Why should you donate blood?

There are more than 1000 children suffering from Thalassaemia Major in the city of Mumbai alone (imagine the number in the world). These children need blood transfusions, on an average every 15 days, throughout their lives. Then there are accident victims, women in child-birth, surgery cases, renal failure patients- all of whom need blood.

Where will all this blood come from?

Blood cannot be obtained from any laboratory, factory or any other animal. The only source of blood in the universe is the human body- your body and my body.

How much blood is there in your body?

Every male carries almost 70 ml. of blood per kg. of body weight, and every female carries 65 ml. of blood per kg. of body weight. The quantity of blood that is required for normal circulation is 50 ml. per kg. of body weight.

Do you carry a buffer stock of blood?

God has blessed all of us with a buffer stock of blood. Between 15-20 ml of blood is buffer per kg. of body weight. Even if you weigh just 50 kgs., you carry almost 1 litre of blood as buffer stock. The donated blood is a fraction of the buffer stock.

How much blood can be donated during a blood donation?

Though you can donate 8 ml. per kg. of body weight, during blood donation the quantity of blood that is collected is either 350 ml. or 450 ml. This is always less than the permissible 8 ml. per kg. of body weight.

Is it painful to donate blood?

Any discomfort or problem during or after donating is very uncommon. After the initial prick of the needle, all you feel is a gentle pressure, but no pain. The entire process of donation takes less than 10 minutes.

How many people will benefit from your act of donating blood?

The blood that is donated is split into its components. The R.B.C’s will go to one patient, the plasma to a second and the platelets to a third patient. You can bring a smile to three different faces by donating blood once.

How does your blood get regenerated?

Fresh blood cells are produced by the bone marrow on a continuous basis. These blood cells have a life cycle, after which they perish. The bone marrow produces new cells. This happens even if you don’t donate blood. In the case of blood donation, the bone marrow gets activated to replace the blood cells that are donated. In fact, you have more fresh blood after donation than before.

Who can donate blood?

If you are between 18 and 60 years of age, weigh more than 45 kgs, are not on medication at present, have not had any major illness in the past one year, you can donate blood. The blood bank doctor will check you and ask you to donate blood only if you are found eligible.

What precautions should be taken for donating blood?

You should not donate blood on an empty stomach. It helps if you have eaten in the last couple of hours. Drink more water and juices in the 24 hours leading to the blood donation. Also, do not donate blood if you have not rested well the previous night.

What happens to the blood that is taken to the blood bank?

– A test will be done for determining the blood group. This will help in deciding the persons who can receive this blood unit.

– The blood will be tested for transfusion transmissible diseases (TTD’s- Transfusion Transmissible Diseases), like Malaria, Jaundice, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, VDRL.

– The blood unit will be centrifuged to separate the components, so that the patient receives only the component that is needed.

Will you be informed about the test results?

The blood bank will inform only in the event of adverse test results i.e. if you carry any virus or bacteria that is transmissible by blood. This intimation will be done if you have indicated in the Blood Donor Questionnaire that you would like to be informed about an adverse test result.

Is the information provided on the Questionnaire and the results of the results of the tests done in the blood bank kept confidential? 

All the information provided by you, as also the results of the various tests for TTDs are kept confidential.

How often can you donate blood?

There has to be an interval of 3 months between two blood donations in India. Therefore you can donate blood for a maximum of 4 times in a year.

Procedure To Be Followed For Donating Blood

You will be provided with a blood donor questionnaire. Fill it up after reading the contents very carefully.

Your weight will be checked – should be more than 45 kgs.

Your Hemoglobin count will be checked – should be more than 12.5 gms/dl.

Your blood pressure will be checked.

You will be handed over the blood bag.

You will be asked to proceed to the donor cot.

Take a deep breath at the time of entry of the needle into the vein and removal of the needle after the blood donation.

After the needle is removed lie down on the donor cot for another 5 minutes with hand folded at the elbow.

The blood Bank staff will fix a plaster at the needle site. Keep your hand folded at the elbow and proceed to the refreshment area.

Sit down and consume the coffee and refreshment that are served to you.

Collect your donor card, thank you card and any other recognition material.

Precaution After Blood Donation

Leave your plaster at the needle site for a minimum of 4 hours.

Do not give a jerk to the hand with which you donated blood. This can disturb the clot.

Don’t lift heavy weight for at least 12 hours.

Do not indulge in rigorous physical exercises for at least 2 hours after blood donation.

Do not have alcohol for at least 8 hours after blood donation.

Drink extra fluids for the next 3 days to replace the fluid volume. It is especially important to drink extra fluids in the 4 first 4 hours following the donation.

It feels really good after donating blood, I’m telling this from my own experience. Whenever you get a chance you should donate blood. Do not be afraid to donate blood. The needle does not hurt.