The simple act of voluntary blood donation saves one’s life. People with autoimmune diseases, in most cases, survive on blood transfusions before they get a permanent solution to their chronic illness.
As much as everyone wishes to donate blood, it’s needless if your blood is discarded for various reasons. Moreover, it makes no sense to donate blood and become a victim of circumstance due to side effects.
It’s for these reasons why it’s essential to have a medical examination before this great exercise.
Why should you donate blood?
Blood is a lifesaver; in rare cases, people donate blood to remove excess blood in their system. If it has to be done, its under strict medical guidelines. June 14th is the day the whole globe celebrates blood donation day.
Who receives the donated blood?
- Pregnant women with low blood levels
- People suffering from chronic illnesses like blood cancers
- People undergoing surgeries
- Children with severe anemia
Medical personnel responsible for blood donation drive need preparation to ensure the safety of both the donors and the recipients. All the blood goes through health checks to ensure clean blood reaches the recipient.
The major checks include:
- Any illnesses including HIV and Hepatitis
- Cross-matching to get the blood type and blood group
- Any bacterial or blood-related issues
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases
You may be eligible and fit for blood donation, but your blood may end up in the dustbins. These checks are not done on the spot; it’s at the transfusion center.
Away from the health checks, the level of cleanliness is considered at the point of set up. It includes the blood donation tables, medical supplies, and clean water to sanitize and sterilize some of the medical equipment.
Water is a crucial component in this environment. In case the area designated for blood donation has hard water supply, then the medical team must have water softeners. They prove to be economical than carrying water from the hospital to the donation site. What if they run short of water, yet the donors are in abundance? Do they abandon the whole exercise?
Of course, no. Once they know, they are going to the remote villages for a blood donation drive, and water softeners are among the must-have cleaning tools they must carry.
Who is eligible to donate blood?
Age: Anybody above 17 years is eligible to donate blood. Even if you have enough blood in your body and you haven’t attained the minimum age, you cannot donate. There is no upper age limit for this exercise.
However, some medical factors need to be put into consideration before giving a clean bill of health to older people to participate in the event.
Weight: Your weight and blood are directly proportional. The minimum weight for blood donation is 110 pounds. However, if there is an unexplained loss in the recent past, then it’s not advisable to lay on the blood donation table.
Blood level: You must have enough blood in your system to give out some. You must be slightly above the normal blood count since a pint of blood is about 500 ml. Some people naturally have a high blood count; removal of even two pints is not an issue to them.
The medical team also looks at other blood cells- white blood cells and platelets. They must be within, if not above the normal range.
Drug prevalence: Anyone with a history of drug prevalence, either conventional medicine or traditional medicine or hard drugs, should not donate blood. It interferes with the antibodies of the recipient leading to a severe blood reaction.
Lactation: Lactating or breastfeeding mums should not donate blood; however, healthy, they may maybe. There is a theory of loss of milk supply once you donate blood. Moreover, there is a high risk of developing anemia after the donation.
Medical history: The high-risk population, in terms of medical threats, should not donate blood at all. They include pregnant and nursing mothers, post-surgery patients, people with chronic illnesses, a history of blood pressure, among others.
Medically fit for blood donation?
Physicians and clinicians have a way in which they access a patient’s physical appearance and consider one stable or unstable. In some instances, they decline the offer to donate blood despite meeting all the other basic requirements.
Some of the physical signs to check for poor health include:
- Swollen stomach
- Paper-white eyes
- Yellow eyes
- Weak muscles and nerves
- Frail skin
If you are planning to donate blood, take care of your health before the exercise. You need the energy to replace what has been lost; it explains why most people are given an energy drink after the donation process. A day before, eat healthily and enough meals to prevent cases of fatigue and fainting during the process. Moreover, ensure your foods have blood-building nutrients to give you a chance to donate more blood.
Blood donation for specific blood products like platelets needs other special conditions on top of the basic requirements for blood donation like large veins, high muscle agility, and flexibility.
Furthermore, the process is also a bit tedious and takes a longer time. A sleek preview of what happens: they draw your blood and run it in a machine that precisely remove platelets and allows the rest of the blood back to the body. Is that not a complicated process? Your veins must be healthy enough to accommodate this procedure.