What Guidelines Do I Need To Know Before Donating Blood?

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According to the Red Cross, a single person donating blood can save over three lives. Most clinics and hospitals all over the world always suffer from a slight shortage of blood. This is because there’s no way to predict how often trauma patients may require transfusions. The benchmark for most healthcare facilities is to have enough blood to last 3 days. Blood donors can help them maintain this benchmark. If you are considering becoming a donor, you should be aware of the following blood donation rules to ensure the process does not lead to complications.

Blood Donation

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Blood Donation Rules:

1What Happens During a Blood Donation Procedure?

The blood donation process is not a very long one. On average, the process can last for 8-10 minutes. You can expect the following steps:

  • The blood donation process begins with volunteers registering themselves. During this stage, a nurse will as you routine questions about your health and medical history. You must also provide identification to register.
  • You will be guided to a reclining chair or bed.
  • The nurse will clean your arm with antiseptics and then insert a needle.
  • The needle is connected to a tube that leads to a bag. The blood pools in this bag.
  • After you have donated a pint of blood, the nurse will remove the needle.
  • The nurse will also apply a bandage to your arm (in some places, nurses use a cotton ball and tape)

2Who is Eligible to Donate Blood?

You must be of legal age to voluntarily donate blood i.e. 17 years and above. Moreover, you also need to be healthy at the time of donating. You should weigh a minimum of 40 kgs, however, some centres require you to weigh a minimum of 45 kgs. Blood donation restrictions can vary from hospital to hospital.

3Can Donors be Rejected?

Yes, according to the blood donation rules that most places follow, a prospective donor can be rejected if they:

  • Use needles to inject drugs or any steroids.
  • Are HIV positive.
  • Have had sex for money.
  • Suffer from Chagas disease.
  • Have had unprotected sex in the last 12 months.
  • Are on certain medications (even patients who have taken aspirin must wait 72 hours before donating).
  • Are pregnant.
  • Are at-risk for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).
  • Suffer from blood disorders like haemophilia.
  • Are sick or suffering from colds and flus.

4Can Blood be Rejected After the Donation?

In order to ensure the health of the recipient, blood is tested by donation centres to make sure it is safe to use. This is particularly important in developing countries where people often skip this step. Recently, a pregnant woman in Tamil Nadu received HIV-infected blood at a government hospital. Donation centres must take greater precautions when collecting blood. Some of the diseases that the blood should be tested for include:

If the blood tests as positive for any of these diseases, it can be rejected.

5Can People with Tattoos Donate Blood?

Yes, however, you must wait for a minimum of a year before donating. Also, as a general rule, ensure you get tattoos from hygienic establishments and always check if they use a fresh needle to tattoo you.

6Can Donating Blood Benefit Me?

Yes, blood donors can enjoy a variety of health benefits too. To start with, helping others can offer mental health benefits like:

  • Less stress or anxiety
  • Better emotional well-being
  • An increased sense of belonging
  • Fewer negative thoughts

Moreover, becoming a blood donor can also have positive effects on your health. Some of these include:

  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Donating blood can reduce the overall viscosity of your blood. Moreover, it reduces total cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol, protecting your heart. Finally, donating blood can also help you reduce the iron stored in your body. This is good because high amounts of iron can contribute to heart attacks.
  • Reduced risk of cancer. As blood donation can reduce the iron stored in your body, it also helps you reduce your chances of developing cancer. This is because certain types of cancer like colon, lung, liver, stomach and oesophageal cancers are associated with high iron content in the body.
  • Getting a free health check-up! When you register to become a blood donor, the nurse will check your blood pressure, haemoglobin, pulse, and body temperature. By donating blood regularly, you can keep a check on your overall health.

7Are There Any Side Effects to Donating Blood?

No, healthy adults do no experience side effects. However, some people may experience a few abnormalities like fatigue and drowsiness. Generally, most blood donation centres offer patients a snack (like a cookie) to counteract such effects. They also allow patients to lie down if they feel too dizzy.

8How Often Can You Donate Blood?

You can donate blood every 8 weeks or 2 months. If you are only donating platelets, you can perform up to 24 donations in a year. You can make these donations as frequently as every 7 days.

9Are There Different Types of Blood Donation?

Yes. Apart from whole blood donation, you can also perform a platelet donation, red blood cell donation, or plasma donation. These types of donations can take up to two hours to occur. In this a machine known as apheresis is attached to both your arms. It separates the components it requires from your blood (such as the plasma) and sends the remaining blood back to you.

10Do I Need to Take Precautions After Donating Blood?

Yes, you are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Drink a minimum of 4 glasses of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Eat iron-rich foods like spinach, shrimp, kale, sweet potatoes, chicken and so on for your next meal.
  • Do not operate heavy machinery or drive.
  • Do not exercise or engage in any activity that may make you tired.

11Who Can Take a Donation of My Blood?

Your blood can be used by patients with matching blood types. Patients who are:

  • Undergoing surgery.
  • Losing platelets due to a disease (for instance, dengue is a common disease in India that leads to platelet loss).
  • Suffering from a trauma and losing blood.

The importance of donating blood can never be overstated. By donating plasma, red cells, or platelets, you can allow yourself to be a part of a cycle that saves countless lives. If you are interested in becoming a donor, speak to your doctor to know more about the centres you can approach.

Many blood donation rules are set to not only safe guard the recipient’s health, but your health as well. Therefore, following them and adhering to any additional guidelines given by your doctor can help you become an effective donor.

Also Read:  World Blood Donor Day: All About Blood Donation

News on Blood Donations:

12Tech Forum Collects 1600 Blood Donations in 5 years

-16th January 2019

Tejus, a tech firm has collected 16,000 blood donations in five years and plans to collect 12,000 blood donations this 2019. Basically, Tejus is a blood donation forum that facilitates voluntary blood donations with an aim to provide blood to Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology.

Moreover, this firm consists of 95% of techies who have conducted 72 blood drives at Technopark in 2018. With the increase in blood camps, the techie forum has planned to conduct more of these blood drives in the coming years.

Talking about the importance of blood camps and their benefits for the ill, Mr Brijesh P I, Co-founder of Tejus said that, “ People only know the importance of blood donations only when their loved ones require one and as a result, one needs to be donors in order to be part of the change.”

e-Consultation Offer at Medlife
Dr. Vikas Sharma MD
Dr. Vikas Sharma M.D. is a practicing general physician at Vikas Hospital in Mehrauli, Delhi. With over 17 years of medical experience, Dr. Vikas Sharma is an expert in treating diabetes mellitus and hypertension. He completed his MD degree from Peoples’ Friendship University, Russia in 2001. He frequently holds free medical camps every month for general health check-ups and hypertension. After attending to the rush of patients during whatever little leisure time he gets he listens to music or plays cricket.

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