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Donating blood is an act of solidarity - World Blood Donor Day

  • Aug 15
  • Haematology

Donating blood is an act of solidarity

World Blood Donor Day is observed every year on the 14th of June. It is celebrated to create wider public awareness about the need for regular, non-remunerated voluntary blood donation, safe blood and blood products and thank blood donors in the world. Theme for World Blood Donor Day 2022 is “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives”.

By Dr. Shanmuga Priya R. A, Consultant Transfusion Medicine, Fortis Hospital Vadapalani

Did you know, every year our nation requires 5 crore units of blood, out of which only 2.5 crore units of blood are available? There is huge gap between clinical demand and blood supply due to low volume of voluntary blood donation, lack of awareness, poor supply chain management. There is no substitute for human blood. Hence ‘donating blood is giving the gift of Life!’

World Blood Donor Day is observed every year on the 14th of June. It is celebrated to create wider public awareness about the need for regular, non-remunerated voluntary blood donation, safe blood and blood products and thank blood donors in the world. Theme for World Blood Donor Day 2022 is “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives”.

What does the blood do in your body?

Blood is a specialized body fluid. How much blood you have depends mostly on your nutrition, size and weight. Three main functions of blood are transportation, regulation and protection. Blood transports gases namely oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2), between the lungs and rest of the body, Nutrients from the digestive tract and storage sites to the rest of the body, Waste products to be detoxified or removed by the liver and kidneys. Blood has several roles in inflammation: white blood cells destroy invading microorganisms and cancer cells, Antibodies and other proteins destroy pathogenic substances, Platelet and clotting factors help minimise blood loss. Blood helps to maintain a balance of body temperature, pH and water in the body.

Though blood donation is considered as gift of life there are many myths about it. Dr. Shanmugha Priya R.A clarifies with facts and encourage to donate blood.

Myths and facts about Blood Donation

Blood donation hurts

Needle prick is the only pain one feels when donating blood. The arm which is injected heals within a day or two. Weakness post donating blood can be dealt with by drinking plenty of water and eating right.

Donating blood makes immune system weak

There is no danger to the immune system in general when one donates blood. The body will replace the blood volume (plasma) within 48 hours, the red and white blood cells within 4 to 8 weeks. The bone marrow can naturally produce more blood cells quickly and will be able to adapt to what it has lost in a very short span of time.

People who weigh heavier are eligible for donation, those who weigh light are not

As long as a person is above 45 kgs, donating blood has nothing more to do with weight. A person who is less than 45 kgs might face weakness issues; hence we avoid taking blood from them.

Blood donation is not for vegetarians

It is a general assumption that vegetarians have less amount of iron in their bodies, which is directly linked to our body’s hemoglobin. Although meat-based foods are typically high in iron content, vegetarian’s diet has a lot of sources to produce adequate iron such as green leafy vegetables. Hence Healthy vegetarians can also donate blood.

One day of rest is needed after donating blood

You can resume your daily activities immediately after donating as long as you make sure to drink lots of fluids, juices and water to replenish your body’s fluids. One must avoid getting exposed directly under the sun and consumption of alcohol must be avoided for almost 24 hours as body takes more fluid to process the alcohol toxins.

Benefits of Blood Donation

Research has proven that donating blood at least once a year helps to maintain blood pressure and may reduce risk of heart attack by 88 percent. Periodical blood donation may help to reduce cancer risk. When blood is donated, the body is activated to produce new cells which help in enhancing overall health.

Before blood donation, one has to undergo a health screening that includes questionnaire on donor’s medical history, limited medical examination which includes testing of blood pressure and hemoglobin levels. The donated blood is screened for major diseases like malaria, venereal diseases, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. By going through this process, we can easily detect the above infections transmitted through blood products at an early stage.

While there can be several physical benefits to donating blood, the most powerful health benefit is the psychological realm. Donating blood helps release happy hormones, elevating the mood of the donor. It certainly can make a difference in the lives of many people; after all “Once a blood donor is always a lifesaver.”

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