World Blood Donor Day: Are You Eligible to Donate Blood?

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This 14th June the world is all set to celebrate World Blood Donor Day again. What started as commemorating the birth anniversary of Karl Landsteiner – an Austrian American physician and immunologist, eventually became an event that’s conducted every year to raise awareness amongst people about the need of blood donation.

Are You Eligible to Donate Blood

Blood donation is perceived as the gift of life. Every year millions of lives are saved with the help of blood transfusion. The profoundly noble intent and the great demand of access to safe blood associates well with this year’s theme, ‘safe blood for all’.

Why is Donating Blood Important?

As the World Blood Donor Day embodies the occasion to celebrate the voluntary blood donors, it also highlights the need to know why donating blood is important. Some of the significant reasons to donate blood are:

  • It saves lives and improves health.
  • There is no substitute for human blood (as a matter of fact, against the 4 crore units of blood required in India, only about 10% is available).
  • It aids in maintaining an adequate blood supply in the community, which secures safe and timely blood transfusions for patients.

Who all Need Blood Transfusion?

A lot of people rely on blood transfusion for different reasons. A few of the ones who require blood donating and blood products include:

  • Women suffering from pregnancy and/or childbirth related bleeding.
  • Severe anemic cases.
  • Patients with blood and/or bone marrow disorders.
  • Patients suffering from hemoglobin disorders or immune deficiency conditions.
  • Accident, disaster, trauma victims.
  • Patients undergoing complicated medical and/or surgical procedures.

What are the Health Benefits of Blood Donation?

While regular blood donations ensure that the ones in want have access to safe blood, it can also have some health benefits, such as:

  • Reduction in high iron levels.
  • Lowered risk of heart disease.
  • Free health check-up for identifying any unknown health issues (by the means of simple blood test or physical examination involved in the blood-donation process).
  • Blood cells restoration.
  • Improved emotional well-being by providing a sense of belonging.

Are There Any Disadvantages of Donating Blood?

Blood donation is a safe process and there aren’t any disadvantages as such. However, some of the donors may experience side-effects like:

  • Dizziness
  • Arm pain and bruising (mainly because of the needle)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Physical weakness

These side-effects usually go away within 3 days after donating blood, so there is nothing to get worried about it.

Who all can Donate Blood?

Most of the people are eligible to donate blood if in good health. The basic eligibility criteria are:

  • Age between 18 and 65 years old (according to WHO).
  • The donor must weigh at least 50kg.
  • The hemoglobin levels in females should not be less than 12.0 g/dl and in males it should not be less than 13.0 g/dl.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Donating Blood

If someone decides to donate blood, they must keep in mind few things, such as:

  • Avoid eating high fat foods on the day of blood donation.
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluid before and after giving blood.
  • Don’t donate if suffering from cold, flu, sore throat, or any infection.
  • Once donated blood, donors can give blood next only after about 56 days in most of the cases, as the blood given must be replaced, and it generally takes some time to regenerate the new blood cells.

Also Read: What Guidelines Do I Need To Know Before Donating Blood?

Some Myths About Donating Blood

Despite being one of the noblest deeds, blood donation is looked at with apprehension by many potential donors because of certain myths. Some common myths of blood donation are:

1. Women aren’t Eligible Donors

Unfortunately, even the educated lot believes that women can’t donate blood because of their menstruation cycle. The truth is that if a woman is healthy and her iron levels are adequate, she can certainly donate blood. Only women who are anemic, pregnant or lactating don’t qualify for donating blood.

2. Thin People Cannot Donate Blood

The minimum weight required to be eligible for donating blood is 50kg. A thin body frame is no ways any condition to disqualify someone from donating blood if the body weight is 50kg or more. Just like an obese body can’t necessarily have ‘more’ blood, thin body may not have ‘less’ blood.

3. One Shouldn’t Donate Blood Often as Human Bodies have Limited Blood

This is false. Generally, about 370-470ml of blood is given during blood donation and within the span of 24 to 48 hours the lost blood is regenerated, and the blood cells are recreated within 8-9 weeks in the bone marrow. The blood donation process, thus, doesn’t exhaust the body of its blood. It is, in fact, more of an effective way to keep body healthy.

Amidst all the myths and the facts related to blood donation, the benefits of giving the gift of life to someone are superlative. So, be aware and donate blood.

References:

  1. https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-blood-donor-day/2019/about

2. http://www.blooddonors.gov.in/bimport.php

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