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Docyard | Donate blood, save 3 lives
Our material world is a curious one — money can’t buy blood, the most important component of our body, because it can’t be manufactured. One can get blood only from another human being. On the World Blood Donor Day, that is celebrated every year on June 14, imagine the plight of those who are undergoing surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries need blood at this very moment. In the US, someone in every two seconds needs blood. India met 85 per cent of the target collection in 2016-17 with 11.1 million units of blood, against its 13 million units target based on World Health Organization (WHO) norms.
One reason that we fall short of the target is the misconceptions and fear around blood donation. Any healthy human being between 18 and 60 years, weighing more than 45kg can donate blood. Any hospital or reputable NGO uses disposable syringes and other materials at the blood donation camps. Hence, the fear of being infected with diseases such as AIDS is unfounded. It is safe to donate blood but at an interval of 90 days, that gives your body time to create new blood cells.
The Government abolished the practice of paid blood donors in 1995 that could have allowed inflow of contaminated blood. According to the latest guidelines, only voluntary, non-remunerated, low risk donors are allowed to donate blood. In spite of that, as many as 1.18 million units of blood were discarded in 2016-17, according to a Lok Sabha reply in December 2017. The reasons included reactivity for infections, deterioration during storage, etc.; this reflects how ill-prepared we are to handle an emergency situation because awareness among donors and those who handle it after donation are not adequate. Overall, India was short of 1.9 million units of blood in 2016-17, which as per reports could have helped over 320,000 heart surgeries or 49,000 organ transplants.
More and more awareness campaigns and donations camps with proper facilities should be promoted in order to attract genuine donors. We need more young people to shed their inhibitions and come forward to donate blood to show they care. After all, sharing is caring.
Points blood donors should keep in mind
- Only one pint (about 470 ml) of blood is taken during donation that can save three lives.
- Donating blood improves overall cardiovascular health, especially in men. It helps to reduce the amount of iron in the blood, which in turn can reduce the chance of heart attacks and the risk of severe cardiovascular events such as stroke.
- Blood donation enhances the production of new blood cells as new cells are produced by the marrow within 48 hours of donation.
- All the red blood cells the donor loses during blood donation are completely replenished within a couple of months.
- Some studies have shown that blood donation may lower the risk of cancer including liver, lung, colon, stomach and throat cancers.
- Blood donation allows the donor a free health screening as well as a mini blood test.
- Women who are pregnant, had a miscarriage, or are menstruating should avoid donating blood.
- After blood donation, take plenty of fluids, avoid heavy work, driving or smoking immediately and remove bandage only after 6 hours.
- O-negative blood, the universal donor group, is needed in emergencies before the patient's blood type is known and with newborns who need blood.
- Share honest and accurate medical history before donation to avoid wastage of blood.
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