Things you must know when donating blood

By:Meenakshi Chaudhary, Onlymyhealth Editorial Team,Date:Dec 20, 2014

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Confused about blood donation? Here is what you should know about it. There is no substitute to such a kind and self less act.
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    Blood donation

    Blood is one the most precious contributions that anyone can make for the society. Donating blood is a selfless act that can give another person a gift of life. While people understand the importance of donating blood, they often ignore it. Of all the reasons, lack of proper knowledge among people regarding blood donation is also a major reason behind the deficiency of blood supplies in our blood banks. Several people have false notions about and misunderstand blood donation. Here is what you should know about blood donation, especially when you have decided to donate. Image Courtesy :Getty

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    Gift of life

    Blood donation is the most important contribution a person can make for another person who needs blood. If you are donating blood you are not only doing a kind contribution to the society, you are in fact gifting life to a person who may urgently need blood. Your blood can save as many as three lives when separated into its components, red cells, platelets and plasma, which can help patients with specific requirements for the components. Feel proud when you are donating blood, as you will be helping as many as three people survive. Image Courtesy :Getty

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    People need it

    People don't need blood under normal conditions, but, when they do they are mostly under critical conditions that require immediate blood availability. Safe blood can help improve health as well as save lives. The most common and critical requirement of blood appears when there is a need for blood transfusion. Blood transfusion may be needed during pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancies and hemorrhage before, during or after childbirth. Children with severe anemia may also need blood transfusion. People with severe trauma caused by accidents or cancer and surgical procedures may also need blood transfusion. Image Courtesy :Getty

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    Blood can't be stored forever

    It is impossible to store blood forever which makes it even more important to donate blood regularly. Since blood banks can only store blood for a limited period of time, there is a constant need for a large number of healthy people to donate safe blood after regular period of time. Blood donation is a completely safe and simple procedure which doesn't have any side-effect on your health.Your body is designed to quickly produce the lost blood that you donated to help save lives. A normal, healthy person can donate blood every 3 months. While there can be minor symptoms such as fatigue for some time after donating blood, there is no side-effect associated with blood donation. Image Courtesy :Getty

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    Know about your donation center

    You should understand that there are several blood banks that expect continuous supply of blood, however, some may have moderate blood supply while others may have scarce supply of blood. You may contact the blood banks near your location to know about the schedule of their blood donation camps and other information. It will also help you know about any urgent requirement that appears. If you have not donated blood during the past 3 months, you may immediately cater to the situation and help save a life with your blood. It will also help you regularly donate blood every 3 months. Image Courtesy :Getty

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    Don’t Panic About any Unusual Symptom

    It is completely normal to experience some minor symptoms after donating blood. You should not panic if you experience symptoms such as dizziness and lightheadedness after donating blood. These are just temporary and minor symptoms that will disappear soon, however, you should drink a lot of fluid and eat a nice meal after donating blood. Also avoid heavy physical activities for the next few hours after donating blood. Once you have had some rest you will once again feel completely fine. You may also add more iron-rich foods to your diet. Blood donation is a harmless act of kindness which has no side-effect on the donor. Image Courtesy :Getty

     

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    Are you eligible?

    While people are always welcome to donate blood, there are certain criteria that they should meet in order to donate blood. Children and elders are not supposed to donate blood. There is an age limit on who can donate and who cannot. Youngsters between 18 to 60 years can donate blood. You should have healthy weight and at least 12.5gm of hemoglobin in your blood. So, expect to go through a quick medical check-up before you actually get to donate blood. A person must be healthy and not have suffered from chronic diseases recently to be eligible to donate blood. Moreover, a person should donate blood once every three months. Donating blood before a break of three months can take serious toll on the donor's health. Image Courtesy :Getty

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    Take rest

    It is very important to get ample rest soon after donating blood. The blood donation procedure at a donation camp may take around 10 to 15 minutes or a little longer. The specialists will ask you to lie down on a bed and collect about 350 ml of blood from you. It is also normal to collect blood while the donor is seated in a comfortable position. Once the procedure is complete it is very important to relax and rest for a while before leaving the bed or seat. You may suffer from temporary symptoms of dizziness or weakness. It is recommended that you rest after the procedure and not panick about the minor symptoms. But, you can still contact the donation site or your doctor regarding the symptoms. Image Courtesy :Getty

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    Maintain balanced and healthy diet

    After donating blood you should stick to a fluid-rich and balanced healthy diet. To restore lost fluids you should drink soon after you donate blood. Drink a glass of fresh juice or water to replenish the lost fluids. Make sure you stay away from caffeine, smoking and alcohol for at least 24 hours or even longer. Even if you don’t feel any symptoms, avoid physical labour and take proper rest for rest of the day. You may even skip office or other activities the next day and rest. It will help you soon feel completely fine and normal. Keep these things in mind the next time you consider blood donation. After all, you will be saving lives without any side-effects to your own health. Image Courtesy :Getty

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