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It is World Blood Donor Day on June 14 and here is all you need to know before donating blood

With great power, comes great responsibility. As a blood donor, you can save lives, but also keep in mind that you are responsible for the well-being of the person you are donating for, as well as that of yourself. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you set out to donate blood.

Who can donate?

Any healthy adult who is between 18 and 60 years of age with a minimum weight of 50 kilograms can donate blood. Prepare yourself before you do so: have plenty of fluids the night before and the morning of the day you plan to donate. Have a good night’s sleep the night before so that you feel your best. “Make sure that you eat a good carbohydrate-rich meal before the procedure. Blood banks usually give ORS or fluids to donors during the procedure to make up for the fluid lost. The donors should have a platelet count of 100,000. The haemoglobin count for males should be between 13-14 and 11-12 for females,” says Dr N Aditya Murali, Consultant, Medical and Haemato Oncology, Aster CMI Hospital, Bengaluru.

What to expect?

Expect slight or no pain at all when being needled to draw blood. If it’s your first time, it’s normal to be a little uncomfortable. The donor will be given a sponge ball to press. “This builds up the pressure in the vein and increases blood flow,” he explains. It helps to distract yourself by chewing gum, reading a book, listening to music, or watching a TV show while you give blood. Relax, and stay calm. “It is a safe procedure. A person can donate blood once in every three months. There is nothing to be afraid about in it,” he promises.

What not to do

Do not exercise heavily before and after donation. Get some rest, and give the body a chance to replenish the fluids it has lost — 90% of our blood is made of water. “Stay away from getting body tattoos or piercing from unhygienic surroundings. It comes with a risk of infections and Hepatitis B and C,” warns Dr Aditya.

Who cannot donate?

“In India most people above 45 years take some kind of medication. There will be a screening before the donation. People who are HIV positive, Hepatitis B or C and cancer cannot donate blood,” he says. Those who’ve consumed alcohol within 24 hours of the time of donation cannot donate. “Women who have given birth and are breast feeding should make sure their hemoglobin levels are up to the mark if they wish to donate.”

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 1:35:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/what-should-we-know-before-we-donate-blood/article27797400.ece

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