Blood transfusion – A life saving key 🗝

E M Shimitha
Updated on

Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health, but many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. Providing safe and adequate blood should be an integral part of every country’s national health care policy and infrastructure. Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health, but many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. The need for blood transfusion may arise at any time in both urban and rural areas. The unavailability of blood has led to deaths and many patients suffering from ill-health. An adequate and reliable supply of safe blood can be assured by a stable base of regular, voluntary, unpaid blood donors. Regular, voluntary, unpaid blood donors are also the safest group of donors as the prevalence of bloodborne infections is lowest among these donors.

Every countries in the world celebrate June 14 as World Blood Donor Day. This day is celebrated for raising awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life saving gifts of blood.  blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in sufficient quantity is a key component of an effective health system. The global theme of World Blood Donor Day changes each year in recognition of the selfless individuals who donate their blood for people unknown to them.

This day is celebrated on the birthday of Karl Landsteiner. He was awarded the Nobel prize for finding ABO blood group system. We know blood is very important for planned treatments and surgeries. It is also very important for effective treatment of women suffering from bleeding associated with pregnancy and childbirth, children suffering from severe anaemia, patients with blood and bone marrow disorders, immune deficiency conditions, emergency, disasters, accidents and so on. The need of blood is universal, but access to blood for all those who need it is not.

For ensuring everyone who needs transfusion has access to safe blood, all countries need voluntary, unpaid blood donors who give blood regularly. An effective blood donor programme should consist of wide and active participation of the population. The programme is also crucial in meeting the need of blood transfusion during normal time as well as during emergencies or disasters when there is a surge in demand for blood.

Who can give blood?

Most people can give blood if they are in good health. There are some basic requirements one need to fulfill in order to become a blood donor. Below are some basic eligibility guidelines:

AGE

You are aged between 18 and 65.

  • In some countries national legislation permits 16–17 year-olds to donate provided that they fulfil the physical and hematological criteria required and that appropriate consent is obtained.
  • In some countries, regular donors over the age of 65 may be accepted at the discretion of the responsible physician. The upper age limit in some countries are 60. 

WEIGHT

You weigh at least 50 kg.    

  • In some countries, donors of whole blood donations should weigh at least 45 kg to donate 350 ml ± 10%.

HEALTH

You must be in good health at the time you donate.

You cannot donate if you have a cold, flu, sore throat, cold sore, stomach bug or any other infection.

If you have recently had a tattoo or body piercing you cannot donate for 6 months from the date of the procedure. If the body piercing was performed by a registered health professional and any inflammation has settled completely, you can donate blood after 12 hours.

If you have visited the dentist for a minor procedure you must wait 24 hours before donating; for major work wait a month.

You must not donate blood If you do not meet the minimum haemoglobin level for blood donation:

  • A test will be administered at the donation site. In many countries, a haemoglobin level of not less than 12.0 g/dl for females and not less than 13.0 g/dl for males as the threshold.

TRAVEL

Travel to areas where mosquito-borne infections are endemic, e.g. malaria, dengue and Zika virus infections, may result in a temporary deferral.

Many countries also implemented the policy to defer blood donors with a history of travel or residence for defined cumulative exposure periods in specified countries or areas, as a measure to reduce the risk of transmitting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) by blood transfusion.

BEHAVIOURS

You must not give blood:

  • If you engaged in “at risk” sexual activity in the past 12 months
  • Individuals with behaviours below will be deferred permanently: 
  • Have ever had a positive test for HIV (AIDS virus)
  • Have ever injected recreational drugs.

In the national blood donor selection guidelines, there are more behavior eligibility criteria. Criteria could be different in different countries.

PREGNANCY AND BREAST FEEDING

Following pregnancy, the deferral period should last as many months as the duration of the pregnancy.

It is not advisable to donate blood while breast-feeding. Following childbirth, the deferral period is at least 9 months (as for pregnancy) and until 3 months after your baby is significantly weaned (i.e. getting most of his/her nutrition from solids or bottle feeding).

What we all can do?

  • Be a voluntary blood donor and an inspiration to others.
  • Commit to being a regular donor and give blood throughout the year.
  • Encourage your friends and family to become regular blood donors.
  • Volunteer with the blood service to reach out to members of your community, provide care to donors, and help manage blood donation sessions/drives.
  • Find out your blood type and register as a blood donor.
  • Participate in World Blood Donor Day with your social networks.

Blood groups

We have mainly 4 blood types. That are A, B, AB and O. this could be +ve or   -ve. In which O blood group is known as universal donor, whereas AB blood group is known as universal acceptor.

BLOOD GROUP

THOSE WHO CAN ACCEPT BLOOD GROUP

A

A, AB

AB

AB

B

B, AB

O

O, A, AB, B

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