Friday, November 25th, 2011

Donate Blood Save a Life

untitledAll you wanted to know about blood donation By Dr Rani Prem Kumar, Consultant, Blood Bank, Moolchand Medcity, New Delhi

35 years old Namita Gokhale is addicted to blood donation. Come what may, she has to donate blood every three months. It started when she was in college and had donated blood for the first time to her best friend (now her husband) to save his life after he met an accident. Later her husband too joined her in the noble endeavour. Blood transfusion saves lives. Human blood has no substitute. Hence, each drop of blood counts. However, a lot of us feel that blood donation can cause weakness, which is not true at all. An adult has 4 to 6 liters of blood in the body and he can safely donate blood 4 times in a year, with a minimum gap of three months. Human body takes 24-48 hours to replenish the fluid volume in body and three months for the regeneration of red cells. A healthy individual can safely donate blood, but he has to provide his complete medical history to the blood bank staff. He should have all his vital signs like blood pressure and pulse in the normal range and should weigh above 55 kg or as per the BMI recommendation. He shouldn’t be on any regular medication.

You can not donate blood, if:

  • You are <18
  • Have malaria or hepatitis or any other communicable disease
  • Have a history of drug abuse
  • Have received human pituitary hormone
  • Indulge in high risk sexual behaviour
  • Have haemoglobin level above 12.5gm/dl

After the blood donation

  • Drink atleast 10-12 glasses of water including juices within 24 hours following blood donation
  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Avoid driving for the next 2-3 hours
  • Avoid smoking for next 4 hours
  • Avoid alcohol for next 24 hours

Blood can be transfused in parts or in whole. Accidents, premature babies, major surgeries require whole blood transfusions and trauma victims, anaemia patients need only RBC, and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, need a plasma infusion. The procedure of splitting blood components is called cytapheresis.

It is imperative to match blood groups before a transfusion takes place. The donor blood type is checked several times, and it is cross-matched with the blood sample of the person receiving transfusion.

Still, reactions may occur. Fevers, chills, and itching are simple forms of reaction. In instances of major reaction, patient will have trouble breathing, and donor red cells get destroyed, nullifying the effect of transfusion. Anaphylactic reaction, the most severe form of reaction, can happen too.

Donating blood is a noble deed. Besides giving us a moral high, it saves lives. It stimulates the generation of red blood cells. In patients prone to iron overload (e.g. due to hemochromatosis), blood donation prevents the accumulation of iron. Elderly people in good health have reported feeling invigorated by giving blood on a regular basis. Go ahead and save a life.

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Category: Body Talk
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