Some Frequently Asked Questions about Blood Donation

Q. Why to donate blood? Q. Why to avoid professional blood sellers?

Blood transfusions save lives.
There’s no substitute for human blood.
Every three seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion.
About 60 percent of the population are eligible to donate blood, yet less than five percent do.
You’ll make your community a safer place.
Fulfills your desire to “give back” to the community.
You’ll learn your blood type.
It’s safe, simple and it saves lives. 
Q. Who can donate Blood?

Eligible donors (any body between 18 to 60 years of age) with weight above 45 kgs. can donate up to 450 ml of blood. Your body can replenish this volume within 24 hours.

Q. Can any one get AIDS from donating blood?

Only sterile, disposable equipment is used throughout the donation process, which makes it virtually impossible to contract a disease from donating blood.

Q. How frequently you can donate Blood?

Males – Every 3 Months, Females – Every 4 Months

Q. Any side effects of Blood donations?

No ! Not really. Do ask any regular blood donor about it. A small percentage of first time donors may psychologically feel a little dizzy but only for a few minutes. Staff at the blood bank will ensure that your first blood donation is a happy experience. We are sure this will make you a regular blood donor. In fact there are many people who have donated more than 100 times in their life time.

Do not donate if any of the following applies to you:

AIDS: You are a person with symptoms or laboratory evidence of HIV infection.
CANCER: Hematological, i.e.: Hodgkin, Leukemia, Lymphomas
HEPATITIS: A history of the disease after the age of 11, or a positive lab test for the virus.
ORGAN FAILURE: Kidney, lung or liver failure.
RECREATIONAL DRUG USE (by injection): Having injected yourself with drugs not prescribed by a physician.

Blood Donation

A blood donation occurs when a healthy person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for transfusions or made into medications by a process called fractionation.

In the developed world, most blood donors are unpaid volunteers who give blood for a community supply. In poorer countries, established supplies are limited and donors usually give blood when family or friends need a transfusion. Many donors donate as an act of charity, but some are paid and in some cases there are incentives other than money such as paid time off from work. A donor can also have blood drawn for their own future use. Donating is relatively safe, but some donors have bruising where the needle is inserted or may feel faint.

Potential donors are evaluated for anything that might make their blood unsafe to use. The screening includes testing for diseases that can be transmitted by a blood transfusion, including HIV and viral hepatitis. The donor is also asked about medical history and given a short physical examination to make sure that the donation is not hazardous to his or her health. How often a donor can give varies from days to months based on what he or she donates and the laws of the country where the donation takes place. For example, in the United States donors must wait 8 weeks (56 days) between whole blood donations but only three days between plateletpheresis donations.

The amount of blood drawn and the methods vary, but a typical donation is 450 milliliters (or approximately one US pint) of whole blood. The collection can be done manually or with automated equipment that only takes specific portions of the blood. Most of the components of blood used for transfusions have a short shelf life, and maintaining a constant supply is a persistent problem.

Blood donation

A blood donation occurs when a healthy person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for transfusions or made into medications by a process called fractionation.

In the developed world, most blood donors are unpaid volunteers who give blood for a community supply. In poorer countries, established supplies are limited and donors usually give blood when family or friends need a transfusion. Many donors donate as an act of charity, but some are paid and in some cases there are incentives other than money such as paid time off from work. A donor can also have blood drawn for their own future use. Donating is relatively safe, but some donors have bruising where the needle is inserted or may feel faint.

Potential donors are evaluated for anything that might make their blood unsafe to use. The screening includes testing for diseases that can be transmitted by a blood transfusion, including HIV and viral hepatitis. The donor is also asked about medical history and given a short physical examination to make sure that the donation is not hazardous to his or her health. How often a donor can give varies from days to months based on what he or she donates and the laws of the country where the donation takes place. For example, in the United States donors must wait 8 weeks (56 days) between whole blood donations but only three days between plateletpheresis donations.

The amount of blood drawn and the methods vary, but a typical donation is 450 milliliters (or approximately one US pint) of whole blood. The collection can be done manually or with automated equipment that only takes specific portions of the blood. Most of the components of blood used for transfusions have a short shelf life, and maintaining a constant supply is a persistent problem.

Blood donation

A blood donation occurs when a healthy person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for transfusions or made into medications by a process called fractionation. In the developed world, most blood donors are unpaid volunteers who give blood for a community supply. In poorer countries, established supplies are limited and donors usually give blood when family or friends need a transfusion. Many donors donate as an act of charity, but some are paid and in some cases there are incentives other than money such as paid time off from work. A donor can also have blood drawn for their own future use. Donating is relatively safe, but some donors have bruising where the needle is inserted or may feel faint. Potential donors are evaluated for anything that might make their blood unsafe to use. The screening includes testing for diseases that can be transmitted by a blood transfusion, including HIV and viral hepatitis. The donor is also asked about medical history and given a short physical examination to make sure that the donation is not hazardous to his or her health. How often a donor can give varies from days to months based on what he or she donates and the laws of the country where the donation takes place. For example, in the United States donors must wait 8 weeks (56 days) between whole blood donations but only three days between plateletpheresis donations.[1] The amount of blood drawn and the methods vary, but a typical donation is 450 milliliters (or approximately one US pint)[2] of whole blood. The collection can be done manually or with automated equipment that only takes specific portions of the blood. Most of the components of blood used for transfusions have a short shelf life, and maintaining a constant supply is a persistent problem.

World Blood Donors Day

June 14 is celebrated all over the world as the World Blood Donor Day. Remembered as the birthday of Karl Landsteiner, the creator of the ABO blood group system, World health Organization (WHO) has chosen this day to recognize millions of brave hearts who make a conscious effort in saving lives and improving the health of others by donating blood.

