World Blood Donor Day
On 14 June, countries worldwide celebrate World Blood Donor Day with events to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
The theme for World Blood Donor Day 2011 is, “More blood. More life.” This theme reinforces the urgent need for more people all over the world to become life-savers by volunteering to donate blood regularly.
Every year, countries throughout every region of the world organize a huge variety of events and activities to celebrate the day, from football matches to free concerts, and from mobile blood donation clinics to monumental decorations.
Why should we donate blood?
Safe blood saves lives and improves health. Blood transfusion is needed for:
- women with complications of pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancies and haemorrhage before, during or after childbirth;
- children with severe anaemia often resulting from malaria or malnutrition;
- people with severe trauma following accidents; and
- many surgical and cancer patients.
It is also needed for regular transfusions for people with conditions such as thalassaemia and sickle cell disease and is used to make products such as clotting factors for people with haemophilia. There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use. Regular blood donations by a sufficient number of healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed.
Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person – the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life or even several if your blood is separated into its components – red cells, platelets and plasma – which can be used individually for patients with specific conditions.
Who can donate blood?
Any healthy adult can donate blood: men once in every three months and women every four months. The universally accepted criteria for donor selection are:
- Age – 18 to 55 years
- Haemoglobin : not less than 12.5 g/dL
- Pulse : between 50 and 100/minute with no irregularities
- Blood Pressure : Systolic 90 : 180 mmHg and Diastolic 50 : 100 mmHg
- Temperature : Normal (oral temperature not exceeding 37.5 degree C)
- Body weight : not less than 46 Kg
Who can not donate blood?
- Pregnant or lactating women, or those who have recently had an abortion or miscarriage
- Those who are on steroids, hormonal supplements or certain specified medication
- Persons with sexually transmitted diseases or infections like HIV or those who are addicted to drugs
- Those who have had an infection like jaundice, rubella, typhoid or malaria
- Persons who have undergone surgery in the previous six months
- Persons who have consumed alcohol in the 24 hours prior to donation
- Women should avoid donation during their menstruating period
Common myths about blood donation
- I can get infection while donating blood
Fact – Sterile equipment is used, which limits the chance of infection.
- It’s not healthy to donate blood.
Fact – Provided that you’re healthy prior giving blood, your health will not deteriorate after donating blood. One should take a few hours of rest after donation.
- The process is very time consuming
Fact – A single donation session normally does not take more than an hour.
- My haemoglobin will dip after donating
Fact – Not more than 470 ml of blood is taken at one session. Your body replaces this in a very short period of time. Donating blood does not lead to any decrease in your haemoglobin level.
- Elderly people can not donate blood
Fact – Anyone up to the age of 60 years and is fit and healthy can donate blood