When can you donate blood?
Men can donate blood once in three months; Women can donate once in four months.
Who can donate blood?
- If you are aged between 18 and 60, you can donate blood, irrespective of your gender.
- Your body should not weigh less than 45 kg.
- Your hemoglobin level should be normal – that is, 12.5 gm/cent.
- Blood pressure must be under check. If you are not aware of your blood pressure, don’t worry. At the camps, they quickly check whether the blood pressure is at the acceptable level.
- If you have suffered from diarrhea, jaundice, malaria, dengue, donate blood after a gap of six months, only when you completely recover.
- If you have swollen glands, persistent coughs, transfused blood or have had an any major surgery or dental extraction, you need to take doctor’s advice before donating blood.
- An interval of a year is recommended in case you have undergone a major or minor surgery, or you or your close relatives have suffered from typhoid, jaundice, chickengunya fever, rabies vaccine or hepatitis.
- If it has been five years since your recovery from cancer and have completed your treatment, then you can donate blood provided you show you are medically fit.
Who should not donate?
- People suffering from serious ailments should completely refrain themselves from donating blood. These include heart, lung, liver, kidney (Chronic Nephritis), allergic and sexually transmitted disease, any type of cancer, tuberculosis, epilepsy, asthma, schizophrenia or endocrine disorder, abnormal bleeding, fainting spells and leprosy or diabetic patients under the control of insulin should not donate blood.
- People who have history of various types of cancers such as leukemia, myeloma, lymphoma cannot donate blood.
- If you even have the slightest doubt that you are infected by Hepatitis, HIV, AIDS or any other venereal disease, you should not donate blood.
- People who frequent sex workers or those having multiple sex partners should maintain a gap of six months without having sex, again because of chances of contracting venereal diseases. Persons with single sex partners (married men/women who don’t resort to unsafe sex practices can donate blood.
- If you have tattoos imprinted recently, or have used drugs like cocaine and ganja (drugs that are prohibited by Indian Law) doctors recommend you to take a gap of six months. This is because, if the needles / syringes used are not clean enough, you have the chances of contracting HIV which would be detected only after a few months.
- If you have been vaccinated for Cholera, Typhoid, Diphtheria, Tetanus or plague or taken a Gamma Globulin shot within last 15 days, you should not donate blood.
When shouldn’t women donate blood?
- When they have low level of hemoglobin
- When they are underweight
- When they are pregnant
- When they are breastfeeding the baby and baby isn’t weaned out
- A minimum wait of 10 days is advised after menstrual period, before donating blood, as body loses high amount of blood and weight during those days.
Once you know that you are eligible to donate blood, here are a few precautions to be taken before and after donating blood.
What happens during blood donation?
- Your medical history id noted.
- A small sample of blood collected to ensure you are not anemic.
- The actual blood donation takes less than ten minutes.
Does it hurt during donation?
There may be a little sting when the needle is inserted, which can be minimized by using a good quality needle but there should be no pain during the donation.
How long will the body take to replenish the blood I donate?
The body will replace the blood volume(plasma) within 48 hours. It takes four to eight weeks to completely replace the red blood cells.
Why Blood components?
In modern medicine, there is no room for whole blood. By making blood components the usage of blood components the usage of blood can be optimized.
Is the Collected blood tested?
Yes every unit is tested for HIV(I and II) virus(AIDS),Hepatitis B&C Virus (Jaundice), Malaria parasite, syphilis and also Blood groups.
Before donating blood:
- If you are willing to donate blood, but don’t have good body weight, include more carbohydrate and dairy products in your food, to ensure your body weight increases.
- If your hemoglobin level isn’t good enough, eat wet or dry dates, green leafy vegetables, beetroot, jiggery, ragi, soya bean, sprouted grams, apple, apricots and other food items that are rich in iron.
- Non-vegetarians can eat red meat, sea food etc.
- At the time of donation, you should be medically fit for blood donation. You should not be affected even by cough or cold.
- Eat your food four hours before you donate blood.
- Eat healthy food which is rich in iron.
