by Ranabir Bhattacharyya | 14 June 2018
World Blood Donation Day – What we need to know
June 14 is globally celebrated as World Blood Donation Day. There has been a mass awareness on this issue and people are now more concerned about blood donation. There are ample queries these days regarding blood donation. Here we will be sharing vital inputs from the reputed doctors, which will highlight contemporary queries based on blood donation.
Can you donate blood if you have been smoking or drinking the night before?
If you donate blood immediately after smoking/drinking, the smoke particles and alcohol will reside for hours or days in the blood. It can pass on to the person who will receive the blood. The smoking particles and the alcohol will remain in the blood for hours which will not be suitable for the blood recipient.
Any individual with bleeding conditions has few limitations for blood donation. The person might be checked or inquired if his/her blood does not clot normally. If the person has a major bleeding condition they will be advised not to donate blood since it can lead to over bleeding as the needle will be placed to taking out blood. Also, if they are taking any "blood thinner", they should not donate blood.
You should avoid smoking for at least 30 minutes after donating blood. If you smoke immediately after donating blood, there are chances that you might feel dizzy and can be at risk.
Can a diabetic patient donate blood?
According to Dr. Sanjay Reddy, Consultant Diabetologist, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, Bangalore - “Diabetes, in simple terms, is a health condition when a person suffers from high blood sugar because the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin in the body. It is generally safe for people with diabetes to donate blood under normal health conditions. Diabetic people can donate blood, as long as they maintain healthy blood sugar levels at the time of blood donation. Nevertheless, the ones who have used bovine (cattle-derived) insulin in the past are refrained from donating the blood due to the risk of mad cow disease.
Things a diabetes patient needs to take care of before donating blood:
Make sure you’ve had enough sleep
Eat a healthy meal
Drink sufficient water
Things a diabetes patient needs to take care of after donating blood:
Monitor your blood sugar level.
Eat a healthy diet.
Include iron-rich foods or a supplement for 24 weeks following your donation.
If you feel sick or are concerned about your health after the blood donation, contact your doctor immediately.
Can you donate blood if you have tuberculosis?
According to Dr. KS Satish, Pulmonologist, Fortis Hospital at Cunningham Road, Bangalore - If a person has been diagnosed with tuberculosis or is being treated for tuberculosis, he/she is not eligible to donate blood. He/she needs to wait until the treatment is successfully completed before going for donation.
One must understand that tuberculosis is a communicable disease that can spread from one person to another. Even patients with pulmonary tuberculosis should wait for a minimum of three months after starting effective anti-tubercular medicines in order to donate blood.
The person who had a medical history of tuberculosis and has successfully overcome the disease can donate blood.
Things to take care of before blood donation:
Be sure that you do not have active tuberculosis and it’s been three or more than three months since you have been cured of tuberculosis.
Things to take care of after blood donation:
Take care of your diet and liquid intake for the next 48 hours after donating the blood.
Can you donate blood if you have a tattoo? If not, how long should you wait?
Dr. Sudheendra Udbalker, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetologist & Venereologist at Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road said - As there are no regulation and safety tags over the needles used in tattoo parlors, it is recommended that a person with a tattoo should not donate blood within 6 months of getting the tattoo. This is just an infection control mechanism. If an infected person donated blood, his blood would eventually be tested after collection. Many certified tattoo parlors use sterile needles and ink that is not reused. When people with tattoos arrive to donate blood, they must be open to answering questions about their health history. This is especially important for people with cosmetic tattooing. Anyone with cosmetic treatment that pierces the skin must ideally wait for at least four months before making an appointment to donate.
Things to take care of before donating blood:
Maintain a healthy iron level in your diet
Get a good night’s sleep.
Drink an extra liter of water or non-alcoholic fluids before the donation.
Eat a healthy (read non-fatty) meal before your donation.
Keep the strip bandage stuck on for a while as it helps to keep skin rash at bay.
For the remaining day, do not do any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise.
If you experience dizziness or lightheadedness after donating blood, then stop everything and simply just lie down till the time you do not gain back energy.”
Can you donate blood if you have asthma?
According to Dr. Vivek Anand Padegal, Director Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital at Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore - A person suffering from asthma can donate blood as long as he/she does not have any limitations on the daily activities they do or they do not have any difficulty in breathing at the time of donation. Before donating blood, there should have been no signs or symptoms of asthma in the last 2 weeks. As long as the person is feeling well and healthy, he or she is eligible to donate blood.
An asthma patient is not allowed to donate blood if the person donates when he or she is having an acute breathing problem, is in a panic stage or is feeling uneasy. He or she may cause danger to the other person’s life as the oxygen-carrying capacity of a unit volume of blood is most likely to get decreased. It is also advisable for asthma patients to indulge in saline therapy (using salt air) at home before going for blood donation.
Things an asthma patient should take care of before donating blood:
It is imperative to discuss your medical history with the concerned doctor. The person should be calm and composed and should not panic. Asthma only affects you during or before blood donation if at all you panic.
Things an asthma patient should take care of after donating blood:
A person can resume normal activities after the blood donation; however, they are advised not to lift heavy objects for at least five to six hours after the donation. Also, the person should consume lots of liquids and healthy food items for the next 48 hours.”
Can you donate blood if you have a cold, fever or flu?
A common cold is a viral infectious disease, which affects the upper respiratory tract and your nose, voice box and your throat. The basic symptoms for a cold include coughing, sneezing, running nose, fever and headache at times. Flu or influenza is a respiratory illness which is highly contagious. Symptoms of flu include high fever, cold, fatigue and aching limbs and joints. In both of these situations, full body rest is recommended to the patient and the patient is given antibiotics and antivirals for the same. Dr. Sudha Menon, Director – Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road says that since you have been taking treatment, by using antibiotics and antivirals, you are advised not to donate blood for at least 10 days. It is advised that you are free of flu and cold symptoms, for at least 48 hours, before you donate blood. This is because donating with a cold will lower your immune system, and will further push you towards lingering illness and slower healing times, and even pneumonia in some unfortunate cases. You should be completely free of cold or flu symptoms and feel healthy before you donate.
Can you donate blood if you have hypertension?
Here are some blood pressure numbers we all must know of:
120/80 – Normal blood pressure
139/89 – Pre-hypertension
140/90 – High blood pressure A.K.A. hypertension stage
A person with hypertension can donate blood, as long as the blood pressure is normal the time of blood donation and there’s no fluctuation. Acceptable blood pressure rate for blood donation is below 180 systolic (first number) and below 100 diastolic (second number) at the time of donation. Even though the donor is on regular medications, one must understand that medications for high blood pressure do not disqualify you from donating blood. Provided, you don’t have side effects related to your medication. Also, the person shouldn’t be suffering from other co-morbid diseases associated with hypertension. People who have fluctuating blood pressure with irregular treatment must stay away from donating.
Things a hypertension patient needs to take care of before donating blood:
Make sure you’ve had enough sleep
Eat a healthy meal
Drink sufficient water
Things a hypertension patient needs to take care of after donating blood:
Consuming more fluids, both before and after the donation is important
Take in iron-rich foods
Do not carry heavy weights or do any vigorous exercise(s)
If you feel weak, just lie down until you feel better
In simpler terms, a blood for transfusion to another person, you must be healthy, be at least 18 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not have donated blood in the last 56 days.
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