All you need to know about blood donation

Published on 11 June, 2018

The history of blood donation goes back to the 17thcentury. The medical specialists of the time were not only aware that blood was an essential element for keeping the body alive, but they also knew that losing too much blood could be very dangerous. As a result, this awareness marked the beginning of the blood donation experiment, which gave birth to a whole new generation of heroes who gave their blood so that others could live. Many lives are saved every day by blood donors, who offer their blood to those who need a transfusion for surgery, as well as to victims of accidents.
To this end, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day every year on June 14. This event was created in 2004, and aims, on the one hand, to show the need to donate blood and safe blood products, and, on the other hand, to thank blood donors for the life-saving gesture they make through this act. This day allows us to honor blood donors who are committed to saving lives, and also serves to raise awareness of the importance of blood donation.
A blood donation is not only vital to the health of the recipient, but also beneficial to the donor. For example, before a blood donation, a free blood test is performed to detect diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. There are many benefits to donating blood, but the most important of all is that you are helping to save lives.

Who can give blood?

People with chronic diseases such as cancer and leukemia, as well as other medical conditions, cannot donate blood. Anyone who is HIV positive, or has a disease such as hepatitis or malaria, is not allowed to donate blood. In addition, you must weigh at least 50 kg or more to be eligible to donate blood.
In addition, a donor must be able to give consent, which means that a blood donor must be over the age of 18, but not over the age of 60. Women cannot donate blood during their menstrual cycle. Therefore, they must wait at least seven days after their period.

Are there any benefits for donors?

Medical experts believe there are many benefits to donating blood. For example, it has been shown that when a person donates blood on a regular basis, it helps to prevent certain diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. These occur because of an excess of lipids in the blood, which blocks the coronary arteries. These fats, especially those of low density, commonly called cholesterol, are dangerous. As a result, donating blood has been shown to help reduce an individual’s blood cholesterol level.

What are the types of blood donations?

There are three types of blood donations, classified according to the type of blood donor and, sometimes, the reason for giving blood.

    • Voluntary donation
      The donor gives blood out of pure altruism, with no material benefit in return.

    • Paid donation
      : the donor gives blood in exchange for a fee.

    • Compensation donation
      The donor gives his or her blood to be used later, for example, in the case of a future operation. The blood is then frozen to be used after the medical operation.

How often can I give blood?

There are two possibilities. The first is whole blood donation, which collects all the components of blood, namely red blood cells, plasma, platelets, and other nutrients present in the body. In this regard, a minimum of two months must elapse between two whole blood or blood product collections and a maximum of four collections per year are permitted.
The other form of donation is to donate only the component needed, whether it is red blood cells, plasma, or platelets. A platelet donation can be made every 15 days, up to 24 times a year. A plasma donation can be made every 48 hours.

What is expected of you?

The process of donating blood involves certain steps: registration, compatibility assessment, the actual blood donation, and post-donation drinks and snacks. Typically, it is estimated that the entire process can take up to an hour. However, the actual blood donation usually lasts only about 10 to 15 minutes.

    • Clothing recommendations : We recommend that you wear clothes that you are comfortable with. However, be sure to keep your forearm, and especially your elbow, clear.
    • Food and drink: It is helpful to continue to stay well hydrated and nourished to limit any numbness. Avoid fatty foods before donating blood. In fact, fat can affect blood tests. On the other hand, choose iron-rich foods in the weeks leading up to your blood donation.
    • Identification:Present your ID card, driver’s license, or two other forms of identification at registration. If you are a recurring donor, bring your donor card if you have one!
    • Bandage : At the end of the blood donation, donors will wear a new accessory, a bandage around their arm. You must keep this bandage on for at least five hours. If bleeding occurs, raise your arm above your head, and press on the site of the puncture until the bleeding stops. Bruises may also appear in this area. If it is painful, apply ice for the first 24 hours. Then rest, and avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting on that day. Blood, sweat, and tears don’t always mix. Also, avoid drinks that contain caffeine and alcohol, and increase your water intake in the 24 hours following your blood donation.

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