A+, A-, AB+, AB-. A- individuals can receive blood from A- and O- donors. 
  • A+ (A Positive): Can donate to A+ and AB+ individuals. A+ individuals can receive blood from A+, A-, O+, and O- donors. 
  • B- (B Negative): Can donate to B+, B-, AB+, AB-. B- individuals can receive blood from B- and O- donors. 
  • B+ (B Positive): Can donate to B+ and AB+ individuals. B+ individuals can receive blood from B+, B-, O+, and O- donors. 
  • AB- (AB Negative): Can donate to AB+ and AB- individuals. AB- individuals can receive blood from AB-, A-, B-, and O- donors. 
  • AB+ (AB Positive): Known as the universal recipient because AB+ individuals can receive blood from all types. They can only donate to other AB+ individuals. 

Blood Donation Process  

Donating blood is a simple yet impactful way to contribute to the health and well-being of others. The entire process is safe, typically taking about an hour from start to finish. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what to expect during a blood donation. 

  • Firstly, your blood is screened to identify your blood type, PCV and iron levels and any form of infection or diseases. 
  • If approved, you are required to take a lot of water before donation as this supports your overall bodily functions, ensuring you are in the best possible condition for donating blood. 
  • You will be asked to sit comfortably in a reclining chair. 
  • The skin on your arm will be cleaned with an antiseptic to prevent infection and a sterile needle will be inserted into a vein in your arm. This may cause a brief pinch. 
  • Blood is collected into a sterile bag. The process usually takes about 10 minutes. During this time, you can relax and read or listen to music. You will be monitored to ensure you are comfortable and the donation is proceeding smoothly. 
  • Once the bag is full, the needle will be removed, you may also feel a slight discomfort and a bandage will be applied to the site. 
  • You will be asked to remain seated for a few minutes to ensure you feel well. Rest for at least 15 minutes before leaving and continue to drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy meals. 
  • Avoid heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for the rest of the day avoid using the donation arm for heavy activities. 
  • If you feel lightheaded or unwell after leaving, lie down with your feet elevated until you feel better. 

Blood donation is a simple, safe, and vital act of generosity that can make a profound difference in the lives of others. By sharing the process, dispelling myths, and recognizing the importance of donating, we at Chayim Diagnostics encourage more people to participate in this life-saving practice. Whether you are a regular donor or considering donating for the first time, your contribution is invaluable.

 

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