NEW DELHI: Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. The day serves to thank those who selflessly donate blood and save a life.
It is a noble act and one should donate blood at least once a year. Apart from the obvious benefits it has for the recipient, donating blood regularly, according to various reports, can reduce the chances of future heart attacks.
Blood donation helps stimulate the production of new blood cells in the body of the donor thus helping a person stay healthy for a longer time. Regular blood donation also prevents the buildup of excess iron in the body.
Despite such a huge population, there is a deficit of about 12 lakh units of blood in the country.
"There is one person in need of blood every two seconds including cancer patients, various blood disorders, and accident cases. They either require blood or any of its components to be transfused regularly. Apart from this, there are pregnant women with complications, and those who have undergone surgery as well. Donated blood is often separated into its basic components: RBCs, plasma, and platelets for specific use as per patient requirements," said Dr M Udaya Kumar Maiya, Portea Medical.
The shortage of blood and the fact that many people still do not choose to donate can be attributed to a lack of awareness about its benefits, especially for the donor. Educating people will encourage more people to come forward to donate blood on a regular basis.
"There are more than 512 million eligible donors in India. Geographically, the stats are heavily lopsided with a few states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, and Punjab faring well while some under-developed states such as Chhattisgarh and Bihar face a severe deficit. The 1995 ban on blood donation against payment has sent a wave of disinterest among many poor donors who used to use it as a means of earning money," added Dr Ramananda Srikantiah Nadig.
It's #WorldBloodDonorDay today!— WHO Sierra Leone (@WHOSierraLeone) June 14, 2018
Every few seconds, someone, somewhere, needs blood. We thank all voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving donations.
Be there for someone else. #GiveBlood. Share life. https://t.co/nOgyZ4jruj pic.twitter.com/NUVAv9mksZ
• 18 years of age
• In good health and do not have hypertension, diabetes or any other chronic ailment.
• Not underweight.
• Not HIV+ and do not carry any other infections (even cold or cough).
• Not under the influence of drugs, alcohol, etc. for at least 48 hours prior to donating blood.
• Not menstruating or pregnant
While it is good to donate blood, there are few things that must be kept in mind while both donating blood. Here are some things one should do.
• Make sure the camp where you go for donation maintains their safety and hygiene standards. Ensure that the vials and syringes used are sterilized and are not being reused.
• You should be above 18 years of age and preferably have a donor card that indicates your blood type.
• Your weight should not be below 45 kg. Make sure that you do not have any infections such as cold or flu at the time of donation. Recent illnesses like malaria, tuberculosis, chicken pox etc. need expert opinion and usually not allowed to donate blood. Those with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension should be medically cleared. Obviously, people suffering from Hepatitis B and C and HIV cannot donate blood.
• Do not take any intoxicating drugs and alcohol within 48 hours prior to donating blood. Make sure all your vitals such as blood pressure are under check and in control. Pregnant women are not allowed to donate blood and those who are menstruating can do so only if they feel well and don't have any weakness and fatigue
• It is important to consume iron-rich foods few days before donation. Eat a healthy, low-fat meal four or more hours before you donate. Never donate blood on an empty stomach.
• Make sure you eat well (but not all too quickly) after donation. The body needs at least 24 hours to replenish the volume of blood given.
• It is a good idea to drink a fruit juice or consume a light snack such as fruits right after donation. Make sure to hydrate yourself well; water is the best choice. However, avoid caffeine.
• Do not smoke immediately after blood donation as this can leave you feeling lightheaded and dizzy. Also, avoid any heavy physical activity.