- Avoid fatty food including pizza, burger, packed wafers, fried items etc.
- Have a complete eight hours uninterrupted sleep.
- Wear loose clothes that will allow easy movement of body. Prefer short sleeves so that is doctors don’t have to struggle to attach syringe.
- Drink lot of water to avoid dehydration.
- A week prior to blood donation day, have food rich in iron. This will keep up hemoglobin count in your body.
- Avoid consumption of cigarette or alcohol at least 72 hours before donating blood.
- Before donating blood, answer all the questions that doctors ask or the questionnaire has, truthfully. Just because you want to donate blood, don’t put recipient’s life at risk by giving false information on the health front.
- Give your contact numbers when asked. It will help in case of emergencies, like when somebody else needs blood sometime later, or doctors find out anything alarming about your blood and need to inform you.
- An option is given to you during the ‘getting to know you’ session, whether to contact you if your blood test results show any kind of abnormality later. It is recommended to accept the request, for your own good.
What happens in a blood donation camp?
- There may or may not be a queue for registration. Don’t walk away if you see a queue. have patience till your turn comes.
- After the registration, your blood will be tested for hemoglobin count. For this, a small amount of blood will be taken from the tip of your finger.
- Once your blood is approved, you will be quickly checked up for your blood pressure, weight and your medical history.
- Some questions may turn out to be very personal. Do not get offended if they ask you about your sex life or menstrual dates. It is to ensure the safety of both the donor the receiver.
- The blood is tested for various five diseases: Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, malaria and Syphilis.
- Once you are approved for blood donation, your signature will be required on the consent form, which is usually printed behind the same blood donor questionnaire form. The doctor who checked you will also sign it.
- From here you will be headed to your bed. Follow the instruction of the doctor or nurse. Lie down straight on your back and relax.
- Be ready for a small sting on your hand when the syringe meets your nerve. Sometimes you will be given a soft ball to press, to facilitate easy flow of blood into the bottle.
- Ensure you have a warm clothes, as your body temperature might fall due to loss of blood.
- If you feel any kind of stiffness in your hand or body, call your doctor. It is not necessary to fill the bottle completely.
- After completion of whole process, wait for the refreshment and final nod from the doctor that says, “Yes, you are fit to go.
Care that I should take after donating blood:
- Eat and drink something before leaving.
- Drink more liquids than usual in next 4 hours.
- Don’t smoke for next 30 minutes
- Avoid strenuous work for the 24 hours
- If there is bleeding from the phlebotomy site, raise the arm and apply pressure.
After donating blood:
- Don’t hurry up to go back home after donating blood. Sit back for some 20 minutes so that doctors can keep an eye on possible post-donation problems like dizziness, nausea etc.
- If you feel dizziness, lie down straight on your back and close your eyes. Also, you can try sitting down with your knees folded and tuck your head between them. No need to panic, this is very normal.
- If you continue to feel dizzy for long time, contact the doctor at the blood donation camp (In your certificate, you will find the number of the person to be contacted) or your family doctor and get yourself checked.
- Have juice or eat biscuits or chocolates or any other refreshments provided to you in blood donation camps.
- Do not forget to take the contact number of the doctor or the blood bank, if in case you need it in future.
- Chain smokers and alcoholic people must not consume tobacco or alcohol immediately after blood donation.
- Do not ride two-wheeler or four-wheeler or cycles after donating blood. Prefer a public transport to commute back.
- Do not carry out any activity that requires a lot of strength at least for two hours or maximum one day.
- Engineers or workers at construction sites should avoid working in high altitudes after donating blood, at least for a day.
Will I be paid for my blood?
No. Professional blood donation was banned years ago in 1998. However, like all other acts, it was also flouted. National Blood Transfusion Services Act 2007 proposed by Union Health Ministry, demanded the professional donors (donors who donate for money) to be imprisoned for three months with a hefty fine. So donating blood is a voluntary affair. If you wish to donate, you can donate blood but if not then no one can force, not even a doctor. You will not be paid for the blood under any circumstance.