Celebrating World Blood Donor Day!

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“Bring a life back to power. Make blood donation your responsibility.”

World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on the14th of June every year to spread awareness about the demand for safe blood and blood donation. World Blood Donor Day is also celebrated as a thank you to all selfless blood donors. Every year,  World Blood Donor Day is celebrated with a theme and slogan. For 2020, the  World Blood Donor Day theme is “Safe blood saves lives” and the slogan is “Give blood and make the world a healthier place.” Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization has decided to run a virtual campaign around the globe this year.

WHAT IS MEANT BY BLOOD DONATION?

Blood donation refers to the process of collection, testing, preparation, and storage of blood and blood components. Blood donors are usually unpaid volunteers, but for every rule there exist exceptions. 

Blood donations can occur at blood banks, blood donation centers, specialized mobile facilities, or hospitals.  Blood drives are exclusive events organized for blood donors.

The time it takes to donate blood from the beginning to the end process varies based on the type of blood donation. For example, it takes about an hour to complete a plasma and/or whole blood donation, and two to three hours for a platelet donation.

BENEFITS OF BLOOD DONATION:

The act of donating blood has been shown to benefit both emotional and physical health. The health benefits of donating blood are considerable, but the act of saving lives is heroic and remarkable, too. Donating blood is good for us, but is even better for those who need it. The major benefits of blood donation are discussed below.

  1. Free health check-up:

Before donating blood, the donor has to undergo a health screening test, performed by a trained staff member of a medical unit. They will check the pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and hemoglobin levels of the donor.

The donor body is completely screened prior to blood donation, resulting in a check-up that is free of charge. Also, the donor’s blood is tested for several diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, West Nile virus, syphilis. Hence the donor can avail a free test for a wide range of diseases by choosing to donate blood.

2. Burn calories

According to the University of California, San Diego, every pint of blood donated results in  the burning of an estimated six hundred fifty calories.. While this is beneficial for the donor, it cannot be considered a serious weight-loss tactic.

3. Reduce the risk of cancer

Iron content in the body increases the chances of free-radical damage which, in turn, increases the risks of cancer and aging. The Miller-Keystone Blood Center says that consistent blood donation will reduce risks of cancers including liver, lung, colon, and throat cancers due to the reduction in oxidative stress when the iron is released from the bloodstream.

In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, it has been experimentally concluded that blood donation reduces the risk of cancer. The researchers followed 1,200 people split into two groups, who were then observed over the course of four-and-a-half years. One group reduced their iron stores in the body through blood donations twice a year, while the second group, acting as the control for the experiment, did not donate blood. The aftermath of the study showed that the group of blood donors had lower iron levels, therefore resulting in lower risks of cancer.

4. Sense of pride

By donating blood, a fortunate stranger will be getting the help they require urgently. The sense of pride in saving a stranger makes us feel better, and the donation of blood increases those chances significantly. So, getting into a regular practice of donating blood will lead to good mental health as well as helping a person who is in physical need of it.

5.    Lowers the risk of heart attack

According to a study undertaken by the American Journal of Epidemiology, donating blood at least once a year can reduce your risks of a heart attack by eighty-eight percent. Dr. David Dragoo has quoted that high levels of iron in the blood constrict blood vessels, increasing the risks of the occurrence of a heart attack. Therefore, one can reduce the risks of having a heart attack by reduction of iron levels in the body, which is possible with periodic blood donation.

WHO CAN AND CANNOT DONATE BLOOD?

Can donate blood

  • Must be in good health and feeling well
  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • Must weigh at least 110 lbs (or 50 kg)

Can Not Donate Blood

  • Pregnant women                        
  • People with acute fever
  • Frequent or recent consumers of alcohol
  • Pierced and/or tattooed people
  • If recently recovered from a surgery
  • HIV-infected patients
  • Cardiac disease-diagnosed patients

PROCESS OF BLOOD DONATION

The process of blood donation involves certain to be followed.

1.    Registration

In the registration form, the donor has to sign by reading the eligibility form and other information about the donation of blood. Also, the donor has to fill in some basic details such as phone number and address in the registration form. This is the first step to blood donation.

2.    Health analysis

The medical staff will do a basic health analysis procedure prior to blood donation. The donor’s body temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels will be checked.  The medical staff will also ask a few questions about the donor’s health history and a confidential interview will be conducted before donating blood.

3. Blood donation

After the registration and health analysis, the donor is all set to donate blood. The donor can either sit or lay down comfortably. Then, a small area of donor’s arm will be cleaned. A sterile needle will then be inserted in order to collect the blood. The needle is then attached to the collection equipment, consisting tubing and a bag to collect blood. Once a pint (473.17 ml) of blood has been collected, a staff member will remove the needle and apply a bandage the donor’s arm.

By performing these three simple steps anyone eligible can donate blood and save lives.

AFTERMATH OF BLOOD DONATION

After the donation procedure is over, a medical staff will apply pressure on the punctured area with cotton gauze, and place a dressing over the donor’s arm. The donor will usually need to wait for about 10 to 15 minutes before leaving, during which time the donor will receive some refreshments. If the needle prick is bleeding after donation, the donor should continuously apply pressure and raise their arm for 3 to 5 minutes in order to stop the bleeding. If there is bleeding under the skin, the donor can apply a cold pack on the area for 24 hours, and alternate with warm packs.

SUGGESTIONS FOR BLOOD DONATION

The following are few suggestions that will help the donors to prepare for blood donation:

  • Drink an extra 16 ounces of water before blood donation.
  • Eat a healthy meal that is low in fat.
  • Wear a comfortable short-sleeved shirt or a shirt with sleeves that are easy to roll up.
  • Activities like listening to music, reading, or talking to someone else can help the donor relax during the donation process. 
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Blood is a precious resource, both for planned treatments and urgent surgeries. Blood donation in a proper time can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions and support complex medical and surgical procedures. Blood is also important for treating the wounded during emergencies of all kinds, like natural disasters, accidents, armed conflicts, etc. Blood is essential in maternal and perinatal care. Thus, blood is the most demanded resource required to save lives.

It is overwhelming to know that each year millions of people die due to a shortage of blood in blood bank. There is a greater demand for negative group blood, in comparison to other types.

For this year’s World Blood Donor Day, let us come together and do our part by spreading awareness about the need for blood and blood donation. Everyone must volunteer in donating blood to stop deaths due to shortage of blood.

Take pride in donating blood.

 

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