Be generous, save a life

BLOOD DONATION DAY

Be generous, save a life

Even the most precious of assets are often taken for granted as long as they come effortlessly to us. For most of us who living a healthy life, the blood flowing through our veins is just another asset.

But there are those who need to procure blood on a regular basis to meet some medical demands of their bodies – the lack of availability makes it a desperate need for survival. So, it is important to donate blood and their is an urgent need to create awareness about it too.

However, despite increasing education and exposure to information, there are still many myths surrounding blood donation, which are all unjustified. So, on this World Blood Donor Day, let’s bust a few myths and check out the precautions must take before and after donation

According to Dr Satish Koul, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, there are many myths, like ‘donating blood makes one weak and unhealthy’. “During blood donation around only 350 to 450 ml of blood is taken, which is reproduced in the body within 24 hours.

If ones biochemical parameters are correct and one is not suffering from any disease then there is no reason why one cannot donate blood. Anyone from the age group of 18 to 65 years and having a minimum body weight of 50 kgs and 12.5 gm of haemoglobin can donate blood.”

There are certain infections like HIV and hepatitis which may disqualify one from donating blood. However diabetics, hypertensive patients and even people with high cholesterol, can donate blood as long as their body meets the biochemical parameters. Those suffering from high blood pressure can donate blood as long as the blood pressure is below 180 systolic and below 100 diastolic at the time of donation.

Requirement of blood is necessary in certain diseases, like thalassemia, hemophilia, in medical procedures like heart surgery and in organ transplantation where patients need blood immediately.

Shobha Tuli, secretary general, Thalassemics India, and President, Federation of Indian Thalassemics stresses on the importance of blood donation to help manage thalassemia. “Shortage of blood in a populous country like India is disheartening. People should come forward for blood donation so that thalassemic children across the country not end up waiting for blood transfusion or till their Hb (haemoglobin) drops to 5-6 mg/dl.”

Still, while it is great to espouse the cause, the donor must take precautions. One should drink at least 8-10 glasses of water within 24 hours following blood donation; avoid sun exposure; not drive for the next three-four hours; not smoke for next four hours and definitely avoid alcohol for the next 24 hours.

If on one hand people are apprehensive about donating blood, there are few college students who are setting an example. Akash Goyal, a III year student from IIT-Delhi has been regularly donating blood since 2011. “I am a regular donor and find it very important to do so. My family doesn’t support me, though. They say it might be unsafe but I still donate.”

Another student from Sri Venkateswara College, Subhinav Arora, who donates blood after every three months, says, “In India, people are not aware about the shortage of blood and safety procedures of donation.”

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