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World Blood Donor’s Day 2014: Facts you should know about blood donation

Facts about blood donation you need to know

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : April 15, 2015 7:47 PM IST

blood donation facts

If you have ever donated blood in your life, you know that you have contributed towards a noble cause. But if you haven't and want to donate blood keep these things in mind.

  • Donating blood does not cause any disease or affect your health in any way. 'Instead if you donate blood you would be helping a lot many people who are in need of blood due to chronic conditions like thalassemia, kidney failure and other peripheral diseases,' says Dr Nidhi Mehta, consultant hematologist, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai.
  • Never reach the blood donation camp on empty stomach. 'Make it a point to have a scrumptious breakfast in the morning or before you head for the donation drive,' advises Dr Nidhi.
  • Have plenty of fluids after you have donated blood. 'You should replenish yourself even for the small amount of blood that you have donated to keep your systems in good state. Even the meager tea or biscuits offered at the camp after the donation will do you lot of good,' says Dr Nidhi.
  • Avoid doing any strenuous activity at least for four hours after donating blood. 'Though you can go back to your normal state of activities but heavy activity like lifting weights, going to the gym or excessive traveling should not be resumed with the next four hours after donating blood,' says Dr Nidhi.
  • Avoid use of tobacco and alcohol after the donation as it can cause certain disturbance like dizziness or nausea in the donor after the donation is completed.
  • Though, you can donate blood even if you suffer from lifestyle related disorders like diabetes and hypertension, but refrain from doing so if you have just changed your medications or your test reports show worrying results. 'For diabetics who are dependent on insulin doses it's better to keep away from donation. Also for people suffering from hypertension, if the condition is not well managed for the past three years, blood donation is not a good idea for them,' says Dr Nidhi. Also read five myths about blood donation busted.
  • Answer all the questions that are asked in the consent forms honestly. 'These will decide if you are a capable candidate to donate blood. Also the staff out there will be checking your blood pressure, temperature and such before drawing the blood. Any misinformation here can lead to health problems either minor or major in the donor,' says Dr Nidhi.
  • Blood donation can not only focus on extraction of whole blood sometimes it is done for other specific purposes too, like for platelets, WBC, RBC or blood stem cells. The screening and extraction method for all these procedures are different. For e.g., a complete blood count and screening for Hepatitis, HIV and VDRL are done for a donor if he wishes to donate blood platelets. The serum protein levels are check for blood plasma. The mononuclear cell count is checked for blood stem cell.
  • Donate blood voluntarily. 'There is a deficit of 3 million units of blood supply in the country according to the statistics released by WHO and the Red Cross Society last year. The awareness is more in the cities and the metros but the rural areas get ignored the most. So it is important to start drives to ensure that the rural population also benefits from the blood donation drives,' says Dr Nidhi.

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