GUIDE TO BLOOD DONATION: HUMANE ACT TO SAVE LIVES
The act of donating blood is a crucial and integral segment of global healthcare delivery and can be described as being benevolent and altruist, a selfless act to saving lives of afflicted patient. More than one hundred million units of blood are donated each year worldwide . Though people are usually scared of the process due to the side effects of bruising, continuous bleeding, dizziness, pain and physical weakness; these can be easily overcome and there are more noteworthy merits donors benefits free of charge. These includes detection of potential health complications especially pertaining to the cardiovascular organs via physical examination of donor; blood pressure, hemoglobin level, pulse rate, nutrition, jaundice, several disease test, mental stability checks all to ensure donor is in a good and suitable health condition. Donating blood helps to mitigate detrimental iron stored in the blood and proportionally reducing the risk of heart attack, mitigate cancer risks and several psychological and emotional benefits .
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), donors must be in a good and healthy condition, age (between 18 and 65), weigh at least 50 kg, such individual should not have a travel history to specific countries prone to infections, behavioral criteria(varies with different countries) and neither pregnant nor breastfeeding.
While preparing to donate blood, ensure you rest well, and eat a good portion of healthy meals and also take beverages. Avoid alcohol, fatty foods, caffeine intake and any vigorous exercise .
Places to Donate blood
Blood can be easily donated in nearest hospitals around our location and Blood banks.
Necessary precautions should be observed to minimize adverse reactions during transfusion, cross-matching of donor blood with recipient is done before transfusion but this isn’t done for transfusions of plasma or platelets, blood group compatibility checks and Double-checking of labels on blood bags and slow transfusion of blood. These measures are to avoid mild reactions of fever and allergic reactions, intense reactions of fluid overload, lung injury, and destruction of red blood cells which may occur as a result of a mismatch between the donors and recipient blood type. While in rare conditions, reactions such as infections, Graft-versus-host disease and complications of massive transfusion such as blood clotting, low body temperature and low calcium and potassium levels .
According to American Red Cross (2021), Donation of blood usually includes these processes :
Registration: These include identification of donors with required documents; address and means of communication, and enlightening the donor about the process.
Health History: An interactive session with the Phlebotomist, discussing about any health complications, places visited and any medications used. Physical examinations of the donor, including temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and hemoglobin level checks.
Donation: This is the main process in blood donation, an area of the arm is cleansed with a sterile disinfectant, and a brand new sterile needle is inserted for the blood draw, more like a pinch and done within few seconds. There are several types of donation; platelets via apheresis machine connected to both arms. A whole blood donation takes about 8 – 10 minutes and done while making the donor comfortable. The platelet method uses apheresis machine which collects a small amount of blood, the platelets is removed and the remaining blood is returned through the other arm; the cycle is repeated severally for about 2 hours.
Refreshment and recovery: After donation of blood, donor should have a snack and drink to refresh him/her. Donor enjoys the feeling of accomplishment and pleasurable emotional satisfaction being aware of saving lives and encourages others to also donate blood.
Dos and Don’ts after Donation
After donating blood, ensure you comply with the following for a fast and healthy recovery:
- Treat yourself by enjoying the free cookies and juices offered at the hospital.
- Avoid Smoking; it can make you feel dizzy and lightheaded.
- Stay bandaged for at least 5 hours after blood donation to regulate bleeding.
- Maintain a cool body temperature
- Avoid alcohol intake
- Avoid strenuous exercise and rest well till full recovery.
Blood transfusion plays vital role in saving lives of patients diagnosed of anemia, sickle cell disease, bleeding disorders; hemophilia and cancer, hence donating blood can be seen as one of the most charitable act of man. Give blood and save life!
- David, J.M., & Ryan, A.C. (2020). ‘Blood Donation’, StatPearls Publishing, Treasure Island (FL). Google Scholar.
- Adrienne, S.L., & Alana, B. (2019). ‘Benefits of donating blood’. https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-donating-blood.
- World Health Organization (2018). ‘Who can give blood’.
- American Red Cross Blood Services (2021). ‘The Blood Donation Process’
- Ravindra, S. (2020). ‘Precautions and Adverse reactions During Blood transfusion’ MSD Manual Consumer Version. https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/blood-disorders/blood-transfusion/precautions-and-adverse-reactions-during-blood-transfusion.
By Sanausi Qazeem