Donating blood is one of the noblest deeds you can do to help others. Perhaps, blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person – the gift of life.
Giving your blood could mean saving a life, or even several if your blood is separated into its components – red cells, platelets and plasma.
Following are some reasons why you should consider donating blood.
• Blood transfusion is needed; for many complex medical and surgical procedures, by cancer patients, by women with complications of pregnancy, persons by with some chronic conditions and children with severe anaemia often resulting from malaria or malnutrition.
• People with conditions such as thalassaemia and sickle cell disease need regular blood transfusion.
• Many patients requiring blood transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood due to availability of blood resulting in deaths.
• Blood cannot currently be made despite medical and technological advances. Hence, the only way of getting hold of it is via blood donations from people.
• Blood and its components have a limited life before use and regular donations by healthy people can help ensure availability of safe blood when patients with specific conditions need it.
Hence, the need for blood is constant and your contribution can do wonders toward a healthy and reliable blood supply.
Blood donation is very safe, blood donated is quickly replaced. Furthermore, a life may just depend on what you gave. Therefore try to donate blood whenever the opportunity arises.
Below are some salient points about blood donation that you should know:
1. Blood donation is giving some of your blood for use of someone else.
Rapid blood loss kills within a very short period hence the need for a blood bank. This rapid loss could be due to road traffic accident, childbirth, incomplete abortion, ulcers etc. Other conditions that could require blood transfusion include anaemia due to cancer, pregnancy, sickle cell disease and some other blood disorders. Blood donated could be given as whole blood or in parts. Because of the emergency posed by some of these conditions, a healthcare delivery system must have a National Blood Bank System. In Nigeria, the husband of every pregnant woman is expected to donate blood. Everyone who can donate blood is advised to do so as there is no substitute for human blood.
2. Only 1 pint (480ml) of Blood is taken.
When you donate blood, only one (1) pint (480mls), less than half a litre is taken. The average adult has about nine (9) to ten (10) pints of blood is about 5 litres. It takes only about an hour of your time. Giving blood does not weaken; your body will replace the donated blood within a short time.
3. Donated Blood is tested for safety and checked for group.
There are four main blood groups – A, B, AB and O. Each of the four groups could be Rhesus positive or negative. People with AB blood group can receive any other Blood group, while group O negative can give blood to anybody.
Besides, Grouping and genotype, several other tests are carried out on donated blood before transfusion. Donated blood can be stored for only six weeks.
4. Age range of Donor.
Not every healthy person is expected to donate blood. Those below 18years and those above 60years are not encouraged to donate blood. In addition, the donor must be about 60kg in weight. Donation could be three times a year. Pregnant women are not allowed to donate blood. On the whole, females receive more blood transfusion for obvious reasons – child birth.
5. Certain conditions must be met by Donor before Blood donation.
A donor must be healthy, a sick person cannot donate blood. A prospective donor’s blood is tested for several disease conditions before donation – such Hepatitis B and C, HIV, Syphilis, Malaria parasites, genotype and haemoglobin level; an anaemic person cannot donate blood.
6. What to do before donation.
A Prospective donor must eat well for days before going for donation. Such foods must be rich in iron – red meat, green vegetables, beans, eggs, chicken and iron fortified cereals. Such meals should be low in fat, it is said that fatty food could affect test results.
Donors are advised to take plenty of fluids – water or non-alcoholic drinks.
Avoid aspirin for about 2days before the day of donation and sleep well the night before.