Donation of blood is a voluntary procedure that helps save lives of people suffering from severe blood loss. Blood donation is of several types, with each type helping meet different medical needs.
If you are interested in donating blood, you might want to know some details about the procedure. Donating blood is a safe and simple way to make a big difference in the life of someone who needs blood. Knowing what will happen prior to, during, and post donation can help you prepare for the process.
Donating blood is of immense significance for those who require blood transfusions. Donating blood can help:
People who regularly donate blood also have some potential benefits:
Knowing that you helped someone, even if it is a stranger is emotionally rewarding.
Before You Donate
If you are interested in donating blood, you must meet the requirements like the eligibility criteria and prepare yourself properly.
Requirements for blood donation
You will first need to locate a blood bank and make an appointment. The healthcare providers there will let you know about any specific requirements for donors and any medications you might need to discontinue before donating blood.
Following are some eligibility criteria for blood donations:
A few weeks before donating blood, you must ensure that you are getting enough iron from your diet. Seafood and meat, as well as vegetables like sweet potatoes and spinach, are rich sources of iron. Certain fruits, breads, and other foods like tofu and beans can also be good options. On the day of your appointment, you must prepare yourself by consuming an adequate amount of fluids and wearing comfortable clothing. You should be able to easily roll up your sleeves above your elbow. Prepare a list of all the over-the-counter and prescription medications you are taking and share it with your healthcare provider.
Blood types are of different types. Those are classified according to the antigens present in the blood cells. Blood groups are of four main types— A, B, O, and AB. Sometimes, blood cells also contain a substance called Rh factor. Blood groups that have this factor are called Rh positive, while those that don’t are referred to as Rh negative. This is why blood types are referred to as O positive (O+) or B negative (B-). If a person is Rh positive, he can receive both negative or positive blood. However, an Rh negative person can receive only Rh negative blood.
Matching the blood type and other parameters in transfusions is very important. If these don’t match, the new blood will be attacked by its own antibodies and the person can get sick. Those with blood type O- are known as universal donors as this blood group is safe for transfusion for every recipient. In emergency situations, blood type O- is used and in such settings, there is no time to test the blood type of the person. Those whose blood group is AB+ is known as universal recipients because they are eligible to receive any type of blood.
Even though all of us have different blood types, the blood is made up of the same components. Blood has liquid and solid components. The solid part is made up of red and white cells and platelets. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen. On the other hand, white blood cells protect the body against infection. Platelets help the blood clot. The liquid part of the blood is known as plasma. It contains protein, water, and salts.
You may only require certain blood components if you are receiving transfusion therapy. For example, only red blood cells may be needed for people with sickle cell disease and only platelets may be required for people with leukaemia.
If the blood of the donor and the recipient is not compatible, serious complications may occur. A simple blood draw is required after which the sample is sent to the laboratory for testing. You should share any reactions you had to previous blood transfusions with your healthcare provider. Let your doctor know if you are on dietary supplements. You will be directed to sign consent papers for transfusion therapy.
The process of donating blood can be broken into four steps:
The entire process will take around an hour but the actual procedure of donating the blood takes only 5-10 minutes. If you are donating platelets, the time taken is longer as you will be connected with a machine that filters out the platelets from your blood and returns the rest of the blood back to you. This process takes around an hour or two.
When you reach the blood bank, you will be asked to fill a questionnaire that includes your general information including your personal particulars like name, age, and address, your medical history, drug history, past history, family history, and other such relevant information. This will help the healthcare providers decide whether or not you are fit to donate blood.
Before you donate blood, a healthcare provider will perform a short physical examination on you and also ask some confidential questions about your lifestyle and health. Your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature will be checked and a sample of your blood will be tested. Some questions you might be asked include your recent travel history, your health history, sexual activity, and the medications you take.
Your blood will be tested to determine the blood type and rule out the presence of blood-borne diseases like cytomegalovirus infection, babesiosis, hepatitis B and C virus, syphilis, human T-lymphotropic virus, zika virus, west nile virus, and HIV. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies are tested in people who are donating blood for the first time and have previously been pregnant or those who have been pregnant since their last donation.
When the time of the actual donation comes, the following will happen:
After you are done donating blood, you will be given a drink and some snacks to help you feel stronger and better since your body lost some amount of fluid. It is best to sit and relax for 10-15 minutes so that your strength is restored and you recover some of your energy before you leave.
Blood donation does not give rise to long-lasting side effects, however, you may temporarily:
Illness can sometimes make it challenging for your body to create healthy blood cells. Some medical conditions that may require blood transfusions include cancer, anaemia, kidney disease, haemophilia, severe infections, liver disease, thrombocytopenia, and sickle cell disease.
Looking for a blood bank in Indore? If you are looking for a centre for blood transfusion in Indore, you can visit the Blood Centre and Transfusion Medicine Department at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore and seek help. Our department is equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and advanced medical instruments. Our staff members are highly qualified and experienced and follow international protocols and quality standards at all times.