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Currently, in India, over 12 million units of blood is required annually, but only nine million units is available. As in many countries, including India, the demand exceeds supply, blood banks face the challenge of making blood available while taking care of the safety and hygiene. An adequate supply can only be assured through regular donations by voluntary unpaid blood donors. But before you plan to donate blood, here are few things you need to know, says Dr Nitin Agarwal, Associate Consultant, Blood Bank & Transfusion Medicine, Jaypee Hospital, Noida.
#1: The minimum time gap between two successive blood donations should be at least 3 months. This is because, in general, your blood cells can take around three months to regenerate post a donation episode. Going by the numbers, you can donate blood four times in a year.
#2: When it comes to the donor, ensure that your age is between 18 65 years and you weight is more than 45 kg, which is one of the key criteria for any person planning to donate blood. Also, you have to be in good health with your haemoglobin content more than 12.5 mg%.
#3: Blood donors are also asked questions related to their fitness before blood donation. Also, donor s blood pressure, haemoglobin and weight are checked before the donor is deemed fit for blood donation.
#4: There are rare chances of a donor feeling dizzy, which is mainly due to anxiety. Apart from this, there are no other side-effects of donating blood. In fact, there are various health benefits of blood donation.
#5: Make sure you drink water or have fluids after donating blood as it will help you to stay hydrated as fluids get retrieved in 24 hours post blood donation. However, stay away from drinking aerated drinks or carbonated beverages.
#6: As far as diet is concerned, eat something light before donating blood. Also, avoid drinking alcohol the day prior to blood donation and do not smoke just before blood donation.
#7: Do keep in mind that one should always choose a licensed blood bank to donate blood. Donate blood only where doctors are available. Also, one should donate blood preferably in the hospitals and not at blood donation camps. Here are some facts you should know about blood donation.
#8: Do not exercise or perform any strenuous physical activity after donating blood as there are high chances of suffering from dizziness. It is important to take rest that day to not strain yourself either physically or mentally.
#9: After blood donation, the blood is tested for various parameters like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, syphilis, malaria and HIV (type 1 and 2). In India, 90% of overall HIV cases have HIV type 1 virus, and only 10% of HIV cases report HIV type 2 viral infection. If any of the above tests show positive results, the blood is discarded.
#10: Although the paramedical staff will ensure that that syringes or needles used for blood transfusion are sterilised, but it is not a bad idea to check whether the staff is using a set of disposable needles for every single donor. Also, did you know that Amitabh Bachchan was infected with Hepatitis B during blood transfusion.
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