The World Blood Donor Day asserts the importance of blood donation in saving lives. In a medical ecosystem, voluntary blood donors are essential to maintain adequate stores of blood and blood components, which are needed to save the lives of numerous patients. Recently, the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath, has highlighted the already persistent blood shortage in our country, and it is mainly due to a sharp decline in voluntary donors. It is estimated that 13.5 million units of blood are required annually. Even if 1 percent of our population donates blood annually, the requirement can be met. Moreover, each unit of donated blood can save up to 3 lives with packed red cells, platelets and plasma given to different patients.
However, despite being aware about the importance of voluntary blood donation, most people continue to be hesitant about donating blood at all. It is mainly due to the lack of knowledge about the do’s and don’ts of blood donation, both during and after the process.
Also, read: An expert answers the 7 most frequently asked questions on blood donation post-Covid vaccination
Who can benefit from the blood you donate?
- Victims of trauma, emergencies, disasters and accidents, as well as patients undergoing advanced medical and surgical procedures. Even a single-car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood
- Women suffering from bleeding associated with pregnancy and childbirth
- Children battling malaria and malnutrition induced anaemia
- Patients with blood and bone marrow disorders, inherited disorders of haemoglobin, and immune deficiency conditions
Here’s all you need to know about blood donation
Before donating blood, it is important to make sure that you fulfill the eligibility criteria:
- Any healthy adult between the age group of 18-65 years, weighing at least 45 kgs with haemoglobin of at least 12.5 grams can donate blood.
- Men can donate safely once every three months while women can donate every four months.
- It is advisable to eat an iron-rich diet like beans, spinach, fish, red meat, and iron-fortified cereals, with lots of fluid intake.
- Alcohol consumption should be avoided before the donation day.
- Any blood-thinning medication should be stopped before 2-3 days of blood donation.
Who can not donate blood?
It is also critical to understand that some people do not qualify to donate blood. These include:
- Pregnant women or mothers who recently delivered or breastfeeding, should not donate blood for 12 months post-delivery.
- People with HIV/AIDS, syphilis and hepatitis,.
- People who have been injected with drugs at any point of life, must never give blood.
- People should not donate blood within 12 months after a bone marrow harvest, and within 6 months after a peripheral stem cell harvest.
Potential donors are often concerned that there may be a negative impact on their health after blood donation. Contrary to popular misconception, regular donors actually have a lower incidence of cardiac complications.
How to take care after donating blood?
After blood donation, the area of the prick should be covered with a bandage for the next several hours. The donor should keep sitting for a few minutes and eat the refreshment provided by the staff as it reduces the risk of dizziness.
So, every year on June 14, on the occasion of World Blood Donor Day, let us pledge that no patient or family in India will struggle to get their blood requirement fulfilled.