In the United States, January is also known as National Blood Donor month, The American Red Cross states that every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. will require blood. Donating blood has countless benefits for our society which we should all be aware of. This blog article will discuss everything you need to know in order to prepare for donating blood in January, 2016.
How Does Blood Help Our Society?
We all know that blood is vital for survival but many of us do not know why. Blood contains essential life-saving elements that aid the body in the fight against illnesses and injuries. Blood donors are a critical life-line for millions in the U.S. One thing that all blood donors have in common is a feeling of pride, knowing that the blood they donated will have a profound impact on someone who is in need. It is also important to remember that any one of us may need blood at some point in our lives so, making blood donation an essential duty of our citizenry.
Blood Donation is Safe
Many individuals may have reservations over donating blood because they are unsure of how safe the practice is. In general, donating blood does not hold significant adverse effects on an individual donor’s health. Typically, donors give about 10-12% of their total circulating blood volume during each donation. Adults who are deemed healthy by the required screening criteria will be able to donate safely and regularly. Donating blood, in some cases, can even improve your wellbeing and reduce stress. There is a small percentage of donors who will experience some dizziness after a donation cycle. However, this typically only lasts for a few minutes. The large majority of donors will not experience any symptoms at all.
Is It Possible to Get a Disease From Donating Blood?
The answer to this question is a clear and resounding, “no.” Organizations like the American Red Cross only use new, sterile and disposable needles for every single donor. Each needle is discarded of after use. This means that donors will never catch an infectious disease from blood donation.
How Much and How Often Can I Donate?
Healthy adults are permitted to donate blood every twelve weeks, up to four times each year. Eligible donors who maintain a weight of above 50 kgs will be able to donate up to 450 ml of blood per visit. The body is able to replenish this volume in within 24 hours of donation. Males are eligible to donate blood every 3 months while females are eligible every 4 months.
Why Do People Become Regular Donors?
Blood is a life saving medicine which can assist in both medical procedures and life-threatening situations. Currently, our society is being faced by a scarcity of blood. There are different types of blood donation that you can elect to participate in. An overview of each is provided below:
General Blood Donation
General blood donation takes 450-mL (less than 1 pint) of blood from a donor and is collected in a plastic bag which also contains an anticoagulant preservative.
Apheresis Component Donation
Apheresis is a specialized form of donation where only one of the blood’s specific components are extracted from the donor. Apheresis may focus on platelets, plasma or red cells which are all found within our blood. This form of donation is longer than general blood donation and the process may range from 45-90 minutes in total.
Reasons to Postpone Your Donation
in some situations, it is recommended to postpone your blood donation. You should always talk to a medical professional to determine if you are eligible to donate blood before you donate. However, here is a list of some of the reasons that would require your to postpone your donation for various periods of time:
Postpone 24 Hours
You should postpone your donation for 24-72 hours if you have taken any prescription medications or received certain vaccines. Talk to your doctor or the medical professional conducting your blood donation to determine whether your recent medication/vaccination is a reason to postpone your donation.
Postpone One Week
You should postpone your donations for one week if any of the following apply to you:
- Upper respiratory tract infections such as cold, flu or sore throat.
- Chloroquine ingestion;
Postpone Two Weeks
You should postpone your donation for two weeks if any of the following apply to you:
- Typhoid vaccination;
- Flu vaccination;
- Contact with Chikungunya fever patients;
- Travel to Chikungunya fever risk areas.
Postpone Three Weeks
You should postpone your donation for three weeks if any of the following apply to you:
- Contact with Measles, Mumps or Dengue
Postpone Four Weeks
You should postpone your donation for four weeks if any of the following apply to you:
- Maloprim, Fansidar or Mefloquine ingestion;
- Measles, Mumps or Rubella vaccination;
- Yellow Fever vaccination;
- Oral Polio ingestion;
- Chickenpox exposure (NOT infection);
Postpone Six Months
You should postpone your donation for six months if any of the following apply to you:
- Chickenpox, Measles or Mumps infection;
- Dengue fever;
- Chikungunya fever;
- Tooth extraction (for wisdom tooth extraction surgery, wait 3 months);
Postpont Twelve Months
You should postpone your donation for twelve months if any of the following apply to you:
- Recent close contact with persons who have Hepatitis B
- Ear/body piercing or acupuncture under non-sterile conditions
- Have undergone recent major surgery;
- Recent tattooing;
- Received blood transfusion
Who Should Not Donate Blood?
In certain circumstances, you should not donate blood. Here is a list of reasons that would prevent you from donating blood. Remember, it is important to not donate blood if you meet these criteria because it could harm others. Do not donate blood if the following apply to you:
- You have an autoimmune disease such as SLE, Rheumatoid Arthritis or other diseases.
- Have been infected or are at the risk of being infected by HIV.
- Have a previous history or oral or intravenous drug abuse.
- Have a serious chronic illness such as heart or lung diseases (excluding individuals with well-controlled asthma).
- Have ever had hepatitis B or C.
- Has a previous or current history of cancer.
Find Out If You Qualify As A Healthy Donor
The U.S. is facing a scarcity of healthy blood. Safe blood is defined as blood that does not contain any of the following:
- Other injurious/infectious factors
Contribute to National Blood Donor Month 2016!
If you do not know whether you are eligible to donate blood, contact a medical professional. Remember, healthy blood is the life-line of our society and every drop counts. Help keep the U.S. healthy by participating in National Blood Donation month, 2016!