Blood Donation: Internal Medicine Doctor Talks About Important Facts
Did you know that every year 14 June is observed as World Blood Donor Day? Blood donation is an important initiative that is promoted by countries world over. In fact, World Health Organisation (WHO) runs a campaign every year. The theme for World Blood Donor Day 2019 is Safe Blood For All. It aims to encourage people to make voluntary blood donations in order to save lives of patients who require blood transfusions.
Why You Should Consider Blood Donation
As a blood donor, you can change a lot of lives, including save some. The blood you donate may be used for:
- Pregnant women who have complications during delivery
- Premature newborns and malnourished children with anaemia
- Patients undergoing complicated surgical procedures
- Patients who rely on blood transfusion due to kidney disease or liver disease
- People who have blood-related disorders
- Accident patients in emergency rooms
- Some cancer patients
- People diagnosed with Thalassaemia, Sickle Cell Disease or Haemophilia
Can You Donate Blood?
In India, anyone above the age of 18 can voluntarily donate blood. But, there are some restrictions. These include:
- The blood donor cannot be underweight.
- Blood donors with high blood pressure or diabetes require screening for permissible limits
- Anyone suffering from an infectious or chronic disease cannot donate blood.
- The donor should not have taken any drugs, orally or otherwise, in the last 48 hours. He/She should not have consumed alcohol in the last 24 hours.
- Pregnant, breastfeeding, menstruating women or those having had a miscarriage in the last 6 months cannot donate blood.
- You cannot donate blood up to 6 months after getting a body piercing and one year after getting a tattoo.
- The donor cannot be anaemic or have any blood disorders.
- The gap between each blood donation should be at least 3 months.
- Donors running a fever cannot donate blood.
- People who have tested HIV positive are not illegible for blood donation.
- A Hepatitis-B vaccination prevents you from donating blood for 6 months.
- Major surgeries, including dental procedures, make you an ineligible blood donor for 1 month.
Expert Speak: Dr Vinay Bhat, Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital
“Blood, the lifeline of human beings, can be acquired only through donation! There is no way blood can be manufactured. This leaves donation as the only means to get blood when it is needed. Safe blood saves lives. Here are some quick facts that will make you more open to being a blood donor:
Donating Blood Can Improve Your Health
- Donating blood improves overall cardiovascular health, especially in men. Regular blood donation helps them to reduce the amount of iron in the blood. This in turn can reduce the chance of heart attacks and the risk of severe cardiovascular events such as stroke.
- Blood donation enhances the production of new blood cells. New cells are produced by the marrow within 48 hours of donation.
- Donating blood may lower risk of various cancers. These include liver, lung, colon, stomach and throat cancers.
- Blood donation allows the donor a free health screening, as well as a mini blood test.
Blood Donation: Things To Remember
- Only 1 pint (about 470 ml) of blood is taken during donation.
- Your one-time blood donation can save upto 3 lives.
- All the red blood cells the donor loses during blood donation are replenished within a couple of months.
- O-negative blood, the universal donor group, is needed in emergencies. It can be used before the patient’s blood type is known. It can also be used to save newborns who need blood.
- One must share honest and accurate medical history before donation to avoid wastage of blood.
- After blood donation, drink plenty of fluids, avoid heavy work, driving or smoking immediately.
- Remove the blood donation bandage only after 6 hours to allow for complete clotting. In case you continue to experience bleeding, see a doctor immediately.
The Truth About Rare Blood Groups In India
There is a constant need for regular blood supply because it can be stored for only a limited time before used. Regular blood donations by a sufficient number of healthy people is important. It can ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed.
And while a mere 1 unit of blood can save up to 3 lives, the plight of people with rare blood groups is palpable. A rare blood group is found in 1 in 1,000 people. But, blood groups such as Bombay “Oh” is even rarer. It is found in 1 in 7,600 people in Mumbai, and 1 in 2,500 in south-west Maharashtra.
In other parts of the country, people with this group of blood do not exist. Overall, finding a match for rare blood types donor, including RH-blood types, is difficult. While it may be feasible to seek information on which is the rare or rarest blood group for a developed country, screening and categorising the vast population of India is easier said than done. Hence, it will take considerable time before we know what India needs.”