World Blood Donor Day: Donating Blood? Ten mistakes to avoid

World Blood Donor Day is observed on June 14, every year. The theme for 2018 is ‘Blood Connects us All’ with a goal to motivate people who have never given blood to begin doing so, particularly young people. Thus it is important to know the things we should avoid while donating blood

Do you know why AB blood type is so rare?
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Efficient medical care is impossible if blood transfusion services are not available; this makes up the crux of the modern healthcare system. The objective of the Blood Transfusion Services is to provide blood and blood products that are safe and adequate to meet the needs of a patient.

Many times, at blood donation camps, one would see only a handful of donors, whereas, in reality, there is a huge donor base. The reason for this is lack of knowledge about blood donation and most frequently asked questions – “Will I be safe after blood donation?” or “My friend fainted will I faint too?” etc. Donors, in most cases, want that assurance of safety.

Although much of the onus falls on the standard and quality of the blood bank staff, there is a lot more ‘you’ as a donor can do to have a safe donation experience.

Blood donation is indeed a simple and easy process, once you ensure following mistakes are not committed.

Coming unprepared

  • Donors need to make sure he/she does some work on oneself before donating blood
  • Eat healthy, three hours prior to blood donation
  • Sleeping well for six to eight hours the previous night
  • If you smoke, stop smoking two hours prior to donating blood
  • Do not consume alcohol within 24 hours prior to donating blood
  • People aging between 18 and 65 years, one must weigh at least 45 kgs

Not filling the donor form

  • Irrespective of where or when you’re donating blood, you need to answer some questions on the donor questionnaire form, remember:
  • Every question answered honestly takes you closer to a safer blood donation
  • Provide full and correct information. The information, in the form, is kept confidential, and it ascertains your fitness for blood donation
  • Clarify any misunderstandings about donor selection, blood donation, and screening, which you have
  • Fill up the donor questionnaire form and give consent

Not requiring a medical examination before donation

If your weight is more than 45 kgs, Blood Pressure (Systolic 100-140, Diastolic 60-90 mm of Hg with or without medications) needs to be checked and made sure it’s quantitatively in the ranges, that is safe for donation

Consult the doctor, available at the place you are donating blood, and discuss your medical suitability for blood donation. Discuss your concerns with the doctor, and get the approval for blood donation

Not having your haemoglobin checked

A blood sample is taken and is checked to see if you have required levels of Hb to donate blood or not. Different Blood Banks use different techniques, but the result must be that you must have an Hb count of 12.5g/dL or more

Be sure your Hb test is done; insist upon one if not done

Not being relaxed

A relaxed mind is your best bet for a pleasurable blood donation experience

Relax, as the blood bag used is new and there is no reuse of the syringe. Relax, as you have taken sufficient pre-donation care to reach here.

Relax, for even if it is your first time, the blood bank staff does this every day.

Not taking care of yourself while donating

Self-care during blood donation may sound odd, but, while donating blood, there is a lot you can do to help yourself

  • Lie down comfortably with muscles relaxed and legs uncrossed.
  • Speak out, if the prick hurts.
  • Keep pressing the sponge ball; do not panic by the sight of blood.
  • Be assured, by doing this you are eliminating a big mistake that people make during the donation.

Not resting after donation

  • You are inviting trouble by getting up too early after having donated blood.
  • Lie down for a good 10 minutes. This will ensure normalisation of blood flow in the body and ensure your brain gets enough blood
  • Keep your arms folded, and before you wake up, get the staff to put on a Band-Aid on your arm. Good rest is necessary

Not consuming refreshments post donation

  • Drink plenty of fluids/juices afterward; a juice and biscuits/bananas are usually provided at the donation centre
  • Take them; if not your mind, your body needs them
  • Refrain from heavy work; your body will feel replenished and will give you a feeling that everything is fine.
  • Not taking care later.
  • Having prepared yourself before donation, taken care of yourself during donation, you are bound by continuity to take care after that too.
  • Make sure you eat healthily and consume lots of fluids.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol for the remainder of the day.
  • Staying relaxed with few physically enduring activities during the day is a must.

Not telling others about your experience

Motivate others for blood donation by sharing your experience. Make sure others get a feel of this too. Encourage and guide others, so they don’t make the same mistakes.

The author is a Chief Intensivist and Physician at Fortis Hospital, Kalyan