They say the gift of life is the greatest that one human can offer another. What better way to help another life in need than by donating blood?
As per the American Red Cross, one person donating blood can save three lives. That means we would be able to avoid deaths related to a shortage of blood if 1/3rd of the population donates blood at any given time.
Donating blood is healthy! After one session, new blood cells are made rapidly in the body and leave no signs of weakness.
Importance of blood donation
It has become even more crucial in the ongoing global crisis to donate blood. The COVID-19 pandemic is adversely affecting the already existing blood supply shortage in the country.
The WHO recommends 1% of a country’s population as a minimum requirement for blood sufficiency. This means 13.5 million units of blood are required in India every year.
However, blood collection has considerably decreased due to the risk of coronavirus in hospitals and collection centers. Risk mitigation strategies taken by the authorities have to be matched with awareness amongst donors to properly address the issue at hand.
An article published in India Today states that there are no proven data regarding the spread of coronavirus via blood transfusion. Also, one does not need to take a COVID-19 test before donating blood.
Common myths about blood donation – busted!
There are several misconceptions surrounding blood donation that may instill fear in the minds of donors. Here are a few myth busts that can help you donate assuredly.
1. Blood donation can weaken the immune system
The human body starts replenishing the lost blood as soon as you donate. The white blood cells that act as warriors of the immune system may take a few weeks to be fully amassed to normal levels. But in case if the body senses danger, these can be produced quickly.
There is no proven harm caused by donating blood to the immune system of an average, healthy human being.
2. Blood donation is only for heavier people
The minimum weight requirement for donating blood is 50 kilograms. If you weigh anything above that, you can step forward as a voluntary blood donor.
The eligibility for donating depends on body weight and not on the physical built and amount of muscle mass.
3. Blood donation is not for people with diabetes
You cannot donate blood if you have Type I diabetes only if you take medication like insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. This is because the presence of externally supplemented insulin can pose as a threat to the donor’s body, applicable to both insulin injection as well as insulin pump therapy users.
If you have an active and healthy lifestyle and try to maintain optimum blood sugar through dietary changes, then blood donation is safe for you.
People with Type II diabetes and associated heart disease cannot donate blood.
4. Blood donation is not for people with blood pressure issues
High or low blood pressure is not a deterrent for the ability to donate blood, given that the numbers are within permissible levels.
For people that are affected by high blood pressure, anything that lies in the range of 180/100 (systolic/diastolic) is cleared for donation. Any number within the range of 90/50 (systolic/diastolic) is cleared for donation for people that suffer from low blood pressure.
A blood pressure check by a trained medical professional is mandatory prior to donating blood.
5. Blood donation is not allowed for people that smoke tobacco or consume alcohol
You can donate blood even if you are a regular smoker or drinker, as long as you are in good health and have full body check-ups done at least twice a year.
It is important to remember that you cannot smoke for two hours prior to donating blood. Also, it is necessary to avoid the consumption of alcohol for at least one day before donating.
The safe time gap for resuming consumption after donation varies with individuals and it is best to consult your doctor regarding the same.
6. Blood donation makes you prone to infections
All blood donation drives and collection centers that follow medical guidelines use sterilized equipment for each individual. This ensures that there is no fear of infection from needles.
You must always check for medically approved standards before donating to a collection center.
Being a blood donor is a noble, life-saving initiative that everybody can exemplify. It stands for what being human truly means and empowers you to save lives in need.
It is advisable to consult a doctor for additional information regarding individual safety before participating in a blood donation drive.
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Disclaimer: Issued in public interest by Axio Biosolutions Private Limited. Kindly check the official guidance on WHO for more information on infection prevention and control of COVID-19.