World Blood Donor Day highlights the pressing need to regularly give blood voluntarily to prevent running away of stored blood by hospitals and independently working blood banks. It demonstrates how healthcare systems and people at the helm of affairs work to make blood transfusions absolutely safe and accessible to common people worldwide. The day also motivates more and more people to become regular blood donors.

World Blood Donor day 2010 is going to focus on young donors. With the slogan: “New blood for the world,” WHO wants to motivate more young people to contribute to this noble cause and make them influence others to the do the same.

Why should one donate blood?
Blood is called the gift of life, the most precious gift that anyone can give to a person in need. A timely decision to donate blood can save a life, or even several.

There is a constant need for regular supply and replenishment of safe blood in all the health units worldwide because blood can be stored for only a limited period time before use. This can only be ensured if a sufficient number of healthy people donate blood on a regular basis.

Safe, germ-free blood not only saves lives but also improves health. Blood transfusion, or for that matter blood donation is needed for:

  • Accident patients
  • Many surgical and terminally ill patients
  • Women with pregnancy related complications, such as haemorrhage before, during or after childbirth
  • Children with severe anaemia
  • People with conditions such as thalassaemia, haemophilia, and sickle cell anemia

Blood demand in Hyderabad

Senior officials of Andhra Pradesh State Aids Control Society (APSACS) note that as many as 400 types of surgical procedures are covered under Aarogyasri which has led to a spurt in demand for blood and blood products, particularly in private hospitals that are on the Aarogyasri network. And adding to these numbers are the rising number of accidents, thalassaemia and haemophilia patients and those suffering from various cancers of the blood. As per National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), the demand of blood is increasing at the rate of 0.2 to 0.5 per cent annually.

There is a 30 per cent jump in the demand for blood in the last few years in Andhra Pradesh, more so from the corporate hospitals since the launch of Aarogyasri scheme. The surge in demand is also being attributed to the exponential rise in trauma cases and blood transfusion-needed diseases being reported now than in the past.

In view of the shortage, blood banks even the major ones are able to meet just 50 per cent of the demand in the city with the situation worsening in other parts of the state. “The demand is increasing but the availability has remained more or less the same. We get around 200-300 calls daily but can issue just about 100-120 units of blood due to the shortage,” said Dr N V Sudha Kiran, deputy director, NTR Blood Bank. In 2008, NTR blood bank had issued 16,575 units of blood which doubled in 2009 touching 31,504 units. This year, till June, the bank has already issued 17,309 units.

Specialists at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences have seen a five per cent rise in demand in the last one year. “Our annual requirement is anywhere between 14,000 and 16,000 units. While 60 per cent of the demand is met through replacement donors, the rest is with the help of voluntary donors. We are managing by using blood rationally in terms of blood components,” said Dr V S Sadeep, who heads the blood bank at NIMS.

Health benefits of donating blood

Reduce the chance of heart diseases

It has been observed that increase in blood iron level increases the chance of heart disease. Iron is involved in the oxidation of cholesterol and this process is believed to be detrimental for the arteries. Increases blood iron level favors this process of cholesterol oxidation and thus leads to heart disease. Regular blood donation helps especially males in loosing iron on regular basis. It helps in reducing the chance of heart attack to one third.

Enhance the production of new Red Blood Cells

As the blood is withdrawn from the donors body there is decrease in blood cells. To replenish it, immediately new cells are produced by marrow and this way blood gets refreshed. Therefore donating blood helps in stimulating generation of new blood cells.

Helps in fighting hemochromitosis

Hemochromitosis is a genetic disorder; also know as iron overload disorder wherein iron accumulates in the body tissue because or improper iron metabolism. This condition may lead to organ damage. Though this problem is uncommon in Indians people with little iron overload also can easily donation blood and reduce their iron content. Taking example from other countries, one in every 300-400 people in England suffers from this disorder and American Red Cross blood services accept such donors as safe donor as it’s a genetic disorder, it won’t be harmful to the person receiving blood from such donors.

Burns calories

One can diet or remain fit by donating blood regularly. One pint of blood (450 ml) when donated burns 650 calories in donor’s body.

Invigorated feeling in elderly people

It has been mentioned in various sites though not proved that elderly people in good health have reported feeling invigorated or reenergized by giving blood on a regular basis.

Basic blood test is done

Apart from all these benefits a donor gets a mini blood test done before donating blood. This includes Hematocrit i.e. HB level test, Blood pressure is measured, body weight is checked. After the blood is collected it tested for 5 major diseases. Those are Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, Syphilis and malaria. Donor is immediately informed if any of these test found to be positive.

About National Blood Donor Month

January is National Blood Donor month, and the perfect time to teach children & teens the importance of donating blood, how a blood donation center, or blood bank, works and all about blood transfusions, blood supply safety and how blood is transported. Classrooms and homeschools can use resources provided by the blood banks to create lesson plans.

Instructions

1. Visit a blood bank, or blood donation center. Make an appointment for a field trip and walk through the facility to learn how blood donation works.

2. Investigate the differences between all of the blood types to learn why some kinds of blood are more important than others. Which blood type is the rarest? Which blood type is the most popular? How is blood type determined? What is your blood type?

3. Create posters to educate the public about donating blood. Posters can be hung in public places to increase awareness of National Blood Donor Month.

4.  Make Thank-You cards for the people who have donated blood. Leave them on the counter at the blood donation center or ask the clerk to distribute them to the donors. You can also make posters of gratitude to hang in the waiting area.

5. Create a panel of people with experience in collecting, donating, or receiving donated blood. In the Resource Section there’s an article called “Lesson Plan Ideas for National Blood Donor Month” that outlines how to create a discussion panel for your homeschool group or classroom. Kids learn so much from talking to people with life experiences. They might forget the workbook or textbook, but they rarely forget people they’ve met.

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